International Figure Skating

International Figure Skating March/April 2019

International Figure Skating is globally recognized for its comprehensive, coverage complemented by fabulous photography and sophisticated design.

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6 Numeri

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2 min
countdown to worlds

Post-Olympic seasons often tend not to be exciting, but I don’t think anyone could say that about this one. New champions were crowned at domestic nationals and also at the two Championships that have taken place so far — Europeans and Four Continents. Some who claimed podium steps on home soil failed to do so internationally, and some who did not do well at home have risen to the challenge on the Championship stages. As we head toward the World Championships there are a number of skaters and teams that could surprise in Saitama and, other than the ice dance discipline, the podium steps are wide open. In this issue we recap the results of four national championships The European Championships marked the end of a 12-year career on the senior circuit for…

3 min
italian star on the rise

Matteo Rizzo has been making history each step of the way the past two seasons, with his success on both the junior and senior international stages. The 20-year-old claimed his first and only title on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in Bolzano, Italy, in October 2017. Six months later, he captured the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships. Both podium finishes were a first for a male skater from Italy. Rizzo has skating in his blood. His parents, Brunilde Bianchi and Valter Rizzo, were competitive ice dancers who placed 13th at the 1985 European Championships. Bianchi, an ice dance coach, is best known for her work with seven-time Italian champions Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali. Born in Rome, Rizzo is coached by his father and Franca Bianconi in Bergamo, a city in northern…

5 min
on an upward trend

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker garnered a lot of attention last season in the wake of their victory at 2018 Four Continents and a 10th place finish at the World Championships in Milan, Italy. The American ice dance duo’s fortunes seemed to be trending upward and expectations were high that they would rank among the top teams in the world this year. However, no news surfaced over the spring and summer about the Montréal-based duo, and their participation in the Grand Prix Series was a question mark until they physically arrived in Hiroshima, Japan, for NHK Trophy in mid November. It was then that Baker revealed their preparation for the current season got off to a late start due to a concussion he suffered in August. The lack of airtime in skating circles was…

9 min
loving life behind the boards

It was always his rink of dreams, a favorite patch of frozen water that was ever so familiar to Brian Joubert throughout his illustrious career. Today, when he gazes across that ice surface in his hometown of Poitiers, a city of 87,000 located in west-central France, it is filled with aspiring young talents the French skating star wants to guide along the same successful path he once walked. Joubert sees it all from a completely different perspective these days — one of a coach who could not be happier with his current place in the skating world. While Joubert has not quite hung up his own blades for good, it is clear that his focus is in a different place now. “I love coaching. It’s so interesting and it’s so difficult,” the 34-year-old…

5 min
highlights from osaka

Though an injured Yuzuru Hanyu did not contest the 2019 Japanese Championships in late December, the excitement level was still at a fever pitch at the Towa Pharmaceutical Ractab Dome in Kadoma City, Osaka. And most of the attention was focused on Daisuke Takahashi, who was on the comeback trail, competing at the Championships for the first time in four years. Despite his long absence, it was obvious Takahashi’s hero status in his homeland had not diminished. Shoma Uno, the two-time and reigning national champion who was in the hunt to make it three in a row, felt he benefited from the attention being focused on Takahashi as it relieved some of the pressure on him. The competition did not get off to a roaring start for Uno, whose game plan almost went…

7 min
changing of the guard

With only the top six finishers qualifying directly for the national team and receiving funding, the 2019 Russian Championships were a battle on many levels. The fields were deep and nerves sometimes failed — many say this competition is the hardest of the season. Figure skating in Russia went into decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it is now one of the most popular sports in the country with skaters and coaches often the center of media attention. And the ladies discipline, which once lay in the shadows, is now at the forefront. It is not only the most successful discipline in Russia but also the most popular. The future was on display in Saransk with a trio of talented juniors overtaking the top senior ladies to claim all three steps…