From Dick Button, “Push Dick’s Button”–Skating Behind the Iron Curtain

Otto and Maria Jelinek had left Prague with their parents, settling in Canada when the Russians took over Czechoslovakia. They were scheduled to compete as members of the Canadian team in the pair skating event [at the 1962 World Figure Skating Championships, held in Prague]. According to Czechoslovakian law, every male citizen was required to serve in the army, and any male who had fled the country was still considered to be a citizen and subject to army subscription, and in their view this … [Read more...]

Kurt Browning’s Humility, Nicole Bobek’s Radiance, And Heteronormativity on Ice!

Last night I saw the Halloween on Ice tour in Richmond, VA. Because this is a full-service blog I will give you my impressions. The main thing is that you absolutely should go if you are in the market for a good old-fashioned skating cheesefest.Shawn Sawyer was the MVP. He's so much fun, and seems to have a gift for weird, creepy skating programs. Tons of cool extension moves and spirals and spins.Nicole Bobek did her aerial hoop thing, plus her characteristically beautiful spirals. Also … [Read more...]

Toller Cranston Skates for Mexico: A Fever Dream

One reason I loved the Mountain Goats' new album Beat the Champ so much is that it speaks about a kid projecting his own emotional turmoil onto the storytelling sport of pro wrestling, in a way which deeply resonated with my experience projecting my own emotional turmoil onto the storytelling sport of figure skating. If I made my own sports concept album it would be Toller Cranston Skates for Mexico, and it would be about, mostly, the Lillehammer Olympics, which allowed skaters who had left … [Read more...]

Judging the Costumes at the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships

some glorious moments in this (YES, Javier Fernandez as Gaston, MAKE THIS HAPPEN!) although I wish they'd noted that whatever you may think of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva's artistry (if that's what we're calling it), she hit a phenomenal triple axel and generally gave a really gritty, fiery performance. Also she rocked that muumuu.Link via Libresco. … [Read more...]

Marian Skating for the Feast of the Assumption

Can I find figure skating for every occasion? I CAN TRY.Natalia Annenko and Genrikh Sretenski:Oksana Baiul:Peggy Fleming, especially appropriate for this feast:Rudy Galindo, likewise:Carolina Kostner:Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov:Elena and Oleg Protopopov:Johnny Weir:Now go to church! … [Read more...]

American Ice Theater in Chicago: “The Kind of Show Skating Needs”

I went to Stars on Ice last week and I loved it! But I really wish I could go to this show, on May 31: ...American Ice Theatre's goal is to make artistic skating and ice theatre accessible to everyone - both skaters and audiences. "It is a model that can extend the life of a skater and allow for more career opportunities. There are talented national and world level skaters that don’t make the Olympic team yet are beautiful to watch artistically. We are an artistic outlet for skaters to continue … [Read more...]

“Flying Camels, Butterflies, And Twizzles”: In Which I am a Sports Correspondent

for the American Spectator: In early January, I attend my very first professional sports competition. The U.S. National Figure Skating Championships have already been going on for four days; the event sprawls over four disciplines and five age categories. I’m at Boston’s TD Garden to watch the senior men, including the two men we’ll be sending to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.Sport, like art, uses the limited body to hint at a world without limits. The ball soaring over the stands, the runne … [Read more...]