Tales Of a Life

Is this the real life?/Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide/No escape from reality.
-- Freddie Mercury, "Bohemian Rhapsody"

I am a skater. That is all there is to it.

Skating is more than, "did she fall?" or "didn't she fall?" Skating is a sport full of beauty and grace. Like other sports. In the hands of Michael Jordan, basketball is a "performance sport." Likewise, hockey in the hands of Wayne Gretzky. Baseball in the hands of Hank Aaron. Can we get over it? Thank you.

The basis of skating is the edges of the blade. Where it touches the ice. This is how the athletes maneuver. That is all there is to it. Everything else grows out of that. Edges uber alles. Not sequins uber alles. Thank you.

Now be warned that I have opinions. Opinions formed out of my years of experience. You may not like them. But I speak out of love of skating, not out of hatred of persons. There are no joke stories on this site. Skating is far different than you think. Even the cats are for real.

This page is designed primarily for the skaters and their coaches. Lord knows they need some support in this world. I am trying to get up all the technical information I can, just as you are trying to get your skaters trained for the next competition. We're all under pressure. It's tough.

If others find this page interesting, I am glad. But it is the skaters who matter. The skaters and their coaches. Without them there would be no sport. No sequins. Nothing.

This is not a fan page. It is a skater's page. I can't do both. The skaters are more important.

Thank you.

And thank you for some gorgeous pictures.

My favorite stories:

Xenia the cat. And no, I am not joking.

Sasha. Yes, he is real.

Peggy Girl. No, she's not Peggy Fleming.

The Wildcats. What a team!

The Kittycats. The unbelievable.

And more, much more!

A look at all disciplines of skating -- coming up will be the first evaluations of professional skaters as well. They will be included by home country. These kids (yes, Peggy, I know you're older than I am...) need to learn to think as a group and help each other, and this may encourage it. I will be updating these about December 1998 and then in six months or so after that to fall into a regular six-month schedule. Let's give them some time now -- those were some heavy evaluations and not everybody may be ready for more. Skaters who competed in Nagano were written up about that time; Worlds competitors were thrown in after that. Just to give you an idea -- these are not freshly updated. And this is certainly not the way some of these kids are skating now. But we all need room to breathe, don't we? (And if I have been part of this massive improvement in any way, I am honored. But I can't think I'm the only one helping....)

My seemingly-endless series of comments about figure skating:

Why Am I Doing This?
Sexual Harassment in Skating.
And What do You Know. They're Watching.
An Analysis Of the Olympics.
Day of the Crowbar.
Music and Skating
What is Happening Here?
Bloc Judging
It's Tara Vs. Irina in 2002!
And Elvis Vs. Michael in Salt Lake!
This Is Where I Seriously Vent About Ilia Kulik.
What Makes A Skater?
International Test Standard Songs
Okay, Dick.
Prejudice in Skating.
Is It Really There If The Fans Don't See It?
They're Not All American. Can You Believe That?
Colorworks Training Standards
And Now for the Rest of You.

Plus The Great Skating Chase. I update it when and where I want to. It's my site.

Fan Pages: A description of the skaters, what they have achieved, and what technical contributions they have made that can be looked at by others to appreciate and learn from. I'm no database and I don't do stats, despite what some misinformed people may believe.... But I can describe what I see, and apparently people like that. (Lord have mercy, what do you mean there are only two of us Shen and Zhao pages on the Web, and the other one consists of basically one picture and an email address?) I am aiming to have a fan page up for all 1998 World Championship contestants (and my definition of who qualified and who didn't may be a little bit different, so some fans may be disappointed -- sometimes there's no point in continuing a discussion) by the end of August. This will include a special section for each skater so that they can check suggestions for their crucial "five minutes to ice time" routine. This is essential for all skaters, and it will be much easier to put it on the fan pages, where the URL is easily memorizable and I'm not loading it down with references to other skaters, than in the technical evaluations. Heavens, I'm trying to keep the tech pages as low-loading as possible! That may be crucial the night of the finals or whatever. That section will be indicated at top and bottom with this animated GIF that is reserved for one of my fiction books and these special sections on the pages. Nowhere else. (Not the skating book that is to come, I promise you.) I will, of course, also add this to all fan pages, but I am most concerned about the amateur competitors, as their reputations still ride on every medal. Often a coach may literally not be available, parents may be up in the seats, and other competitors may be concentrating on their own performances. I want to make sure there's something available for everyone. This section will be a permanent part of the site and will be updated in December along with everything else. This will go on a December-to-December update schedule -- routines don't change as much as coaching advice.

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo.
Pasha Grishuk and Yevgeny Platov.
Peggy Fleming.
Katarina Witt.
Debi Thomas.
Todd Eldredge.
Natalia Bestemianova and Andrei Bukin.
Christopher Bowman.
Midori Ito.
Tiffany and Johnnie Stiegler.
Elvis Stojko.
Tara Lipinski.
Elaine Zayak.
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov.
Kurt Browning.
Surya Bonaly.
Tonya Harding.
Guo Zhengxin.
Alexei Yagudin.
Diana Poth.
Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko.
Dorothy Hamill.
Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio.
Ilia Kulik.
Michelle Kwan.
Irina Slutskaya.
Maria Butyrskaya.
Viktor Petrenko.
Laetitia Hubert.
I'll add'em when I want to. Enough said. And in that order.

Doug Leigh -- the first in my series of fan pages for some of the great coaches. I will have my "Top Ten" pages up also by the end of August. In that order. (Yes, Doug, you may take that as a compliment.) Not only is this a tribute to these people, the skaters and their support people need to know who is good at what and how they handle things, so that rational decisions can be made concerning whom to call for help or who to schedule time with, if need be. Let's start looking at people objectively and seeing what we've got here!

The Judging Page. This started out as a reaction to the dance controversy, but I will be expanding it to cover more disciplines. Last season it was dance. This season it'll be men's. Let these skaters (and the rest of the world) see what they're up against.

Technical recommendations for all skaters. There is so much to do, so much to learn...that is the way of skating. Nobody is perfect. Nobody.

The Blues.
Christian Music.
Tom Lehrer.
Rock Skating.
The first pages in a music series designed for skaters and coaches. Designed to help make a whole lot of things accessible that people may have been having trouble with. Whether you're from that home country or not. Just give me a chance...I'll get it up as soon as I can. This is really important.

And here again is the original "site picture" -- the 1992 Olympic Midori Ito second-chance triple axel. It says a hell of a lot at this point. Thank you, Midori. (Courtesy of the Windows of Midori site) Thank you, whoever's listening in. Just do it for yourself. That's all that matters. Since when did you get into this sport to please some fan?

Frighteningly Useful Skating Links

Don Korte's technical figure skating (USA) pages.


J. Barry Mittan is a world-class skating photographer who can provide pictures of a heck of a lot of people, as well as links to pages where his pictures are used -- and that runs into the tons of pages.

So what do you think about kitty?

Come play with kitty!

days to go until the Opening Ceremonies in Salt Lake City!
So y'all ready and everything?


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