Saturday, February 24, 2018

My Thoughts Now That 2018 Olympic Figure Skating Is Over



Well, figure skating is over for another Olympics.  I admit I enjoyed watching all that skating from the comfort of my living room.  I loved being a member of the press at the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, but seeing the skating from the comfort of home sure is less exhausting.  Today's modern and huge televisions are great since I can see close-ups of all the figure skaters in action. 

Now that the figure skating is over, here are some of my thoughts:

Let me work backwards:

Ladies:

The Russians that finished first and second, Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, were so beautiful and almost superhuman-like skaters. It is almost a repeat of when 15-year old Tara Lipinsky won over veteran Michelle Kwan in 1998.

Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond was wonderful too.  Many figure skating fans say they thought Osmond should have won the gold.

Now, let me talk about the the three girls representing the USA.    Both Mirai Nagasu and Bradie Tennell had to be exhausted after the Team event's excitement.  And...Karen Chen stated that she needed her mom at this Olympics.  I am sad that the Olympic figure skaters and families go for days and days without seeing one another.  Figure skaters especially need their moms.  Karen will press on and so will Bradie, but who knows who will represent the USA in four years?

In my opinion, there was just too much hype about Bradie Tennell.  The poor girl just couldn't be perfect all the time.  And...Mirai did the triple Axel in the Team Event, so why did she have to be under the pressure to do it again?  I'm so happy that she is leaving this Olympics with a Team Event Bronze though.

Yes, this was the worst the US ladies have placed at the Olympics in years.  I wonder now if the "powers that be" should have sent Ashley Wagner afterall?  It is too bad that the participating nations aren't allowed to send certain skaters for the Team Event and different representatives for the individual events.  We  have so much talent in the United States.

Ice Dance:

I was glad to see the Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win.  They have achieved amazing greatness.  They began skating together as children and have been together so long.  Winning two Olympic gold medals at this Olympics is so impressive, but the idea that they won the Olympics in Vancouver and returned to win again is just mind boggling.  (They also won silver in Sochi in 2014.)

Ice dancing is so hard to judge and understand.  I hate that one slip or fall ruins years and years of hard work in a matter of seconds.  I've seen the Shibutani siblings grow up and remember how good they were as little kids (my own children looked up to them and wanted to skate like them), but I so wish that Zackary Donohue had not slipped which ruined the chance for he and his partner Maddison Hubbell's Olympic Bronze medal.  Maia and Alex Shibutani already earned an Olympic Bronze medal in the Team event, so it would have been nice for Maddison and Zack to earn one too. And...I am so sad about the fall Madison Chock and Evan Bates took.

Men:

I'm so glad Nathan Chen landed six quads and redeemed himself after his two disastrous short program performances, but it is obvious that Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu is a figure skating king. Wow!  Two back to back Olympic golds!  I am still not sure how fond I am of the quads that are now required to be on the top in men's figure skating, but it looks like quads are here to stay.  It made me so, so sad to see Nathan Chen miss every jump in his short program, but quadruple jumps is what has brought Chen to the top.

Spain's Javier Fernandez and Japan's Shoma Uno were so good too.  With all the hype over Nathan Chen, USA's Vincent Zhou didn't get a lot of attention, but he did a great job at this Olympics.

Pairs:

The German pair of Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot were amazing and I'm so glad Savchenko finally earned an Olympic gold medal after competing in so many Olympics.  I really like Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.  Meagan's smile shows a joy of skating!  I'm so glad they won the bronze, but it would have been nice for them to have won the gold or silver.  I'm so glad they earned the gold in the Team Event.

I'm glad too that Alexa and Chris Knierim did a successful quad twist, but I'm also "bummed" that the only pair from the USA at this Olympics placed so low.  (15th place is not good.)  Again, I think it might be just too much for skaters to be expected to perform well in both the Team and individual Olympic events.

Team Competition:

The Figure Skating Team competition is the greatest thing!  I think it is so awesome that some of the skaters from the USA that had no chance of medaling are leaving this Olympic Winter Games with  Olympic Bronze Medals!

I'm so happy for Alexa and Chris Knierim since I've known Chris and his mom Dee Knierim-Couch for so many years.   The Knierims did help Team USA win the bronze.  And...wow!  Mirai Nagasu's triple Axel has made history!   Just seeing the photos of the team with their medals made me happy!

And...I'm glad that Canadian Patrick Chan finally earned the Olympic Gold medal he dreamed of.

Other Thoughts:

Adam Rippon became famous at this Olympics.  His open comments and interviews were fun to see and listen to.  I wonder if there is a different reason than has been publicized on why he didn't accept the NBC commenting job?

I sometimes liked listening to Tara and Johnny's commentating and other times I longed to listen to Scott Hamilton or Dick Button.  Tanith Belbin White was absolutely the greatest ice dancing commentator though.

I don't like it that single skating is all about landing jumps.  Although spins and artistry earn some points, let's face it: skaters must successfully land a lot of multi-revolution jumps to win.  That has ruined skating for so many in my opinion.  Not everyone wants to fly in the air with ice skates on and not everyone wants to be an ice dancer.

What Happens Now:

Now that figure skating at the 2018 Olympics is over, I wonder what is in store for the future of the skaters that competed in PyeongChang.  In the singles events, "youngsters" like Nathan Chen, Karen Chen, Bradie Tennell, and Vincent Zhou will probably try again for a 2022 Olympic spot.  Mirai Nagasu has proved to the world that getting "back up" is possible.  Her future should be bright and I see her continuing to press on with or without skating.

The "Shib-Sibs" have won two bronze medals at this Olympics, but I imagine they will  continue training and work for gold in 2022, but can they really achieve that when it is almost impossible to out do the French ice dance team?  And what about Maddison and Zack?  Will they stay on for another four years?

I see a future as a figure skating commentator in Adam Rippon's life.  Alexa and Chris Knierim have achieved so much greatness.  In an interview they were asked about the future and Chris responded that nothing could beat being at the Olympics.  Like a princess and prince in a fairytale, they will live "happily ever after" I hope!  I also hope that the state of US pair skating improves.

The "two little Russian girls" will probably be replaced by other Russian jumping prodigies in 2022.  Yuzuru Hanyu is so good that I could see him try for a third Olympic Gold.  Canadians Patrick Chan and Kaetlyn Osmond will move on.

Memories of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be recorded and shown again and again on YouTube and in other places.  New and upcoming figure skaters. like Brady Tennell, will "come out of nowhere" and work towards earning Olympic spots in 2022.

Happy Skating!

Cat's On Ice 2005 Was Where We Met Olympian Chris Knierim



During these Olympics, I couldn't help but cry tears of joy for Chris Knierim and his wife Alexa and Chris's mom DeeDee. You see, my family got to know Chris and DeeDee Knierim-Couch way back in 2005 when my three children took part in DeeDee's Colorado Youth Theatre Cats On Ice production.

Chris did so much in the background for that production and DeeDee's love for her own children showed. She had tremendous energy and dedication and patience. DeeDee told me then that she wanted Chris to consider pair skating and his first partner, Shawnee Smith, was part of that Cats On Ice production. No wonder Chris became an Olympian! Behind every skater there truly is the inspiration of a parent.

Chris's mom, DeeDee, was also there for me when my husband was hurt in a horrible accident in September of 2005 and was actually Joel and Rebekah's first pair coach. She choreographed their first pair program to Superman and then suggested we move the kids' pair skating lessons to The Broadmoor where they first worked with Irina Vorobieva and then went on to work with Dalilah Sappenfield who our family owes so much to.

I wrote this "journal memory" below way back in 2005 of that wonderful year we spent with the Knierims. Hugs to all.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wooden Handmade Skate Guards From 1945

Marilyn Raatz Day (who is now 83 years old) skated when she was a child in Bremerton, Washington. These wooden skate guards were made by hand by her father, William F. Raatz, in 1945. Marilyn tells me her family had limited funds and could not afford to purchase skate guards, so her father made her guards instead!




Saturday, January 20, 2018

My Son Joel - Highlighted in PR for Disney On Ice Frozen In Allentown, Pennsylvania! 1-20-18

VIDEO Disney on Ice brings 'Frozen' to the PPL Center

My son Joel is in this PR segment filmed this week in Allentown, Pennsylvania! I'm so proud of him.  Watching him gave me,  his mom, tears of joy!


This is Joel's 4th year traveling with the cast of Disney On Ice Frozen.

He's traveled the world, but right now the cast is in the USA....

In this PR segment, you'll see him skate in the ice dancing scene, but about 3/4 the way into this very long video, you'll see him introduce Ana and Elsa's performance.



By the way...Colorado Springs friends, Joel will be performing in Disney On Ice Frozen when it is at the Broadmoor World Arena the last week of March, 2018! (March 22--25) Frozen will be in Colorado for three weeks starting in late March. Come and see a Colorado Springs local and Broadmoor Skating Club skater right at home! :)






Sunday, January 14, 2018

My Sister's Son Cody and His Four Kids Go Ice Skating Together! 1-14-18

Here's a photo of my sister Lynnellen’s son Cody and his four children London, Mia, Gage, and Aiden skating together at the Palos Verdes ice rink on Sunday 1-14-18. My dad and I bought the kids the gift of learn to skate lessons!  I can't wait to go skating with them next Sunday after lesson number two.


Rebekah Earns 6th Gold Medal - 10th International Dance Passed! 1-14-18

On January 14, 2018, my daughter Rebekah passed the Austrian Waltz with Olympic Silver Medalist Ben Agosto.

The Austrian is the 10th International Ice Dance she has passed, so she also earned her 6th US Figure Skating Gold Medal ...she's now passed Senior Moves, Senior Solo Free Dance, Senior Pairs, Gold Dance, Senior Free Dance, and all 10 International ice dances! I'm a very proud mom!

(Scroll below the photos below to read more about Rebekah's figure skating journey.)

#WeGetUp @usfigureskating



Rebekah, in a way, is one of those GET UP stories.  In October of 2015, something really bad happened to her related to a setback at a drama school in Colorado.  What happened was very serious and what happened made Rebekah want to give up: not only did she stop singing, acting, and dancing, but she also stopped skating.  It took some time to move forward and "get up."

Of course, Rebekah eventually did move on, but didn't skate much for almost two years....

Then...

When Ben Agosto came to Colorado Springs in 2016, Rebekah was reluctant at first to begin skating and ice dancing again, but when her sister Annabelle went to Israel for two months to study in January of 2017, Rebekah decided to take Annabelle's lesson slots with both Ben Agosto and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt and work on International Ice Dances "for fun."  She re-discovered her love of skating because skating with Ben and Logan was so challenging.  (She also began to play the piano again and sing and took part in a musical, The Music Man, with the Colorado Ballet Society.)

Logan moved away to Dallas.  Then, Ben went away for the summer of 2017 to choreograph Cirque du Soeil, so he suggested we go to Sun Valley, Idaho to work with Brent Bommentre for the summer.  Brent was so impressed with how quickly Rebekah learned steps, that he suggested she take all 10 International Ice Dances at one test session in Sun Valley. And guess what?  She passed NINE of those 10 dances with Brent in Sun Valley!

It turned out that Rebekah tested the remaining international ice dance, the Austrian Waltz, three times.  This pass on January 14, 2018 that earned her sixth US Figure Skating Gold Medal was the third try and she passed by all three judges.  She knows that getting a "Retry" on a US Figure Skating test means to not give up, keep working, and to "Get Up."

Rebekah is a busy college student at this time and will earn her Associate Degree at Pikes Peak Community College in May of 2018.  She was very excited she got "straight A's" in the fall semester 2017.  She also just started teaching skating at Sertich Ice Center in Colorado Springs and is so excited about sharing her love of skating with others.

Rebekah is truly representative of a true GET UP story!  Yes...the saying that "If you can handle ice, you can handle anything" does hit home...

(By the way, Rebekah's sister Annabelle has already earned SIX US Figure Skating Gold Medals in Moves, Solo Free Dance, Free Skate, Pairs, Gold Dance, and Senior Free Dance.  Annabelle has two International Ice Dances left to pass and hopes to earn Gold Medal #7 before June of 2018.)

Rebekah passed her very first US Figure Skating test in April of 2005 when she just turned nine years old.  Who would have known then that she would become a US Figure Skating Sextuple Gold Medalist thirteen years later!  Go Rebekah!

Rebekah's Gold Medal record:

7-2-2011    Senior Moves in the Field passed
8-4-2013    Gold Dance Test passed
5-4-2014    Senior Solo Free Dance passed
6-1-2014    Gold/Senior Pair Test passed
6-8-2014    Senior Free Dance passed
1-14-2018   International Dance Test passed

Below is the bio on Rebekah that will appear soon in Sertich Ice Center's Coach Brochure:

Rebekah Schneider-Farris
(719) 660-4182  rfarris2@ymail.com
I was born and raised in Colorado Springs and I began skating as soon as I could walk and one of the first ice rinks I skated at was Sertich Ice Center!  I have competed in singles, pairs, and ice dancing, and I earned a silver medal at the US Championships in Juvenile Dance and earned other medals at the Midwestern Championships in both pairs and ice dancing with my brother Joel.  I am a US Figure Skating Sextuple Gold Medalist:  I've passed the Senior Moves in the Field, Senior Solo Free Dance, Senior Pair Test, Gold Dance, Senior Free Dance, and have passed all of the 10 International ice dances.  I love teaching people of all ages all I know about skating.










Saturday, January 6, 2018

Skating at DIA's Ice Rink! 1-5-18

My daughter Rebekah and I skated at the outdoor ice rink at Denver International Airport while we waited for my daughter Annabelle’s return flight from Birthright Israel!