Tag Archives: Rachael Flatt

Skate for Hope set for May 3

10 Apr

Olympic gold medalists Scott Hamilton and Sarah Hughes will join 12 U.S., World and Olympic figure skaters at the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Ice Arena on May 3 as guest emcees in this year’s Skate for Hope Awareness and Research Fundraising Show.

Hughes Hollendar

Sarah Hughes and Dan Hollander pose with a local skater at 2013 Skate for Hope                          (Keegan James Photography)

The show will also include local skaters of all ages who raise funds for cancer research to earn their spots in the cast. Skate for Hope is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to the goal of eradicating breast cancer. To date, Skate for Hope has raised more than $500,000 for breast cancer research.

Tickets for the star-studded show start at just $11 and are on sale through ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations, and at the Stroh Center Box Office.

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative, a partnership between Hamilton, who is a cancer survivor, and the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute where he was treated. CARES was created to promote cancer awareness and has raised millions of dollars for cancer research since its inception in 1999.

One of the most recognizable names in international figure skating, Scott Hamilton learned to skate at the BGSU Ice Arena. He returns to his hometown after serving as NBC’s lead figure skating analyst for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Skate for Hope utilizes figure skating, a sport that epitomizes women’s strength, to bring attention, resources, education and awareness to fight against breast cancer. Each year, Skate for Hope presents a spectacular production that celebrates the strength, courage and journey of all cancer survivors.

Skate for Hope’s mission is to:

  • Empower children and young adults to better cope with a friend or family member’s cancer diagnosis
  • Raise funding for clinical breast cancer research
  • Provide breast cancer education and awareness
  • Honor community cancer survivors

In addition to the two celebrity emcees, Scott Hamilton and Sarah Hughes, elite figure skaters headlining the show include:

  • Felicia Zhang & Nathan Bartholomay, 2014 Olympians, U.S. silver medalists
  • Max Aaron, 2013 U.S. champion, reigning U.S. bronze medalist
  • Rachael Flatt, 2010 Olympian, 2010 U.S. champion
  • Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, 2013 Canadian silver medalists
  • Caitlin Yankowskas & Hamish Gaman, 2014 British bronze medalists
  • Emily Samuelson, 2010 Olympian with former partner Evan Bates
  • Emily Hughes, 2006 Olympian, two-time U.S. silver medalist
  • Dan Hollander, World Professional champion

Please visit www.skateforhope.org for complete information.

Questions – Please contact Carolyn Bongirno at 614.531.9499 or bongirno@mac.com 

Third annual “An Evening on Ice” set for July 20 at the Toyota Sports Center

10 Jun

An all-star cast of athletes is scheduled to perform at “An Evening on Ice,” including 16 U.S. champions, six Olympians and five World and World Junior champions. Two performances are set for Saturday, July 20, at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, Calif., with all proceeds benefiting the U.S. Athletic Foundation.

Razzano_D_FS_027

Douglas Razzano, a recipient of U.S. Athletic Foundation funding, is set to skate in this year’s performance.

Now in its third year, “An Evening on Ice” strives to raise funds to support top competitive skaters who have demonstrated financial need, have a track record of success but who do not have other funding avenues available to them through the U.S. Athletic Foundation.

This year’s event, hosted by five-time U.S. pairs champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, will feature performances from 2006 World champion Kimmie Meissner, two-time U.S. champion Alissa Czisny, 2010 U.S. champion Rachael Flatt, 2012 U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, World Junior champion Joshua Farris and 2012 U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon. Also scheduled to take the ice are 2006 U.S. bronze medalist Emily Hughes and eight-time British champion Steven Cousins, among others.

The U.S. Athletic Foundation is a non-profit, donor-funded organization that offers financial management services to nationally and internationally competitive figure skaters. The foundation was envisioned by 2002 U.S. junior champion Nicholas LaRoche and his sister, Tricia. Working together, they created a training assistance fund to help promising athletes who are held back from their potential due to financial hardship. Among the beneficiaries of the fund are Czisny, two-time U.S. pairs silver medalist Mark Ladwig, Ice Challenge silver medalist Douglas Razzano and U.S. pewter medalist Courtney Hicks.

Tickets range from $35 to $105 and are available at the door or online at http://www.usathleticfoundation.org/events.html. Donations to the U.S. Athletic Foundation can be made online at http://www.usathleticfoundation.org/donations.html.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Sunday

21 Oct

Sunday, October 21st| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Recap

Competition has ended at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America on Sunday as Team USA claimed both of the gold medals of the day in the ladies and ice dancing events from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Ladies

In a battle that came down to the very end, it was two Americans, Ashley Wagner and Christina Gao, who stole the show at Skate America as Wagner earned her first ever Grand Prix Series gold medal and Gao earned her first ever Grand Prix medal of any color, silver, in the ladies event.

Leading after the short program, Wagner watched her teammate earn a score that was more than eight points higher than her personal best to take the lead just two skaters previous. The pressure was on, but Wagner delivered.

In a program which included six triple jumps and 11 elements that received positive marks, Wagner earned more points than she ever has in a Grand Prix Series free skate by more than 16. A 127.76-point effort in the free skate vaulted Wagner into the top spot by more than 14 points and to the gold medal with a final total of 188.37 points.

“Today went exactly as planned,” Wagner said. “I really fought for some of those jumps, but I was pleased with what I put out. For my first Grand Prix of the season, I was really happy with what I did.”

Gao, whose best finish in her two previous Grand Prix events was fifth earned the silver medal after she was third in the short program. She received the second-best mark of the competition for her free skate. A full-time student at Harvard University, Gao, who has finished in fifth place at each of the last three U.S. Championships, finished second with a personal best 174.25 points overall.

“Today was obviously pretty awesome,” Gao said. “I felt really good about it. It’s what I’ve been doing in practice every day. I told myself before I started to make it like practice. I did, and I got a medal, so I’m really happy. ”

In second after the short program, 2011 World Junior champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia earned 168.96 points overall to claim her third bronze medal at a Grand Prix event.

American Rachael Flatt finished in ninth place with 136.09 points overall.

Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis & Charlie White have done it again. With an emotional free dance to music from Notre-Dame de Paris, the Americans earned their third straight title at this event to open the season with a total score of 176.28 points. Always the perfectionists, Davis and White, while satisfied with the win in Kent, know there are improvements to be made.

“Charlie and I felt like our performances went quite well today. We had a couple little technical glitches here and there. We’re definitely looking to get our technical scores much higher,” Davis said. “Overall, it was a good start to the season and we’re on track to accomplishing our goals on the ice. We are thrilled with our performances and thrilled to perform them here at Skate America.”

They also noted the support they have received on their return trip to the Pacific Northwest, saying, “It was a great audience. We would like to thank everybody here in the Kent area for organizing everything and being so supportive.”

Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev moved up from third after the short dance to nab the silver medal, elevating their career Grand Prix medal count to five. They totaled 97.04 points for the free dance, en route to 159.95 overall. Their segment score was fractionally less than a career mark set at 2011 Cup of China.

The Russians, who have skated together since 2000, made their first coaching change of their career together last spring. They credit Olympic and World medalist coach Alexander Zhulin with helping their psychological approach to competition.

“The male perspective is different and the whole way of preparing, physically and mentally, is different,” Soloviev explained. “As a result, we’re much calmer going into competitions. The psychological side of our skating has changed a lot and made a strong impact. The technical aspect, the technique is completely different, too.”

Fourth place finishers at the 2012 World Championships, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada earned the bronze medal, their sixth career medal on the Grand Prix Series, with a total of 157.32 points.

Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt enjoyed the best Grand Prix finish of their career, placing fourth with 141.41 points, while teammates Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus finished seventh in their Grand Prix debut.

9:30 a.m.

Good morning from the final day from 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America! Today, the ladies and ice dancing competitions will come to their conclusions with Americans Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White leading their respective events. Here is how the day will shape up:

Free Dance – 2:40 p.m.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus – 2:46 p.m.

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giuliettie-Schmitt – 3:16 p.m.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – 3:40 p.m.

Ladies Free Skate – 4:15 p.m.*

Rachael Flatt – 4:22 p.m.

Christina Gao – 5:24 p.m.

Ashley Wagner – 5:40 p.m.

*NBC will air live coverage of the ladies free skate while icenetwork.com will air coverage from the ice dancing event and the first group of ladies.

Short Program Highlights

Click below to view highlight videos from the short program at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America:

Men

Ladies

Pairs

Ice dancing

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Saturday

20 Oct

Saturday, October 20th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Recap

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America has completed with medals being awarded in both the men’s and pairs events and the short program and short dance completed in ladies and ice dancing.  The entire competition will wrap up on Sunday with the ladies free skate and the free dance from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Men’s

The first medals of Skate America were earned with a Japanese podium sweep at an exciting men’s event. The top spot went to Takahiko Kozuka, with teammates Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida finishing second and third, respectively.

A downgraded quad toe as his only notable mistake, Kozuka won the free skate segment with 166.12 points and finished the event nearly eight points ahead of his competitors with a combined score of 251.44 points.

The rest of the field couldn’t keep pace, including Hanyu, who led after the short program with a world-record score of 95.07 points.

Hanyu placed third in the free skate, but held onto the silver medal after a 10-point lead following yesterday’s short program. He finished the event with 229.95 points.

Machida settled for bronze, despite finishing second in the free skate segment. Although he fell on his quad, Machida completed eight triple jumps, including two triple Axels.

Reigning U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, Armin Mahbanoozadeh and Douglas Razzano finished fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively.

Pairs

Together for just their second season and their third Grand Prix Series event, reigning U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin earned their first medal together, bronze at Skate America.

Skating to music from Phantom of the Opera, Denney and Coughlin earned a positive GOE on each of their elements except one as they posted the second-best total element score of the competition. Coughlin earned bronze at Cup of China in 2010, but this was Denney’s first medal on the Grand Prix Series. The duo who trains in Colorado Springs, Colo., earned a total of 178.22 points for the event.

After posting the top score in the short program, reigning World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov earned the gold medal after earning the top free skate as well. They finished with 195.07 points overall. Reigning Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang and Jian Tong earned the silver medal with 185.16 points.

Ladies

Making her Skate America debut, Ashley Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Ice Dancing

Looking to win their 10th straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps toward that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than one point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.”

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points, while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, are in seventh.

The competition wraps up on Sunday with the ice dancing free dance beginning at 2:40 p.m. and the ladies free skate at 4:15 p.m. The ladies free skate will be aired live on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America visit icenetwork.com.

4:06 p.m.

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America is under way with reigning American champions Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White in first place after the first session of the day. The men and pairs events will wrap up the competition on Saturday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Making her Skate America debut, Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion, is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Looking to win their 10th straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps towards that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than one point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.” 

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points, while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, are in seventh.

Later today, the men and pairs will perform their free skates with Americas Jeremy Abbott and Caydee Denney and John Coughlin each seeking a medal, in third after the short program.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America as well as live video of the competition available for free for all registered users, visit icenetwork.com.

9:13 a.m.

Good morning from the ShoWare Center on a big day at Skate America. Both the men and pairs will wrap up their events while the ladies and ice dancers will get their competition under way. If you missed anything from an exciting day one at Skate America, click here to view our posts from yesterday.

Saturday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)

Ladies – 3:30 p.m.

Rachael Flatt – 3:37 p.m.

Christina Gao – 3:44 p.m.

Ashley Wagner – 4:24 p.m.

Ice Dancing – 5:15 p.m.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus – 5:21 p.m.

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt – 5:28 p.m.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – 6:08 p.m.

Men – 10:00 p.m.

Douglas Razzano – 10:12 p.m.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 10:37 p.m.

Jeremy Abbott – 11:18 p.m.

Pairs – 12:10 a.m.

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – 12:17 a.m.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – 12:34 a.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 12:58 a.m.

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America is under way with American champions Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White in first place. The men and pairs events will wrap up Saturday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Making her Skate America debut, Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Looking to win their tenth straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps towards that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than a point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.” 

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut are in seventh.

The competition wraps up on Sunday with the ice dancing free dance beginning at 2:40 p.m. and the ladies free skate at 4:15 p.m. The ladies free skate will be aired live on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America visit icenetwork.com.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Friday

19 Oct

Friday, October 19th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Fantasy Skating (Deadline is tonight!)

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Friday Recap

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series is officially under way as the pairs and men each performed their short programs at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., on Friday. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan posted a world record short program to lead the men’s event while Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia lead in pairs.

Hanyu opened his season with the best short program in the history of the IJS scoring system at an ISU event as he posted a score of 95.07 points. He opened his program with a quad toe which earned a GOE of 2.00 and was nearly flawless throughout. The reigning World bronze medalist is in prime position to earn his second career Grand Prix Series gold medal.

“Ninety-five is an extremely high score and I wasn’t expecting it,” Hanyu said. “I want to concentrate on the free skate now. This is only part of the event and I want to control my thoughts until the very end.”

In second place, Takahiko Kozuka of Japan earned a personal best 85.32 points with a performance that included an opening quad toe and a triple-triple combination which earned 11.41 points. Kozuka, who finished 11th at last year’s World Championships has earned a medal at each of his four Grand Prix series events in the last two years.

American Jeremy Abbott is in third place with 77.71 points and was pleased with his performance overall. Abbott faltered on his opening quad toe, but landed a triple Lutz-triple toe which earned more than 11 points as well as earning the second highest score of the competition for his components.

“This was the first step,” Abbott said. “I did what I came here to do and I’m proud of myself for that. I got a pretty good score, better than a lot of my scores last season, so I just need to keep working on my consistency and keep building up from there.”

Despite a short program they admittedly had a hard time skating, Volosozhar and Trankov sit in first place going into the pairs free skate with 65.78 points. The program was highlighted by a level 4 lift which earned five points. On the flipside, they received uncharacteristic negative GOEs on their side-by-side triple Salchows and throw triple loop.

“We have to think about this because we had the same problem at the World Championships last year,” Trankov said. “We’re scared of our short program, we’re very nervous. We never feel this way about our free skate.”

Qing Pang and Jian Tong, who began their 13th Grand Prix season in Kent, are in second place with 61.96 points. The team has adjusted their training this season, down to four days a week from five or six in years past, in order to accommodate Tong’s sore knee.

“The biggest trouble that I have is my knee hurts when I skate. When I bend my knee when I’m skating, it hurts and doesn’t have the flexibility. I used to train 5-6 days a week, but now we’ve reduced it to four days.”

The duo is competing at Skate America for the first time since winning silver at the event in 2007.

Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin earned the highest technical mark of the segment, netting 33.14 of their 60.75 points on their “tricks.” Among the highlights were their twist and throw triple flip. The team, entering their second season, appreciated skating for a hometown crowd at Skate America, a privilege they also got last year.

“We’re always excited to compete at our home Grand Prix, Skate America. We’re excited to have a full season under our belts and it gives us a lot of confidence.”

Competition continues on Saturday with each of the four disciplines taking to the ice. The ladies begin the day with their short program at 12:30 p.m. PT while the ice dancing competition will get started shortly thereafter at 2:15 p.m. The men and pairs will each perform their free skate in the evening at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively.

For more information on 2012 Skate America, please visit icenetwork.com

For tickets to the remaining sessions, visit www.2012SkateAmerica.com.

2:45 p.m.

The ladies took to the ice for their last official practice and the field is stacked with former Olympians and reigning national and World medalists. The American contingent consists of reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, Rachael Flatt and Christina Gao who all have intriguing story-lines coming into this event.

Wagner, in her first Skate America, completing her ‘Grand Prix circuit’ (appearing at all of the six events) is truly enjoying her stay. Wagner took a trip to Seattle yesterday to participate in an online chat and she seems very relaxed coming into the Grand Prix Series opener. “I’m enjoying this,” Wagner said. “It’s strange though, it feels like a mini U.S. Championships since the set-up is so familiar but I see the Japanese girls walking around backstage and it reminds me where I’m at.”

For Flatt and Gao, this season is all about balance. As noted before, Flatt at Stanford and Gao at Harvard are balancing their skating careers with going to two of the most challenging and prestigious universities in the world. Flatt is a sophomore and is going through year two of this life, while Gao is a freshman, however, both are thriving.

“Skating has been pretty good, I am working hard and balancing school and skating well,” Flatt said “But it’s certainly been keeping me busy.” She added.

Gao, who is taking a full course-load at Harvard is getting settled into her new school life. “I am getting into a rhythm,” Gao said. “Everything is going well, school is going well, skating is going well and I am finding a balance that is working.”

Gao is the lone American planning a triple-triple combination, a triple toe-triple toe in her short program. The ladies will open their season on Saturday.

1:00 p.m.

Dramatic performances unfolded as the ice dancers showcased their short and free dances during today’s practice session. Fans in the stands were treated to their first glimpse of Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s  Notre-Dame de Paris  free dance as they took the ice in pursuit of their third straight Skate America victory. “We’ve been through a lot this season,” Davis said. “We’re trying to stand together both on and off the ice. We want to look like a unit when we step out onto the ice and we want everyone to take notice of that as soon as they see us, as soon as our names are called.”

Davis and White shared the ice with Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who debuted sections of their free dance set to music from The League of Extraordinary Dancers. Weaver and Poje, who came in fourth at last year’s World Championships are the only Canadian skaters to compete in Kent this week.

Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt had the audience clapping along to their short dance, set to the music of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, performed by Chris Isaak. “We feel really confident about our Yankee Polka section,” Giulietti-Schmitt said. “We know it’s going to be hard to get the levels we want at the first Grand Prix event of the season, but we’ve been working really hard on our technical ability, so we’re confident that we’re capable.”

Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt took the ice with their teammates Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who also performed their short dance to a medley of music by Willi Boskovsky and the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchestra. “We’ve had our rotational lift since last season, so we’ve really had a chance to perfect it,” McManus said. “I think it’s better this year because we found the perfect spot in our music for it.”

Skate America’s Honorary Chair, 2010 Olympic silver medalist Ben Agosto, attended the practices with several of his Seattle-area students, who got the chance to watch the world’s best ice dancers take the ice in their neck of the woods.

“We’ve got the sectional championships coming up pretty soon,” Agosto said. “I wanted to give them a chance to see the best and feel a push of motivation from it.”

The short dance competition will commence tomorrow afternoon, following the ladies short program.

What to Expect on the Blog Today?

Good morning from the ShoWare Center on Friday, the opening day of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. Tonight begins the first of six events held across the world that make up the Grand Prix circuit and it’s the pairs and men that will get the first edges in the ice. Prior to the competition, each of the four disciplines will have a final official practice and both the ice dancing and ladies will go through the media area for interviews. We will post short stories after each discipline has their practice session and a recap at the end of the day. Be sure to check icenetwork.com for more in-depth coverage including live video of the competition (Season Pass subscribers), blogs, articles, photos and more.

Friday’s Competition Schedule (Americans, ET)

Pairs

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – 10:07 p.m. – First team to skate

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – 10:20 p.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 10:41 p.m.

Mens

Douglas Razzano – 11:42 p.m. – First to skate

Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 11:49 p.m.

Jeremy Abbott – 12:35 a.m.

Emotional, uplifting moments shared at Skate for Hope

8 Aug

Participating in the Skate for Hope Rose Dedication Ceremony are Serafina Rees, Lee Harris, Emily Hughes, Natalie Bongirno, Lauren Muffley and Jeremy Abbott. Photo courtesy of Leah Adams

A cast of former and current U.S. champions and Olympians donated their time and talents for the ninth annual Skate for Hope (SFH) show, which benefits breast cancer research and awareness. Since 2004, SFH has raised more than $400,000 for the cause.

This year’s event, held June 16 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, featured performances by Ashley Wagner, Jeremy Abbott, Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker, Adam Rippon, Rachael Flatt, Emily Hughes, Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan, Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles, Alexe Gilles, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and Lee Harris.

About 120 amateur skaters from Central Ohio joined their heroes on the ice for the inspiring evening, which featured beautiful and emotional performances honoring breast cancer survivors who were seated in the front row.

Harris, Hughes and Abbott shared their common experience of their mothers being cancer survivors by participating in the Rose Dedication Ceremony with three of the younger amateur skaters.

“The audience was deeply moved seeing these elite athletes share the ice with three little skaters who have faced the same fears and challenges,” organizer Carolyn Bongirno said. “The show was upbeat and heartfelt throughout.”

For Harris, Hughes and Abbott, the evening proved to be an emotional one for them.

“This year was important for me to skate and dedicate my skating to my mum, alongside Caitlin Yankowskas, who graciously accepted my wishes to skate with me,” Harris said. “Being able to express my love and support for my mum through the gift that both my parents have given me with my skating was something I will never forget.”

Hughes’ mother, Amy, is a breast cancer survivor and an advocate for breast cancer research and awareness.

“This was my eighth year skating in Skate for Hope, and each year the show gets better and even more meaningful,” Hughes said. “It brings together great skating and breast cancer awareness, two things that kindle my passion. I believe everyone left the show that night wanting to contribute more to this cause. I know I did.”

Abbott’s mother, Allison Scott, is a survivor of skin cancer.

“It was a great show,” Abbott said. “It was my first time participating and I think it’s for a great cause. To be able to help support finding a cure was really amazing, and to meet these women and hear their stories was something really special and I’m glad I was part of it.”

SFH is a not for profit 501c3 charitable organization that donates its proceeds to the Stefanie Spielman Fund at the James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute and to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

SFH will celebrate its 10th anniversary in June 2013, with the goal of crossing the $500,000 milestone. To support Skate for Hope, visit skateforhope.org and to follow all announcements, Please “Like” SFH on Facebook.

 
Lee Harris and Caitlin Yankowskas offer a heartfelt moment during the show as Harris presents his mom with a yellow rose.
Photo courtesy of Leah Adams

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

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