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  1. #1
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    John Misha Petkevich interview: questions?

    Hi everyone! I'm excited to be interviewing John Misha Petkevich later this weekend. I'm opening the floor now if any of you have questions for him.

    Some quick background from his Wikipedia entry:
    ohn Misha Petkevich (born March 3, 1949 in Minneapolis) is an American former figure skater. He is the 1971 U.S. national champion and North American champion. He placed 6th at the 1968 Winter Olympics and 5th at the 1972 Winter Olympics. His best finish at the World Championships was 4th in 1972; he placed 5th in 1969, 1970, and 1971.

    Petkevich was coached by Arthur Bourke and Gustave Lussi. He was known as a particularly dynamic free skater for his time. His emphasis on freer musical expression and less rigid body lines set him apart from most other men's singles competitors of his era. He has also been credited with innovating fashion for male competitors by wearing a more athletic costume of a jumpsuit and turtleneck sweater rather than the more formal suit-and-tie outfit that was otherwise universal in the 1960s. By the early 1970s, many other skaters had emulated Petkevich's costume style.

    In 1970, while a student at Harvard University, Petkevich founded An Evening with Champions, a long-running annual ice show that raises money to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

    Petkevich was the recipient of an unusual trophy. At the 1947 World Figure Skating Championships, Ulrich Salchow was particularly impressed by Dick Button's skating, and gave him one of his own trophies. Following the 1972 Olympics, Button passed on Salchow's trophy to Petkevich, who has stated that he also intends to keep up the tradition by presenting it to another young skater someday.

    Following his competitive career, Petkevich attended University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, earning a Ph.D. in cell biology. Later he pursued a career in investment banking.

    Petkevich is the author of Figure Skating: Championship Techniques (ISBN 0-452-26209-7), one of the standard reference works on figure skating technique. He has also served as a figure skating analyst for NBC, CBS, and ESPN.
    Some program links:
    1968 Olympic free skate
    1972 US Nationals
    Compilation of footage by Floskate

    Post any questions you have for him here. Thanks all!
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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    I am curious to know if he feels his skating had influence on those who followed him, and which ones in particular? I see a lot of Paul Wylie in these 2 competitive clips! I always wonder whether retired skaters ever skate just for the exercise benefits?
    Jenny, in Almost Heaven, WV

  3. #3

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    Did you see the question I asked on your FB page?

    Please, thank him for founding "An Evening of Championship Skating".
    Aside from the enormous charitable impact; for years it was the only way we were able to see John Curry, Toller Cranston, The Protopopovs, and many others, skate.
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 11-29-2013 at 08:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    John Misha Petkevich -- and , manleywoman!
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

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    Two questions:
    - I've always been impressed by the start of the 1968 Olympic program - I don't think I've ever seen a skater wait that long before starting to skate. IMHO it really works well because it makes the audience pay attention to him, but I always wondered if he was ever told to change that opening, because it's so different.
    - I would like to hear about the skating book he wrote: http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Skating.../dp/1568000707 which also IMHO is still the best and most comprehensive guide to skating technique.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    A brilliant and worthy choice for interviewee. Accomplished, highly educated, insightful and articulate.

    1. What is his take on CoP. In particular, especially given his scientific training and background, does he believe it is reasonably possible for judges to make discerning decisions when awarding marks for the different PCS components? Likely not a yes/no answer, but part of it would be interesting to ask him his take on how might he 'change' or 'modify' or 'update' the scoring system.

    2. What is his view on the outlook for the popularity of Figure Skating as a sport, in particular in the US (We know it is thriving in Japan for instance). Is he an optimist? pessimist? What factors are key to his opinion. Do we need a ladies 'star' as is commonly assumed and as was the case historically. Or, is there a legitimate reason to try and simply capitalize on the relative strength of a discipline like Ice Dance in North America, and try to convince networks like NBC that singles is not the be all/end all of the sport?
    Last edited by leapfrogonice; 11-30-2013 at 01:15 PM.

  7. #7
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    My first question would be whether, given Dick Button's dominance and the Jenkins brother's results from 1948-1960, which at least equalled the results in Ladies, were Americans as partial to and as focused in the Ladies when he started to skate seriously, and, if not, when and how does he perceive that shift?

    My second is how does he see the influence of television during his competitive years?
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    Did you see the question I asked on your FB page?
    I did, just thought I'd get more input here. Thank you for your question.

    Thanks everyone else too!
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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    I'd be interested in his recollections of how skaters from different countries got along with each other back when he was competing. They usually faced each other at most once or twice a year, there was a sharp divide between East and West, and there were no post-season tours. Did he develop friendships with competitors from other countries? If so, with whom?

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    Thanks manleywoman. There's always something new to learn about in figure skating. I'd never heard about Salchow's wonderful gesture to Dick, and in turn Dick passing the Salchow trophy on to Petkevich. I wonder who Petkevich will eventually deem worthy of honoring with the trophy? Maybe sometime in the future, perhaps it might be Jason Brown.

    Could you ask what Petkevich feels would be a good way to help promote figure skating in the U.S.? What are his views on the quad in men's figure skating?

  11. #11

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    aftershocks, I believe that JMP presented the trophy to Paul Wylie.

    See this post: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...=1#post3537359

    manleywoman, you might be interested in this, also:
    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...=1#post3536869
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 12-01-2013 at 12:40 AM. Reason: to add information and limks

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    Another great choice to honor with the trophy! I wonder when it was given to Paul, if indeed Petkevich passed it on already. Wiki entry needs updating too, if true.

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    See skateindreams first link for the where and when of the trophy passing.

    Harvard to Harvard to Harvard.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

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    Re the Harvard connection, that's interesting. Maybe Paul plans to keep the trophy at least for awhile since he received it so recently. He's probably not in a hurry to pass it on. But whoever he might choose in future may not be someone who attends Harvard. After all, Ulrich Salchow was honoring excellence in fs, and he was from Sweden, not Harvard. I wonder if anyone will ever come close to Salchow's record 10 World titles on the men's side (probably not - Henie did it on the ladies side).

    Thanks so much skatesindreams for adding those links in response to my second post.

    ETA:
    After reading the thread linked by skatesindreams, I wonder if you might ask JMP to discuss his creation of the Bourkey move in honor of his coach, manleywoman? JMP had great spring and height apparently from seeing his 1968 Olympic program. I absolutely love his delayed axels, his split jumps, and his Bourkey. The way JMP seemed to remain suspended in the air on these moves to me evokes such an elegant, mystical, magical quality which I find more intriguing and meaningful than that extra quad revolution in the frenzied, fast-paced, techno CoP age.

    Check the links already provided to access vids of JMP performances.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 12-02-2013 at 01:00 AM.

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    I'm delighted that you had the opportunity to interview him, manleywoman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    See skateindreams first link for the where and when of the trophy passing.

    Harvard to Harvard to Harvard.
    Funny how the trophy is stuck in the U.S. despite the original owner being a European. I wonder if it'll be given out internationally again..

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    It will be Paul's choice to make.
    I'm sure that he will find a worthy recipient, when the time is right.

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    How did he feel about the financial scandal? Did he regret not having closer oversight of the event?
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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