Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The surprise from Kazakhstan

On March 26, 2009, at approximately 6.30 PM (PST) in Los Angeles, Calif., 15-year-old Denis Ten single-handedly put Kazakhstan on the worldwide map of figure skating. The young skater stunned the crowd, the press, and the judges with a magical performance that catapulted him from 17th after the short program, to eighth overall. This was by far the best ever placement any skater from Kazakhstan had achieved at Worlds.

However, setting this kind of record was nothing new to Ten, who already had become the first skater from Kazakhstan to win a Junior Grand Prix event (in the fall of 2008). He also earned the best placement thus far of a skater from his country in an ISU Championship event when he finished fourth at the 2009 World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Ten moved ten thousands of spectators in the Staples Centre and on television with his beautiful Rachmaninov free program that featured text-book perfect jumps, fast paced footwork, elegant spins, and expression beyond his age. At the end, he fell on his knees and kissed the ice while the crowd rose to give him a standing ovation.

"It was a big joy," Ten said as he recalled the moment. "I just wanted to show everything that I was capable of. It was the best performance of my life so far. Now I have to build from there and develop further."

"When the audience stood up, it was like a positive shock," he continued. "When Evan (Lysacek) skated clean and got a standing ovation (in the short program), I was watching as well and I stood up and I thought how nice it was to skate well and to get a standing ovation. So I'm just very happy that the crowd stood up for me. I was able to experience something at my young age that many skaters never experience in their career."

After observing him in Los Angeles, many journalists and figure skating fans were puzzled. Who is this immensely talented young skater and where did he suddenly come from?

Full article.

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