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Jun 2, 2017

Gems from the Youtube Vault

One of my favorite Youtube channels ever belongs to the incomparable Mintaka Alnilam, who--undoubtedly aided by the forces of cosmic goodness--somehow possesses the wherewithal to constantly upload crystal-clear, high-definition footage of ancient, decades-old figure skating events. This superb Youtubist uploads high-definition videos of skaters both famous and obscure skating at a staggeringly wide spectrum of competitions and exhibitions for the benefit of the figure skating faithful.

Having watched much of these decades-old performances exclusively through grainy, pixellated videos on Youtube for many years, suddenly being able to watch incredibly clear, high-definition videos (often with different camera angles!!) of the same performances is like being able to see the newly restored Sistine Chapel frescoes for the first time after only ever being able to view them cloaked with centuries of grime--just extraordinary. Whoever you are, Mintaka Alnilam, thank you.

Without further ado, here are some select gems from Mintaka Alnilam's Youtube vault:

The extraordinary quality of the video footage here allows one to fully appreciate the sheer beauty of Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze's skating skills and quality of movement during their gorgeous Sentimental Waltz long program. Those edges, that speed, that flow . . . *swoon*.

Heretofore unseen HD footage of Michelle Kwan's superb avant-garde long program set to Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin. Ever wonder why so many skaters and choreographers resort to warhorses? Because the judges often don't know how to fully appreciate challenging material like this.

The divine Mishkutenok/Dmitriev skating their heavenly Liebestraum long program in beautiful HD quality, featuring some of the loveliest, most creative pairs choreography ever. What more can we ask for?

I've always had a soft spot for the lovely opening choreography of Fumie Suguri's Moonlight Sonata long program from the 2001-2002 season.

In HD 1080p quality or awful 140p quality, the intensity, power, and passion of Grishuk/Platov's Memorial Requiem cannot be denied!! Interestingly, Mintaka Alnilam also has other versions of Memorial Requiem from earlier events in the 1997-1998 season with different choreography that I've never seen before, like THIS performance at the 1997 NHK Trophy, in which Grishuk/Platov are dressed like extras from a community theater production of Dune.

A young Jeffrey Buttle at his first Worlds, showing some wonderful style in this great short program to the soundtrack of The Last Emperor.

My secret trashy fave! Fusar-Poli/Margaglio's Romeo and Juliet free dance is so extra with the voiceovers, ludicrous costuming, uber-dramatic music cuts, pedal-to-the-metal pacing, and Ms. Fusar-Poli doing enough footwork for two skaters, but I can ensure you that my eyes are glued to the screen whenever I watch this free dance. Before this video, I've only ever watched Fusar-Poli/Margaglio's Romeo and Juliet in extreme pixellated form, so I'm very grateful that I'm now able to see such a high-quality version of this program.

Full circle: Satoko Miyahara's coach Yamato Tamura skating a long program set (partly) to Star Wars music at 2001 Japanese Nationals. What is also amusing to note is how sparsely-attended the competition was back then, as well as how plain the arena was, especially when compared to the glitzy, full house affair that is Japanese Nationals now.

The high quality video is perfect for allowing us to fully appreciate Ilia Klimkin's insanely unique choreography (and costume!), including his trademark triple salchow right out of a camel spin (!!!).

A very young Belarusian Tatiana Navka/Nikolai Morozov competing at the 1998 Olympics--Ms. Navka looks nearly unrecognisable with short dark hair and without a headband, while Mr. Morozov looks around the same age as his current wife does now. Given the programs Ms. Navka skated/Mr. Morozov coached or choreographed in the years to come after 1998, this is a relatively tame free dance with surprisingly restrained costuming. Interestingly, as you can see in this video, nearly three-quarters of the arena lights suddenly turned off during Navka/Morozov's free dance, but they kept on skating nonetheless (I assume this is why they had a chat with the judges after their routine).


  1. I love her channel too! I've been devouring her footage. :) I'm just sad that she stopped uploading videos (at least for the time being) because heartless youtubers were reuploading her videos to their own channels...

    The Last Emperor is an early Buttle masterpiece, first time I saw him and still one of my very favorite men's short programs. I adore so many of the programs you picked!

  2. What a wonderful Youtube channel! I'm a big fan of Mishkutenok & Dmitriev and I'm thrilled Mintaka Alnilam uploaded their 1992 & 1994 Olympic programs; not sure which one is my favorite because both are definitely works of art. -Nadia

  3. Margaglio was too bad I feel like I don't have enough palms and face for an epic facepalm.