Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

United States Men’s 2012 Championships: Abbott Wins, Rippon 2nd

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Folks, I am a figure skating junkie despite never learning to skate.  (I tried roller skating.  I had poor balance.  I knew better than to try ice skating.)  I’ve studied the jumps, the spins, the choreography, and of course as a musician I enjoy figure skating programs that actually go with their music.

That’s one reason why I like contemporary men’s figure skaters Jeremy Abbott and Adam Rippon so much.  Like my all-time favorite Johnny Weir (who’s preparing for a comeback), these are men who spin well, jump well, and most importantly to my mind, are musical, lyrical performers who can actually create art on the ice.

Granted, most of the time, what’s talked about with regards to Abbott is his past inconsistency.  Abbott, 26, has persisted, and has proven his resilience under pressure; while his 2011 season was one to forget (much like Weir’s 2009 season), he’s come back stronger than ever and had two fine performances (a brilliant short program, and a very good and musical long program) to easily win the United States 2012 men’s championship.  This was his third win at the United States National Championships, as he’d previously won in both 2009 and 2010.

Adam Rippon, 22, who came in second after a great short program and a so-so long program that was long on artistry and a bit short on jump technique, is another of those skaters I can’t help but root for.  Rippon has such wonderful flow over the ice; his spins are perfectly centered 99.9% of the time (all that any human being can do, in short), his footwork is inventive and elegant, and his musicality is impressive.  Rippon has everything a figure skater could ever want at his fingertips, but he has to learn to control his nerves.

Abbott and Rippon train together in Michigan as they have the same coaches, former World Champion Yuka Sato and former US National pairs champion Jason Dungjen (a married couple, who also coach two-time US National Champion Alissa Czisny).  So it seemed especially fitting for these particular two men to go one-two during Sunday afternoon’s men’s figure skating competition; that they have cemented their place on the 2012 World Team is an additional benefit that both men will assuredly appreciate, considering that it’s never been a lock for either man to make the World Team due to a variety of factors.

Congratulations, gentlemen!  And best of luck at Worlds!

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Written by Barb Caffrey

January 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm

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