"There's always the mixture of art and athletics. Skating is like flying. It's that airy feeling of flying. You get into a spin. You can feel your arms fighting the centrifugal force, and you bring them in, and you know you'll go faster, faster."

lauantai 24. elokuuta 2013

BACK IN BUSINESS ! little bit of an update of everything


                                   
Photo by: Ninni Toivonen ©


I'm back! First of all I would like to apologize for not updating my blog for so long. I was suffering from ”writer's block”, which means I just couldn't write anything even though I wanted to, so badly. I lost my inspiration for writing so I decided to give it a rest and focus on other things in a mean time. I'm writing for myself and I don't want to do it forced. But good news are, my inspiration is back and it feels good to be writing again :)
In this update, I'm going through couple of news on my favorite skaters, I'll mention bigger names and tell about what's going on in Finnish figure skating. And a short update about my life is coming in the end, too! Very unrelated to skating, but you can also find love equality in this blog post.
Hopefully you all enjoy this, I'm still trying to catch up with all the news that's been on the Internet, I need some time to catch up =)

First I'll start with Tomas Verner. I'm not trying to pick up my favorites and write about them all the time as I might want to be a journalist in the future, but for now I'm not going to worry about it. So Tomas is one of my all time favorite skater and these past few seasons have been nothing bu quite disappointments to him and also to his fans.. Of course, no matter what happens I'll always stand by my favorite ones and support them as best as I can, because the skater is already going through rough and stressful times so fans turning back on them doesn't really help the situation. (I don't mean it that the skaters are only skating for us, not all but well I think you know what I'm trying to say..) So anyway, for me it was very frustrating to see him struggling with his technique and with his programs. I really wished there was something I could have done to him or for him. Everyone knew he was so much capable of than what he showed us in competitions. I still loved him but he just wasn't the same anymore. During this summer, he trained in Oberstdorf, Germany with his previous coaches, Michael Huth and Vlasta Koprikova. Mr. Huth said in an interview that was published on the Golden Skate's websites ( http://www.goldenskate.com/2013/07/verner-will-tango-this-season/ ) that Verner was motivated to train and has improved his technique and speed. 26 years old Czech has chosen to take his Tango program from 2009 back for his free for this season.( I still remember when he was practicing that program in Oberstdorf back in summer 2008. I was at IceDome skating camp and saw him and Kostner almost daily) Short program is yet to be announced. Also, no rumors have been confirmed whether he will remain in Oberstdorf or go back to Vancouver. I wish him best of luck for this upcoming season! 


Top10 World Standings (men):

1.) Patrick Chan, CAN 2.) Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN3.) Daisuke Takahashi, JPN4.) Javier Fernandez, ESP5.) Michal Brezina, CZE6.) Denis Ten, KAZ7.) Tatsuki Machida, JPN8.) Florent Amodio, FRA9.) Ross Miner, USA10.) Kevin Reynolds, CAN

Italian Carolina Kostner continues to be coached by Michael Huth in Oberstdorf. The 5-time European Champion has chosen "Humoresque" by Antonin Dvorák for her short program and "Scheherazade" by N. Rimski Korsakov for her free program. The programs are choreographed by her long-time choreographer Lori Nicol.
Kostner is one of the favorite skaters to medal in February. The last two seasons (or technically one and a half) have been near perfect for this 26 years old skater.
She's definitely going to fight for gold alongside with Korean Yu-Na Kim and Japanese Mao Asada. Don't get me wrong, of course there's going to be more skaters who will fight for the gold, who have potential for it but I'll save them and write about them in my upcoming posts. I also believe she'll finish higher in Sochi than she did in Vancouver 2010 (16th.).

Top10 World Standings (ladies):

1.) Carolina Kostner, ITA
2.) Mao Asada, JPN
3.) Akiko Suzuki, JPN
4.) Ashley Wagner, USA
5.) Viktoria Helgesson, SWE
6.) Adelina Sotnikova, RUS
7.) Kanako Murakami, JPN
8.) Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, RUS
9.) Alena Leonova, RUS
10.) Zijun Liu, CHN



NEWS FROM FINLAND 

Tomi Pulkkinen returns to Finland and is being coached by Sirkka Kaipio 
Pulkkinen, 21, was born in Finland but has been living in Switzerland since he was 8 years old and been representing Switzerland in competitions. He's probably best remembered representing Switzerland in Europeans in Helsinki 2009. (Right now I'm not 100% sure if he's competing under Finnish flag or not, I'll update this once I get the confirmation. But I believe he will represent Finland..)
The men's skating in Finland has always been very uncrowded sport so his returning has been taken in with very open arms. We do need more men skaters.

19- years old Matthias Versluis (coached by Virpi Horttana) showed quad toeloop at a national team's camp in spring. Hopefully we'll see the quad (and 3A) in his programs this season. He's very potential young man who has everything that skater need to become a top skater.

Valtter Virtanen continues to train in Oberstdorf with Karel Fajfr. He most likely will start his season at Nebelhorn Trophy, chasing the spot for Olympics. Finland yet has zero spots for figure skating. With good skating, I believe he can make it. Virtanen has improved a lot since he changed coaches and moved to Germany.

Versluis' training "buddy", soon 20 years old Julian Lagus switched coaches last spring and returned to his old coach, Sirkka Kaipio. He now is training with Tomi Pulkkinen. The two young men will get a great sparring help from each other. Lagus spent this summer skating in Toronto and was coached by Markus Leminen.

19- years old, Canadian resident Bela Papp has recovered from his back injury and is back in business again. Papp trains in Vancouver and he also spent couple of weeks in Toronto and was coached by Brian Orser. Papp's younger sister, Beata, lives and trains in Toronto and her coach is Orser.

KIIRA KORPI SWITCHED COACHES AND CONTINENTALS

Many of you have probably heard about Kiira Korpi's decision to switch her training location from Tampere to Los Angeles, California. (She trained in Lake Arrowhead during the summer but the icerink is closing soon so the whole group is forced to go somewhere else.)
I myself think that her decision was very smart move. Korpi is #1 in Finland and there really is no one to challenge her, yet. She wants to earn that Olympic spot, which she will skate for in Nebelhorn Trophy in September. She wants to go to Sochi. She needs all the sparring help she can get and she couldn't get it from Finland. Of course, it always takes time to adjust new coach and his/her style to coach and switching coaches few months before Olympics may not be the ideal option for an athlete, but only she knows what's best for herself. She's currently coached by Rafael Arutyunyan and training with Ashley Wagner, Adam Rippon and Nathan Chen. I hope this new training arrangement works for her and she will be in her best shape in February. Of course, she will first needs to skate for that spot but there's no doubt in my mind that she wouldn't get it.

Finland is getting their version of Dancing on Ice tv show and it will start in September. The head coach will be Laura Lepistö.  I hope someone will upload some videos or that I will be ale to watch it on the Internet. I'll keep you updated once it starts :)

O L Y M P I C S 

As everyone knows (and if you don't, you're soon going to find out), Olympic Games are being held in Sochi, Russia in February 2014. The athletes' preparations for the main event of the season have started a long time ago. The event is every athlete's dream. (only based on my assumptions) They are counting to be in their best shape in 6,5 months and show their best. Not only do they need to be physically ready but mentally as well. The athletes have been training for this moment for at least 4 years, some even longer. I know that they are not thinking about it right now, but some of them will retire after the games. And that is never an easy thing to do. (we have seen 9375897358937 comebacks, no matter what the sport is). Many athlete faces huge expectations from their home country if they have showed talent or if the sport is well known in his/her country. We have seen breakdowns because the athlete's mind just couldn't take it all. And you don't even need to face your country's expectations, even your own expectations can be enough. You can be a first time Olympian, it's all new and exciting experience to be in a Olympic village, to see all the other athletes. And suddenly, you become very scared and nervous. Others can have no expectations at all, maybe they are not that well known athletes and they blow away everyone with their incredible performance. But I believe, if you are an Olympic level athlete, you see a professional who has specialized to "sport psychology". If you are, (and even if you're not), I highly recommend. Even I saw one because I used to get super nervous before competitions that it wasn't even funny anymore. Talking about skating, or even my daily doings helped me a lot. I made progress in both skating and in my normal life. Seeing someone or talking to someone doesn't make you crazy, it makes you a better person. A person who wants to become better athlete.

This next text will be all my own opinion, and I'm only writing about it because it's connected to Olympics and skating. I don't usually write about it here because I don't want to make people mad or anything, and it is very unrelated to skating but now I need to. I hope no one will attack me for it. We all have our right to have an opinion, there's no right or wrong one.

I'm talking about the Russian's "gaypropaganda" law. This is no one's business but I support marriage equality 100%. I do not agree with Russia in this, and I think it's such a shame that the president has agreed to sign this. Now, I don't want to point only the gay athletes because there are actually LGBT people in Russia being arrested and treated like trash, but of course this law affects to the Olympic Games. It affects the athlete and his/her team's preparation because there's a fear of getting arrested. We need to support every single person who is affected by this law. I don't mean any violent actions, but we can't remain silent. People in Russia need our help. I don't know what I can do for them, but I sure will somehow help. I understand that its Russian's law, they can decide whatever they want but this is not right when it affects the tourists or guests or whoever visits Russia.
How come you are arrested and put in jail for loving someone? We do not choose who we fall in love with, it just happens. We don't choose to be straight or gays, it's part of our identity. Our sexuality doesn't define what kind of people we really are. I also don't get what gay people needs to "come out of closet" and tell everyone they are gay. I have never seen single straight person to tell everyone that "by the way, I'm straight." Our sexuality is no one's business.
Couple of weeks ago I was at the park, and there were two little girls standing next to me. They had just met minutes before and were getting to know each other. The other girl was talking about her family, her mom and her dad. The new friend then said: "I have two moms. I call them mommy and mama." The girl, who had talked first turned to her mom and said: "Mom, I want to have two moms, too!!" There were no signs of disguise, or confuse or anything. Children look up to us. If we teach them that love is equal, they will learn it and pass it on. However, if we teach them that it is very wrong to love same sex, they most likely will learn it. Children are open and most innocent creatures on the earth, for them the most important thing is that they have someone to play with. They don't care if you have two dads or two moms, or if your brother has a boyfriend. If you haven't done so, go read American figure skater Johnny Weir's columns about Gaylympics!! http://fcnp.com/author/johnny-weir/ You can find the articles right there.I

Sadly, I believe if Russia wasn't to host the Olympic Games, this subject would not be such a big topic... Since I'm already talking about this, I might as well just add that I'm ashamed of Finland. My home country is the only Nordic country that does not allow marriage between same sex couple. I mean. c'moon we live in the 21st century. World and times have changed. It would be time for people to change their view of world, too.. Again, I am not trying to change your opinion, people believe in different things. You should be proud of what you believe and who you are.
But, if Russia so much wanted to pass this law, why in the world they couldn't wait until the Olympics are

LOVE IS (rakkaus on by Antti Tuisku) 

Order in the world, it's unbroken

Everything has a locker, tiny closet
Silent and invisible is that law
Who can come near you and touch

Tonight the lockers get mixed
Love is limitless, honest and innocent 
Let your shell break up
Be free, be free

Love is 
Sempiternal and enormous
It's unlimited, completely innocent 
No matter how you chain it
Love is 
Newborn and defenseless 
It's unlimited, completely innocent 
No matter how you judge it

Come hell or high water, you know it already
Not everyone will accept it, but don't stop
You have a right to be happy
Someday your heart will be fearless

The song above is sung and written by Finnish artist Antti Tuisku. The singer has said that the song has nothing to do with sexuality minority but in my opinion, it reflects perfectly. That was my rant about love equality. I know it probably doesn't belong here but I had to say something. Sorry about that. I don't want to start any fights with anyone, I respect all the opinions. This is my opinion and I hope my readers will respect it as well.

Back to skating and Olympics. Last time the Games were being held in Vancouver and because of the time differences the skating was on during night time. Well, what would I not do for skating. I stayed up every night, and I still remember having my prom dance for school the morning after the men's free program. I watched it with my hair done and couldn't really sleep because otherwise I would have messed up with hair. Again, the time difference will be my enemy. I'm on the other side of the world and the the time difference will be, I guess 9 hours... But as I said, anything for skating.





                   
                       With Javier Fernandez at Rockefeller Center on April 5th, 2013.


MY LIFE IN NEW YORK 

I'm still living in Brooklyn, New York and loving every second of it. I can't believe how fast time has gone by, I have been here for 8 months already!! The things in my life could not be any better!
I'm still doing mixed martial arts, and I recently added karate program to my training schedule as well. And when I have time, usually on Saturdays, I do fitness kickboxing. On Saturdays, I have 4 classes. I'm training about 12-14 hours in a week, depends on if I'm able to take kickboxing classes during week or not. And when you add playing with two kids for 11 hours in day, I pretty much have my work out done :) But I love, and I have never been this motivated to train. And I feel like I'm even better shape than I was ever when I still was skating. Though, I'm training different muscles and using them differently. I even feel more flexible did in skating. I'm currently a orange belt, and I'm supposed to graduate to my purple belt next week.
I recently started sparring (means we do whole body contact, punches and kicks.) Making contact is still a little bit difficult to me, because I always fear of hurting my partner. But I'm slowly getting more comfortable with it. Besides, we all signed a paper that warns us that we might get hurt. MMA is fully contact sport and there's always a risk of getting hurt. But I'm super excited always to go to a class and learn something new or polish old techniques.
I also had my first martial arts tournament in the beginning of June, and I swear I have never been that nervous. I lost my grappling match, and didn't reach my best at tricks battle but the experience was amazing. I learned a lot from it. I was scared, I faced my fears and I won them. It was my first tournament after all. My next tournament will be in September 22nd. I have been thinking a lot about my goals as a martial artist. I want to become better, both inside and out the dojo. I want to develop my self-esteem and believe in myself more. I can feel it that I'm holding back something, I can't quite point what it is. I'm super motivated to train, and even though I'm only orange belt (or soon purple belt) I want to be a good role model to the kids, even if they are higher rank than I am. And even if I'm having a bad day, I always try to put my thoughts to the side and focus 100% on class. I want to give my best at every class. And hopefully one day, I will reach the level of black belt. That belt is really a rope around your waist. Your mind needs to be on a black belt level. Your actions make you a true black belt. And I'm still learning. I will not give up on this journey that I'm making right now. "A black belt is a white belt that never quit".
                                                                                                                    
                                                                     MMA Gear

                                               
I finished my school a week ago, but I'm still waiting for my own assignment to get graded. I think I did pretty good, considering all the materials were in English and the questions were University level. Well, some of them were pretty easy. I have also applied for an extension program, meaning I hopefully will spend another year in Brooklyn! There should be no problems with it since I have done the educational requirement and I haven't done anything illegal ;) Fingers crossed!



                                                  
                                        Waiting for karate class to start :)


For three years, every time a new season starts I become a little bit emotional. It's been almost 4 years since I had to quit because of an injury, and overcoming it hasn't been easy.. But I guess it gets a bit easier every year. I always start remembering some moments from my skating career, and about a month ago I was watching videos on Youtube. I found Tomas' programs from Europeans 2007 and I just couldn't stop smiling at the memories I have from there. I had just won my first competition and I was feeling extremely happy. I was in heaven when we landed in Warsaw and I got to see the competition rink for the very first time. I had already met Tomas and Caro the summer before in Finland, (I was always watching them training and polishing their programs and looking up to them), so I was there for them mostly. Of course I was also rooting for Finnish skaters =P The week was amazing, not only had I my recent win fresh in my mind, but I witnessed when Tomas won silver in men's and the next day Caro won her first European title. I couldn't been happier. It's those memories that make me so grateful for all those years that I skated. Even though I'm sad I had to quit, I still have the memories. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe it was meant to be that I quit skating and found my writing skills that way, and try something totally new sport.



                                             
                                                 With Tomas after the show in Oberstdorf July 2008


So here it is, my first update after a very long pause. I'm really considering about becoming a journalist and I'm searching universities in New York City/Brooklyn areas that offer journalism courses. Plan is to apply for few and try to get in. I would appreciate some kind of feedback, but no hate thank you. Like if I need to focus on a specific subject more, or like how I would make this a better blog. What it is that you especially like in here.. I want to become a better writer, and only by giving me feedback I can improve my skills.
I'm still a member of our Finnish Figure Skating Magazine team, and I try to write as much as possible but from here it's a bit difficult to follow the young skaters developments.. I started a new column with another young writer, and we will write pretty much about everything. I try to translate them as soon as I get them, and if it's okay for my colleague.

Until next time!                        

Ninni




                        
                                                  Photo by: Ninni Toivonen ©

lauantai 2. helmikuuta 2013

U.S. Nationals, Euros, The Cooking Swan + more

So last week was pretty busy for figure skating fans when U.S Nationals and European Championships took places. I was more excited about nats since they were my first ever to see on live on TV/Internet.
Skating fans around the world were not left disappointed. There were great skates in both competitions. There were performances that you couldn't watch without tears.


US NATIONALS
US Figure Skating Association doesn't need to be afraid of this country's skating future. It's looking pretty bright, let me tell you.

Gracie Gold, 17, couldn't reach her normal level in short program, fell 2 times and placed 9th after the short. She didn't give up, she fought in her free skate and made the program of her life so far. She umped seven triple umps, including maybe the world's best 3Lz+3T. Her FP scores, 132.49 are second highest free program scores in US Nationals history.
Ladies' champion 2013 is Ashley Wagner, who skated a great short program. Unfortunately she fell 2 times in her free and seemed to get tired earlier than I had seen before. Maybe pressures? She was a defending champion after all. There just wasn't the same power through the whole program. She lost free program by over 11 points. She was 13 points above Gold after the short. She won just by 2 points. They're both going to Worlds and I believe they will do a great job out there. They need to believe in themselves and enjoy what they're doing. Simply just let it go. They already have the talent, everyone knows that they can do all the elements. I wish them both best of luck!

Gracie Gold 2013 US Nationals Free (VIDEO of Gracie's free program!!)

Meryl Davis/Charlie White came to Omaha and won their 5th National title. Their free dance "Notre Dame de Paris" earned 118.42 and what a performance it was!! They wouldn't had to have even skate their best to win but they did. And even more. Their free program was beautiful, effortless, powerful, full of passion. The best I have ever seen from them. I was crying my eyes out of my head when they finished.  Out of 81 GOEs, 15 were +2 and 66 were +3. Out of 45 PCS (program component scores), 5 were 9.75 and 40 were 10.00. Talking about perfect dances from them. There's only one ice dance pair who could challenge them; Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir who were beaten by Davis/White in GP Final. Their next competition against each other is Four Continents in Osaka, Japan next week. I''m not taking sides, I'm rooting for a high-level competition :)
Anyway, Davis/White's overall scores were 197.44, followed by Madison Chock/Evan Bates (175.91) and Maia/Alex Shibutani (174.21).

Meryl Davis/Charlie White 2013 Nationals FD (VIDEO)


The most surprising winner was seen in men's events when Max Aaron jumped from the 4th place after the short into 1st. His free program including two quad salchows. No mistakes, strong performance and difficult program from this 20 years old brand new Champion.  Ross Miner kept his second place after the free program. His free program also included quad salchow. The favorite to win U.S Men's National title 4th time in row was Jeremy Abbott. He was leading after the short program but unfortunately he fell down his quad toeloop ( it was also down-graded) and doubled three of his jumps. The difference between the short program scores was very tight so Aaron easily gathered enough points to win over Abbott's.
I was very interest in to see Joshua Farris skating. I must admit, I'm a big fan of his! There's just something I really like about him. He's still very young, but his skating is very mature and peaceful. He doesn't rush while skating. Farris' short program was great. It included a good triple axel, triple lutz-triple toeloop combination and triple flip. His spins and step sequence were all level 4. He had the highest technical elements scores in SP but reach as high as his fellow skater friends in program component scores. He needs more time to be able to express himself on the ice more and get life experience. But I'm sure he'll get there. He has all the potential. His free program was almost perfect, the only mistake was his quad toeloop being fallen. The program didn't get points enough to make it in top 3. Farris earned 244.82 points and was placed in 4th place. Again his technical element scores were on top, this time the second best of the evening. He lost by about 10 points to Abbott in component scores. Farris and Abbott had 5 points difference after the short program and that kept Abbott above 18 years old Farris.

Max Aaron 2013 US Nationals Free (VIDEO)

If the US men want be in top 10 at Worlds (well, who wouldn't?!), they must jump quadruple jump in their free program as well as in short program. The Japanese and European men skaters are in a very good shape and are jumping quads like machines so with 3+3 combination(s) will be very hard to challenge them. Best of luck to ice dancers and Aaron and Miner!

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 

I have only seen couple of videos from Euros so I can't really say anything about it. Javier Fernandez. That's all you need to know. And Carolina Kostner's free program.  I've been her fan since I can remember, since I was a little girl. This free program's interpretation was the best I have ever seen from her. She was smiling all the time, through the program. Even though there was couple mistakes (doubled jumps), she kept smiling. She was interacting with the judges, with the audience with her eyes, with her body. Her free program music is "Bolero" and I was actually a bit of shocked when I first heard her choice of music but she and her choreographer had created amazing program. You didn't even pay attention to the music, you just watched her skating and moving on the ice. Every beat of the music was used right. What makes me very happy is the fact that she seemed to be free and relaxed on there. No signs of pressures, worries, doubts, nothing. Starting the season late was a good choice for her. I'm really looking forward to see her at Worlds.

Javier Fernandez 2013 Euros FS (VIDEO)
Carolina Kostner 2013 Euros FS (VIDEO)

A COOKING SWAN
Johnny Weir was one of the competitors in Rachael vs. Guy, Celebrity Cook Off on Food Network. He was the light of the show and the rescuer of my Sunday evenings. They were no longer boring. If I had a chance, I would ask for him to come cook me anything. His dishes looked delicious and I was literally drooling in front of the TV. Unfortunately after four weeks being on the competition, Johnny was sent home last week :( My Sundays will be boring again because what's the point to watch the show if my favorite person is no longer there? Exactly. The show doesn't even exist to me anymore.
Talking about Johnny, he toured with Stars On Ice in Japan and performed a new program called "Swan Lake". You can see the love and the passion for this sport through this skate. Absolutely breath-taking !

Johnny Weir SOI 2013 "Swan Lake"  (VIDEO)
I have been here in New York for 3 months now and let me tell you; the time has flown by. I feel like I just arrived, every week passes so quickly. And I love every second of my life! Today one of my dreams came true when we to skate to Central Park with couple of friends. U-N-R-E-A-L! It was pretty chilly weather  but it felt good to be on the ice again :) I didn't get any pictures of myself skating there so I have to back again. What a shame.
I also received my first MMA stripe this week. I'm proud of myself. I didn't give up and kept believing in myself. For someone, the first stripe may not mean anything but for me it means a lot. It's not easy to be the smallest, the lightest, foreign language speaker and then you have to fight against these huge men that have been training for years. But they help me, give me great advice and are very understanding. We have a great group, everyone supports each other and I have made friends with three other ladies. Together we keep the guys on their toes ;) Also, the karate studio's staff I go, is great! They really make you feel better, and like you belong there. The Senseis treat you as a equal. I'll keep my training up, train hard but at the same have fun and enjoy it. I have allow myself to make mistakes and then hopefully I will learn from them.

I couldn't be happier!
"Live the life you want to live. The life that makes you the happiest. It's your life and not the world's".


keskiviikko 23. tammikuuta 2013

Don't play with injuries; My story.

I came to realization that I haven't told you why I had to quit. And since many skater seems to be injured (; Kiira Korpi, Evan Lycasek, Rachael Flatt, Kaetlyn Weaver, Fabian Bourzat. Those are only the skaters I can now come up with) I figured I should tell you WHY it's important to ALWAYS tell someone you're in pain and never hide it. It never does any good, believe me. So if you are young, raising star or older reader who just loves sport, read my story and learn from it. Don't make the same mistake I did.

It was summer 2007 when I felt the pain first time. (I was 14 years old) I had gone for a run since it was off-ice training season. I thought it wasn't serious and that my muscles are just sore from all the training I've been doing all summer. I finished my run, stretched well and forgot the pain. I didn't tell anyone that my legs hurt when I run. No skater whine about a little pain they're in. We're used to it. So I stayed quiet.
Until February I had been silent about the pain. Sometimes I didn't feel anything but then there were days I could barely jump a simple walze jump. Though, it wasn't me who told about the pain. The others just noticed that I was always massaging my calves and not jumping or running like I used to do. I admitted that my legs hurt but it was nothing big. I had an appointment with a sport doctor who had been my doctor since I was 10. (Yep, I've had quite many injuries...) I was diagnosed with shin split (medial tibial stress syndrome) and wasn't allowed to skate for 2,5 months. I missed my final (kind of championship competition) that I had qualified to. I was telling you about the same competition few updates earlier. I was so angry and sad for missing it. But I was told that healthy comes first and if I wanted to skate in Oberstdorf for a month in upcoming summer I should really pay attention to my healing progress. So I did like I was told to. No more walking than was necessary, no any kind of sport except swimming, icing my shins and doing lots of physiotherapy. I was kicked out of our club's highest skating group due to an injury. The explanation was that I was taking someone else's spot while I wasn't skating. A supportive club, huh? That made me feel like I enjoyed being injured and not able to skate...... I skated so much and trained so hard that I got 3 stress fractures and I got lowered to group where youngest skater was 8 years younger than me. I can tell you it was pretty close I didn't quit skating right after the news.

I got back to ice on early May and was allowed to first be on the ice for 15 minutes and just skate around. In the end of May I did my first double jumps. I was ready to be in the same shape as I had been before the injury. We arrived in Oberstorf in the middle of June and Ice-Dome skating camp could begin. I would be junior the next season so I needed two new programs, short and free. The first two week were amazing! I still can remember how I felt to be there with other skaters, including Tomas Verner and Carolina Kostner. They taught us some Czech and Italian. My short program was going well and I really loved it. Dr. Rostislav Sinicyn was choreographing it. Right after the 3rd week of our camp had started, I started to feel the same pain again. First I only felt it while running and jumping off ice but the 3rd day of the week I couldn't jump on the ice without it. We consulted my doctor back in Finland and he told me not to jump at all, no running, take pain killers and rest as much as possible. I also scheduled appointments with Kostner's physiotherapist who would wrap my shins in big ice bags after every session. But let me tell you, I improved my step and spin skills during those last two weeks so that was really good. Always try to find something positive in every situation. When I got back to Finland in the middle of July, I wasn't allowed to go back to ice until middle of the August. I skated for two weeks, and had to take 2 weeks rest after that. My legs weren't ready. The fall started to turn winter and I was finally back in business, though some of my jumps were lost...

I had missed my first junior-level competition due to this injury which was shame but another, international competition was coming up and I was getting ready for that.It was now early November.  There must be some God or something who really hates me skating because I got a flu right before the competition but I wanted to skate. So group of  my skating friends and me hopped on a train and we rode to Vaasa.(Far away from Helsinki). I was still  a bit sick sick but I though the worst was over. My short program wasn't best of me, but I enjoyed skating and it was my first junior competition so I was very proud of myself. That night everything went wrong. I woke up the next morning with fever, horrible cough and no voice.... I decided to go to ice rink and see if I could make it. I was sitting in the audience, watching skaters skating and saw that it was time for me to start warming up. But I was too tired to even climb the stairs. I walked to my coach, said I couldn't do it and I withdrew. I cried the entire trip back to home. It was very hard decision for me to do because I really wanted to skate my free program. I had the music that I had wanted for years and once again I was unable to perform it.

My second junior competition wasn't any better, if anything it was the worst competition I had ever skated in. My legs had been hurting since the beginning of December and it was worse than ever before. I also had some other problems going on in my life that affected to my skating. I didn't tell anyone I was once again in pain. I wanted to skate and I knew if I told I couldn't do it for a while. In March 2009, I couldn't even stand on my legs, or sleep, or walk or do anything so I had to make an appointment with my doctor. The news were shocking; I had 2 stress fractures in my right shin and 1 in my left one. One month on crutches and no skating for the rest of the season. Did I learn anything? Maybe little...




I was allowed to go back to ice in early June and take it easy. Well, that's easy to tell someone who has been dying to be back on the ice! So my first few days of my summer camp I took it pretty easy but when everything felt good I started to jump "a bit" (weeks) earlier than I was told. But it didn't hurt and everything was fine. Off-season started and I did our off season training program. Only running hurt so instead of running I roller skated. We had our second summer camp in the end of summer and few days went pretty well. I got my double axel back and started to train triple jumps again. Soon enough the same, irritating pain started to come. I didn't skate for 2 weeks and decided that NOW I would anything that could be done to avoid the pain. I change my sneakers ( I already had changed my skates the year before), I didn't run on asphalt, I iced my shins after every training session. It didn't help. On Saturday, 3rd of October 2009 my legs couldn't take it anymore. I almost crawled off of the ice. On Monday, 5th of October 2009 my doctor told me that I had quit and we need to schedule surgeries. I wanted to wait until April 2010 so I wouldn't miss any skating school lessons and I didn't wan't to miss my "prom" dances either. So once again I was on the crutches for a month. 


My story doesn't end yet. The first surgery to my right leg took place in middle of April 2010. They surgery self went well, but I wasn't feeling very well afterwards. I was very dizzy, nauseous and my blood pressure was low. Eventually I got home. Few days later I had terrible pain and my there were moments when my leg went all numb.It was suspected that I had gotten a thrombus but thank god that wasn't the case. I just hadn't been resting and keeping my leg up enough... So I was forbidden to go school, to go anywhere but bathroom until my other leg would have healed as well. I basically was locked into my house. I think the worst part of it was that none of my friends visited.
My second surgery to left leg took place a month after the first one and once again I wasn't feeling well... I got an allergic reaction to one of the medications I had taken before going to sleep and I couldn't breath right. I was also a lot more pain in than after the first surgery. I had to stay the night at the hospital since my vitals weren't good and my family felt that it would be safer if I stayed the night.
Well, after I was released, it took me few days to stay awake the whole day. I had to take strong medicines to keep the pain away but all they did was put me sleep. I was in pain all the time. And the surgical wounds wouldn't close up. I had to visit my doctor and he also noticed that I had gotten an infection.... Tell me about a bad luck. He put me on the antibiotics. When it was time to remove the stitches and finally throw my crutches away, it got cancelled. The wounds hadn't healed and I still couldn't put any pressure on my leg. I tried to and the wound opened up. Great. Couple of weeks later the wounds had healed good enough that the stitches were able to remove and I could slowly star walking on my two on legs.

I had a English language course coming up. I was going to Malta to study English for 3 weeks. I wasn't allowed to do any sport which of course was sad but I knew I would have tons of fun anyway. And the first days were amazing!! We swam, we danced and I spoke more English in 3 days than I had done ever in school. But, again, the pain came back. I was handed the crutches, I ate medicines and watched when other students swam.... But I was still having nice time! I wasn't left alone, there was always someone to keep me company and being with me.
One day I was walking with group of friend to hotel's lobby where we had a meeting with our leaders. The floor was slippery and when you have very dangerous crutches (seriously, you should have seen those things, I was always afraid of walking with them..) you can't put any weight on your other leg and you don't pay attention to where you're walking. The crutches slipped, I put weight to my bad leg but it couldn't take it and I fell down, tears streaming down my face. Nothing major happened, thank God but I wasn't allowed to walk at all anymore. I was put on a wheelchair for the rest of our course. But it was still one of the best summer I have ever spent.
The rest of the summer went on crutches and in meds. I started my senior year that fall and basically didn't do any kind of sport. I didn't have time and I just didn't feel like doing anything.




Got back from Malta.. I had these Kineseotapes on and I got very nice sunburn 5 days after our arrival.. The marks faded away over a year later after it had happened... So my shins were opened up from top of the shin as well as from the inside on a shin. (Those lengthwise tapes)

In the beginning of the summer 2011 I moved to Amsterdam to work as an Au Pair. After two weeks I started to feel the same pain again, though it wasn't as bad as earlier. I hadn't done anything for over a year so of course I had lost my muscles and now they were growing back since there were so many stairs. So I ignored it and thought it's normal soreness.
But it didn't go away. It took me about 5 months to tell someone my legs were hurting again. We scheduled an appointment after I had come back to home which was still 2 months away but I thought I would survive. I was wrong. The pain got worse every day and I couldn't even keep the baby I was taking care of in my arms when I was standing.
My doctor had a layover in Amsterdam after he had spent few days with Finnish Volleyball National Team at competition and we met up at Schipol. He gave me stronger medications than what I had bought from a local pharmacy. Now I would survive another month, I though. Again, I was wrong. I got side effects. My heart was pounding, my heartbeat was very fast, I was dizzy and sleepy. I had to fly earlier to Finland.
On crutches, strong medicines and more tests. Because I had been quiet for a long time and not took care of my legs since they started to hurt first time in Amsterdam, the problem was now in nervous system in my leg. (I have no idea how to say this English, but I hope you got the point. The damage was now in my leg's nerves) I spent the Christmas sleeping because of the strong medicines I was in.
I couldn't go back to Amsterdam until the late March and I had to keep eating the medicines until the end of June 2012.

Now it's January 2013 and I'm doing sports without pain. I still can't run for long but that's fine for me. I have never been much runner. Did I learn something from this experience? Yes, I definitely did. Even if you have the tiniest injury, you're feeling pain you shouldn't be feeling, tell about it. We're talking, not only about your sport career but also about the rest of your life. You should be able to walk when you're 25 years old. You should be able to enjoy your life without some small injury that destroyed your life. No sport, no medal, no training session is more important than your healthy.

I have been feeling many feeling during my journey with career ending journey. Even though I wasn't that good skater that Finnish Figure Skating Association expected something from me, it still hurt to quit. To end the only thing that I had ever loved, the only thing where I could escape in when the rest of world seemed too much. I have been angry, sad, disappointed, miserable, frustrated, afraid  and every feelings you can come up with during that time of my life. Angry because I thought "Why me? What had I done to deserve this?". Frustrated because I didn't know if I will ever be able to even sleep without the endless pain, not to mention put skates on my feet. Afraid that even if I got back to ice eventually, the pain would come back. Disappointed that even after everything I thought I had done right and fixed in my training, didn't work.
I don't blame anyone else but me from this. But I don't also want to dwell on "if I had told" because it might have happened anyway. Even though my family and friends were on my side, supported me and told it will be better eventually, I still felt like I was alone. They didn't know what I was going through inside. Only the other athlete who had gone through the same could identify with me.
It took me almost a year to finally stop looking at our training schedules. It took me over a year to find life outside of the ice rink. But I have never let skating go.I have never given up. Not really. Somewhere, very deep in my mind, I still believe I can go back and skate like I did before all of this.

But how does skater or any other athlete what is normal pain and what isn't? We're used to bruises, soreness, rough falls. If you're constantly in pain, and always the same position or movement hurts then I suggest you to make an appointment with a EXPERT doctor who actually knows what he/she is doing.
I have dreams of being on the ice and back in training. The following morning is the hardest because the dream has felt so real and then suddenly I have to face the reality. I can't decide if they're happy dreams or bad dreams. I have the same joy in it as I had when I was skating, I can feel it even when I'm dreaming. But it's a bad dream because I cant' have that feeling anymore.

Even though quitting skating was the hardest thing to do, I'm happy I did it. I can walk with two legs and I can skate without pain.. Not long because it starts hurt after a while, but nevertheless I can skate. I have my writing keeping me occupied and in touch with skating. I have my friends from skating that will last forever. And I have my memories. There are good memories and bad memories but I love them all. I wouldn't change those 14 years of my life even if I could. Skating made me the person I am now. And the injury and facing its long road made me even stronger. I got many opportunities and new experiences that I wouldn't have gotten if I wasn't a skater.  Once a skater, always a skater!

                                                     
                                                 Me skating at Bryant Park, New York :)

So that was my story and even though it wasn't the happiest one I believe I got my happy ending. I can do what I love, to write about skating.

I'll upload my blog after Euros and US Nationals!

sunnuntai 6. tammikuuta 2013

Everything

                                      Maia and Alex Shibutani at Rockefeller Center, 12th of December

                                     


                                                 
                                                     Emily Hughes skating at Bryant Park


                                                  
                                                 Kimmie Meissner performing "Skinny Love" by Birdy

                                                   



                                             
                                                                Me and Shibsibs :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

It's been a while since I updated my blog last time, and for that I'm so sorry. I'm just so busy with the boys. And I haven't felt like writing anything, though there's been a lot of going on. Writing can't be forced.

So I have been living in Brooklyn for 5 weeks now and I couldn't be happier. Everything's been so great so far and I've got to know new people, adjust to new culture (no problems with that at all), I don't even feel homesick. The next step is to send an email to Brooklyn College and ask for their courses. I know they have Journalism there but I don't know if I qualify.. If I have the opportunity to study here, I do want to take an advantage of it. I want to improve my journalism "skills".

I have also started a new hobby, or two. My other host kid does karate near our home and I was really impressed by how supportive the Senseis were and how they encouraged the children. I had never seen anything like that. So I checked their web page and what they have for adults. I found MMA classes (Mixed Martial Arts) and they welcomed me with open arms. I also signed in to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu few days ago. They help with each other. It's challenging, and very different from skating. I wanted to try something new, build my strength back and get in shape. What makes it even more difficult for me is that obviously the classes are in English so it takes me some time to understand what the Senseis are saying. But everyone's very patient with me for which I'm very grateful. And even though I'm the smallest in our group(s) they don't treat me like I could break in any minute nor do they look me down like some people did back in Finland and changed their partner... I feel like I'm one of them.
But don't worry, I haven't forgotten skating. Figure skating is and will always be a big part of my life.Nothing will ever replace it. I thought that I should try something I had never done before.Sometimes you just need to try something very new, look what's on the other side of a rail. Step out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself.

Back to my main focus, skating.
I know it's been ages since Nationals but I feel like I need to write at least something. Kiira Korpi won (not surprise there) her 4th Finnish National title with 170.05 points. 18 years old Juulia Turkkila was second with 135.40 points and Alisa Mikonsaari who's trained by Alexei Urmanov took home the bronze with 128.12. Korpi managed to land only two triple jumps in her free program and Turkkila only one clean triple. I guess I'm  not the only one who can't understand Korpi's scores. It's not fair for other skaters who did more triples alone than gold and silver medalist together. But when has the judging system been fair? Never. But I'm not concerned about Korpi's skating. She had many competitions before Nationals and did amazingly well in every competition and proved everyone she's back and ready to fight. She's absolutely one of the favorite skaters in Euros besides Italian Carolina Kostner. European Championships will be held in Zagreb, Croatia 21st-27th of January.
Valtter Virtanen won his first men's title with 167.10. Though he's far from European top, he's skating his best season so far. Training in Germany (Garmisch-Partenkirchen/Obertsdorf has helped him a lot!) I wish him best of luck for Euros and for Worlds.  18 years old Matthias Versluis was second with 152.93 and 19 years old Viktor Zubik third with 146.91.
Lyydia Määttänen, who represents the same club as Korpi and is trained by the same coaches won Junior's title with 130.17. This 14 years old school girl is very potential skater so you better keep an eye on her!


I saw Maia and Alex Shibutani skating at Rockefeller Center where they were taping for Today Show.The program aired on 25th of December. I had never seen them live before so I was really excited about this new "experience"! They were great and so friendly. They chatted with one cute little girls and held her in their arms while they took a picture with her. They also agreed to take a picture with me :)
Johnny Weir skated there also but I couldn't make it since I had to drop off the boys to school at the same time as he was taking the ice. I missed his performance on TV by 4 minutes..
Yesterday I went to Bryant Park to watch "Sing and Skate Against Breast Cancer" and there were skating Kimmie Meissner, Emily Hughes and Elena Glebova with other well known skaters from USA. Kimmie Meissner skated very beautifully and everyone was quiet through the whole performance. I took some pics but the photos are not perfect since I only have a digital camera.... But it was great to see them skating. I also realized how much I miss skating. I need to go there as soon as possible and skate under the night sky of Manhattan!

ATTENTION REMINDER ATTENTION REMINDER! if you're in the US, don't forget to tune into the season premiere of Rachel vs. Guy tonight on FoodNetwork at 9pm EST!!!!! Johnny Weir is cooking!!

maanantai 10. joulukuuta 2012

New chapter for everyone








It's been almost a month since I last time updated my blog, but I just couldn't find time for that. I was in London for a week (which by the way was one of the best weeks ever!) and the next weekend I packed for New York.
As some of you are aware I moved to New York, Brooklyn to work as an Au Pair. Being an Au Pair is a great opportunity to explore new cultures, get to know different countries and meet new people. I'll also get to study here and hopefully will find courses that will help me as a journalist. I've been here only for 2 weeks and I already feel like this is the place where I want to be, the place where I belong. Home, you'd say. It takes a lot of courage to move far away from home and leave your family and your friends behind. Not everybody is able to do that, but I'm grateful that I did. I'm sure this year (or more) will be the time of my life.   A new chapter of my life has begun and I'm excitedly waiting what my future will hold.

Even though I've been so busy with everything, there's always time for my beloved sport, figure skating. I have been keeping track on what's going on with skaters, with competitions etc.


Grand Prix Final

This is not only a new chapter for me, but also for the skaters. The Olympic ice was tested out last weekend at Grand Prix Final in Sochi. The Olympic Games will be held in Sochi in a year and 3 months. The skaters, and the judges got to know an Olympic area and see the arena where the most wanted medals will be given.

ladies:
Mao Asada
from Japan won with 196.80 points, Ashley Wagner (USA) took silver with 181.93 and Asada's teammate Akiko Suzuki was third with 180.77 points. Kiira Korpi from Finland was fourth and skated quite well considering she had a stomach flu and back cramps just few days before the competition. Korpi was the first Finnish skater ever to qualify to ISU Grand Prix Final (senior). She skated at the Junior's GP-Final in 2004 and placed 4th back then. Kiira's very high ranked for Euros and if she does everything she can, she'll most likely to be on the podium. Before Euros, Kiira's going to skate at Finnish Nationals next weekend.
Worlds are going to be very interesting event. So many great, talented skaters who want to be ready for the Olympic season and are ready to fight for the gold. Besides Wagner, Asada and Suzuki, also Korean's Yu-Na Kim is in a great shape.  Her first compete for the 2012-2013 season was NRW Trophy which was held in Dortmund, Germany from December 5-9, 2012. Her total scores were 201.61 so there's no more to tell... But let's not do any assumptions, this is figure skating we're talking about.
And we can't forget this skater. Italian's Carolina Kostner didn't compete at any GP events due to insufficient time to reach competitive fitness but she's now preparing for Golden Spin of Zagreb which will be held from December 13-15 and for Italian Nationals.

mens: 

Men's winner was Daisuke Takahashi from Japan with 269.40 points. His teammate Yuzuru Hanyu placed 2nd with 264.28 and Canada's Patrick Chan was 3rd. Everyone did great, but not their best. One of the weekend's best program was Spain's Javier Fernandez's free program. He did 3 quadruple jumps, quadruple toe, quadruple salcow - triple toe combination and after lever 4 change foot sit spin and level 3 step sequence came perfect quadruple salcow! He won the free program with one of the highest scores ever, 178.43. I believe and I do hope he wins Euros in January. Every door is open for him, and the only one who can hold him back, is himself. His worst enemy is himself. But for men, it's going to be a very interesting event at Euros and Worlds! I only can hope I'll be able to see even one of the events.... I checked today and I have 1993 channels on my TV and during the weekend none of them showed skating, at least not when I was at home which was most of the time...But I still have time to figure all out :) I believe that the US Nats will be showed? I hope so!

Johnny Weir:
Johnny, the King of Ice announced last week that he has withdrawn from the Nationals and will sit out the rest of the 2012-2013 season. No matter what happens next, in a year, in the future he's got my back. I support his every decision and I'm with him in every moment, in happy and sad times. And I know so are the other fans. He trained so hard for this season and to skate for his fans and be the best for us. He doesn't need to prove us anything. He already is the best for us. No matter if he wins or not, the fact that he skated and tried his best is and will always be enough for us. We want you to be happy, Johnny and enjoying what you do. Don't do it because you have to, do it because you want to. Take all the time you need, we are not going anywhere :) #TeamWeirVoronov

I also saw Sinead & John Kerr skating last weekend! They skated with Ice Theatre of New York at Riverbank State Park! And what a experience was that! They were just as amazing as I remembered! And I almost cried when they skated  to Fairytale of New York. I just felt so happy and I was watching one of my favorite ice dancers skating in New York. Guess I'm still kinda overwhelmed..

Finally, I just want to say that if you really want something, you have dreams you want to chase, go for them. You don't know what will happen. If you don't chase your dreams, you will never know what you're capable of. Next thing you notice, you'll be sitting in a rocking chair and thinking "Why didn't I do that back then"? If you don't follow your dreams, you're going to end up asking yourself for the rest of your life "What would have happened? What could I have been"? Follow your dreams or you'll never know what your life could , be. It's not easy but if you just believe in yourself, everything's possible. Reach high. Never give up until you have tried every way you can think of.









sunnuntai 11. marraskuuta 2012

Johnny Weir and Rostelecom Cup 2012 review

                                                                For Johnny


I have mixed feelings about this weekend's Grand Prix event. The fourth ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating was held in Moscow, Russia and I was so excited about it! But figure skating is a dangerous sport and skaters are always pushing their body beyond its limits. Injuries happen from falling or trying to lift your pair. Skaters must listen to their body and taking a good care of it. Health comes always first. If you don't take care of it and just keep skating even though you are hurting, it could have serious damage. It could end your amazing career. Being injured sucks, I know. But it's not only affecting your skating career but also the rest of your life. In other words, here's my thoughts about the competition.
This post will be a bit shorter than the others have been. I'm leaving for London and I should be packing right now but I wanted to finish this.

MEN'S EVENT

I'm trying to write the men's top 3 as much as possible but my main focus today will be on Johnny Weir. As everyone knows, he came back after 2,5 years. Figure skating has changed since the Olympics in 2010. The rules has been changed, the are more younger, very talented skaters. Coming back is never easy.
       The come-back was Finlandia Trophy and now was time for the first Grand Prix event after 3 years. I would lie if I told I wasn't nervous. I was. But I was also excited and I believed in him. No matter what the result will be, I would be proud of him. I would be a proud fan. The practice reviews were looking good, and he looked peaceful during the practices. Friday came and I counted hours at work 'til the moment he would be taking the ice.
Johnny's short program wasn't at all what he (or his fans) would have expected. Unfortunately he made mistakes on all of his jump elements. I really like the music (gifted personally by Lady Gaga) and the choreography. It's so different from the others. So Johnnyish. He was tenth after the short but I wasn't sad about that- What made me sad was his tweet. "I'm sorry." He doesn't need to apologize to his fans for not skating his best. We are proud of him for just standing on the competing ice again! No matter how hard you've trained, how good you're feeling, sometimes it's just not your day. I wished I could have been there for him and told him I don't give a s*it about the results, I want him to be happy whatever he's doing. He should enjoying skating and not thinking if he has disappointed his fans. He would never do that.
Johnny's fans sent a lot of love, support and encouragement tweets to him, saying tomorrow's a new day, we're proud of him and we love him. What made me cry even more was Victor's tweet, saying "I love @JohnnyGWeir." No words to describe my feelings. I'm so happy he has Victor by his side.
Sunday came and I went over my friend's home to watch skating and cheer for Johnny. When I got there and logged in Twitter I saw tweets about him withdrawing and being injured no decision had been made whether he would be able to compete or not. I wanted to see him skating but not cost of being in pain. Couple of hours later we were told, he would not skate in the free competition. I was so sad but relieved at the same time. He was taking care of himself. Health comes first.
Just like Johnny does, he once again apologized for not being "better" for us. He doesn't need to be any better for us. He already is the best, the bravest, the strongest skater and person for us. We, as fans, are with him in every second, in every moment. In bad and good days. We couldn't be prouder of him, I couldn't be prouder of him <3 I believe in him.  Now I can only hope that his federation (and body) will allow him to skate in Paris next weekend. He deserves it.

Patrick Chan came, skated and won. Though it wasn't that high-level competition, the short program was riddled with errors. It didn't a lot for him to win Rostelecom Cup. I was happy to see him in shape again, and skating more freely than he has earlier in this season.  The only mistake on his short program was to add only single toe to his quadruple-toe combination. Easy-looking and high triple axel, a beautiful triple lutz and high component scores gave him well nine-point lead with the scores 85.44. Russian's Konstantin Menshov was the only men skater who was able to land clean quad-triple combination in the short program. He had a very solid skate in front of the home crowd. Menshov also earned a leved 4 for one of his spins, the two others were marked level 3 by the technical panel. Menshov was second after the short with 76.73. Japanese Takahiko Kozuka won the first GP of the season, Skate America. He two-footed the quad-toe and put hand down on his triple axel. Otherwise, it was a good performance  from 2011 World silver medalist. Kozuka got level 4 for his flying spin and level 3s for his both combination and change camel spin and his step sequence.
Michal Brezina from Czech Republic moved up to third with one of his best free programs. Though he had troubles with both quadruple jumps. He fell the first one and doubled the second but the rest of his program was clean and solid. He's a good skater and it was great to see him succeeding. I hope he will find the quad jump eventually and nail it at leas at Europeans. Brezina got 150.73 from free and overall 224.56.
Kozuka moved up to second place after skating a strong free program. 6 clean triple jumps, one with double-toe-double-toe combination and three level 4 spins gave him the silver medal and a spot in the Final. Both of his quad-toes were underrotated and he also fell the first one. Hopefully Kozuka will get his quads full rotated to GP Final.
Patrick Chan gave the judges no other option than put him in the first place after the free. Chan was the only skater who landed two quadruple jumps, one of them was combination with triple-toe. Though he doubled dew of his jumps, the performance overall was beautiful. The Canadian got level 4 for his combination spin,  flying spin and his step sequence. The change camel spin was marked level 3. Chan earned 176.91 from his free and overall 262.35, beating Kozuka by over 30 points.

LADIES' EVENT

YAY for Kiira! It's been too long when she won the GP in Paris back in 2010. She already was at Cup Of China last weekend, travelling to Moscow with a bronze. Kiira's short program was quite good, she only doubled the triple-triple combination's second toe. The Finnish skater also got level 4 for her flying spin, step sequence and combination spin. Korpi's score 61.55 earned her the second place after American's Gracie Gold. Gold skated a flawless short program in Moscow. She hit a beautiful triple flip- triple toe combination, the hardest in the competition. The 17 years old got level 4 for his flying spin, layback spin and combination spin. She was rewarded with a 62.16 , putting her in the lad just right before Korpi. The third after the short was also the American, Agnes Zawadzki. Gold's teammate also skated a clean and confident program, landing beautiful triple toe- triple toe combination, triple lutz and double lutz. She got level 4 for his layback spin and level 3 fro his flying camel spin.
In the free program, Korpi hit 5 clean triples. including triple toe-triple toe combination, triple lutz and triple flip. She doubled her first triple loop and fell the other one which is very rare for her. Loops are known to be easiest jumps for Korpi. She got great levels for spins and for the step sequence and once again got the highest component scores of the competition. She left home with a gold medal and with scores 177.19. She will most likely to get a spot on the Final.
The leader after the short, Gracie Gold left home with a silver medal. She landed very high and beautiful triple lutz- triple toe combination, the most difficult combination in the competition  to start her free. But she went on to land only one more clean triple. Gold got level 4 for his layback spin, flying combination spin and change combination spin.
She was unable to challenge Korpi and Gold got her first GP medal with a 175.03. But her performances in Moscow this week have not left the audience without knowing who she is and what she's capable of. Waiting for to see more of her skating in this season!
The third place went to Zawadzki. She landed four triples, got level 4 for both her layback spin, flying camel spin and combination spin.


I'm leaving for London tomorrow morning and will spend the whole week there. Thank god the technology I'll be able to log in and check the news and hopefully my friend will allow me to watch skating ;)





sunnuntai 4. marraskuuta 2012

Memories and Cup of China 2012 review

I celebrated my 20th birthday this weekend by watching skating, how else? :) I also listened to my old program musics and cried few happy and sad tears. I have so many good memories from every season, from almost every competition I could remember. It's maybe odd, but I really miss the feeling to compete, to get ready to go on the ice and perform in front of everyone. It was the excitement I felt. I got to show what I'm capable. Or how I have developed since the last competition. I still remember when I was 14 years old and was skating my best season ever. I qualified to our final and I was so nervous the whole week before the final that I basically couldn't land anything. It was my first time that I had ever qualified to anywhere, and yes I felt little pressures from everyone because I was good and potential to medal. But I think I put the pressures on myself. I thought I had to prove everyone that I am good. Well, the weekend came and I still hadn't done anything. My competition practices were disaster and I was almost crying in a dressing room.. After the warm up I was thinking about Miki Ando who had won Worlds the day before. I thought I would just go there and skate like she did. Be happy and skate. I know I can do it. My name was called and I was literally shaking in my starting position. The music began and I let it go. I landed everything, I smiled and I enjoyed. I didn't think about anything, anybody. I skated for myself.
I placed 5th, and I was unhappy. I thought I did better than that, that I deserved to medal.  But after awhile I learnt that I won myself for believing in me. It really doesn't matter which place you're in. If you can learn from a competition, and prove yourself, win yourself, that really matters. It's been over 5 years since that moment but I still remember how I felt after the program. The feeling was amazing, I was proud of myself.
I listened to my first and last short and free program musics and got all tiered up, because those musics meant to much to me. I had wanted to skate to them for many years and when I was finally old enough, my legs weren't strong enough. I think I was most upset about to not skating my free program more than one time in front of the judges. I had the program for two years but due to my injury I couldn't skate much.. It's my dream to skate my free program in an empty ice once more.

This weekend's 2.-4.11 of November) Grand Prix of Figure Skating event was Cup of China and it was held in Shanghai. There were many great skaters I was really looking forward to see skating.
The time has flown by, we are already in the middle of the Grand Prix events. We have seen almost everyone's new programs for this season and even thought the season has just started, the programs are looking good and quite ready.

Men's events
Short program started like everyone expected, I think. Daisuke Takahashi from Japan was leading, though he didn't skate a clean program. He two-footed the opening quadruple toe and it was also underrotated. But his triple axel was high and beautiful and the step sequence was the highlight of the energetic program. Takahashi's team mate Tatsuki Machida was only one point behind him, even though Machida didn't jump the quadruple. But his clean jumps, solid program and great interpretation. He actually continued from where he left Skate America. He skated freely, no signs of pressures or nervousness. The Russian Sergei Voronov was third after short, and he was the only one to land a clean quadruple jump, quadruple toe. He should jump triple flip or lutz intead of triple loop in his short so he could gain more points... Though figure skating and its score shouldn't depend on only technical elements. The artistry in programs don't really count anymore, and that is such a shame. It ruins the appeal of the sport.
"Russian Sailor Dance" music was great for him and the choreography excellent.
        Men's free skating warm up for the final group of skaters with a drama when American Adam Rippon had a head-on collision with China's Nan Song. Song was left disoriented on the ice, and it took a long time before one of the organizer came to pick him up. I was shock because there were no medical persons to running to him and that he had to come by himself out of the ice. He could have a serious injury which would have lead to the paralyzing. I hope ISU will hear about this. Song had a concussion and a broken teeth and he needs to rest for 2 weeks. I hope he has a speedy recovery and won't have any fears. It's very rare when two skaters hit each other during a warm up and with a serious injury.
   Adam placed fourth overall but unfortunately Song had to withdraw from the competition. Also Brian Joubert had to withdraw due to illness after the short program. He was 7th before free.
 Takahashi made a lo of mistakes in his free program and looked more nervous than in his short program. The uneven free skate dropped him from the top and he left home with a silver medal. Tatsuki Machida was not as sharp as he was in the short. He fell the first opening quadruple toe and stepped out the second double axel. But it was better program than everyone else did and he won the gold with a 236.92. Russian's Sergei Voronov finished 3rd and he was once again the only skater to land clean quadruple jump. He was actually the only skater who made technically the cleanest program. But he needs to be more "in" it, to interpret more and it would be BUENO!

Ladies' events
Many figure skating fans looked forward to see Julia Lipnitskaia to compete in her first senior Grand Prix event. This 14 years old Russian won Finlandia Trophy few weeks ago and I would say the expectations were quite high for her. She was strong in the short, and her amazing flexible is still overwhelming. It hurts me to watch her spins and spirals, my flexibility has never been anywhere near hers, and I'm glad. She will most likely have a lot of pain when she grows up. My flexibility was built, and it's not necessary to be that flexible in figure skating. You get the levels anyway if you just use your brains.
Japan's Mao Asada, the two-time champion did quite well with her short. It was nice to see her smiling and really enjoying skating :) The music and program was lively and really suits her. Glad to see her happy! The only technical mistake was underrotated triple flip. Asada did not jump a triple axel or a triple-triple combination, but she didn't need to. The third after the short was U.S Champion Mirai Nagasu who also competed in Finlandia Trophy, placing 3rd. Nagasu skated good short in Shanghai , earning level 4 for both layback spin and combination spin. Only mistake was two-footed, underrotated triple-toe in triple-triple combination. She looked strong out there and was great to see her competing again. CoC was her only GP event this season.
Kiira Korpi from Finland was also one of the favorite skater in China but she didn't skated her best. The whole performance was far away from Finlandia's short. She looked nervous but earned the second highest component scores which put her in the 4th place. She also earned level 4 for both her step sequence and combination and flying sit spin.
          The free program was kinda same as the short. No highlights. Though, it seemed like we were about to see another first time GP winner this season after Ashley Wagner won Skate America and Kaetlyn Osmond Skate Canada. But, before you announce the winner, every skater has to skate first. So, Korpi skated first of these ladies I have written and did quite good program. Not clean, but she jumped five clean triples (which by the way was the most in the competition) and the only skater to land triple-triple combination. She looked more relaxed than in the short but still a bit nervous. She was very tense, didn't actually bend at all.. She got 169,86 which are also her new personal best scores.
Nagasu looked skating strong and nailing the jumps but closer look proved the jumps underrotated and she was left only with a one clean triple. Her skating was beautiful and I hope she will get full rotations. She's losing too many important points, because nowadays figure skating is almost only about the jumps....... Nagasu got 163.46 points.
               Mao Asada's new free program has been choreographed to "Swan Lake" and I really liked it. She completed three level 4 spins. She skated well, but is not in her best shape. Yet. Let's wait and see. She earned 181.78 points.
Lipnitskaia was last to skate in free, and she looked a bit nervous. I think it was because of pressures. Everyone is expecting a lot from her because she really is a phenomenal and she dominated the junior season last year. The 14 years old Russian looked hesitant in her jumps and she wasn't as freely as she was in Finland. She just couldn't pull herself together. I hope she's not tired or won't burn out.. It's been kind of hectic and busy for her since the last year. And she's only 14 years old. No matter how good skater she is, no matter what her parents, coach or the country want from her, they need to remember she's only a human child. Not a machine. Yes, she may need challenges in her skating because she is basically invincible at junior events, but she also needs time to grow up as a person and as a skater. Training and skating should be fun and not forced. Even if you are an Olympic-level skater, you should have a life outside of the rink. To get your mind now and then off skating, to relax. Yes, always give 100% when you practice but if you forget your life and ONLY focus on skating, it won't lead to anything.
So, Lipnitskaia got 177.92 overall and placed second after Japanese Mao Asada who won her 9th Grand Prix gold. Finnish Kiira Kopri was third.


The next Grand Prix will be in Moscow, Cup of Russia. I'm really looking forward to see Johnny Weir skating in his first Grand Prix event after the break. I'm already a bit nervous and excited for him :) There's going to be many good skaters and I hope it will be a high-level competition in every category.