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Nov 30, 2015

Stuff I Like: Grand Prix 2015 (Part I)

If one were to choose one word that would be the least descriptive adjective used to describe the 2014-2015 Grand Prix of Figure Skating, it would be 'predictable.' Indeed, from the unprecedented cancellation of Trophee Eric Bompard to the veritable horde of skaters on some sort of a comeback campaign, a good number of preconceptions about the Grand Prix prior to this season have undoubtedly turned out to be laughably wrong (including mine, of course). But unpredictable as it has been, the Grand Prix has definitely not been bereft of memorable performances. Here are my favorite performances from the ladies' and the men's disciplines from this Grand Prix season:

Sep 30, 2015

The Prophet Morozov

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned . . .

Approximately three years ago, when I was young and ignorant, I wrote a post excoriating Nikolai Morozov for choreographing what I viewed as an abomination: Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov's Ghost. At the time, I took particular umbrage at the inclusion of spoken dialogue from the musical Ghost in the program, bemoaning how the inclusion of such dialogue was detrimental to the entire concept of "interpretation" in figure skating.

As usual, I was wrong. The ISU broke down the musical barrier between ice dance and the other disciplines last season by allowing the inclusion of lyrics and the spoken voice in general in all four disciplines. Of course, the majority of  programs taking advantage of the rule change last year used verses from various songs, seemingly all taken from The Phantom of the Opera. For example:

Jul 17, 2015

The Skin You're In

Some people hate over-the-boot covers, others shudder at the thought of sequins. For me, the #1 figure skating sartorial sin is mismatched illusion mesh.

Ah, illusion mesh, that gallant protector of many a skater's modesty. For those uninitiated to the ways of skating's sartorial mores, illusion mesh is the flesh-colored fabric meant to provide an approximation of bare skin without actually baring such skin. Despite the official ISU rules stating that on-ice costumes "must not give the effect of excessive nudity for athletic sport," illusion mesh is a popular means to provide that very effect. Indeed, illusion mesh is often necessary to hold a skimpy costume together (yes, Elena Grushina is wearing more illusion mesh than actual non-illusion mesh fabric):

Jul 4, 2015

Happy America Day!

Happy 4th of July! FUCK YEAH AMERICA!!

In honor of this most American of holidays, we will celebrate that fine specimen of figure skating: the American ladies skater.

For decades, the US of A dominated the topmost echelons of ladies figure skating. American ladies world and Olympic champions were a dime a dozen, and even when the American ladies skated abysmally, at least one of them was sure to remain on the international podiums. This impressive streak of success in American ladies skating is reflected by the intense, near-myopic focus on ladies skating in the American collective consciousness. Sure, Evan Lysacek and Davis/White could win Olympic and World titles, but their faces would never be immortalized on a Campbell's soup can or a Wheaties box. No, of course not--that honor is strictly reserved for a champion American ladies skater, the only type of figure skater that really matters to many an average Jim-Bob.

But the times we live in are dark and full of terror, as the World and Olympic podiums have been conspicuously absent of American ladies for almost an entire decade. The times have been so dark and desperate to the extent that even a Canadian lady has been able to get onto a World and Olympic podium in the vacuum created by the most recent generation of bumbling American ladies. The horror, the horror! To help assuage the painful memories of such dark and terrible times, let's use this occasion to celebrate the beauty, grace, and skill of past American ladies skaters:

Jul 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

For those of the non-Canadian persuasion, Canada Day is the day when Canadians ride their pet polar bear and/or moose to the local curling rink, where they gather together to eat poutine and drink from bags of milk. On this auspicious holiday, Canadians are often found garbing themselves in maple leaves (in contrast to their usual flannel lumberjack attire) and being proud of the fact that they are not American. If you find yourself talking to a Canadian today, you can endear yourself to them forever by congratulating them for having a universal healthcare system or gun control. Alternatively, you can delight a Canadian by merely acknowledging the simple fact that Canada exists, and that you are aware of a national holiday at the beginning of July that is not on the 4th of July.

Though ice hockey holds the lion's share of the collective Canadian consciousness with regards to athletic endeavors, Canadians nonetheless have had an illustrious record of success in the sport of figure skating. In lieu of eating poutine and garbing yourself in maple leaf paraphernalia, you may thus celebrate Canada Day in the comfort of your own home by watching the following assortment of memorable programs by Canadian skaters: