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Alex Krasnozhon Interview: Figure Skaters Online

2017 U.S. Junior Champion Alex Krasnozhon starts off his first full senior season today at Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, and I had a chance to talk with him before he headed to the competition. Here’s an excerpt from the article for Figure Skaters Online:

Krasnozhon FSO

Photo by Robin Ritoss, Courtesy Figure Skaters Online

 

Alex Krasnozhon is taking control of his career

For his short program this season, Alex Krasnozhon is skating to a song called “Dancing on My Own” by Calum Scott.

“It’s very emotional for me,” he says. “The whole idea is that a girl leaves a guy and he has this pain in the beginning of the program and doesn’t know how to handle it, and then he comes to the conclusion that here he is, dancing on his own, strong. He’s showing that he is hurt, but he is still staying strong and showing he is independent. I’m very excited about this program because I think if it’s done correctly, it can show a different side of my skating. It is going to be a season-long project to make it better each competition.”

The program is also a fitting metaphor for his first full senior season, which starts this week at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Last season ended with pain, when he sprained his ankle on the first jump of his free skate at the Junior World Championships, a quadruple Salchow, and had to withdraw from the event. After four months off the ice and an intensive physical therapy (PT) recovery program, Krasnozhon is back on the ice with new coaches, Aleksey Letov and Olga Ganicheva in Plano, Texas, and retooling his jump technique. Plus, he moved into his own apartment and says he is taking more ownership of his skating career, calling himself his own “manager.”

For more on Kraznoshon’s goals for the season—and what he likes to do off the ice—read the full article on Figure Skaters Online!

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Shib Sibs Interview: Figure Skaters Online

ShibSibs SOI 2018

The last of my reporting from the 2018 Stars on Ice tour: an interview with two-time Olympic Bronze Medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani!

Maia and Alex were genuine, articulate, and gracious. It is obvious that they’ve thought a lot about how they want to use their platform and visibility as Olympic medalists, and I can’t wait to see what they do next during their year off from competition. They talked to me about some of what they’re looking forward to, and you can read the full article on Figure Skaters Online:

Maia and Alex Shibutani looking ahead to new off-ice opportunities as the 2018 Stars on Ice tour ends

 

And in case you missed them, my review of the 2018 Stars on Ice tour and a Q&A with Bradie Tennell.


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Bradie Tennell Q&A: Figure Skaters Online

In my review of the Chicago stop of the Stars on Ice tour, I promised interviews with a few of the cast members. Here is the first of two: a Q&A with 2018 U.S. National Champion and Olympic Team Bronze Medalist (and Chicago native) Bradie Tennell!

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Tennell during pre-show warmups for the show at Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL. (Photo by me)

I talked with Bradie about her first Stars on Ice tour, and how her preparations for next season are going. Read the full interview on Figure Skaters Online:

Q&A with Bradie Tennell

 


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Stars on Ice Review for Figure Skaters Online

When the 2018 Stars on Ice tour stopped at Chicago’s Allstate Arena, I covered the show for Figure Skaters Online. We arrived nearly three hours before showtime, and got an exciting window into what happens behind the scenes on the tour — preshow rehearsals, autograph sessions, and Q&As.

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2014 Olympic Ice Dance Champion Charlie White led the group through preshow rehearsals, hearkening back to his captain role on the 2014 Olympic team, and emphasized their choreography and timing.

I was also thoroughly impressed by 2018 U.S. Ice Dance Champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue. I already loved their skating, of course, but they have great coaching and mentorship skills, too. They led a group of local skaters in a rehearsal for their number at the start of Act II, then participated in a Q&A with the group, discussing everything from their journeys in skating to the challenge of being a male skater in a female-dominated sport, with thoughtful, genuine answers from both (Hubbell drawing on the experience of her brother and former ice dance partner, Keiffer). I’ve watched videos of their coaching seminars on ICoachSkating.com and enjoyed their coaching style — perhaps someday they’ll be a dynamic coaching duo much like their current coaches, World medalists Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

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I also had the chance to interview Maia and Alex Shibutani and Bradie Tennell — stay tuned for future articles on FSO based on those conversations! It was a treat to meet and speak with them all, and I appreciated them taking time out of their show prep to talk with me.

Check out my thoughts on the show performance in my review for FSO. Overall, I thought the skaters performed with much more freedom and energy than last year’s show, with the pressures of the Olympic season off. Plus, seeing many of their Olympic programs in person was a treat! Read more here:

Review: Stars on Ice Celebrates Olympic Season

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(All photos are my own.)


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Olympic Favorites and Worlds Excitement

Photos and reports from practice ice at the 2018 World Championships in Milan, Italy are already streaming across my Instagram and Twitter feeds, and somehow, I haven’t written about the Olympics on here yet. It was a lot of fun to write for Cosmo leading up to and during the Games, and I also did some live tweeting and reporting for Figure Skaters Online. But now I’m back to this space to share some of my favorite moments from the Olympics, and what I’m most looking forward to at Worlds.

Olympic Favorites

  1. The entire pairs event
    I tend to write least about pairs on here, but it actually turned out to be my favorite event to watch this Olympics. The level of skating was just incredible, and the respect and sportsmanship among the top teams was really special to witness. Watching Meagan Duhamel congratulate Aljona Savchenko in that backstage green room area was a memorable moment from two great champions of the sport. NBC commentator and 2006 Olympic ice dance silver medalist Tanith White captured the moment and shared it on Instagram:

Second favorite moment of the night. #sportsmanship #figureskating @meaganduhamel

A post shared by Tanith White (@tanith_white) on

I think this is probably a favorite of most Olympic viewers, but Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot’s free skate was just glorious. The choreography was so fluid between elements that it was like watching a merging of pairs and ice dance.


Watching Duhamel and partner Eric Radford nail a throw quad salchow and be so satisfied with their performance, even before they ended up on the podium, was also a great moment, after the struggles they had last season and early this season.

The Knierims of Team USA made me cry during the team short program with their beautiful skate to “Come What May” — their side-by-side triples working, plus her exuberant landing on the throw triple flip, were both emotional, triumphant moments.

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Olympic Figure Skating Viewer’s Guide

I’ve been glued to my TV watching the Olympics since last week, and, most especially, the figure skating events. I’ve also been working with Cosmopolitan to write some articles about Olympic figure skating!

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So here are some links that amount to a handy viewer’s guide that I hope will be helpful to seasoned fans and new viewers alike:

7 Things That Make Ice Dancing Different Than the Other Figure Skating Disciplines

All the Figure Skating Lingo You Need to Know Before the Olympics

All the Best International Figure Skaters to Watch for at the 2018 Olympics

Everything to Know About How Olympic Figure Skating Gets Scored

10 of the Biggest Figure Skating Controversies of All Time

I also broke down the scoring controversy in the men’s segment of the figure skating team event for The Boston Globe.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to my editors at Cosmo and the Globe for the opportunity to share my surplus skating knowledge with the masses!