American Figure Skating
The United States National Figure Championships were held this weekend and man were they a wild ride. Barely any of the top competitors were there (most were out for injuries) thereby leaving the door open for new people at the top and that is what happened, in all four of the categories.
America doesn't have any presence in pairs so its not even worth commenting on, as for dance, despite Belbin and Agosto not competing they were appointed to the World Team. Which I think is a genius move, remember, Beblin and Agosto were the Silver medalists in Italy, in 2006. They area top world team and denying them a spot on the American team because of an injury would be stupid. But the US dance title of number one did go to another team, so that was interesting.
For the men the shocker was that Johnny Weir, the only American last year to place in the top three at Worlds, did not make the team. He skated at Nationals but did so poorly he ended up in fourth place. It just goes to show that this sport is unforgiving and if you are not consistent and have a bad day, your whole season could be over (as it is for Weir who is not going to Worlds in March).
However, the most interesting competition was the ladies. It is true that in recent years the domaniance of American ladies has waned. Gone are the days of Kristi Yamguchi and Michelle Kwan. Now our American girls are highly unlikely to place in the top three and I think the best America can hope for is a top five or sixth position at the World Championships. I can go into a whole post about why America has lost its dominance in ladies figure skating but for now I will just say that this 2009 US Nationals competition was amazing! Finally the older lady (older meaning 19) with the artistry won over the younger girls who are jumping beans but not very artistic (meaning 16). The picture above is of Alissa Czisny, the girl who won the title.
Her story is completely one of those inspirational movies. Last year she was counted out, considered a has-been who had potential but was always inconsistent and flaky (hell I thought the same thing, even going so far as to shout at the tv for her to retire), last year I think she came in 12th place. But instead of leaving the sport, she went back, trained harder with additional coaches, including Brian Boitano and this year she came out looking amazing, better artistry and making those jumps! Happily this turn-around story ends with her becoming the 2009 US National Ladies Champion.
ps - Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes, you all make me feel so loved, as they say in Denmark, tusind tak!!