Twizzle Talk


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Flashback Friday: Grand Prix Finland 2018 Edition

This weekend, Finland will host its first-ever Grand Prix event. China declined to host their annual Cup of China this year, so the event was moved to Helsinki, which played host to the World Championships in 2017.

Back on the 2012 Grand Prix circuit, Finnish champion Kiira Korpi won the Rostelecom Cup. That victory, combined with a bronze at Cup of China, earned her a spot in the Grand Prix Final that year.

Let’s take a look back at the last Grand Prix victory by a woman from Finland in this week’s extra alliterative Finland Flashback Friday:

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Flashback Friday: Skate Canada 2018 Edition

Week two of the 2018 Grand Prix season brings us to Skate Canada, held this year in Laval, Quebec. Back in 2012, Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier made their Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada with this delightful “Mary Poppins” short dance:

It is more traditional than these two usually go for, but I really enjoyed it—especially their energy throughout.

Gilles told CTV News that this year’s programs are emotional and vulnerable, especially in light of the death of her mother last May. Their interview with her ahead of the competition is a great read. This weekend, look for their tango rhythm dance to “Angelica’s Tango” by Piernicola Di Muro and free dance to “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” by Don MacLean and Govardo. We’ll see if they can challenge the momentum that Skate America Champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue have going into this event!


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Flashback Friday: The Perils of YouTube Autoplay

You know what I’m talking about (with this post title). The YouTube autoplay feature that automatically plays a video similar or related to what you just watched. Second to the Netflix autoplay feature, of course, but still problematic.

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Image Source: googlesystem.blogpost.com

My skating friends and I send each other YouTube links constantly. One of my coworkers is a fellow skating fan, and we love trading links to our favorite performances (I’ve got two in my inbox right now, from the 2017 Europeans exhibition, awaiting my viewing).

But this is when things get dangerous. This is when I get into a YouTube skating hole, and find myself watching way too many programs in a row, for far too long. The original dance from the 2006 Olympics! Vintage Michelle Kwan! Virtue and Moir’s exhibition program to Justin Bieber.

I know I’m not the only one who’s been there.

And sometimes this skating binge-watching leads to the rediscovery of a forgotten gem, like this lovely exhibition program by U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, from nearly 10 years ago. This was one of my all-time favorite programs of theirs, to “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin, and you should check it out for your Flashback Friday:


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Flashback Friday: Sasha 10 Years After Torino

Even though I keep putting 2015 on all my to-do lists and journal entries, it’s time for me to accept that it is 2016. Which also happens to be 10 years since the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. What?!

It doesn’t feel like 10 years since I sat in my parents’ family room, inches from the TV, cheering on Sasha Cohen in her epic “Dark Eyes” gypsy short program and her (though imperfect) triumph of mental toughness to “Romeo and Juliet” in the free skate. But time has passed and a lot has changed for Cohen, the Olympic Silver Medalist in 2006 and a 2016 inductee into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Forbes caught up with Cohen, for some reflecting on her skating career and the 10 years since Torino. My favorite excerpts from the four-part piece:

On being proud of her silver medal: “I had tears, but they were mixed. I had some tears of disappointment earlier [at not winning gold], but at the same time I was really proud. I think that was a pivotal day for me to be able to keep believing, to pick myself up when I didn’t know whether anything was still possible. It was very rewarding.”

On going back to school: “I’m going to school on my terms now, because I want to. I had a limited education. All my energy was diverted to sport. The people that shaped the world had just passed me by. That made me sad. I decided to not tour as much and make time to be a student full-time.”

You can read the entire thing, with links to all four parts, here, for this week’s Flashback Friday. Next week, our flashbacks with the U.S. Hall of Fame inductees continue: Belbin & Agosto are on deck.


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Flashback Friday: Shib Sibs Grand Prix Victories

American ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won their first Grand Prix title since 2011 at last weekend’s NHK Trophy. Their other Grand Prix victory was also at an NHK Trophy.

Let’s flash back to their 2011 win:

I love the exuberance and enthusiasm of this program. And don’t they look so young?! The Shib Sibs were clearly great then, and would go on to win bronze at Worlds that year. But bringing it back to the present day, I loved watching that 2011 program in contrast to this year’s free dance. Check it out from their NHK victory:

They’ve increased their speed and connection with each other, and their interpretation really captures the nuances of the music (Coldplay’s “Fix You.”). That twizzle sequence is exquisite—not only in the execution but also in the use of the music. The commentators (love those British Eurosport guys!) say at the end of the performance that they didn’t want it to end, and I’ve got to agree. And isn’t that the mark of a great skating performance? Making it all look smooth and effortless so your audience feels at ease and gets lost in the performance. There is nothing worse than those programs where the skaters are just gritting their teeth and making it through, both for the skaters themselves and the audience.

I feel like this free dance, as well as the 2011 program, is a great vehicle for them in that the brother-sister dynamic isn’t detrimental to the performance, as it can be for the more romantic rhythms, like the tango, for example. Well done, Shib Sibs. Can’t wait to watch them take on everyone at the Grand Prix Final, Nationals, and Worlds with this fantastic piece.


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Flashback Friday: Mao Asada

Mao Asada has been the talk of the figure skating world since 2006, when she was too young to go to the Torino Olympics, despite being that year’s Grand Prix Final champion. She won an Olympic silver medal in Vancouver in 2010, is a three-time world champion, and finished 6th in Sochi in 2014 before taking last year off from competition. But she is making a comeback this year and has started out strong with victories at the Japan Open and Cup of China. Her season-long comeback reminds me of her epic comeback at the Sochi Olympics, where she climbed from 16th after a disastrous, mistake-ridden short program all the way up to 6th with an inspiring long program. If she can skate like this again, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with at Worlds in Boston in March. Take a look back at Mao’s 2014 Olympic long program on this Flashback Friday: