The Romance of Figure Skating- Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

With the Winter Olympics opening a week from today, it’s easy to forget that the figure skating competition season continues, even for skaters who won’t represent their countries in Pyeongchang, and also for some who will.
https://youtu.be/Sx5kPM7S3VI
 
Though the Four Continents Championship is open to skaters from North and South America, Asia, Australia and several African nations, the competition is dominated by skaters from Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and the United States.
This year, the trend continued with one notable exception, which I’ll get to in a minute.
The highest profile competition at this year’s 4CC was the men’s competition, which included Chinese national champion and World bronze medalist  Boyang Jin, and Japanese skater Shoma Uno, last year’s World silver medalist.  Both will compete in the Olympics and both performed difficult programs loaded with quadruple jumps.  Jin’s technical excellence in his Star Wars free skate, topped Uno, who was in first place after the short program. Uno took silver, while American Jason Brown took bronze.
Japan’s ladies are among the world’s best, and swept the podium at the Four Continents. Karori Sakamoto, 17, won gold, while 19-year-old Japanese national champion Satoko Miyahara took bronze. Both will compete in Pyeongchang. 4CC silver medalist Mai Mihara is Japan’s first alternate for the Winter Olympics.
In ice dance, American ice dancers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, who will not compete in Pyongchang, took gold. Canadians Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus won silver, while Kana Muramoto of Japan and her American-born partner Chris Reed won bronze. Muramoto and Reed will represent Japan at the Olympics.
American Olympic alternates Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea finished atop the pairs podium, followed by teammates Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc who won silver. The U.S.’s top pairs team, who will go to PyeongChang, Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and her husband Chris Knierim did not compete at 4CC.
For me, one of the competition’s most captivating performances came from a pairs team representing a surprising place—North Korea. Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim took bronze in the 4CCs and are expected to compete in the Winter Olympics. They train in Canada, have been competitive at international events this season, and show a lot of joy on the ice.
Here’s their 4CC’s short program, to Jeff Beck’s version of A Day In The Life.
https://youtu.be/7F7hXv08ZKs
Can’t get enough figure skating? You’ll love my Red Hot Russians #FigureSkatingRomance series.
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Pairing Off cover Russian and American pair skaters find love
Turning It On cover shy girl and male stripper find love on reality TV
Getting It Back Cover former figure skating champion risks it all
Heating It Up cover- small town love story set in Antarctica
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The Romance of Figure Skating- 2018 European Championships

ice dancers

In Olympic years, competitions such as the European Figure Skating Championships, held last weekend in Moscow, and the Four Continents Competition, coming up this weekend in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, are a great opportunity for emerging skaters, as many of the sport’s stars stay home to prepare for the Olympics (and not risk injury).
But with the Russian skaters who will go to Pyeongchang still to be determined, the 2018 European Figure Skating Championships, had plenty of star power.
With Russia officially banned from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, individual athletes once cleared by the International Olympic Committee, will be invited to compete under a neutral banner as an Olympic Athlete from Russia.  Official invitations to the OAR team is expected later this month.
In ladies’, Russian teens Alina Zagitova, and Evgenia Medvedeva took gold and silver, with Italian skater Carolina Kostner winning bronze.
For Zagitova and Medvedeva, along with fourth-place finisher and teammate Maria Sotskova, their strong skates earned them a nomination to compete in Pyeongchang.
Russia swept the pairs podium, with Evegnia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov winning gold, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, silver, and Natalia Zabiyako and Alexander Enbert third. Each pair earned a nomination for the OAR team.
Two disciplines not won by Russian skaters were the mens’ and ice dance, with Javier Fernandez of Spain, and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France both taking gold. But Russian skaters rounded out the podium in both, earning OAR nominations.
Russian skaters dominated the competition, and with so many great performances, I hope all them are cleared to compete in the Winter Olympics.
But the video I’ll post showing one of my favorite performances, is from British ice dancers Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland. The couple (a real-life couple off the ice) will compete in Pyeongchang, and though they’re not expected to medal, their free dance was beautiful. Check out the amazing lift at 3:39.
https://youtu.be/OikigpnkMY4
Enjoy!
Can’t get enough figure skating? You’ll love my Red Hot Russians #FigureSkatingRomance series.

 
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Pairing Off cover Russian and American pair skaters find love
Turning It On cover shy girl and male stripper find love on reality TV
Getting It Back Cover former figure skating champion risks it all
Heating It Up cover- small town love story set in Antarctica
Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love
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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.
https://youtu.be/jQJvLOnRaKs
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.
https://youtu.be/_roGSuAbbJo
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.

 
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Pairing Off cover Russian and American pair skaters find love
Turning It On cover shy girl and male stripper find love on reality TV
Getting It Back Cover former figure skating champion risks it all
Heating It Up cover- small town love story set in Antarctica
Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love
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The Romance of Figure Skating- The Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finals

Shining Through with champion figure skaters in love

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:

https://youtu.be/uqHAGhGbeTw

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.

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The Romance of Figure Skating- Skate America

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

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.
https://youtu.be/QIICNDkNWa4
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!
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- The Internationaux de France

Panorama_grenoble_wikipedia

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.

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.
https://youtu.be/lLizwb2YRgk
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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Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love
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The Romance of Figure Skating- The NHK Trophy

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

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.
https://youtu.be/YAJX-7sDM7A
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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The Romance of Figure Skating- Cup of China

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

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.
https://youtu.be/OEcHCjpcDRE
 
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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The Romance of Figure Skating- Skate Canada

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

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:
https://youtu.be/guR2K5bfF5E
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.
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The Romance of Figure Skating

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming, it’s going to be an exciting season for figure skating fans!
In my new figure skating romance, Shining Through, American skating superstar Tabitha Turner and Russia’s bad boy of the ice, Daniil Andreev, heat things up during a make-or-break season that they hope will take them both to the Grenoble Winter Games.
Along the way, in addition to sexy times in some of the world’s most romantic cities, they compete in a multi-event international competition known as the International Championship Series.
The series includes competitions in the United States, Canada, France, Russia and China, with a final championship held in Spain.
It (loosely) mirrors a real-life international skating competition series, the Grand Prix, which kicked off Oct. 20, with the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.
Check out this video of Russian skater Moris Kvitelashvili (competing for Georgia) skating to Imagine Dragons music, just like Daniil  does in Shining Through. Moris doesn’t look much like Daniil, though they have similar musical tastes—only Daniil uses the real version of Radioactive!
https://youtu.be/ZRg_B34OlnY
Rostelecom Cup winners include the USA’s Nathan Chen, Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, pairs team Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia, and US Ice Dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.
Next up: Skate Canada, taking place Oct. 26- 29. Check out the competitions on the Olympic Channel on Friday 10/27 and Sat. 10/28, and on NBCSN, Sunday, Oct. 28. Refer to your local listing for broadcast times.
Enjoy!
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