Tag Archives: Johnny Weir

Team USA Nets Eight Medals this Weekend

10 Nov

icenetwork.com | Notes

Starting Order/Results Page (Rostelecom Cup) | Starting Order/Results Page (Ice Challenge) | Twitter

Fantasy Skating

Team USA earned three medals, including one silver and two bronze, at 2012 Rostelecom Cup and added five more, two gold, two silver and one bronze, at 2012 Ice Challenge to bring the weekend total to eight.

Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series, concluded Saturday in Moscow with four free skates.

Gracie Gold, earned her first career Grand Prix medal, the silver, while teammate Agnes Zawadzki took home bronze. Finland’s Kiira Korpi won her second career Grand Prix gold, with 177.19 points. Gold, who made her career Grand Prix debut two weeks ago at Skate Canada, earned led after the short program with 62.16 points, the fourth-highest short program score of the season. Gold on her way to 175.03 total points, earned 115.64 for her “Life is Beautiful” free skate that featured a triple Lutz-triple toe and three level 4 spins. Each of Gold’s scores represent international personal best marks. Zawadazki, who edged her teammate for the gold medal at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September, earned 60.18 points for her “Sex and the City” short program. Her “Rhapsody in Blue” free skate, that earned 106.43 points, included three level 4 spins and a double Axel-double toe-double loop sequence worth 7.18 points. Her total for the week was 166.61 points. Caroline Zhang, in her third outing of the season, finished 10th and earned 138.21 points.

Richard Dornbush, in his Grand Prix season debut, placed sixth. The 2012 Finlandia Trophy silver medalist earned 210.89 points for the competition, including 143.45 for his free skate. Despite falling on his program-opening quad toe, Dornbush received huge points for his triple Lutz-triple toe combination (12.51) and triple Axel-double toe-double loop sequence (13.62). Dornbush’s U2 short program, worth 67.44 points, began with a beautiful quad toe that received a GOE of 1.29 and overall score of 11.59 points. Despite struggling on his other two jumping elements, Dornbush saw positive GOEs on his spins and step sequence. Standing atop the medals podium was Canada’s Patrick Chan, joined by silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka of Japan and bronze medalst Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic. Johnny Weir, who made his return to the Grand Prix circuit for the first time since 2010, withdrew due to injury prior to the free skate.

Caydee Denney & John Coughlin won their second bronze medal of the season, becoming the first U.S. pairs team to medal at two Grand Prix events since Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker did so in 2008. Their “Phantom of the Opera” free skate, which received a season-high 120.19 points, earned positive GOEs on 11 of 12 elements. The programs highlights included two level 4 lifts and a throw triple flip. They finished behind home country representatives Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Denney and Coughlin are also the 2012 Skate America bronze medalists, while Volosozhar and Trankov won gold at the same event last month. Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin finished sixth.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani also kicked off their season in Moscow, finishing fourth with a total of score of 140.91 points. The duo had to restart their “Memoirs of a Geisha” free dance, and after getting into rhythm turned in a performance that featured two level 4 lifts and level 4 twizzles. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir earned their second gold of the season, followed by a pair of Russia teams, Elena Ilinyhk & Nikita Katsalapov and Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan

In Graz, Austria, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir won their first international gold medal, totaling 175.86 points for the competition. Their win came by 40 points over teammates and silver medalists Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff. Castelli and Shnapir’s 18-point lead after the short program grew to the final margin after earning 114.42 points for their free skate. Their “Payadora” program featured side-by-side triple toes as well as a throw triple Salchow and a level 4 lift that earned 8.13 points. Donlan and Speroff, who nabbed their first international medal in Graz, earned 135.43 points for the competition and moved up from third place after the short program.

Douglas Razzano earned his second Ice Challenge silver medal (2010) with a total score of 204.62 points. He edged teammate Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who earned 200.01 points total. Gold went to Germany’s Peter Liebers. Razzano’s short program to Rachmaninoff’s music featured seven elements that received positives GOEs, including a triple Axel and level 3 and 4 spins and a level 4 step sequence. With 72.21 points, he led after the segment. Mahbanoozadeh also turned out a solid short worth 72.14 points. The program included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination that was the segment’s highest-scoring element at 11.27 points.

Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt earned their second consecutive Ice Challenge gold medal. They started the competition as the only team to break the 50-point mark in the short dance with 50.46 points. They went on to win Friday’s free dance by over 20 points, totaling 89.24 points for their program set to Adele’s music. The free featured four Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 step sequence. The duo was joined on the podium by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Mysliveckova & Neil Brown and Switzerland’s Ramona Elsener & Florian Roost. In their competitive debut, Anastasia Olson & Keiffer Hubbell finished 10th with 102.10 points.

Complete coverage of Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge is available on www.icenetwork.com.

2012 Rostelecom Cup, 2012 Ice Challenge Under Way

9 Nov

icenetwork.com | Notes

Starting Order/Results Page (Rostelecom Cup) | Starting Order/Results Page (Ice Challenge) | Twitter

Fantasy Skating

After earning three medals Friday at 2012 Ice Challenge, Team USA is poised to win several more Saturday at Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge.

From Moscow, 2012 Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series, began Friday.

Team USA is in first and third positions in the ladies event with Gracie Gold leading and Agnes Zawadzki not far behind. Gold, who made her career Grand Prix debut two weeks ago at Skate Canada, earned a short program score of 62.16 points, the fourth-highest short program score of the season. Her program included a triple flip-triple toe combination and three level 4 spins. Zawadazki, who edged her teammate for the gold medal at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September, earned 60.18 points for her “Sex and the City” short program. She also executed a triple-triple combination, with hers featuring a pair of toe loops. Finland’s Kiira Korpi, the 2012 Cup of China bronze medalist, sits between the Americans with 61.55 points. Caroline Zhang, in her third outing of the season, is in 10th place with 46.15 points.

Richard Dornbush, in his Grand Prix season debut, is in seventh place, but sits just nine points out of bronze-medal position with 67.44 points. Dornbush’s U2 short program began with a beautiful quad toe that received a GOE of 1.29 and overall score of 11.59 points. Despite struggling on his other two jumping elements, Dornbush saw positive GOEs on his spins and step sequence. With 85.44 points, Patrick Chan of Canada holds a nine-point lead over Russia’s Konstantin Menshov and Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka, who are in a tight race for second. In his first Grand Prix since the 2010 season, Johnny Weir is in 10th place.

Caydee Denney & John Coughlin are poised to win their second medal of the season. With 59.02 points, they are in third place behind home country representatives Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Denney and Coughlin are the 2012 Skate America bronze medalists, while Volosozhar and Trankov won gold at the same event last month. Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin sit in seventh place.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani also kicked off their season in Moscow. They are in fourth and earned 58.26 points for their short dance. They are less than two points behind the third place team of Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganzhin of Russia. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir lead with 70.65 points. They were gold medalists at Skate Canada. Shibutani and Shibutani debuted a short dance to music by The Incantations in Moscow.

Meanwhile, in Graz, Austria, Douglas Razzano earned his second Ice Challenge silver medal (2010) with a total score of 204.62 points. He edged teammate Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who earned 200.01 points total. Gold went to Germany’s Peter Liebers.

Razzano’s short program to Rachmaninoff’s music featured seven elements that received positives GOEs, including a triple Axel and level 3 and 4 spins and a level 4 step sequence. With 72.21 points, he led after the segment. Mahbanoozadeh also turned out a solid short worth 72.14 points. The program included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination that was the segment’s highest-scoring element at 11.27 points.

Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt earned their second consecutive Ice Challenge gold medal. They started the competition as the only team to break the 50-point mark in the short dance with 50.46 points. They went on to win Friday’s free dance by over 20 points, totaling 89.24 points for their program set to Adele’s music. The free featured three of Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 step sequence. The duo was joined on the podium by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Mysliveckova & Neil Brown and Switzerland’s Ramona Elsener & Florian Roost. In their competitive debut, Anastasia Olson & Keiffer Hubbell finished 10th with 102.10 points.

Going into Saturday’s free skate, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir hold a significant lead in the pairs competition. Their short program score of 60.44 points is nearly 18 points higher than that of second place team Danielle Montalbano & Evgeni Krasnopolsky of Israel. Americans Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff are in third place and trail place Montalbano & Krasnopolsky by just over a point.

Complete coverage of Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge is available on www.icenetwork.com.

Saturday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)

Rostelecom Cup

Ladies – 5 a.m.

Caroline Zhang – 5:07 a.m.

Agnes Zawadzki – 6:09 a.m.

Gracie Gold – 6:25 a.m.

Pairs – 6:50 a.m.

Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin – 6:57 a.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 7:38 a.m.

Men’s – 8:30 a.m.

Johnny Weir – 8:37  a.m.

Richard Dornbush – 9:02 a.m.

Ice Dancing – 10:30 a.m.

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – 11:14 a.m.

Ice Challenge

Pairs – 9:30 a.m.

2012 Rostelecom Cup – Guide

8 Nov

Thursday, November 8, 2012 – Moscow

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Notes

Starting Order/Results Page | Twitter

Photo Gallery | Fantasy Skating

The United States will send a large contingent of skaters to Moscow to take part in the fourth ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season. Most notably will be the return to the circuit of 2010 Olympian Johnny Wier, who, along with Richard Dornbush, Agnes Zawadzki and Maia and Alex Shibutani will make their season Grand Prix debuts. Returning to action will be Gracie Gold, Caroline Zhang and Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin who will look to improve upon their skates from earlier this year to land on the podium. Finally, the pair of Caydee Denney and John Coughlin will aim for a second medal this season and a spot at the Grand Prix Final.

Friday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)

Ladies – 6 a.m.

Gracie Gold – 6:07 a.m.

Caroline Zhang – 6:14 a.m.

Agnes Zawadzki – 6:27 a.m.

Pairs – 7:40 a.m.

Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin – 8:00 a.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 8:14 a.m.

Men’s – 10 a.m.

Johnny Weir – 10:07 a.m.

Richard Dornbush – 10:20 a.m.

Ice Dancing – 11:40 a.m.

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – 12:33 p.m.

Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge Notes

8 Nov

Click below to read competition notes for 2012 Rostelecom Cup and 2012 Ice Challenge

Champs Camp: Day 1 Nuggets

23 Aug

Here are some nuggets from day 1 of Champs Camp

Weir Shows his ‘Poker Face’

Away from competitive skating for two seasons, three-time U.S. champion and World medalist Johnny Weir is back. Although Weir promised a more “classic Johnny, very pretty with classical music” program for his free skate, he admitted he is going to push the envelope with his short program.

“My short program is ’Poker Face‘ by Lady Gaga, and Gaga herself actually gave me the piece of music so I was very excited about that,” Weir said. “Even if she’s not crazy tweeting about me all the time, her and her family wanted to support my comeback and what better way than to use her music.”

Sister, Sister

The ice dancing duo of Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are taking in everything they can at Champs Camp and enjoying the experience. The duo was the final addition to the Grand Prix Series as they were named to Skate America on August 10, and they found out through an unconventional mean.

“We found out through Twitter,” Cannuscio said. “And when we saw we were invited to Skate America, I screamed.”

Cannuscio’s sister, Isabella, competed at Skate America last year and her experience in 2011 has been great for Anastasia this season.

“Since Isabella got to go to Champs Camp two years ago and Skate America last year I have been asking her what it’s like and what we get to do,” Cannuscio said. “It’s nice having her there for advice because I like to ask a lot of things before I go somewhere so I know what to expect.”

Happy Birthday to…Both of You!

Although they have been skating together since 2006, the pairs team of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir have a connection that dates back to their births. The 2009 World Junior bronze medalists both celebrated their birthdays on August 20, as Marissa turned 22 and Simon 25. Some years though, having their birthday on the same day is more fun than others.

“This year we spent our birthday on a plane (to Champs Camp) sadly,” Shnapir said.

“Last year we had to do the Cranberry Open on our birthday and it was fun because all the judges stood up and sang to us. We always enjoy having our birthday around this time though because we get to see all of our friends at competitions.” Castelli added.

No Longer a Rookie

Last year, Douglas Razzano was a rookie on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series as a late entry to Skate America. Razzano was added to the roster for 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America on October 14 and performed his short program just seven days later. Although rushed, Razzano says he wants to take that same spontaneous mentality into his Skate America assignment this year.

“Last year was almost so spontaneous that there wasn’t any time to really stress out or have it get in my head,” Razzano said. “This year, I really want to pace myself and take my time and it’ll be what it’ll be, but I hope it’s good.”

Finishing 15th in 2010, Razzano has improved upon his finishes at the U.S. Championships by five positions each of the last two years, finishing fifth in 2012, and credits changes he made as the reason for the results.

“A few years ago I made a lot of changes and I am glad to finally see them pay off,” he said. “We are very resistant to change, we find something that works and we don’t usually like to stray away from that, but I took a big leap, did things a bit different and I am really glad to see it pay off.”

2012 Readers’ Choice Skater(s) of the Year Award (Michelle Kwan Trophy)

6 Jun

Every year SKATING magazine awards its Readers’ Choice Award chosen by fans and readers of SKATING magazine. It’s that time of year again and the voting has opened for the award, which is now named in honor of seven-time winner Michelle Kwan. Click below to vote and help name the 2012 Readers’ Choice Skater(s) of the year! Voting closes on July 15th and the winner will be announced in the August/September issue of SKATING, on the U.S. Figure Skating website and on icenetwork.com.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

Eligible skaters include:

  • The top five senior skaters in each discipline at the 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships
  • Medalists at the 2012 World Championships, medalists at the 2012 World Junior Championships
  • The top five senior teams at the 2012 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships
  • Medalists at the 2012 Synchronized Skating Junior World Challenge Cup
  • Medalists at the 2012 World Synchronized Skating Championships

Past Winners
2011 – Meryl Davis/Charlie White
2010 – Johnny Weir
2009 – Evan Lysacek
2008 – Johnny Weir
2007 – Miami University
2006 – Kimmie Meissner
2005 – Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto
2004 – Sasha Cohen, Haydenettes (tie)
2003 – Michelle Kwan
2002 – Michelle Kwan
2001 – Michelle Kwan
2000 – Michael Weiss
1999 – Michelle Kwan
1998 – Michelle Kwan
1997 – Tara Lipinski
1996 – Michelle Kwan
1995 – Todd Eldredge
1994 – Michelle Kwan
1993 – Scott Davis
1992 – Paul Wylie
1991 – Tonya Harding
1990 – Jill Trenary
1989 – Kristi Yamaguchi

U.S. Assignments Announced for 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series

21 May

The International Skating Union (ISU) announced today the athlete selections for the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The Grand Prix begins Oct. 21-23 with 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America from Seattle/Kent, Wash.

The Grand Prix Series, entering its 18th season, incorporates six international figure skating competitions as a unified point-scoring series that awards prize money to eligible skaters. At the conclusion of the series, athletes’ points are totaled, and the top six ladies, men, pairs and ice dancing teams are invited to compete at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The Grand Prix Final is scheduled for Dec. 5-9, 2012, in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The event will run concurrently with the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

Skate America will feature the four reigning U.S. champions including Ashley Wagner (ladies), Jeremy Abbott (men’s), Caydee Denney and John Coughlin (pairs) and Meryl Davis and Charlie White (ice dancing). Other notable competitors include Russia’s Alena Leonova, the 2012 World ladies silver medalist and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic, who is the 2011 Skate America champion. Pairs team Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, also of Russia, are two-time reigning World silver medalists.

Gracie Gold, the 2012 U.S. junior champion and World Junior silver medalist, will make her Grand Prix debut in the Series’ second event, Skate Canada. She will compete at Rostelecom Cup alongside Johnny Weir. Weir, a three-time U.S. champion and two-time Olympian, is set to return to competition for the first time since the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, when he takes the ice at Rostelecom Cup (Moscow) and Trophée Eric Bompard (Paris).

Two newly formed American pairs teams received one assignment each with Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan competing at Cup of China (Shanghai) and Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig skating at NHK Trophy (Miyagi, Japan). With the exception Davis, each skater competed on the Grand Prix Series with their previous partners.

The full list of Team USA’s assignments, as well as the full international lineup for Skate America, are below (listed alphabetically). Visit www.isu.org for the full list of selections across the Grand Prix Series.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America — Seattle/Kent, Wash. — Oct. 19-21

Ladies:

Rachael Flatt – Will make her fourth Skate America appearance; earned the silver medal in 2009, ‘10

Christina Gao – Made Gran Prix Series debut in 2011, placing fifth at Cup of China and 10th at Rostelecom Cup

Ashley Wagner – Makes Skate America debut as reigning U.S. and Four Continents champion

Men’s

Jeremy Abbott – Begins sixth Grand Prix Series with first-ever appearance at Skate America

Douglas Razzano – Placed seventh at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

Pairs

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – Finished fourth at 2011 Skate America in their Grand Prix debut

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – Only other international completion included a fourth-place finish at 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy

Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – Look for third consecutive Skate America gold; finished fourth in 2007

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt – Return to Skate America after finishing sixth in 2010

Skate Canada International — Windsor, Ontario — Oct. 26-28

Ladies

Gracie Gold – Is the 2011 JGP Estonia gold medalist

Caroline Zhang – Makes third Skate Canada appearance; finished fifth in 2008, eighth in 2009

Men’s

Ross Miner – Looks to improve on sixth-place finish in 2011

Pairs

Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker – Debuted on Grand Prix in 2011 with seventh-place showing at Skate America

Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin – Also competed on Grand Prix for the first time at 2011 Skate America (6th)

Ice Dancing

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue – Begin second season together; are the 2012 U.S. bronze medalists, finished 10th at 2012 World Championships

Cup of China — Shanghai — Nov. 2-4

Ladies

Mirai Nagasu – Makes fourth straight Cup of China appearance; reigning silver medalist; owner of two Grand Prix Series medals

Men’s

Adam Rippon – Starts fifth Grand Prix season; has won two Series medals

Pairs

Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan – First Grand Prix assignment as a partnership.

Ice Dancing

Madison Chock and Evan Bates – Begin second season; finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at 2011 Skate Canada and 2011 Trophée Eric Bompard

Rostelecom Cup — Moscow — Nov. 9-11

Ladies

Gracie Gold

Agnes Zawadzki – Competes at third straight Rostelecom Cup (fourth in 2010, seventh in ’11)

Caroline Zhang – Has competed on Grand Prix circuit since 2007; first appearance in Russia

Men’s

Richard Dornbush – Starts second Grand Prix season after finishing fourth at 2011 Skate America, sixth at 2011 Cup of China

Johnny Weir – Has medaled in four of five entries at Rostelecom Cup

Pairs

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin

Ice Dancing: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – Commence third Grand Prix season; have medaled at all four Grand Prix assignments, qualified for 2011 Grand Prix final and placed fifth

 

Trophée Eric Bompard — Paris — Nov. 16-18

Ladies

Ashley Wagner – Won bronze in only other appearance at this event (2007)

Men’s

Jeremy Abbott – Has won seven Grand Prix medals, including 2008 Grand Prix Final gold

Johnny Weir – Won 2004 Trophée Bompard title

Ice Dancing

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue – Finished sixth at 2011 Skate America in only other Grand Prix experience

 

NHK Trophy — Miyagi, Japan — Nov. 23-25

Ladies

Alissa Czisny – 2012 marks ninth Grand Prix season; finished sixth at only other appearance at NHK Trophy (2007)

Agnes Zawadzki – Finished eighth at 2011 NHK Trophy

Men’s

Richard Dornbush

Ross Miner – Reigning NHK Trophy bronze medalist

Adam Rippon – Placed sixth at 2009 NHK Trophy

Pairs

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – Placed seventh at 2011 NHK Trophy; have competed on Grand Prix since 2009

Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig – First Grand Prix assignment of their partnership.

Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker

Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – Won this event in 2009, ’10; placed fourth in only other appearance (2006)

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – Reigning NHK Trophy champions and 2010 bronze medalists

Weir Back in PA at Holiday Dreams on Ice

29 Dec

By Lynn Rutherford

Old and new friends nearly 7,000 miles apart gathered in Philadelphia the night before Christmas Eve to watch Johnny Weir headline the second annual Holiday Dreams on Ice, held at University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena.

The three-time U.S. champion and his parents, Patti and John, welcomed more than 60 well wishers from his hometown of Lancaster, PA, who bused into town especially for the show.  The Pennsylvanians met 20 of Weir’s Japanese fans visiting from Tokyo for a long holiday weekend in New York and Philadelphia, capped by front-row seats for the performances and a post-event party.

“I’m excited about this show; they literally ran out of printed tickets,” Weir said. “It’s my first time performing in Pennsylvania, my home state, in forever. I’m thrilled so many old friends are here.”

Weir gained standing ovations for an outrageous routine to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and his traditional holiday number “Ave Maria,” highlighted by special designs from Vincent DiGiorgio’s Digital Lighting, who created the Christmas lights for the White House this season.

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus kicked off the evening with a singing of “Sleigh Ride.”  More than 100 young local skaters hit the ice to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Former Israeli champion Tamar Katz, a student at Penn, skated to Adele’s “Someone Like You,” while 2010 U.S. silver medalist Brandon Mroz offered up two numbers: “Mack the Knife” and “Greased Lightening.”

Mroz is taking a short break from Colorado Springs to spend the holidays in his hometown of St. Louis.

“I can’t wait to see my grandmother,” he said.

Two-time U.S. bronze medalist Ashley Wagner shone in programs to Jessica Simpson’s “What Christmas Means to Me” and Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor.”

“I had the [“What Christmas Means to Me”] music before and I thought it was really cute,” she said. “I feel like a lot of Christmas stuff is kind of slow and I wanted something that was going to wake the audience up. I picked it a couple of years ago and then I just re-choreographed it [with Philip Mills]. I get bored with programs so if I have something new it’s much more fun to perform.”

Wagner took a short break from training under coaches John Nicks and Mills in California.

“I begged and pleaded Mr. Nicks, and then gave him no other option, but to let me go home for a week,” she said. “I am spending Christmas in Annapolis with my mom, my brother [Austin] and my boyfriend.”

“My dad is traveling right now for business, so it’s kind of a bummer not to have him home for the holidays, but I’m so excited to just slow down for a couple of days before getting back into training for nationals.”

Wagner, who hopes to win her first U.S. title next month at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, isn’t letting her guard down over the holidays.

“After Christmas I am going up and spending the rest of the trip in Philly, so I am training at University of Delaware for the rest of the week,” she said.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who is spending a quiet holiday with his parents in Virginia, performed “Summertime,” then unveiled a new Christmas number he choreographed just for the show to Michael Buble’s “Cold December Night.”

“I put it together quickly and had fun with it,” he said. “I had a great time. We had a long day full of practices and rehearsals but it was a great experience, it was a great crowd. There were a lot of enthusiastic kids who are just getting into skating. So it’s nice to see if we can kind of encourage some of the new skaters.”

For pictures, courtesy of Michele Mansoor, click here.

ITNY Honors Weir with Gala Benefit

23 Nov

By Lynn Rutherford

In October, skating luminaries joined many in New York’s business and philanthropic communities to honor Johnny Weir at Ice Theatre of New York’s 2011 Benefit Gala and Performance.

The three-time U.S. champion joined ITNY’s company on ice and then joined guests for an auction, dinner and testimonial and video retrospective of his career.

“Growing up, I remember always seeing these incredible people with the black sweatshirts and the white writing,” the Weir said of ITNY’s longtime iconic logo. “Nothing was more glamorous to me, then and now. I’m so honored to be invited to perform with these real ice people.”

“We honor Johnny Weir for being an enthusiastic supporter of artistic skating,” Moira North, ITNY’s founder and artistic director, said. “We so much appreciate all he has done, performance-wise, for ITNY over the years.”

In a brief acceptance speech, Weir shared his personal philosophy with attendees including Dick Button, Ken Shelley, Richard “Mr. Debonair” Dwyer, Aja Zanova Steindler and Tom Collins.

“Do what you believe in,” he said. “I hope you march to your own beat and everyone else can deal with it.”

The gala also honored Margarita Sears, founder of the Will Sears Foundation in the memory of her son Will Sears, winner of the 2002 U.S. novice title (with Katie Boxwell). The Foundation is devoted to assisting U.S. pairs reach their competitive potential.

In the days prior to its gala, ITNY held three performances at Sky Rink, reprising some old favorites and debuting three new pieces. The company included former U.S. competitors including two-time U.S. ice dance bronze medalist Brent Bommentre; three-time U.S. ice dance medalist Eve Chalom, who also acted as rehearsal director; and Jamie Silverstein, who won the 1999 World ice dance junior title with Justin Pekarek.

They found that despite their impressive competitive credentials, ITNY opened up whole new challenges.

“With the ice dancing I’ve done in the past, I didn’t have to match a group’s movements,” Silverstein said. “If I wanted to take an extra breath, I could. At ITNY it reads better if all the skaters look the same. You’re all pulling together to tell the story.”

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