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Saturday, February 27, 2010

POSB Everyday Champions for Sports Award 2010

In supporting sports and a healthy lifestyle in the community, POSB and the Singapore Sports Council will recognise and celebrate everyday Singaporeans and organisations that go the extra mile to promote sports passionately.

The POSB Everyday Champions for Sports Award 2010 is a special award for these unsung heroes. It could be your coach, your family member or even your neighbour. If you know of anyone who has a passion for sports, and translates that passion into inspiring YOU or others to play sports and grow through sports - why not nominate the individual or organisation for the POSB Everyday Champions Award '09?

Nomination is open from 28 February to 28 March 2010.

Visit from 28 Feb onwards to nominate your champion!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympics 2010: Ladies' Short ~ dazzling and emotional

The ladies short program was far from uneventful. Kim Yuna set a record score, with a huge lead over Mao Asada. Joannie Rochette skated to 3rd place entering free program, just two days after her mother's death, and breaking down with emotion at the end.

Video of Kim Yuna Short Program during the Olympics official practise, on 22 Feb 2010:

Slideshow on
Kim Yuna (not all photos are from the Olympics SP - in fact, only the last few are!)
Joannie Rochette

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Singapore's National Championships will be held in Malaysia! ~ for real?? yes!

The announcement is out. Singapore will be holding its National Championships in Malaysia!

So... get this - Singaporeans are now funding a competition that will benefit businesses in another country. We are funding a competition that will bring in tourist dollars to another country. Aren't we proud Singaporeans?

It is not even that we do not have facilities in Singapore... and you would imagine that if there is only one skating rink in the country, SISA would strive to maintain a good working relationship with it! Really, Singaporeans shouldn't be made to go overseas to compete in a National competition.

Imagine if one day Singapore holds its National Day Parade in Kuala Lumpur...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Condolences to Joannie Rochette

Just two days before the Ladies' Short Program, Joannie Rochette faces a devastating loss - the loss of her mother. Still, she will compete at the Olympic Games as planned. In this difficult time, it takes sheer courage and determination to do this. Condolences to Joannie, and all the best for the Games.

News on Vancouver2010 website.

Singapore's new goal: 2014 Winter Olympics

Singapore is aiming for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

On Feb 11, just after 4 in the afternoon, I received a call from a reporter. Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), had brought up once again Singapore's "stretched goal" of sending athletes to the Winter Olympics.

What do I think are our chances?

Clearly optimistic, I quickly launched into how we already have figure skating underway, with SISA in the ISU, and so why not? After all, we have skaters who are showing a great deal of promise:
  • Brittany Lau will be representing Singapore at the 2010 World Junior Figure Skating Championships at The Hague in early March
  • Leong Kai Jing is the only skater who has passed the SISA Senior test, and I'm sure she's keen to be representing Singapore soon!

What is needed for this to happen?

The first thing that comes to mind is an Olympic size rink. Certainly facilities play a crucial part in training, and it has, admittedly, been rather difficult to train in a small rink and then expect to do well in a full-size rink.

However, just having a facility may not be sufficient. If skaters have to contend with public, it is not only difficult to work on programs, it can also become dangerous to the skaters (as well as the public). Skaters need to have ice time specifically for training purposes.

The next question that really threw me was:
So, if SSC or SNOC puts in facilities and funding, Singapore will be able to send someone to the Olympics in 2014?

Well, not really... skaters can't just train and then go to the Olympics. Skaters need exposure. Skaters need motivation. And of course, we first need to have skaters! In an article in the Sunday Times, SISA president said something about needing funding "to set up programs overseas". Don't we first need programs locally? No wonder Singaporeans are fuming on the online forums...

Our local skater base is slowly shrinking. Due in part to the lack of facilities, and due in part to the lack of support - not exactly financial support, but moral support for skaters in general.

Yes, that is it - the sport needs support. Support from the facility management, from the Association and from the Sports Council. It is not enough to pump in money. A good, solid base needs to be built from which to identify and grow our next talents.

Kazakhstan can field a respectable athlete for Men's figure skating (Denis Ten finished 11th at the Olympics). I don't see why Singapore cannot.

[PS: why am I still so optimistic?]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympics 2010: Plushenko's Interview after Men's event

Interview with Plushenko after the Olympics Men's Figure Skating Podium

Plushenko said, "I stepped on the Gold medal position because I forgot that I came second. To be fair, I thought that I stepped on to my position."

When asked why he took down his medal shortly after the ceremony, he later said, "You all understand that it is not my position."

His arrogance is just mind-boggling!

For those who don't understand - Men's figure skating is becoming dominated by quad jumps. Plushenko put in a quad-toe/triple-toe in his program, and, it seems, expected that to put him on the Gold position automatically. 

BUT one jump does not a program make!

Fortunately, the current system is not that stupid. Some of Lysacek's other elements (spins, step sequences) were of higher difficulty. All the elements get a base score, based on the difficulty. Those that were performed well were rewarded with more points, those that weren't were marked down. Same goes for Plushenko.

Lysacek played smart. Plushenko played arrogance. I am glad smart won.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympics Men's Figure Skating Results

Evan Lysacek upset Evgeni Plushenko to take the Olympic Gold medal - a first for US men's figure skating since Brian Boitano in 1988.

His win has sparked much outrage from the Russians, and also many fans around the world, with fans proclaiming that this signified the "death of quads". Indeed, Lysacek had chosen to omit the quad jump in his program, whereas the other skaters in the top 4 all attempted it. Such outcome only speaks of the new judging system's focus on the technical execution of elements, rather than the difficulty.

Read the report on USA Today

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Announcement: Mountain Cup 2010

At last, the announcement for Mountain Cup 2010 is available. This will be held 27-30 May 2010, in Villard-de-Lans, France.

Events include
  • free skating
  • pairs
  • ice dance (couples) - compulsory, original and free dance
  • solo dance - compulsory and interpretive dance
  • compulsory figures
  • interpretive skating - solo & pairs
  • improvisation
  • synchronised skating

The age limit starts from 18 years and up, and free skating levels start from pre-Bronze.

Download Announcement

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Fever ~ or the lack thereof in Singapore!

My DH says I have Olympic fever ~ Winter Olympics, that is. Why am I the only one interested in watching anything in the Winter Olympics? After all, many Singaporeans don't seem to know that it is on! After reading plenty of news on the Figure Skating Pairs results - on many other news sites - I begin to wonder what is on the local Straits Times website. So, I take a visit, and the Top Stories headlines read like:
#1 Property launches heat up
#2 Barclays profits surge
#3 Teleban commander caught
#4 Anwar's Sodomy Trial - M'sia chides Aussie MPs
#5 Toyota woes - Competitive sales incentives

Certainly, I understand that the world continues turning even when the Olympics are on... Fine, so I scroll down to Sports. Disappointingly, here's what I see:
#1 Sharapova eases past Perry
#2 Balanced performance needed (about AC Milan coach's strategy)
#3 Vieira eager for Stoke test (Premier League news)
#4 "Roony one of world's best" (Man U?)
#5 Arrest warrent out for Lanis

Even after I clicked on the "more" link, I see nothing, nothing at all about any Winter Olympics news! Here's a snapshot of the page:

No wonder nobody can understand why I have to watch a wonderful couple win their first Gold, and the first Gold for their country!

Olympics 2010 Pairs Skating

The Pairs skating has concluded, with final results:

Gold: SHEN Xue / ZHAO Hongbo
Silver: PANG Qing / TONG Jian
Bronze: Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY

The two Chinese teams have a great start to their new year!

Their coach Yao Bin was on the first team that represented China in a World Championship (Dortmund 1980). He skated pairs with Luan Bo.

A report six years ago (after Shen/Zhao took silver and Pang/Tong took bronze at the 2004 Worlds) had this to say about Yao:
When he showed up in Dortmund in 1980, Yao had been with his partner for only four months. He had never been outside China. What he saw was a complete revelation. He knew about pairs techniques only from television. He was not prepared for the kind of techniques and hand holds and elements that he saw in Dortmund 24 years ago — or all of the things he saw outside the rink.  
With Shen & Zhao skating first in the short program, I had missed their record-breaking performance by the time I got to watching the live show. Try as I might, I am still unable to watch Shen/Zhao's record-breaking short program ~ just one program, so difficult to find! Any suggestions would be most welcome...

Monday, February 15, 2010

"The music of Olympic figure skating isn't what it could be"

Article in the Washington Post by Anne Midgette on 14 Feb 2010

Some excerpts:
Music for skating has never been noted for its quality. Fans are accustomed to kitschy arrangements, abrupt cuts and sub-par sound systems.
It's "also a new generation of choreographers," [Weisiger] says, who "don't have the same appreciation for classical music."
Even for those who do want to improve the musical level of the sport, there are limits to what you can do in less than five minutes, especially when you're working with a skater, a choreographer and a coach who may all have their own ideas of what they want. 
Even the musically knowledgeable do things to their musical selections that would outrage any purist. Alexander Goldstein, a Russian-born composer who has been arranging music for athletes since he worked with the Soviet figure skating and rhythmic gymnastics teams in the 1970s, points out that on his computer he can "make the music faster, make the music slower, without any degradation of the sound quality." But that's the least of his manipulation.

This all reminds me of my sister, who, when studying for her degree in Music, was appalled by the lack of musical integrity in my music-cutting skills. Wonder if I can now co-opt her into arranging music for skaters...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympics 2010: Shen/Zhao last practise

Report from China's CCTV on Shen Xue & Zhao Hongbo last practise before their short program.

While most Chinese were having family reunions and preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Shen & Zhao were having their practise session before the Pairs short program. They are the first to skate in the short program, and so were also allocated to the first group on practise ice at 6:30am in Vancouver (10:30pm in China) on Feb 13, 2010.

To be at the venue at 5:30am for warmup, they had to get up at 4:30am. Several fans also bought tickets to watch the practise session.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

1st Icescape Challenge

Kallang Ice World is holding its first competition on 21st March 2010. Here's a chance for all skaters in Singapore to enter a local competition!

How to watch the Winter Olympics in Singapore

Figure skating fans in Singapore have been asking how they can watch the Olympics. Specifically, figure skating events.

Of course you can try find the events posted online, but certainly it would be more fun to watch them live...?

So it turns out that ESPN is showing the Winter Olympics - a quick look at their schedule shows that they did allocate some time to figure skating, LIVE. I did a quick match-up with the competition schedules. Here's what we can expect to see (all in Singapore Time):
16 Feb (Tue) 11:00 - 13:00 Live Figure Skating ~ Pairs Free
17 Feb (Wed) 08:15 - 13:00 Live Figure Skating ~ Mens Short
19 Feb (Thu) 09:00 - 13:00 Live Figure Skating ~ Mens Free
22 Feb (Mon) 11:15 - 13:00 Figure Skating (*not live*)
23 Feb (Tue) 08:45 - 13:30 Live Figure Skating ~ Ice Dance Free Dance
24 Feb (Wed) 08:30 - 13:00 Live Figure Skating ~ Ladies Short
26 Feb (Fri) 10:00 - 13:00 Live Figure Skating ~ Ladies Free

Well, I suppose the next step would be to get ESPN ~ or continue the search for online streaming...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jump analysis video - Yuna Kim & Brian Orser

NY Times "Inside the Action" features world champion Yuna Kim of South Korea and her coach, Brian Orser, where they explain her approach to a triple lutz-triple toe loop.

Watch it at NY Times website

Some pointers that all skaters should take away (even if they are not doing triples):

Yuna Kim says, "In all my jumps, not just the triple lutz triple toe, speed is the most important part. The faster I go, the higher I jump."
"On the take off of the triple Lutz, I focus on keeping the right shoulder behind the left."

In the air, Brian Orser says, "she keeps her shoulders level, hips level, feet nice and tight together."

"On the landing, I try to maintain my speed and keep my body upright.", says Yuna Kim

Brian Orser notes that "she can actually build a bit more momentum on the landing of the lutz into the takeoff of the toe loop."

Yuna Kim says, "on the triple toe I keep my L shoulder forward and R shoulder back until the moment I takeoff."

"I have to keep my upper and lower body rotating together, or else rotation will be wobbly." 

"it is almost instinctual, like my body is programmed to do it" ~ Yuna Kim 

Just a little fun-fact: Yuna Kim covers a distance of about 25ft from takeoff to landing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mao Asada and FOOD

As the Vancouver is busy preparing for the XXI Olympic Winter Games which start on 12 February 2010, figure skater Mao Asada is making her way into menus...

Japadog, a Japanese style hot dog stand, has launched a hot dog named after figure skater Mao Asada. The Mao dog has gold and red-coloured maple leaves made out of yuba (a type of dried tofu skin), and is created by Noriki Tamura, whose husband runs the family stand. She hopes it will bring Asada good luck and a gold medal for Japan.
Slide shows of the hot dog stand on NBC Olympics page

Another sushi store in the city has a "Mao roll", which includes salmon, raw shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, crabmeat and asparagus, served in two rolls combined into the shape of a heart.

"I Believe" - Vancouver 2010 Theme Song

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games begin on February 12th on CTV. Visit for more information and purchase "I Believe" by Nikki Yanofsky on iTunes or at stores today!

Video name: Journey to Vancouver
Music: "I Believe" by Nikki Yanofsky and associated recording studios/artists
Written by: Stephan Moccio and Alan Frew
Video created/arranged by: vancouverite1989

45,000-kms...12,000 torchbearers. This video captures the images of the torch relay up to its last few days right at the BC-Alberta border. With Glowing Hearts!


There comes a moment, when my heart must standalone
On this lonely path Ive chosen,
like a house thats not a home
sometimes when I feel Ive had enough
and I feel like giving up
you willed me to be all I can be
now nothing can stop me
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together we'll find
I believe in the power of you and I

This is the moment we have dreamed of all our lives
Well be the change we wish from others
Well stand tall for what its right
And in my hearts therell be no doubt
The arms of the world will come reaching out
And embrace me to be all I can be
Now nothing can stop me
I believe inthe power that comes
From a world brought together as one
I believe together well fly
I believe in the power of you and I

I believe the time is right now
Stand tall and make the world proud
I believe together well fly
I believe in the power..
I believe in the power that comes
From a world brought together as one
(Of you and I)
I believe together we'll fly
I believe in the power of you and I
I believe the time is right now
(Oh you and I)
Stand tall and make the world proud
I believe together well fly (Together well fly)
I believe in the power of you and I
(I believe in the power of you and I)

Believe (Olympic Inspired Version)

As Premier National Partner of the 2010 Winter Games and a long-time supporter of the arts, Bell is bringing together Canada's top talent in the fields of both sport and culture to produce 'Believe (Olympic Inspired Version)', a one-of-a-kind music video and audio track that will raise funds for Canada's winter athletes and chronicle their extraordinary journey on the road to 2010.
~ from website 

The video features figure skater Joannie Rochette, as well as freestyle skier Steve Omischl and speed skater Clara Hughes.

Believe Lyrics:

One minute's fading
One minute's passed
But I've got this moment
To make it all last
And I'm standing before you
Taking my chance on everything
I never thought that I could be
Cause you can do almost anything

If you just Believe
You can move mountains with dreams
The higher you climb
The better it gets
Cause you will see things
You'll never forget
If you just Believe

It's like I'm falling
Through my own fears
They used to haunt me
But now they're not here
There's no looking back
My future is clear no giving up
And I'm holding on when it gets rough
Cause you can get through most anything


No one says it's easy
And no one says you have to be perfect
But as long as you try
You're always gonna find it was worth it


Friday, February 05, 2010

Synthetic Ice Rink in Singapore

Heard the news this evening about the "first" synthetic ice rink in Singapore. Hey, this can't be the first!? Wasn't there one in Downtown East that opened over a year ago? Or am I missing something - maybe this is a different "synthetic" ice? Ah, perhaps made by different manufacturers? That's quite a distinction to be made!

Online news article: "Singapore’s first synthetic ice rink opens"

Monday, February 01, 2010

Singapore's Sarah Paw gets perfect 10 at 4CC!?

Singaporean Sarah Paw competed at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship last week. Apparently one of the judges gave her a perfect 10 score for Interpretation (one of the Program Components score) from one of the judges!!

[The picture was taken from ISU document fc10_Ladies_SP_Scores.pdf as of Jan 31 2010, 4:00pm Singapore time.]

Sarah finished 32nd in the short program, and did not qualify for the finals. The score must have been a genuine mistake, or this judge must be quite a sarcastic one!

Results of the Four Continents are available at