Inspiration from the 2011 U.S. Ladies Champion, Alissa Czisny

The 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were all about inspiring performances. As much as I love to see Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu do well, it was wonderful to see the beautiful Alissa Czisny make her comeback to win the gold medal in the senior ladies event.

After her heartbreaking 10th place finish last year (after winning in 2009), Alissa recreated her skating with coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen. It’s lovely to hear that Alissa’s coaches really believe in her and helped her find confidence in her skating.

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Photo Credit: Alissa Czisny at the 2009 Fiesta on Ice. Photo by Queen Yuna at Flickr Creative Commons.

February 24, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 U.S. Ice Dance Medalists

Mai and Alex Shibutani performing their free dance at the 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy. (Photo by Liz Chastney

Mai and Alex Shibutani performing their free dance at the 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy. (Photo by Liz Chastney

Watching ice dancers perform can be a great inspiration for skaters, parents, and people in any walk of life. I’m going to discuss how the top three ice-dance teams at the U.S. Championships can inspire us!

First, we have the 2010 Olympic and World Silver Medalists and three-time U.S. Champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Meryl and Charlie are a team that can inspire us through their work ethic and through the years they’ve stayed together as a team. They are still a young team (24 and 23), but they have been together for many, many years (since 1997). This, along with their work ethic, has developed two excellent skaters into the wonderful team they are now!

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February 17, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 U.S. Men’s Champion, Ryan Bradley

Ryan Bradley was the winner of the senior men’s event at the recent U.S. National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. I’ve been friends with Ryan for many years. We both trained at the Colorado Springs World Arena as well. I enjoyed seeing Ryan win this title!

Ryan has always been a showman with one of his main focuses to please the crowd. Watch this winning short program and how Ryan incorporates strong technical difficulty (including a quad/triple combination) with a fun, showy style. This should be remembered as one of the most entertaining programs ever for a men’s national champion!

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February 10, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 U.S. Pairs Champions, Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin

The 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships just concluded last weekend. U.S. Nationals is the yearly competition that the top novice-senior skaters in the nation qualify for by placing in the top 4 in their regions and sections. Usually there are between 12 to 15 skaters or teams in each event.

In senior pairs, the team of Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin won the event. Caitlin and John skate at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, where I used to train. Caitlin arrived after I moved, but I knew John for many years. John was always a nice guy.

I was happy to see Caitlin and John finally succeed in winning this title. Caitlin and John’s victory was extra special because their long program was dedicated to John’s mother who passed away last year.

In the YouTube video of Caitlin and John’s U.S. Nationals free skate, you can really see them feeling the music to bring out John’s emotions. Also, watch how Caitlin and John maintain great speed and flow throughout the transitions and various elements they perform. They wove all the aspects together to create one of the most memorable pairs programs ever at U.S. Nationals.

February 3, 2011