Tuesday, December 14, 2010

By Alina Adams

The first professional skating competition I ever worked was the 1992 World Championships in Oakland, CA. It was also the first time I saw France's Philippe Candeloro.

Candeloro had this spin that inevitably brought the crowd to its feet. (Watch it below.)

However, no matter how loudly the crowd screamed and clapped for it, the judges wouldn't give it marks and, in fact, eventually Candeloro began putting it at the end of his program, after the time for marking his elements had elapsed.

The reason was disarmingly simple: If you are on the edge of your boots instead of on your blades, you are not skating, you are doing something else. (The same goes for ice-dancers who lie about, dead, for a good portion of their routine. More stringent rules were put in to keep the prostrate-writhing to a minimum.)

On Skating With the Stars last night, the only star who actually skated was Jonny Moseley. (Of course, as my brother, the ex-champion ice-dancer put it, "Show doesn't have any stars, why should we expect it to have any skating?").

Bethany gyrated. Bethany pointed. Bethany did all this without moving her feet much. The bulk of her movement came from being dragged around by her partner.

And while everyone went wild over Rebecca Budig's three overhead lifts, the fact of the matter is, that wasn't skating either. That was holding herself still while being picked up. Is it easy? No. Is it terrifying? Yes. Is it an actual skating skill? Debatable...

Jonny actually skated. And he did the lifting, too. While I'm still not sure why John Zimmerman (pictured with his wife, Italian champion Sivia Fontana, me and my first skating mystery title, Murder on Ice) was there to work on lifts with the other two teams (Ethan and Fred are pair skaters themselves), I am more intrigued by the apparent spotter that briefly appeared on camera, seemingly there to catch the girls in practice - and why we haven't heard about these "helpers" before.

So, in case I wasn't clear: Jonny for the win!

(For Jonny's take on going from snow to ice, click here.)


Alina Adams is the author of "Skate Crime: A Figure Skating Mystery," now available as an e-book from Amazon.

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