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Jason Brown Stars on Ice 2019 Interview

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Photo by me; Enthusiasm by Jason

When I went to the Chicago stop of the Stars on Ice tour in May, I had the chance to chat with both Ashley Wagner and Jason Brown. You can check out my interview with Ashley here, and today I’m sharing my Q&A with Jason:

2015 U.S. Champion and 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Jason Brown took some time out of his pre-show warmup at the Chicago stop of the Stars on Ice tour—his hometown show—to catch up with Figure Skaters Online. He only appeared in one weekend of shows on the tour to maximize his off-season training. Read on for more about his first year training with his new coaching team of Tracy Wilson and Brian Orser, and his friendships with other skaters at the Toronto Cricket and Curling Club.

Check out the Q&A interview on Figure Skaters Online!

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Ashley Wagner Stars on Ice 2019 Interview

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Photo by Robin Ritoss for Figure Skaters Online

I chatted with Ashley Wagner before the Chicago performance of Stars on Ice and got all the details on her new podcast, launching this summer! I was at the show reporting for Figure Skaters Online, and wrote a story for the site about our conversation:

Ashley Wagner doesn’t know what she’s doing.

She’s busy—coaching at seminars and the Skating Club of Boston, performing in Stars on Ice and other shows, commentating skating events for the Olympic Channel, documenting life on her new website and her Instagram account—but she doesn’t have a plan like she did when she was training for the Olympics.

It’s an unfamiliar spot for the three-time U.S. Champion, 2014 Olympic Team Bronze Medalist, and 2016 World Silver Medalist, but she says it is still an “exciting” time.

“I love writing, and documenting the transition from being a professional athlete into being whatever I’m going to be—people don’t talk about that enough and it’s a really scary, uncomfortable transition,” Wagner said during a pre-show interview before the Chicago performance of Stars on Ice in May. “I feel like in the past, for athletes, it’s kind of a shameful thing to talk about, but everyone goes through it. The more I talked to retired athletes about what it was like, the better I felt.”

So she’s launching a podcast exploring that concept, inspired by a quote from actress and comedian Gilda Radner, who said these types of transitions are full of “delicious ambiguity.” Wagner plans to launch the podcast this summer, after wrapping up the 2019 Stars on Ice tour.

Read the rest in the full story on Figure Skaters Online for more on Wagner’s podcast plans, new life in Boston, and commentary gigs. And there is more to come from my day at Stars on Ice – check back later in the week for a Q&A with Jason Brown!


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Ice Theatre of New York Spring Show Preview

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Theron James in “Presence” – Choreography by Deneane Richburg – Photo by Josef Pinlac – Image Courtesy ITNY

The Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY) is the first nonprofit ice dance company in the United States, and their annual spring show takes place this Thursday, May 2. I previewed the performance for Figure Skaters Online, and talked with ITNY founder and artistic director Moira North, as well as guest performer and Olympian Misha Ge for the story.

Read the full story on the FSO site to hear more about the new pieces that will be performed in the show, and updates on Misha Ge’s growing choreography and coaching career in retirement:

Ice Theatre of New York Spring Show to Feature Misha Ge and Honor Gracie Gold


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Alex Krasnozhon Q&A: Figure Skaters Online

The World Junior Championships kick off next week in Zagreb, Croatia, where Alex Krasnozhon will represent Team USA. I caught up with him for a Q&A for Figure Skaters Online before the event:

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Photo by Robin Ritoss, courtesy Figure Skaters Online

Alex Krasnozhon gets another chance at the World Junior Championships

At the 2018 World Junior Championships, Alex Krasnozhon was in the lead after the short program, poised to take the title. Then disaster struck on the first jump of his free skate: He injured his ankle and withdrew from the competition.

After months of rehab on his ankle and a solid season on the senior level—including a fifth place finish at the 2019 U.S. Championships—Krasnozhon returns to Junior Worlds with a fresh perspective, and goals of putting a quad back into his long program. He says they will assess whether to include the quad after the short program. This will be his last competition at the junior level, and he says that he is looking forward to competing at Junior Worlds one more time.

Before leaving for the competition in Zagreb, Croatia, Krasnozhon chatted with Figure Skaters Online for a brief question and answer session.

Read the Q&A on Figure Skaters Online!


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Ting Cui Rides Nationals Momentum to Four Continents: Figure Skaters Online

What a privilege it was to attend the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships as a member of the media with Figure Skaters Online. One of my top moments (of which there were many!) was watching Ting Cui, ladies 5th place finisher, deliver an incredible free skate after a tough short program. I caught up with her in the mixed zone after her performance and wrote a story about her for FSO:

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Photo by Robin Ritoss for Figure Skaters Online

 

Ting Cui rides momentum of stellar Nationals free skate to late-season assignments

Ting Cui is going to have a busy second half of the season. She’ll be competing at the Four Continents Championships and attending U.S. Figure Skating’s 2019 World Junior Team Camp, plus she’s the first alternate for the senior World Championships team.

Such an outcome seemed all but impossible on Thursday, Jan.24, when she fell twice and failed to complete a combination in the women’s short program at the U.S. Championships. She was in 12th place heading into the long program.

But she climbed up to fifth place with a near-flawless free skate that earned a standing ovation from the crowd at the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.

Read the rest of the story—including how this performance will help her throughout the rest of the season and her connection to 2006 World Champion Kimmie Meissner—on Figure Skater’s Online!

And some bonus links:


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Hawayek and Baker 2019 U.S. Nationals Preview

The 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships kick off in less than a week, and I’m counting the days until I head to Detroit to cover the event with Figure Skaters Online.

Leading up to the event, I called in for Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker’s media teleconference and wrote a preview piece for ice-dance.com.

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Photo by Robin Ritoss, courtesy of ice-dance.com

Hawayek and Baker Aim to Continue Breakthrough Season at U.S. Nationals

When American ice dancer Jean-Luc Baker suffered a concussion during preseason training in August, his season with partner Kaitlin Hawayek could easily have gone off the rails. They lost training time and weren’t able to compete before their first Grand Prix event of the season, NHK Trophy in Japan in November.

But instead, after a careful recovery, the team went on to have a breakout season on the Grand Prix, winning gold at NHK and qualifying for their first Grand Prix Final.

“Once we were able to start training again, it was training as quick as possible to get ready for NHK, then we had [Internationeaux de] France a week later, and the next thing you know, we made the Final,” Baker said.

For more on their year of firsts and the team’s goals heading into Nationals, read the full article on ice-dance.com!