Thursday, April 30, 2009
"This was not expected," Delobel explained with a smile. Ludovic Roux, a French skier, is the proud father. Roux had been dating Delobel for several years now. The couple plan to get married next June.
This announcement came as another good reason for the duo to end their competitive career. However, this will not be the case. Delobel and Shoenfelder thought of retiring one year ago, after they won their first world gold medal. In the end, they decided to keep skating until the 2010 Olympics.
Last December, however, Delobel severely injured her right shoulder during the ISU Grand Prix Final in Goyang City, Korea. She had to undergo a lengthy operation and a six-week rehabilitation process. Delobel and Schoenfelder won two Grand Prix events last fall, plus the Final, but they had to withdraw from the rest of the season, missing both the European and world championships.
Delobel's pregnancy has not discouraged her Olympic dreams. On the contrary, she said, "However unexpected the news came, I can assure you that I never thought this would force me to stop skating," she said. "You know, those pregnant woman's wishes ... They are just like the will for a special victory," she offered in a smile.
The baby is due next September, just five months before the Olympics.
Schoenfelder took the announcement with his legendary calm. "This is a huge surprise for me as well," he said. "Yet, I remain motivated in spite of this unexpected event. When you hear such news, you think that everything you had planned will come to an end. After a while, however, we said to one another that such a challenge would be possible. We are awfully motivated to reach the Olympic podium." He then added, with a bit of humor: "If we manage to reach that goal, it will be an even bigger event, like a triple medal!"
Vise and Trent began skating together when both were partnerless and training at the same rink. The fact that Vise is a clockwise spinner and Trent is a counter-clockwise spinner never seemed to slow them down.
Their most notable achievement together was landing a throw quadruple Salchow in their free skate at the 2007 Trophee Eric Bompard, becoming the first pair to ever land that element in international competition.
Trent has chosen to retire from competition, while Vise has formed a new partnership with Don Baldwin. She will continue to train in Peoria, Ariz., under the tutelage of Jill Watson.
"We are thankful for the time and success we had as a team and will continue to support each other in the future," commented Trent. "We want to thank U.S. Figure Skating, our fans, coaches, families and friends for their wonderful support over the past years."
This season, the team placed eighth at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The world looks different to Joanne Rochette these days.
And she looks different to the world, at least that part of it which pays attention to figure skating.
"I had a competition (the World Team event) to prepare for and two new programs for next year to make, so I couldn't spend too much time congratulating myself," Rochette says of her world championship silver medal. "Now it's finally starting to sink in."
Rochette enters the Olympic season carrying the pressure of being a bona fide medal hope for Vancouver 2010, which is a lot more positive than the triple pressures she used to carry: the pressure of rarely stringing together two good programs in the same week; the load of having to be the spokeswoman for the perpetually depressed state of Canadian women's skating; and the lonely weight of indifference, with which most skating pundits viewed her prospects.
The native of tiny Ile Dupas, Quebec, launched herself squarely into the Olympic mix with an inspiring, steady world championship. That ratified both her own status and that of her nation. It was the first world medal in the women's event for Canada in 21 years and just the second in 36. In fact, Rochette is just one of seven Canadians to win a world medal in women's singles since Canada began attending the Worlds 81 years ago.
At the start of the season, and coming off last year's career-high fifth place, Rochette said she was aiming for the podium.
"And not many people believed I would do it," she acknowledged during a break from Stars on Ice, which makes its annual stop at Copps Coliseum a week from tonight. "I didn't believe it myself until this year."
Rochette began the season with great confidence, winning both her Grand Prix stops, and was fourth in the Grand Prix Final, leading to mild speculation she could medal at Worlds. But there were magnificent, technically dazzling Asian teens Yu-Na Kim, Mao Asada and Miki Ando in her path, and graceful Italian Carolina Kostner, defending silver medallist, was also podium material.
Rochette beat them all but Kim, who set a world points record.
At 23, Rochette is a year older than Kostner and half a decade senior to Kim, Asada and Ando. But maturity has added late-blooming confidence, consistency and adult gracefulness to what was already a powerful, and quick, skills set.
Alexei Yagudin, 29, and Tatiana, 27, have been known each other since their childhood. After late heartaches the skaters realised they had much in common and started to date. Their romace has been lasted for a year, Life.ru informs.
Some time ago Alexei proposed to his sweetheart. “It was very romantic”, an eyewitness said. He added the partners try not to show off, they are rather domestic people and feel comfortable with each other.
Alexei supported Tatiana in time of private tragedy – her mother died in January after thе accident. Believing in skater’s love the girl finds in Alexei a person to be together and give birth to a child with.
The talented 23-year-old won an ISU Grand Prix event for the first time when he took gold at the Cup of China to start his season. With a fourth place at the Cup of Russia, he qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final in Goyang, Korea - another career first - where he took the title and earned new personal best scores in all phases of the competition.
"My goal was just to make the Final and skate my best," said Abbott. "I had no expectations for the outcome. I felt horribly nervous for the free, but I had a good warm up. I was able to contain myself and keep composed and I felt that was more exciting than winning."
"I've been working with a sports psychologist, Gayle Davis, and she's given me techniques to keep myself focused and controlled," he continued.
His dream season continued as Abbott won his first gold medal at the senior level at the 2009 U. S. Figure Skating Championships after finishing fourth the last two years. "I felt a lot of pressure after the Grand Prix Final to win the title, so it was a big weight off of my shoulders when I won."
In his last tune up before Worlds, Abbott placed fifth for a second straight year at the 2009 Four Continents Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia. "I used Four Continents as a platform for Worlds," he said. "Nationals was physically and emotionally draining, and having such a short time period between Nationals and Four Continents was really difficult."
At Worlds, Abbott again finished 11th, the same as in 2008. "I didn't expect myself to be in this position," he said. "I gave my full heart. I really didn't feel that the mistakes that I made were great enough to justify my scores."
In the short, Abbott touched down at the end of his opening triple flip-triple toe and stepped out of a triple Axel, which was downgraded by the judging panel. However, he recovered with a great triple Lutz and earned positive Grades of Execution on all of his non-jumping elements.
Although the couple has won each time they competed at U.S. Nationals, McLaughlin has never been healthy there.
"The first year I had the stomach flu, last year I had a fever, and this year I had bronchitis," McLaughlin said. "I don't know if it's the stress or the long season, but I was sick for a week before Nationals and had a hard time getting through it."
Meanwhile, Brubaker was suffering from two painful torn muscles in his lower abdomen, which he first noticed in the fall of 2008.
Dr. John Reasoner, the medical director of performance services at the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, CO, said Brubaker "had the ability to work though it during competitions, which is pretty amazing because it can be a very annoying and debilitating injury for individuals who perform repeated lifting."
"Sometimes there were days I had to tone it down in training or couldn't do as much because of it, but it didn'’t affect my competition," Brubaker claimed.
The injuries were serious enough that Brubaker had surgery on April 3 to repair the damage and will not be able to be back on the ice until May.
"We wanted to have the surgery right after Worlds so I could heal since next season is so important," Brubaker said.
Earlier in the season, the 2007 World Junior Champions won a silver medal at Skate America and a bronze at Skate Canada, but missed qualifying for the ISU Grand Prix Final.
"We've done all right," Brubaker said. "We've almost always been on the podium as seniors. Sometimes we've not had the best skates, but we've been consistent."
McLaughlin and Brubaker placed fifth at the ISU Four Continents Championships, which were held in the figure skating venue for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. They placed 11th at Worlds.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Sorry for everything!
The young team won the junior ice dance title in Canada after taking the silver medal in 2008. It was Saucke-Lacelle's third Canadian title as he won pre-novice dance in 2005 and novice dance in 2006 with Christina Gignac, his previous partner.
This past February, Routhier and Saucke-Lacelle improved their placement at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, moving up from tenth in 2008 to seventh.
"The level of difficulty was much higher this year than last in the top ten at Junior Worlds," Saucke-Lacelle underlined. "There were some tough teams we hadn't competed against before. We were hoping we'd end up between sixth and eighth and we did."
The dancers also won bronze medals at both of their ISU Junior Grand Prix events at Czech Skate and the John Curry Memorial.
"Next year, we'll compete as seniors at Canadians but stay in juniors internationally," Routhier revealed. "We hope to make the Junior Grand Prix Final and go back to Junior Worlds again." "We're going to try to do some senior summer competitions to get ready," Saucke-Lacelle added. "Maybe Minto Skate so our parents can come and see us."
Saucke-Lacelle is the more experienced of the pair, having started skating at three and ice dancing at eight. Although her mother was a skating coach, Routhier only began skating when she was six and didn't start dancing until she was 14.
The dancers, who have been together since the summer of 2006, have trained at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ontario since January 2008 under a team headed by David Islam. "It's very different training here than in Montreal," Saucke-Lacelle explained. "David organizes and schedules everything for us. Our off ice training, ballet and gym work is all taken care of and it's mandatory that we do it. In Quebec, it was kind of an option."
This year at Worlds, however, they didn't skate their to their potential as Tong was recovering from a cold with fever. They came in fourth - one place higher than last year. "Like last year, a jump was downgraded and we had a single Axel," said Tong with a sigh, "but I think considering the circumstances, we did quite well."
Now the team is looking forward to the upcoming, Olympic year, which probably will be, according to their plans right now, their last competitive season.
For the 2008-09 season, the couple used The Midnight Blues by Gary Moore for the short program and Tango by Gotan Project, Concierto de Aranjuez, and Tango de Roxanne from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack for their expressive free program.
The short program was choreographed by Nikolai Morozov, while the long was done by Sarah Kawahara. "Nikolai (Morozov) suggested the music for the short program, but to use tango for the long program was my idea," revealed Tong. "Sarah (Kawahara) then chose the suitable music. We've skated to Tango in 2000 before, but never again after that. Our goal for this year was to show two different styles - one slower and one more powerful program."
Working with Western choreographers was not a new experience for this team, but still a good one. "They are very different," observed Tong. "Nikolai puts more emphasis on the elements, while Sarah has an idea, first looks for the music, and then constructs the program. We've worked with Nikolai for three seasons, therefore we know his style. We did a program with Sarah once about three years ago."
Thursday, April 2, 2009
A two-time national champion, Lysacek brought down the house in his hometown of Los Angeles as he captured his first world title last week. By winning the world crown, Lysacek became the first U.S. man in 13 years to reach the top of the skating world. Todd Eldredge last won a world title in 1996 in Edmonton, Alberta. Mr. Eldredge will also be a guest at the Skating with the Stars event.
Olympic ice dance skaters Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto placed second in their category at the World Figure Skating championships. They will also attend Figure Skating in Harlem's gala again this year.
The 2009 Skating With the Stars gala honors skating legend Tai Babilionia and New York State's First Lady, Michelle Paige Paterson. It promises to be another fun and delightful evening that raises critically-needed funds for Figure Skating in Harlem's pioneering youth development program.
Joyce and David Dinkins, Terry and Tina Lundgren and Donald and Melania Trump, Star Jones, Tamara Tunie, Christopher Meloni, Richie Rich, Harry Smith, Natalie Morales, Melissa Rivers, and Lee Daniels are just some of the notable guests scheduled to attend the gala.
At this event, guests are offered the extraordinary opportunity to skate side by side with Tai Babilonia and a spectacular roster of Olympic and World Medalists including Dorothy Hamill, Johnny Weir, Sarah Hughes, Viktor Petrenko, Alissa Czisny, Kimmie Meissner, Timothy Goebel, Rachael Flatt. 2009 U.S. national champion Jeremy Abbott will also be part of this year's event. Tickets start at $300 and are available by calling (212) 675-9474. Visit www.charitybuzz.com to find great auction items for bidding online from March 25th-April 21st, 2009.
Figure Skating in Harlem has served hundreds of New York City girls since 1997 with an innovative education and ice-skating program that transforms young lives and helps Harlem girls grow in confidence, leadership and academic achievement. Proceeds from this benefit event will help FSH continue to grow and become an even stronger resource for children in the community. FSH also hopes to develop a base of support that will help them secure a home rink of their own with access to skating and educational facilities year-round in Upper Manhattan.
Belbin and Agosto will begin performing with the Smucker's Stars on Ice tour April 3 in Hershey, Pa., and then will skate April 4 in Bridgeport, Conn., April 5 in Boston, April 10 in Manchester, N.H., and close with a show April 11 in Portland, Maine.
Headlined by 2006 Olympic Silver medalist Sasha Cohen, the Smucker's Stars on Ice cast will feature all of the fireworks and theatrics of the Stars on Ice tours in the past, with creative ensemble numbers and individual routines featuring Olympic, world and national champions. Evan Lysacek, the newly crowned 2009 world champion, also announced he will be on tour for five shows as well.
The Figure Skating in Harlem event, which is honoring Tai Babilonia and New York's First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson, will be held at the Wollman Rink in Central Park April 6 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. In addition to Belbin and Agosto, Lysacek will also be at the star-studded event, as will six-time U.S. champion Todd Eldredge, Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes, Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Goebel, 2006 world champion Kimmie Meissner, Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko and reigning American champion Alissa Czisny.
Belbin and Agosto, the most decorated American ice dancers in history, had quite a roller coaster of a season. After missing the world podium for the first time in four years last season when they placed fourth, the couple announced it would leave its longtime coaches in Detroit and train instead with 1980 Olympic champions Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov in Aston, Pa. Then Belbin and Agosto were forced to withdraw from the 2009 U.S. Championships as Agosto recuperated from a back injury.
But their up-and-down season ended on a very high note, with Belbin and Agosto showing they are still one of the best teams in the world. With the Olympics in Vancouver less than a year away, there is no doubt Belbin and Agosto are medal contenders.
With the conclusion of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2009, the qualified teams for the first ISU World Team Trophy have been determined.
The top ranked six teams are the USA, Canada, Japan, Russia, France and China. They qualified according to the results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, ISU European, ISU Four Continents, ISU World Junior and ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
The USA top the team standings with 7659 points followed by Canada with 6755 points and Japan with 6660 points. Russia accumulated 6370 points and came in fourth while France is ranked fifth at 4938 points. China qualified with 4150 points.
The ISU World Team Trophy is a competition between six national figure skating teams and will be held for the first time in 2009. Each team consists of two Men, two Ladies, one pair and one ice dance couple. The competition will be held in Tokyo, Japan from April 16th to 19th in Yoyogi National Stadium.