Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Zamboni Zodiac: Astrology In Figure Skating


"We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born." - Carl Jung

No, it's not the dawning of the Age Of Aquarius, sunshine. It's time for The Zamboni Zodiac... a look at how astrology relates to figure skating and an in depth picture not only of how figure skaters relate to their astrological signs but what qualities that they possess as astrological signs that both help and hurt them in the figure skating world! When I sat down with a lap full of books (lucky seven to be precise) and decided that I'd write about this, I actually didn't even imagine how much certain skaters would really relate to their signs. I was just honestly so amazed that I'd found a way to combine my love of astrology and skating (next I've got to figure out a way to combine Hollandaise sauce and gravy)! I found it SO interesting to research this (you wouldn't believe!) and I honestly think you will too. Astrology, the search for meaning in the sky, has been around for well over 25,000 years in some form or another - perhaps much, much longer. It existed in ancient Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Arabia, Europe, India, Asia and Mesoamerica in so many different forms and has survived war, feast, famine and religious persecution. It's so much more than some horoscope in a newspaper. If you really study and acquaint yourself with astrology, it is an art and science... much like skating. Is it a coincidence that much of skating's 'royalty' fall under the regal sign of Leo? That one of the most FUN skaters ever to grace the sport is a Gemini? It's up to you to be the judge as The Zamboni Zodiac paints its picture:

ARIES (MARCH 21-APRIL 19)

Sonja Henie

Pioneering and courageous, it's no surprise that 3 time Olympic Gold Medallist Sonja Henie was an Aries. Arians are also known to be aggressive and selfish at times, which would certainly explain her determination at all costs to be the most successful skater of her time, male or female. The sign is also known for its sense of adventure and confidence. Debi Thomas and Elaine Zayak, World Champions both, are Aries and are fine examples of skaters that were fearless and full of energy on the ice. Janet Lynn and Stephane Lambiel, also Aries, were certainly courageous and pioneering in bringing to the ice intangible and ethereal ARTISTIC qualities that other skaters in their respective eras were not always sporting. Arians are also known to be very active people, avid LEARNERS that have the ability to laugh at themselves when things don't go the way the way they want to, certainly qualities any coach would love to have in a student.

Famous Arians: Maya Angelou, Johann Sebastian Bach, Charlie Chaplin, Elton John

TAURUS (APRIL 20-MAY 20)

Toller Cranston

Taureans are known to be very patient and reliable people. They'd have to be. Many famous skaters that are Taureans have had careers that have required more persistence, determination and patience than most. Look at skaters like Jamie Sale, who's a Taurus and had to fight her entire career to finally achieve the success that she was destined for. Another example of this persistence and determination in a skating Taurus is Lloyd Eisler, who made three trips to the Winter Olympic Games and fought through injury and judging controversy with his partner Isabelle Brasseur throughout their highly successful career. Taureans are always very well spoken as well. If you take that into account, it's no wonder both Toller Cranston and Rosalynn Sumners enjoyed great success as skating commentators after their "amateur" careers had ended. Taurus is "the sign of the bull" and therefore is well known as a sign that is very stubborn by nature at times... and a stubborn determination is certainly a quality that will help skaters "stick to it" and endure success as they take the long road to achieving their dreams. Let's hope Taureans Ashley Wagner and Tessa Virtue will be entertaining us for years to come!

Famous Taureans: Cher... bitch (hair flip), Eva Peron, William Shakespeare, Leonardo di Vinci 

GEMINI (MAY 21-JUNE 20)

Kurt Browning

Geminis always get along with other Geminis. I should know, I am a TEXTBOOK one. We also don't shut up. So, if I was at a party with fellow Geminis Jeremy Abbott, Tara Lipinski, Evan Lysacek, Maya Usova and Katia Gordeeva, it would probably be hard to get a word in edgewise. We're a fun bunch but we also are very nervous and inconsistent by nature, a trait that can certainly be deadly in nature. Look at fantastic skaters like Tomas Verner and Steven Cousins who we always cross(ed) our fingers for and have issues with consistency when it comes down to competition at times. We're a very physically expressive sign. We talk with our hands as well as our mouths and are all about communication and having a sense of humor. You'll notice Gemini skaters as a rule will be very expressive with their arms. If you think about all of those qualities, Kurt Browning being a Gemini should be absolutely no surprise to you whatsoever. One downside of Geminis as a rule is that we tend to hear what we want to hear. We tend to absorb information on more of a subconscious level. One big upside however when it comes to skating is that once again, we love more than anything to have fun and MAKE life fun even when it isn't.

Famous Geminis: Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe

CANCER (JUNE 21-JULY 22)

Michelle Kwan

If you tell a Cancer that they can't do something, they'll respond "why not?" and go out and do it. Dick Button certainly did when he was the first skater to land the double axel and triple loop, win 2 Olympic medals, become an iconic skating commentator and basically INVENT competitive professional skating. They're also very intuitive and imaginative people, ruled by emotion. They're traditionally negated as being a moody sign in astrology, but Cancers will actually try very hard to get OUT of their moods. If you look at their sense of intensity and imagination, could you even be the least bit surprised that Johnny Weir, Laetitia Hubert, Anita Hartshorn, Alexander Zhulin, Maria Butyrskaya, Angelika Krylova and Lucinda Ruh are all Cancers. They're not the only ones. Some of the BIGGEST names in skating are also Cancers, like Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Victor Petrenko and Barbara Underhill. Cancers are sympathetic, kind and emotional people and these are also traits that really carry over onto the ice, of course, as well. I could certainly never imagine telling any of them they couldn't do anything. One thing's for ABSOLUTE certain. I don't think I'd ever want to head to head in a skate-off with a Cancer. They'd win. 

Famous Cancers: Princess Diana, Franz Kafka, Helen Keller, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

LEO (JULY 23-AUGUST 22)

Dorothy Hamill

Leo is the purple sign: the color of royalty. How befitting that skating royalty Christopher Dean, Robin Cousins, Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming are ALL Leos. Although at times considered to be dogmatic and "pompous" by some, they are a sign that's full of wonderful qualities that would certainly help anyone in the skating world. They take constructive criticism well. They are broad-minded, creative and full of enthusiasm. They're honest and warmhearted. Just ask skaters like Liz Manley, Paul Duchesnay, Marie-France Dubreuil, Tanja Szewczenko, Povilas Vanagas, Midori Ito and Josee Chouinard. Are these not skaters that not only have all of these qualities but we can't help but just adore? In the world of competitive skating, however, Leos have one quality that needs to be "kept in check". Leos have a tendency to CONSTANTLY compare themselves to others. They'll obsess as to why they aren't 'better'. When they are able to keep this in check, they can certainly use this sense of comparison to better themselves as athletes, but if they let themselves worry too much about the competition, their sights may settle right on the gold... the Gracie Gold. After all, that girl is on fire.

Famous Leos: Napoleon Bonaparte, Julia Child, Madonna, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

VIRGO (AUGUST 23-SEPTEMBER 22)

Scott Hamilton

Being analytical and meticulous are qualities that help any skater succeed in competitive figure skating. Being
observant of one's competitors and reflective about the bigger picture of your performance are certainly things that help you win the mental game that IS competition. Virgos also finish what they start, which certainly boded well for 2010 Olympic Gold Medallist Yuna Kim, who again returned to the Olympic medal podium at the 2014 Games in Sochi in glorious fashion with a flawless performance. Another Virgo, 1996 U.S. National Champion Rudy Galindo certainly finished what HE started. Virgos are smart cookies who are very practical by nature, making them skaters who are not only aware of how to excel in competition but how to train as well. Think about John Curry, Todd Eldredge, Scott Moir, Jeffrey Buttle, Tim Goebel, Matt Savoie, Irina Rodnina, Petr Barna, Tai Babilonia... these are highly intelligent people who were/are very focused, well spoken and intelligent about the way they trained and competed. It's also no shocker that one of the skating world's most famous and successful members - 1984 Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Hamilton - is a Virgo!

Famous Virgos: Agatha Christie, Queen Elizabeth I, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells

LIBRA (SEPTEMBER 23-OCTOBER 22)

Brian Boitano

The sign of the Libra is the Scales Of Justice. Libras are very "middle of the road" people who see both sides to any argument... they are mediators and very expressive people. They are also absolutely committed to achieving their goals. Mao Asada and Nancy Kerrigan are both Libras and skaters that in their own unique ways have shown their undying commitment to their skating goals throughout their careers. Libras are also great lovers of beauty and this would certainly translate to their commitment to artistic excellence on the ice. Jayne Torvill, Sergei Ponamorenko, Elena Berezhnaya, Brian Boitano... these are skaters who all have demonstrated time and time again their commitment to presenting programs that were truly works of art when completed. In winning Olympic gold in Sochi, Maxim Trankov is a Libra who showed his commitment to an idea and that idea was this past season's "Jesus Christ Superstar" free skate this season. The Scales Of Justice certainly slanted in his favor, now didn't they?

Famous Libras: Ray Charles, Jesse Jackson, Barbara Walters, Sigourney Weaver

SCORPIO (OCTOBER 23-NOVEMBER 21)

Evgeni Plushenko

A lot is said about Scorpios and a lot of it isn't good: that they are shrewd business people, that they are ruled by sex, that they have criminal minds. They're ruled by Pluto, the ancient god of the underworld and the dead. Their symbol is the sometimes fatal scorpion. Giiiirl! You'd swear they were all politicians and movie stars! Scorpios have very strong wills and are very SELF-willed. They are skaters that push themselves to the limit... more than any coach, choreographer or audience could. They are purposeful and fiercely determined to achieve their goals. Evgeni Plushenko... he's a Scorpio. I don't think there's a better poster boy. If you think in a million years that Evgeni wasn't gunning for Sochi to achieve a PERSONAL goal, I think you're kind of blinded. Like Plushenko, Emanuel Sandhu is a Scorpio. So is Paul Wylie. So is Adam Rippon. So is Ryan Bradley What all of these skaters actually have in absolute common is the fact that they stuck with their goals to succeed long after people had perhaps written them off, with great success actually. Charlie White, interestingly, is also a Scorpio, as is Sasha Cohen. If you draw the parallel between all of these skaters, there seems to be such a determination and focus on the end goal. That determination worked for Charlie White, Alexei Urmanov, Anton Sikharulidze, Ingo Steuer, Tatiana Totmianina, Xue Shen and Oksana Baiul... just ask them - they have the Olympic medals to prove it.

Famous Scorpios: Marie Antoinette, Ruth Gordon, Rock Hudson, Sylvia Plath

SAGITTARIUS (NOVEMBER 22-DECEMBER 21)

Katarina Witt

Sagittarians are very philosophical by nature. Like Virgos, they are also very analytical, which certainly is huge when it comes to having a bigger picture in skating than the outcome of one practice session or one competition. One of the main things they really have going for them is a positive outlook and a sense of optimism not shared with every other sign. David Pelletier, Lu Chen, Randy Gardner, Katarina Witt, Meagan Duhamel, Surya Bonaly, Miki Ando... are these not skaters you often see with a big old smile on their face? Sagittarians are NEVER boring, with great senses of humor like Geminis... they always have people migrating around them. They're also late bloomers by nature, which would certainly explain Oleg Protopopov, who's still wowing crowds in his 80's at the Evening With Champions shows at Harvard University long after his Olympic wins in 1964 and 1968 with his wife Ludmilla. Their intellectual approach to any situation and friendly make them the kind of people who enjoy hear speaking in interviews - look at people like Caryn Kadavy, Jennifer Robinson and Brian Orser and think about them in interviews. Friendly, smiling and completely ON THE BALL and understanding and analytical. They are one of the most likable signs!

Famous Sagittarians: Ludwig von Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra

CAPRICORN  (DECEMBER 22-JANUARY 19)

Patrick Chan

Capricorns persevere. They are very willful and are all about endurance. They are intellectualized people who also have an underlying emotional sign but they are really very gutsy, gritty fighters which make them some of the most exciting competitors to watch. Meryl Davis, Joannie Rochette, Aliona Savchenko, Shawn Sawyer and Shizuka Arakawa are all Capricorns and skaters who we've seen 'dig a little deeper' with our own two eyes more than once. They love obstacles and crave challenges. What's that? Patrick Chan's a Capricorn? YOU DON'T SAY! Capricorns not only seek out a good challenge but they plan meticulously for it. Like Sagittarians and Virgos, Capricorns have great memories and are detail oriented. If you're a competitive skater, they are the people you want to watch out for. They're prepared.

Famous Capricorns: Joan Of Arc, Marlene Dietrich, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley

AQUARIUS (JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18)

Yuka Sato

"When the moon is in the second house... THIS IS THE DAWNING OF THE AGE OF AQUARIUS... THE AGE OF AQUARIUS... AQUARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIUS!" Ignore the imaginary haze of smoke, Joni Mitchell and hookah pipes... it just got a little psychedelic for a moment apparently. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging... Aquarians are insightful and make excellent teachers. They sop up knowledge like a baguette to gravy, which really makes sense in a skating context... many of skating's Aquarians have gone from great students to careers as fabulous coaches and choreographers. Carol Heiss Jenkins, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Yuka Sato are prime examples of that. They command attention, which in the context of skating make them the true movie stars of the ice. Philippe Candeloro, Olga Markova, John Kerr, Eric Radford, Alexandr Fadeev... all skaters you really can't keep your eyes off of if you were to watch them perform. They come across as stern sometimes but it's really just that that they are really quite introspective sometimes. There is usually much more to Aquarians than meet the eye - they are complex people... people of substance that honestly often give people the wrong impression about them. The real truth of the matter is that they're really good people.

Famous Aquarians: Lewis Carroll, Carol Channing, Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Woolf

PISCES (FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 20)

Daisuke Takahashi

Pisceans are probably the most fascinating and compelling sign in the Zamboni Zodiac, which seems appropriate they're often saved for last. They are very aware of their bodies and often have the deepest, most expressive eyes. When it comes to that awareness of their bodies, it's interesting to note how many DANCERS are Pisceans. They tend to be naturally quite streamlined and agile. What's also compelling about Pisceans is their imagination and depth. Gary Beacom, Petri Kokko, Stannick Jeanette, Daisuke Takahashi, Pasha Grishuk... artists all... are Pisceans. You also have skaters with very balletic lines on the ice like Radka Kovarikova, Charlene Wong and Denis Petrov. One thing I think you'll find very interesting is that Alexei Yagudin and Max Aaron are Pisceans, and it's interesting in that these are people who really excelled technically in the initial phase of their careers but became MUCH more aware of their bodies and how to move them artistically as things processed. It's all about a bigger picture and Pisceans are almost as stubborn (but not quite) as Taureans, so they have that fire to stick with it until they achieve whatever it is they set out to.

Famous Pisceans: Edgar Cayce, Albert Einstein, Vaslaw Nijinsky, George Washington

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