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Holiday Celebration on Ice
Photos © Shirley McLaughlin
The Big Picture
29 Jan 2017
27 Oct 2016
News from the Southwest Pacific Region
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SWP REGIONAL 2017/18 COMPETITION CALENDAR
2018 Regional Figure Skating Championships
Hackensack, New Jersy
Oct. 4 -8 , 2017
Oct. 4 -8 , 2017
Oct. 4 -8 , 2017
Oct. 11-15, 2017
Fort Collins, Colorado
Oct. 11-15, 2017
Oct. 11-15, 2017
Oct. 18-22, 2017
Eastern Great Lakes
Oct. 18-22, 2017
Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct. 18-22, 2017
2018 Sectional Figure Skating Championships
Nov. 15-19, 2017
Nov. 15-19, 2017
Nov. 15-19, 2017
2018 Adult Sectional Figure
U.S. Adult Championships
In the News:
2017 World Team Trophy
Japan Wins World Team Trophy for the Second Time
Russia claims silver, defending champion USA take bronze
by Tatjana Flade
Japan won their second
World Team Trophy Title since 2012. The fifth edition of
this event that took place once again in the Yoyogi National
Stadium was a big success. The rink was full on all four
days – three days of competition and one day with the
exhibition gala – and overall 38,000 spectators came. The
organizers could have sold even more tickets, the demand
was so high that fans had to take part in a lottery in order
to get tickets. The enthusiastic crowd, the great
atmosphere, the decorated team boxes and the creative
outfits of the skaters in the Kiss & Cry made the Team
Trophy to a celebration of figure skating that spurred some
skaters to excellent performances.
Probably the judges were
carried away a little bit, as 21 out of 36 skaters or
couples set a new personal best or seasons best score.
Two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva once again topped
it all by achieving two new record scores – 80.85 points in
the short program and 160.46 in the free skating –
surpassing her own record scores. The six top ladies all
gave excellent performances. Four out of the six team
captains were women: Kana Muramoto, Ekaterina Bobrova,
Kaitlyn Weaver and Ashley Wagner. France and China had male
captains with Morgan Cipres and Yang Jin.
Russia had a good
chance to win the Trophy as they had the most balanced team,
however, Elena Radionova, Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov
and Maxim Kovtun would have needed to place a little bit
higher. Japan won thanks to their great single skaters, but
their pair and dance team ranked last. The results of the
Team Trophy cannot be compared to the Olympic team event
next year, as the modus is different. At the Olympic Games,
only one skater per discipline will be taken into account.
The Team Trophy, initiated and sponsored by the Japanese TV
channel Asahi prefers single skaters, as the host is strong
in these disciplines. As of now, Japan is not even part of
the Olympic team event, first their dance or pair team needs
to qualify in Oberstdorf for the Games. A country needs to
have qualified skaters in at least three disciplines in
order to take part in the team event. If necessary, the
fourth discipline can be added, but this skater will then
only compete in the team event like Matthew Parr (Great
Britain) in Sochi.
At the World Team
Trophy everyone is skating a short and a free program and
gets points for their team according to their placement: 12
points for first place, 1 point for last place in singles
and seven points for last place in dance and pairs. Who
finishes first in both programs, earns 24 points for the
team. It is a little questionable maybe that the short
program is worth as many team points as the free skating.
The results of short and free program are not added, there
is no ranking with the combined result. However, the points
(also the total score) count for the statistics such as
personal best, season's best and highest score.
As always in Japan,
the organization of the event was perfect, the skaters and
officials loved everything. At this point it is not clear
what will happen in two years. In 2019 the World Team Trophy
could not take place at Yoyogi Stadium as it will be
renovated for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Japan: Gold thanks to the single skaters
Japan’s stars made it
possible that their team won the title for the second time.
Japan even took the lead from the very beginning and never
relinquished it. However, Yuzuru Hanyu messed up his short
program. He was only seventh in this segment after popping
his planned quad loop and stumbling on the quad Salchow. He
had no combination jump. The two-time World Champion
produced a much better free skating, landed four quads and
ranked first. Shoma Uno was basically the match winner for
his team by finishing first and second in his programs. The
short was good with a quad flip and quad toe-double toe. The
world silver medalist crashed on his second quad flip that
was downgraded. He landed the quad loop and the triple
Axels. Uno said later that he felt maybe too relaxed. In
general, he receives too high GOEs especially for his quads
as the landings are often tight. The 19-year-old needs to
improve his technique. It is also strange that his component
score was almost as high as Hanyu’s in the free skating.
Mai Mihara and Wakaba
Higuchi turned in clean performances. Both competed for the
first time in the Team Trophy and enjoyed it. Mihara was
especially happy about landing the triple flip in her short
program. She had missed that jump in the short at Worlds
which might have cost her the bronze medal (SP 3rd/FS
2nd). The dynamic Higuchi landed even triple
Axels in practice. She plans to do it next season in the
free skating, as she said (5th/3rd).
The battle for the two Olympic ladies spots will be tough.
Not only Mihara and Higuchi will vie for it, but also Satoko
Miyahara, who missed Worlds due to a stress fracture in her
hip, as well as 2017 World Junior silver medalist Marin
Honda and 2017 World Junior bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto.
Pair skaters Sumire
Suto & Francis Boudreau-Audet had some problems with the solo
jumps and the throws (6th/6th). They
are in a tough situation right now. “Probably we will try to
get that Olympic spot at the qualifying competition, but we
will not be able to use it ourselves. It is a difficult
situation, but I knew from the beginning that I will not get
citizenship,” Canadian Boudreau-Audet said. He is studying
Japanese, but that is not enough to fulfill the strict
requirements. Japan has two other pairs without a foreign
partner, but they are significantly weaker.
Ice dancers Kana
Muramoto & Chris Reed do not have citizenship problems. They
skated clean and had good levels, but they earned less on
the GOE and got a little less in the component scores than
their direct competitors (5th/6th).
Muramoto hopes that the World Team Trophy will spur interest
in the pair disciplines in Japan. “I heard that usually pair
skating and ice dance is not shown on the main channels, but
this time everything was broadcasted at prime time.
Hopefully interest will grow when people can see pairs and
ice dance on TV. But in order to get to a high level you
have to go abroad to train which is expensive and
problematic because of school,” she explained.
“I am happy and
surprised that we ended up in first place and I am very
grateful. I am too happy for words actually. I think team
Japan was able to grasp this event together as a team and we
were able to make a statement as a new team Japan,” she
Russia: Medvedeva tops them all
Russia again could
mostly rely on their ladies and especially Evgenia Medvedeva
was phenomenal. She did not miss a single element in
practice or in competition. Only the double Axel in the
short program was bit shaky and perfectionist Evgenia was
not completely satisfied with herself. But that was quickly
forgotten when she saw her new record score. “I just enjoyed
this season and I hope the next one will be as good. I still
can improve something and I do not have the most difficult
technical content. I can do harder combinations and I can
fix my triple Lutz,” the 17-year-old noted. So far, what she
does is more than enough, though. The judges showered her
with +3 GOEs and 17 times a perfect 10.00 in the components
for her expressive long program to “Extremely Loud and
Incredibly Close” (1st/1st).
Elena Radionova skated also very well, but a stumble on
the double Axel was enough to finish fifth in the free. “I
need to work more and harder on my free program,” Radionova stated. She came second in
the short. Mikhail Kolyada impressed with his clean jumps
and excellent spins, and he only missed his quad Lutz. “It
will happen next season. I have changed something in my
training to achieve more consistency,” he revealed (4th/5th).
Maxim Kovtun did not
have his best competition. He doubled the Salchow and the
Axel in the short and several jumps were wobbly in the free
(11th/10th). Pair skater Evgenia
Tarasova fell on the triple toe and the throw triple loop in
the short program, but in the free things went better for
her and partner Vladimir Morozov (5th/2nd).
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev came third in both
segments. In the short dance he struggled with the twizzles
and the also looked a bit tired in the free dance. Bobrova
thrived on her role as team captain. “I like to take
responsibility. I set up a whats app group and I am the
administrator of the group. In the group I inform everybody
about where they have to go and what to do, what to wear and
so on. The Russian skaters had many original ideas for the
Kiss & Cry and won the “team spirit award.”
As captain, Bobrova took part in the press conference and analyzed the
performance of her team.
“Our team did not perform to their maximum, but we really
felt the festive atmosphere of this competition. We enjoyed
our skating as much as we could and we were very happy the
season is over. We congratulated each other and think we
ended the season on a high note,” the ice dancer commented.
The level of competition at the Olympic Games will be
totally different. Here at this event not all top skaters of
the teams were here, there were some new ones like the
American pair (Cain & LeDuc). I think it will be very
interesting, because it is a 100 percent likely that the
best of the best will compete. The top three can be totally
different and you cannot say what the outcome will be. We
should not forget the Canadian team was not with their top
skaters here, but Canada is strong in all disciplines,
differently from some other countries,” Bobrova answered when asked about the Olympic team
USA: Defending champions take bronze
The USA have won the
World Team Trophy three times – in 2009, 2013 and 2015 – but
this time they settled for the bronze. The Americans won one
segment of the competition – the short dance with an
excellent outing by Madison Chock & Evan Bates. The dancers
again were the highest scoring team members in the free
program where they came second. Bates stumbled in the
serpentine step sequence, but the program to “Under
Pressure” was still very good. “We need to work on being
more consistent every time that we go out [on the ice].
We’ve had some great performances but also some ups and
downs so we’re really going to work on consistency,” Chock
admitted. “This has been a very long and challenging year
for us. There have been a lot of
highs and some lows as well. It has been up and down and it
makes you tired by the end of the year. We are ready to
start our new programs and have a clean slate.
We are ready to go through that creative process again which is one of
the reasons that we love this sport so much“, Bates added.
The couple already has announced that they will skate to “La
La Land” in the free dance next season.
Nathan Chen put out a
strong short program, but he decided to take out the quad
Lutz due to a sore ankle. “It will be back next season,” the
“quad king” promised, but he also want to express the music
more and have more connection to the audience. He made a few
mistakes in the free skating (2nd/4th).
Jason Brown proved
once more that you can be competitive without a quad as long
as all your other elements are strong,
but it is still not enough to get to the very top if the
others don’t make mistakes. Brown’s programs were a real
pleasure to watch, even though he singled a loop in the
free. “I was super excited with my performance. I’m bummed
about messing up my loop, but other than that I’m very
pleased. I felt like it was clean, polished and it was a
nice farewell to the program. To do that here in Japan with
this incredible crowd in front of my teammates, is a great
feeling. I’m really proud of our team,” Brown told the press
Ashley Wagner skated
really well, too, but since she under-rotated her
triple-triple combinations she did not get into the top
three. “This has been a turbulent season for me so to finish
with such a strong performance was really nice. That wasn’t
perfect, but I fought for every single thing“, the 2016
World silver medalist shared. “This competition is really
special because it really is a chance to go out and enjoy
your programs. There is pressure, but
everyone has a really relaxed mindset.
We’re able to go out
on the ice and be a little more free and I enjoy that. This
was a competitive field and I’m proud that the United States
is bringing home a medal. This is a great event to end the
season with“, she added (6th/6th).
Karen Chen was not
able to continue the momentum from Worlds where she had
finished fourth. She
popped some jumps or fell (8th/9th).
Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc are still a very new team, they
need to gel more and improve their pair elements, but they
landed a triple loop in the free (5th/5th).
Team captain Wagner was pleased with how the
team did. "I
think it was a fantastic event for team USA to have some
rookies to perform as well as they did and everybody working
together to get to this third place. I think that we
definitely could have been stronger in some areas, but
understandably though I think that what we created together
and this accomplishment is something that I’m very proud of.
Team USA worked very hard and I think this was a very
successful competition for us“, she said.
Wagner agreed with
Bobrova that the team event will be different. “There are
going to be more top players involved. For the US
particularly, we’re not going to have Meryl (Davis) and
Charlie (White) to rely on, so it’s going to come down to a
lot of strategizing. Beyond that I think that we’ll have a
little bit more of an experienced pairs team competing for
us. As for the dance we’ll see how things shake out, but I
think that our men are continuing to build and hopefully
continue that momentum into the next season as well as for
the ladies. I think that going into this Olympic season this
was a great experience to compete together as a team,
because it is important to have a reminder of what that kind
of pressure feels like. At the end of the day, we have a lot
of work ahead of us and I know it’s going to be a very
competitive team event,” she said.
Canada: The Olympic Games will be a different story
Canada led the team
standings this season, but they came to Tokyo without
Kaetlyn Osmond and Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford. Radford is
still recovering from the muscle injury that handicapped him
at Worlds. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir were not the highest
ranked Canadian dance team in the ISU World Standings while
Kaetlyn Osmond had decided beforehand that she would take a
break after Worlds. Even without Virtue & Moir, ice dance was
the highest scoring discipline for the Canadians. Kaitlyn
Weaver & Andrew Poje delivered two excellent performances,
were second in the short dance and first in the free dance.
Patrick Chan wanted to risk for the first time a second quad
in the short, but the Salchow became only a wobbly triple
and then he also fell on the triple Axel. Chan recovered in
the free and completed three quads and he only singled an
Axel and touched down on the triple Axel. “I feel good,
because it’s the first time I did all three quads in the
long program. Of course there still were some mistakes. Even
yesterday’s experience is part of the process, but that’s
the plan for next year – to do two quads in the short,” Chan
Gabrielle Daleman made
not major errors (4th/4th) and pair
skaters Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro convinced with
solid skates (3rd/4th). Alaine
Chartrand still struggled with consistency (10th/11th).
Lubov Ilyushechkina & Dylan Moscovitch
were unable to come as her – still Russian – passport did
not have two free pages left that she would have needed for
the visa and stamp. It apparently takes long to get a new
passport from the Russian embassy in Toronto. The Canadian
team will play a bigger role at the Olympic Games when they
have all top skaters on board. Then
they are gold medal contenders.
China: Pair skating remains the strength
Like the Canadians,
the Chinese did not have all their top skaters competing.
World champions Wenjing Sui & Cong Han were in Toronto to work
with choreographer Lori Nichol on their new programs and Han
Yan is still recovering from his shoulder surgery. World
bronze medalist Boyang Jin was not in top shape and
struggled with some jumps, but his „Spiderman“ short program
was popular again (3rd/7th). Cheng
Pen & Yang Jin are number three in China, but they belong to
the best in the world and shone especially in the short
program. She fell on a double Axel in the free, but all the
other elements were strong (2nd/3rd).
Zijun Li (9th/7th)and Xiangning Li (8th/8th)
turned in solid performances, but they are not quite at the
top as they are still lacking consistency. Shiyue Wang & Xinyu
Liu confirmed their position as the top Asian dance team,
skated with good flow and had strong levels (4th/4th).
France: James & Cipres impress
Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres finished the best season of their career so far on a
high note in Tokyo. They gave two strong performances and
achieved two personal best, winning both segments. James
landed the quad throw Salchow in the free on two feet, but
that remained the only glitch. “It’s something you dream
about doing, but when it actually happens it still feels
like a dream. We are very happy and proud, but it was not
easy. But it shows the work pays off,” James said. “It was
just amazing today. All the teams in the boxes stood up for
us, that really touched me,” Cipres shared.
However, France was
significantly weaker in the other disciplines and therefore
finished clearly in sixth and last place. Chafik Besseghier
showed almost everything he can do, but his skating is
rather unpolished does not get many points on the GOE (8th/8th).
Kevin Aymoz, who landed his first quad toe in practice in
Tokyo did not have his nerves under control and made some
mistakes (9th/11th). Neither Laurine
Lecavelier (11th/10th) nor Mae-Bérénice
Meité (12th/12th) were able to skate
their best. Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac put out two
good dances, but compared to the other teams they still look
a bit like juniors (6th/5th). Two-time
World Champions Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron did
not come as he had to have new stitches on his hand that he
had cut in the short dance and Worlds, as coach Romain
2017 World Championships
Finnish capital of Helsinki has organized many skating competitions.
The last time Senior Worlds was held here was in 1999 when the huge
Hartwall Arena was brand new and Russian skaters won all four gold
U.S. TeamSeeks to Maximize Team Entries for 2018
Olympics - These 2017
Championships are about more than just personal achievement.
They are doubly important for each country because the
majority of the Olympic country spots for Pyeongchang
in 2018 will be decided according to the Helsinki results; 24 ladies
spots, 24 spots for men, 19 for ice dancing and 16 for pairs
will be fixed.
Ladies Short Program -
The short program of the 37 ladies was the first event of
the 2017 World Championships in the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, 24 of whom reached the final. About
6,500 spectators followed the event, the majority of them were
Japanese spectators. The competition had very a high level with
many of the ladies executing clean programs that included triple-triple combinations.
Ladies Free Skate-
During the Ladies Free
Program at the 2017 World Championships, the Hartwall Arena was sold
out with almost 11,000 spectators, around 5,000 of them from Japan.
The level of the competition was mixed, there were relatively many
mistakes. A big exception was the old and new World Champion Evgenia
Medvedeva from Russia who won with two outstanding performances and
a new world record of 233.41 points.
Men's Short Program
- The short program of the 36 men was a highlight of the
championships and a quad festival. Seven skaters tried two
quads and 11 tried at least one quad jump.
Men's Free Skate
The men’s competition at Worlds 2017 had a good, though not excellent
level but ended with a surprise. 2014 Olympic Champion Yuruzu Hanyu
had been fifth in the short program and almost nine points behind
Fernandez. But with a stellar free program the Japanese super star
moved up to first place to become World Champion a second time after
2014, winning 312.59 overall points.
Pairs Short Program -
The short program of the 28 pairs at the World Championships
in Helsinki had a good level but also some strange falls.
Eleven pairs had
more than 70 points which had never happened before. In order to
reach the final of the 16 best pairs you needed 62 points, last year
it was only 52 points, but the pairs had to do the same elements.
This number shows better than anything else how much this discipline
Pairs Free Skate
- The pair
skating competition was the first one to be finished at the World
Championships 2017 in Helsinki. The level of the competition was
extremely high, there was much more depth than in previous years and
ten pairs had more than 200 points (last year there were six).
Dance Short Dance
- The short dance of the 32 ice dance couples had an
excellent level even if the jury was stricter than at many
other events. Only some skaters got a season‘s best, which
is normally common at the end of the season. Because of the
high level, some renowned skaters did not reach the final of
the 20 best.
Dance Free Dance
- After two years without any competitions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir came
back this season and won every competition, including
Worlds, this time with a new world record of 198.62 points.
2017 World Junior Championships
For the first time, the ISU Junior World
Championships are held in Taiwan’s subtropical capital of
Taipei this year. They take place in the huge Taipei Arena,
a multi-purpose stadium which was opened in 2005. Although
Taiwan has never had any top skaters, the federation is
interested in holding big international skating events
regularily and is quite experienced.
Ladies Event -
The general level of the ladies competition at Junior Worlds 2017 was
good, the majority of the skaters can jump all triple
The men were the first ones
to finish their competition at Junior Worlds in Taipei, Chinese
Taipei. 24 of the 45 competitors reached the final and the overall
level was excellent. Like in the senior competitions in this season,
the junior men perform many more quad jumps than before. In the
short program, no quad is allowed yet for juniors, but this rule
will perhaps be changed at the next ISU congress in the summer of
2018. This time, the spectators saw 10 more or less clean quads in
the free program plus around ten more which were popped or not
Pairs Event -
Only 16 pairs competed at Junior Worlds
2017 in Taipei because many countries especially in Europe
and Asia don’t have pairs at all. Therefore it is a huge
encouragement for them that no pair from one of the big pair
skating countries was crowned Junior World Champion in 2017.
For the first time in the history of the ISU, a pair and
skaters from Australia won gold medals at ISU championships.
Dance Event -
Ice dance teams from the USA are quite
successful at Junior Worlds. Therefore it was no surprise
that at this competition 2017 in Taipei another ice dance
couple from this country won the gold medal. Last year,
Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter won gold, this year
their training mates Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons from
the Wheaton Academy are the ninth U.S. team in 20 years to
win this title, this time with 164.82 points in a close
decision, like at the ISU Junior Final in December.
2017 European Championships
Preview - The European
Championships 2017 will take place in Ostrava in the Czech
Republic the week after U.S. and Canadian Nationals.
Ostrava is the third-largest city of this central European
country (behind Prague and Brno) and is situated in the
North-East, about 10 miles from the border to Poland. It is
the first time since 1999 that Europeans will be in this
Pairs Event - The
first decision at the European Championships 2017 in Ostrava
(Czech Republic) was the pairs competition in front of an
enthusiastic crowd of about 10,000 spectators (in the free
program) although the event was not on a weekend but on
Wednesday and Thursday night. The level of the competition
was excellent, at least for the top seven pairs.
Ladies Event -
The ladies competition at the European Championships in Ostrava had
a mixed level. In front of a sold-out rink with 11,000 often enthusiastic
spectators, the three medalists and some others skaters showed
first-class performances, but the second half was weak.
Men's Event - The men’s
competition at the 2017 European Championships in Ostrava,
Czech Republic, had a good but not excellent level. Unfortunately it
has become normal that even the best skaters make some mistakes
because they risk much more than five or 10 years ago, let alone 20
or 30 years ago. And all programs are now more intricate; not only the
jumps, but the spins and steps and even the linking steps are also more
demanding, therefore there is no more rest during a program.
Dance Event - The ice dance event at the 2017 European championships had the
expected results on the podium, but some surprises on other places.
The general level was good, but several observers said that the
relatively long compulsory part in the short dance made this part a
bit boring, because everybody had to do the same movements. The
technical panel with the controller Michela Cesaro (ITA), the
specialist Sergei Ponomarenko (RUS) and the assistant Roxane Petetin
(FRA) was very strict and did not give high levels to most of the
dance teams, which several coaches and skaters criticized.
A new book by Tatjana Flaade
Even if you don't read German, the pictures
alone are worth the price
Available on Amazon and other book sites
Past News Nuggets are in the Archive
Jan 21 -
Tarah Kayne & Daniel O’Shea, the reigning U.S. pairs
champions, and Alexandria
Shaughnessy and James Morgan have withdrawn from the 2017
Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships due injury/illness.
Kayne sustained a concussion in a fall from a throw element
in the pairs short program Thursday afternoon and is under
the care of event medical provided by the University of
Kansas Hospital. After examination and follow up, it was the
advice of the chief medical officer that Kayne should not
compete for her own health and safety due to symptoms of
Shaughnessy is being treated for a stomach virus, the
symptoms of which increased overnight.
Jan 9 - Polina Edmunds, the reigning
U.S. silver medalist, has withdrawn from the 2017 Prudential U.S. Figure
Skating Championships as she continues to recover from a right foot bone
bruise. “I’m disappointed that I will miss the 2017 U.S. Championships and
wish all the athletes good luck in Kansas City,” Edmunds said. “I will
continue to focus on my health and look forward to a full return to ice.”
Jan 9 - Adam Rippon, the reigning U.S.
champion, has withdrawn from the 2017 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating
Championships due to injury. Rippon broke his left foot and sprained the
same ankle during an off‐ice warm up on Friday, Jan. 6. "I am heartbroken
that I won't be able to defend my title at the 2017 U.S. Championships,”
“Despite breaking my foot in a fluke accident off
the ice, I am determined to grow from this and come back ever stronger.
“I will use this as an opportunity to improve so
that I can be fully prepared for next season and be at my very best to
compete for a spot at the 2018 Olympic Games."
Rippon is expected to be off the ice for eight to
12 weeks and will resume training with his medical team’s guidance.
27 - 29 Jul -
Lake Placid Ice Dance
Lake Placid, United
2 - 5 Aug -
Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy
Hong Kong, Hong Kong / China
3 - 5 Aug -
Philadelphia Summer International
Philadelphia, United States
21 - 27 Aug -
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating
21 - 26 Aug -
International Adult Figure Skating Competition Vancouver, Canada
26 - 27 Aug -
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
28 Aug - 3 Sep -
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating