Photo by Barry Mittan

World Professional Figure Skating Championships - 1999

World Professional Skating Championships - Washington, DC

(Reviewer comments about Rudy are below the longer review.)

The World Professional Figure Skating Championships were all Pro this year after last year's pro am event. The atmosphere and programs were both very different. With all due respect for the pure athleticism of amateur competitions, and the knowledge and seriousness about the sport of those who prefer them, this was so much more fun and entertaining for many of us. The skating was pretty good, too!

First things first--the Men's competition. Several of you may already know that Rudy was fifth. However, the quality of his skating and audience support and reception to his performances were first rate. These descriptions of the jumps are less than that, but here goes a fuller account of Rudy's performances and some notes on others.

Technical Program - "The Rose"
For the first time, the sound in the MCI Center was big enough to capture the full effect of the Fleet Street Singers' a capella version of this song. It resounded throughout the arena and really engulfed the crowd. Rudy uses the entire ice surface in this number, and people all around us were noting the quietness of his skating. On a night when Candeloro and Kulik completed triple axels and triple lutzes, Urmanov a triple axel, and Boitano his 'Tano Lutz (gorgeous and right in front of us), Rudy's jumps were a little more tentative than usual. I was unable to see his combination as it was straight down the long side from us, and am guessing it was a triple flip, double toe. He didn't attempt the 3A as he had in the last two competitions, but did a fine double axel in its place. Although he had difficulty with the triple loop in the warmup, it looked fine in competition. In this jumpfest, his most damaging mistake was doubling an intended triple Salchow. He also did a nice single triple toe. The superiority of Rudy's spins was very clear, even in this company--the new sideways sitspin up to "his" spin brought oooohs from the audience, and the Charlotte elicited a round of applause.

So Rudy skated just fine--but there were too many "significant" triples completed among the other men and they determined the order of the day. Even Brian Boitano ended up third, partly for lack of a triple axel. From the excerpts of reviews listed below, it's obvious that there were still many people who felt that Rudy's well-developed and complete program was undermarked. I certainly did, but I'm unabashedly biased.
9.6 9.7 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.8 9.7
9.7 9.7 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.9 9.7

Artistic Program - "Livin' la Vida Loca"

Since everyone agreed that Ricky Martin was perfect music for Rudy to skate to, he went on the ice to a supportive and happy crowd. Then he warmed them up even more for the rest of the men. If it hadn't been for Ilia in his sweats and baseball cap, Rudy's costume would have been the most conservative of the lot! Wearing black pants with gold stripes down the outseam, a shiny "camp" style shirt (the same or similar to the one from the Rockefeller Center opening and the Improv??), nice gold or silver belt, and flashing his wonderful personality and smile, the audience quickly belonged to him. There were triple toes, double axels, and several spins, but mostly it was Rudy and all of the fans having a good time. Standing ovation right off--boom, they were up. Many have commented on what a good COI number this would be...
9.7 9.6 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.8 9.7
9.7 9.8 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.9 9.8

By the way, the nice next to last scores came from Debi Thomas, who was unquestionably the most popular of the judges with lines of autograph seekers in the hotel lobby!

And the rest of the Men...

Boitano's technical number, a tango, has a sort of unpleasant sound to it and was received less well than most of what he does. We got to see Brian approaching his "Lutz corner" all the way down the ice with his back to us in those leather pants from "Wild Elephants." Standing ovation for Brian, definitely from us. Kulik had two brilliant jumps, an axel and a lutz at the beginning of his technical program, then went downhill from there. His artistic program (the one with the baseball cap) captured neither the crowd nor the judges, and he dropped from second to fourth. Candeloro's technical featured nearly every jump, and he was as accurate as I've seen him, but excessive mugging and a splat on a second Lutz moved him down to fourth in the technical. His "Braveheart" program is as ingenious as the musketeers one from a few years back, and Philippe is a supreme storyteller on the ice. It moved him up to second, and should have. Huge standing ovation. Urmanov's technical program was highly competent and rather boring. However, his artistic program costume was definitely not dull and was a shock even to those familiar with his past fashion preferences. It mocked many of his old excesses! You have to admire him--the program, a magic show on ice, was inventive, fun, and very well done. He made use of props throughout, and just trying to figure out how he kept the hat on occupied the crowd. Sort of slow standing ovation.

The Pairs were as enthralling to watch as the basic same group has been for the last two years. Kazakova and Dmitriev were a bit off in both of their numbers, but the passion of the artistic program was breathtaking (like I forgot to breathe). The battle between Leonova and Khvalko and Bechke and Petrov continued from the ESPN event with the result reversed in favor of the former. Woetzel and Steuer's programs were very popular with the audiences though the elements were not quite on a level with the top three. In Dance, Liz Punsalan and Jerod Swallow again put together two wonderful programs and skated them with great fluidity and style. They have something that makes audiences truly love to watch them, feel with them. Jerod is so expressive, and Liz in the red dress is provocative, a sizzling combination. Usova and Platov have all of the moves, some rather spectacular, but lack P & S' rapport with each other and ability to appeal to the crowd.

The Women were the only weak group, but there was one highlight--Denise Biellmann. Twenty years older than Tara on the birthday she celebrated in Washington, and a body that is in incredible shape in every way possible! She skated to something slow and pretty, but the way she skated was something to see. Everything about the program was pure, simple, and beautiful, from the off white unadorned slip dress style costume, to the unhurried, clean, and elegant skating--stripped bare, no frills. She set a mood and never disturbed it. A friend commented that she distilled skating down to its essence. I was too engrossed to write down the jumps and moves, but they went along with the rest of it--couple of 3Salchows, triple toe, wonderful spins, etc.

Biellmann's Mambo #5 artistic program was also impressive and fun, and she lost no ground with it, still holding her second place. I want to see this woman at 40.


[Technical] "Rudy: Skated to The Rose which was just stunning in person.  The program has some real emotion to it.  Two footed at least one jump - ended up in 5th"


"Marks were an absolute travesty. I was utterly blown away, however, by the smiles and the grace he exhibited this time, compared to other times when he's been trashed by the panel."

---Juli P. Briggs

[Artistic] "Rudy:  New program to "Living La Vida Loca" and it's just a perfect fit for Rudy.  He sells it to the hilt without the excessive posing found in Studio 54 and got a great crowd response.  I hope this is his COI number as it's really made for Rudy to skate."


"When I heard this music, my first thought was...Rudy has got to skate to this."


"It was wonderful and he was robbed bigtime both nights."


[Technical Program] "Rudy Galindo: Rudy skated to his "The Rose" program in the red costume.  He did a 3flip-2toe, 2axel, 3loop, charlotte, 2sal, flying camel - Y spin, spread eagle, 3toe, layback spin - Y spin.  This was one case where I agreed that he was under scored, I thought he had the best conceived program of all the men and had a good performance of it.
Tech: 9.6  9.7  9.8  9.7  9.7  9.8  9.7
Artistic: 9.7  9.7  9.8  9.7  9.7  9.9  9.7"

[Artistic Program] "Rudy skated a new program to "Living the Vida Loca" he wore black pants and a sparkle shirt.  He did a 2axel, 3toe, sitspin, footwork, 2toe, 2axel, and a combination spin.  This was a very good program and I think he should have
gotten better artistic marks."
Tech: 9.7  9.6  9.8  9.7  9.7  9.8  9.7
Artistic: 9.7  9.8  9.8  9.7  9.7  9.9  9.9

---Wayne Joy

[Artistic] "Double axel and triple toe in first half of the program; double toe and double axel later. According to the rules printed in the program, repeated elements don't count unless performed in combination or for choreographic effect, neither of which was the case here.  (Was the double toe intended as triple toe-double toe? or just as triple toe?)  If he'd replaced one of the double axels and/or planned triple toes with triple sal or triple loop, neither of which should be that much harder for him, he could have bought himself another tenth of a point. He sold the program very well and kept skating pretty much throughout. My inclination was to give scores like 9.6/9.9, but since he was the first to skate he didn't even do that well esp. on the second mark."


[Most people said the combination was a triple flip/double toe. He DID do a triple loop, and the double toe mentioned was probably the salchow he doubled?]

[Technical] "Galindo skated to "The Rose" - nice arrangement.  He was slow, landed small 3 flip and 3 toe. He didn't complete rotation on 3 loop. He did wonderful spins as usual.  Rudy did use the whole ice surface and I liked his patterning. His technical marks were 9.5-9.9 and artistic 9.7-9.9.  Someone loves him. The crowd did too and booed like mad."

[Artistic] Galindo "living la vida loca" If only he would dance while skating. 3toe, 2ax Debi Thomas really liked it 9.8/9.9.  I was agreeing w/her almost all night on the technical, so I wonder to where her mind floated off."


"Galindo  (skated 4th)
Tech:  9.6  9.7  9.8  9.7  9.7  9.8  9.7
Artis:  9.7  9.7  9.8  9.7  9.7  9.9  9.7
...Red jumpsuit;  The Rose;  Nice jumps (no misses); lovely spins; Charlotte spiral;  audience was vociferous in disagreeing with scoring! "

"Galindo  (skated 1st
...Black pants/ glitter shirt;  Vida Loca;  4 jumps, all landed; good footwork and spins; lots of speed; worked the music and crowd very well -- a real crowd pleaser (as usual!);  audience didn't agree with his marks!"

---Debbie Becker

"Only two performances out of both nights gave me chills, and this was one of them (the other was Rudy's technical to The Rose)."

"I was so relieved he didn't do Studio 54.  This piece was good, although it didn't move me like The Rose did in the technical.  He did a 2axel, 3toe-or-flip (the combination of bad vision and the CW jumping threw me off), 2toe and 2axel, wonderful spins.  Received many cheers and a standing ovation."<BR

---Julie Rosso

[Technical] "Galindo - 3flip-2toe, 3sal, 3loop, 3toe, best spins of the entire competition; Skated to The Rose; generally a nice performance."

[Artistic] "Galindo: 3toe, 2axel, best spins of the competiton; skated to 'Livin' La Vida Loca'. Nice, clean-cut, throughly enjoyable program from Rudy."


"Hmm.....poor Rudy, got ignored again
Well, this whole competition is a joke, I won't see it!!!!!!!!!!"


"Galindo - SIZZLED as Ricky Martin "La Vida Loca"! You KNEW he'd come up with a Ricky routine sooner or later, didn't you? Well, he rocked, WE rocked, the entire building rocked! And we all loudly BOOED the scores."


"Rudy Galindo--Wearing red velour beaded jumpsuit. Skating to a choral version of "The Rose".
Elements: 3 flip-2 toe, 2 axel, 3 loop, charlotte spiral, 2 salchow, flying camel-sit-Y spin, 3 toe, camel-layback-change-sit-eggbeater spin.
Tech. Marks: 9.6, 9.7, 9.8, 9.7, 9.7, 9.8, 9.7
Artistic Marks: 9.7, 9.7, 9.8, 9.7, 9.7, 9.9, 9.7
--If he's going to dress like that and skate to "The Rose" he might as well go all the way and use the Bette Midler version of the song. It's not like him to be so conservative, LOL."


[Technical] "Rudy's "Rose" number is even better in person, and I thought he did a lot well, but his technical content wasn't high enough and he doubled one of his triples.  Wish he could get a luzt or axel back in his programs."


[Technical] "Galindo - Dk red outfit.  Most gorgeous version of The Rose I have ever heard by one of those groups featuring countertenors (or male sopranos, or whatever you call them). I think I have seen this on TV, but that music filling a large arena was just awesome.  Beautiful, elegant number, also. 3F(2ft)-2T, 2A, 3L, charlotte spiral. [At some point in here, I lost track of what Rudy was doing because I was in such raptures over the beauty of the music.  I think I begin to see why Phillip II (or whichever king that was) gave large chunks of Spain to Farinelli as a reward for singing for him every night.] I see my notes end with [?], 2S, spin (the one where he holds his leg up in front of him very high), 3T.  I did not note it, but I think his marks were booed."

9.6   9.7   9.8   9.7   9.7   9.8   9.7
9.7   9.8   9.8   9.7   9.7   9.9   9.7

---Susan McC

[Technical] "I will say that I thought Ilia's program was scored too high, and Rudy's too low.  Ilia did have some nice choreography, but was pretty flat overall."

[Artistic] "Rudy did well again, undermarked again."


"The men were so much fun.....I thought Rudy was undermarked and I didn't think Ilya's program worked as a show-pro piece (and he's much smaller-looking in person than on TV.) Alexei's costume elicited at least five minutes of giggles and comments in my section, but the program was beautiful. And I yield to no-one in my general distaste for Phillipe, but he BELIEVES in the Braveheart program and it shows. It was a show-stopper, maybe not for skating technique but for bravura entertainment."


"The gay Hispanic community has for several months urged Ricky Martin to publicly declare himself gay.  Could Rudy's choice of music be another subtle nudge?"

---Sarah Wyatt

"I think Rudy's choice was because people suggested that he do a Ricky Martin number, he needed a new and appealing program, and he liked it. Rudy may be open about a lot of things, but he's never "outed" anyone in print, on TV, or anyplace public. Anyhow, it was a good choice."


"Rudy: I wish he'd do some elegant skating again...he likes to shimmy and have fun, but he's one of the few men who can skate like a woman and I mean that in a good way...the fun programs are cute, but they aren't going to win awards."


"Rudy: Again, screw the scores. The Rose is a beautiful arrangement & a lovely program. It's truly moving. La Vida Loca is fun fun fun & will be a good replacement for the Village People program...But, the skaters like Denise & Rudy who consistently get hosed seem to have accepted that & use this as a launching pad for new numbers."


From Skaters Edge Online's Results column, by Maggie Range, featuring the World Professional Skating Championships:

"Rudy Galindo, whose 1996 U.S. National gold-medal performance stands as one of the magical moments of skating history, came in 5th with an energetic Ricky Martin piece. This was his 4th appearance at the World Pros. Now age 30, he was the oldest U.S. champion at age 26. Probably the first skater to construct a Ricky Martin number, he remarked that he now understood why virtually no skaters had tried to perform to the double-time music of the Latin singing sensation."

Back to reviews index

Back to homepage

Last updated October 13,, 2001