Ice Network

Most-read articles of 2017? They're all over the map

Chen's brilliance, 'Yuri!!! on Ice,' Gold's coaching change made headlines
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Among the biggest stories of the year in skating were those that detailed the awe-inspiring skating of Nathan Chen, the mania surrounding the hit anime series 'Yuri!!! on Ice' and Gracie Gold's coaching change. -icenetwork

If icenetwork's most-read articles from this past year could be summed up in one word, it would be "diverse." From important rule changes to a popular figure skating-themed anime series to the trials and tribulations of Gracie Gold, the biggest stories of 2017 were as eclectic a mix as we've seen.

Here now are the 10 most-viewed articles on icenetwork during the past 12 months.

1. ISU official: 'Radical change' could be on the way

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/09/11/253667206

Fabio Bianchetti, a top official at the International Skating Union, said the ISU was looking at making a "radical change" in figure skating in order to achieve a better balance between the athletic and artistic sides of the sport.

Key passage

"I see where they are going with this," Brian Orser said. "They want the greatest all-around skater to be champion, not just the guy who did the quad flip and quad lutz and racked up points that way."

2. Carroll on coaching Gold: 'There will be a change'

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/01/22/214115550

At the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Frank Carroll told icenetwork that his coaching relationship with Gracie Gold was nearing its end.

Key passage

"When you spend a lot of time with somebody and give them all your energy and realize that it is now going nowhere, I think it is time for a change, definitely," Carroll said.

"I hope it will end graciously, because we both deserve that. I can't see being angry when you've spent a great deal of time together in the cold, and you've had great success.

"I think we did a pretty good job together, and then we had one complete disaster at the end of last year (worlds), which to me wasn't horrible, being fourth in the world and first in the short program.

"That, to me, isn't like the end of the world, (but) I think that basically it crushed her, and she felt like it was the end of the world. And then she could never get out of it. It didn't matter what anybody said or did -- it just wasn't going to be."

3. 'Yuri!!! on Ice' continues to build anime ice storm

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/01/25/214266172

The animated series 'Yuri!!! On Ice' captured the attention and admiration of countless fans around the world, including some of the top names in figure skating.

Key passage

"What [the show does] so well is portray all of the individual athletes as people," said Emma Fyffe, host of AfterBuzz TV's review and after show. "It helps add this level of humanity to the characters. … It's amazing how much I care about even one-episode characters.

"It's the show that kind of came out of nowhere and took everyone by storm."

4. Pregnant wife of Barrett diagnosed with leukemia

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/01/24/226192524

The skating community in Florida and elsewhere rallied around Jeremy Barrett and his wife, Lucy, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Key passage

"We are taking it day to day, but Lucy is the most positive person," Barrett said. "Even though she is in extreme pain, she still has a smile on her face."

5. Orser, students deal with unforeseen circumstances

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/11/16/262012198

Brian Orser talked to icenetwork about his two most famous protégés, Javier Fernández and Yuzuru Hanyu, after a couple of tough weeks they experienced this fall.

Key passage

"At a certain point in your career, you have to step back and tell yourself that you are going to do what you can do. Either you go one direction and do it, or you just give up. You need to be confident in what you do, and don't let yourself down because of what others do.

Tracy [Wilson] and I are confident that judges and audience know how to recognize a champion when the time comes. They like what Javi and Yuzu are presenting."

6. Gold says it's 'full speed ahead' at new training digs

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/02/09/215585806

After parting ways with coach Frank Carroll, Gracie Gold struck out on her own for the first time, moving to Canton, Michigan, to train with Marina Zoueva and Oleg Epstein.

Key passage

"On some days when I don't want to do the laundry, there's not going to be my mom there to do it for me," Gold said with a laugh. "I will have to scrape the ice off my windshield every morning. There's not someone there to pick me up, to warm my car. So it will be a change and an adjustment, but I think that it's the next step I need to take.

"Carly [Gold] (Gracie's sister) and my mom have their own lives in California, and this is something I am doing for myself. I want to live my own life here on my own terms, for my skating."

7. New rule impacts world team selection procedure

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/01/20/214003280

Due to a rules change implemented by U.S. Figure Skating, champions at the 2017 U.S. Championships were not automatically granted a place on the world team.

Key passage

The selection criteria is based on the body of work of those athletes who are believed to have the best chance to win Olympic medals, as opposed to relying on the results of a single competition, and, in the case of the 2017 worlds, those with the best chance to place well and earn the United States the most spots at the 2018 Olympics.

8. Dance background helps to enhance Chen's skating

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/03/24/220700164

The ballet training Nathan Chen received at an early age has impacted the way he approaches his figure skating -- and has him set up to succeed for years to come.

Key passage

"I would be surprised if Nathan ever is a flashy performer," said Peter Christie, director of eduction for Ballet West (in Salt lake City). "What will come as he ages is a quiet, simmering sort of presence, a dignity, a princely elegance.

"The fact he has had so much dance in his life from early on already sets him apart from so many kids in skating."

9. Sun never sets on Japanese figure skating fans

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/05/10/229431488

The lengths to which fans from Japan will go to watch their favorite skaters compete around the globe are a testament to the sport's popularity in that country.

Key passage

Some fans follow [Yuzuru] Hanyu even to his most minor international competitions. Two seasons ago, a modest rink in Barrie, Ontario, was nearly overwhelmed with spectators when the skater opened his season at the Autumn Classic International.

"I warned everyone in Barrie that the Japanese fans are coming," Hanyu's coach, Brian Orser, said. "Really, they're the ones who are keeping the sport going."

10. The Inside Edge: Wagner poses for ESPN magazine

URL: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2017/07/07/240971480

Three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner showed off her ultra-fit physique in ESPN The Magazine's annual Body Issue.

Key passage

"I think people understand that figure skating is a difficult sport, but I think sometimes they don't see it as an athletic sport," Wagner said. "They see that it's beautiful and graceful, but they don't really understand the muscle, the strength, the power, the control that goes into making the movement as beautiful as it is. You need strong back muscles, a strong butt, a strong core to make the movement happen. I hope they will see that we are strong athletes as well as graceful performers."