The Romance of Figure Skating- U.S. Nationals

Vintage white female skates for figure skating, on a light wooden background.The figure skaters who will represent the US in Pyeongchang have been selected!

The U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, held the first week of January in San Jose, had all the feels.

In the ladies’ competition, there were impressive skates from rising stars, including Bradie Tennell, who took ladies’ gold. Silver medalist Mirai Nagasu, who was left off the 2014 Olympic team, has battled back to the top of her sport thanks in part to the triple axel.

In ice dance, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue became first time national champions, out-skating superstar teams Chock and Bates and the Shibutanis.

In the men’s division reigning U.S. Champion Nathan Chen showed why he’ll be in the running for a medal in South Korea. And pairs skaters Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and her husband Chris Knierim, reclaimed their national title to become Team USA’s only pairs team.

With so many great programs it was hard to decide what to post, so I chose two skaters whom you won’t see in the Winter Olympics.

Ashley Wagner was expected to compete in Pyeongchang, but after finishing fourth at U.S. Nationals, was not chosen for the Olympic team.

Veteran men’s competitor Ross Miner’s free skate wasn’t loaded with quads but it was a joy to watch, and won him the silver medal.

It’s a sad reminder that U.S. Figure Skating Nationals are not Olympic team trails, and that not every deserving skater achieves his or her dream.

I hope you enjoy watching their performances, and I also hope we haven’t seen the last of Ross or Ashley.

Can’t get enough figure skating? You’ll love my Red Hot Russians #FigureSkatingRomance series.

Pairing OffTurning It On

 

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The Romance of Figure Skating- The Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finals

This past weekend, the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final took place in Nagoya, Japan. The skaters who competed were those who had amassed the most points during the six week Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.

While the Grand Prix doesn’t directly decide which skaters will compete in the Winter Olympics, the finals offered an exciting preview of the athletes we’ll likely see in Pyongchang.

Without offering up any Shining Through spoilers, we’ll just say that the International Series Finals are a difficult time for both Tabitha and Daniil.

The US had the strongest showing in men’s and ice dance. American Nathan Chen won gold, edging out Japan’s Shoma Uno and Mikhail Kolyada of Russia. Two other US men, Adam Rippon and Jason Brown, also skated in Nagoya. American ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani took bronze in their discipline, which also included Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

My favorite ice dance performance was  by Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizerone of France, who won gold. Their short dance, a rhumba and samba, to Ed Sheeran’s The Shape of You and Thinking Out Loud, was a lot of fun to watch and they looked as if they were having a great time performing it. But as loose and relaxed as they seemed, their moves were flawless. At it’s best, figure skating looks effortless. See what I mean, here:

Up next in the world of figure skating are the national competitions that will decide who competes in the Winter Olympics. Russia’s Nationals will take place Dec. 19-24, and should be interesting in light of the IOC’s decision to ban Russia from the Winter Olympics. However, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean to compete as part of a neutral delegation.  US Nationals will take place Dec. 29 through January 7.

Want to win a digital copy of Shining Through, PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card? Enter to win my giveaway at Night Owl Romance going on this month!

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Prefer to read it in print? Purchase your copy here: Amazon | B&N | iTunes Books | Kobo | Google Play Books | Goodreads

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The Romance of Figure Skating- Skate America

Most years, Skate America is the first Grand Prix of Figure Skating competition rather than the last. But the order is different this year because Russia, which will host its own national competition in mid-December and the European Championships a few weeks later, apparently didn’t want to host a third international skating competition in November.

But first, last or wherever, Skate America is special to me, because I’ve attended it twice with my skating friends and it’s such an amazing experience to watch top skaters, live.  The power, beauty and speed of this sport is awe-inspiring. If you’re not a skating fan before you go, you’ll be one afterward.

In Shining Through, 23-year-old Tabitha is feeling the pressure of being the aging veteran with determined teenage rivals nipping at her blades.  While the sport is dominated by young skaters, this year’s Skate America offered a lights-out performance by a skater who proves that age is just a number.

German pair skater Aliona Savchencko, age 33, and her partner Bruno Massot age 28, turned in a spectacular free skate that earned them the pairs gold medal.

Aliona’s competitive career began in the late 1990s. She is a five time pairs world champion and has skated in four Winter Olympics, winning bronze in 2010 and 2014. With her current partner Massot, now officially a German citizen and eligible to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, chances are Aliona will make her fifth trip to the Games come February.

Enjoy this beautiful long program from Savchenko and Massot.

Other Skate America winners included American Nathan Chen (men’s), Satoko Miyahara (ladies) representing Japan, and US ice dance team Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.

Next up are the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Championships, in Nagoya, Japan Dec. 7- 10. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Dec. 8 and 9, and on NBC Dec. 10. Check local listing for broadcast times.

Want to win a digital copy of Shining Through, PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card? Enter to win my giveaway at Night Owl Romance going on this month!NORShiningThroughGiveaway2017 (2)

Prefer to read it in print? Purchase your copy here: Amazon | B&N | iTunes Books | Kobo | Google Play Books | Goodreads

And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

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The Romance of Figure Skating- The Internationaux de France

Closing in toward the end, the Grand Prix of Figure Skating moved to France, specifically the beautiful city of Grenoble, for the Interationaux de France, this past weekend.

I was especially excited to see this competition, which was skated in the same city where Shining Through’s Winter Games take place.

Grenoble was host of the 1968 Winter Olympics, and seemed like the perfect location for my fictional version. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll say that one of my favorite scenes has Tabitha and Daniil looking out at this panoramic view.

Panorama_grenoble_wikipedia

But Shining Through’s French competition takes place in Paris, where Daniil faces off against his main rival, Tanzo Okuta of Japan. Okuta is rock-star popular in his homeland and even has his own Anime series.

One of my favorite male skaters is Shoma Uno of Japan, whose charismatic performances last season inspired me when I created the character of Okuta. Shoma Uno competed at the Internationaux de France, and while he didn’t skate quite as well as last year, he’s still fun to watch.

Internationaux de France winners included Javier Fernandez of Spain in men’s, Alina Zagitova of Russia in ladies’, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia in Pairs and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France in ice dance.

Next up is Skate America, Nov. 24- 26. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 24 and 25, and 26, on NBCSN Nov. 25 and NBC Nov. 26. Check local listing for broadcast times.

Enter a Goodreads #giveaway for a signed print copy of Shining Through! Or, to start reading right now download the ebook from your favorite online retailer:

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And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

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The Romance of Figure Skating- The NHK Trophy

This past weekend the Grand Prix of Figure Skating’s fourth event, the NHK Trophy, took place in Osaka, Japan.

Figure skating is extremely popular in Japan and which isn’t surprising, considering that some of the world’s current top skaters are Japanese. The men’s discipline is especially strong with Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno among the top stars. Top Japanese ladies include Satoko Miyahara and Rika Hongo, who both competed at the NHK Trophy.

 

In Shining Through, Tabitha’s hopes for a victorious season that takes her straight to the Winter Games hits a big roadbump early on, courtesy of 14-year-old Japanese skater Machiko Furkawa, who stuns the world with her International Series debut.

Though the Japanese ladies weren’t as dominant in this year’s NHK Trophy, enjoy this video of Satoko Miyahara skating her long program, from the competition.

2017 NHK Trophy winners included Sergei Voronoz of Russia (mens), Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia (ladies), Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China (pairs) and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada (ice dance).

Next up is the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, France, Nov. 17- 19. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 17 and 18, and on NBCSN Nov. 19. Check local listing for broadcast times.

Enter a Goodreads #giveaway for a signed print copy of Shining Through! Or, to start reading right now download the ebook from your favorite online retailer:

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And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

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The Romance of Figure Skating- Cup of China

This past week the Grand Prix of Figure Skating traveled to Beijing, China. Though Chinese skaters are among the world’s best, especially in pairs, China’s figure skating program didn’t get started until the late 1970s. They’ve come a long way!

In Shining Through, Daniil’s jerky rival Viktor Domachev competes in the International Series’ China event and doesn’t do as well as he hopes. For Daniil, this is both good news and bad news. The Russian figure skating powers-that-be would prefer to have Domachev as the skater who goes to the Winter Games. With Daniil ahead in the standings, what will they do to keep him out?

I doubt any of the real-life skaters competing at the Cup of China are as nasty as Domachev. In fact, I have a fond memory of watching one of them at Skate America 2014, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia.

I recently learned she skated an exhibition program last season to Jeff Beck’s “I Put A Spell On You,” as Tabitha does in Shining Through. I had to dig deep into You Tube to find a video, but I did! While Liza looks nothing like Tabitha, it will give you a sense of the program I imagined— right down to the twizzles and deep edges. Fast forward through the announcements, her program starts about a minute in.

 

Cup of China winners included Mikhail Kolyada of Russia (mens), Alina Zagitova of Russia (ladies), Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China (pairs) and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France (ice dance).

Next up is the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan, Nov. 10 through 12. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 10 and 11, and on NBC Nov. 11. Check local listing for broadcast times.

Or download a copy of Shining Through, from your favorite online retailer.

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And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

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The Romance of Figure Skating- Skate Canada

Last week, some of the world’s top skaters traveled to Regina, Saskatchewan for Skate Canada, the second competition in the Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

In Shining Through, Tabitha travels to Vancouver, where Daniil and her good friend (and rumored boyfriend) Brett, are skating in the Maple Leaf Classic. Though Tabitha isn’t competing, she hopes some extra time working with her choreographer, and with Daniil, will rekindle some of her passion on the ice. Returning to her roots as an ice dancer rekindles her passion on the ice. Teaching some moves to Daniil sparks passion off it.

Skate Canada included some of the world’s best ice dance teams, including Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who were the silver medalists in the 2014 Olympics. After Sochi, they sat out two competitive seasons before returning in 2016. They’re back again this year as strong as ever. Check out their Skate Canada short dance:

Virtue and Moir were the winners in ice dance. Other Skate Canada winners were Shoma Uno of Japan in Men’s, Katelyn Osmond of Canada in Ladies and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in Pairs.

Next, it’s on to Beijing for the Cup of China, Nov. 3 through 5. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 3 and 4, and on NBC Nov. 5. Check local listing for broadcast times.

Order Shining Through in print or digital from your favorite retailer.

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And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

 

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