The ISU Skating Awards campaign deemed a success with a reach of over 10 million and 16 million impressions over three weeks and over 150,000 live stream views within 24 hours of the live broadcast of the show.
Although Best Smile wasn’t one of the categories at the inaugural ISU Skating Awards, it would have been almost impossible to pick a winner anyway as the virtual show was full of smiles, happiness and excitement. The skating world came together and this very special event united everyone through their passion for Figure Skating.
When Alena Kostornaia (RUS) was crowned Best Newcomer, the face of the 16-year-old lit up in surprise. It was like she could not believe her eyes when her name appeared on the screen. “I am really very excited, because this was completely unexpected. I couldn’t imagine that I would win,” Kostornaia said. “I didn’t even find the right words, because I didn’t fully realize that this big award goes to me”.
Two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) had mesmerized fans once more this past season with his unique talent and captured the last missing title in his collection when winning the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2020. Gracious as ever, Hanyu complimented his fellow skaters and acknowledged his fans when he received the prize as Most Valuable Skater of the 2019/20 season. The two-time Olympic Champion thanked the audience in Japanese. “Thank you very much for watching (the awards) until now. Thanks to you I am able to skate and thanks to you I can strive for my ideal skating. I am very happy with that. Thank you for continuing to support me.”
Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron(FRA) celebrated as they skated off with the award for the “Most Entertaining Program” that the Jury awarded them for their Rhythm Dance to “Fame”. “We want to thank you all for this great honor. It’s been one of the most fun programs to choreograph for us. Our whole team in Montreal supported us in our choice and they pushed us to go into that fun vibe,” Cizeron said.
The best costume award was another true highlight of the show: Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) incredible costumes for their “Egyptian Snake Dance”. Hanyu’s noble outfit for his “Origin” Free Skating and Anna Shcherbakova (RUS) unique color-changing dress to her “Firebird” program. The joy and excitement of Madison Chock and Evan Bates when they were announced the winners couldn’t help but make you smile. “I wanted my dress to feel like snakeskin on my skin and I think Mathieu (Caron) and his team did an incredible job. For Evan's as well. He was the traveler, the charmer who enticed me the entire program so his costume is like he has been traveling, so there are rips and tears, but in a fashionable way,” Chock commented.
Shae-Lynn Bourne (CAN) could not have taught her students a better expression of surprise and happiness when hosts Tanith White and Charlie White announced her as the best choreographer of the 2019/20 season. The 2003 ISU World Ice Dance Champion has made a big name for herself choreographing for big names as Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS), Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) and Nathan Chen (USA).
“What I love most is getting to know the skater and bringing out who they are, no matter what the story is that we decide on that the audience gets to see who they are”, Bourne commented.
Four-time World Champion and Canadian skating legend Kurt Browning of course delivered some entertainment and fun when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Honestly just thank you skating world, we're all family and we all love each other and all support each other and I just love being part of this big wonderful family and doing everything I can,” Browning said. “I am so thrilled with the sport that I never want to quit and I want to be connected to Figure Skating for the rest of my life.”
Eteri Tutberidze, who was nominated for the Best Coach Award together with Rafael Arutyunyan and Brian Orser was not able to join the live broadcast but had sent a video message and sent her comments after she had won. “Obviously, for me as probably for each coach this (award) is the recognition of a path already done, work already done. Even more so as my competitors were very worthy. It was an honor already to have been nominated,” Tutberidze said.
There were not only words to be heard, but also skating to be seen in the show that featured footage of the nominees’ programs and a special production by Art on Ice that included many top skaters. Guest star Aloe Blacc performed his new single “My Way” from his new album “All Love Everything” that will be released in October.
The ISU Skating Awards show gave the Skating community and fans from all over the world not only great entertainment but sent a positive and encouraging sign. “These are challenging and uncertain times which we’re navigating so as the COVID 19 Pandemic continues. Let us support one another and our Figure Skating community in every way we can,” host Tanith White said at the beginning of the show.
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