Figure Skating Now: Olympic and World Stars


Updated to include the 2003 Worlds competition.

Today's most exciting figure skaters are spotlighted in this richly illustrated book. Combining grace, incredible athletic ability and artistic showmanship, figure stating is exhilarating and highly entertaining. Anything can happen on the ice and often does. As the fans of competitive figure skating know, beauty and danger add up to the greatest show on ice.

Figure Skating Now covers the men, the...

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Updated to include the 2003 Worlds competition.

Today's most exciting figure skaters are spotlighted in this richly illustrated book. Combining grace, incredible athletic ability and artistic showmanship, figure stating is exhilarating and highly entertaining. Anything can happen on the ice and often does. As the fans of competitive figure skating know, beauty and danger add up to the greatest show on ice.

Figure Skating Now covers the men, the women, the pairs teams and the dance teams. This second edition covers the reigning stars such as Timothy Goebel, Sarah Hughes, and Michelle Kwan, and introduces the next generation of competitors: Brian Joubert, Sasha Cohen, the pairs team Oberta and Sokolov and many others. With biographies and statistics, Figure Skating Now is an insider's view of international figure skating at its highest levels.

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Editorial Reviews

North Bay Nugget
Ice skaters in action at their most elegant moments. This book will inspire figure skaters of all ages.
Great photos and interesting facts on the world's top figure skaters.
Resource Links - Heather Empey
The photographs are fantastic and really show the glamour and glitz of the figure skating competitions. Teens, especially figure skating fanatics, will pore over this book.
Canadian Materials for Librarians - Lorraine Douglas
Beautifully photographed and designed... an excellent guide to the latest and most popular skaters... Figure skating fans will enjoy browsing and reading this attractive and interesting guide while young skaters will find many of the stories inspiring. Highly recommended.
Book Report
Very up-to-date ... the pictures alone will be of great interest.
Children's Literature
Glossy, colorful, and close-up photographs of the most recent figure skating phenoms adorn every page of this book. One cannot help becoming absorbed in the skaters' athleticism, beauty, grace, and costumes as pages are turned and personalities are introduced. It is the photographs that encourage the reader to devote time into the book's lengthy and somewhat technical text. This book details twenty-five men and woman figure skaters, ten pair teams, and thirteen dance teams. Not only are skaters' biographical information given, but also their competition histories with specific failures and successes highlighted. Readers will learn about particular coaching experiences, styles and jumps of skaters. However, should one not be pre-educated in skating, do not get hopes up high that the differences between a quadruple lutz, salchow, and toe loop will be understood. The text is for those who know something about skating and want to have an up-close and personal understanding of the most promising amateurs. Should one decide to forgo the text and only look at the pictures, it is a book for any figure skating enthusiast. 2003, Firefly Books, Ages 8 to 18.
— Andrea Sears Andrews
Photographer Châtagneau describes the power, intensity, greatness, beauty, and joy of figure skating and credits still photography as an art form able to capture it. He lauds the skaters for their discipline and dedication, "spending far more time training than the average person spends working a regular job." With those comments in mind, one might expect a photo essay illustrating the path to skating stardom with photographs showing the strength, elegance, and determination skaters possess on the ice. Instead, his treatment of the subject is more like a scrapbook. Essays and photographs illustrate topics within skating's competitive categories of men, women, pairs, and dance teams unequally. For example, the essay introducing the men's section emphasizes the importance of jumping in competition with no accompanying photographs of skaters in flight. Such inconsistency occurs in other sections as well. Short essays about specific skaters comprise each section with numerous photographs from competitions. Again, the photographs do not pictorially represent the skills mentioned. Evgeny Plushenko, the first man to perform the Biellmann spin in competition, is not pictured performing this move. Considered separately, the photographs and the exposition fairly follow the scope. Although unusually cropped in some cases, the photographs illustrate artistic expression, strength, and dedication by capturing the skaters in time on film. Allowing more space or including fewer pictures would have heightened the drama. The essays are informative but unstructured. This book will be enjoyed by fans, but it will not be useful to report writers. Photos. VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P S A/YA (Better editing orwork by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Firefly, 128p, $19.95. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Jessica Mize SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Skaters and wanna-bes will get hours of pleasure from studying the gorgeous pictures, reading the stories, and poring over the records of currently prominent people in the rarefied atmosphere of the world of figure skating. Readers meet the top competitors from around the world in all four divisions: ice dancing, pairs, and men's and women's singles; the inclusion of the up-and-comers will give the book a longer shelf life. Each skater or pair is given one or two full pages (three for Michelle Kwan, who also graces the cover), which include at least one large photo of the athletes in performance and several paragraphs about their career. Each individual's date of birth, hometown, training site, coach, and choreographer are also supplied. A few American stars are missing, e.g., Sasha Cohen and Jenny Kirk, in favor of some obscure European national champions, but never mind-teens will love this book.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booklist - Leon Wagner
Châtaigneau is a skilled photographer, and his images are carefully composed to show both physical grace and emotional intensity. A visual treat for those who follow the sport.
Book Report - Jo Clarke
Very up-to-date ... the pictures alone will be of great interest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552978337
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/6/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,537,095
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Milton is a sports columnist and author with six figure skating books to his credit. He has covered international skating since 1980, attending five Winter Olympics and more than a dozen world figure skating championships.

Gérard Châtaigneau is a photographer and former figure skater. He has been photographing figure skating for 24 years including all the Olympic Games and World Championships since 1988.

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Table of Contents


The Men Evgeny Plushenko Alexei Yagudin Timothy Goebel Takeshi Honda Michael Weiss Chengjiang Li Emanuel Sandhu Ilia Klimkin Brian Joubert Jeff Buttle Ryan Jahnke Alexander Abt Stanick Jeannette

The Women Michelle Kwan Sasha Cohen Fumie Suguri Sarah Hughes Irina Slutskaya Elena Liashenko Elena Sokolova Jennifer Robinson Victoria Volchkova Yoshie Onda Jennifer Kirk Joannie Rochette

The Pairs Teams Xue Shen and Hongbo
Zhao Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto Sarah Abitbol and Stephane Bernadis Elizabeth Putnam and Sean Wirtz Dorota Zagorska and Mariusz Siudek Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Markuntsov Rena Inoue and John Baldwin

The Dance Teams Shae-Lynn Borne and Victor Kraatz Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov Naomi Long and Peter Tchernyshev Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder
Kati Winkler and Rene Lohse Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali


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Extraordinary people create extraordinary moments.

Michelle Kwan is likely the most extraordinary women's figure skating champion of all time. Her championships, both at the 2003 U.S. Nationals and at Worlds the same year, will be remembered as inspired, captivating and perfect in delivery and technique. Meanwhile, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, Canada's ice dance champions, have joined a long list of Canadian heroes in claiming the first-ever world title in ice dance -- not just for Canada, but for North America. So now there are more nations competing for top honors in ice dancing.

These are times for greatness. They are trying times, too, for figure skating is dealing with new scoring systems, new structures and new challenges. But in the midst of turmoil, great skating still shines. And the list of talented skaters sparkles with new names.

In the ladies' event, the United States is showing enormous strength. Jennifer Kirk and Ann-Patrice McDonough are some of the new stars who will gain more international exposure. They will join the breathtakingly talented Sasha Cohen who, with only one year of Grand Prix competitions behind her, has already established herself as a leading force within the new generation. And what about Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes? Will she continue to compete and go on to reach new heights? Or is her decision to attend Yale the practical end to a mercurial career?

Fumie Suguri, Shizuka Arakawa and Yashie Onda, all exuding a blend of grace and power, have established Japan as a solid contender in ladies' skating. Fumie delights us with her sophisticated and balletic style. Shizuka, the "one gold blade" skating marvel, has a more contemporary approach. And Yashie is gentle, yet all powerful with intense determination. Add some Russian gusto into the mix, and you can be sure that the ladies' figure skating scene will continue to thrill us for some time to come.

Ice dancing is, in short, a whole new world. Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz have provided the inspiration, as great teams from the United States and Canada press forward with credible challenges. Europe has always provided superb dancers, but who would have expected Bulgaria to make headlines? Yet that is what the innovative Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski have achieved for their country.

In pairs, China has emerged as the new powerhouse. It fielded three teams in the 2003 Worlds. Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao skated to a gold medal, and the other teams placed a more than respectable fourth and sixth. Russia is also very strong in this discipline with, notably, Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin. It will be interesting not only to watch the Chinese-Russian contest, but also to see which countries will develop new teams.

If inspiration and drive came from example, then the new names in men's figure skating need only to look at the one man who made the quad a necessary weapan -- because he's back! Elvis Stojko has returned to competition, and that says plenty. Yes, the quad is no longer a novelty, it's a necessity and, like the triple Axel before it, has become the dividing line between good skaters and top skaters. It's almost impossible now to win a medal without two quad jumps, one of which will be combined with a triple. With skaters from the United States, Russia, France, Japan and China trying to cram into the final flight, the men's event has become truly international.

So with all these extraordinary developments, how does one push the envelope these days? I'm not even going to take a guess. What lies ahead is unpredictable. Just watch. And be amazed.

Gérard Châtaigneau

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A perfect moment forever frozen in time: that is the power of still photography, the power to explore a most extraordinary realm that exists at 1/500 of a second or beyond! In these tiny fractions of time, the camera can capture a hidden world, and what beauty is revealed when it is the world of figure skating!

The joy, the excitement, the power, the intensity, the greatness, the sheer beauty, it's all there, with an exceptional sophistication that, I believe, is unique to figure skating. This sport is a feast for the eye. It is also rich in emotions and expressions. The feelings and personalities of the skaters are center stage; they are an important part of performances that will captivate you and move you in ways you could never have imagined

From Calgary to Nagano and just about all the World competitions in between (or after), I have seen a lot and, thankfully, I have been able to capture a fair amount on film.

A typical day of figure skating photography begins early during competitions. In 1995, at Worlds in Birmingham, I went to dance practice at 5 AM! That was the only way I could move unhindered and get the angles I was looking for. Would you believe that this early all the skaters were dressed up and the women were in perfect make up? No detail was left to chance, a perfect practice for the ultimate moment to come later that day, the ice dance final.

Discipline and dedication go hand in hand in figure skating. When you see a performance at a world championship, you can be sure there is a life of training and development behind it. Most competitors have started to skate at a very young age. They train each day on ice for six or seven hours; they attend off-ice sessions in ballet, ballroom dancing-indeed, they spend far more time training than the average person spends working a regular job. So, when you see a competitive program on Worlds' ice, it represents a phenomenal amount of effort, not just that all-important talent.

Over the last 10 years the quality of competition has climbed steadily. Skating now is at a level never seen before! Look at the top five in each discipline and you will see that they are all capable of gold medal performances. Then look at the top ten; again you will be amazed at how capable they all are and how close they can come to the podium!

One discipline that has evolved perhaps more than the others is ice dancing. Superb renditions, great speed and incredible complexity are common to all top teams. Creativity is always one of the main ingredients in dance, but now all teams have to confront required elements that give their technical ability a tough test. But you do not need to be an expert to enjoy the performances. Instantly you will know what is great and you will enjoy it to a degree beyond words that only the soul can appreciate.

Images have always been so important for me that I never really quite took the time to read much, until now.... I have known Steve Milton for some time and we would always see each other at competitions in some faraway places. Its funny that here we are, two Canadians, almost neighbors, but the only time we would speak to each other is in airports or press halls in Switzerland, Japan or some other country! Steve is fabulous at capturing the story behind the pictures; I hope that, together, we have made a book that will speak to all figure skating fans, wherever they may be.

Gérard Châtaigneau

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2003


    This book provides wonderful color photographs and profiles many great figure skaters including MICHELLE KWAN!! Only thing missing is Sasha Cohen.

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