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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Back to Skating

After climbing the Great Wall on Thursday - all the way to the topmost tower - my thighs were aching last two days. They are much better today, and since a couple of my students had cancelled this morning, I decide to skate a bit.

Hadn't really skated in 4 days (don't count yesterday, since I went on just to coach and got off!). Still, jumps felt good. Axels felt high and "correct", and 2Sals landed nicely - execpt for the ones I popped when there were people nearby! 2Toes felt too easy to be true, but as usual the L foot is annoying me by tapping down every time!

I did some spins, and even tried the "opposite camel" (CW camel) which surprisingly went around almost 3 revs, though I was falling way on the inside edge. Perhaps I might consider putting that in my program! LOL

I conclude that I need to work-out more... just doing things on-ice is not enough - that works only one set of muscles - I believe there is a complementary set that must be strengthened in order to perform well. That is why off-ice training is so important for skaters!
(or maybe I just need to take 4-day breaks once in a while!!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Beijing Trip

I arrived home last night from a 3-day trip to Beijing. The PyeongChang2014 Olympic Bid Committee had had invited myself and two athletes who had participated in the Dream Program to be present at a press meeting in Beijing on 26 April.

The press meeting was a lunch event, where the press was introduced to the Dream Program, some participants of the Dream Program, as well as top Korean athletes like speed skaters Chun Lee-Kyung and Ahn Hyun-Soo. Here's the report from PyeongChang 2014 website.

Chinese pair skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo were also present. They were appointed honorary ambassadors for the PyeongChang2014 Olympic Bid Committee in a special ceremony. Here's a report from PyeongChang 2014 website and a report on KBS Global.

Apparently, Shen & Zhao also announced they would get married after the Beijing Olympics!

It is truly an honor to be invited to this event, and also to be seated at the same table as Gangwon Province Governor Kim Jin-Sun, Chairman of PyeongChang Bid Committee Han Seung-Soo, and newly-appointed honorary ambassadors Shen and Zhao.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Manleywoman Skatecast

Allison Manley has started a "skatecast", essentially a podcast for figure skating fans and skaters. It is called The Manleywoman Skatecast.

Her first podcast was an interview with Kurt Browning, and the second (most recent) podcast was an interview with Rhea Schwartz.

Rhea is the "force behind the adult figure skating movement in the USA and beyond", and in this interview, she recounts some stories of how she started skating, and worked to build up adult skating. Towards the second half of the interview, she talks about international adult competitions, sure enough she mentions the ISU Adult Competition. She also made reference to skaters from as far away as Australia & New Zealand, and skaters from Asia - Thailand and Singapore (yours truly!).

It is extremely interesting to hear all this from Rhea's perspective, and also very encouraging to hear about her skating experiences as an adult.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Beautiful Monday

Ok, I promise I will not always title my posts with "Beautiful day-of-the-week". But no photo today.

This morning, today my DH got back from the US at 5:40am. For the first time, I actually had company for my early morning tea at 6:30am!! *BEAM*

Lesson went well. Axels and 2Sals were landed, but my coach decided that today was the day he would get picky about my air position. Is it be coincidence? Just over the weekend, I was lamenting about how I never pull straight in the air... GRR!!!

2toes weren't too bad (at least I don't chicken out! haha!) One of those, I landed way too much on the inside edge, and my coach went over to the tracing and claimed that I had over-rotated it!

I finally managed to complete a run of my entire program, which I had revamped after Nationals. BUT this was after lesson, as I decided to fall on the flip (single!?!?) in the program during lesson, and didn't continue from there.

Still trying to decide whether to skate ice time tomorrow morning...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Beautiful Sunday

This morning, as I drew open the curtains of the balcony sliding door, I was greeted with a bright day, with a soft misty feel. It was just 7:30am and the sun was rising. A gentle breeze eased in as I opened the door, and I couldn't resist grabbing my camera and taking a photo. I couldn't capture the breeze, though!

Well, I don't know what that has to do with skating, but I did skate last night, and it was pretty good. When I first stepped on the ice after the resurface, I thought, hey how lovely and soft. However, I soon found out that it wasn't soft - just that it was rather wet... In any case, I landed 1A+1Lo+1T combinations that felt nice and high (don't know how it looked, though! :0). Hopefully the A won't go away again...

Friday, April 20, 2007

TBISC Performance - Aug 2004

I was looking through some old photos and videos, and found some video clips from the Tropical Blades Ice Skating Club performance at "An Evening of Skating With Us" in August 2004.

Here's the finale, featuring all the skaters involved, choreographed to Die Moldau. The clips were in 2 parts, and I have joined them together, but there was a portion missed out in between.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Partner-Swap American Waltz (VTT 2004)

It was an honor getting to skate with Paul Harvath in 2004. We did a "partner swap" during the Vana Tallinn competition, and went out to compete against our partners, after one session of practise together.

Here's the outcome of our first dance, the American Waltz:

Moral of the story: Practise the complete dance!
(sure enough, we had tried to take the easy way out and worked just one pattern at a time during practise!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Camels - of all sorts!

I had wanted to make the title "Camel, back camel, flying camel and opposite camel", but decided it was too annoying, senseless, and long.

Today must be the first time (or one of the extremely rare occasions) I tried all of those in one session. I started off trying to spin the "opposite" direction - the CW camel, and kept getting on the toe pick after one revolution. BUT I think if I keep working on it, it probably can work... just like the "opposite" upright.

I then decided to work on the regular forward camel spin... and embarrassingly, my first few attempts at were more pathetic than my opposite camel attempts!

Now, I haven't really done a camel spin in... eons! To be sure, my current program does not have one - and for good reason, as I have a tendency to fall out of it. So for the last few months, I have only been working on the back camel and flying camel regularly.

Yet, some things aren't so easily forgotten. It just took a few pathetic tries, and the camel-sit-back sit was back to normal. I suppose having to think about the position when doing the opposite spin also made something click for the forward one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

ISU Adult Competition - some useful information

Article: Way to Oberstdorf
While planning for the trip to Oberstdorf for the ISU International Adult Figure Skating Competition, I came across this article that details how to get between Munich and O'dorf. It was written for the Junior World participants, and looks pretty useful!

Information about the competition itself, as well as the training camp preceding the competition and other leisure excursions, can be found on the Ice Dome website.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How often do I change boots?

Recently a friend asked, how I knew when my boots had to be changed. My first response was "When it gets so cut up that I can't bear to see them!"

I did a quick survey of my boots purchase, and on average, I would buy a pair of new boots after about a-year-and-a-half to two years.
  • 1995 - I got my first pair of beginner skates.
  • 1998 - I got a pair of "real" skates: Riedell Silver Star, with Coronation Ace blades.
  • Jun 2000 - I got a pair of Riedell Gold Stars. I think I kept the blades...
  • Jan 2002 - I decided to "upgrade" and got myself Riedell Royals & Pattern 99 blades
  • Dec 2003 - I got a new pair of Riedell Royals and a new pair of Pattern 99 blades as well!
  • Apr 2006 - my boots were really breaking down, so I had to get a new pair!

After I changed my boots last year, I realised how overdue the change had been. My previous pair had broken down so much, that I was suspecting that must be the reason I hadn't been landing my doubles!

Now my current pair is one-year-old. I will have to start thinking about getting new boots in a few months' time!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Toe Loop Entry

There are two entries that are most often seen for the toe loop - one from an inside-3-turn (RFI3 for CCW skaters), and the other from a step onto the BO edge, commonly done with a preceding FO3 (for CCW skaters, LFO3-RBO).

I started with, and stuck to, the RFI3 entry. Indeed, at some point some coach had tried to convert me to the LFO3-RBO entry, but that was an absolute failure.

In recent years, I have taken to doing the split jump - toe loop in my program. I sort of like it better because it makes me more aware of keeping the free-leg stretched on the entry, and hence keeps the free leg from cross around too much for the pick.

So today, I was sort of surprised when one of the coaches told me that he feels that split jump - double toe is more difficult "because it curves too much"! "It is a different feel", he said. On further thought, I realised that he uses the "other entry" into the toe - that must be why it feels different!!

In any case, as long as my split jump - double toe continues to get more consistent, I'm sticking to it! I did land a couple of those this morning, albeit the landings weren't exactly pretty...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

J'ai decidé

Finalement, j'ai decidé: je vais participer en le Vana Tallinn Trophy et la competition d'ISU à Oberstdorf. Cette année, je n'irais pas en France. Ce serait la première fois depuis 2002 que je raterais La Coupe de la Montagne! Mais j'ai vraiment envie d'aller à Tallinn, et Oberstdorf est la semaine prochaine. Deux semaines c'est longue, trois semaine est impossible - je n'ai pas assez de congé!

And don't ask me why I decided to write in French... I'm starting to miss France and the fact that I'm not going to France at all this trip is just starting to dawn on me as I look around for air tickets!

PS: If you want to translate this back to English, you can try Google Translate!

PS2: And please excuse the poor French I write... the last time I took a French class was more than 2 years ago!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lesson after competition

One more thing to add to Murphy's Law:
Jumps will always be tons better once competition is over.
(skating in general gets better as soon as competition is over!)

I think this must be the first time that Axel, 2Sal and 2Toe felt good on the same day! Well, I suppose my back was certainly much better today, and I skated at 8:30am instead of the usual 8am.

I tried my program to music again, and within the first 20s realised that I'd forgotten that I was going to change it... ARGH!!! And of course I also later realised that my toe loop is way to close to the wall, I crashed - not once, but twice - you'd think I'd learn!

I managed to talk EKE into going to VTT. She's very enthusiastic about it, and even put together a program within the week and came for ice time this morning to try it out! COOL!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Singapore Nationals 2007 - trivia

Which sports event is complete without some trivia? Here is some useless info about the 6th Singapore National Figure Skating Championships 2007.

Highest score in a program: 56.91
- Alexandria Wong, pre-Novice LP

Highest PCS (unfactored) in a program: 20.16
- Alexandria Wong, pre-Novice SP

Highest technical score (panel) in a program: 18.81
- Yi Ching Ng, Juvenile A

Highest score (panel) for a jump element: 3.3
- Tasha Benfield, Junior FS (2Lz+2Lo+COMBO)

Highest score (panel) for a spin: 2.5
- Chow Ying Lee, Adult Gold Ladies' (CCoSp2)

Most difficult jump called: 2A
- Sunny Man, Adult Masters Men

Highest level spin called: Level 2
- Chow Ying Lee, Adult Gold Ladies: CCoSp2
- Sarah Paw, Novice: CCoSp2 (SP&FS), LSp2 (FS)
- Sarah Rodgers, pre-Novice: FSSp2 (SP), LSp2 (FS)
- Cheryl Khoo, Preliminary B: CCoSp2

Highest level spiral sequence called: Level 2
- Isabelle Tan, Adult Gold Ladies

** Note: no step sequence above Level 1 was called

Youngest Champion: Gazel Lee 7 years old, pre-Preliminary

The scores from IJS give a very interesting comparison between all the competitors that transcends events, levels and age groups. Granted there are different requirements and restrictions for different levels, the scores still provide a relative standing of all the competitors. In my eyes, the skater with the highest total score in a program ought to be proclaimed our true National Champion!
Congratulations, Alexandria Wong!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Singapore Nationals 2007 - my video

Credit must be given to my DH who was there to support me, and took all my videos and photos for me.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Singapore Nationals 2007 - results

Results of the 6th Singapore National Figure Skating Championship 2007 are posted on the Singapore Ice Association Website, or on the results page:

Singapore Nationals 2007 - my skate

I had my event this morning. How embarrassing to fall on a spiral - my DH didn't hesitate to remind me of the previous time I did that in competition...

I started a little shaky, and it didn't help that I stepped down hard on my R foot with my L blade on an Axel landing during the warmup... I could barely hold the first camel position in my combination spin, and I did an Axel-loop, but uh, my free leg was a little too low, and I stepped hard on the ice instead of going for the toe loop at the end. *sigh* Two-footed the double toe after that, but I really should be happy since this is the first one I actually rotated it in competition!

Then, horror of horrors, I went into my forward spiral (the second spiral of my spiral sequence) and was very happy until I suddenly thought, uh-oh, I'm skidding, and then, uh-oh, I skidded! By then I was on the ice... ARGH!!!

I was so out of it, I decided, no more doubles... No more axels either, I'd just make the second Axel a loop-loop combination instead. As I was going into the double Sal, I thought, make it a single Sal-loop-toe loop. That was fine, or would have been fine if not for the fact that I still went ahead and did the Lutz-toe loop at the very end - I totally forgot that I would then have TOO MANY COMBINATIONS!! WHAT A MISTAKE!

I really wasn't thinking straight. Still, I won the category. I'm really curious what the detailed scores are like.