Nikki's Top 10 Favorite Olympic Figure Skating Moments
The Winter Olympics are upon us! I love the Olympics as do most of us. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday February 4th at 8pm in China. Which is 7am for those of us on the East Coast of the United States. Which means I will be getting ready for work so maybe I can catch some highlights on social media throughout the morning depending on how my day is going. I don’t know about you guys but in my field of work Friday is often crazier than Monday. Sometimes wrapping up the week is much harder than starting the week. This is just one of the reasons why I am #teammonday. I know. I KNOW. But really though, Monday is a fresh start. The week hasn’t gone to hell yet but by Wednesday? Forget it. Pass the Grey Goose.
One of my favorite parts of the Olympics is the Opening Ceremony. Sure, I love to see all the athletes represent their countries and I love the patriotic feeling we all get watching our countries come out and walk around the stadium. And I do mean patriotic in the literal definition of the word – the sense of love, pride, and attachment you feel to your homeland. I do not mean patriotic in the sense of whatever the hell people have turned that word into. #cantwealljustgetalong
But mostly I love watching the opening ceremony to see what the athletes are wearing. Yes, I absolutely sit there and judge every look like I am Heidi Klum or Christian Siriano on an episode of Project Runway. So, you know where I will be Friday at 8pm. Watching the enhanced opening ceremony on NBC like I have a Runway show to judge.
Everyone has a favorite Olympic sport and lucky for you mine is Figure Skating. Shocker I know. One of my favorite episodes of Project Runway this season was when the contestants were tasked with making Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir unforgettable outfits for the Winter Olympics. Love when a few of your favorite things collide. So, I thought now would be a good time to debut my personal Top 10 favorite Olympic Figure Skating moments of all time. Well to-date. And moments I actually remember.
Nikki's Top 10 Olympic Figure Skating Moments
10. 2006 Torino- Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto
The first American ice dancers to win an Olympic medal in 30 years! I remember this mostly because they had the best Twizzles in the world in 2006 and I remember how different and unique this music was from their style but they performed the hell out of it. And Tanith well…who could forget her ice dress. It certainly was the most scandalous one.
9. 2010 Vancouver – Joannie Rochette
I don’t know how Joannie had the strength to compete after losing her mother unexpectedly just a few days prior but Joannie said this skate was for her mother. She truly had to rely on her training here to focus on what she needed to do. We all felt her emotion as she shared this beautiful tribute to her mother with the world.
8. 2002 Salt Lake City - Sarah Hughes
02’ the year I graduated HS. Wow. What a year to graduate. Coming into adulthood post 9-11 was something alright. And you know what else was something? Sara Hughes performance at the Salt Lake City games. Sarah Hughes had herself a day! The first minute & half of her performance was packed with energy and tricks galore! In which she nailed every single one. What I loved most about Sarah's performance? It was just all about the skate. Not the medal.
7. 2018 PyeongChang – Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Who can forget this iconic performance to Moulin Rouge? I could not take my eyes off of them and I don't think anyone else watching could either. No bathroom breaks or snack refills when they were on the ice. The choreography to this program alone is Oscar worthy and Tessa & Scott's chemistry, artistry, passion and talent will not and cannot be matched. I dare a pair to try.
6. 2006 Torino – Sasha Cohen
NO ONE and I mean no one has ever performed a spiral sequence to perfection like Sasha Cohen. Her short program was full of personality and a total crowd pleaser. Sasha was having a blast with this performance and I would credit her to changing the face of figure skating with her unique moves. She probably has one of my favorite short programs of all time.
5. 1998 Nagano – Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan skated the best free skate of her life only to be outdone by a 15 year old Tara Lipinski. I remember that beautiful blue Vera Wang dress she wore and she looked fantastic. Kwan’s performance was flawless and she ended her program with a triple Lutz and triple -toe-loop which we all thought would seal the gold for her but Tara Lipinski would have none of that.
4. 1994 Lillehammer/1998 Nagano - Surya Bonaly
Surya had to have a spot on my list. I love a trailblazer and fewer people have blazed trails like Surya. She skated with such speed, power and athleticism and much to her critics dismay the audience couldn't get enough of her. Surya would be criticized for not being artistic enough but she found her own style. Hello Signature Backflip! Which if you saw the documentary Losers on Netflix you would know that her backflip was basically a F*** You to the Olympic Committee. I will always stan a badass.
3.1998 Nagano – Tara Lipinski
Where did she come from? All the buzz was around Michelle Kwan and here comes Tara Lipinski. My god this performance was stunning and she executed it flawlessly. I remember the pure joy she had on her face when she was performing and I think that is part of what won it for her. I also remember getting goose bumps watching her triple Lutz triple-toe-loop combination in the SAME corner that Michelle Kwan did hers. Tara Lipinski would cut a bitch. I am sure of it.
2. 1992 Albertville - Kristi Yamaguchi
I remember this one vividly. Mostly because I had chicken pox and that memory never goes away. And neither does the memory of watching Kristie Yamaguchi skate. I was mesmerized and was able to forget about wanting to scratch myself to death for a brief moment in time. I remember thinking, wow I can do this, I can be a figure skater too. I never pursued it. I went the Cheer and Dance route instead but for a moment there I really believed I could be a figure skater too. And believing in yourself is half the battle. Thanks Kristi.
1.1994 Lillehammer - Nancy Kerrigan /Oksana Baiul/Tonya Harding
The storylines alone put this at the top of the list. The drama, the hype, the rivalries and the endless debates
Nancy Kerrigan - 7 weeks after Tonya Harding sent her henchmen to club Nancy Kerrigan she proceeded to put on the performance of a lifetime and take home the Silver medal. Harding vs Kerrigan has got to be one of the best rivalries of all time. To overcome what Nancy overcame is truly amazing. Nancy gets a lot of criticism for her skating but I think she skated with elegance, grace and skated light as a feather. Is she the best all-time? No. Is that dress? Yes. 1000%
Tony Harding and the re-do - Who doesn’t remember her crying while skating off to the referees to show them her skate as we got the dramatic play by play. The cameras were laser focused on Tonya following her every move and we were glued to the TV. Again I say, sports are the best reality tv. I will give Tonya this – she was probably the best jumper in the world in 1994 and her 2nd attempt at the free skate took a lot of guts. But like every great TV show you need a villain and in 1994 Tonya Harding was it.
Nancy vs Oksana Baiul - Nancy thought she had that gold medal won but then Oksana Baiul took the ice and she beautifully combined her ballet experience with her figure skating. She was playful and had an engaging performance. In terms of showmanship she had Nancy beat but did Nancy have Oksana beat when it came to the technical aspect of skating? I think so. One of the greatest debates of our times. Did they get the gold medal right?
Making this list had me feeling both nostalgic and PUMPED to watch the figure skating this year. I went back and re-watched all of these performances as I listed them because who doesn’t love to watch moments of greatness? I find it incredibly inspiring, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who puts their blood, sweat and tears into their craft and finally achieves their goals. It takes an amazing amount of grit, determination, will power and belief in yourself to push past your limits and know that with enough hard work you can achieve great things.
These women have shaped the face of figure skating in their own unique ways. Some have style and grace that is unmatched, some have an artistic ability that is eye catching and breathtaking to watch, some have overcome the impossible and some have blazed their own trails damning anyone that stands in their way. Together they have defined multiple generations of a sport that so many of us have grown to love and adore and I can’t wait to see what figure skating has in store for us in the future.
See you on the ice!
Well – see you on my couch. With snacks of course. Judging the figure skating competitions like I am qualified or something.