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Apr. 24th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

In Arsene We Trust

 
"The facts are the facts. I feel the players have had an outstanding attitude during the whole season and they are not to blame. If there is someone to blame, it is me. I pick the team and I choose the players. For me, the players [have] had an outstanding attitude all season."

Arsene Wenger


I love how fiercely Arsene protects his squad. He is not perfect, but I admire him so much for fighting for them. To look like a fool for them, to take the blame from them. I hope our players understand that and make their gratitude known to him. I appreciate the apologies the Gunners make to the fans, but if any man deserves an apology it's him, not us.

Apr. 2nd, 2011

WC'06, Holland

This is a VCU appreciation post

 It's a rare for me to be able to cheer for Virginia, much less Richmond, teams seeing as we don't have any, so you can't believe how happy I was when I heard VCU were in this year's NCAA basketball tournament. Even though I do enjoy the sport, I don't regularly follow basketball. This didn't stop me from absolutely bursting with pride the last couple of weeks cheering on my hometown and its school(s). Up until the Sweet 16, the University of Richmond was also still in the tourney making us the only city with two teams in that round.

You can't possibly comprehend how proud I am to be from Richmond right now. I AM SO PROUD OF OUR GUYS. And as you will see, so is the rest of Richmond. VCU got so much stick from everyone about "deserving" to be in this competition, but we have more than showed that we belong here. Not only that, but for a town of our size this is huge for us. And we're absolutely over the moon that our boys have made it this far.

We play against Butler in the Final 4 tonight. The FINAL FOUR. And it was only the first time in school history that we had made it to the Sweet 16! Amazing stuff. It's going to be Ram Nation all the way, baby! We ain't finished in this tourney yet!
-------------------------------------

The celebrations on Broad St during the early hours of March 26 - right after we had beaten FSU in a nail-biter Sweet 16 appearance. 72-71 in overtime and we booked our place in the Elite 8.


The celebrations around Richmond after this past Sunday's game. 71-61 over Kansas and we were going to the Final 4.

Athena showing her black and gold pride.


The people at the Dominion building showing their support. I told you the whole city has been buzzing.


I so wish I could be in Richmond right now. To experience this kind of solidarity amongst fellow Richmonders would be amazing.


I think this is in New York? Hah, who cares! This is awesome.


I think regardless of whether or not we win, Richmond will be a very proud city tonight. GO RAMS!
(This is from a Whole Foods store in Richmond)


 
There are so many awesome videos on the VCU Athletics YouTube page, including the celebration at Siegel Center in Richmond immediately after our win over Kansas. 
 
Plus, check out Leonardo DiCaprio sporting a VCU cap. Apparently, this was taken a few weeks ago during a Lakers game. Leo just keeps on proving why he is a perfect man.

Whatever happens tonight, I will be a proud Richmonder.
LET'S GO RAMS! 

Mar. 27th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

International Round-Up

Euro Qualifier: Hungary 0-4 Netherlands
Van der Vaart 8', Afellay 45', Kuyt 54', Van Persie 62'

I missed the game live on Friday, but I downloaded it and liked what I saw. Hungary barely troubled us and I don't even think we were even firing on all cylinders. We're slowly shedding the 'thug' image we've picked up since the World Cup and this game certainly helped that along. Not to discredit a 4-0 victory as not being a rout, but I do hope we do a proper rout in Amsterdam on Tuesday. Five or six goals would be nice. ;)
 


Euro Qualifier: Germany 4-0 Kazakhstan 
Klose 4', 88', Müller 25', 44'
 
I know as an Oranje fan I can't really be supporting Germany, but I do find my love for Die Mannschaft growing by the day. Love their players, love their fans, love their style. Surely there are plenty of people who support both? Considering similar cultures and geographical nearness I'm sure there are quite a few people who have connections to both countries. Besides, I think the Germans were cheering us on against Spain in the WC final last year.
 
I love the way the Germans always play like they're looking for a rout. Even if they don't manage to score all those goals, they still make plenty of chances for themselves and play the non-stop attacking and incredibly direct football. Compare that to Spain's possession football. Whenever I watch Spain I'm never convinced they'll get anything but a 1-0 win, which to me isn't as exciting no matter how pretty your passing is. Didn't they win the World Cup on 1-0 wins? Honestly, I know which kind of game I'd prefer to see.
 

Love this picture. Arne was on the bench today.

 
Friendly: USA 1-1 Argentina
Agudelo 59'; Cambiasso 42'
 
I'm always so proud to support the USMNT and our 'never say die' attitude. So proud. 
 
The first half was all Argentina, but we certainly held on. I was pretty impressed with our defense and organization. Argentina were channeling their best Barcelona impression and we held them off for almost the entire first half. In the second half Jonathan Spector came off for Timothy (Timmy) Chandler and Jermaine Jones came off for Juan Agudelo. Chandler was one of the newbies at this camp. He's a German-American that plays in the Bundesliga and he made quite an impressive debut tonight. He gave a lot of positive plays and good crosses coming out from the back - something we didn't see much of when Spector was playing. Agudelo was pretty much the player of the second half aside from Howard. Man, what a talent he is. He has a good poacher's instinct and linked up well with Altidore. Jozy isn't a strong enough striker to play the lone striker role effectively, but he improved when Juan came on in the second half which was great to see. I can't believe he has less than 10 caps for club and country combined. In his three USMNT caps he's scored a winner against South Africa, scored an equalizer against Argentina, and created a penalty. He'll certainly be huge for us in the years to come. Can't wait to see Teal Bunbury back with the squad and see what he can do with Agudelo as well.
 


Had to do this one last, because there are a few Ramsey pics...
Euro Qualifier: Wales 0-2 England
Lampard (pen) 7', Bent 15'

The early (soft) penalty was the worst start for Wales. Wales played pretty poorly on the day, though. They created a little more during the second half, but never really looked like they would be getting anything out of the game. It pained me to see Aaron struggle to influence the game in the first half as he gave the ball away quite a few times. His match sharpness is still a ways away and I would be lying if I said I had absolutely no doubts that he'll get back to the player he was before the injury. That said, I do believe he will (contradiction much?) and we'll see that next season. I do want this so badly for Aaron. Ramsey looked a little better in the second half, though. A lot of positive moves and drives forward - his touch and passes just let him down a little.


 
I was literally bursting with pride when I saw him in the tunnel with that armband on. I can't even describe it, which is ridiculous considering he has absolutely no relation to me. This kind of feeling is generally reserved for friends and family, no? Ahh, the life of a football fan.

There were so many pictures I wanted to include here and all of them had me beaming from the sole presence of that armband. Even though we know Aaron is reserved I think we'll be seeing a little bit more of that confidence expressed outwardly as he grows into this role of Wales captain. His quotes post-match are just an indication of that. Shouldering the blame for the defeat. What a man.
 



Couldn't decide on a Ramsey action shot so I chose this one because of the dance aspect. Hah.
 

Mar. 26th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

You can never have too much Azza

More Aaron Ramsey tidbits, because frankly I'm in love with him* and he's going to be a great captain.
*I realized why I stick up for Aaron against Jack. While everyone was drooling over Jack when he was still in the reserves, I wasn't because he always seemed a little arrogant, in my opinion. I think that's why I value Aaron a little bit more.

Focus on Football podcast
Some great perspective on the Ramsey captaincy:
  • "He's good enough, so that should make him old enough"
  • Mentioned Cesc's captaincy at 21 and also compares Ramsey to Cesc in the way they lead by example
  • May seem shy and reserved but can certainly 'get stuck in.'
  • Aaron will be/grow into a leader by his duties
  • He has the complete respect of everyone on that side
  • "He is a player that everyone in that squads looks at and says 'You are a class act'"
  • Wilshere is 'slightly ahead' of Ramsey ability wise because of Rambo's injury and time out of football

 
I'm so in love with this last picture.

Presser vids!Collapse )

Mar. 25th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

One Aaron Ramsey

Wales hosts England this Saturday in a Euro 2012 qualifier and there has been a lot made out over the Ramsey vs. Wilshere Gunners battle in midfield.

There were quotes out on Wednesday from Aaron and also from Cardiff about this battle and it just made me realize how much I missed seeing him play. If it weren't for the Shawcross injury would Jack have established himself in the first team so resolutely this season? They both have bright futures ahead of them here at Arsenal and there really is no point in making anything of this 'battle,' but I really feel for Aaron missing a year out of his footballing career. We could very well have seen Aaron bossing the midfield against Barcelona instead of Jack. And to see him admit to that little bit of jealousy seeing his teammate take center stage and yet also showing his steel and determination to come back stronger than ever completely warmed my heart. Knowing that even though Jack will be slightly more rated than Aaron in the media due to him being homegrown and English, Aaron is carrying so much responsibility for his country already. The English NT is a team of superstars and Jack, still several places down on the pecking order, is being touted as "the future," whereas Aaron is already the heart and soul of the Wales NT despite being only a year older than Wilshere. This Welsh squad is very much going to be built around Ramsey.

Ian Herbert of The Independent writes a great article on Ramsey. I love the tone of the piece and the way it flows like a narrative, not to mention the fact that it's colored Team Ramsey a bit more:
"Might it have been Ramsey, rather than Wilshere, glittering against Barcelona last month had not the Welshman suffered the broken leg? Quite conceivably."
Some more quotes not used in the Independent article here in an Express article.

I also really love this great piece from the Daily Express highlighting the Ramsey-Wilshere match-up and the players' similarities and differences (EDIT: Didn't realize it was written by Matt Law at first. Guess that explains why it's such a good article. Love his work.). Nice mention from Matt Law in pointing out that the formation we saw starting the West Brom game last week could be what the future of Arsenal looks like with Aaron situated behind the striker and Jack playing deeper alongside our defensive mid. The article also highlights each player's history and similar breakthroughs within the club, as well as their international successes, with Ramsey winning that last contest. Love how Matt Law was completely spot on with Aaron and Jack's personality differences, too. Jack is confident borderlining arrogant while Aaron generally comes off as reserved and shy, although he's certainly recently shown the metal in his great character and desire after coming back from his injury.


And so I was on such a Ramsey high after Wednesday night. How fitting was it that I woke up on Thursday to the news that Aaron Ramsey had been named Wales captain? I don't think I have ever been prouder of a player in my life. If I ever have kids, I would imagine that it would feel something similar. Being only 20, I certainly was not expecting Aaron to get the armband, but I couldn't be happier for him now that he does have it. He has an unassuming personality and is generally pretty reserved, but he has such a spirit and steeliness on the pitch. The very definition of quiet confidence. He will be a great captain for his country.

Listen to the sound bite from Welsh NT manager Gary Speed's presser here. (Have I mentioned how much I love listening to/seeing these press conferences and interviews rather than just reading the quotes in print?). Most of it is also transcribed in the Mirror. I have listened to this audio clip more times than I care to admit, but I'm just so happy for Rambo. I love that Speed mentioned Cesc Fabregas and Tony Adams and how both were very young captains as well.

Speed also noted how Aaron would "lead by example" and the comment definitely evokes the similarities between Aaron and Cesc. Aaron is, of course, the natural heir to the 'Fabregas role.' Both players came to the club in their teens and had similar breakthrough seasons. Both have that same 'quiet confidence' and both are also very young captains. I can definitely see Aaron developing the same way Cesc has. Cesc grew into his leadership role and matured both on and off the pitch so much that first year of his captaincy. He's always had the character and 'never say die' spirit to be a leader, but seeing him officially take on that responsibility and 'become a man' was such an amazing thing to witness as a fan. I have no doubt Aaron will take a similar path in his early captaincy. I can just imagine the sight of him leading out his countrymen on Saturday. If my heart hadn't already burst at the mere news of the captaincy, it will certainly explode on Saturday.


 

Mar. 8th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

Ooh, to be a Gooner

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal


Nothing has changed. I AM STILL SO FUCKING PROUD OF OUR TEAM. If anything, I'm even more proud now. It took a hell of a lot to get us down. Especially with ten men against the best team in the world on their turf.

Yes, Barca could have and probably would have won it even with it still being 11v11, but at 1-1 (and with us having two subs left) it was still all to play for. We still had a chance, as small as that chance was.

Even though we were camped out in our own end for 60 min, Barca didn't have as many clear cut chances as they did after we were down to 10.

We definitely had a game plan for that last 20 minutes. It was a shame we couldn't carry it out after the sending off. Maybe they still would have beat us then. Fair enough, but we'll never find out and that really hurts to know.

Just stating the obvious again for the millionth time, but can I just say how idiotic that second yellow for RvP was? Abidal was still running and Robin showed no signs of hesitation before that shot. Completely unnecessary. One fucking second between the whistle and Robin's shot. Unbelievable.

"The referee didn't lose Arsenal the game, but he made sure Barcelona won it. Woeful decision." A comment made from the BBC Sport live blog. Perfectly put.

Barcelona were clearly the better team and I fully accept that. Just wished they could have shown us that against an 11-man Arsenal.

"No one can deny the best team have progressed; just that sometimes it would be nice if they were left to their own devices in doing so. Because they would get through, surely." Exactly my point. Taken from a Daily Mail piece.

Almunia was immense for us. Coming off the bench at a game of this magnitude, making save after save and really delivering quite a performance after having been relegated to third choice throughout the season. Big up on him for that.

Arsene Wenger talking to the press after being hugely disappointed and almost losing it in the tunnel. Come on now, Fergie.

At least it was the round of 16 and not the semis or the final. Right? Right?!


Cesc taking the blame for our loss. What a captain. He didn't have a great game and made the mistake for their first goal, but how can you not love him? He may be a Culé, but he fights for this team. I loved the comments he made before the match basically expressing his annoyance that so many other people who are not him are talking on his behalf. It meant a lot to him to get that win at the Emirates and it would have meant a lot more to get a result at the Camp Nou.


Thanking the fans, offering a diplomatic congratulations after a disappointing loss AND calling out on the disgrace of the ref by being sarcastic. How can you not love this kid?


This will not take away our night at the Emirates. I was proud to be a Gooner after that night, and I'm just as proud to be one after today.

We're are growing and maturing as a team and I know great things will come of it. Onwards and upwards, my friends. Onwards and upwards.

Feb. 18th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

Still buzzing

I think I'm going to be on a high for a while now.



Wenger's bargain buys and why that makes this win all the more impressive
Then came last summer’s show when he cryptically told Fabregas, at the time being purused by Barcelona: 'leave everything to me, I will sort it out'.

That surely meant that the player would be allowed to move after the World Cup. What it actually meant was ‘you’re going nowhere and next season you are going to captain the team that beats Barcelona’.

Wenger did to Barcelona on the pitch on Wednesday what he’s been doing to them off it for the last 11 years.    

'If he hadn’t had to sell players every season he would have won the league many times over,' said Pep Guardiola ahead of Wednesday’s game.

And if it hadn’t been for Barcelona, Arsenal would never have finished building the Emirates.


Cesc Fabregas article with a lot of really great quotes
‘It is a special dream to play at the Nou Camp and I’ll enjoy it, but the important thing is that Arsenal go through. It is not finished by any means and it is better to be 2-1 up than 0-1 down, but they scored a goal, which we didn’t want.

‘It will be very difficult but I have a good feeling if everyone stays fit and there are no injuries like last year. This is fundamental.’


[Audio] Jack Wilshere interview on BBC


You know what else is awesome? Making supporters of other clubs and neutrals realize how awesome Arsenal is. I think one of the things that made me extra nervous in the first place was the fact that the entire world was watching. The way we beat "the best team in the world" and did it by sticking to our football philosophy just converted so many of the "neutrals" to cheer for Arsenal. If you really were neutral during the game, it's hard to see how you could not have been rooting for the Gunners at the end of those 90 minutes. Arsenal praise comes few and far between from non-Gooners and the media so it was amazing to see us get that recognition because Barcelona were, by all accounts, playing brilliantly. Heard a Spurs fan say we "deserved our night" and read very nice things from a few Aston Villa fans. It's such a great feeling to have everyone see what you see on a daily basis. We're still not favorites to win the tie by any means, but there are certainly a few others out there who have been convinced that we could take the League title from United, when they had thought otherwise before.

Feb. 17th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

WHAT. A. NIGHT.

Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona
(Van Persie '78, Arshavin '83 || Villa '26)

 

What a night. No words to explain how much this means to the entire Arsenal family. The players, the manager, the fans. Just amazing.

I can not even explain how I felt when the full-time whistle blew. I would have skipped my class if it weren't for an assignment due, but I watched the first half in the library, was in class for the second half. Checked the score incessantly during the lecture, of course. Really tried my best to contain my excitement when my push alerts came and I learned that Van Persie equalized and then Arshavin scored the winner. I was beaming in my seat - it was incredible. No one can take me on the emotional highs (and lows) that Arsenal can. I even thought to myself then as I was walking home, if I ever find a person who can make me feel like that, I'll marry him.

So unbelievably proud of the entire team. It was an amazing team performance. We were 1-0 down going into halftime, but we never stopped. Our defense looked like a unit and we never stopped trying. Koscielny was immense and Wilshere was on another level (great interview by Wilshere here, by the way). Amazing. This team just makes me SO PROUD.

Cesc didn't have quite a stellar game - there were a few misplaced passes - but I never get tired of seeing our captain acting with such passion. I don't think Cesc is a natural "captain," but the way he's stepped up to this position in the last few years always inspires me. The way he gives to the team is his way of being a leader. I think it meant a little more now after Cescgate this summer and knowing he wants to be at Barcelona. I love his reaction pictured here and in the lead pic above. This means a lot to him and it's fantastic to see as a fan that he will still give us his all despite everything.


We go to the Camp Nou on March 8. It only gets harder from here and we all know that. We got spanked 4-1 last year, but you know what? That's not going to happen this year. It might be the post-Barca win euphoria still in effect, but I think we'll give them a game there. They are more than capable of overturning our lead, but the way this Arsenal side played yesterday gives me belief. I generally always try to "expect the worse, hope for the best", but there's a good chance I'll go into the second leg with some genuine optimism on our part. It'll be exciting for sure, but no matter what happens it won't take away this win. If we lose and crash out of the Champions League it won't make me any less proud of this team and won't change how valiantly we fought at the Emirates to get this victory.

Keep the faith, Gooners.

Jan. 30th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

Figure Skating: Nats - Men's FS, i.e. Ryan Bradley love-in

The U.S. Nationals officially concluded today with the men's free skate and boy, was it a wild one. In the end though... RYAN BRADLEY IS U.S. CHAMPION FOR THE FIRST TIME!


Breakdown:
  • The second last flight of skaters PUT. IT. DOWN. Everyone was solid and nailed their jumps whilst the Twitterverse was jizzing over the depth in U.S. men's figure skating looking into the future. It was set-up perfectly for the last flight, right?
  • Wrong. The pressure and nerves were on for the last group of skaters. Splats were witnessed, it was not pretty. Two of the kiddies ended up topping the free skate.
  • Bradley, who skated last, didn't even manage to cleanly land his two quads, despite being solid in all his practices. He fought for all his following jumps in that program though, and I was so proud of him. He's such a fighter and you can tell. Jeremy sort of fell apart after his mistake and couldn't get it back together before it ended which was a shame.
  • Ryan said at the press conference afterwards that by the end of the program and knowing he didn't land his two winners he was just really hoping to make the podium. His reaction to his scores and retaining the lead to win his first title was all the more adorable then. He was so genuinely surprised, it was awesome.
Press Conference Memorables:
  • It was so funny seeing Ryan, who's "old" now, up there with two kids, Richard (Ricky) and Ross. He even had to tell them where to sit... aww.
  • Ryan after missing his quads: "I was thinking okay, do something funny and make them laugh to forget that you missed."
  • Ryan about doing his back-flip on the ice after his FS: "Hmmm, if I don't get on the podium I don't get to do a victory ceremony. I might as well do this now and get it out of my system."
  • Ryan also told a cute story about how he met Ricky in 2005 when he was team leader of the novice camp. Ryan called him Michael (from Peter Pan) and Ricky in turn called him Hook. AWW.
  • Every time Ryan opens his mouth he just makes me love him more. Basically, that's what I'm trying to say here.
Our teams for upcoming competitions:
  • Worlds: Ryan Bradley, Richard Dornbush, Ross Minor
  • Four Continents: Jeremy Abbott, Adam Rippon, Armin Mahbanoozadeh

World Championships
So, basically everyone is up in arms about our Worlds team. Mainly due to the absence of Jeremy + Adam. Ryan is the most experienced of the bunch, but he's only been to two Worlds and his best finish was 15th. It's definitely not looking good for our Worlds spots. I'm not as disappointed as everyone else is because Jeremy and Adam were never my favorite skaters, but I have to admit they were our best shot at Worlds.

I really, really hope that Ryan and the two kids will have the skate of their lives out there and do decently, but the men's field is a tough group (when is it not?). Keeping a hold of two Worlds spots for 2012 would be an accomplishment, I think.

With this and only sending two ladies this year as well, I'm really starting to be rather dismal about U.S. figure skating. I'm pretty sure the fact that recent talent has underwhelmed contributed to my loss of interest in figure skating in the first place (same thing happened with tennis and Andy Roddick). After Sasha and Michelle left there wasn't anyone else I wanted to get behind. What's worse is that the Canadians are gaining momentum, especially with Chan and Virtue/Moir up there. As we all know, I hate losing to the Canadians more than I hate losing to anyone else.

Looking at the list of past medalists at World Championships:
Men: We haven't dominated since the 40's, but we generally always have at least bronze-medal contenders. Really need the kids to step up in the next few years. Hopefully, it'll be a good experience for Dornbush and Minor at this year's Worlds and they can build on that.
Pairs: We've never done well here internationally and that doesn't look to change any time soon. I can't say I'm bothered by that considering I don't know what it's like to have a top pairs team represent the U.S.
Ice Dance: Looking good as we head into this new wave started by Belbin/Agosto. Really hoping Davis/White get their title this year, regardless of whether Virtue/Moir are also there.
Ladies: The most heartbreaking for me to look at. We've had an American lady on the podium almost every year since the 40's, but haven't medaled since 2006 when Kimmie and Sasha took gold and bronze, respectively. This needs to get fixed soon. There's a lot of talent coming up, but there's always a lot of talent. The key to being champions is keeping up with consistency and pressure, which our recent crop haven't been able to do.

At the end of the day, 2014 is still a long way away. I hope we can at least get it together by then. I'm willing to sacrifice a few years of 1 or 2-member Worlds teams if we can have title contenders at Sochi.

Can't wait for Worlds and to cheer on Team USA (+ Brian Joubert).

Jan. 29th, 2011

WC'06, Holland

Figure Skating: Euros and Nats

When I made this blog I was setting it aside for soccer related thoughts and rants, but I've gotten back into figure skating again and I thought, "but what do I do once the Olympics come around again? Where will I vent my frustrations and key-smash my ecstasy?"

The journal will retain its name, but I'll be posting other sports related things as well.


My "Re-Introduction" Back to Figure Skating
Having not followed a lot of figure skating lately (Vancouver was really the start of getting back into it), I didn't know a lot of the new up and coming skaters. The names that I recognize are the ones that have been around for a while now.

Also, I have to say that I don't get as easily attached to skaters nowadays. When I was younger I loved a skater because of the way they skated and nothing else really mattered. Now, I almost feel like I can't get attached to certain people because I know I won't be rooting for them on the international stage. Back then I had no problem rooting Salé/Pelletier (well, that might not be entirely true), but now I can't possibly even consider rooting for Virtue/Moir because of the fact that they're Canadian. They're a beautiful pair and I do like them, but I can't "root" for them.

I find that kind of amusing, because really my love of skating was the thing that perpetuated my patriotism. Growing up and watching the Olympics, I was lucky enough to be rooting for the top athletes in the field. We dominated women's figure skating, and I just happened to not care about any other event that we didn't have plausible contenders in, like pairs, ice dancing, etc. During Vancouver last year, that wasn't the case. I was watching EVERYTHING and rooting for Team USA wherever we competed. I remember feeling such a connection to the bobsled team even though their final run was the only part of the bobsled competition I watched. 

In a way, nothing's changed. It was always kind of weird rooting for Salé/Pelletier anyway, but now I'm just more aware of it. Not to mention my interaction with (very proud) Canadian gooners on Twitter have just made me stand by the U.S. that much more. Them promoting CanWNT and Canadian athletes just make me more resolute in promoting American athletes. This whole U.S. > Canada thing probably also has something to do with last year's gold medal hockey game between Canada and the U.S. and the fact that I was American on Canadian soil. Hmmm...


Canadian Nats: Victoria, BC 
CBC.ca had pretty great coverage of their Nationals so I decided to check them out on the first day. Didn't end up watching much. I barely knew any of the skaters and the ones I did know I certainly didn't want to see doing well. Patrick Chan's steam is a bit worrying. Landed a couple of quads. I DO NOT want to see him do well at Worlds.


Euro Championships: Bern, Switzerland
Ladies: Barely saw any of their competition seeing as I didn't have anyone I was rooting for. Indifferent to the podium: Sarah Meier (SUI), Carolina Kostner (ITA), Kiira Korpi (FIN). Apparently this was Sarah's last competition? Kiira Korpi is very pretty and a captivating skater, though.

Pairs: When was the last time I really liked a pairs team? There's so much potential with the pairs competition, but there's been no one I've really attached to for a while now. Mehh, anyway the podium was: Savchenko/Szolkowy (GER), Kavaguti/Smirnov (RUS), Bazarova/Larionov (RUS). Russians may have somewhat lost their momentum in ice dance, but they're still very much in pairs. Speaking of momentum, when is U.S. figure skating due to get a revival in pairs now? Our talent in ladies and men have dwindled so it'd be nice to see a great U.S. pairs team emerge sometime soon.

Ice Dance: My energies have been too well invested in Belbin/Agosto and Davis/White in the last few years. Paid no attention to this. Podium was Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA), Bobrova/Soloviev (RUS), Kerr/Kerr (GBR)

Men: I've been a fan of Brian Joubert for so long now and I'm always so crushed when he doesn't do well. You would not believe how heartbroken I was at Vancouver last year to see him skating like that and to know that it was probably his last chance at an Olympic medal, much less gold. I hate seeing him so down. That said, I know that he's not exactly on top and that he's not the best, so I've accepted that as well. When I saw that he was 7th after the SP, I accepted that. BUT HE FREAKING CAME BACK. He was in the second last flight for the free skate and landed all of his jumps minus a few hands down. He actually ended up WINNING THE FREE SKATE. I was ecstatic. People were already saying how it would be nice if he could actually medal and he freaking won the free skate! He got silver behind countryman Florent Amodio, with Thomas Verner in third. So proud of the fact he got it together. I really hope he makes the podium at Worlds. Ideally, he would be above Chan, but that's way too optimistic of course. Chan's PCS marks are always ridiculously inflated anyway, even when he lands everything.


U.S. Nats: Greensboro, NC
Pairs: Still waiting for these vids on YouTube! I don't like either Caydee/Jeremy nor Ladwig/Evora so I was really curious to see Yankowskas/Coughlin. Everyone says they were amazing and they ended up winning the title. Final podium: Yankowskas/Coughlin, Evora/Ladwig, Denney/Barrett. Amanda/Mark join Caitlin/John at Worlds. Edit: Caitlin and John were surprisingly good. Solid in the short. Their FS was very emotional for a number of reasons - they dedicated their Ave Maria program to John's late mother. Some beautiful stuff there.

Ice Dance: Team Davis/White all the way. They were brilliant as usual. The brother-sister team of Maia and Alex Shibutani made quite a splash in their senior debut, too. I like them, but it's still weird for me to see brother/sister teams. They are quite good, but I haven't taken to them like everyone else has. Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein are two I really want to see do well, but are a little bit a ways behind Merylie and the Shibutanis. All three teams will go to worlds and I'm excited to see how they'll stack up on the international level.

Ladies: I've been so underwhelmed by the talent in U.S. ladies figure skating recently. Mirai Nagasu and Rachael Flatt just aren't skaters I can put my heart and soul behind. I guess I've been fairly spoiled by having Tara Lipinski, Sasha Cohen, Michelle Kwan to root for that I can't appreciate the skaters we have now. I was disappointed in Sasha and Michelle for not winning, but when was the last time an American lady made the podium on a major international event recently? I want that third Worlds spot back, by the way! Alissa Czisny seems like such a beautiful person and it's such a great story that she's come back to fight her demons and take her second national title, but I don't see her competing with the ladies in the international field now. I really hope she proves me wrong. She has such a lovely presence that you can't do anything but want her to succeed. Csizny will be joined by Flatt at Worlds. Right now I just want both of them to do well enough for us to get our third Worlds spot back (combined placement equal to or less than 13).

Other ladies: Agnes Zawadzki is bold and gutsy and only 16. She made her senior debut this year and is looking pretty good. She has a gorgeous jumping style which I love. Future favorite skater? I sure hope so. I can actually extrapolate how she'll compete among the best in the world. Really hope we see her contending by the time Sochi 2014 rolls around. Christina Gao is also looking pretty good. Vanessa Lam and a few others were also quite promising. Maybe I'm seeing the competition through biased eyes, but I really hope the U.S. comes to the forefront of figure skating again like they were a few years ago. I'm willing to compromise a few years of Flatt as long as we have a fully loaded (and three-member!) Olympic team in 2014. Not giving up on Mirai yet, but she might take the "Sasha Cohen-always inconsistent" route.

Men: RYAN BRADLEY. He's leading after the short, but it seems like everyone's pegging Jeremy Abbott to defend his title. I want Ryan to do well, though. I'm so glad he's back this season. Standings after the short program: Ryan Bradley, Jeremy Abbott, Brandon Mroz. The free skate is tomorrow.


AHHHH... so excited for tomorrow and the men's free skate.

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WC'06, Holland

April 2011

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