Tag Archives: Lynn Rutherford

Meet “The Boys Who Score”

7 Feb

By Lynn Rutherford

They are Billy, Dave and Enrico – an accountant, a banker and an architect who are best friends. In figure skating circles, they’re better known as “The Boys Who Score.”

You may have seen them at a U.S. Championships, or maybe a Skate America. They’re the three guys who tally up their own scores after each man and lady skates, and then show the results to the crowd, using either their notebooks or flip-up charts.

It’s a tradition that started at the 2004 Skate America, held at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena.

“That was the first time we started displaying the scores, mainly because we wanted to show we could add the scores up before the actual number [is announced], and it’s relatively close,” Billy said.

“It was popular with the people around us, and we said, we’re going to do this every time.”

They don’t do it to rank skaters, and they aren’t aspiring figure skating judges. Devotees of Michelle Kwan, they realized – after the five-time world champion’s silver-medal performance at the 2002 Olympics – that they not only loved Kwan, they also loved figure skating. Combine that with the International Judging System (IJS) and the Boys’ love of numbers, and a passion for scoring was born.

“We weren’t sure if officials were going to like it, or if people around us were going to like it,” Dave said. “But everyone really did, and that’s what’s been fun, the reactions.”

“Normally, when they agree with our scores, they’re really vocal to say they agree,” Enrico said. “If they disagree, we generally don’t here that much about it. If we do, it’s ‘I have a different score; why do you have that?’ It comes from a questioning viewpoint.”

So, no brouhahas with any opinionated figure skating fans sitting in their section?

“Every once in a while, we will hold something up and someone will say, ‘No, no, that’s not true!’” Billy said. “That has happened but it’s normally in good fun, I think.”

“Sometimes, people will even say, what do the boys think? What do the boys think? And they’ll look for us,” Enrico said.

The Boys’ scores for the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships trend a bit lower than those awarded by the nine official judges. Example: Jeremy Abbott, who gained 90.23 points for his short program in San Jose, earned a high of 87.45 from the Boys, courtesy of Enrico.

“That’s because we’re giving out IJS marks; at nationals, the scores tend to be a little higher,” Billy said.

You can follow the Boys Who Score’s scores on their twitter, @TheBoysWhoScore, which also provides a link to their facebook page.

So what do they think of world champion Patrick Chan’s 302.14 score, earned at the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships?

“We want to go on YouTube and check out those Patrick Chan performances,” Dave said. “I think our scores would have been, combined, at least 30 or 40 points less.”

U.S. Olympians Skate Against Breast Cancer in New York’s Bryant Park

11 Jan

By Lynn Rutherford

Spring-like weather, with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees, added to the festive atmosphere on Jan. 7, when New York’s Citi Pond at Bryant Park hosted “The Skate Against Breast Cancer,” presented by Iced Pink Inc., a 501 (c) (3) public charity promoting breast cancer awareness.

The event, hosted by 1968 and 1972 U.S. Olympian JoJo Starbuck, who won three U.S. pair titles with partner Ken Shelley, and 2002 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Goebel, drew a cast of Olympians including 2006 world champion and 2007 U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner; 2007 U.S. silver medalist Emily Hughes; four-time U.S. ice dance silver medalists Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov; 1995 U.S. champion and world bronze medalist Nicole Bobek; and newly formed pair of Eve Chalom, two-time U.S. ice dance silver medalist and Jonathan Hunt, the 2003 world junior pair medalist.

2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes joined the co-hosts on ice to speak about her family’s fight against breast cancer and introduce sister Emily, and the finale featured dozens of young skaters from the New York area.

For Nancy Sherman, who founded Iced Pink with fellow skating mom and breast cancer survivor Bari Cenname, it was a dream fulfilled.

“It’s wonderful all of these Olympians are here today and they’re volunteering their time, and 30 children are going to be skating in the show,” Sherman, a Long Island attorney whose 10-year-old daughter, Illana, competed in the pre-juvenile ranks this season, said.

“This is what I envisioned: to have Olympic skaters and other world skaters volunteer, skate and be a positive influence on all of these young, aspiring skaters, so that they can also skate in shows and make people aware of the causes and symptoms of breast cancer.”

Many of the show’s performers have been personally touched by the disease. Emily and Sarah’s mother, Amy Beth, is a breast cancer survivor, as was Starbuck’s mother. Gregory lost her mother, Dale, to another form of cancer. After her 15-year-old friend, Kati, died of the disease, Meissner began working with the Cool Kids Campaign to improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with cancer and their families.

Sherman, who was diagnosed in 2001, is determined to fight the disease with education and information.

“My youngest daughter [Illana] is an avid figure skater and after spending so much time at the rink on a daily basis, it occurred to me I should create an organization in which young figure skaters would be able to increase breast cancer awareness,” she said.  “So I asked [Cenname], another breast cancer survivor and mother, if she was interested, and she agreed. We enlisted Shannon [Leigh] Lenihan, who is an excellent choreographer and coach who we know from the Great Neck Parkwood Rink, and she was thrilled to help. “

The show, free to hundreds of spectators who gathered in the park, offered an entertaining and diverse group of programs.

Illana Sherman and Brooke Cenname dedicated their programs to their breast cancer survivor mothers. Another young competitor, 2010 juvenile ladies’ champion Dalia Rivkin, performed a stellar routine to music from The Matrix.

Emily Hughes, a recent Harvard graduate who is moving back to the New York area after accepting a job with Deloitte, performed to Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s lyrical “Winter Song.” Bobek took the ice for the fast-paced disco anthem “I Will Survive.” Gregory and Petukhov offered up an elegantly dramatic program to “Time to Say Goodbye,” while Chalom and Hunt charmed the crowd with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” choreographed by Ice Theatre of New York’s Doug Webster. Meissner closed the show with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” highlighted by a huge double Axel.

For Goebel, an analytic consultant with Nielson whose professional life rules out training for performances, it was a chance to aide an important cause while reconnecting with old friends.

“I get asked to do shows and things like this every so often and my office schedule doesn’t really allow me to skate at all, so if I can do this kind of thing and still help out, I’m more than happy to do it,” Goebel, who graduated from Columbia University in May 2010 with a mathematics degree, said. “I got to come and see all my former peers and it’s for a great cause, plus its fun to sort of get back to my roots and skating family.”

Citi Pond donated an hour of ice time.  Although the event was free to the public, raffle tickets and VIP seating were sold, and Iced Pink Inc. will donate net profits from the event to the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program at Adelphi University in Garden City, Long Island.  The toll-free breast cancer hotline answers almost 4,000 calls each year. For more information, please visit www.adelphi.edu/nysbreastcancer/Index.html. Learn more about Iced Pink Inc. on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/IcedPinkInc

To view a photo gallery of the event, click here.

Weir Back in PA at Holiday Dreams on Ice

29 Dec

By Lynn Rutherford

Old and new friends nearly 7,000 miles apart gathered in Philadelphia the night before Christmas Eve to watch Johnny Weir headline the second annual Holiday Dreams on Ice, held at University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena.

The three-time U.S. champion and his parents, Patti and John, welcomed more than 60 well wishers from his hometown of Lancaster, PA, who bused into town especially for the show.  The Pennsylvanians met 20 of Weir’s Japanese fans visiting from Tokyo for a long holiday weekend in New York and Philadelphia, capped by front-row seats for the performances and a post-event party.

“I’m excited about this show; they literally ran out of printed tickets,” Weir said. “It’s my first time performing in Pennsylvania, my home state, in forever. I’m thrilled so many old friends are here.”

Weir gained standing ovations for an outrageous routine to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and his traditional holiday number “Ave Maria,” highlighted by special designs from Vincent DiGiorgio’s Digital Lighting, who created the Christmas lights for the White House this season.

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus kicked off the evening with a singing of “Sleigh Ride.”  More than 100 young local skaters hit the ice to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Former Israeli champion Tamar Katz, a student at Penn, skated to Adele’s “Someone Like You,” while 2010 U.S. silver medalist Brandon Mroz offered up two numbers: “Mack the Knife” and “Greased Lightening.”

Mroz is taking a short break from Colorado Springs to spend the holidays in his hometown of St. Louis.

“I can’t wait to see my grandmother,” he said.

Two-time U.S. bronze medalist Ashley Wagner shone in programs to Jessica Simpson’s “What Christmas Means to Me” and Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor.”

“I had the [“What Christmas Means to Me”] music before and I thought it was really cute,” she said. “I feel like a lot of Christmas stuff is kind of slow and I wanted something that was going to wake the audience up. I picked it a couple of years ago and then I just re-choreographed it [with Philip Mills]. I get bored with programs so if I have something new it’s much more fun to perform.”

Wagner took a short break from training under coaches John Nicks and Mills in California.

“I begged and pleaded Mr. Nicks, and then gave him no other option, but to let me go home for a week,” she said. “I am spending Christmas in Annapolis with my mom, my brother [Austin] and my boyfriend.”

“My dad is traveling right now for business, so it’s kind of a bummer not to have him home for the holidays, but I’m so excited to just slow down for a couple of days before getting back into training for nationals.”

Wagner, who hopes to win her first U.S. title next month at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, isn’t letting her guard down over the holidays.

“After Christmas I am going up and spending the rest of the trip in Philly, so I am training at University of Delaware for the rest of the week,” she said.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who is spending a quiet holiday with his parents in Virginia, performed “Summertime,” then unveiled a new Christmas number he choreographed just for the show to Michael Buble’s “Cold December Night.”

“I put it together quickly and had fun with it,” he said. “I had a great time. We had a long day full of practices and rehearsals but it was a great experience, it was a great crowd. There were a lot of enthusiastic kids who are just getting into skating. So it’s nice to see if we can kind of encourage some of the new skaters.”

For pictures, courtesy of Michele Mansoor, click here.