I have only the first three days, mens qualifying and mens short yet....will try to do the rest as soon as possible, but I'm wrapped up in school work...

European figure skating championships 2004, Budapest, Hungary

Travelling: Kristin, my friend, and myself.
We are maybe a bit crazy, and we definitely have our favourites in this sport, so we can’t help but go nuts now and then. One other reason is that you’re bound to go nuts when you only see some of your nicest friends once a year…and they are just the same kind as yourself. Enjoy

(ps; axel=a, lutz=z, loop=l, toe loop=t, flip=f, salchow=s)

Ok, I won’t bore with the details on how we got from Norway to Hungary, and found our hotel, but everything went so smoothly, and after we got settled, we decided to go find the rink immediately. It was about a 20 minutes walk, the rink was located in an area with several other sport complexes; a huge football stadium, two small ice rinks, (one of them was Practice Rink, from now on called PR), tracks for speed skating, and tracks for athletics. People were constantly running here, no matter what time of day we went past.
It was no problem finding the Budapest sports arena either, because it was so big, and strangely shaped, it looked like a UFO crossed with a snail shell. It seemed like the organizers for the event hadn’t predicted that people would turn up to watch practices, so we had to argue a long time with the security by the door to be let in. Finally, we could go inside, but no way we could sit where our seats were, only on the “short side”, and we weren’t allowed to sit either, we had to stand up. Those security needed some lessons in English also. It was only a few pairs practicing yet, so we made the mistake to go outside again, but we had to, since we arranged to meet a friend of ours, in the Hotel Stadion, (the skaters hotel wheeeeee) right by the rink. When all three of us got back, it was no way they would let us in again! We tried all languages, English, German, French, Italian, Russian, but we knew no Hungarian, and in the end, we converted to some weird sign language, and the man finally understood that we were there twenty minutes earlier and that it didn’t matter that our all-event ticket didn’t start until February 2nd. These people knew nothing about how a skating championship worked. Anyway, we were allowed inside, but could not sit down, until after a while. We decided later to go over to PR to watch the men, and thought we’d take the shuttle bus from Hotel Stadion, as we were more likely to be let in if we came with a skating crowd. On the bus was only one skater, Plushenko, but several coaches, not only Mishin, and we thought it was funny they had a shuttle, because the walk to PR was not all that, but, of course, ten minutes was too much…:/
We actually got into PR without any problems at all, and we were so excited, as this was our first time ever in a PR at a championship.
I wondered……who was that blonde guy with the facial hair….who resembled Francesco Totti a lot from a distance????? Oh dear….It’s Zagarodniuk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ZAGGY!!!!!!! YOU’RE BACK!!!!!!!! Don’t care if he’s on the ice or by the ice. He’s with Vitaly, oh Vitaly, my funny Ukrainian, you’re back too! What a perfect day in PR!!!!! Vitaly with long hair, and head band, and tights (like our men wears anything but tights) and the totally fitting black nike-sweater, with ¾ length arms……what can I do, he seems in very good shape, but can’t do a cleaner quad than my Sergei can (that means 3,5…) and his music is Last temptation of Christ, like everybody else. Could watch his smooth arms and movements forever, do we love Zaggy even more after seeing what he’s done with Vitaly, I think so!!!!! In the same group is Tomas Verner, who is now older, but still cute as a button, and we’re looking so much forward to see him on Monday….poor Sergei Kotov is as scratchy as always…
PR is THE place, especially since the warm up area is a glass box on the third floor, on the short end of the rink, so we can see e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!!! (on the second floor is a glass box with the skaters cafeteria in it…ok, it’s not exactly like a glass box…but…it’s all glass, so…the main point is; our men can’t hide!!) We are nuts, I know, we’ve waited for this for ages (since November, but Kristin has waited even more, since Ilia wasn’t at Cup of Russia) Now her waiting is over. Mr.Klimkin in person is warming up in the glass box, with a funny, stripy sweater. Plushy is there already, he’s been there for 40 minutes or something, his off-ice warm up in the end lasted for about an hour, and Mishin was there with him, doing ballet and jumps Ilia is doing sit-ups, and push-ups, and looks like he cut his hair all short.
While watching Ilia’s warm up, and Vitaly on the ice…the next shuttle bus arrives, and several people strolls inside. This is what it’s like the first day, just waiting and watching, and waiting some more, wondering if people has arrived yet, if they will come to practice or not. I’ve never seen Sergei practice on a Friday before, and I didn’t get to see it this year either, but he was on that very bus, and he was here, so I didn’t really care. (for those who are now confused…when I go crazy over Sergei, Sergei, Sergei….I talk about Sergei Davydov of Belarus, or Russia if you like, who I prefer above any other skater!) again, Sergei was here, and I tried desperately to have a glimpse of his hair, since I wanted him to grow it, and so did Nicoletta, my friend who also loves him very much, and we almost twisted our necks to be updated on the latest Sergei-news…..and then his hair was short. We were both so disappointed, but decided as long as he was fit on the ice, we could live with it, as he doesn’t exactly looked less pretty, he will look good with any hair. We assumed he would not practice; it looked like he just dropped by, with Vakhtang, and Kostomarov, his forever friends. Wait a minute!! What is that jacket Vaxo is wearing….is looks strangely familiar…no, really!!! It’s perfectly similar to Sergei’s jacket! (yes, the great denim jacket with the woollen lining). What a major blow, they can’t dress the same, that’s like fourth grade!! We’re all shaking our heads in disbelief….but again, it doesn’t make Sergei’s taste in clothes any less good…we wonder who bought the jacket first….
Had to take focus off the clothing department for a while, as Klimkin (and rest of his group) took the ice. Sergei, Vaxo and Kostomarov were watching from the cafeteria. (as this was Sergei’s practice group also, our assumptions was correct. He was not practicing LOL)
Ilia looked dead sharp, his quad was effortless and perfect and everything seemed to be under total control. Kudriatsev must have worked on his technique, that’s for sure. Plushy also seemed to be on his way to another gold, though we could not be completely sure Joubert wouldn’t mess it up, as I’d seen Plushy even more convincing before. He could do his quad without problems, but one never knows…
After this we just had to go back to our hotel to get some sleep, it was already late, and we had been up since four o’clock in the morning. Already, we started wondering if they’d let us into the rink tomorrow….

first thing this morning: mens practice! We met Nicoletta at Hotel Stadion, and went all three of us to the main rink together. The security let us in this time, wheeee miracle, but we still had to sit on the short side, were the view were of course limited, but it was better than not seeing anything at all. We were also afraid to flash off our cameras, since we didn’t know what those people would come up with next. Kristin figured she might as well ask them, since I couldn’t imagining seeing Sergei practice without taking photos!
For the first time, we were actually allowed to do something, as the guards gave us thumbs up for photos and video cameras. Wow.
What I didn’t know, was that this would be the weirdest practice session I had ever been to. Ok, someone decided to clean the rink, but I would never in my life imagine that I’d watch Sergei’s practice, while some weird bloke was vacuuming in front of me. Yes, they did. And I’m telling you, it didn’t occur in silence! Anyway, we were most excited about the Russian group, since it had all three Russians, (of course), Ilia, Plushy, and Andrej Griazev, and Sergei, and then…the poor Jurai Sviatko, who probably wondered how he got himself in there….Ilia looked still very fit, just like yesterday, and he did his Swan Lake program, that made us gasp, even though it was only in practice, and we could not wait! Thankfully, we taped everything he did so we could watch his magnificent arms and edges over and over after.
As this was a way to crowded group for me to be able to pay attention to everybody out there, I could only manage Ilia and Sergei. It felt like years since Cup of Russia, where he was so out of shape, and struggled with the 3a like he couldn’t do it, but now, I could lean backwards and enjoy, since this was so much better! Not 100%, I’d heard rumours about an injury during the fall, and I think it might be the truth, but at least he was getting back to full fitness now, wearing the Belrussian jacket, and his nice pair of tights (forgot to mention Ilia’s tights, yes, I told you, they’re all wearing tights, and I love it, since I can see all the body lines perfectly). This was very much a typical Sergei practice, mostly skating around, focusing on one or two jumps, that he does perfectly, this time it was 3a, and then skating around some more.
In between practices of interesting men, Kristin and I took a walk in a nearby park, to find a ZOO that was supposed to be located there…but we couldn’t find it. We were so tired when we got back, we had to relax a bit in the lobby of Hotel Stadion (yes, ok…..we did choose our recreation spot on purpose ) Hotel Stadion was fun, we could watch Vakhtang and Kostomarov argue with the people in the reception, and after that, they chatted with Sergei, while Kostomarov cuddled his back, then Vakhtang made a point out of Sergei only reaching his nose (since Sergei is so small) and then my man put his earphones on, and walked to PR. He didn’t bother to wait for the shuttle, oh so fit
In PR later, it looked like the only skaters on the ice would be Sergei, and Sviatko of the jungle. (don’t you remember his outfit from Lausanne???) For me, this was more than enough, though Sergei could now not do his 3a anymore, and it left me most worried. Sviatko also struggled with this particular jump, and though he could finally do a quad this morning, he could not do one now..
Sergei did his short program this time…except that he did not do anything but the steps and final spin, but that’s not just though, as that program is so fab, and his speed was marvellous, and after he finished, the entire PR (it was actually quite a few people there) broke into spontaneous applause! Sergei looked dead surprised, he started smiling and looked a bit like he wanted to run away, then he decided to enjoy it instead, and kept smiling while he thanked the audience, and later, when he glided towards his coaches and started chatting. Poor Sviatko, he got no applause when he did his program later.
After practice, I spoke with Sergei a little, though he was in a hurry with Kostomarov (I was already going a bit off Kostomarov at this point, as he couldn’t leave Sergei alone, he was with him even at practice….ok, we decided poor Roman might be bored, as Navka and Zhulin only had eyes for each other…) I don’t know how I can speak Russian with Sergei, when Kostomarov is there, so we just had a small conversation.
I also bumped into Vakhtang warming up in a beautiful, perfect, stunning AS ROMA jacket (yes, it’s my team, no glory for any others). I was a bit confused, as I thought Vaxo was a Barcelona fan, but I couldn’t ask him then, as Sergei turned up.
Vakhtang’s practice later was quite good, but no way he can do the 4t. The best part was when he stole Andrej Dobrokhodov’s music (Nyah) and started doing Flamenco moves and steps….hi hi
Went back to main rink to try to meet another friend of ours, Lisa, who’s arrangement with us was a bit blurry, but she had made it into MR (main rink), through the skaters entrance HA HA HA and she was sitting there texting her friend like mad, who said; “it’s men’s practice here” and Lisa said “ well, I’m watching ladies”. What a nightmare LOL. Finally, we all got together, and watched some more ladies. Viktoria Pavuk made quite an impression on me, she did all the triples with great speed, and several 3,3 combos, and I actually didn’t think Hungary could come up with another girl just like that, but WOW they can!
As flicking through my notes now, I realise I actually did make some about other skaters than my lovely Sergei, so here they come:
Adrian Matei – most uncertain technique, lands his 3z one out of ten times, and I didn’t exactly think there would be much hope….
Dobrokhodov – long and lanky and almost a little chaotic, like “not good enough for Russia”, but also with several good triples and a bielman-spin.
Aidas Reklys – this is one of our men, and it seemed that everything about him has improved, that he can do better jumps and better choreography.
Gheorghe Chiper – 4t and everything else, though not all the time. His wife and daughter is with him, of course.
And some notes about ladies:
Kristina Mikhaleva – spins very well, but can’t jump really. Seems to enjoy herself.
Zuzana Babiakova – like last year, consistent, good jumps
Daria Timoshenko – struggles, you can’t trust if she’ll do her triples or not.
Olga Vassilieva – her hardest jump is the 3l, and she can’t do that either now….
Gintare Vostrecovaite – seems to have grown from last year, and don’t have enough spark in her take off or in any aspect of her skating really…
Simone Punga – oh dear…she can’t even do a 2a…I think she might finish in last place…

went to PR this morning to watch men (again). In the interesting group, Dambier- sharp, solid, several quads, smiling all the time, Joubert-no problems what so ever, Djordevic- not the greatest basic ever, but cute, cannot to his 4t, Klimkin- still perfect and Griazev- spins and spins and spins, and his short program is a Tango, turned up. (ok, a loooong sentence…)
After, Kristin had a short chat with Ilia, since she’s after all his fan club president, and he got the fan club gift, a pair of training gloves, with only half fingers (what do you call those?????) and he really liked them, he said, they’re perfect for me, and he put them on immediately. Back from PR, Grazev carried his pully, and his own bag as well, Ilia didn’t have to do anything.
When we dropped by the hotel Stadion later, Ilia was most busy showing Maxim Stavisky his new present, and Maxim had to touch them and feel them…LOL LOL Kristin was of course in heaven
After, all the men disappeared out of the lobby for the draw of the qualification, but they soon came back. For me, the draw was bad, Sergei ended up in the hard group, and I figured it would not be a sucsess. We figured that in the other group, the Plushy/Ilia group, Wim Hermans would finish last, as the poor boy even had troubles with his doubles…
More notes about mens practice later in the day:
Clemens Jonas – bad hair, off ice it’s not so bad, but on the ice, with the tight clothes and gold chains and hair all pulled back, he looks like he runs a kebab place….jumps just as bad as before, struggles even with the 3l
Lindeman – zzzzz hopefully his programs will be more interesting than they appear at practice. Can almost do his 4t.
Vlachenko – that Circus Princess music…oh dear….very solid, looks like he has given up the quad -project, did several 3s,3t combos
Zoltan Toth – already he seems nervous!! Most uncertain, nothing to really grab a hold on and say “that’s interesting!!”
Domanski – music is “Godfather”, very small and cute, and is trying to use the music and do choreography, and I give him all the credit in the world for that….though we’re sitting on our seats, doing Candeloro-moves *love* too bad Domanski lands all his jumps on the 14th try…
Kristoffer Berntsson – great!! Soft landings, soft knees, great basic, all jumps on first attempts, 3,3, combos, and looks very much in shape!!

We were still not allowed to sit where we wanted, we were stuck on the short side, and it was getting quite many people there by now, so it looked silly, with all these people together at one spot, and rest of the rink empty. Don’t know what those organizers were thinking…
More mens practice of course, since Sergei didn’t practice this morning, he was here now, and he was wearing the t-shirt I gave him earlier me ridiculously happy now, he could also do his 3a again, very revealing, and his 3,f3,t and everything else, with the music. After a little while he started skating round and round again, and then thinking, and then round and round some more, while thinking about…..I don’t know. Wish I knew!
Ilia did Swan Lake, but Sviatko got in the way during the step sequence, and we all shouted “NOOO” we are SO into this. Ilia kept doing perfect quads, and we were calm before tomorrow…..

today, mens qualification, and pairs short, very much excited!!!
And we’re allowed to sit on our actual seats….must be a miracle…wait….this is row 1…and the lady at ticket centre said to us on the phone…row 2…..now we have this big fence in front of us and can see NICHEVO!!!! (nothing in Russian that is!) we couldn’t believe it, nothing was organized at this place!! Nicoletta’s seat were on the row behind us, and since no one was sitting next to her, we moved up, to the second/third row, I don’t know….by some lucky coincidence, no one bought those tickets, except for friday, so we pretended these were our actual seats. I mean, I paid to see skating, not some pieces of metal and the heads of the Red Cross ambulance service.
Anyway, we ended up enjoying those seats also, since they happened to be just were all skaters entered the ice, and so they all stood there waiting in front of us, you could see all the excitement and nerves up close, and you could see them just before they were off, hugging their teddy bears, or their coach, and you could see them in the K&C, and between the warm up and the actual skate, when they wondered around back stage, right by our seats. It was really heaven, since I love being behind the stage. And I didn’t even have to get up from my seat
Another thing is that the rink was already full of fake palm trees in all shapes and sizes, the area around the K&C and the media section was already looking like a jungle…..and there was more to come!
So finally, the mens qualification started. My notes are not complete by jumps or spins, I only have like an impression of the program, and how I overall thought it was executed…

Group B
Andrej Dobrokhodov AZB – dressed in yellow and red with squared on chest, that makes me think his program will be funny….very old style Russian hair, and Russian traditional skating style…almost lands his 3a, coach overjoyed, program not funny, can’t get the idea behind choreography…flow not so good….has some solid triples, but appear a bit sloppy…Bielman to finish…so so skate, think he’ll make it through.

Ivan Dinev BUL – “Kismet”, still the same WHHEEEEE outfit…Rafael not here, only Pashkevitch by the board…no 3a….pops the flip also…pops more jumps…when is he going to hold it together ever, oh dear…this is not good, but he’s fighting in the steps…a bit stiff, but powerful, Ivan style…oh, he could do the salchow in the end, got a little better…looks tired at finish, and disappointed.

Przemyslaw Domanski, POL – “Godfather” the cute, little one, he’s only 17…tries his best in choreography but shaky jumps….not that bad though…we’re seeing Candeloro in our heads….Domanski uses every bit of his music….doesn’t have a 3a….but left me with positive impression, if he skated in the other group, he would have made it through!

Stephane Lambiel SUI – never know what program he skates, they all seem the same to me…and wears his not so fitting pants, as always…anyway….he’s on…no, he’s not, fall 4t…popped 3a…fall 3z…what’s happening here, he’s been ill with the flu or something, right?? This looks nothing like Lambiel, this is uninspired and flat…some evil twin took his body…program has fallen apart…scratch spin to finish…spins of course good but….far too high marks! Rink confused…

Patrick Meier SUI – newly dyed hair black, peach outfit, bad with hair…looks happy to be back, lands 3a, oh good for him….weird music, it’s Rene Aubry…Meier is washing and dressing and brushing teeth….more jumps…ok….oh, suddenly music is “Rocky”…why??? No connection….oh, last music is “Swan Lake” even better….can’t make any sense out of it, but Patrick is smiling. Decent skate, lacked a bit of speed.

Tomas Verner CZE – the cute hair like a school boy....looking forward to see him...oh, good edges....piano music with beat, perfect for skating,...typical for him, sort of....can’t do his jumps though, maybe he’s nervous…maybe it’ll be better tomorrow…as this was not so special, I forgot about it soon….Tomas, kick ass in the short program!!

Vitaly Danilchenko UKR – “last temptation of Christ” OH ZAGGY!!! OH VITALY!! My headband boy…he’s finally back….funny, he choose an outfit just to hide his tattoo love is carriage..lots of arms and hands to the music….no 4t, just couldn’t do it, like in practice….free leg in high spiral into 3z, very smooth, very fit…could use more speed, but much better than Lambiel..did all his 3’s, why is he behind???? Rink confused again…

Andrej Griazev RUS – “Fellini soundtracks” so funny, dressed in black velvet, with white collar…he’s like a young Yagudin, but with immature arms….this boy is so sweet, he even jumps a bit like famous Alexei…he got all the potential in the world…is waving at he audience several times…and at the judges too…but he’s not fully mature yet…”oopps, mustn’t forget my arms now, must do what my choreographer tells me” LOL Still a good skate, into first, YAY!

Clemens Jonas AUT – ok, he let the glittery shirts go…this one is white satin, but the music is still Jesus Christ Superstar, and his hair is still huge, and his basic is still bad….landed a sort of 3z, surprise, thought he could only do a 3l…though he can’t in this program…skates around and around…tries, but…I don’t think he’ll make it through, he lack overall quality…is placed ahead of Domanski.

Kevin van der Perren BEL – “Robin Hood” dressed in green with glitter, facial hair...hop hop hop Kevin shouts Belgians on row behind us....love this music, has played the soundtrack endless times at home....Morozov by the boards, my friends in love with him....Kevin only attempts 2a…but WOW 3,3,3, combo, with loop in the end, so fab, way to go boy….this is a real program, I mean, classic, like Yagudin this one too Aleksei, you’re still here you know! Kevin is placed behind Stephane…no one understands…

Frederic Dambier FRA – “Moulin Rouge”, my little flirty French…wheee! But where did that bright orange tie go, I liked that old outfit…this one is red and black, like Flamenco style…and more like everybody else, but ok….Frederic is rock solid…4s perfect….every jump clean…facial expression priceless, can’t put a foot wrong today…spread eagles to die for…pumps his fist after, Annick overjoyed…into first, GO!

Gregor Urbas SLO – “tango” lots of expression from the start, 2z only, that was supposed to be a combo…3a, yes….good outfit, doesn’t show off that he’s quite skinny…tires lutz again…no, still double…ok choreography, improvement from last year….read that he’s practicing the 4t, but no sign of it here….still a good skate

Matthew Davies GBR – “Beatles medley” funny 60’ies shirt and black pants with suspenders….want him to skate like in practice, where he had so much fun and was smiling all the time…but…nooooo Matthew, what are you doing now?? Why can’t you just do your jumps??? Ooppps…not good, but he’s still smiling! I love this guy, he’s totally enjoying himself…good music choice….I had fun despite popped jumps, and that’s impressing, not letting the program fall apart. British fans behind us disappointed…but he’ll get through, thanks to Austria and Poland.

Sergei Davydov BLR – “one man’s dream by Yanni” my sweet little 1,59m perfect-basic man I’m too nervous now, I can’t take photos or nothing….I squeeze my lucky plush bunny* Tchaikovskaya holds his hands by the boards for ages, calms him down, I don’t know…he looks dead scared….
Ok…he’s on…black pants, black see-through shirt, yeah I know, THAT shirt….too not safe…and I’m too worried for his axel…oh, it’s alright…but only 2t after…grrrr, don’t hold back now love….3f good…3z also…looks good, it’s all fine…no, only 2s…ok, he can do it over….yeah, 3s way to go….oh..want even more speed on the spins, like in practice…leans down on the ice, done! Oh thanks, cause I’m dead…Kristin is blowing her horn like crazy, Sergei waving at us….looks OK in the K&C….that was a good skate…lacked maybe a little spark, but it was all clean, with the best 3a….what…I fall apart…marks not all that, he’s behind Meier, NOOOOO!!! Why??? What must he do??? Ok, maybe I’m a bit biased here, but ….look at the quality of his edges and just in general….! Oh bother…I enjoyed it big time…the judges might not have paid attention….

Brian Joubert FRA – ”Matrix” ok, he’s a better jumper, but he’s still too stiff for my taste, and that outfit is strangely shaped, and I prefer Sergei anytime….I’m in a bad mood…and his program is dull…I’m watching with one eye being mad at the judges….Brian does text book 4t…to the annoying music that everyone else has also been skating to….he does more good triples, in fact he does everything planned I think…stiff steps, and not too difficult, mostly on the toes in Morozov style…and does this man ever bends his knees? More not intricate steps, crowd loves it…everybody into it but me…sorry

Damien Jordevic FRA – “night on the bald mountain by Mussorgski” dressed like some old Zagarodniuk-outfit, grey velvet with glitter, over white shirt, very classic and nice….looks nervous…singles out on 4t….no 3a…can’t hold it together…think he’ll drop in the charts…tries, but program falls apart, can’t hold on the choreography….obvious lack of experience, but cute and pleasing potential still…hopefully he’ll get over nerves later…Annick very disappointed.

Jurai Sviatko SVK – oh…it’s the bumble bee outfit!!! I knew it, after his practices, I knew it!!! It had to be yellow and black stripes!!! And here’s the music…flight of the bumble bee….this guy is too funny….wish he could jump also…he tries, but….can’t do his 3a…and struggles with his strange technique….at least he’s never boring…oh, now music changes to guitar-Beethoven…uh….most uncertain program, and seems very disappointed…but he did held his speed up well.

Was still angry afterwards, standing was Joubert, Dambier, Griazev, Lambiel, then Kevin and Vitaly, and we never got why Lambiel was fourth, and why Sergei was in 8th after clean skate, with perfect 3axel when others couldn’t do it…..and why Domanski was last, since it wasn’t that bad, but it was because of all the other skaters at his level was in the other group….Also enjoyed Dambiers skate more than Joubert, but I always do, and judges don’t, so I’ve given in….

Group A
Eugeni Plushenko RUS – “St.Petersburg 300 by Igor Korniliuk” Everything perfect, to Sergei’s music from last year LOL (yes I know, for everybody else this is Zhenya’s music but for me, it’s Sergei’s music…it’s not my fault Igor Korniliuk is recycling is own works, instead of writing something new for Plushy, uh..???) yes, I said it, everything was perfect. No sign of bad knees or anything. Into first (ha ha) and stayed there

Adrian Matei ROM – “Gladiator” good for him we didn’t recognize the cuts….wondered what this would be, as practices not convincing…not convincing skate here either….some triples, but….very stiff…and very much like a junior skater…not much expression….but he got through, since only one man was going from this group…

Georghe Chiper ROM – This is the same program as last year…with the weird but funny upbeat music!! Sets up for his 4t…..ahhhh…almost….3a….way to go….everything works for him today….great charisma, great speed….and never boring! Very happy after…oh…his daughter is giving him flowers by the boards, wearing a pink little jacket, so cute!!!

Vakhtang Murvanidze GEO – “a little serenade, by Mozart” last years program….Vakhtang + Zhulin = not good for Vaxo’s technique….no clean 3a….didn’t smile like he use to….don’t know what’s wrong….not exactly memorable….and that’s not what I usually say about his programs…

Trifun Zivanovic SCG – “matrix, sky break“ this is cool…I haven’t seen him since worlds 99, and I’ve actually missed him, since he’s funny and charming….strange technique, especially in 3a…can’t do it…but everything else is fine….good speed…gives everything, facial expressions all the way….seemed happy to be back

Aidas Reklys LTU – ”Tango“ this is just something completely different than last year….I can see it on his very first moves…he’s worked on everything….his 3z…that is solid now…2a out of spread eagle….and 3,3 combo…and great expression, this is a real program, not like before….and he’s got more self confidence, that’s for sure…..we’re blowing our horn again, this was great! Aidas is always a nice guy, we always cheer for him anyway, but wow…ok, he has no 3a, but I don’t care, since I love to see a great improvement!!

Zoltan Toth HUN – “James Bond soundtrack” oh, he’s so nervous…the not so big crowd goes crazy for him….and he can’t really handle it…cool outfit…grey and purple velvet, though no connection with James Bond….seems most taken by the pressure…can’t do his jumps very well….and never really dares to go for them either….the poor man….

Ilia Klimkin RUS – “dr.Diesel“ oh......this is my second moment of truth....must not think of Sergei anymore....must focus....Ilia looks focused....he’s been producing perfect quads all weekends…and here it comes…NOOOOOOO he’s on his butt, what happened????? He fell on the quad…thank heavens it’s only qualifying…but 3a is no problem…and perfect reverse spin, then spins in normal direction, into 3s, I love that so much….cantilever…spins to die for, he spins just as well as Lambiel, but in a different way, Lambiel has the speed, but Klimkin has the difficult edges and positions….oh, he’s exhausted….that program really takes all his energy out….luckily is no real threat for him here, he’s into second Kristin has fallen apart a long time ago, but now she can relax…

Andrejs Vlascenko GER – “the circus princess” bad music, I mean, there’s nothing to it, he could have skated to anything…and this man has lots of expression so he could use something more difficult, this music is too simple!! And maybe that’s why he didn’t skate his best…since his music doesn’t give him any lift…..good speed towards the end…but….this did nothing for me….it was just the same over and over…

Wim Hermans BEL – “Diana Ross medley” oh…what will happen to him…we are scared this might be a disaster…..and it is…only doubles, and he’s even struggling with some of them….and it’s 4,30 and he has to try to hold the program together….and of course he can’t…and we feel so sorry for him, and we want to comfort him and say: “it’s not your fault the Belgian federation can’t see it wasn’t a good idea to send you hear, please don’t let this break you confidence, try to think that it was a fun experience” or something like that…. what was that federation thinking really…??? The boy is young, he didn’t have to skate senior just yet….

Stefan Lindeman GER – “Le petit poucet“ I’m sorry, but I have really no notes from this skate...I’ve written that I almost fell asleep…and it’s not to be mean, but it’s really so not interesting….solid jumps or not…..and then I think to myself; Silvio…where are you…sobb*

Karel Zelenka ITA – „lord of the dance” oh, he’s so pleasing to the eye…his soft knee bend…and how he covers the ice…and how everything comes easy…wish he had a 3a…but….everything else is good….it’s very clean…and very solid….and we are all happy, especially Lisa

Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari FIN – ”Cyrano de Bergerac” last year, I also fell asleep watching this guy…but not anymore….he’s wearing black and grey, with red details, very nice….and perfect 3z….and again later…and almost everything he planned….needs to work on his spins more….very cute, I like the blonde Finnish men LOL Ari-Pekka most happy after, has no problems making it through to the short p….and with a good placement too!

Yon Garcia ESP – “Chaplin medly” this is funny…another Chaplin…but it’s working out for him, it’s fitting….and what a perfect way to show of what you’re good at….I call him “bouncing rubber ball II” (yes Steffi, you know what I’m talking about LOL) his hardest jump is the 3z, and it’s not at all safe….but I enjoy this so much, it’s interesting…he does 3t and 3s and also 3l….very good speed in spins….and also in steps, this was a real program, why can’t everybody do like this, I’d rather watch him than Lindeman any time….placements I don’t care about….

Kristoffer Berntsson SWE – “the time machine” dressed in nice black and white velvet….oh, something has happened to Kristoffer this year…now he finally manages to hold it together….nice classical music, something he’s never done before….but it’s great…not perfect 3a…but every other jump beautiful….lacks speed maybe….but great edges and flow….very clean….would have had him before Vlascenko but no one ever listens to me, do they???

Sergei Kotov ISR – ”Adana by Are Gevorkian” now, towards the end….one really needs something special to make me remember them….this is not it really…not in the beginning…but very good music…I’m waiting for something to happen, because with Kotov, it usually does in the end…yeah, he never lets me down…speeds up after 4,20 with fast steps on the toes, perfect with the music….and done. I like that, I like that he can hold it all the way through….sorry I didn’t took notes about his jumps…I only know it was a bit so-so….

so, about mens short:
Ari Pekka Nurmenkari FIN – “passion for tango” dressed in black and red….3z2t…he’s smiling….3f out of steps….good passion here….C-steps….2a….he really tries his best now, he’s totally improved in presentation….SL steps, not too intricate…wobbly combo spin, slow…it lacks a little in his program still, but he’s heading in the right direction!

Gregor Urbas SLC – “carmina burana” he reminds me of Stanislav Timchenko…they’re both skinny and covers it with lots of flying fabric….most dramatic expression….3z3t good, to the music, 3a just held on to it…sit spin good…long wait standing still before SL steps, moves his arms a lot…finally, he’s moving again…3l from difficult steps…music a bit too much, can’t fill it completely….

Tomas Verner CZE – “a little classical melody” black, shiny pants, blue top, good edges, 3a2t…3f easy….solid camel, feels the music with soft movements…nice arms…SL steps, 2a…fast spin, speeds up in the steps but could do so even more, nice flow though….sit spin change of foot….seemed a bit cautions, but connected his elements well. Enjoyed it more than his qualification.

Sergei Kotov ISR – “ “ lots of flying fabrics, ”requiem for a dream”, speeds up well, 3z2t not perfect, 3f just hung on, open rotation, Csteps good with the music, 2a, camel spin slow, combo spin with layback, also slow, here comes Kotov-steps to finish, fast and powerful. Clean skate, up to his potential, technique not perfect, spins maybe his weakest point.

Damien Jordevich FRA – “gipsy dance” 3a2t just made the rotation on the toe, good camel spin with body bend over, 3f nice but not totally connected with steps, 2a, pretends to be drinking and having fun before SL steps, they start and stop, folk music here, C-steps, flying sit spin a bit weak, combo spin good, but lacks a little speed, interesting positions, good program with nice presentation, very French.

Zoltan Toth HUN – “piano concerto by Tchaikovsky” black outfit with piano details on, seems nervous…crowd crazy of course, 3f2t flip on two feet, 1a, slow not too intricate steps SL, 3z shaky no connection with steps, strange C-steps better speed here, sit spin to finish, not so special program, seemed very cautious and lacked speed.

Sergei Davydov BLR – “hungarian rapsody” ok…I’m dead again…and the make-up people went wild with the blusher on him…white satin shirt…what is my poor man doing in this early group, it’s not fair…..Tchiakovskaya holds his hands again like in qualifying…he looks as nervous as ever…and we’re waving our Belrussian flag…ok, must breath, must breath….here comes the music…first the combination…please dear, do a 3a…and don’t mess it up….YAY….3a3t managed to hang onto 3t by fighting really hard…oh dear, one more critical jump…yes…3z perfect, but no connection with steps…SL steps marvellous speed, crowd really into it, love that edgework…flying camel, as good as always….music slows down here, before the beat comes in again…2a perfect…no more jumps, thank God…sit spin with nice positions…SP steps, lovely knee bend, speed still the best and crowd loves it, they’re really pushing him forwards now….combo spin with nice layback, all spins high quality and even more speed, in fact…oh..done. WOW WOW WOW I love this program so much….thank heavens his knee seems ok now….ok, not perfectly clean, like 3t a little schratchy, but he stayed on one foot….Sergei looks happy….we’re all happy….judges just quite happy, don’t think any mark should be below 5.0 but he’s skating too early….oh well…he can’t do much more anyway…and no one is gonna beat that speed and those steps, since Plushy and Brian are just on the toe-picks…(yeah, I’m so biased it’s scary LOL) .

Trifun Zivanovic SCG – “ukraina“ black outfit with sequins, very nice, 3f2t not the best quality, high free leg, open position in the air, funny music, 3a step-out, most weird technique, good variations in choreography, 3z direct from steps, best element so far, sit spin good, sells program in SL steps, charming, loads of charisma, combo spin to finish, lacks speed. Enjoy him very much, lots of energy.

Patrick Meier SUI – “turtle shoes ++” very Meier-like music, black outfit with white stripes, a bit boring, 3a fall, 3z just held on, no connection with steps, combo spin slow nothing special, someone is almost singing in this weird music, at least their making strange noises, C-steps also slow, 2a, SL steps a bit better, flying sit spin to finish, he doesn’t exactly spin like Lambiel does he…??? Boring program, it was nothing to it really, didn’t manage to sell his choreography at all, he held back too much.

Ivan Dinev BUL – “Last temptation of Christ” oh so handsome, but the weird black/white/bright orange outfit…sets up for 3a..NOOO singles out….oh dear…3f solid, nice moves with the music, sit spin ok, c-steps very Ivan-like, flying sit spin fast, sets up for last jump….2a…good…combo spin on the run a bit uncontrolled….speeds up for SL steps, this is so Ivan….gives it everything, good footwork…but….I’ve almost given up on him…and good results…hm…

Karel Zelenka ITA – “quixote“ black velvet outfit, very nice, 3z3t toe on two feet, beautiful flow, 3f step-out, C-steps beautiful edges, ok I use the word beautiful some more….slow flying camel, 2a beautiful combo spin good, SL steps, could use even more spark, Karel is smiling, he’s having fun, sit spin to finish. Oh, I love his basic and his body lines, though he appeared a bit uncertain today.

Vakhtang Murvanidze GEO – “take five” lots of blusher here as well….hair sliced back, black shirt, rolls his shoulders and flirts already…3a couldn’t hold onto landing, 3z3t shaky not perfectly clean, stunning flying camel, 3f two footed, combo spin on difficult edges, SL steps with entire body, very fitting and entertaining, camel spin again stunning, good extension, C-steps fast with good flow, fine foot work to finish. Thought the second music worked better than the first, when he speeded up some more….thanks the audience by rolling his shoulders and stomach again…

Andrejs Vlashenko GER – “Moscow nights” ok, he’s dressed in…hm…Moscow nights…with buildings and towers in different colours on his front…and on his back…ok..let’s see about this….3a2t good, feels the music, 3z solid, good steps into flying sit spin but lacks rotations here….2a perfect with the music looked dead easy….sit spin, music is building, SL steps good, oooopss almost stumbles after, combo spin a bit stiff, gives choreography everything….looks happy…but it wasn’t better than Sergei….NO WAY!! The judges has him first, he’s ahead, why is that?? Take a look at the speed and the quality of the elements!!! Why is this always happening to me??? He didn’t even do a 3,3! Ok, I enjoyed Andrejs program more than I thought I would, since his qualification was dull, this was nice…but not better than Sergei! It wasn’t, it wasn’t!!! I’m depressed, with Nicoletta…

Kevin van der Perren BEL – “tango” red and black outfit, of course…3a fall, he just can’t do it now…3z3t solid, very good technique as we know, C-steps with passion, 3f step-out, sit spin ok, SL steps, his look could kill at this moment, he uses every part of his body now, combo spin with lay back but could use more speed (him too, I think I’ve written this before…) Nice choreography, good connections.

Stephane Lambiel SUI – “supposed to be Shakira, but it doesn’t sound like it“ black outfit with yellow collar, seems determined, 4t fall, 3a good, this is definitely not Shakira, it sounds like some classical soundtrack, C-steps with nice flow, 3f step-out, spins like always, sit spin VERY good, oh, now music sounds like Ennio Morricone…I seriously doesn’t know what it is….SP steps also fine…oh dear….he falls on his stomach just out of the blue….but it was after steps were finished….Combo spin high quality (of course) liked the choreography, it had fine connections and was never boring…but I wonder…will he ever land both the quad and the 3a in one program…

Vitali Danilchenko UKR – “pulp fiction” black see-through shirt, oh dear…..come on now love….great music, love how he takes the ice…NO! 3a was nothing, just a weird single and something….3z solid, but no connection with steps…he moves so stunning, lovely edges, flying camel perfect with music, 3f2t, sit spin good, choreography comes very natural to him….lots of speed and passion…C-steps, combo spin…done….and what happened??? Why is this occurring to all my men….the end up lover than their potential, for different reasons….fancy his Ukrainian technique a lot though

Gheorghe Chiper ROM – “spirit of Marocco” turquoise and black outfit, 4t fall…oriental music, very nice…3a fall, oh no….flying sit spin, C-steps, fells the music, very original, 3l no problem…..combo spin a bit slow….SL steps very good, uses every bit of the music and is very true to choreography…sit spin, also slow. Disappointment for him, really, he had the chance of a very good placement here….

Kristoffer Berntsson SWE – “Justin Timberlake- like I love you ++“ red t-shirt, black pants, one glove, chain on pants, cool....great isolated moves to start…3a perfect…stunning edges…3z3t way to go….stares at the judges to say “look at me, I’m here “ C-steps good, 3f fights for the landing…sit spin very low, good….SL steps also great but lacks a little speed…combo spin also a bit slow….oh…that is cool, programs ends with him being shot…hi hi…very modern choreography that he performs very well…overall I thought it lacked speed though….his basic is really high quality…think he’ll go into third…eh???? He’s into first…he’s what???????? I love Kristoffer to bits, he’s a beautiful skater, but…..what is this?????? Did they forget what happened in the previous group?? I will say nothing more, I will give in, I will not even mention Sergei’s name…ok, I did….

Frederic Dambier FRA – “suite no.4” black, grey, white outfit with fringes and glitter, very Frederic LOL oh, I love this music SO MUCH….4s2t…couldn’t manage a triple after….3a flawless….flaying sit spin perfect with the music….he feels it so much…touches the board before SL steps…that are slow, but good on the edges…ends up by the board again….the music is quiet, and he has captured the entire audience…3f perfect…combo spin….C-steps to die for….he’s flying……he’s so on…sit-spin to finish…WAY TO GO!!! He pumps his fist in the air! This program is exquisite! Connections all the way, fits him perfect….Annick very happy, and Frederic too! They’re all dying in the K&C

Stefan Lindeman GER – “Earnest“ black, with green glitter vest.....speeds up for quad….4t hand down2t…..so typical Stefan music….1a…..good combo spin, starts spinning backwards, then forwards…ok, now music is thankfully speeding up….reminds me a bit of Todd Eldredge…3z good….SL steps with no flow, but it was intentional….starts and stops….sit spin….C-steps…follows the music, but not too intricate…very good flying sit, high and controlled….ok, he’s solid, but I get nothing from his programs, I don’t think it’ll ever happen….my friend wants to see him as Frodo, I go with her LOL

Ilia Klimkin RUS – “swan lake” he’s the black swan…and he’s stunning….those arm movements are just the best…and his hands…and the way he holds his head….please, don’t make a mistake now, skate like you do in practice….3a3t YEEEEESSS perfect….oh, here’s the quad…..he covers the ice…he’s setting up…please, please, please, please…WHEEEEEEEEE 4t so easy….camel spin best in the world, extension to the tip of his toes….2a like nothing…c-steps opposite way….perfect with the music….combo spin with Ilia flavour, he’s just the greatest spinner, let me see someone else do this…music is building…..SL steps….edges….power….bodylines….this is just stunning…..flying camel so soft, spot on with music….and he’s DONE!!! YAAAAAAY I just have to scream, whatever anyone does, this was the best of the evening, though not in the standings but I don’t care, it was flawless, I’ve never seen him skate like this!!!!!! Kristin is falling apart, but she’s able to wave our Russian flag…..good marks….he’ll probably end up third of the night…as the judges doesn’t want the old fashion skating, they want the show….(was that rude????)

Eugeni Plushenko RUS – “tango, flamenco“ dressed in black, most traditional outfit for him… ….oppps…4t2t….full stop after 4t….but great with the music…3a very safe….flamenco is coming up…it’s Nyah, it’s Sasha’s Nyah…sigh*….c-steps ok…..3z easy….sit spin….and here’s the steps…on his toes….but some edges towards the end….charisma as always….combo spin with Bielman….as usual, it was fine, but I’m not falling apart still….he doesn’t set me on fire….but everybody else is crazy

Andrej Griazev RUS – “tango” dressed in black, with multi-coloured ties all over…3a fall…oh dear…and 2t….he looks scared….3f two footed and not fully rotated at all….very good camel….not sure if the tango suits him though, he’s too unfinished in his moves… he sometimes forget his arms…2a…flying sit spin shaky….SL steps, would be nice if he moved his body a little softer….combo spin ok….not effortless, seemed to struggle and lacks routine, think his nerves got to him….but he’s still so cute…oh my…this judging is just SICK…..the placements range from 8th to 24th!!!!! 24th, were they watching at all??????????????????????? I can’t take anymore of this, it’s just a joke, right??? I’m not saying it was a particularly good skate, but they can’t even agree that it was bad….24th….maybe he or she went to the toilet during Andrej’s tango….and thanks to the anonymous judging, we’ll never know….

Brian Joubert FRA – “time” black with golden details, fitting with the theme of the program….French crowd goes crazy….ok, here comes his Yagudinesque short program….4t3t effortless, like he can do it in his sleep….3a…his free leg is always so close to the ice in the landings, please Brian, extend it some more…3f…C-steps, like Yagudin’s winter….mostly on two feet….he’s really on today though, the rink is on fire, and I’m mean everybody, Brian has captured even me….and he’s smiling and having fun…building up for the SL steps….they’re crowd pulling, but not difficult….toe-picks, toe-picks….and some spin to finish, I don’t remember….and we all love Brian LOL ok, I’m not really a fan, but this was good, it was full of joy, and it was no struggle and no hesitation….if I was judging, I place him behind Ilia, in front of Plushy, but now Ilia is not in the lead, unfortunately, so I would then place Brian ahead of Plushy, that means…in the lead…but the judges won’t….they’ll hold Plushy up no matter what….yes, I’m right…four judges liked Brian the most, but it’s not enough…but after this night of crap judging, what can I expect….