Summer is dead at last and the figure skating season has started with the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf (the German hub for everything ice skating) and the Finlandia Trophy in Espoo (just outside Helsinki, you pass it when traveling to Nuuksio Park or the Achipelago, Espoo is where Suomi skaters are).
Unfortunately my beloved Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were not able to participate due to a minor injury (muscle strain in the neck it appears) that occurred to Scott just before leaving for Finland
But Johnny Weir was definitely there and I’m so happy about this rentre. The return of a seasoned skater is not always the best of news for a nation with a large aggressive breeding ground, but athletes tend to plan their careers around Olympics events, and it’s always inspiring to see a talented guy working really hard to achieve ambitious goals. I don’t know how much Weir’s public in the US, I’m thinking of people watching his tv show Be Good Johnny Weir or seeing him on magazines, realise how phisically demanding elite figure is, and what it means, for an already accomplished skater who could as well devote to shows, to train to compete with a new scoring system against younger skaters who routinely present quads, impossible spins and innovative footworks. I was never a big fan of Weir’s style, but I love the way he jumps, I’m sure I can see something of Zmievskaya’s school and Petrenko’s touch to it. I can picture him watching Oksana Baiul win in Lillehammer and thinking this is what I want. I think Weir really understands the Russian (technical and artistic) legacy and I admire his commitment to the sport.
Also, the photos he twittered from Helsinki, touring the city together with Vitya Zvedska were lovely.
When I talk about younger skaters who routinely present quads, impossible spins and innovative footwork, of course I’m thinking of amazing Yuzuru Hanyu, my new idol (well, this is his second year as my idol). This is just the beginning, you know. He’s going to grow up and improve (imagine that) and I’m going to have a great time supporting him.
We’re at the beginning of the season so everyone is still a little stiff. I wasn’t particularly impressed by anything I saw so far, but look at Yuzuru Hanyu’s practice in Finland. I find there’s a poetic quality to it.
As for the upcoming Grand Prix, I’m glad to report that Matteo Guarise, who comes from figure roller skating (world champion in 2008 with Sara Venerucci) and Nicole Della Monica who had retired a few years ago and his now back competing with the elite and are scheduled to skate in Moscow at the Rosetelecom Cup.
Regrettably, Samul Contesti decided to retire so we won’t have an Italian man in the Grand Prix, which is a pity because I liked Samuel Contesti and I think there was something in him as skater which was left undeveloped. Also, when you decide to quit and it’s for physical or mental reasons (injuries, lack of competitive motivation), or because you have developed other professional goals (outside skating, or as a coach), it’s sad of course but it’s also the natural course of events. But quitting because of lack of training conditions and support from the Federation, as this seems to be the case, is rather a bitter ending.
As for Sachenko Zolkovy and Virtue Moir, it’s their job to surprise us year after year. Savchenko Zolkovy definitely did last year with their Pina routine. Well, expectations are fine but I think we should just shut up and be happy they exist.