It is hard to believe that the first half of the skating season is complete. It seemed to go by in a flash.
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about the Grand Prix season was how many up-and-coming skaters put it down when it really counted. For many it was a breakthrough season, old rivalries were renewed and the number of new faces that graced the podiums was very inspiring.
The Russian skaters were a strong force in the junior ranks this season, while Japanese skaters claimed seven berths at the senior Grand Prix Final.
It is always exciting when the outcome of a skating comp-etition produces the unexpected. The results at the Grand Prix Final were a case in point.
Watching Alissa Czisny weave her magic on the ice in
Beijing and capture the gold medal was a wonderful moment. Heading into the competition she was certainly not the odds-on favorite. It was inspiring to watch this delightful young woman seize the moment.
Patrick Chan’s controversial win at Skate Canada in Oct-ober was a hot topic of debate. The Canadian champion claimed gold despite three falls in his short program. Over the two competitions he fell a total of eight times, and many questioned whether he should have earned a berth at the final. But he rose above the criticism and skated two fabulous performances in Beijing, and was deserving of the victory at that competition.
There were so many highlights in the first half of the season. We have event coverage from each of the junior and senior Grand Prix competitions, including the finals, in this issue. Our photographic team traveled the world capturing all the action at these events, and we have some fabulous images to accompany the written coverage.
The Short Program section profiles a number of rising stars we have not previously had the opportunity to interview. We hope you enjoy getting to know them.
IFS caught up with Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek in between the competitive action. Both are venturing into new territory in their busy lives.
The IFS team is expanding to bring you more exclusive coverage and personal insights about skaters from around the globe.
This issue we welcome three new writers: Tatjana Flade, Klaus-Reinhold Kany and Melanie Hoyt. All three have a solid background in the sport.
Flade, who is multilingual, writes the previews and reviews of all major competitions for the International Skating Union, a service journalists all over the world rely upon.
Kany has been involved in the sport for decades as a
writer, figure skating commentator for German television and a press officer at Junior Grand Prix events.
Hoyt is currently working toward a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has taken over the Marquee and E-Ice columns.
Thank you to all the readers who completed the reader survey we sent out in late November. Your feedback is important to us, and we welcome your comments and suggestions.
Next issue we will be bring you extensive coverage of the Canadian, U.S. and European Championships.
The spirited level of skating to date has been truly spectacular. There is no doubt the sport is in great shape heading into the new quadrennial. Given what transpired in the first half of the season, I can hardly wait to see what unfolds in the second half.
Expect the unexpected!
Originally published in February 2011