Trixie Schuba's biggest fan!
Adult Skating =)
It is true, our board is geared mainly towards skaters competing at the highest levels, but I thought we might want to take a detour (since it is the off-season) and take a look at some adults. Like the "regular track," adult skating has pretty much most of the levels. Some just started skating as adults, while some began as kids. Here are some interesting examples:
Luc Bradet (Competed in Nagano with his former partner, Marie-Claude Savard-Gagnon)
Jane Bonner (she's 63!!!) and Andrey Kryukov (Kryukov competed with Marina Khalturina for Kazakhstan in Nagano, finishing 14th)
At the rink. Again.
If you can find some representative samples of Bronze level skaters or Prebronze, I think those should be celebrated too, Blue Dog. Do you actually participate in adult competition or do you just test? The adult skating community is different and special in that there's a level of commeraderie you don't see among the competitive ranks because we understand it's NOT about the same thing - winning fame and fortune - rather meeting personal goals and improving year over year (or at least not regress).
Trixie Schuba's biggest fan!
mskater -- yes! I agree, all levels should be celebrated. Some members of my club think I look like Ian Catindig!
Hikki, Midori looks so happy. I want her to keep competing.
A different video of Midori's skate. You can hear the crowd's wild response even more.
An article about her competing.
The 1992 Olympic silver medalist said "people of all ages should try, and in that spirit I decided to compete in this tournament."
blue dog, thank you for posting this thread. Do you happen to have the 1st finisher's video who skated in the category where Midori skated?
Originally Posted by hikki
I am not a regular poster, but I lurk often, and when I saw this topic, I had to post as it is near and dear to my heart. I am an adult skater who has competed at Oberstdorf, including this year. It is a wonderful experience for adult skaters - it is the comraderie (we make lots of noise for the Midori's of the Competition, as well as for those whom a spiral in position or a centred upright spin is a major achievement), as well as the opportunity to meet other adult skaters from all around the world. It is a very different environment for anyone who only knows the kid competitions that have alot more attitude and not nearly as much fun ;-)
And, I am very proud to say that it was my coach, Jan Calnan, who finished first, ahead of Midori. Here is a link to a video of her skate:
(While it says she is American, she is actually Canadian but is skating with a US membership in order to skate pairs)
Midori was very sweet and gracious - it is too bad that the video doesn't show her coming over at the end to congratulate Jan....;-)
Japanese Article on MIdoti Ito and 2011 ISU Adult Competition
Thanks, blue dog, for starting this thread!
When I saw Midori's video, I could not help welling up. I witnessed how she suffered under an unthinkably enormous pressure when competing for Japan in the 80s and 90s. I could not say she was the happiest person on earth back then. So it was just wonderful to see her skating again, this time just for a pure joy of figure skating. And her spread eagle leading to 2Lo! It reminded me of her performance in the 1990 Worlds...
Anyway, it was a perfect timing for the creation of this thread - there was an article written by a journalist who also competed at 2011 ISU Adult Competition, about her and Midori's days in Oberstdorf this year. Here is the translation of the article by me...
(there are some pictures of Midori, Team Japan, and Jan Calnan)
Midori Ito, Fantastic Double Axel and The Future She Found in The Competition After 15 Years
Article by Yoshie Noguchi
ISU Adult Competition is ‘World Championships’ for the non-elite skaters aged between 28 to 71 years old.
According to their level of accomplishment, the skaters are put into 3 classes; ‘Gold’ for those who could land 3 kinds of double jumps, ‘Silver’ for those who could land 5 kinds of single jumps and single axels, and ‘Bronze’ for those with 5 kinds of single jumps. They skate only free programmes. They are further categorised by the age group they belong to. The scoring system used is the same one for top elite skaters. I entered ‘Bronze’, as the last year’s bronze medallist.
Midori Ito entered the class, which is for former competitive skaters, ‘Masters Elite II’.
Most skaters entered in ‘Masters Elite’ class did not have experience of international competitions when they were competing, and there are only a few who attempt the double axel. It was the first time an Olympic medallist entered ISU Adult Competition.
It was June 2nd when Japanese media reported that Midori’s return to competition.
‘I want to spread a message that figure skating is something to do, not only just to watch. I am not as technically competent as before, but I am just happy when I feel the wind against my body when I skate. I would like to keep in my heart how much I love skating when I compete.’
Midori became pro after Albertville Olympics, but returned to competition in the 1995/96 season, winning the national title. She retired from competition again to appear in ice shows until 2002. Since then, she said she never trained properly.
She is a kind of person who gives it all when she does something. So what made her decide to come back if her condition was not top notch? What did she want from the competition?
It was skating lessons she gives to beginners that made her think about it. While teaching beginners’ classes all over Japan, she learnt there are many grown-ups who enjoy figure skating, not only children, and there is an international competition for adult skaters.
‘I want to enjoy figure skating, unlike when I was a competitive skater…’
That was her rather simple reason for entering the Adult Competition, and it reminds us what an enormous pressure she was under when she was competing – pressure perhaps incomparable to that felt by the current top skaters.
Since deciding to enter the competition, she battled with injuries and a lack of stamina. She started training in secret at the end of December 2010, by being on ice 2 – 3 times a week, and then she increased intensity of her training since April, being amongst the competitive skaters.
She started landing 2 kinds of triple jumps, and then she injured her Achilles tendon and knee. She could not land the triples any longer, and started doubting the point of competing again. She spent many days wondering – ‘Should I? Or should I not?’
‘What is the point of entering the competition when I am this below my best? I might get criticised. But my love of skating remains unchanged. There must be people out there who are happy to see me skate again.’
That was the conclusion she had reached. Having a press conference on June 2nd was also to declare her determination.
I was reminded how many people are still in love with Midori. There were many things arrived to support Team Japan from various organisations. A medical trust offered a microwave therapy machine, which was used by a Japanese comedian who had gone on around-the-world marathon run. As the competition was held at semi-high altitude of 850m above sea level, we hired an oxygen concentrator from its manufacturer, which was also used during the soccer World Cup Final. Various manufacturers of nutrition supplements donated their products. One of the members of Team Japan was a professional physical trainer, and that helped too.
Midori said it was the first time in 29 years since she had visited Oberstdorf when she had come for the World Junior Championships at the age of 11. ‘The ice here is of good quality and firm. Whether you jump higher or pop. It’s unforgiving’, said she.
During 4 days of official practices, it was as if she had been making friends with the ice by talking to it. Her skating got smoother, and her jumps got higher. She landed a perfect triple toe on the fourth day. ‘I can still do it’, she said.
I heard that figure skating world had been curious whether she was really going to compete, and when they saw her in the official practice, the staff and other competitors looked very surprised. What is amazing about this top skater is how friendly she is and how easily she gets on with everyone around her. She signed autographs and posed to have her picture taking without making any fuss, and everyday she wished good luck to other competitors, whose faces she had come to recognise.
There was disappointing news, however. A star of all adult skaters, American 48 year-old who jumps the double axel, withdrew due to injury. She was a gold medal contender in the class Midori competed.
‘She must have pushed herself beyond the limit, when she had heard I was going to compete. I would have loved to see her skate’ – there were tears in Midori’s eyes.
Adult skaters have to battle against injuries. I witnessed the scenes one after another. I was shocked to see a skater in his (*or her? The original article is not clear - sorry) 30s, who could not walk without a stick due to a sever hernia. He collapsed at the rink ride after the intense performance, which had lasted 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Supported by friends by the arms, he was remained there for 2 hours, breathing heavily, without being able to move an inch.
‘I did not know there was someone like him, who, despite physical problems, loves figure skating so much, and could perform so wonderfully on ice. This is the world of figure skating, that was unknown to me before’, Midori said.
Those skaters in their 60s and 70s try to hold a deep sitting position in their spins and to jump high, wearing supporters around their torsos and on their knees.
‘Wow! Wow! Wow! What amazing 70-somethings are there in the world!’
Team Japan were all so impressed that we could not help smiling.
377 skaters and teams from all over the world competed in men’s, ladies’, pairs’ and ice dace. During the first 3 days of the competition, 6 Japanese skaters competed, except Midori and myself. Midori sat amongst the audience, cheered for every single team mate, and waited for their scores coming up in the Kiss and Cry, as if she had been their coach. It was the Midori Ito, and every one in the arena knew who it was; no one could have been a better supporter of Team Japan than she was.
‘I am so enjoying being part of Team Japan’, Midori said.
We made matching jackets for the team and wore black ribbons to show respect to the victims of the earthquake.
The forth and final day of the competition came. My class was scheduled to skate only 3 hours before Midori’s, and I repeatedly told her not to come out to cheer. But Midori came anyway, sitting in the front row, clapping away.
My 1 minute and 40 seconds finished. The score of 33.87 was above my target 30.00. Then the number 1 came up on the scoring board. Midori had tears in her eyes. Only someone, who is as pure in heart as she is, could be moved by the placement of a skater who could only jump singles. ‘My false eyelashes came off’, Midori laughed.
‘Midori Ito, Japan!’ – the announcement that we all were so familiar with, yet haven’t heard for many years, came on at 2.45 in the afternoon. The rain stopped and the lays of sunshine reached and lit up the area through the gaps in the cloud. A wild cheer then silence. The music, Nobuyuki Tsujii’s ‘Whisper of The River’ came on. Midori chose it herself.
Everyone expected something special in her opening double axel. Midoi’s body elevated towards the sky. What a speed, height, distance, power, and smile, followed by the loud cheer… She made everyone in the arena happy by just one jump.
Her finishing move was to wipe ice off the blade and hold it close to her chest. She choreographed it herself, expressing how dearly she loves skating.
She went over to Jan Calnan straight after she finished her performance, hugged her and told her ‘ go on, you too!’
She wanted to tell Jan and the audience that they were not competitors but friends.
Midori scored 64.43. Considering the highest score of the last year’s competition was 60.68, it was better than expected. Midori wanted to give a clean performance, doing all what she is capable of now, even if that meant she would include only a few elements. Her programme included only 6 elements: 3 jumps, 2 spins and 1 step sequence. However, she scored 49.20 in the components.
Jan skated after Midori a programme skilfully composed to include 11 elements, 8 of which were double jumps. She gave all she had got and scored 69.97. Jan won the competition and Midori came second.
To Midori, who rushed towards her to congratulate, Jan apologised at once. ‘Don’t,’ Midori said, ‘ your performance was wonderful!’ She then said, facing toward us behind her, ‘I am so happy that it was not me with reputation, but the skater who trained hard, who won the competition. The headline for tomorrow’s paper will be – Midori Ito got beaten!’
2 judges out of 5 gave Midori’s double axel GOE +3.00. No Japanese ladies received GOE +3.0 for their jumps in the World Championships held in Moscow this year. There was one judge who gave her Skating Skill Component 9.00. It was only Yu-Na Kim who received that kind of score in Moscow.
‘Figure skating used to be a sport for ladies and gentlemen, who skated beautifully. Because of my jumping ability, it has now become a sport to compete with the triple and quadruple jumps. I want to be someone to return the sport to what it used to be by showing the importance of basic skating skills and quality of jumps.’
It was as if her wishes had somehow been granted by the judges.
The competition was not broadcast but the video filmed by the audience was uploaded on the internet immediately. It was viewed more than 100,000 times within a week.
‘I hope more people are now aware of ISU Adult Competition’s existence, and more skaters to enter the competition next year. And I would love more people to discover another side of figure skating and its charm.’
Midori has found a new role for herself; a missionary of figure skating. She has found a door leading to the future, opened it, and stepped forward.
Translator’s note: Yoshie Noguchi is a freelance sport journalist and an adult skater. She was the winner of Bronze Ladies I class in 2011 ISU Adult Competition.
Last edited by mot; 06-24-2011 at 08:13 PM.
Wow ajjcanada, thank you for sharing your experience as a competitor and a pupil of the winner! I watched the video you posted and Jan was beautiful!
Originally Posted by ajjcanada
When did you start skating?
As for Midori, I saw how she greeted Jen/ vice versa as she took the ice. And you're right, the atmosphere looks great
How wonderful to read about Midori's new skating life. The report is tremendously vivid. I feel as if I had been there. I hope to hear lots more about Midori skating all over the place. It's so great to know how much she is enjoying skating these days. I too remember Midori's tense years around 1992. She was so wonderful, but she had so much pressure to deal with. Thank goodness that burden has been lifted. Great to hear her scores, too.
I am glad you enjoyed it Hikki. I skated as a child, although I never progressed that far after the age of 13 or so - I was a very awkward teenager I only competed in the more recreational competitions as a kid and I hated it- I would hyperventilate, and completely freak out. While I can't say I have my nerves all under control, I do find the great friendships and understanding amongst the adult skaters go a long way to calm those nerves - you know they all understand where you are, and they all want to see you skate well. It is a good feeling.
Originally Posted by hikki
Are you a skater as well?
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
^ The story of Midori's return choked me up. I admit that I was disappointed at first that she lost to an unknown skater, even though her gentle, lyrical performance was angelic. But the interview showed what a great spirit she has. She takes "heart" to a new level. Has there ever been such a lovable skater?
I'm so glad for her that she is in this state of grace.
You're right, Silver. There are few skaters as lovable as Midori. What a gracious spirit she has. I imagine she must have been immensely popular among other skaters when she was competing. I remember watching that day she fell completely out of the rink. She bumped against a cameraman, and I recall that she apologized to him as she hurried back onto the ice.
That was a lovely write-up on Midori Ito -- thank you so much! Midori certainly proved herself to be a skater of great skill and determination, and one example of that was the 1990 Worlds, in which she landed outside of the rink during her jump combination. She flipped back onto the ice and finished her routine, in fourth place. Unfortunately, her mishap resulted in back and shoulder injuries, and she could not skate anywhere close to her best in the long program, she finished just out of the medals, in fourth place.
There was so much hype and expectation for Ito to be the first Japanese skater to win Olympic gold. She did win the pre-Olympic competition at Albertville, and arrived at the Olympics fit and ready to compete. It seemed that she became more and more stressed and distracted with her pre-competition practices, and we know what happened in the short program - she replaced her planned triple axel with a triple lutz, and she fell on that jump. She fell on the first of two planned triple axels in her long program and still skated well enough to win the silver medal. Then - Midori felt compelled to apologize to her country for her "failure" to win the gold medal. Oh, dear!!
One lovely moment that perhaps many of us remember is the opening ceremonies at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Midiro lit the Olympic flame, dressed in ceremonial robes, as the music from "Madame Butterfly" filled the stadium. GREAT MOMENT!!
And now it's really inspiring to learn that she is again skating, at the ripe "old" age of 42. Regardless of her the level of her technique at this point, it has to be a thrill for the audience and the other competitors to see this beautiful figure skating legend take to the ice again! You go, girl!!!
Gotta Have Music
Thanks for the translation. Midori is such a gem. I've loved her to pieces since I first watched her on TV during the 1988 Calgary Olympics, and she still (and always) will have my heart. How wonderful it is to have her back, doing what she loves.