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28 January 2007

Jam and Blades

As a belated Christmas present, The Hubby got tickets to

For those of you that don't know--or maybe I never mentioned this--I LOVE ICE SKATING. I love the Winter Olympics and since November of last year, I've been glued to the T.V. every Sunday for competition and exhibition skating. I even thought, at one time, that I wanted to be a figure skater. I was quickly disabused of that notion on the first day of my lesson, when I fell down and hit the back of my head against the ice. There was no blood, no concussion, but I was too through with that. Ice skating? Screw that, I'll just watch it on T.V., thankyouverymuch. I focused on roller skating instead. Seemed safer.

This ice skating exhibition tour comes through my town every year and I try to get tickets. They show it on T.V. as well and I end up watching it, but sometimes the people you see on T.V. don't actually show up on the tour. I remember seeing this when Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning were part of the line-up. Now, Hamilton is a producer and Browning is coaching and doing his own exhibition shows. And they've now added "Special Guest" skaters. This year it was Olympic Gold Medalist Ilia Kulik and boy howdy, was I glad to see him. It'd been a long time, but he's still a great skater and a fantastic jumper.

Other skaters included World Bronze Medalist Pairs Champions Kyoko Ina and John "Hottie" Zimmerman (one of my fav pairs teams), Olympic Gold Medalist Alexei Yagudin, Olympic Gold Medalist Pairs Champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (my other fav pairs team), World Champion Todd Eldredge, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Ekaterina "Katiya" Gordeeva (she's one half of a former fav pairs team. Her husband, Sergei Grinkov, died on the ice at the age of 28 back in the 80's), World Champion Yuka Sato, two-time World Bronze Medalist Michael Weiss, eight-time British Champion Steven Cousins, six-time Canadian Champion Jennifer Robinson (I don't ever remember seeing her on the competition circuit), and two-time U.S. Pairs Champion--and Yuka Sato's husband--Jason Dunjen (he used to be paired up with Kyoko Ina). You can see who I'm talking about here.

This is like Skater Heaven when they go pro. At least, that's how I refer to it. When I no longer saw my favorite skaters in competition, I always wondered what happened to them. What are they doing now? I figured most of them would be coaching. Now I know they're either coaching or doing these ice shows. Even though they're no longer competing, I still judge them to see if they've still "got it", y'know? I'm used to seeing the men do triples and quads, women doing triples, and pairs teams doing side-by-side triples and throw triples. In these shows, people clap when the single skaters pull off singles or doubles.

And then I get to wondering. Do they no longer do triples because they had to do it in competition? Do they think that since they're no longer in front of a judge, singles and doubles will suffice? I feel almost cheated. Or maybe just spoiled because I saw a male skater land a quad in competition two months ago, then I attended this ice show and saw people clap when Steven Cousins landed a double axel. I don't know if Michael Weiss has officially gone pro, but I just saw him not too long ago in a competition. Needless to say, he still does triples. So does Russian skater Alexei Yagudin. I know this because every time they jumped, I counted the revolutions.

With the pairs teams, though, they've put in more daring stunts. Probably to compensate for the fact that they no longer do side-by-sides or throws (although the Canadian pair of Sale and Pelletier did a throw triple this time. And she landed it.) I've always been amazed by pairs skaters. There has to be a certain level of trust there...not to mention strength on the man's part. All that throwing and lifting... I don't know if I could do it. I cringe when they do the crazy stunts, wince when one of them--or both of them--mess up on side-by-sides, and cover my eyes and wish I could instantly forget --a la "Men in Black"--when they take a hard fall. And it gets replayed 3 times in a row. Exhibition skating is much easier on my nerves.

I know that guys would rather have bamboo shoots shoved under their fingernails than sit through 3 hrs of skating, so I'm glad my hubby did it for me again this year. It's different when we're at home. He can just get up and leave the room (or in his case, go back to playing W.O.W.). And he can make snarky comments like "Oh, he sucks. He might as well just get off the ice" when they fall or continue to mess up. But he likes the dangerous stunts. And when they do backflips. That's manly enough for him.

So, for all you skating fans out there, if Smuckers Stars on Ice is coming to your town, be sure to check it out. And dress warmly.


posted by GeminiWisdom @ 1:08 PM |


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