2023 World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships on black ice, Oct. 4-8 in Lake Placid, NY

Sylvia

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Lake Placid event info: https://lakeplacidolympiccenter.com/event/2023-world-figure-fancy-skating-championships/
The World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships (WFFSC) connects figure skating with art in unique and meaningful ways. At this auspicious international event, skating and art combine to create a diverse series of components within this exceptional five-day event. There truly is nothing else like it on Earth.
With skating performances on black ice, these World Championships offer a blend of skating and the art of the fancy, artistic figures created on the ice by skaters’ blades.

World Figure Sport website:

3 photos jointly posted by lakeplacidlegacysites & lpolympiccenter: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cx-_45QOIa_/
 

Sylvia

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What led Debi Thomas to get back on the ice at the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships in Lake Placid?
Excerpts:
Athletes representing over 20 countries are lacing up their figure skates for another international competition.
That competition, the World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships in Lake Placid, features a talented cast, including former U.S. Olympian Debi Thomas, making her return to figure skating at 56 years old.
“I hadn’t done figures in 35 years,” Thomas said. “It’s not like riding a bike at all.”
“It takes incredible strength and control,” Thomas said. “You are literally using every single muscle in your body. It looks slow and easy, but it's not … but if you lay our a great figure, it’s an amazing feeling.”
The workload is something that deterred Thomas from making a return sooner to the sport, taking a little persuasion from her good friend and six-time world figure and fancy skating gold medalist Shepherd Clark to make her comeback.
“I’d really like to help the younger generation learn about figures,” Thomas said. “figure out ways to make figures cool and interesting people to watch. The black ice is an amazing way to see how someone can use their whole body and muscles to put out these beautiful patterns.”
 
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Mafke

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"if you lay our a great figure, it’s an amazing feeling"

Cecilia Colledge said in an interview that nothing compared with the feeling of skating a really great figure.

She was no slouch in free skating either....
 

Sylvia

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There are videos posted on the World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships YT channel :):
https://www.youtube.com/@worldfigurefancyskatingcha9717/videos

One minute of practice (uploaded 5 hours ago): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka9sxiu0Hdc

From 4 months ago - "Debi Thomas and Shepherd Clark practice their Quad Cupcake with 3’s Figure Composition in Lake Placid, NY. Notice how they train with a sense of humor. This is utterly fascinating and helpful for all to see." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmxlfpEymp0
 
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Plusdinfo

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floskate

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The ethos of World Figure Sport is based on the book Figure and Fancy Skating by George E. Meagher who won a "world figure and fancy skating championships" in the late 1800's in North America. Their research has allowed them to crack the codes of figures long since lost to history. The fancy skating element as it is today is free skating but very much based on edgework that is derived from figures. If you check TSL's videos of the event you will see some wonderful examples of this. Beautiful free skating that is based on edgework inspired by music. If you watch John Curry's After All, that would be a fantastic example of fancy skating.
 

Mafke

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Debi's interpretation of the music blows away what Shcherbakova, Trusova, Liu and so many recent skaters have done

It's called charisma. She always had it. She's had some rough ups and downs, but it's so wonderful to see her back on the ice.

I'll add that her the televised portion of her third figure in Calgary (front left paragraph loop) was a real highlight for me, beautiful form.
 

Sylvia

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TSL uploaded this video yesterday (Oct. 8): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg9ySBYLUmo
Debi Thomas returned to competition at 56 years old at the 2023 World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships. This was her fancy skating program.
The World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships (WFFSC) connects figure skating with art in unique and meaningful ways. At this auspicious international event, skating and art combine to create a diverse series of components within this exceptional five-day event.
 

Sylvia

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From Debi Thomas' Instagram account:

"Welcome to Lake Placid" video: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cx_XEKrRD9K/
"A Moment of Reflection" video: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cx_cyFXRTQ6/

"Here’s a pic of my creative figure on black ice at the World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships. I’m very pleased with my performance. I’m relieved to have gotten through this alive lol! It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but so happy to see how it inspired so many fans and friends and others new to this beautiful art form and skill."
"We hope that you will continue to follow the story as we spend the next year recruiting the world’s greatest skating artists to join us next year in Lake Placid for the 10th anniversary of the World Figure & Fancy Skating Championships which coincides with the 100th year anniversary of the Winter Olympics in 1924. Figures was actually the first winter sport ever contested as an exhibition sport during the 1908 Summer Olympic Games. It has a rich history. Let’s preserve it and make it COOL!"

In addition to Debi Thomas' fancy skating program (linked in post #12 above), here are 5 more videos uploaded by TSL from the 2023 World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships:

Day 1 (Debi Thomas Comeback, Shepard Clark) - 42+ minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg4qJxTfJ44
... With skating performances on black ice, these World Championships offer a blend of skating and the art of the fancy, artistic figures created on the ice by skaters’ blades. Athletes representing over 20 countries are lacing up their figure skates.
Debi Thomas, 1988 Olympic bronze medalist and 1986 World Champion, is making her return to competition at 56 years old. Marinne Tisch won the event in 2021 and 2022, and she has returned in excellent form.
Shepard Clark has won the event six times and is regarded as one of the greatest skaters to ever compete in compulsory figures. Also featured in this video are Zane Benson and Roman Wyzik.
The event is led by Olympian Karen Courtland Kelly.
On day 1, the skaters completed the quad cupcake, the braxel (named after Axel Paulsen)
"Shepard Clark clinched his seventh world figure and fancy skating crown at thehe 2023 World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships. This was his fancy skating program." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svQK4NWRdwU

"Marianne Tisch clinched her third world figure and fancy skating crown at the 2023 World Figure and Fancy Skating Championships. This was her fancy skating program." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hm5IfMDtCE

Zane Benson Fancy Skating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m3vz5LS-yM

Beth Woronoff Fancy Skating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yawxkTuecXo
The ethos of World Figure Sport is based on the book Figure and Fancy Skating by George E. Meagher who won a "world figure and fancy skating championships" in the late 1800's in North America. Their research has allowed them to crack the codes of figures long since lost to history. The fancy skating element as it is today is free skating but very much based on edgework that is derived from figures. If you check TSL's videos of the event you will see some wonderful examples of this. Beautiful free skating that is based on edgework inspired by music. If you watch John Curry's After All, that would be a fantastic example of fancy skating.
John Curry's "After All" is an AMAZING program! Here's @floskate's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXJqsoFwUic
 
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Sylvia

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NBCSports.com article by Nick Zaccardi (October 11, 2023);
Excerpts:
The fancy part of this past weekend’s event was similar to a free skate in the Olympics but with a focus on artistry and far less emphasis on jumps. Thomas skated to “Amazing Grace” and did perform a single Axel in her three-and-a-half-minute program. [her video is linked in post #12 above.]
Thomas, who now lives in Florida, said she was determined to do an Axel, the most difficult of figure skating’s six primary jumps, even though she had a bad fall in the warm-up.
“Having been an elite athlete, it probably gave me an advantage, being able to perform under pressure. I kind of felt like that came back,” she said. “When you’re 56 years old, trying to do jumps, it’s kind of scary.”
“I wasn’t sure that she’d follow through with it because, thinking about it myself, I’m not sure I would have followed through,” said 1988 Olympic teammate Paul Wylie, one of the judges last week. “I was very curious to see how she would approach it. She trained for it and got ready for it.” [...]
While she since rediscovered skating, she has no plans to return to professional shows that many retired Olympians do.
“People will say, ‘Oh, it’s like riding a bike,’” she said. “No, it’s not. ... The body doesn’t easily go into the positions. You have to have an incredible amount of flexibility.”
She does hope to compete at the world figure & fancy championships again next year.
“It was emotional to see her skate, to be honest,” Wylie said. “I know she’s come through a lot. So it was really cool to see her put herself out there.”
 
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