30 Days of Skating
I'll edit in some photos later, if I get an internet signal again in Detroit. I'm currently on a train leaving Chicago, and I have mobile 4G for my computer, but the signal will probably die shortly.
Day 11: Who are your five favourite men’s skaters?
In the almost 20 years that I’ve been watching skating, men’s has probably been my least favourite discipline overall. So narrowing my favourites down to five is probably easier than it is in other disciplines.
1: Stéphane Lambiel
Lambiel is definitely my favourite guy, ever. I saw him first during 2003 Worlds, when he was completely brilliant. I guess Europeans expected great things from him, but this was before I got really good at following all skating and I mainly stuck to what the American networks showed, plus the Canadians that my friends told me to watch. So I was pretty much blown away by the spinning Swiss. Over the next seven years of his career, he continued to amaze me. He was always such a gorgeous skater, even when the jumps weren't there, but when the jumps were, I think he was one of the best in skating, ever.
I finally got to see him skate live at Thin Ice, a pro competition last spring. I also got to meet him, and the 18-year-old fangirl inside me that first saw in 2003 had a little meltdown. On the outside, though, I managed to play it cool, even when I ended up sitting next to him at dinner that night.
2: Kurt Browning
Speaking of being among the best in skating, ever, I don't think I can say enough about Kurto. I grew up watching him, back when pro skating was on the major networks almost every weekend in the winter, and he was churning out classics like "Brickhouse," "Serenade to Sonia," and "That's Entertainment." I saw "Brickhouse" live when he brought it back for Battle last year, "That's Entertainment" when he brought it back for Stars on Ice this year...seriously, who do I have to talk to to get him to bring back "Serenade to Sonia" so my childhood can be complete?!
Kurto was at the first show that I saw live, Stars on Ice in 2003, and he's been at a ton of shows and events that I've seen since. One thing never changes—his ability to hold a crowd, especially a Canadian one, in the palm of his hand.
3: Paul Wylie
P-Dub may not have been one of the best competitors in skating history, but I certainly think that during those times when he was on, he was one of the greats. He was definitely one of the greatest artists that men's skating has ever seen. I wrote a few posts back about his free skate in Albertville, so I won't repeat myself too much, but oh my goodness. It's always going to be one of those programs that has stuck with me. And then he really shone in his pro years, too, with classics like Apollo 13. By the time I started going to skating events in 03, he'd already retired, but then my life was kind of made when he made a comeback in 2004 and rejoined Stars on Ice for some guest spots. The closest show to me where he was scheduled to skate was Cincinnati, and guess what, I have a friend there. I can't remember the details, but some sort of car chaos (maybe the tires?) nearly stopped me from going and I think my mom wanted to disown me (she went through this phase where she thought that skating, and me going to skating events, was synonymous with me being addicted to heroine), but in the end, I made it. And P-Dub skated to Enrique Iglesias. But I forgave him. I've never met him, though, and he's one of the people in skating that I would most like to meet. I'm not sure what I would say, so I'd also hope that I'd have time to prepare something.
Coincidentally, I'm wearing a Harvard sweatshirt right now. Most of the reason why I've spent most of my life fascinated with Harvard is because P-Dub went there.
4: Ryan Bradley
A sentimental favourite. No, I don't think he generally belongs on the same level as Lambiel, Browning, and Wylie. But he is really, really entertaining, and I fell in love with him when I was 15 and he skated to the "William Tell Overture" in a ridiculous get-up. He's my age, or at least really close to it, so it seemed like a natural thing to do to fall in love with the boy with the adorable smile who was on a team with Michelle Kwan at some cheesefest that I happened to catch on TV. Unfortunately, it took him a long time after that to have a breakthrough in skating, and he gave me a heart attack when he quit for a little while in there, but him winning the silver medal at Nationals in 2007 was such a moment for me. For him too, I'm sure. I was heartbroken for him last year at Nationals, when his best still wasn't quite enough to make the Olympic team, so I am beyond thrilled that he's planning on skating at Nationals this year, and I'm really happy for him, that he's been doing so well on the show circuit. From what I hear, he's also turned into a really classy guy.
5: Jeremy Abbott
I was down to Jabbott or PChid for this one, and I went with Jabbott because on their best days, I think a clean Jabbott is better than a clean PChid. (On a less-than-perfect day, though, I'll take PChid.) The Abbott that won his second national title last year made me believe he was more than capable of being on the Olympic podium. Frankly, I hope that still happens, because when he's on, he has something that so few male skaters have. And I can watch last year's short ("A Day in the Life"), like, 85 times in a row without getting sick of it, even just the part when he hits that last spin to the music.