Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Ones to Watch...

Today Katya and I went with two friends to watch the Exhibitions at the closing of the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships. It was GREAT!

Every single male skater in the top 5 was fantastic; they all had super technique and phenomenal stage presence. Competition at the Olympics in 2014 will be fierce! They were:

1. Patrick Chan, Canada
2. Takahiko Kozuka, Japan
3. Artur Gachinski, Russia
4. Michal Brezkina, Czech Republic
5. Daisuki Takahashi, Japan

We particularly liked Takahiko Kozuka's show program set to Glee music!

We really enjoyed the American champions in Ice Dance, Meryl Davis & Charlie White (1st place) and Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (3rd place). The Canadians who came in 2nd, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, were also superb!

The woman who stole the show, however, was Miki Ando of Japan, who came in first. She is the very picture of graciousness and she was crying so much at the crowds roar of appreciation and support that she had to stop to dry her tears before doing her encore. There isn't any video of her performance on youtube yet; once it is, I'll post it. She did a lovely routine to begin with, and then a new routine that can only be interpreted as a prayer for Japan in the wake of the tsunami. It was breathtaking and incredibly moving... The crowd roared for her!!!

We were also very happy to see Alissa Czisny, the US Champion, skate again. She came in fifth overall and she is so beautiful... Last year she missed Worlds because of her disappointing Olympic Year 10th place finish at US Nationals—when she was coping with just having learned that her twin sister had cancer (you can read more about her journey back in this NYT article). Alissa had a fall at the beginning of her short program here in Moscow, but she fought hard to skate clean throughout the rest of the competition. She should feel so good about her finish... I'll write more about the card that Natalia made for her in a separate post :-)

In addition to all the top skaters, the audience was treated to performances by Russia's up-and-coming stars... Starting with an adorable 7-year-old whose name I couldn't catch, to these next two ladies, we were WOWED.

First up? Elena Radionova. REMEMBER HER NAME, BECAUSE YOU'LL LIKELY BE HEARING MORE OF IT. She turned twelve in January and she is ranked 4th in the Russian Junior Nationals. She trains at the Red Army Club in Moscow, the literal farm for future Russian Olympians. That's where Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov started skating when they were three... Kids admitted to the program devote their whole lives to it. Sports before school, then condensed schooling with all the other athletes (from a variety of sports taught there) and then training again. No wonder these kids get so good so young!

Here are some videos of her:

Talking at a professional ice show starring Evgeniy Pluschenko this year; isn't she adorable?!

Short Program at 2011 Junior Nationals:

Long Program at 2011 Junior Nationals:

2010 Rostelekom Crystal Cup:

The other skater is Adelina Sitnikova, the reigning Junior World Champion.

Long Program at 2011 Junior Worlds:

Short Program at 2011 Junior Nationals:


Tina in CT said...

Why didn't Natalia go too?

MoscowMom said...

Tickets were too expensive to bring anyone not completely enthusiastic... Natalia had had enough on Saturday. Sunday was nice because it was Katya's friend Sasha and her mom along with us.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful videos!
Thank you!