Weiss Foundation’s Ice Champions LIVE! to celebrate 10th anniversary

29 Aug

The event, which starts at 4 p.m. ET, brings some of the brightest stars of figure skating to the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area for a great cause — to support scholarships for Olympic figure skating hopefuls.

Tickets are on sale at www.MichaelWeiss.org for this fundraiser, sponsored by Smucker’s and Pandora.

Weiss, a three-time U.S. champion and two-time Olympian, created this event a decade ago, each year bringing the most famous faces in figure skating to the Washington, D.C. region.

Some of the stars expected to participate are 2014 Sochi Olympic U.S. medalist Ashley Wagner, Olympic champion and TV star Brian Boitano, U.S. champions Mirai Nagasu, Alissa Czisny and Ryan Bradley, as well as Bel Air, Md., native Kimmie Meissner, former World and U.S. champion.

Also scheduled to perform are former U.S. medalists Adam Rippon, Richard Dornbush and Dan Hollander, as well as European medalists and Olympic ice dancers Sinead Kerr and John Kerr. Weiss’ daughter, Annie Mae, will sing.

Ice Champions LIVE! is like no other figure skating event, in large part due to the intimate setting of the venue. Weiss twists like a tornado in the air, landing in front of the on-ice seats. Each skater brings something different to the ice, providing an evening of chills and thrills, in a fun-filled atmosphere.

The Michael Weiss Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers scholarships to aspiring Olympians and is currently sponsoring 19 recipients. Knowing first-hand how much money it takes to get an athlete to the Olympics, Weiss gives young skaters this opportunity through his scholarships. He established the Michael Weiss Foundation as a way of giving back to the sport that his given him so much.

Limited on-ice seating is available. Ticket prices range from $30 to $50 with VIP opportunities, which include meeting and socializing with some of the biggest stars in skating.

In addition to the ice show, there will be a silent auction that features skaters’ personal memorabilia. This silent auction also has hundreds of items both from the world figure skating community as well as local artists, jewelers and restaurateurs.

The 10th anniversary Michael Weiss Foundation Ice Champions LIVE! will take place on Sunday, Sept. 14 at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Md.

 Boitano - Photo by Andrea Chempinski


Kerrs - Photo by Andrea Chempinski

Michael Weiss presents "Ice Champions Live!"

Looking back on #ChampsCamp2014

27 Aug
Champs Camp

The athletes had some fun during the Saturday night group photo.

Another successful Champs Camp is in the books! The U.S. Figure Skating High Performance Department welcomed 40 athletes and their coaches to the Olympic Training Center and Colorado Springs World Arena for the five-day camp. As always, camp started with a keynote speech, this year delivered by Paralympic gold medal sled hockey player Andy Yohe. The trip to The Centennial State also included photos shoots, meetings, a presentation by celebrity makeup artist Robin Black, multiple practice sessions, team building and closed-door competition simulation that allowed athletes to receive feedback as they prepare for the upcoming season.


Some athletes have already competed in summer non-qualifying competitions, some debuted their programs in Colorado Springs and many, including Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, begin their 2014-15 campaign in just two weeks at the 2014 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City.


“There is something so special about being among our sport’s top American athletes and preparing for the 2014 season and also for the next four years,” Scimeca said. “The skaters become united with one another and share excitement and determination for the new season. Champs Camp is a great way to ignite the fire within us to make our country proud on the international scene.”


Of the 40 athletes on hand, a quarter of them participated in their first Champs Camp. The rookies were the most excited, and probably the most tired. Angela Wang referred to her brain as fried on more than one occasion but still relished the opportunity to be invited to camp.


“The entire experience was so incredible,” Wang explained. “It was amazing to see how everything came together. I’ve learned so much in the past few days and hope to be back again next year!”


Check out this Facebook gallery for photos taken by U.S. Figure Skating staff and those shared by our athletes. Enjoy!

Jeremy Abbott named SKATING magazine’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Award winner

31 Jul

Jeremy Abbott won SKATING magazine’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Award, the publication announced Thursday. Over 20,000 votes were cast on icenetwork during the week of June 30. Olympian Jason Brown finished second in the voting, with Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White garnering the third-most votes. Click here for more.

Fan meeting 2014 Worlds

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Brown featured on cover of SKATING

30 Jul

Cover Capture

Olympian Jason Brown appears on the cover of the August-September issue of SKATING, which hits mailboxes starting July 31.

Brown is pictured on stage with a harmonica in tribute to late Chicago blues legend Little Walter. Brown, a Chicago-area native, is performing his short program this season to Little Walter’s 1952 chart-topping song “Juke.”

A story about Brown’s musical selections, another about the adversity his camp faced during the Olympic season and a question-and-answer segment with his mom and dad are featured in the issue.

Below is a list of commitments that the U.S. silver medalist has honored since leaving Sochi in February. Also below are photos from his June 30 photo shoot in Denver with professional photographer Hans Rosemond.


Since the Olympics, Jason has:

  • Represented the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Figure Skating in lighting the cauldron at the 2014 Olympic Downtown Celebration in Colorado Springs.
  • Resumed his education at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where he’s taking an accounting class this summer.
  • Traveled to the Bay Area as one of the special guests of U.S. Figure Skating’s S.T.A.R.S. program, in which skaters participate in a series of off-ice tests that measure athleticism and give benchmarks for overall fitness.
  • Went to the White House with Team USA and met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
  • Joined coach Kori Ade at the inaugural Best of U.S. Awards Show in Washington, D.C., where Ade won the USG Building Dreams Award.
  • Performed on the 20-city post-Olympic tour with Stars on Ice.
  • Threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field before a Chicago Cubs game.
  • Appeared on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” which Brown’s mother, Marla, helped to produce in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Moved from an apartment on the south side of Colorado Springs to the Olympic Training Center.
  • Received a key to the city of Highland Park, Ill., in a ceremony that featured a marching band and an ice sculpture in Jason’s image.
  • Walked the red carpet for the film Divergent with twin skating sisters Gracie and Carly Gold.
  • Performed his Riverdance free skate at Rockefeller Plaza and was interviewed by Matt Lauer on “The Today Show.”
  • Attended a Figure Skating in Harlem fundraiser in New York.
  • Appeared on Windy City Live (local Chicago show), where he demonstrated his ability to do the splits.
  • Appeared on an NBC Chicago news show.
  • Appeared on WGN Morning News.
  • Attended the Wish of a Lifetime benefit dinner. (Wish of a Lifetime is an organization whose mission is to foster respect and appreciation for seniors by granting life-enriching wishes.)
  • While in Chicago for Stars on Ice, Jason participated in five hours of a Skatefest where he skated with young skaters.
  • Teaches learn-to-skate classes on Saturday mornings in Monument.

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Skaters savor experiences in Lake Placid

25 Jul

Editor’s note: For decades, skaters from all over the country have ventured to Lake Placid, N.Y., for its summertime skating camps and Saturday night ice shows. Almost every major skating star has passed through Lake Placid at one time or another, and that rich tradition continues today. In July, 2010 Olympian and reigning U.S. bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu, and 2012 U.S. pairs champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, performed in the long-running weekend ice show. Christie Sausa, member of the Skating Club of Lake Placid and local skating journalist (she authored Lake Placid Figure Skating: A History,) sat down with Nagasu, as well as Denney and Coughlin, to talk about their time in Lake Placid, as well as their careers and plans.


Nagasu letting her skating do the talking

By Christie US_Figure_Skating_021_4x6Sausa

Skating serenely with elegance and feeling, Mirai Nagasu captivated the audience with her performances at the Saturday Night Ice Show on July 5 in the Lake Placid Olympic Center. Performing to “On Golden Pond” and a cover of the Imagine Dragons song “Demons” by Sam Tsui, it was easy to see her love for skating and remarkable talent.

Nagasu was in Lake Placid in February to perform in the Winter Ice Revue. This time, she was able to perform and conduct a seminar with young skaters in the Lake Placid summer skating program and teach private lessons.
“It’s amazing to be a role model and give the skaters something to take away from their lessons,” Nagasu said. “I also enjoy coaching, because I can give back to the community and my sport.”

The 2013–14 season was difficult for Nagasu. She wasn’t named to the U.S. Olympic Team despite her bronze-medal finish at the U.S. Championships. U.S. Figure Skating, instead, sent fourth-place finisher Ashley Wagner to Sochi, Russia, based on her results over the past two seasons.

But Nagasu is moving forward, and said she has learned from the experience.
“After nationals, I have become a more private person and don’t enjoy talking about myself as much,” Nagasu said. “I let my skating speak for me.”

The strategy has worked well for Nagasu, who placed second at the Broadmoor Open in late June in Colorado Springs. In addition, she skated on the Stars on Ice tour and in 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten’s ice show in Kazakhstan. She will attend Hilton HHonors Skate America and Rostelecom Cup this fall as part of the Grand Prix Series.

Like all skaters, Nagasu enjoyed her trip to Lake Placid and draws inspiration from the unique setting.

“There are only a few places left with this magical atmosphere, and Lake Placid is one of them,” Nagasu said. “It’s always fun to come to Lake Placid.”


Denney and Coughlin see injury setback as an opportunity

By Christie Sausa

Skating for the first time in Lake Placid, 2014 U.S. pairs bronze medalists Caydee Denney and John Coughlin performed at the second Saturday Night Ice Show of the season on July 12. And while both skaters are recovering from injuries, they still put on a great show at the Lake Placid Olympic Center.

The past season, they said, was challenging but gratifying. They placed second at the U.S. International Classic, fourth at Skate America and third at Trophée Bompard, which were all events that led up to the U.S. Championships, the Olympics and World Championships.

Denney and Coughlin finished third at the U.S. Championships — barely missing an Olympic berth by less than one point — and were subsequently named to the World Team.

Unfortunately, shortly before the World Championships, Denney sprained her ankle during practice, forcing the team to withdraw from the competition.

“We had the drive, motivation and will to be on the team, and we were a good, strong international team,” Denney said. “March 19th (a few days before leaving for Worlds), I landed weird on a throw and felt like it torqued; it was not a normal landing. I sprained the ankle and just got back on the ice three or four weeks ago after rehabilitating the injury in Florida.”

They both look at this setback as an opportunity.

“This past season was a big journey for us, and we’re happy to be back on the ice again after my hip surgery and Caydee’s injury,” Coughlin said. “The surgery had a long recovery time, and we didn’t begin to feel like ourselves on the ice again until last July.”

Denney and Coughlin will take the 2014–15 season off from competition, but that doesn’t mean they will stay away from the rink. They both taught a seminar and private lessons in Lake Placid, where they found enthusiastic students.

“The energy of the kids here was great; there are talented local skaters as well as kids from other parts of the country who traveled to be here,” Coughlin said. “They were eager to learn and responded well to the instruction.”

In addition to coaching here, the pair also coaches at home.

“I enjoy coaching since right now I can’t skate as much myself,” Denney said. “The skaters have to have a lot of dreams and passion to do this sport, and I enjoy helping them and giving back to my sport.”

Denney and Coughlin will also perform in the Ice Dreams show in New York in September, and are taking the rest of the year as it comes.

“We’re letting Caydee’s foot take the lead,” Coughlin said. “Since she’s obviously responded so well in this first show, I think we can kind of move forward, onward and upward.”

Upcoming Events – August/September

15 Jul

“Brighter Than The Sun” set for August 2

The Carolina’s Figure Skating Club will host “Brighter Than The Sun,” Saturday, August 2 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Extreme Ice Center (4705 Indian Trail Fairview Rd, Indian Trail, NC 28079).

All proceeds will benefit the GOJENGO Foundation, a non-profit institution dedicated to providing financial assistance and emotional support to individuals and families, in North and South Carolina, who are battling breast cancer. The show, held in honor of Jen Pagani, hopes to raise $1,500 for local cancer patients.

For more information, contact Gabrielle Gorman at 704.930.8540 or Gabrielleg310@aol.com.


Show organizer Gabrielle Gorman smiles with a promotional banner – Photo by Ron Tencati


SC of Jackson Hole to host campLogo

The Skating Club of Jackson Hole is hosting its Summer Skate Camp next month at the Snow King Sports and Events Center in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The Camp, split into two sections (Aug. 11–14 and Aug. 18–22,) is led by special guest coaches Anita Hartshorn and Frank Sweiding, world professional pairs champions; Nathaniel Hess, a former U.S. competitor and international performer; and Ryan Berning, also a former U.S. competitor and international performer.

Open to all levels, the camp will address numerous on- and off-ice areas such as jumps, spins, choreography, conditioning, moves, freestyle, agility and dance.

To register go to www.skatingclubofjacksonhole.com. For questions, call Melanie at 307.690.8227.


“An Evening with Champions” scheduled Sept. 19-20

The 44th annual “An Evening with Champions” will take place on Sept. 19–20 in Boston. The event, founded in 1970 and run entirely by Harvard University students, benefits adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The show will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center.

2010 U.S. junior silver medalist Yasmin Siraj and two-time Olympic champions (1964, 1968) Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov are two of the many headliners scheduled to perform.

The event has raised $2.7 million for the Jimmy Fund — the fundraising arm of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — in its 44-year history.

Ticket information and a complete list of skaters will be announced in the middle of August.


Four-time U.S. champion Nathan Chen performs at last year’s “An Evening on Ice” – Photo by Sarah Brannen


Two-time Olympic pairs champions Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov perform at last year’s “An Evening on Ice” – Photo by Sarah Brannen

Wagner Throws First Pitch

11 Jun

On June 8, two-time U.S. champion and 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Ashley Wagner threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Stadium of Anaheim. Below are some photos from the occasion:


Ashley Wagner throws the first pitch


Wagner gets an autograph from Angels pitcher Mike Morin


Wagner and Morin share the field after the ceremonial pitch


Wagner and Morin share a laugh


Ashley Wagner and Mike Morin


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