Archive | April, 2013

Team USA Triumphs at 2013 ISU World Team Trophy

13 Apr

Twitter  #WTT13 | Event Page  | ResultsCompetition Notes

2013 ISU World Team Trophy | Tokyo

Congratulations to Team USA as they take home the gold medal from 2013 World Team Trophy. Team Canada won silver, while Team Japan earned bronze. The Americans have now medaled in each of the three World Team Trophy events (gold in 2009, silver in 2012).

“I couldn’t be more proud of Team USA,” team captain Ashley Wagner said. “Everyone went out and skated with their hearts and really pulled it together during a difficult time. It’s not easy to compete at the end of the season and a few weeks after Worlds. But here we are and everyone skated so well. I’m very proud.”

Simply put, Gracie Gold and Wagner were on fire for Saturday’s free skate with both ladies earning their best free skating scores of the season to propel Team USA to victory.

Wagner “overcame” an undone hair bun midway through her skate to earn 128.83 points for her final free of the season. She totaled 188.60 points and was second in the ladies event behind Japan’s Akiko Suzuki.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I’m tired. It’s been a long season. But season’s best at the last competition of the year, I can’t be happier. Even with the hair mishap, it was a fun program for me more than anything else.”

Gold was equally strong in her performance and finished just behind Wagner with 188.03 points (also a personal best). Her free skate was worth 127.05 points. As Gold looks toward the Olympic season, she hopes to increase her second mark and become more consistent throughout the season.

“I need to work on choreography and have more intricate programs,” she said. “I also need to work on doing the same thing at every competition with less up and downs. Just ups – good performances for next year.”

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir finish fifth with 172.30 points. The duo attempted their first ever competitive quad Salchow. Though Castelli fell, they take the confidence with them of putting it out in competition.

“I thought it was a great program,” she said. “It’s our first time putting out the quad Salchow. I went for it, it’s been good in practice. We are happy with how we skated overall.”

Due to their schedules, Castelli and Shnapir have had the most Team USA cheer time with Castelli choreographing many of the team’s Kiss and Cry celebrations.

“The week has been great. I never expected it to be this fun,” she said. ”

The 2013 U.S. pairs champs will take a few weeks off before beginning their title defense.

Said Shnapir, “We are going to take a couple weeks to relax. We will reconvene, get back into it and get our programs in May. It’s a quick turnaround. We’re ready for it though.”

Madison Chock and Evan Bates maintained their first-place standing after the short dance to win the event and earn 12 points toward Team USA’s final score. Max Aaron added nine points for his fourth-place finish and Jeremy Abbott seven for his sixth-place showing.

Team USA officially begins the offseason tonight, but there will be little rest as our athletes will soon begin, if they haven’t already, preparation for the all-important 2014 Olympic season!

“The Fabulous Ice Age” to premiere at Minnesota International Film Festival this weekend

12 Apr

The Fabulous Ice Age, a documentary film depicting the era of great American touring ice shows, is set to make its world premiere at the Minnesota International Film Festival at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis, Minn.Holiday on Ice skaters in 1944.

Produced and directed by Keri Pickett, The Fabulous Ice Age chronicles American touring ice shows as they dominated live entertainment and one skater’s quest to preserve the history of these shows for generations to come. A project seven years in the making, Pickett’s film represents an era of figure skating in which pomp and flair took center ice, delighting audiences across the nation for decades.

The film features never-before-seen footage, photographs and rare archival material that introduces its viewers to a handful of performers, producers and entrepreneurs who helped turn ice skating shows into prime family theatre.

For more information or to join the film’s mailing list, visit

Dartmouth College Hopes to Defend Title on Home Ice at 2013 Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships

12 Apr

By Kristin Zinsmeister

Reigning intercollegiate champion Dartmouth College could be the team-to-beat heading into the 2013 Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships. Last year, the team soared above their competitors, earning 130 points, 33 more than second place. Dartmouth’s domination, however, is not a new occurrence. Since 2004, the team has won the Intercollegiate Championships five consecutive years from 2004-08, and hold more intercollegiate titles than any other team. This year, Dartmouth will seek to defend their title on home ice as the event will take place at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., April 13-14.

“Skating on home ice will be nice for our team because we will have so much support from our friends, family and alumni who will be attending the event. This will give the skaters comfort and confidence, which we hope will bring out their best performances,” Dartmouth’s coach, Jacki Smith, said.

The “Big Green” team will be challenged by two former intercollegiate champions, Boston University (2009-10) and the University of Delaware (2002, ’11), as well as the 2012 intercollegiate pewter medalists, University of California, Berkeley.

To prepare, Dartmouth’s skaters have undergone a training program that emphasizes physical strength and team unity.

“We are continuing and improving our training regimen that we instituted last year before the Intercollegiate Championships, which included interval training, power sessions and partner training. Off-ice, we stress the importance of team cohesion, and skaters spend a lot of time with each other.”

The skaters build off-ice relationships by studying, eating and rooming together, which fosters the camaraderie that contributes to Dartmouth’s on-going success as a competitive team.

In addition to strengthening team unity, the friendships built among team members offer a release from the stresses of college life, a benefit Smith sees first-hand.

“Skating with the team has become a cornerstone experience for all of our skaters here at Dartmouth. The intercollegiate program allows skaters to pursue something they have loved from an early age in a setting that puts school first. Skaters can come to the rink and let go of anything that is happening away from the ice.”

This love for skating shines through as each of Dartmouth’s team members perform with a smile and a determination that bode well for earning intercollegiate titles. However, the team’s goal for the 2013 Intercollegiate Team Championships focuses on performance over placement.

“Our primary goal for the Intercollegiate Championships is to skate with no regrets, both individually and as an overall team. We want our skaters to be proud of their progress and all of the effort they put in this season.”

The Intercollegiate Team Championships is the culmination of the intercollegiate competition season. To qualify, teams must participate in three conference events and earn the most points in their respective sections (Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast). Approximately 30 colleges entered the series and the top three from each section qualify.

To learn more about intercollegiate skating, visit

The 2012 champions, Dartmouth College.

The 2012 champions, Dartmouth College.

World Team Trophy: Day 2

12 Apr

Twitter  #WTT13 | Event Page   |  Schedule   |   ResultsCompetition Notes

2013 ISU World Team Trophy | Tokyo

Cheers, chants and lots of laughs ensued as World Team Trophy continued from Yoyogi Stadium Friday. Team USA is poised to win its second World Team Trophy gold medal (2009) as, through the free dance, men’s free and ladies and pairs short program, the athletes have put their team in first place. Team Canada and Team Japan, which is competing here without a pairs entry, are in second and third, respectively. The pairs and ladies events conclude tomorrow when a winning team will be crowned.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were the last members of Team USA to take the ice, presenting their short program today for the last time this season. They suffered a fall on their side-by-side triple Salchows but otherwise had a strong outing to earn 57.18 points.

“It was a great time,” Shnapir said. “We wanted to have fun our last time out with this program. I made a mistake on the Salchow, and that caused us some points. All-in-all, I felt good about the program.”

Castelli and Shnapir spent several quality hours cheering on their teammates during the first day of competition since they didn’t skate until today. Like many of the other skaters here, they are enjoying the team atmosphere and the support that comes with it.

“It’s great. We have never had our own little kiss and cry,” Castelli said. “It’s fun to show our spirit and motivate our skaters and push them along with us. It’s a long season and it’s great to work as a team.”

Madison Chock and Evan Bates maintained their first-place standing after the short dance to win the event and earn 12 points toward Team USA’s final score. They earned a season’s best score of 98.37 points in the last showing of their “Dr. Zhivago” free dance. Their total score equaled 164.91 points.

Chock said, “We’re very happy with that. We’ve been working on this program since July and we’ve seen it progress through the year.”

The team will now turn its attention to their ultimate goal of making the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team and announced they will skate their 2013-14 free dance to music from “Les Miserables.”

“Our goal is to make the Olympic Team and everything else falls in behind that goal,” Bates said simply.

Max Aaron executed a solid free skate that featured two quads, one in combination to lead Team USA in the men’s event with a total score of 236.62 points. He finished fourth in the event.

Of his U.S. championship season, Aaron said, “It was learning experience, but yet again, it was tough because I was up there with the top guys. There was no learning curve. I had to jump in and represent my country. I took the challenge well.”

Jeremy Abbott finished sixth after setting season’s best scores in the free skate and overall. Following the free, for which he earned 151.60 points, Team USA did their best dramatics in the Kiss and Cry, first singing and then humming some of the lyrics to his music from “Les Miserables.”

Like everyone here, Abbott now looks to building into the 2014 Olympic season, when he hopes to become a two-time Olympian.

“I’m happy to get a season’s best. Sad it wasn’t better,” he said. “It’s been a tough go for me this season. I’m finally starting to get things back together. I was pleased with the performance, not super excited, but pleased. It’s a start for next season. I feel I’m in good shape and I want to continue to now and not go down.”

Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi won the men’s event. Team Russia suffered an unfortunate withdrawal when Konstantin Menshov had to take himself out of the competition. He suffered an apparent shoulder injury during his free skate.

A pair of World Team Trophy veterans are representing Team USA in the ladies event. Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner are in third and fourth places, respectively, after the short program. Team captain Wagner and Gold had the day off from skating, but fully supported Team USA from the American cheering section.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pairs free – 2:15 a.m.

Castelli and Shnapir: 2:22 a.m.

Ladies free – 3:50 a.m.

Wagner: 5:07 a.m.

Gold: 5:15 a.m.

Our Time in London

11 Apr

Editor’s Note: For the last 16 years, Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White have traveled the world together, supporting their children from their first steps as a team to becoming the faces of American ice dancing. In March, Meryl Davis and Charlie White claimed their second World Championships gold medal, making them not only the first U.S. ice dancing team to win one title, but two. Here, Jacqui shares their experiences at the event.


By Jacqui White

There are moments that are beyond words. Moments that can only be understood on an emotional level. I have to admit, I had a very hard time writing this blog about my experience at the World Championships in London, Ontario.. I just couldn’t put into words the emotional roller coaster that I experienced at this event. It took me a while to sort it out before I could put fingers to keyboard.

Right off the bat, we started on a different path by driving instead of flying the 139 miles to London in three different cars: Cheryl with Meryl, Charlie alone in his car and me with the Finnish team.

We dropped the skaters off at the Hilton Doubletree, where Cheryl and I picked up our bus passes before heading over to check out our hotel, which was about 10 minutes away. We weren’t sure what to expect when we came around the winding road and long drive to the Windermere Manor, but Cheryl and I share a love of old, quaint places with character, and that’s exactly what our hotel was. It was perfect.

In a separate wing of the building was a cafe that had a sun room with a lovely tree-filled view and a cozy indoor area with a fireplace. Of course, the food was terrific and, as we discovered all over London, the people couldn’t do enough to please us.

Cheryl had visited family in London many times, so she acted as my tour guide when we drove the route to our kids’ hotel twice a day. I would describe it as “Old London” meets the down-home charm of Mayberry, USA, with lots of mom and pop shops and restaurants.

We traveled on the bus with the skaters to the practice sessions and things couldn’t have gone better. Meryl and Charlie skated their programs beautifully and so did all of the other dance teams (at least in my humble opinion). We tried our best to enjoy this moment before the competition started.

On the day of the short dance, Cheryl and I rode the bus to the arena. Meryl’s dad, Paul, was to meet us there.

Cheryl and I were nervous wrecks. We gave our kids good luck hugs and headed inside to watch. The Budweiser Garden was packed and the crowd was warmed up by the time we took our seats. We sat with the family, which is rare. Everyone that has been to competitions with Cheryl and me knows that you can’t speak to us. It’s a rule; we cannot abide anyone interrupting our focus on the skating, except each other. We whisper back and forth throughout the event. I call out the scores while Cheryl jots them down on a scrap of whatever she has on hand. This is mainly to have something to do to help handle our nerves.

It’s funny how 15 years of competition hasn’t helped us. We’re even more nervous now than when they started competing. Fortunately, our families are very kind and understanding of our nervous quirks.

The crowd was warm and cheered for all the skaters as they went through their short dances and cheered wildly when the fifth warm-up group came onto the ice. This group included both Canadian teams and Meryl and Charlie.

Cheryl and I glanced at each other; Meryl and Charlie were skating first in their group. My heart was in my throat and Cheryl was nervously tapping her foot. The Giselle music began and we held our breath. Time stood still while I watched my son skate across the ice with his delicate partner, lifting her and spinning her around effortlessly and beautifully to the music. Then they stood in the center of the ice for the cheering crowd. They knew and we knew they had skated well, the way they had trained, and it showed on their smiling faces. Cheryl and I jumped up and hugged each other with relief and tears.

Meryl and Charlie won the first round, the short dance, but we knew it was far from over so we rejoiced like there was no tomorrow.

Friday night, Paul, Cheryl and I had dinner with our friend and seamstress, LuAnne, and her sister, Bonnie, at our cafe. We ate, drank and laughed for hours until everyone else was gone. The cafe staff was great and encouraged us to stay as long as we wanted. We stayed very late because we knew the next day we faced the free dance.

Saturday, reinforcements arrived in the form of my husband, Charlie. He brought our daughters, their husbands and our grandkids Avery and Vince (big fans of Meryl and Charlie). I welcomed the extra support and voices for cheering.

Paul and Charlie rode the bus with us and the skaters to the arena, but my nerves were not feeling better. They went to sit with the family and some loyal friends.

Cheryl and I took our seats; we were on our own. Our hearts rode on the edges of their blades. We felt every edge and glide in our souls. We, “the moms,” have been on this ride with them from the start. We know what this meant to them. At that moment, it meant the world.

With the first strains of music, the arena was quiet. Cheryl and I were hanging on by a thread as our kids skated through their free dance with speed and passion. We had faith in them even though we couldn’t breathe. They finished their program exhausted and exhilarated to a standing crowd and skated to their coach, Marina. They awaited their scores with that face of innocent anticipation.

There. They had done it. They won the World Championships. Cheryl and I danced and cried in each other’s arms awhile before we turned to our phones to call the dads.

It’s an emotional roller coaster. One we wouldn’t trade for the world.

2013 World Team Trophy: Day 1

11 Apr

Twitter  #WTT13 Event Page   |  Schedule   |   Results

Competition Notes

2013 ISU World Team Trophy | Tokyo

The fun began Thursday afternoon at Yoyogi Stadium, home of 2013 World Team Trophy. Team USA opened to great results and is tied for first place with Japan.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates won the short dance by about three points, totaling 66.54 points for their “Quidam” performance. The 2013 U.S. silver medalists are having a great time in their first World Team Trophy.

“It’s unlike any other competition I’ve experienced ever,” Bates said. “The atmosphere is infectiously fun. It’s not like a normal skating competition in the way that everyone is cheering for each other. Everyone is excited. It’s the last hurray.”

For more of Bates’ musings through the weekend, check out his blog.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir don’t begin competition until Friday so they were full time cheerleaders, along with many of Team USA’s coaches. Castelli even started the wave during the ice dance warm up.

After the short dance, Shnapir quipped, “My hands are very red after clapping along to all six teams’ short dance music. I watched the most short dance I ever have at one time, it was fun.”

The men’s standings are close with Jeremy Abbott in fourth place and Max Aaron in sixth. Abbott is separated from Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi, in second place, by about 0.6 points.

Abbott, competing for the first time since the U.S. Championships in January, earned 80.24 points for his spy-themed short program. His performance included a triple Lutz-triple toe and a beautiful triple Axel. A three-time World Team Trophy competitor, Abbott has been working hard to stay in shape since his third-place finish back in January.

“After nationals, I started very hard in the gym and completely changed my diet,” he said. “I have been sore for about two months straight. I’ve been working very, very, very hard. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve never felt so comfortable doing a long program in training. I came into this event very seriously, this was my world championships since I didn’t get the opportunity to go.”

Aaron came very close to breaking his season’s best score and totaled 77.38 points in the short program. He opened with a 13.09-point quad Salchow-double toe combination and continued to skate clean from there.

“I had a good time out there,” he said. “I want to finish the season strong. I actually wanted a season’s best, I didn’t reach that, but it makes me go back and look at what I need to focus on.”

Patrick Chan of Canada won the short program with 86.67 points.

A pair of World Team Trophy veterans are representing Team USA in the ladies event. Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner are in third and fourth places, respectively.

Skating to “Hernando’s Hideaway” for the last time this season, Gold earned 60.98 points. After falling on the second half of her triple Lutz-triple toe combination, the 2013 U.S. silver medalist rebounded for a solid program.

“It was pretty good. Not perfect,” she explained. “I probably should have done a triple Lutz-double toe. It’s the last competition of the season, I’m a little bit tired. I had a lot of fun and the crowd is so supportive. I’ve been working on my choreography since worlds, even more than my jumps. The components score really reflected that.”

Wagner was intent on putting a triple-triple jump combination into her short program, and did so today. She skated a great program, with the exception of a near-fall on the double Axel, a mistake she also made last year at this competition. Wagner, who is the team captain, shook off the mistake and was happy with meeting her goal of executing the triple-triple.

“I got the triple-triple out there, and that’s really what I was focusing on more than anything else,” she said. “Then going into the Axel, I was thinking, ‘don’t repeat last year.’ I’m happy with what I did. I really wanted to do the triple-triple, I got it out there and I’m happy.”

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pairs short – 3 a.m.

Castelli and Shnapir: 3:14 a.m.

Free dance – 4:25 a.m.

Chock and Bates: 5:17 a.m.

Men’s free – 6 a.m.

Aaron: 7:05 a.m.

Abbott: 7:21 a.m.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pairs free – 2:15 a.m.

Ladies free – 3:50 a.m.

Wagner: 5:07 a.m.

Gold: 5:15 a.m.

2013 ISU World Team Trophy Viewer’s Guide

10 Apr

Useful Links

Twitter  #WTT13 Event Page   |  Schedule   |   Results

Competition Notes

2013 ISU World Team Trophy | Tokyo

Competition at the 2013 ISU World Team Trophy begins Thursday, April 11, with the short dance and men’s and ladies short programs. Team USA features several new faces to World Team Trophy, including 2013 U.S. pairs champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir U.S. men’s champ Max Aaron. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who won U.S. silver in January, will compete in the ice dance event. As for the alunni, two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, 2013 U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold and three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott will compete in Tokyo.

In 2012, Team USA took home the silver medal. Team USA was victorious in the inaugural World Team Trophy in 2009.

The ISU will stream the event live here. The six best national figure skating teams of the 2012-13 season will perform. Based on the scoring scale used for the ISU World Standing points, the six teams qualified for this event are Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia and the USA. For the first time a team event, which differs slightly to the ISU World Team Trophy format, will be included in the program of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. To read a comparison of World Team Trophy and the Olympic Team Event, click here.

Each skater/couple will compete with a short program/dance and free skate/dance. In each discipline, the top ranked skater(s) earns 12 points, the second ranked skater/couple receives 11 points and so on. The last ranked single skater gets one point, the last pair/ice dance couple gets 7 points. These points are added together to determine the winning team.

Daily Schedule (All times Eastern)

Thursday April 11, 2013

Short dance – 2:15 a.m.

Chock and Bates: 2:47 a..m.

Men’s short – 3:35 a.m.

Aaron: 4:02 a.m.

Abbott: 4:48 a.m.

Ladies short – 5:40 a.m.

Gold: 6:13 a.m.

Wagner: 6:53 a.m.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pairs short – 3 a.m.

Castelli and Shnapir: 3:14 a.m.

Free dance – 4:25 a.m.

Men’s free – 6 a.m.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pairs free – 2:15 a.m.

Ladies free – 3:50 a.m.


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