Ice Network

Icenetwork's most-viewed stories of the past year

Headlines dominated by retirements, Hanyu and a brave announcement
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Samantha Cesario, Yuzuru Hanyu and Adam Rippon were among the biggest newsmakers in skating in 2015. -icenetwork

From retirement announcements to profiles of skaters' lifestyles off the ice, many of icenetwork's most popular articles from 2015 dealt with topics outside the competitive arena. Here now are the 10 most-vewed articles on icenetwork over the past 12 months.

1. Rippon comes out as gay in SKATING magazine

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/10/02/152828538
(Accompanying article: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/10/27/155358354)

Two-time U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon told reporter Amy Rosewater that he was gay in the October issue of SKATING magazine.

Key passage

"It's the year 2015. So many more athletes are willing to be open, and it's part of the culture now to be more open about who you are and what your interests are. Of course people are interested in your sexual orientation. People love rumors.

"When athletes come out and say that they're gay, it makes it a little more normal and less of a big deal -- especially in the athletic community. You have a lot of respect for your fellow athletes for working hard toward a goal. Their sexual orientation takes a backseat to that."

2. Calling it a career: Cesario decides to retire at 21

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/05/11/123715422

Samantha Cesario announced her retirement from competitive skating, citing recurring injuries and a restrictive judging system in her decision.

Key passage

"Despite my love for the sport, I think it can be hard for people on the outside to fully understand that there is more that goes into a skater's career than the scores they read at the end of an event. I'm a skater who has always prided myself on my ability to perform for an audience and bring music to life. Unfortunately, at times, the new system didn't lend itself to my strong suits and that is something that wasn't always easy to deal with.

"Even though I have often felt the frustration all skaters feel at one time or another regarding scores not mirroring the performances they put out on the ice, I'm very proud of what I contributed to the sport and I feel ready to move on to the next chapter."

3. Amid hysteria in Barrie, Hanyu goes about business

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/10/16/154661142

The presence of Yuzuru Hanyu at the humble Skate Canada Autumn Classic International in Barrie, Ontario, was a game-changer.

Key passage

The fans arrived in droves for practice on Tuesday, lining up all the way down a ramp to buy tickets at 6:30 a.m, half an hour before the place opened. Seats weren't assigned, so they claimed their spots, laying sweaters and scarves and bags on the seats in the Allandale Recreation Centre arena.

The first night, puzzled janitors removed the sweaters and various seat-holders and placed them all in the lost-and-found department.

Aghast, the fans resorted to camping out at the front entrance overnight, forming a row of sleeping bags. Skate Canada staff tried many times to comfort them, saying they could sleep in a hotel bed and return early the next morning to get their seats. Despite temperatures that hovered a few degrees above freezing, the fans didn't budge.

4. Content Takahashi: 'I don't have a desire to go back'

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/06/12/129353190

As several skaters announced their intention to return to competitive skating, Daisuke Takahashi sounded like he had every intention of staying retired.

Key passage

Takahashi's digs are close to several well-known skating rinks, but he isn't hitting the ice: His agent, Tak Ihara, says Takahashi left his skates in Japan. Instead, he's enrolled in a local university, where he is studying English.

"I don't know what my next goal will be yet," said Takahashi, who has refused most interview requests. "I do know my life from now on will be much longer than the time I was competing, so I need to find another passion to live my new life."

5. Japanese stars debut programs at 'Dreams on Ice'

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/06/12/130204078

Several of Japan's biggest skating stars unveiled their new competitive programs at the first of three performances of "Dreams on Ice" in Yokohama on Friday, June 12.

Key passage

Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the night was reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu's new free skate. He has chosen a very Japanese-style piece of music, "SEIMEI," a selection from the soundtrack of the movie Onmyoji. In it, he portrays the character Abe no Seimei, an eccentric Japanese astronomer who lived in the 10th century.

"I want to expand my performing scale," Hanyu said in the post-show interview, "and I want to do something Japanese. I think among all amateur male skaters I am the one who fits traditional Japanese style the most, and I want to interpret the delicateness and strength, to pay more attention to body lines, in order to create a program that reflects my characteristics."

6. Olympic dreams bring Wagner, Alvarez together

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/11/24/157586802

Ashley Wagner and Eddy Alvarez are working through the challenges of maintaining a romantic relationship while pursuing their athletic dreams.

Key passage

Their demanding (and nearly opposite) schedules wreak havoc on when and how they can see each other. Their relationship is built on time-zone calculations, FaceTime check-ins and a want to support the other, no matter what is going on in their lives.

"We have a lot working against us; it's a huge learning process," the Los Angeles-based Wagner said. "It's a difficult relationship when you look at how it all works. He just understands what kind of stress is involved in skating. At the end of the day, we're working on this together."

7. The Inside Edge: Gao chooses books over blades

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/06/17/131001090

Former Grand Prix Finalist Christina Gao decided to retire from competitive skating in order to focus on her studies at Harvard University.

Key passage

Gao said the season was hard for her, and she didn't skate well in China (Cup of China) or Japan (NHK Trophy).

"I really didn't feel like myself. I was always a strong competitor, so it didn't really make sense to me. But I went to nationals, and I was in 18th place after my short. I was in the first warmup group for the long. You can't find my long program on YouTube -- it's hard to find online -- but it was really special to me. I finally felt like myself again."

8. Trophée Bompard canceled after terror attacks

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/11/14/157301924

With a heavy voice and emotional eyes, Didier Gailhaguet announced that the French government had decided to cancel the remainder of 2015 Trophée Eric Bompard.

Key passage

"I went to bet at 8:30 last night and slept through the night. This morning, when I connected to my computer, I was horrified," French skater Maé Bérénice Méité said. "I went to practice, but I must say that it was not easy."

9. Redemption! Wagner reclaims spot as top U.S. lady

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/01/24/107416822

Ashley Wagner claimed her third U.S. title, redeeming herself after a fourth-place finish at the 2014 U.S. Championships.

Key passage

"This one tastes the sweetest; this one means the most to me. Because this one shows every single person who doubts me, every single person who says I'm too old, every single person who says I'm not capable of being a leading lady -- this shows them that they need to shut their mouths and watch me skate."

10. Tuktamisheva hits triple Axel to win ladies short

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2015/03/26/114929748

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva landed a brilliant triple Axel in her short program to take an eight-point lead at the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships.

Key passage

"It was a risk to do the triple Axel in the short program, but figure skating has to evolve," Tuktamisheva, 18, said. "The men are doing three quads in their programs and the girls also have to develop. ... I think many girls will do the triple Axel in the future. You have to do difficult elements; you cannot stagnate. Maybe we will even do quads in the future, who knows?"