On Midseason Previews: 2014-15 UCLA Bruins

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

The United States Figure Skating Association’s Intercollegiate regular season is one-third of the way done for Pacific Division teams. Schools from California and Colorado made their way through I-70 to Edora Pool and Ice Center (EPIC) in Fort Collins to see if they could make their Intercollegiate Nationals dreams come true. It’s University of Denver, Colorado State, and University of California, San Diego who are the closest to booking their flights to the San Francisco Bay Area for some postseason glory. Lurking within striking distance are the University of California, Berkeley and University of Colorado, Boulder. Where art thou, UCLA and DO WE START FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW?

UCLA Bruins

Season Standings: Tied for 6th place with Colorado College and University of Northern Colorado, with 0 points

The real figure skaters of Westwood come back home from Denver empty-handed, edged out by pioneers, bears, rams, buffaloes and sea deities. They do get credit for sending skaters to EPIC so they don’t get a stern talking to from Katherine Specht and the USFS Collegiate Committee.

The Bruins are stoked not only to come back to final examinations and $1.75 Diddy Riese ice cream sandwiches, but also to the low altitude of Southern California, where it reportedly makes a difference to breathe and skate at 500 feet above sea level, instead of 5000 feet.

Stoked. Gruntled. Por qué no los dos?

Stoked. Gruntled. Por qué no los dos?

These may not be your older brother’s Bruins though, as the Core 4 of Joey Millet, Maddison Bullock, Mericien Venzon, and Emily Chan, plus junior college transfer Amanda Sunyoto and team mom Coral Chou sort out their post-undergraduate lives. Best of luck to their skating, their modeling and singing, their graduate school, their life endeavors. Let’s take a look at the new Core 4 or Core … 10.

2014-15 Roster

  • Tyler Vollmer, ice dance
  • Adrian Siew, free skate
  • Evan Bender, free skate
  • Ai Ohno, free skate
  • Sarah Palaich, ice dance and free skate
  • Jillian Campbell, free skate
  • Evy Karin, free skate
  • Therese Vesagas, free skate
  • Julia Feng, free skate
  • Patricia McNeil, free skate
  • Marisa Goff, ice dance
  • More members to follow once the competitions in San Diego and Denver roll around

Sunyoto Sibling Rivalry No More

Raise your beverage in remembrance of Amanda and her younger sibling, Cal’s Sean Sunyoto. This will be the first time since Amanda transferred from Cerritos College that the Sunyotos won’t be ice dancing against each other. Rather than arguments or fights though, you instead saw one trying to teach the other how to do certain ice dances five minutes before they were scheduled to compete, you saw them supporting each other on and off the ice, and you saw them symbolizing the connection made between Berkeley and LA’s figure skating teams. As Sean finishes his last year of undergraduate eligibility, the siblings will turn their sights toward starting dental school, telling people to floss, and beyond.

X-Factor

There’s Tyler Vollmer, who can ice dance pretty darn well and take advantage of the bonus points that come with competing at the international dance events. It could be Sarah Palaich, whose versatility in the novice free skate and her ice dancing can earn the team much needed points.

I’m still leaning towards sophomore Ai Ohno as the one who wills the team to the postseason. Skating up from novice to junior this year, the team will rely on her clean skates to keep up with everyone else.

California Love

Deadline for Pacific Division teams to sign up for the January 24th Ride the Tide Competition, hosted by University of California, San Diego is December 17th. It’s a three hour drive or a half-hour flight from LA to San Diego, so the Bruins will be skating not too far from home, which is nice. If UCLA can place in the top 3 in January’s competition, they won’t have to worry about not making Nationals.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On the Triple Axel

May 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hardcore and casual figure skating fans know much more figure skating knowledge than they realize. They know there’s a whole bunch of jumps, many ways to spin (upright, sitting, leaning back), and that the magical footwork sequences that Charlie and Meryl, et al pull out of thin air shouldn’t be recreated at home. That said, it’s time to deconstruct and explain one of the most mystical technical elements that a figure skater can do: a triple axel.

As well-known as the Iron Lotus and Chazz Michael Michaels’ interpretive dancing, the triple axel is in everyone’s figure skating lexicon (much easier to say; most don’t want their bae to catch them slipping while dropping “salchow”, “camel”, “twizzles” in normal conversation). However, would we be able to identify a triple axel?

Bro, Do You Even Single Axel Tho?

Considered a single jump, the single axel contains 1.5 revolutions, requiring a skater to go around all 540 degrees. If landed correctly in competition using ISJ scoring, the jump is worth 1.1 points. At the lower levels, this jump alone ends up separating those who skate all the way through high school from those who quit much earlier. This jump ends up being the gateway towards achieving doubles and eventually triples.

Here’s a cool video on what a single axel looks like.

"I just want to see triple axels, not read what it's about."

“I just want to see triple axels, not read what it’s about!!1!!” Might want to skip ahead to “What about triple axels?”

You’ll recognize when most skaters are attempting an axel jump when they first prepare for the jump, starting at 0:10 of the video until 0:20. Her weight is over her right leg, her trajectory going counter-clockwise because she’s on her back outside edge (her weight is specifically over her right leg, over the right side of her right foot).

The Takeoff (Gliding, 0:24-0:29)

The skater then plants her left skate onto the ice, also bringing her arms back. She’ll pass the right leg through along with the arms and launch herself up facing forward without any excess swinging motion.

The Jump and the Landing (Pivot and Landing, 0:33-0:47)

After launching herself forward and doing the prerequisite 180 degree turn, she still needs to finish off one more revolution before her jump is considered an axel by the judges. The skater finishes off her jump by coordinating her arms and feet simultaneously. Her arms are passing forward and gather while the left leg crosses over the right leg, all to conserve angular momentum and quickly rotate before landing the jump.

Thanks, Channing.

No excess movements, an equal balance of weight. Any slight tilt in her air position would send her off-balance, making it harder to land the jump and earn a lot of points.

What about Triple Axels?

A triple axel landed correctly is worth 8.5 points and contains 3.5 revolutions. It no longer is the highest scoring jump in competition but it’s still required by all male skaters at the international level. Because it isn’t required of them to include triple axels in theirs, only one female skater routinely puts it in her competition programs. What does a triple axel look like?

 trplaxel1

Same gliding into the take-off and a badass landing to finish, just 720 more degrees to get around to count it as a triple. As for the revolutions, the skater completes one revolution on their way up, one revolution at the apex of the flight, and one final revolution on the way down before the landing.

Here’s Mao Asada of Japan, taking care of business with this triple axel.

Mao Asada, cool as the other side of the pillow.

Mao Asada, cool as the other side of the pillow.

***

That’s the triple axel, figure skating lexicon that you won’t be embarrassed to say because you know what’s behind it now. It’s no quad jump but it’s still the bees knees amongst figure skating fans, casual and veteran fans alike. Now you too can understand more about what Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic (nobodylikesSandraBezic) Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski and Terry Gannon are saying.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Who Won the 2014 Intercollegiate Nationals

April 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

The championship standings came down to the wire but it’s the University of Delaware Blue Hens winning their second consecutive Intercollegiate National Championships. Your standings after this two-day soirée in Adrian, MI:

  1. University of Delaware (132 points)
  2. Boston University (115.5)
  3. Dartmouth (114.5)
  4. Adrian College (73)
  5. UCLA (45)
  6. UC Berkeley (38)
  7. University of Denver (29.5)
  8. University of Michigan (25.5)
  9. University of Miami (Ohio) (24)

Just goes to show you how the depth of the Eastern Conference teams really helps them use up their allotted 35 entries (whether they actually have 35 skaters or skaters who can skate multiple disciplines) and outlast the smaller teams on their way to the top.

Deal with it.

Deal with it.

Congratulations, University of Delaware and in realizing what it would be like in a post-Laney Diggs era, good showing, UC Berkeley.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Adrian Bulldogs Figure Skating

April 11, 2014 § 1 Comment

It’s the 2014 US Figure Skating Intercollegiate Nationals and every team has arrived in Adrian, MI, getting all Blades of Glory for University of Delaware’s crown.

King Blue Hens

House Flacco, loving their seat on the porcelain throne.

While eight teams decompress at the local Holiday Inn Express and enjoy the typical fare of a Michigander, it is Adrian College who get to enjoy the comforts of their own beds, home cooking, and possibly home-ice advantage. That plays a role in the reason why the Adrian Bulldogs have the best shot from the Midwestern Conference to finish in the top 3.

Adrian Bulldogs

One doesn’t simply walk onto the podium… right?

It’s a disclaimer I drop on any team not named Dartmouth, Delaware or Boston University but we are talking about one of the best Midwest teams of all-time, ALL-TIME. Led by team captain Tricia DeFelice and last year’s US intercollegiate intermediate ladies champion Demi Russo, these skaters are on fire.

  • 1st in Bronco Challenge Cup
  • 1st in Maize and Blue Matchup
  • 1st in Skate on Wisconsin

Adrian College has been taking care of business in the Midwest, manhandling any challenges to their regional throne. Dating back to the 2012-2013 season, the team has won the last 5 Midwestern regional competitions, clinching back-to-back Midwestern championships for the first time in school history.

I WAS LIKE, "GOOD GRACIOUS, TEAM SO BODACIOUS!"

I WAS LIKE, “GOOD GRACIOUS, TEAM SO BODACIOUS!”

Coached by Ashley Carlson, these student-athletes will represent the Bulldogs in the team’s second consecutive time on the National stage:

  • Co-captain and senior ice dancer Tricia DeFelice
  • Junior ladies India Johnson
  • Novice ladies Meghan Barnes
  • Intermediate ladies Demi Russo
  • Juvenile ladies Raynise Mancha
  • Pre-juvenile ladies Barbara Hipp
  • Preliminary ladies Maddie Sena

The additional two points for top-5 finishes in Johnson’s junior championship freeskate and DeFelice’s international ice dance events will certainly help Adrian in the standings.

WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED

The team has enough personnel to field a group for Low Team Maneuvers and another for Intermediate Team Maneuvers. Those two groups will get all Power Rangers-y and present their case on why their jumps, spins and footwork sequences bring all the figure skating judges to the yard.

GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK

Just kidding, Demi Russo’s not sending any mixed messages here, nor does she plan on letting anybody else get first place in the intermediate ladies events. Intermediate ladies from other teams, prepare to get your hopes dashed and hearts broken. Also, decide in a reasonable fashion who gets 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

HOME SWEET HOME

Adrian College has no flights to make, classes to miss, hotel stays to book, home-cooked dining commons meals to miss.

By virtue of hosting this major event, the Bulldogs have the aforementioned luxuries, as well as not having to get used to another time zone. Adrian, MI also sits 787 feet above sea level, so no complaints of lacking oxygen there.

tumblr_claydavis

I agree with Senator Davis here.

***

Skaters from all teams have scheduled practice times Friday night and Saturday morning to get in their final runthroughs and tweaks. They will then have to put their game faces on and skate their best.

Television Coverage: IceNetwork, MLB Advanced Media and NBC will car- oh, there’s no way to watch this thing live outside of Arrington Ice Arena.

Social Media Coverage: You might get the occasional tweet about the standings from @USFigureSkating on twitter. Instead, you might get more in-depth coverage from each team’s Facebook pages and twitter accounts.

Start Time: 6:45am Central Standard Time

End Time: Award ceremonies around 3:00pm CST

To UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Denver, Dartmouth, Boston University, Delaware, Michigan, Miami (OH), and Adrian College, the Lannis- whoops, thefigureskatinglawyer sends his regards.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On UCLA and Cal at Nationals

April 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Sorry, totally failed on imparting any figure skating wisdom before and during the Olympics. Let’s do a quick rundown for two of the colleges representing the West Coast (best coast) at this year’s US Figure Skating Intercollegiate Nationals in Adrian, Michigan.

Wait, what do you mean Cal and UCLA have figure skating teams?

Wait, what do you mean Cal and UCLA have figure skating teams?

UC Los Angeles

  • 3rd place at Tiger Challenge
  • 3rd place at Golden Bear Skate
  • 3rd place at Pioneer Open

UCLA, 2nd runner-up in the Pacific Region makes its second straight appearance at Intercollegiate Nationals, this year at the expense of a small but scrappy UC San Diego Skating club team. Too many Universities of California, far too few spots. Next time, UC San Diego. *patpat*

Who Leads The Team

thefigureskatinglawyer wishes Godspeed to Mericien Venzon and Emily Marie Chan, both big reasons why UCLA Figure Skating exists at Westwood and why UCLA has made its presence known on the national stage. That said, it’s up to Colorado native Maddison Bullock and Spokane, WA skater Joey Millet to lead the team to success.

Supporting those core leaders in the freeskate and dance events are senior Amanda Sunyoto, junior skater and SF Bay Area kid Evan Bender, and newcomer Ai Ohno. Good luck as well to Adrian Siew, Jillian Campbell, Therese Vesagas and Sarah Palaich and shoutout to team mom, Coral Chou.

#sunYOLO

Hey, speaking of Amanda Sunyoto, this is probably the last intercollegiate competition of her career before she graduates. It’s also the last chance to establish superiority over her kid brother, Sean Sunyoto, who may end his undergraduate skating career early to focus on his pre-dental studies. Who’s winning in the lifelong sibling rivalry? Well, that’s a tough one. Moving on before I get in trouble.

ohno, nononoYES

It’s pretty well-known that Joey Millet and Evan Bender will get UCLA their points in the junior men’s events, as well as play big parts in the high team maneuvers. Maddison Bullock will go ahead and give it her best at the senior freeskate but also on her dance events. Not sure where you’ll find Amanda Sunyoto during the competition? Look for her competing in the senior championship and senior dance events.

The X-factor you should keep your eye out for is freshman and novice skater Ai Ohno. She faces stiff competition from the East Region teams, including Dartmouth freshman and novice skater Maddy Thornton, but if her regional performances are indication of anything, it’s that Ohno’s clean skates (no falls, all top-2 finishes) will put tremendous pressure on the rest of field.

***

UCLA flies out of LAX and get into DTW Friday night. The Bruins have all weekend to drop the powder blue smackdown on its competition.

Anna Kendrick's excited. Are you excited?

Anna Kendrick’s excited. Are you excited?

UC Berkeley

  • 5th place at Tiger Challenge
  • 1st place at Golden Bear Skate
  • 2nd place at Pioneer Open

Cal, first runner-up in the Pacific Region makes their annual trip to Intercollegiate Nationals. Yay, Golden Bears.

Who Leads The Team

The Golden Bears had to scramble after Laney Diggs and Teressa Vellrath retired from intercollegiate skating. The team is also without ice dancers Kelsey Chan (not enough competitions) and Samira Damavandi (studying abroad in the UK). thefigureskatinglawyer sends his regards to Song King, Annaleigh Yahata, Jay Yostanto, Gina DeNatale and Katrina Phan. Seriously though, the team will be without Diggs and Vellrath, who earned a significant amount of points for Cal last year at Nationals.

Freak the fuck out.

Drop everything and freak the fuck out.

Team captain Janelle Unger and team president Michelle Hong take on the task of replacing Laney Diggs and Teressa Vellrath. Sara Billman, Sravani Kondapavulur, Amy Nguyen, Kirsten Flores, Audrey Tan, Audrey Phone-Chen, Matej Silecky, Aditya Nandy and Sean Sunyoto will assist Janelle and Michelle in figuring out how to improve on last year’s 4th place finish. Bless the hosts for providing Matej, Aditya and Sean their own locker room. God forbid they ruin the sanctity of figure skating should anybody see them changing.

New Leaders

UC Berkeley loses Katrina Phan, Michelle Hong, Sravani Kondapavulur, Janelle Unger and Sean Sunyoto to graduation next year. The team still has two cornerstone pieces to build around and keep Cal relevant for the rest of this decade. That said, US junior champion Matej Silecky and senior ladies Sara Billman will take on the bulk of the leadership during the rest of their time at Cal. Their broad network of skating friends and their strong presence at team competitions and events will make Cal known to Sara and Matej’s respective hometowns of Palo Alto/Silicon Valley and Verona, NJ. Yay, baby Golden Bears!

 New Head Coach

Head coach Dani Schraner is taking care of business in San Antonio, TX so the team added alumna Marissa Minovitz to the coaching staff.

***

Cal Figure Skating leaves the Bay Area from SFO/OAK Friday morning and arrives in DTW Friday afternoon. Have fun, everybody.

Young Carl Fredricksen's excited. Are you?

Young Carl Fredricksen’s excited. Do you have much excite?

thefigureskatinglawyer

On 2014 Golden Bear Skate

January 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

tl;dr: Berkeley won, Denver can book their tickets to Michigan, and 3 UCs are fighting for 2 championship spots. Oh my.

The Nitty-Gritty

  • Colorado College, Colorado State University, UC Irvine, and Northern Colorado are eliminated from contention. Thanks for skating but they have no shot at competing in Adrian, Michigan at the end of the year.
  • UC Irvine and UC San Diego have college figure skating teams? Whattttttttttttttttttttttttttt?
  • Natalie McLain, Ruhan Yan, Jennifer Alfred, and Ellen Wilson put UC San Diego Figure Skating on their backs though.
  • The Sunyotos send their regards to all dance competitors.
  • Karen Yamasaki overcame bronchitis to do her thing in the preliminary ladies event. Lauren Montgomery came back from Scotland and did her short program. These two mainstays will help junior ladies skater Sophie Fritz and preliminary ladies skater Ana Sorenson lead the Denver Pioneers and overcome the transfer of Rylie Pepich.
  • Janelle Unger overcame a difficult week off the ice to take home two second-place finishes in her novice events. IN YO FACE!
  • Cal skaters who you won’t see in Adrian, Michigan: Jay Yostanto, Benjamin Yeh, Annalise Mahoney, Gina DeNatale, Katrina Phan, Kelsey Chan, and Samira Damavandi.
Frowny face.

Frowny face.

Passing of the Torch

  • UC Berkeley hosted its competition with its best ladies skater, Laney Diggs and its best ice dancer, Teressa Vellrath.
  • UC Los Angeles skated on without their top junior and senior skaters, Emily Chan and Mericien Venzon.

Because all four skaters have missed the both Tiger Challenge and Golden Bear Skate, they will not be able to skate at Intercollegiate Nationals. These four 4th year skaters have one more chance at the Pioneer Open in Denver, Colorado to clinch Intercollegiate Nationals berths and tie up their intercollegiate skating careers. Best of luck to these ladies on their studies of their final semester.

So who do the four ladies seamlessly pass the torch to?

Boop.

Boop.

UC Los Angeles

Pre-existing core: Joey Millet, Evan Bender, Sarah Palaich, Colorado native Maddison Bullock, and Amanda Sunyoto

Alumna/team supporter: Coral Chou

Newcomers:

  • Jillian Campbell
  • Evelyn Karin
  • Carol Lin
  • Tyler Vollmer
  • Adrian Siew
  • Ai Ohno
  • Elizabeth Miller
  • Sarah Stegman-Wise
  • Sara Villalon
  • Collette Del Poso
  • Rachelle Santos
  • Amanda Smith
  • Ashley Pournamdari
  • Courtney Cruz

UC Berkeley

Pre-existing core: Sean Sunyoto, Matej Silecky, President Michelle Hong, Team Captain Janelle Unger, Kelsey Chan, Amy Nguyen and Sravani Kondapavulur.

Alumnae/coaches: Marissa Minovitz, Dani Schraner

Newcomers:

  • Aditya Nandy
  • Kathleen Albert
  • Sara Billman
  • Audrey Phone-Chen
  • Audrey Tan
  • Kirsten Flores
  • Claudia Nguyen
  • Maryssa Ziegler
  • Elizabeth Zeng
  • Anneliese Tung

Most of the newcomers for both UC Los Angeles and UC Berkeley have skated for a long time but the nerves are still there. The last thing you want to do is to tell them “Have fun!” just before the longest 2 to 4 minutes of their lives. In the meantime…

Results

      1. Cal
      2. Denver
      3. UC Los Angeles
      4. UC San Diego
      5. Colorado State University
      6. Menlo College/Colorado College

By virtue of their 2nd place finish in Oakland and their 1st place finish in Colorado Springs, Denver has 9 points. It’s mathematically impossible for them to host a competition at Joy Burns Arena, bring their entire team and somehow not make Intercollegiate Nationals in Adrian, Michigan.

Because Cal placed 1st, UC Los Angeles missed 2nd by 0.5 points, and UC San Diego placed 4th, we have three Universities of California with 6 points. Well, shit. If Denver has one championship spot locked up, that leaves two spots for three Universities of California.

My guess for the Pioneer Open? Denver wins while UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles take UC San Diego’s lunch money and the remaining championship spots. I may have spoiled much of the 2014 Pioneer Open in Denver for you, but it doesn’t mean the last Pacific regional of the year is any less exciting.

BLADES OF GLORY, SON.

BLADES OF GLORY, SON.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Pacific Coast Sectionals

November 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sitting in refrigerator-like conditions for 7 hours will change a man. Primarily, it just makes him wish he brought a pair of gloves, a heavier-duty jacket, and a blanket to make the cold a little more tolerable.

Anyway, I caught the last 7 hours of the 2014 Pacific Coast Sectionals at Oakland Ice, where the top 4 placing skaters in each event secure trips to Boston for the 2014 US Figure Skating Championships. The junior and senior pairs, the junior and senior men, and the junior and senior ladies finish up their chance to show why they should move on. Here are the results page for the 2014 Pacific Coast Sectionals.

***

Depending on how many competitors are in the event, there can be up to four to five skaters on the ice for 5 minute warm-ups at a time. The first couple of things I notice from these higher-level skaters during their group warm-ups are their ice awareness and self-confidence.

Ice Awareness

Each of these skaters who have made it this far in the qualifying stages have been skating for a very long time. They don’t need to rely on their sight to know where their arms and legs are. Instead, these athletes rely on muscle memory and the feel of how they’ve practiced their jumps, spins and footwork to successfully complete their routines.

It isn’t as if the skaters are ignoring what they see completely. They just won’t keep their gaze affixed on the ice beneath them. Nope, nothing interesting down there. Instead, they will set their eyes on where they will skate next to anticipate where other competitors are going.

Speaking of where competitors are going, these skaters are fearless. They will each practice their portions of their routine, coming within a yard of each other at certain areas of the ice. These close encounters would freak out a new skater who isn’t used to such a welcoming.

These junior and senior skaters will give physical body cues that tell other skaters when a jump or spin will occur. Competitors will defer space to those jumping and spinning before navigating around them and getting ready for jumps/spins of their own. They have great spatial awareness, honed by practicing on crowded sessions at home, that allow everyone to avoid collisions and injuries altogether.

Self-Confidence

If the same skaters you see during warm-ups are feeling the nerves and the gravity of the stakes at hand, you can’t immediately tell.

At this level of skating where everyone has the same jumps, it comes down to the mental side of things to determine who lands those jumps flawlessly. When triples are necessary to get the highest possible scores, now isn’t the time to waver over whether or not you can land the jump.

“Regardless of whether everything is perfect before the jump takeoff, I will land this f___ing jump” dominates the mental thoughts. It’s what ensures that the muscle memory repeats every little detail that the skater practiced in the training sessions. The crowd cheers on successfully landed jumps, whether the skaters landed perfectly or salvaged things from going wrong. They groan when skaters just miss making all 1080 degrees of rotation.

***

In 7th place after the short program with 45.43 points due to a fall on a triple flip, Laney Diggs was within striking distance of making top 4 in the standings. In a ladies long program marred by falls and aborted jumps, Diggs stood tall.

Skating 5th out of 14 skaters, Diggs dug deep and produced a beautiful performance, relying on a cleaner skate than populating her performance full of triples. She successfully lands the triple flip this time, mixing in two more triple salchows (one not rotated all the way) and two double axel-double toe loop combinations.

Translation: She did really well.

Translation: She did really well. She’s sitting in first place for now.

A sixth trip to the national championships, this time in Boston sadly wasn’t meant to be. Vanessa Lam, Rachael Flatt, Leah Keiser and Caroline Zhang maintained their leads over Diggs in the short program, leaving her in 5th place and first-alternate in case anything should prevent Lam, Flatt, Keiser or Zhang from competing at Nationals.

Should she decide not to compete with UC Berkeley’s intercollegiate team this year and not continue with skating after this year, it’s a bittersweet ending to the season and career for Laney Diggs. Sure, it would have been great to see her get to Boston but if you have watched her skate as a teammate or a fan, her performances have been a treat to watch. I wish nothing but the best for her heading into her final year of college.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Holiday Skating

November 6, 2013 § 5 Comments

Rather than dwell on the fact that figure skating is a really expensive sport that requires a lot out of its participants financially, physically and mentally, let’s focus on something that’s less depressing about ice skating: outdoor holiday rinks. The San Francisco Bay Area region is spoiled to have two outdoor rinks, where people can celebrate their holidays and create beautiful memories of their time figure skating.

*Insert generic complaint about figure skating here*

One rink is located in Union Square and despite being 50% smaller than an average indoor rink, the Union Square outdoor rink is located next to a cool four story tall Christmas tree, bright lights and Cheesecake Factory across the street. The other is located at Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero, a little bit further down the waterfront from AT&T Park. This rink is significantly bigger than the Union Square one, giving you more room to take pictures, fall on the ice and imitate an ice skater.

You seem like a pretty responsible person so here are suggestions that may leave you with less bruises to your body and dignity:

Wearing jeans while skating

No, I’m not expecting you to come in on a brisk morning or a really cold evening in Lululemon or generic running pants. I am also not advocating for you to take off your pants just to go skate. Jeans restrict leg movements, making it harder to skate around, jump, spin, do crazy footwork. As long as you don’t over-exert yourself skating in jeans, it shouldn’t be too bad. I also pray that the pair of jeans you’re wearing doesn’t rip when you attempt a figure skating element out on the ice.

GSP learned that firsthand.

Instagram on the ice

I get it. Holiday rinks aren’t around every day of the year. Four story tall trees aren’t in the middle of Union Square every day of the year. I have nothing against people instagram-ing the lovers and third-wheeling friends, the Embarcadero waterfront or tall trees. At the same time, it may be safer to do this off the ice.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

The people in the photo need to be stationary and lined up with the tree. Photographers are stationary trying to get a good photo. They will take multiple shots in order to get one good shot.

That’s cool and all but you’re all standing in the middle of a busy rink, surrounded by people who don’t skate all that often and have control over where they fall or skate. You’re asking to be knocked over if you’re standing in the middle of the ice rink, in the way of everyone else. It’s a little less dangerous when you take these pictures off the ice, and the image of you dazed and confused, sprawled on the ice won’t be immortalized on Vine.

Eating bacon cheeseburgers and Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes

Plenty of spots to eat during the holidays. Maybe these are the choices you’re thinking about when you want to have a good meal with friends and skate after. Perhaps there are fancier restaurants like House of Prime Rib, Prospect, or Gary Danko in mind. Really though, right before you’re about to skate?

These dinner choices may make you feel a little sluggish, so if your dinner ends half an hour before the next skating session starts, take that time to digest a little bit. If not, the wobbling on ice skates, as well as other skaters skating around in circles may induce some nausea and barfing. Take the skating slow and just have a good time.

Other advice

  • Each session starts at every even hour of the clock and lasts for 90 minutes.
  • Check here and here in case there’s a day where some rich dude/company bought out the ice rink for a session or the whole day. Otherwise, check these sites anyway to see how much money things will cost, what time the sessions happen on weekdays and weekends, etc.
  • Union Square Ice Rink allows people to purchase tickets online to avoid lines and stuff. $2.50 in extra fees but sometimes, it’s worth it rather than finding out the session you want to go to is all sold out.
  • Union Square also won’t let you do spins and jumps once there’s four or more people on the ice so go early if that’s your thing. Otherwise, have fun skating in circles with friends.
  • Either have someone watch your stuff to avoid theft or pay money to use the lockers provided by the rinks.
  • Falling on the ice, it happens. Just enjoy the few times you skate every year.
Have fun out there.

Have fun out there.

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Some Special Olympic Gold Medals

November 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hey, you seem to enjoy the Olympics quite a bit. Let’s play a game.

I spy with my little eyes a gold medal with something inside shaped like this. No, it’s not a jagged banana. Embedded in the medal is a piece of the meteorite that landed in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia in 2012. Gold medal winners will receive these special medals in events that finish up on February 15th, commemorating the anniversary of the meteorite landing.

Winners in esteemed sports such as alpine skiing, cross country skiing, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, and speed skating will win these cool gold medals.

Which figure skaters, American or not have the best chance at winning these limited edition gold medals? Trick question.

  • The team event, where nations compete against each other in the traditional skating events ends on 2/9.
  • Pairs skaters finish on 2/12.
  • The individual men’s skaters finish up on Valentine’s Day.
  • Ice dancers finish up on 2/17, barring any judging scandals.
  • Finally, the individual ladies finish up on 2/20.

Figure skaters have no chance to get gold medals that sparkle like their outfits. In 95 days, rival skaters will settle some scores and shoot for the gold medals of the regular kind. Go Meryl Davis/Charlie White, Madison Chock/Evan Bates, Max Aaron, Evan Lysacek, Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, and Alissa Czisny (!!). USA!

thefigureskatinglawyer

On Not Having A Proper Game Face On

November 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

My coach and I are putting together a competition piece for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2018 Winter Olympics a competition in the near future. But as my loyal readers, if you come out to see me practice the freeskate, make sure my body language and facial expressions match the tone of the music. If you see me skating with this game face on,

I wouldn’t wish rental hockey skates on the worst of my enemies.

… welp, you’ll know exactly what to do.

What did the five fingers say to face?

What did the five fingers say to face?

thefigureskatinglawyer

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