Nathan Chen as Nureyev? It's really not a surprise

Nathan Chen as Nureyev?  It's really not a surprise

Search the internet for still pictures of ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev dancing Le Corsaire.

Then compare your findings to screenshots from the first 30 seconds of Nathan Chen skating his short program to music from that ballet.

In several instances -- especially in the time before Chen begins jumping -- the parallels between the skater and the dancer are striking. There are moments when Chen's arm carriage, known as port de bras in ballet, and the positions of his feet are virtually homage to Nureyev's performance.

That is not surprising, given that Chen and his choreographer-coach, Marina Zoueva, put together the program after spending hours looking at YouTube video of Nureyev in Le Corsaire, a mid-19th century ballet to the music of Adolphe Adam.

"We basically modeled it right after Nureyev and tried to make [it] as similar as possible," Chen said.

That Chen can reflect Nureyev seems surprising until you talk with people who taught him and danced with him during the 6 1/2 years he studied at Ballet West Academy in Salt Lake City. It surprises them that some figure skating judges apparently find it hard to recognize the artistic ability, musicality and dance skills they saw in Chen soon after he enrolled at the school as a 7-year-old.

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Nathan Chen complicates Fernandez' quest for world skate three-peat

Nathan Chen complicates Fernandez' quest for world skate three-peat

A year ago, when he was mapping out how to best prepare for a successful defense of his world title, Javier Fernández knew he had to add more high-scoring jumps to his programs.

At the 2015 Grand Prix Final, the Spaniard saw the best free skate of his career to that point still position him well behind Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu in the standings. So, Fernández attacked that gap by adding a second quadruple jump into his short program and a second triple axel into his free skate.

The plan worked, especially after Hanyu made several mistakes in his free skate at the 2016 World Championships. Fernández increased his element base value by five points, won the free skate by a whopping 32, and secured his second straight world title by another 19 points.

Now, as Fernández seeks a three-peat at this year's world championships -- which begin March 29 in Helsinki, Finland -- he finds himself facing a similar strategic dilemma against Nathan Chen of the United States. Chen's five quads in the free skate give him a base value that is nearly 12 points higher than the most the Spaniard has ever tallied.

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Chances grow of two-for-one Summer Games (2024-28) deal

Chances grow of two-for-one Summer Games (2024-28) deal

The chances have increased substantially for the hosts of both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics to be named at the same time this September.

That was the takeaway both from an action the International Olympic Committee executive board took Friday and also the statements IOC President Thomas Bach made in a press conference after the meeting at the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In his first public comments directly on the possibility of a joint award to Los Angeles and Paris, the 2024 candidates, Bach made it clear the IOC would do well “to exploit a positive situation” of having “two excellent candidates from two major Olympic countries.”

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From U.S. figure skating, no explanation of how it could abrogate world meet selection rules

From U.S. figure skating, no explanation of how it could abrogate world meet selection rules

When the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships begin Friday in Mississauga, Ont., one of the two U.S. teams that should be competing will be sitting at home.

Why?  Because U.S. Figure Skating came up with some kind of justification, which it has not revealed, for abrogating its own rules.  Those rules may have been poorly written, but they left no doubt about one of the teams that belongs at the junior worlds, as I first pointed out in a story posted Feb. 17.

The rules say that in the case of both senior and junior synchro world championship selections, the teams “must include the current U.S. champion.”  (The emphasis is mine.)

The team left out, the Chicago Jazz, was the current U.S. champion when the selections were made.

Based on that, the Jazz filed a grievance with USFS.

I learned last week the grievance was denied and, since then, I have been trying without success via multiple emails to get an official USFS response about the situation.

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In Fredericks' case, IOC tries to extinguish yet another fire

In Fredericks' case, IOC tries to extinguish yet another fire

Did Frankie Fredericks jump to do the right thing or was he pushed?

And should the four-time Olympic silver medalist sprinter and International Olympic Committee member from Namibia be allowed to return to his administrative positions in international sport, no matter the outcome of investigations by the IOC ethics committee and French law enforcement?

Those are the questions raised by Fredericks’ stepping down from major roles in the IOC and the international track federation after the French newspaper LeMonde reported last week financial ties between Fredericks and the sulfurous former IAAF marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack.

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