Saturday, October 22, 2016

2016 Skate America Friday Events

Just a couple of thoughts from the events on Friday:

- Mariah was the highlight for me. Haven't looked at the protocols, but I'm assuming there were some underrotations in there to explain the score.
- Mao's program was very sophisticated, but I prefer when she uses softer and lighter music to match her ethereal style.
- Mai was adorable.
- Loved Gabrielle's music (shout-out to the Kween, Michelle Kwan!)
- The pairs scoring was suspect. How did A/R score higher than Marissa and Mervin and Valentina/Ondrej? I thought their program and skating were sloppy all around.
- SO HAPPY for Haven and Brandon. Love their step sequence and the fact that they skate very close together through a lot of it. Haven looks positively radiant over being back in competition.
- Marissa and Mervin looked fierce and were really selling the program until the lift mishap. Their footwork was also a highlight for me.
- Tarasova/Morozov have great skills, but I wish they had more excitement to their skating.

You can view all the photos from Friday's dance practice, the ladies' short, and the pairs' short here!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 Skate America Practice Day

Hello from Hoffman Estates, Illinois! Today was the chill practice day before the competition starts tomorrow night. The men were up first, and overall it was a messy affair with lots of falls and wonky jumps. Adam did a nice clean run-through of his short program (complete with sassy footwork), and Jason did a full run-through of his long program. He almost had the landing on the quad but looked like he caught his heel. Shoma didn't look to be at his best in his run-through of his short. 

The ice dancers brought the perk after the men departed the ice. With the two Russian teams, Bobrova/Soloviev and Ilinykh/Zhiganshin, both using "Sing, Sing, Sing," the perk was at level 200. We also had two "Pas de Deux" from The Nutcracker, which was unusual since that piece isn't used much in ice dance. I preferred Tobias/Tkhachenko's version since there were no jarring music cuts like there were in Guignard/Fabbri's program. Speaking of jarring music, I wasn't loving the Shibutanis' Jay Z/Sinatra mashup. It sounded like loud, incomprehensible noise with the hip hop lyrics over Sinatra's "That's Life." Maia's costume was on point, though! (Sorry I didn't get any photos. I was videotaping their run-through. View it here!). Regarding the new American team on the senior scene, I think Pogrebinsky/Benoit have a really bright future, and the future may be coming sooner than later with their beautiful long lines and striking presence on the ice.

I made it back from lunch in time for the second group of ladies. Gracie had a rough go of it in her free skate run-through and in just practicing her jumps. I didn't think she had her usual speed. Mariah also had a rough short program run-through. Both Raf and Rohene were at the boards with her. Ashley didn't attempt many jumps in her free skate run-through. Love the Muse song but not sure I like "angsty Ashley." Jeremy Abbott had such a memorable program to that music that I find myself thinking about that instead.

The pairs ended the day, and I thought Seguin/Bilodeau had added maturity in their Cinema Paradiso long program (I could've done without the lyrics in the last section). Tarasova/Morozov's music was a song I'd never heard before, but it was not easy on the ears. It sounded like bad 70's pop. Loved James/Cipres' song choice of "Sound of Silence." If they can skate the program clean and land the throw quad Salchow (they didn't land any today), it will have a great emotional impact on the audience.

The jumps and throws were hit and miss for most of the teams in the final group. Tarah was having lots of trouble with the side-by-side triple Salchows, but she landed a nice throw Lutz in the long run-through. Marissa and Mervin landed SBS Salchows outside their Journey run-through (where they only did a few sections). They did a couple of successful throws, too. Haven and Brandon did a gorgeous throw triple loop (seriously, her landing was like +10 GOE. She held it forever AND smiled at the audience.) The lifts in their long program are showstoppers, and I hope they can put together the jumps at the beginning to set the tone.

Almost forgot to mention - Raf was working with both Marissa and Tarah at the boards during practice. Is he some kind of new jump specialist for pairs lol?

You can see the rest of my photos here!!

Monday, October 3, 2016


Time for a new GOLD RUSH teaser! The cover reveal will be November 7, so if you're a blogger, be on the lookout for the sign-up soon! Don't forget you can add the book on Goodreads here.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 U.S. International Classic

It feels like I was just in Boston watching Ashley Wagner bring the house down with her free skate at Worlds, but here we are starting a new skating season! This is the fifth edition of the U.S. International Classic in Salt Lake City, and I've been able to attend the event every year. This year's roster wasn't as strong as it has been in the past, but there were still some noteworthy performances. Here are a few thoughts on the competition:

  • I really enjoyed the short dance event. I wasn't sure about the rhythms before the season, but the entertainment value was high with the programs we saw in SLC. I think the mostly upbeat music will be a nice change from the snoozy themes we had last year. Karina Manta and Joe Johnson's program especially stood out for me.
  • I wasn't a fan of Adam's short program when I watched in on YouTube earlier in the summer, but I thought it was very dynamic in person. He really sold every step of the choreography.
  • I also wasn't a fan of Jason's short program music, but he made me love the program with his smooth interpretation. I thought his quad in SP looked fully rotated, but what do I know.
  • I can't remember a dance team using "Liebestraum" in the past 15 years, and now we have two teams using it this year? (Paul/Islam and Hawayek/Baker) Strange coincidence? Hmm. I thought Paul/Islam did a wonderful job with the piece. It's right in their lyrical wheelhouse but not as sappy as some of their past programs.
  • Soooo happy for Alex Shaughnessy and Jimmy Morgan winning bronze at their first international event. After sticking together for so many years and weathering major setbacks, this was such a sweet reward for them.
  • Min/Gamelin have my favorite hip hop section so far this season.
  • Satoko hasn't missed a beat from last year, and I hope her consistency and graceful movement are rewarded this year over other less aesthetically pleasing competitors (*coughs* Medvedeva)
  • I haven't looked at the protocols, but I'm still scratching my head over how Mura didn't win.
You can find all my photos from the event here!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

GOLD RUSH Release Date

I'm so happy to finally announce the release date for GOLD RUSH. You'll be able to get your hands on it January 9! Here's more about the book in case you missed my earlier posts:

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?


Join my mailing list to be alerted as soon as the book is released! Sign up HERE.

Monday, June 20, 2016


You can add GOLD RUSH on Goodreads here! The book will be out early next year. Stay tuned for more teasers and cover news!