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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pairs Program

I have put up the pairs program at Vana Tallin Trophy. This is the result after one day's practise together... Ok, to be fair, its almost the same program we did two years ago, but neither of us remembered the whole thing, nor have I done any pairs moves in two years... plus we changed the footwork, and the throw jump... Still, it was fun!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


This year at Oberstdorf was rather interesting. I had good practicse and an excellent warm-up. I was all set to do well, and really was not nervous at all...

However, skating first turns out not that easy, much as I tried to wave it away, convincing myself that in the IJS the skating order shouldn't really make all that much of a difference. However, the nerves started as soon as the music started, and it was all I could do to hold the first spin together.

Overall, the program felt like a disaster. For the first time that week, I messed up the first jump combination. For the first time that week, I popped the double Sal (almost exactly like in Tallinn!!). I landed 5th... It was very very close, with less than a 0.6-point difference between 3rd and 5th.

I was extremely disappointed. not at the overall placing, but at the fact that I did not skate my best. However, I was thrilled that had two level-3 calls in the program - my first combination spin, and the spiral sequence. I also had the highest technical score of the 3rd, 4th and 5th placings. Conclusion: it is confirmed that I really seriously need to work on improving the program components!

Warm up


Monday, May 21, 2007

Reflections on VTT program

We received the competition protocol at the banquet last night.

My first conclusion is that I need to work on improving the program component score. Indeed, my technical elements score was higher than the 2nd-placed lady, even with singled & popped jumps!

I was also thrilled that I got a +1 and even a +2 for my spiral sequence - which incidentally was a level 3! :-)

Then came the observation that the 2nd-placed lady had both her step *and* spiral sequences scored... the announcement had stated "max one step or spiral sequence".

The 1.8 points would have changed our final placings!

Still, the fact remains that I must not chicken out on the doubles, and that I ought to pay attention to program components!

(This was posted on Sun 20 May, 10:52pm Estonia time.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Vana Tallinn Trophy 2007

We just had the award ceremony for the Vana Tallinn Trophy, and about to go for the medieval feast...

My freeskate felt like a disaster! Singled the 2toe, popped the 2sal, and later fell on the Axel... ARGH! Anyway whatever I did was ok, and whatever I didn't do - well, I didn't do!

What's more interesting is pairs. Loon and I thought it'd be fun to enter pairs, even though we haven't skated together for 2 years! Turned out we only had three 25-min sessions to work out a pairs program, AND practise our own freeskate programs!

We ended up with a "pairs improvisation". I was glad it didn't
look too bad!

(This was really posted on Saturday May 19 2007, 7:55pm Estonia time)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Preparing for Europe Trip

Monday morning. I had complete run-through of my program - not once, but two times! They weren't flawless, but at least I wasn't running into people all the time. I must remember to not rush my jump entries!

I remembered to bring my skates home, so that I can pack. I suppose I will also need lots of warm clothing... the weather forecast for Tallinn has it at low of 3C (37F) to a high of 13C (54F) - that's pretty darn cold!

This all seems to be happening so soon. I'm sure it will be fun, though. It is always exciting to see old friends again, and make new ones. Bringing a new skater from Singapore will also make it all the more interesting! :-)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

ISU Rule Clarification & Changes

Last week, ISU put out Communication No 1445, with rule clarifications and changes for the 2007-08 season.

Some changes include...

Spins: "basic positions" are defined (upright, sit, camel), with the introduction of an "intermediate position". There are also some changes to level features, one of which includes at least 8 revs in a "basic position" as a feature for spins with no change of position.

Step and spiral sequences: various changes to level features... makes it now seem like its way harder to get a L4 spiral sequence!

Jumps: jumps in a jump sequence must be connected by non-listed jumps and hops, and steps or turns in between are not allowed!

Very interesting, but at the same time a little confusing... Nevertheless, it will make choreographying my next program more challenging! ;-) BUT I suppose that will have to wait 'til after Oberstdorf... for now, FOCUS!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Double Toe Analysis

This week, the double toe is feeling much better. I am convinced that the double toe is actually an easy jump once you get it - but getting it is another beast altogether!

Yesterday evening, my DH came to the rink and helped me take videos. I did lots of double toes (amongst other things) and realise that I hate my air position!

Of course my coach has been saying (many many times) that I'm not getting into the backspin position in the air... but hey, how am I supposed to know exactly which body-part isn't in the right position?

After watching all the videos, here's my analysis of what I must do
  • stretch straighter out for the pick - my picking toe is still going around way too much!
  • arms need to be tight in the air - my arms are so sloppy!
  • straighten the R leg!!!
  • lift the L hip, especially the split second before landing! Seriously, I think that's the main reason I 2-foot my jumps, or keel forward on the landing.
  • keep my arms lower on landing - I don't like the arms-floating-above-the-head look
Here's the video of a bunch of double toes:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Axel woes

Here today, gone tomorrow... Now you see it, now you don't!

Monday's lesson started quite well with nice Axels, double Sal and double toe. I even did a complete run-through of my program... ok, double toe was slightly 2-footed, and I sort of stepped out of the double Sal, but otherwise, I finished the program standing.

A few minutes later, my coach wanted a second run of the program. To my surprise, I sat down hard on the Axel landing. Coach re-started my program, and again... same exact fall. The rest of lesson consisted of me on my butt! ARGH!!!

Of course once lesson was over, the Axel returned!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sandbagging Issues

ISI Asia had put up a notice about sandbagging issues following last year's Skate Asia. I had known they would do it, but never actively went to look for it. I ran into it a few days ago, and coincidentally, read about it on a forum soon after.
Link to ISI Asia's Sandbagging Notice

ISI, being a recreational track, aims to make competitions as "fair" as possible for skaters. This means that skaters should compete at the "correct" level, rather than skating down or up. The notice puts forth well-written guidelines on what constitutes the correct level.

Still, it can sometimes be hard to decide, especially at the lower levels, when a beginner picks up skills very fast. In the 6 weeks or more between entry deadline and competition day, it is not inconceivable that a skater can improve to the next level. Yet it is also not fair to enter the skater in a higher level in the hope that he/she will get there in 6 weeks!

But so long as everyone does their best to enter at the correct level, we will at least have a more level playing field.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Program Run-through

For the first time since Nationals, I skated my entire program, with all elements included... Ok, the 2-toe and 2-Sal were 2-footed but at least I didn't chicken out on anything.
[PS: I say "since Nationals" since I had changed my program after that and now have three jump elements back-to-back, which I was never able to do successfully!]

I suppose I have to like to attribute this to 3 things:

1. I wore a dress today - funny how I skate better when I have a nice dress on.

2. I put my hair up in a bun - at least the ponytail is not whipping my face anymore, and I also don't have to be distracted by my hair starting to get loose and come undone.

3. I have finally come to terms with where my 2-toe and 2-Sal are in the music and in the program - this must be the real reason.

However, I still have to build up stamina. just 2 minutes into the program, my legs were getting really tired, I don't know how I managed to finish the entire thing.

Then my coach said, "one more time!" AARRGGHH!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Skate Asia 2007

Skate Asia 2007 will be held on 12-18 August 2007, at the SM Mall of Asia International Skating Rink in Manila, Philippines.

The Skate Asia 2007 Website is still under construction, but rules, regulations and forms are already available there. Entry deadline is 14 June, so skaters, make your plans soon! :-)

Download poster from Skate Asia 07 website!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Ice Skating in the Tropics" - Article on Golden Skate

There is an article about skating in Singapore on Golden Skate:
Ice Skating in the Tropics
Singapore Strives to Become ISU Member

Golden Skate is an online resource for figure skaters, providing links to a large variety of websites ranging from music to the ISU judging system, from gifts to rink equipment.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The color of Orange

It is a public holiday today, and I decided to skate in the morning. It was drizzling slightly when I got to the rink, so I grabbed the only umbrella that was in the car. There were more skaters at the rink than usual, as some of them were preparing group programs for the inter-school competition in June.

I went into the coach's room to put down my stuff, grabbed my bag and was heading over to get my skates, when somebody commented "hey, you match!". It didn't take a moment for me to realise I had on an orange T-shirt and a black skirt, and the bag I usually carry is also orange-and-black!

After skating, I went back to the coach's room to get my stuff. As I emerged, one of the little skaters observed, "hey you are all orange today!". Sure enough, it wasn't just my shirt and the bag, but the only umbrella that was in the car was orange!!

Skating was so-so... there were so many skaters on the ice (and group numbers too) that I didn't bother to do my program. I don't think it would have been possible either, anyway. I worked mostly on jumps. Axels and double Sals were pretty good. Double toe felt wonderful until I landed - on both feet - ARGH!!!