My love of the anime Yuri on Ice is no secret, but somehow it’s led to a very real interest in actual ice skating and, well, I guess I’m in skating fandom now. Send help.
Pictured above and to the right is Evgenia Medvedeva , who has won the World Championships twice. She’s only 17 and she’s broken a ton of records and it’s ridiculous. She’s sort of a skater darling right now and, well, it’s pretty deserved. She’s representing Russia well.
Oh, also she’s a huge Yuri on Ice fan. And one of her gala skates is Sailor Moon themed. Oh, what’s a “gala skate?” Stick around, because I’ll explain after I’m done introducing you to my new skater children.
Another favorite of mine is China’s Boyang Jin. He loves Spider-man. Like a lot. His 2016-217 Free Skate (again, stick with me for the definition of these things) is set to Spider-man music and his costume resembled the superhero’s costume as well. He pretends to sling webs across the ice and he’s amazing.
Bless him. Bless my web slinging skater.
And my other skater kid is Ashley Wagner from the USA. She came in silver last year at World’s, but didn’t do as well this year. Total sad face. But she’s going to the Olympics! USA! USA!
Ashely is an incredible reminder that I’m not straight. I may or may not be crushing on her. Maybe. But independent from my crush, she’s amazingly talented and a joy to follow on Twitter.
But there’s a lot more that I’m rooting for like Jason Brown (USA), Deniss Vasiljevs (Latvia), Denis Ten (Uzbekistan), pair skate team Chock & Bates (USA), and, of course, Shoma (Japan) and Yuzuru (Japan). Yuzuru is sort of like Evgenia in the sense he keeps winning everything and smashing records. They are the top of their respective categories.
My entry point into this was through anime, but long time skate fans have been absolutely amazing to us newbies and really excited to explain the sport. Hell, even the ISU (the official association in charge of International skating events) hopped into my mentions to welcome me by telling me the off season should go fast.
@angel_ponders We will be back soon and you won’t even notice the off season…?
— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) April 25, 2017
So for those of you who have seen me throwing around random terms, here’s a quick primer on decoding my ranting and raving:
- Worlds: World Championships. The biggest event of the year (except during Olympic years). Lots and lots of skaters show up to this one.
- GPF: Grand Prix Final. The second biggest series of events with a music smaller number of final skaters. There’s a Grand Prix series leading up to it to narrow down the numbers who participate in the Final.
- European Championships: A event for just the European skaters.
- 4C: Four Continents. North America. Asia. Australia. South America. So everyone who isn’t in Europe (uh, except Africa I guess) can compete in this one.
- Nationals: Most countries have their own championships. It’s a great way to see skaters who don’t qualify for national events.
- SP: Short Program. The first program skaters perform at an event that has a strict time limit and defined series of elements. This is the one that Boyang basically cosplays as Spider-man for.
- FS: Free Skate/Long Program. The second skate of an event that has a longer time limit and looser rules. Some events only let certain qualifying skaters move on to this one, If they don’t do well enough during their SP, they can’t do this one.
- Gala Program: An extra, fun program that doesn’t count towards any score or award. It happens after everything else. Evgenia does her Sailor Moon thing and Boyang does a cowboy thing. It’s just a lot of fun, okay?
- Quad: Four rotations of various types of jumps. It’s the hardest to do. And nobody has ever successfully landed a Quad Axel in competition yet. People are speculating that Yuzuru might attempt it.
Despite this, I have A LOT to learn. I can’t tell all the jumps apart, for instance. There’s a lot of different kinds such as axels, flips, toe loops, etc. I can’t tell who is doing what yet and reading the description doesn’t help. I also don’t know what leads to bonuses like… arm placement apparently? I do know that jumps in the latter half of a program are worth more because of fatigue, though. But yeah, I’m still a newbie. And yet? Skate fans have welcomed me with open arms.
The season ended a couple weeks ago and doesn’t start back up until the fall. And this year is an Olympic Year. All my favorites mentioned above are headed to Pyeongchang in 2018 so it’s going to be a really exciting season. Also, I joined this season in the last few weeks so I missed all the build up to it. The 2017-2018 season will be the first one that I’ll be following from start to finish. So, you know, be ready for that.