October 2013: The Olympic Season – also known as the Sochi Season – has started. And, along with it, a new figure skating website takes its first steps on the ice. You might think this is a brand new project; and, in a way, it is. On the other hand, insideskating.net is the natural continuation of a blog belonging to me, a journalist based in Romania. By launching this website, I’ve chosen a professional approach to the skating phenomenon.

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I’ve been writing about figure skating… well, since forever. As a child, I used to watch competitions broadcasted, in black and white, by the Romanian television, writing down, as quickly as possible, every detail provided by the commentator: „the skater wears a pink sparkly dress, with a white feather on the right hand…”; details regarding the costumes, the coaches, the wives’ coaches… you name it. I used to write down just about everything; and I even invented a personal scoring system to be used by my parents and me after watching every performance.

So, yes, I do have a history when it comes to figure skating. A history including emotional moments (like the one in 1994, when the Russian Alexei Urmanov won the Olympic gold in Lillehammer – and four years after that, watching the same skater, I decided I wanted to be a sports journalist) or even funny ones (like in 1998, in Nagano, when I skipped school – and even jumped over a fence – in order to watch, at a shop in town, with a TV on Eurosport, the last Olympic performance of my dearest Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov).

Looking back, I see the colored shirt of Viktor Petrenko and the green umbrella of Midori Ito in Albertville, I see two butterflies on the skating rink – Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, the wonderful „Winter” program of Alexei Yagudin, the constant (and beautiful) confrontation between him and Evgeni Plushenko, the elegant Maria Butyrskaya, skating on Sarah Brightman, „Scene d’amour” (a performance that stayed with me for years…), the Bond girl – Yuna Kim, the exquisite Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, floating on Mahler’s Symphony no. 5, the stunning short program of the Japanese Daisuke Takahashi at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver… One thing is sure: we’re tied to each other, me and figure skating.

Nowadays, I’m still a fan – but also a professional journalist. And with the tools of journalism – good writing, curiosity and empathy – insideskating.net will bring closer to you the inner world of figure skating: the joy, the beauty, the struggle. With an eye on the skaters and the other one on the coaches and choreographers, this website will offer you an insight into the sport without neglecting the emotions of the fan. It will be a warm and understanding dive into the skating world – a colorful mixture of Interviews and Features; for those of you who have already seen it, it will be like the new (and wonderful) dress of the French Nathalie Péchalat for the Olympic season…

As a fan and a journalist who travels a lot, in order to breathe the authentic atmosphere of the competitions, you’ll also see the figure skating world Through my lens. You’ll follow me into the history of the sport (Inside Figure Skating’ History), you’ll remember true works of art (M from Memorable), you’ll compare and analyze (Music Reloaded), you’ll be amazed and proud by the talents discovered (New Entry). You’ll encounter my dilemmas and share my enthusiasm. Together, we’ll pull the curtains and enter Inside Skating.

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Florentina Tone
Editor of insideskating.net

October 2013

Addenda: The big-red S in the logo stands for Skating, of course. But it might also stand for Spectacle, Scene, Show, Surprise, Sensitivity, Struggle, Success… You might consider thinking at the S in Inside Skating as the figure drawn on the ice, in the last section of his free program on Beatles Medley, by the Japanese skater Daisuke Takahashi. Drawing an S on the ice and a heart in the air, the Japanese was advised by choreographer Lori Nichol to express appreciation for the people who made the history of figure skating, for the people who loved him and for the people who saw his skating. And this might be the best S-definition ever.

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