Carolina Kostner of Italy took my breath away yesterday.She received not one but two perfect tens from the judges (one judge awarded her a 10 for Performance/Execution and another for Interpretation.) She is just .80 points behind the leader (and reigning Olympic gold medalist) Kim Yu-Na and a hair behind Russian spinning sensation Adelina Sotnikova.
Kostner was the only skater to receive a perfect score for any portion of their performance. If I’d been a judge I’d have given her additional high scores for GRACE and RESTRAINT.
While other, younger skaters swirled, popped, jiggled and flailed every move they had on the ice in front of the judges Kostner’s performance was absolute minimalism and control. And she proved that control doesn’t equal robotic automation and grim concentration. This young woman (at 27 I’m happy to say Woman’s Figure Skating has at least ONE woman in its ranks) skates with such pure joy invested in every move that those of us at home had as much fun watching her as she had on the ice.
She almost quit skating after a dismal performance at the Vancouver Olympics, but stayed with the sport because, she ” ‘because I love it …The hard times make you understand what you really want and I’m really glad that I continued and honored to have experienced everything that I have in the past years.” [NBCsports.com] She went back to the training rink and rethought her program. She retooled the routine and tightened her technical moves.
“So long we have been thinking of Carolina as the artist,” added 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski, …a NBC Sports commentator, “but her technique; she took everything down a grade and then built it back up these last four years. That was the whole package. ” [Ibid]
As of this posting there isn’t video on a You Tube of her brilliant performance last night, [there may never be an official NBC video as she isn’t in first place and she isn’t an American] but here’s the the same short program from earlier this year. Enjoy:
I’ll be routing for Italy tonight as Carolina takes the ice in the long program. She’ll be skating to Ravel’s Bolero.