Sonia Henie, as controversial as she was legendary

Sonia Henie, as controversial as she was legendary

I saw a tweet this week from Kiira Korpi, the Finnish figure skater who won medals three times at the European Championships, that referred to the last day of filming skating scenes for a Sonja Henie movie.  You can't find much information online about such a movie, but it is a biopic with the working title, "Queen of Ice."

That suggests it is drawing from a biography, "Queen of Ice, Queen of Shadows, the Unsuspected Life of Sonja Henie."  The book, written by a Hollywood screenwriter and Henie's estranged brother, paints a very unflattering portrait of the greatest figure skater in history, seen by many as a Nazi collaborator or sympathizer, criticized by Norwegians for her high life, little esteemed in her own country until the end of her life.

When I went to Norway in 1993 to do reporting for a profile on Henie that appeared in a Sports Illustrated Olympic advertising supplement before the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, I asked Jan Staubo, then his country's International Olympic Committee member, to assess the way Norwegians viewed Henie today.  Staubo, who had been a pilot and German prisoner during World War II, politely but firmly declined to talk about Henie.

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Takeaways: Chen, Honda set themselves apart from skating peers

Takeaways:  Chen, Honda set themselves apart from skating peers

SALT LAKE CITY - Here are six takeaways from the 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, which marked the real start of the Olympic season.

1. Nathan Chen stood out last season, not only for succeeding on history-making quadruple jumps but also for accepting the risk to attempt them.

He stood out in his first competition of this Olympic season, the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, by taking some musical risk while most singles skaters are playing it safe with old warhorses like TurandotCarmenPhantom of the Opera, et al., ad nauseam.

Chen let his choreographers -- Shae-Lynn Bourne (who did his short program to the Benjamin Clementine version of "Nemesis") and Lori Nichol (who used the score from the film Mao's Last Dancer, with its powerful passage from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, to craft his free skate) -- pick the music.

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Good vibrations for ice dancers Hubbell-Donahue in season debut

Good vibrations for ice dancers Hubbell-Donahue in season debut

SALT LAKE CITY -- This is the time of year when figure skaters are just beginning to put the first layer of polish on their programs for the season while seeing what judges think of them.

"Kind of test the waters," U.S. ice dancer Madison Hubbell said. "Let everyone see the material…and build upon that."

Hubbell and her partner, Zachary Donohue, did all that Saturday at the 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and wound up with a couple bonuses: their fourth-best international score in the free dance, 107.65 points (0.72 from their personal best), and a third straight title in this Challenger Series event.

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Japan's Marin Honda, skating star since 11, revels in growing spotlight

Japan's Marin Honda, skating star since 11, revels in growing spotlight

SALT LAKE CITY -- When she was only 11 years old, Marin Honda was anointed by Japanese media as the worthy successor to Mao Asada, the most decorated figure skater in her country's history.

Since then, the hype around Honda has grown exponentially in her homeland, a country that has developed a boundless passion for figure skating over the past decade.

So, there were six Japanese TV networks and 10 Japanese newspapers in town to cover a second-tier event -- the 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City -- because it was Honda's debut on the senior international circuit.

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For U.S. dancers and Canadian pair, comeback season starts well

For U.S. dancers and Canadian pair, comeback season starts well

SALT LAKE CITY - Kirsten Moore-Towers suffered a severe concussion in Aug. 2016 in a practice collision with her pairs partner, Michael Marinaro.

It would eventually knock the Canadian team out of the previous Grand Prix season.

"It was the day that changed my life, for the better," she said Friday. "I learned a lot about myself and my partnership."

Moore-Towers learned it wasn't a good idea to keep to herself how badly she felt for a month, a month where she vomited every day and often suffered from blurry vision. Or to compete two days after the accident happened.

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