Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Oi crunches numbers for website

Sarah and Drew list favorite programs from past season; Frank cousin dies
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Curran Oi has taken his love of statistics and figure skating and combined them to create the website statsonice.com. -courtesy of Curran Oi

Fans of tennis know that the commentary during matches comes with oodles of statistics: the head-to-head matchup of the players, the speed of every serve, percentages, etc. Until now, it hasn't been easy for number-lovers to find similar skating stats, at least not in one place.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad and figure skater Curran Oi is out to change all that; he loves tennis and has set out to gather the same kind of statistical details for his own sport. His new site, statsonice.com, is now available for perusal. Fans can search more than 27,000 skaters and just about every competition from the past 10 years. Paid subscribers have access to intriguing features like a protocol analyzer, filterable top score lists, comparable individual element scores, head-to-head comparisons and lots more.

Oi, who is working on a Ph.D at Yale University in biochemistry and biophysics, started building the site in 2012. He says that he hopes skaters may find it useful to analyze their own performances.

"They can see how many more points they could get with a higher level, or a triple instead of a double," he said. "With the individual element tool, you can track an element over all the times that you've done it. I always thought I was better at triple flip than triple loop, but when I put it all together on a graph, I could see that I was better at triple loops. I got better GOE (Grades of Execution) on loops pretty much all the time."

Oi says the search feature is very flexible.

"I could put flip and loop on the same screen, or look at triple axels and triple axels in combination. I think I've learned the most from that so far."

So far, Oi is only including stats from the international judging system, so the site mostly includes data from 2004 and on. He says he hopes to add 6.0 information at some point in the future.

"I thought the primary focus should be on skaters who are currently competing," he said. "For the ultimate scope of the site, I see it as half archive, half analytical tool."

Results, even those from obscure international competitions, go up pretty quickly.

"One thing that I'm hoping is to have a page where people can submit links to competition results," Oi said. "In the past, results would kind of disappear sometimes. You'd go back a month later, and the site would be gone."

As for his own plans, Oi is still thinking about competing. He finished sixth in the senior men's event at the 2009 U.S. Championships, and then, after college, returned to competition and finished seventh at the 2015 Eastern Sectional Championships.

"My plan has been to take it easy this semester because it's my last semester of classes," he said. "I'm planning to start skating more in May. I would love to compete again, and it's part of my plan right now, but I don't really know. I'd like to work with Matt Savoie (who coached Oi this past season) again, hopefully."

Our 2014-15 favorites

As the competitive season winds down, we remember some of our very favorite programs from 2014-15. We find that our choices are based entirely on program components, specifically: choreography, interpretation and performance/execution. Here, in no particular order, are the programs we'll remember for a long time.

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron's free dance to the adagio from Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 23" left us spellbound the first time we saw it at a preseason competition, and it has been a joy to see them perform it again and again. They're a wonderful team, of course, but it was the dance, so smooth from start to finish, in exquisite costumes to beautiful music, and ending with a heart-stopping lift, that won them the world title. Marie-France Dubreuil was the choreographer.

Joshua Farris's lovely and swoon-worthy short program to Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love." There was an audible murmur of pleasure from the crowd during one of the spins, where Farris starts upright and drops down into a sit spin. Jeffrey Buttle proved to be an inspired choice of choreographer for Farris, and we're eager to see what he does with next season's free skate.

Mariah Bell's short program to "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men, performed by Kurt Hugo Schneider, was choreographed by Cindy Stuart. This fizzy, happy program was like a refreshing glass of champagne and left us smiling; we loved how the little pops of details perfectly matched the music -- just as this program perfectly matched this bubbly girl.

Alex Johnson's free skate to Sweeney Todd, which he performed best at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. This program is a work of art, interpreting the entire musical in four-and-a-half minutes. Johnson's skating told the story, yes, but the program is also filled with moments that show off his particular style of flexible, sinuous movement in inventive transitions by the brilliant Tom Dickson.

As for the just-ended World Figure Skating Championships, it was exciting to see four new champions win gold medals. We're so happy that the U.S. team for Boston next year will have three entries in ladies, men and dance. It's going to be exciting to watch our team go for medals at home for the first time since 2009.

Anne Frank cousin, professional skater, dies

News outlets reported that Buddy Elias, the first cousin of Anne Frank, died March 16. Elias was known for presiding over the Anne Frank foundation in Switzerland. Various obituaries mentioned that Elias had been a professional figure skater, touring with Holiday on Ice between 1947 and 1961 as a skating comedian or clown.

Frank wrote about skating with her cousin more than once in her diary. In an interview with Der Spiegel, Elias mentioned that, "…[Anne] once wrote in great detail of her dream about going ice skating with me. She was dead-set on pair skating with me. In her drawings, she even painted the dress that she wanted to have custom-made to make an appearance with me."

Sarah and Drew

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