News From the World of Skating

Keeping You in the Loop

Susan D. Russell
Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang


China's Sino News Agency reports that Dan Zhang has retired from pairs skating, ending a 14-year career with partner Hao Zhang. Dan Zhang experienced a growth spurt last year that made the pairing difficult.

“We respect the views of children and after the leadership of the center and the team held several meetings, finally agreed to their request," national figure skating team head coach Bin Yao told the Associated Press. "The Sochi Winter Olympics are in two years, and the World Championships next year is the qualifying event, so preparing for the remaining year will be very tight."

Hao Zhang’s new partner is 16-year-old Harbin native Cheng Peng.


Heading to Great Britain this summer? If you are thinking about seeing a show while in London, you might want to catch Robin Cousins is set to take centre stage in the leading role of Billy Flynn in London’s West End production of the musical “Chicago.”

The show is slated to run from July 27 through September 8.
“Joining the cast of “Chicago” will be an amazing experience and is a dream role for many actors,” Cousins said.

He has also signed to mentor the British Synchronised Swimming team at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. “Doing the show at a time when the world’s best athletes are here for the greatest sporting event on earth will make it even more thrilling,” Cousins said.

Cousins has been the head judge on Britain’s “Dancing on Ice” the last six years.


Canadian born pairs skater Mervin Tran who competes for Japan with Narumi Takahashi is hoping to obtain Japanese citizenship in order that the team can compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Japanese citizenship rules require a person to reside full-time for a period of five years to be eligible to apply. But Tran is hopeful that he will be fast-tracked after he and Takahashi claimed the bronze medal at the 2012 World Championships.

The Japanese Figure Skating Federation acknowledged that it would be impossible for Tran to obtain citizenship in time for the 2014 Games through regular channels.


Canada’s Barbara Underhill has signed on as a consultant to the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Underhill will work directly with players and prospects with a focus on developing the players’ speed and strength.

Underhill has experience in this field. She has been a skating consultant for the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers since 2010, the Tampa Bay Lightning since 2011 and has worked as the skating coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm since 2007.

The 48-year-old said she is so happy to be back where she wants to be. On the ice.


Zahra Lari who hails from the Arab Emirates made history in April by becoming the first skater from a Gulf nation to compete at an international skating competition.

In accordance with her Islamic religion, the 17-year-old was attired in an elegant costume that completely covered her from head to toe.
“I skate with the hijab (a headscarf) and my costume is in line with Islamic tradition,” she told AFP during the European Cup in Canazei, Italy.

“In my country women don't do much sport and even less figure skating I want to encourage girls from the Emirates and the Gulf to achieve their dream too and not to let anyone tell them not to do sport, not only figure skating but all sports.”

Lari said she was inspired by reigning Olympic champion, Evan Lysacek, with whom she had the opportunity to train when he visited Abu Dhabi earlier this year.


Canada’s CBC network has cancelled the immensely popular "Battle of the Blades," citing budget cuts.

Executive producer John Brunton said the show, which is owned and produced by his company Insight Productions, could find a new home on another channel if the CBC can't commit to future seasons.

“It could at some point turn up elsewhere if the CBC doesn't want to move forward with the program,” Brunton said.


The Imperial Ice Stars is set to return to Australia with a dazzling new production of “Nutcracker on Ice.”

Artistic director Tony Mercer has joined forces with four-time World ice dance champion, Evgeny Platov, and two-time World ice dance Champion Maxim Staviski to develop choreography that further raises the bar.

The show features high-speed leaps, throws and dazzling acrobatics coupled with ice dancing.

The award-winning troupe has developed a worldwide following and is known for their sophisticated portrayal of classic works and execution of the most complex maneuvers ever seen on ice.


Paul Wylie and Emily Hughes have signed on as hosts and presenters for the 2012 PSA Awards Dinner “Eve of the Revolution” which will be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on May 24.

Some of the nominees and categories:

Pieter Kollen Sport Science Coaching Award

Kat Arbour, Heidi Thibert, Christy Krall, Chris Conte

Paul McGrath Choreographer of the Year Award

Phillip Mills, Scott Brown, Jeremy Abbott, Sheryl Franks and Deidre Williams, Pasquale Camerlengo

Developmental Coach of the Year Award

Tammy Gambill, Dalilah Sappenfield, Todd Sand and Jenni Meno, Alexei Kiliakov and Elena Novak and Dmytri Ilin and Pam May

Coach of the Year Award

Yuka Sato and Jason Dungejn, John Nicks, Dalilah Sappenfield, Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband, Pasquale Camerlengo and Angelika Krylova and Saga Krantz


For all the gamers, test your skating skills with the new free app Pigs on Ice, which offers "36 levels of ice skating madness." Only for Windows operating systems and Adobe Air needs to be installed for this game to run.