U. S. Professional Skating Championships - 1998

US Pro Championships - Oct 17th

Hi skating fans... I'm Munchie.. the west coast web master for this site. I've just returned from San Jose where I experienced my first skating competition. Unlike my partner back east who reported on the Jefferson Pilot Competitions, and is so knowledgeable of the technical points of skating, *I* on the other hand don't know a triple Axel from a sow cow..(don't send email.. I know that's not how it's spelled) from a toe loop.. etc.. etc... So my report will be from MY viewpoint.. which is totally emotional and how a program makes me feel.

 I did try to make notes as the competition went along and took down all the scores and made notes on each program so I would remember them when I got home.. However.. now that I look at my notes.. I can't read them.. so I just chucked them in the trash and will have to go on memory..

 First let me say that all the skating was wonderful.. I won't comment on the judging because my Mama always said to me.. she said "Munchie.. if you can't say something nice.. then don't say anything at all". So I won't..(G)

 My fav female skater in the technical program was Lu Chen's program. The music was just lovely whatever it was.. (it was unfamiliar to me) and Lu Lu's expressive arm gestures were just beautiful. The whole program just flowed gently over the ice and carried me right along with it. I was sorry when it was over.. I'd loved for her program to have gone on much longer.

 I also enjoyed Todd's technical program... he skated to a number from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.. a musical play which I adore.

 But of course.. my favorite skater AND number of the entire nite was our Rudy and his new program "Somewhere over the rainbow". (How could it NOT be.. I'm a Munchkin after all from Munchkinland in the county of Oz) (G) Seriously.. the song has always been special to me.. and his interpretation of the music through his skating once again left me in tears. (See I TOLD ya this was gonna be an emotional review) Rudy's skating never fails to move me deaply.. and touches my heart. All his programs either make me laugh and feel happy.. or they make me cry not in saddness but in great joy for the beauty I have been priviledged to witness.

 So RUDY.. if yer reading this.. let me just say.. win.. loose.. or draw.... I LOVE YOU! and I LOVE your skating.. and I thank you for many hours of joy you have brought to me with your skating. Keep skating with your heart.. that's when you really shine..

 And that's all I have to say about that..........

Excerpts from Spectator Reviews

 Men's Technical Program

 Rudy Galindo Skated to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in a complete sky blue outfit with a rainbow sash draped on his back. Elements 3 axel; sit/grab foot up spin; 3 loop; flying spin; spread eagle; 2 axel/3 toe; sit/y spin; takes off the rainbow sash and holds it up while doing an Ina Bauer (Wow); spirals; 2 axel with sash held in his arms in the air; combo spin including butterfly/camel/layback/sit/Rudy Galindo type spin all while holding the sash.

Skating Techniques 5.7 5.5 5.5 5.8 5.7 <-- I think the 5.5s are low.
Presentation 5.8 5.8 5.6 5.8 5.7 <-- the 5.6 is absurd.
His scores drew boos and I think he was cheated. A great technical and artistic program.

 Men's Interpretative Program

Rudy Galindo He skated to a Village People medley in his navy costume and then changes into a striped shirt when the song changes. Elements 2 axel; 3 flip; 3 toe/3 toe; 2 axel; quick turns; combo spin with butterflies/ camel/Rudy Galindo type spin

Skating Techniques- 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4
Presentation- 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7
Huge boos from the crowd. Rudy skated with his usual flair and the judges dished out their usual low marks.


 I met so many people. Rudy's mom was there and he said to her jokingly, "Yeah, last place!" I got his autograph and I told him that I felt he was undermarked. He said that that was how ISU judges are.

 ---William's review from Heather Winfield's Michelle Kwan Fan Page

 "Rudy Galindo--Wearing white sailor suit w/blue trim. Skated to a Village People medley.

 Elements: 2 axel, 3 flip (2 foot?), sit spin w/his free leg crossed underneath, 3 toe-3 toe (2 foot?), 2 axel, stars-running camels-sit-change-sit-eggbeater spin.

 Tech. Marks: 5.4, 5.4, 5.4, 5.4, 5.4
Art. Marks: 5.7, 5.7, 5.7, 5.7, 5.7

--I'm not really sure why this program didn't get better artistic marks (esp. considering the marks Philippe got for Saturday Night Fever). In any case, the crowd just loves this program no matter where Rudy is. I've seen this program in Washington DC, South Carolina and San Jose, not to mention all the times I've seen it on television from different places across the country and the reaction is always a HUGE roar from the Herecrowd. Perhaps he was hurt this time by skating first?"


 "Sounds like Rudy was a little undermarked in his tech. program.....maybe he has a right to feel jilted? Anyway, I guess I'll judge for myself tonight :-)"


 "Rudy Galindo--Wearing light blue chiffon 1 piece costume decorated lightly w/rhinestones & sequins. He wore a rainbow striped scarf (also decorated lightly with sequins) around his neck with the ends hanging down his back and tacked lightly to his costume. Skated to "Over the Rainbow" (not the Judy Garland version thank god! That would have been too much.) Elements: 3 axel, catch-foot spin (holding foot in front with opposite hand), 3 loop, butterfly- open scratch spin, outside spread eagle, 2 axel-turns into-3 toe, martini glass spin, outside Ina Bauer down the length of the ice (he pulled the scarf off and held it out behind him), 2 axel (w/scarf around neck again and holding the ends in front), stars-running camels-camel-layback- change-eggbeater spin.

 Tech. Marks: 5.7, 5.5, 5.5, 5.8, 5.7
Art. Marks: 5.8, 5.8, 5.6, 5.8, 5.7

--I was very skeptical about this program in the beginning, but it was really rather subtle and beautifully done. I loved the part with the scarf and the Ina Bauer right on the crescendo of the music."


"Finally, Rudy skated. He wore a sky blue unitard with slightly flared sleeves and legs. Attached to it was a rainbow-striped scarf with sequins. I thought he looked good, particularly with his hair longer and frosted with blondish streaks, but I suspect some people are simply going to hate this costume. :-) He skated to--wait for it folks--Somewhere Over the Rainbow. He landed a beautiful triple axel, a triple salchow, a double axel, and a jump sequence that (I think) consisted of a triple flip--half loop--a mohawk into another half loop--double sal. Complicating things for me is the fact that not only does he jump clockwise (thus opposite to what I'm used to identifying), but I doubt he intended to do the extra mohawk--half loop! He had his usual excellent spins."

 Technical: 5.7 5.5 5.6 5.8 5.7
Presentation: 5.8 5.8 5.6 5.8 5.7

 "Rudy started off the men's programs with his YMCA program. I really like this one, and enjoy watching it live even though I've seen it many times. He landed four double axels altogether (one was supposed to be a triple I believe), a triple flip and a triple loop--triple toe combination. As always, the audience really got into this number. The judges were less enthused. Rudy left the ice with a dismissive wave of his hand at the judges and a big grin."

 Technical: 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.4 (major boos over these scores!)
Presentation: 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7


 "He landed one of the best triple axelsI've ever seen him do in a competition. Like everybody, he hit his jumps early and often. His second program was his Village People medly which had most of the crowd doing the Y-M-C-A arm thing. I've seen it several times and this was by far the best he's done it. He brought the house down. He did an even more gay footwork sequence than the lasttime. He makes Liberace look straight. I loved it...
Then why was Rudy Galindo in second to last place after delivering a great performance along with a triple axel?"

 ---Kevin Anderson

 "Rudy hit his triple axel in the technical program beautifully along with triple loop and triple toe. The judges were particularly hard on Rudy IMO. He skated to "Over the Rainbow" and then the Village People Medley for his artistic number. Rudy was particularly "over the top" last night - even for Rudy! :-) Probably has to do with the fact that he was in his "house" (San Jose Arena) and the fact that he knew he had no chance of winning after being 4th in the technical portion."

 ---David E

 "All in all, I found it a very interesting evening. My only real criticism is that the rules seem to be too new for the judges to have a grasp of them. Since they are neither ISU or Pro rules, it would appear, if this format is ever to succeed in the future, that a whole new group of judges be trained in the new rules. Not ISU or Pro judges who would carry biases from their old world into the new. Real, honest-to-gosh new judges. I would also suggest paying them for their work, so they can be held accountable for their decisions. unlike Kevin, I found their marks to be, in most cases, what I felt to be grossly off the mark In Rudy's case, for his Artistic program he did his Village People medley. He was given all 5.4's for technical and all 5.7's for artistic. What are the odds, especially since most of the programs found the judges all over the map? I was reminded of a sign I saw at the free dance in Minneapolis earlier this year. It read, " Who ya gonna call? Blockbusters!'"

 ---Kevin C. Rushforth

 "As for Rudy, it seems to me that he generally does two new programs a year, one serious/artistic and one campy/fun. And the campy/fun one always comes across better in person than on TV. They also wear out their welcome faster. On the other hand, it seems to me that the serious/artistic ones never seem to get the kind of respect they deserve from the judges (when it's used in competition). Maybe that's why people seem to think he's done way more of a certain type of program than he really has."

 "He's had some great programs but a lot have been mediocre or with flashes of brillance. As a fan, that frustrates me because I know he could do better and I want to see him reach his full potential."

 ---Marie Hughes

 "Serious gay theme? Have we forgotten Ave Maria, the tribute to those with AIDS? I think that would fit, and I still think his running camel into superb layback at the climax of the song is one of my favorite combination spins...Yea, I think Rudy has done a variety of programs--including classical, and comedy that has nothing to do with being gay. I don't think he is typecasting himself I think perhaps because he has done more than one number that "flaunts gayness" and people are not used to skaters being so open about it--that they think it comprises more of his repertoire than it actually does."


 "We know what Rudy is capable of, given his performance to win Nationals. He could be pushing himself artistically."

 "But professionally, Rudy's choice of programs may be guaranteeing him a spot in pro competitions. He's fun, he's different, sometimes he's outrageous, and the audiences like him. And he has carved out a niche no other skater is likely to take away from him."


 "Sorry, Kevin, but you can't call this event a pro event..it is pro-am. First PRO event of the season was the JPF Championships in Greenville, S.C.(, which also had great quality skating . Brian Boitano's technical program there still is only one so far this year that contained all six different triple jumps). >From your report, judging at San Jose, in men's anyway, was still confusing..Kulik not rewarded for great jumps, Rudy not rewarded for jumps and artistry, Todd not rewarded for jumps and artistry, Kurt rewarded for audience appeal, footwork, few jumps, Phillipe rewarded for audience appeal ,fewer jumps .....still so arbitrary, no standards to count on."


 "Then came the men--Rudy had the misfortune to skate first. He wore a white sailor suit and did his "Village People" medley, but the crowd was behind him (Lots of "Rudy" and "Laura" shouts) and he was even more "over-the-top" than usual. He did three triples and a 3/3 combo, a double, a combo spin, and his "macho" footwork was hysterical. He got a partial standing ovation at the end, then marks which were wildly booed: 5.4 technical and 5.7 artistic... Next came Ilia, in black pants, vest, and burgundy sleeves, doing his "Tango" program. His speed was faster than in the short, but he still wasn't his usual dynamic self--he stumbled out of a 3 axel, did three other triples and another clean 3 axel, and a couple spins. His marks were 5.6 - 5.8 technical, 5.4 - 5.8 artistic. Although he was faster, I still felt he did not outskate Rudy, not this time."


 "Rudy-His program was a lot of fun and of course the crowd loved it. He really has a lyrical quality to his skating even when he's performing fluff pices like this Villiage People medley."


U.S. Pros on Television

I wasn't as fortunate as my partner on this web site--I didn't get to see Rudy perform his "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" program at the U.S. Pro, or U.S. Pro Am, in San Jose and was looking forward to the ABC telecast. So Rudy was "chacked" as skating fans say, after Michael Chack's excellent and untelevised bronze medal winning freeskate at U.S. Nationals in 1993. (Rudy's skate that year was pretty spectacular, too.) The painful part about it is that Rudy skated superbly and finished ahead of Kulik, who was televised looking pretty ordinary. No argument about Todd Eldredge (crooked in the air on several of his jumps, with a near nose landing on the 3A, but still managing to stay upright), or Kurt Browning (triple toes and footwork save the day), but Philippe Candeloro, whose technique does indeed look like "it was invented in a mixing bowl" (courtesy of Dick Button)...no way. Philippe's "D'Artagnan" program is wonderful and entertaining, but he wasn't skating particularly well and must have gained points for jumping onto the judge's table. To Dick Button's credit, he pretty much hit the nail on the head with the skaters who were shown.

 It was so disappointing not to see Rudy give an excellent performance of a new program. Or to watch him complete a stellar triple axel, do an Ina Bauer the length of the arena with the scarf unfurled, and just his regular gorgeous spins. There have been many responses on the usenet groups and FSW discussion group which have expressed the same or stronger feelings about Rudy's being left out of the broadcast. He will probably be included on Saturday night, and it will be nice to see the "Village People" once more, but not quite like a brand new beautifully skated program.

More comments from other skating fans

How dare they chack Rudy!


 "One final thought: I wish they hadn't chacked Rudy. I always love his programs. (I bet the producers were feeling a little bad about this when he ended up beating Illia in the short program). I hope this doesn't become a trend. (Rudy being chacked, that is.)"


 "Unless I just missed something Rudy Galindo was just chacked. Anyone know why?"

 "No, but I'm really, really sad about it. I've been so looking forward to his "Over the Rainbow" number. It (and Browning's Mercutio program) were the main reasons I tuned in tonight. ABC folks, if you're reading, thank you for a beautiful program and would you please consider including "Over the Rainbow" on Saturday's broadcast?"

 --Lorrie Kim

 "Yes, please, I'd like to see Rudy, too."


 "Last night I felt unusually sad, even depressed. I didn't know : why. I'd had a good day, and the skating telecast had been fabulous. I : finally figured out (to my surprise) that it was because Galindo's "Over the Rainbow" number had been omitted."

 ---Lorrie Kim

 "Well, I felt disappointed - mainly because it was such a fine and varied evening of skating, particularly with the men, and where was Rudy?"

 --Ellen B. Edgerton

 "I too was really pissed that they cut Rudy from the broadcast. I was really looking forward to seeing it, especially since I've already seen Todd, Phillippe & Illia's program. I know he'll be on Saturday night, but I've already seen the Village people program before. It really wasn't fair that he was the only person not shown. Instinctively, I thought, ok, it's primetime on ABC, the schmucks at ABC are too chicken to show something that has an implication of homosexuality. Sheesh. To be honest, I'd have much rather see Rudy's Rainbow than Tonia last night."


 "Oh, come on, Marlene. Showing someone's program was *less* important than showing the profile of Michelle? Ohh! She went to Hawaii! Gasp! She likes strong colours! Be still, my beating heart! They *easily* could have pulled that piece of fluff and shown Rudy's program."


 "I think it's a network double standard. It's more acceptable in their eyes for a woman to present herself as an S&M sex object than for a man to present himself unabashedly as gay. Unless he's on a sitcom, where it's acceptable, because there he will be a comic character and you can laugh at him.

 "Note that the networks don't appear to have similar problems with Rudy's Village People number, probably because it's a means of having fun with gay stereotypes, rather than something that sends a serious "message of gayness."


 "Do they mean to tell us they couldn't come up with 5 minutes to include Rudy's performance? Who do they think he is, Rodney Dangerfield or something (get it-no respect,heh,heh)"


 "I could not believe that every competitor was shown except Rudy!!! How incredibly rude of ABC. I love Michelle Kwan but I could've done without vacation comments and seen Rudy's program. It would've been a better trade- off. I hate to see one person treated so unfairly. Especially since Rudy was the hometown boy."


 "I think it is rude to exclude a skater like that!! I admire Michelle greatly but would have rather seen Rudy skate than have her and others interviewed like that. And they could leave out the promos to the event that we are already watching and the hyping between programs!! If they left that out they might have been able to show the rest of the men's competition almost! I was looking forward to seeing Rudy skate tonight with everyone else."


 "Could it be that ABC chose to exlude Rudy because his "Over the Rainbow" number was skated with a large rainbow colored scarf which is the international symbol of the Gay & Lesbian community? He performed most of the number with the scarf around his neck and then the last minute or so with the scarf proudly held out with both hands (even durning spins and a jump). It was a beautiful performance techinically (he did a perfect triple Axel) and artistically. I'm glad I was there to see what ABC wouldn't show!"


 "I think it was very rude of ABC to excluded Rudy's skating. I would have like to seen it. I agreed, there were several things they could have left off and there was another skater in the ladies division who did not skate, Denise Bielman. It was reported that she was ill. This is a slap in his face. ABC should know better."


 "I'm very angry, in part because I really wanted to see the new program, and in part because with such a dinky event with so few skaters, ABC has no excuse to cut Rudy's program. I know Dick likes his skating, so perhaps it was some kind of "moral majority" cr*p."


 "So before we jump all over ABC, let's try to keep in mind that it might not have been their fault. If they didn't know what music Rudy was going to use, a week isn't much time to get permission to broadcast it."

---Cam - who wanted to see Rudy skate just to see what he did to beat Kulik

 Cam, "A triple axel."


 "I did wonder however if maybe the reason Rudy was chacked was because he made some negative comments/gestures about his low scores. I did think Rudy was scored rather on the low side."


 "What ever the reason, it was rude and I'm sure an embarrassment to Rudy. I agree ABC could have left the vacation bit out. I wonder if we will ever know the truth."


 "In this case, I could have done with a little less of Michelle, Ilia, Tanya, and Todd dancing and then gotten an opportunity to see Rudy skate."


 "Was anybody else totally cheesed that Rudy was chacked!!???!!! I mean, come on, the comp took place in the San Jose Arena in San Jose for heavens sake and Rudy is the San Jose home-town boy and he was chacked!!??!! Big time dis! ... my thoughts on the Rudy situation: !!#@$%*!#%! so I do understand why you held yourself in check. Turns out there is a Rudy thread on the Fan Chat board, too. Many were disappointed his performance wasn't televised. And it really was a lovely program, too. I don't usually care for performances which use props but Rudy seems very natural doing it."


 "I agree, jpeach, about Rudy being dissed. Glad I saw his program in person... "


 "... if you knew what a huge Rudy fan I am you would understand why I didn't mention his being chacked. You can't put in print on this board what I think of that situation. And to add insult to injury, Rudy was the first skater to get red pillow lips from a member of FSW."


 "I, too, was very upset about not getting to see Rudy (for whatever the real reason was). I very much wanted to see the new program. I had seen most of the other skaters programs before and was all set for something fresh. Also, I enjoy Rudy's skating tremendously. I hope there was a darn good reason for the deletion (music rights or something) because if there wasn't, then I'd have to say that someone is not being fair to Rudy."


 "ABC should have showed Rudy. Rainbow scarf or no r/scarf, gay or not, he was entitiled to the same treatment as the other skaters. He is not the first gay f/skater there ever was nor will he be the last. I think people, like myself, admire him because of his peserverence and all the hurdles that he had to overcome to get where he is today. I think he skates some good routines and he always has such a variety, he is lively and entertaining fun not boring to watch and you never know what he is going to pull off next. It was unfair ABC and I think they owe Rudy one! "


 Now that we have seen the technical and the artistic programs for the ladies and the men (EXCEPT FOR RUDY'S TECHNICAL PROGRAM) I find that I do not like pro-ams much at all. Where are the eligibles anyway. Except for Michelle, the rest of the ladies are pros and Todd and Ilyia say that they will skate anyway if the ISU decides in its infinite wisdom to rescind its sanction of the future events. Thus it will be a professional competition anyway. Yet here they were being judged by ISU judges. I think Rudy got ripped.


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Last updated May 20, 2001