Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
Here is my list of Top 10 Figure Skating performances of all time!!
10. Yuzuru Hanyu: Romeo and Juliet V2 (LP): 2014 Winter Olympics and 2014 World Championships
So this program makes my top ten because after watching it so many times, it simply grew on me, plus its the long program that is part of Yuzuru’s Olympic Gold Medal win!! I have included links to both the Olympic program and the Worlds program. I couldn’t decide which performance I liked better. During the Olympics, he went for the quad salchow but missed, and drove my heart rate and anxiety level up through the roof!! He landed it at Worlds, albeit a bit shaky but he did it!! Good on Yuzu for not giving up on it even though it gives his fans heart attacks!! He constantly pushes the limits….and I’m sure we will see his goal of 3 quads in his long program realized next season. I don’t think we will see three quads in the long program attempted at Worlds this year, given that he will only have minimal training before Worlds, due to his injury.
Link to R&J2 at 2014 Winter Olympics: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUskvEAITdE&list=PLSclsIqUnz7LDAfpU5xb8fs8-N7qXN5Kz
Link to R&J2 at 2014 Worlds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT04HbiHBKw
9. Brian Orser: The Bolt (LP): 1988 Winter Olympics
Mr. Triple Axel!!! I was and still am a huge fan of Brian’s and this was my favourite program of his!! I wasn’t happy when Brian Boitano edged out Orser for gold in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, but that was under a totally different scoring system. Brian said he heard this music, liked it, and then put it away for a few years because he knew he wanted to save it for the 1988 Olympics. Watching this program, it’s incredible to compare what skaters were executing back then in the late 80’s to what skaters today have to do now just in order to be competitive, talk about progressively pushing the limits of human capability. While Brian was landing quads in practice back then, he didn’t ever attempt them in his competitive programs. Kurt Browning was the first man to ever land a ratified quad jump in a competition. It was a quad toe loop in the 1988 World Championships.
Link to Brian’s performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1TLmtf0CzI
8. Yuna Kim: Gershwin Piano Concerto in F (LP): 2014 Vancouver Winter Olympics
I saw this performance LIVE at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in the Pacific Coliseum. It was an incredible, amazing experience! While I am a Mao Asada fan, and wanted her to win Gold in Vancouver, this performance by Yuna truly captivated the audience! Sitting in the stands when the marks came up was a surreal experience!! When she eclipsed the 228 total point mark, we knew it was untouchable. I was happy for Yuna and also for Brian!! His first figure skating gold medalist student!! The Mao / Yuna rivalry has really grown the sport of women’s figure skating, and taken the technical elements in womens skating to a whole new level.
Link to Yuna’s performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noxpvATWzho
7. Alexei Yagudin – Gladiator (LP): 2001 World Championships
During the Alexei Yagudin and Evgeny Plushenko years, I had a hard time choosing which skater to cheer for. I am a fan of both skaters, and picked this program as my 7th overall favourite because I LOVE the footwork sequence near the end of the program. It was a close call between Yagudin’s Gladiator program and the Man in the Iron Mask program for number 7 on my list. Each program had amazing footwork sequences that are so unique and fit so well with the powerful music and choreography of the programs!!
Link to Alexei’s Gladiator performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rwy-pNScPA4
6. Yuzuru Hanyu: Phantom of the Opera (LP): 2014 Grand Prix Final
This is the season for the Phantom and when I heard that Yuzuru chose POTO as his program music, my first reaction was a simple groan. POTO has been so overdone, and at least 5 other skaters are using it this season!! However, I waited with baited breathe, and was pleasantly surprised!! Shaelyn Bourne made the music edits and choreographed Yuzu’s program beautifully!! I was pleasantly surprised! Yuzu’s interpretation of the music is very different than the POTO’s that I’ve seen before, and I don’t get tired of watching this program. I’m curious to see if he keeps it for next year, given that with all the drama and injuries he sustained this year, he really hasn’t had the chance to grow into this program yet.
At the Grand Prix Final, Yuzu landed the quad salchow beautifully, and the program was basically perfect until the triple lutz at the end. Yuzu even smiled as he got up because he knew it would be the only mistake in an otherwise perfect program. His final scores are so far ahead of the rest of the competition that you wonder really what would happen if he was perfectly healthy and skated 2 clean programs!! I think we would see Yuzu eclipse 300 points overall if all the stars will align for him!!!
Link to Yuzu’s Grand Prix Final POTO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKw7hOVzEZY
5. Mao Asada – Piano Concerto #2 by Rachmaninov (LP): 2014 Winter Olympics
After a disastrous performance in her short program that put her in 16th place after the short program and out of medal contention, Mao comes out and lays down a brilliant performance in the long program. As the commentators said, this one was for Pride. It wasn’t the Mao/Yuna re-match that we were expecting, but it was a true Olympic moment for Mao. Having been a Mao fan for over a decade, and watching her go through ups and downs, and having to re-learn all her jumps with different technique, this program brought tears to my eyes. I was so happy for her!! Also very happy that she also won the 2014 World Championships following the Olympics!
Link to Mao’s performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr-V2dqEaQQ
4. Yuzuru Hanyu: Romeo and Juliet (LP): 2012 World Championships
This program really marked the start of the rise of Yuzuru Hanyu, and the world started to take notice of this young talent!! It is the first time Yuzuru used Romeo and Juliet. At this time, he was still with coach Nanami Abe. Yuzuru was 17 at this competition. His jumps were spectacular at a young age, as were his falls. This long program vaulted him into a World Bronze medal, his first medal on the World podium. After this championship, Yuzu realized he needed to improve his skating skills and jump consistency to get to the next level. Thus, Yuzu moved to Toronto, and started training with Brian Orser.
Link to Yuzu’s R&J performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2eNFaamRdg
3. Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay: War Dance (LP): 1988 Winter Olympics
While I am not a big fan of ice dance, this is by far, the best free dance program I have ever seen!!! It was done during the days of the old scoring system, and in a time where the results were pretty much pre-determined after the original set dance. It was so creative and innovative for it’s time!! The Duchesnay’s were Canadian skaters from Quebec. Skate Canada criticized them and so they decided to skate for France in 1985. Eventually the Duchesnays went on to win a world title in 1991.
Link to the Duchesnay performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQKawuklMDc
2. Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov: March of the Toreadors (SP) 1988 Winter Olympics
While I saw the Pairs long program LIVE at the 1988 Winter Olympics, I did not see the short program live unfortunately. I loved Gordeeva / Grinkov during their time and they were one of the first skaters that I ever followed (along with Brian Orser). Ekaterina was only 16 when they won the Gold medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Her book, My Sergei, which was written after Sergei passed away unexpectedly is a very nice account of their lives together from when they were initially paired up through the Soviet sports program, through to falling in love, getting married and having their daughter, Daria.
Link to Gordeeva/Grinkov program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXthZ7UECc
1. Yuzuru Hanyu: Parisian Walkways (SP): 2014 Winter Olympics
* WORLD RECORD score of 101.45
My ALL TIME FAVORITE program ever is Yuzuru’s Parisian Walkways short program from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The performance that I’m referring to is the men’s individual event, where he set a new WORLD RECORD score of 101.45!! (not his short program performance during the team event). Yuzuru is the first man to ever score over 100 points in an Internationally sanctioned competition. This amazing performance and world record score has earned him a place in the Guiness World Book of Records!!
The choreography done by Jeff Buttle for Parisian Walkways is simply amazing!! Every beat of the music is accounted for and this was tailor made for Yuzu!! The program was playful and seductive at the same time! If you watch earlier versions of this program, you will definitely see the gradual refinement of every move, every facial expression as Yuzu got more comfortable with the program.
The link below is for an NBC version of the program. The best version I have seen is with the CBC commentary however, they have removed it from youtube. As Kurt Browning says, Yuzu is “COOL, and when he steps onto the ice, he becomes a rockstar”! No truer words have been said!
Link to Yuzu’s performance: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1cyowo_hanyu-sochi2014-sp_sport
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