Some linguistic observations from my trip to Finland

This is about as total a break from the figure skating coverage as I can manage, I think.

My first experience in Finland was as an exchange student in 1988–89. I had not been back to the country (or indeed to Europe at all) until my trip last month. I can’t claim that I was ever particularly fluent in Finnish, but the exchange agency did arrange for a Helsinki University lecturer, Eugene Holman, to give our entire group a joint lesson in the basics of Finnish-for-foreigners: most importantly the phonetics, but also big chunks of noun and verb morphology. Finnish uses subject-verb-object order in clauses, like English and many Indo-European languages, but it shares with fellow Uralic languages (like close relative Estonian and more distant cousin Hungarian) a much more elaborate noun case system and, of course a vastly different base vocabulary — most of which I had forgotten in the 28 years since I left in the spring of 1989. Finnish also has some oddities that are not exactly rare, but don’t occur in English or most other IE languages: vowel harmony (certain vowels “go together” in words, which is reflected in changes to case endings) and consonant gradation (when a word’s shape changes in certain ways, the final-syllable-initial consonant can change length or quality, or in some cases drop out entirely).

Finland is also a country which practices official bilingualism: about 5% of the population speaks Swedish as their first language, and national and local government must provide services in both languages wherever there is a significant Swedish-speaking population. As it happens, this population is concentrated along the coast, where many municipalities have different names in the two official languages — normally English uses the Finnish name except for the few Swedish-majority communities, but this was not always the case. (I am deliberately ignoring the special case of the Åland Islands, which have a special autonomous status under the Finnish constitution, and which are monolingual-Swedish.) When I was an exchange student, they never actually managed to teach me any Swedish, although it was theoretically part of the curriculum — I picked up “et, två, tre, fyra, fem” by watching the lotto numbers being broadcast on the evening news, but that was pretty much it. (Back then, the two state-owned public TV channels, 1 and 2, had specific reserved times every night for Swedish-language programming, and if I recall correctly, the news in Swedish ran immediately either before or after the main evening news program in Finnish. Now there’s a channel 5 — erm, “Yle Fem” — which is exclusively in Swedish, although homes with cable or satellite can also watch the domestic Swedish-language channels from Sweden proper.)

Anyway, that’s a very long and involved introduction to a few things I noticed about language and culture on my return visit. I should be careful to note that these are not necessarily language changes, just things that were particularly noticeable to me after a 29-year gap when I was exposed to virtually no Finnish language or culture — I might not have noticed them before, or might have forgotten (see also recency illusion). I’m going to present these in the reverse order of how I noticed them, because that’s the order of increasing technicality, so if you get bored, it’s OK to stop before the end.

I mentioned above that Finland is officially bilingual. This version of bilingualism extends to public education and local government services, in places where the minority-language population is non-negligible, and to national government services everywhere. Helsinki meets the threshold to provide services in Swedish, and traffic signs, street signs, tram and bus stop names, are indeed given in both languages. Place-names in particular often differ; Helsinki itself is Helsingfors in Swedish, but some differ far more — probably only a local could be expected to know that Pasila, på svenska, is Böle, although once you learn that, to go from “Länsi-Pasila” to “Västra Böle” is less of a stretch. But that’s all government and public services: commercial Helsinki is, to a very large extent, also bilingual — but Finnish and English, not Finnish and Swedish.

Photo of a Helsinki commercial office building showing signage in different languages

The European Union has offices in this building, located at Malminkatu 16 in the Kamppi neighborhood of Helsinki. Note the EU signage in Finland’s two official languages, accompanied by monolingual Finnish and English signage for other tenants.

Now, it’s certainly the case that as Finland’s capital city and its international gateway, you would not be surprised to see a lot of English used in Helsinki by the hospitality industry — hotels, trains, taxis, and the like — and other places where visitors are expected to congregate, like the convention center. But the opening and modernization of the Finnish economy, since EU accession back in the 1990s, has brought a great deal of international business to Helsinki, and the working language of most multinational businesses is English. (Even back in 1989, the Finns I knew were fairly fatalistic about this: they knew full well that nobody else was going to learn their language, and the state made third- and even fourth-language instruction mandatory from an early age.) Expansion of university education and research meant hiring faculty and staff from other countries, and here again, English long ago surpassed German as a lingua franca. And finally, the EU’s policy of free movement has meant that both educated professionals and unskilled laborers have the ability to migrate from their home countries in search of jobs in high-wage northern Europe. My hotel’s housekeepers were speaking English when I passed them by in the corridor, and so were the German and Swedish professional men discussing vacation homes at the table next to me in a fancy restaurant. (And the menu at that fancy restaurant? English first, then Finnish — no Swedish, even though the proprietors have obviously Swedish names.) Even the signs outside foreign embassies tended to be in English rather than Finnish or Swedish (or the foreign country’s native language). In fact, the only international institution that seems to go out of its way to use both Finnish and Swedish in Finland is the European Union itself, as shown in the photo above — and of course that’s a treaty requirement.

This migration has had some political consequences. My time in Finland included parts of the final week of campaigning for elections to all of the countries municipal councils, and in Helsinki there was at least one candidate attempting to appeal to allophone (non-Finnish- or Swedish-speaking) voters. This particular candidate (who did not get elected, although the party list he campaigned under got ten seats) made a small handbill, in English, announcing his candidacy and noting that allophones now account for 14% of Helsinki’s population. (He also announced a goofy online proxy-voting scheme, which may help explain his limited popularity — about 2,000 votes would have seen him elected, but he only got 80.)

Photo shows a tall roadside sign advertising a new development

This sign advertises a large new brownfields/air-rights development called “Tripla” in the former Pasila rail yards. It’s in Finnish and Swedish, except for one obviously English word. The Finnish text translates as “Here is being built Helsinki’s second center”. (Swedish text cropped out.)


All of those uses are of course “international” in some sense. What I found even more notable was the extent to which English text cropped up in signage, business names, and advertising messages that were clearly created by and for native Finns — something which I don’t remember seeing at all in 1989. The photo above is a really trivial example: using the English word “by” in the sign isn’t required, and it’s the only text on the sign that isn’t either Finnish or Swedish — but it gives an “international” flair, I suppose, and it also avoids having to deal with the fact that Finnish and Swedish grammar would require very different-looking texts here, so it offers some notion of “neutrality” that the rest of the sign (mainly Finnish with some Swedish text in smaller type) does not.

So that’s the big picture. A much smaller, but equally noticeable, difference has to do with a simple matter of pronunciation. In my intro, I mentioned that Finnish has vowel harmony, which means that certain groups of vowels “go together”. In particular, Finnish has a set of “front vowels”, spelled y, ä, and ö, and an analogous set of “back vowels” u, a, and o, plus “neutral” vowels e and i, which prefer the front vowels but can occur in words with back vowels. (If you’re familiar with the IPA vowel chart, you’ll note that these names don’t quite line up with that.) As Finnish is taught, this contrast is supposed to be really important, and in particular since most of the case endings contain an a/ä sound, the vowel usage of the noun stem determines which vowel will be used in the case ending. (A similar thing happens for verbs with suffixes that make participles and infinitives.)

During my time as an exchange student, most of my Finnish-language exposure was from people — teachers, fellow pupils, TV newscasters — who were attempting to enunciate clearly and in proper Standard Finnish, and this contrast was always quite evident, even though I had difficulty hearing some of the other important contrasts like vowel length. In this visit, by contrast, since I wasn’t watching the TV news or attempting to make conversation in broken Finnish, most of my exposure to the spoken language was passive, from people sitting around me in the arena or on the train. And here I noticed that the a/ä contrast did not seem to actually exist, at least for unstressed syllables (like in kyllä, “yes”) or in the diphthong äi (like in ensimmäinen, “first”) — the a/ä in both cases seemed to be turning suspiciously schwa-like. My Finnish colleague tells me that this is widespread in the spoken language today, and a similar leveling can be observed for the vowel-length contrast and also for consonant “length” as well, but that if the speaker is asked (or primed) to enunciate, all three contrasts come back.

In order to understand this final bit, I’m going to have to go into the intricacies of the Finnish case system for nouns just a little bit. Unlike Indo-European languages where we typically use prepositional phrases to indicate locations of objects and the direction of change (“into the city”, “off of the table”, “like a marble”, etc.), in Uralic languages these are frequently expressed with case endings. (It’s hypothesized that there is a process that converts between case endings and postpositions, so that over time a particular postposition might turn into a full-blown noun case with adjective agreement, or vice versa. There are examples in Modern Finnish where a case has fallen into disuse and been largely replaced by a postpositional phrase.) There is a family of related cases in Finnish that’s usually explained as a 3×3 matrix with rows “surface”, “interior”, and “figurative”, and columns “toward”, “at”, and “away”:

  toward at away
surface allative
-lle
“onto”
adessive
-lla/-llä
“on” or “at”
ablative
-lta/-ltä
“off” or “away”
interior illative
-Vn/-hVn
(for stems ending in V)
“into” or “toward”
inessive
-ssa/-ssä
“in” or “inside of”
elative
-sta/-stä
“out of” or “from”
figurative
(controversial)
translative
-ksi
“becoming” or “in [a language]”
essive
-na/-nä
“as”, sometimes “at”/”on”/”in”
partitive
-a/
(it’s complicated)

The third row is a bit controversial, especially with the inclusion of the partitive case; it’s arguably a bit shoe-horned in, and certainly it doesn’t show the same sort of sound patterns as the other two rows, but it’s what I was taught back in 1988. The first two rows are all that are relevant to this discussion, though.

All this intro is just to explain the very first thing that struck me, in the announcements at Hartwall Arena during the World Figure Skating Championships. As you might expect if you follow the sport even casually, there are a lot of Russians competing at Worlds; Team Russia has three athlete “slots” in three of the four disciplines. (All ISU member countries are entitled to send one athlete, subject to technical qualification; countries get up to two additional slots on the basis of their athletes’ combined performance at the previous World Championships.) So the thing I noticed in those announcements: whereas skaters from every other country were introduced using the elative case (“Saksasta“, from Germany; “Kiinasta“, from China), skaters from Russia were introduced using the ablative case, “Venäjältä“. According to a Finnish colleague I queried on this, the usage of “surface” cases applies also for “in Russia” (Venäjällä) and “to Russia” (Venäjälle), although other senses still use the elative (my colleague gave the example of “talking about Russia” as taking Venäjästä). Back in 1989, an announcer at (or reporting on) a sporting event would have said Neuvostoliitosta “from the Soviet Union”, and never mentioned Venäjä, Russia, because it was the Soviet All-Union team then and not just Russian — and would be for another couple of years. (Those with long memories will recall that ex-Soviet athletes at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, competed as an international “Unified Team” as their newly independent countries had not yet managed to set up national Olympic and sports governing bodies, so the first time an official Russian national team would have competed in international figure skating would have been 1993.)

h/t: Prof. Tommi Jaakkola
minor edits 2017-04-16

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Administrivia: Promised posts delayed somewhat

I promised another post about Helsinki (which has somehow turned into three posts) and one about Reykjavik, and these are still in the works. Unfortunately, the trees in this part of the world are very busy having sex right now, and this has made it extremely difficult for me to look at a screen for long enough periods of time to write. Once the pollen levels are down a bit (perhaps after promised rains this Wednesday) I’ll be able to do a bit more. And maybe I need to think about changing my antihistamine again…

See you when I can stop sneezing.

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Wrapping up: 2017 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki

I promise this is my last figure skating post for a long time. You can review all the others by browsing the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships tag. There will be a few more posts, two or perhaps three, on the non-skating parts of my trip to Helsinki and (briefly, on the way there) Reykjavík, which still need some photo editing and a bit of additional research. But in this post I’m going to opine a bit on the spectator-sports aspect of my trip.

This whole plan was hatched just about a year ago. The 2016 Worlds were held in Boston; although I had been out of following skating for a while, the lure of the giant billboard advertisement on the Mass. Pike was too great to resist, and I attended a couple of the events (I would have seen more had tickets been available). In the back of the 2016 Worlds program was an advertisement for the 2017 Worlds in Helsinki, and I considered whether the bad feelings had been sufficiently put to rest in the 27 (now 28) years since I had last been in Finland. I figured that enough had probably changed since 1989 (I certainly had, being nearly three decades older) that it was worth a try, and I didn’t need to make any attempts to contact the people I had known (who hadn’t been in Helsinki anyway). First off I tried to find some people to travel with, so I wouldn’t be doing the whole thing alone. It took several additional months for that to fail to work out, which meant that by the time I was ready to buy my (solo) ticket package, the best seats were already sold out. I got pretty good seats anyway, although for my photography, “worse” seats in a different location would have worked out better. The organizers offered a ticket package including all competitions, public practices, and the post-competition exhibition, for which I paid about €650; I got all of the tickets in hand well before I had any of the other travel arrangements done.

I was not aware of which hotels were being booked by the competition organizers for the officials and competitors, so I booked my own based on online searches for good prices and public transportation accessibility. I decided to stay an extra day after the competition, with the incremental cost of another hotel night counterbalanced by lower airfares for returning home on a Tuesday rather than a Monday. The event itself would eat up nearly all of my time, from morning until quite late in the evening, from Tuesday practices through the Sunday evening ice dance final, so it would be good to leave myself some extra time after the event to decompress, edit photos, and actually see the sights of Helsinki — which I had never done, since my previous time in Finland was spent nearly entirely outside the capital.

The venue: All of the public events for the Worlds took place in Hartwall Arena, a 13,000-seat hockey arena and concert venue located amidst a railyard about half a mile north of busy Pasila stations on Helsinki’s commuter rail, and home of the hockey club Jokerit (“Jokers”) in Russia’s KHL. Signs in the arena were, surprisingly to me, mostly bilingual Finnish/English (not Swedish, Finland’s other official language) or trilingual Finnish/English/Russian. Unlike North American arenas, Hartwall Arena does not allow food or alcoholic beverages inside the seating area, which was a surprise to me and many other North American fans visiting for the first time, but helps explain how seating area was so clean. Unfortunately, the arena is quite far from restaurants or other non-fast-food eating options, and the competition schedule meant that most attendees were trying to cram meals into the 15-minute ice-resurfacing break after every second group of competitors. (Hartwall Arena does not use Zamboni brand ice-resurfacing machines, but rather a Canadian make.) I ended up trying all of the non-beef items on the Hesburger menu, of which I (to my surprise) preferred the “falafelburger”. There was also a Pizza Hut by-the-slice concession, which is just as crappy as the Pizza Huts at stadiums here in the US, and equally overpriced. The restrooms were also entirely inadequate for an event where the audience is over three-quarters female: the long lines from the women’s toilets snaked through the arena’s main corridor and choked traffic while other attendees were trying to get to the concession stands or the exits.

On photography: My seats were in section 103, next to the media pen along the short side of the arena (behind the host and Fuji TV broadcast locations), which meant that I couldn’t see the kiss-and-cry at all and couldn’t get good photographs of the skaters’ faces as they took their opening poses to start their programs — nearly all skaters start their programs looking at judge #1 in the far corner of the rink opposite my seat. This also meant that I really needed my 300 mm zoom lens, and in fact would have done much better with a much faster (big, white, L-series) 400 mm lens — but that would probably have taken me out of the “amateur” category the competition’s photography rules enable, even though I don’t sell my photos, just by sheer bulk of optics. (The rules prohibited use of a monopod or tripod, so my wrists would have been hurting by the end of the day as well!) When you see photos in my galleries showing the skaters up against the far boards, they have been digitally cropped to make up for the lack of lens length, but this comes at a cost, especially since my compact zoom lens has a narrow f/5.6 aperture at its longest zoom, making it difficult to maintain a 1/200 second shutter speed to freeze the action in those jumps and spins. (I shot the whole competition in shutter-priority mode with sensor sensitivity set to “auto” and shutter speed to 1/200, except for a few events where I tried using optical image stabilization and 1/125 second shutter — this didn’t work out because the skaters move around the rink faster than the OIS timeout.)

I found from my location that I was often using my camera just to magnify the skaters at the far end of the rink, even with no intention of taking a shot, but this was also pretty uncomfortable, watching with one eye closed and nose pressed to the back of the camera. The actual work of editing 1,400 photos a day (what my 32 GB SD card can hold in Canon raw format) after each day’s competition was quite taxing, hence the delays in publishing so many of these photos. (I still haven’t edited the rest of my photos from Tuesday’s practice, and after a quick review of what I have, decided that I probably won’t bother.) One positive to come out of this process was that I gained a lot more experience with some of the features of Adobe Lightroom that are intended to make this sort of work go faster, and by the third day was making reasonably good progress by batching together all the “motor drive” photos where perspective, exposure, cropping, and subject matter are or should be nearly the same. There’s no easier way to eat up your camera’s storage than by putting it in “drive” mode and holding down the shutter button! I tried, when editing the pairs photos in particular, to select shots and crops that clearly showed hand position and pose changes during lifts and spins, even if that meant more butt and crotch photos than I would prefer.

Pairs skating gets no respect. The first discipline to complete at the World Championships is pairs. Attendance at the pairs free skate was disappointingly light (more on that in a bit), and the TV coverage at least in the U.S. is minimal when they even bother to show it at all. The competition schedule puts the pairs free skate on a Thursday night (the short program is Wednesday evening) when many people are disinclined to stay out late or even stay up late watching it on TV, which is a shame because pairs skating has all the best moves. Sure they don’t do quadruple jumps like the solo men do — but back in 1990 there was only one man in the whole world who had done a quad in international competition. Meanwhile, the pairs skaters do the attention-getting lifts, twists, and throws that, as a fellow spectator described to me, are the elements that consistently get schoolchildren excited about the sport. Putting some more effort into promoting the pairs events, even if it meant giving away tickets to fill up the stands, would be a worthwhile endeavor for the ISU and the skating community generally. Unfortunately, of all the countries competing in figure skating, only the Russians (and the Soviet Union before 1992) actually treat pairs skating as a serious discipline worthy of talent development — which is how they developed a thriving export market in unpartnered pairs skaters. In most other countries (Canada may be a partial exception, but note that their number-three pair is half Russian), pairs is viewed more as something singles skaters can do if they’re not good enough to make their national team in singles — and of course, they’re tiny enough (for women) or strong enough (for men) to be physically able to perform the pairs elements.

This does highlight the whole problem of treating these athletes as representatives of their nationalities rather than as individuals (which is effectively the difference between “amateur” and “professional” skating since the International Olympic Committee relaxed its strict anti-professionalism rules in the early 1990s). The silver-medal pair from this year’s competition was Aliona Savchenko (a Ukranian woman) and Bruno Massot (a French man) — skating for Germany, where Savchenko has lived since she moved there to train with her former skating partner, Robin Szolkowy. But the results of this year’s Worlds are directly used to determine the number of competitors each nation will be allowed to enter in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which (unlike the World Figure Skating Championships) has no numerical qualification score for athletes. (By the way, I still think Savchenko and Massot should have won.)

Some concern about diversity: Figure skating is still, by and large, a sport practiced by privileged white and East Asian people. There are a few skaters in the competition from the MENA region, and some second-generation North African skaters in the various European nations’ teams, but the representation of Black people in skating has not gotten significantly better since the days of Surya Bonaly two decades ago.

On the other side of the ledger, the International Skating Union is currently dependent to a significant extent on the Japanese audience to support competitions like the World Championships. Of the ISU’s ten worldwide sponsors, seven are Japanese companies, and five of them do no significant business outside of Japan. Probably about half of the seats at the men’s and ladies’ singles events and at the practices were occupied by Japanese fans who had traveled all the way to Finland to see their athletes perform, and the in-arena advertising was in Japanese for that audience. Aside from the host broadcaster, the only ice-level TV broadcasters were Fuji TV. There is of course nothing wrong with marketing to a loyal and wealthy audience, but this does raise the question of what would happen if, due to retirements, injuries, or sustained poor performance, the popularity of figure skating were to decline significantly in Japan. Would the ISU be able to make up the shortfall? Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the primary audience for figure skating was continental Europe, and the primary advertisers were European leisure and consumer brands like SPAR, Intersport, Carlsberg, and Metaxa; could the ISU find sufficient sponsorships if they lost any of the current Japanese-market sponsors (Kinoshita Group, A-com, Japanet, Kosé, etc.) Compare, if you will, the degree to which the International Olympic Committee is dependent on, and responsive to, the billion dollars they received every other year from NBC

No love for ice dance? In a word, “meh”. It’s entertaining enough, but I don’t have the vocabulary, visually speaking, to have an idea what a good (or excellent) ice dance routine looks like. I bought the all-event package, so I got the tickets to both the short dance and the free dance, but I honestly couldn’t tell the difference among any of the top ten couples. In every routine, the audience would start applauding for no reason that was evident to me. I couldn’t even tell what counts as a mistake (beyond falls); one couple got a formal deduction for no reason that I can see. There’s really nothing that I can identify that is more or less difficult, beyond some of the spins and the lifts — and I remember well that lifts of the sort that all the ice dancers do now were extremely controversial back when they were first introduced. (Of course, I also remember when the status of ice dance as a sport at all was also quite controversial.) So I went to the dance competitions, but didn’t feel the need to take any photos even if I had had enough extra disk space to store them. (The ISU has worked hard to maintain the distinction between ice dance and pairs skating: pairs-specific elements are forbidden in dance, and many dance elements while permitted in pairs are scored so low as to not be worth including in a routine. The competitors in dance are always called “couples” in English, the official language of the ISU, and pairs are called “pairs”, even when, as in Finland, the same word is used for both in the announcers’ native languge. The one positive I can see to dance is that the elements do not require as great a size disparity between partners as pairs elements do: most of the couples are much closer in size to each other.)

Milan 2018: The ISU’s official calendar lists the 2018 World Championships as being “provisionally” scheduled for Milan, but I’ve heard from other sources that the organizing committee is very disorganized, does not have a Web site yet, never mind an arena or hotel contract. Contrast this with the Finnish organizers, who were ready in time to place the advertisement in the Boston 2016 program that I mentioned above. (Also contrast this with the sort of academic and technical conferences I go to, with significantly fewer attendees, where venue contracts are typically nailed down two or three years in advance!) I’ve also heard, again through the grapevine, that all-event tickets for 2018 are likely to cost about double what they did in Helsinki. Combine that with the fact that 2018 is an Olympic year, which means that the skaters will be training to peak in February, rather than March, and some top-name athletes may choose to skip the Worlds entirely if they perform well in the Olympics. On the other hand, there is also the chance that skaters may have a strong desire to redeem themselves if they perform poorly in PyeongChang, particularly if they are contemplating retirement anyway. Still, even Northern Italy almost certainly will have nicer weather in March than Finland, where it was cold, cloudy, and damp more than half of my eight days. Right now I’m keeping my options open; I might decide to go to Milan, if it’s not too horribly expensive, or if I can share the cost with someone. If I do go, I probably won’t be taking a thousand pictures a day.

That’s it for this round. If you’re at all interested in architecture or transportation, look for posts on Helsinki and Reykjavík later this week. Thanks for your attention, and to my regular blog followers, thanks for putting up with this two-week-long digression from my more usual fare.

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World Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Free Skate (photos, post 5 of 5)

This gallery contains 27 photos.

And finally, group 5: Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — bronze medalists, 27 photos Evgenia was skating with ten stitches in her leg after an accident in the morning practice session. Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang (CHN) — 4 photos (sorry!) Aliona Savchenko/Bruno … Continue reading

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World Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Free Skate (photos, post 4 of 5)

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Group 3: Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim (USA) — 21 photos Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — 9 photos Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) — 17 photos Liubov Ilyushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) — 21 photos

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World Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Free Skate (photos, post 3 of 5)

This gallery contains 29 photos.

Group 2: Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) — 29 photos Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) — 9 photos Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN) — 8 photos Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) —

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World Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Free Skate (photos, post 2 of 5)

This gallery contains 41 photos.

Group 1: Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim (PRK) — 41 photos Anna Duskova/Martin Bidar (CZE) — 45 photos Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 55 photos Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Wndsor (AUS) — 14 photos

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World Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Free Skate (intro, post 1 of 5)

This gallery contains 22 photos.

It’s nearly a week late, but I finally finished editing the pairs free skate. Somehow I managed to get my priorities all messed up, such that I have far more photos of the earlier skaters (who placed lower in the … Continue reading

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World Figure Skating Championships: Pairs Short Program

This gallery contains 13 photos.

I did promise to get to the pairs eventually, right? It’s my favorite discipline, after all! The trouble is the competition schedule: by the time I had finished editing the ladies’ short it was already time for the men’s, and … Continue reading

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World Figure Skating Championships: Men’s Free Skate (photos, post 5 of 5)

This gallery contains 63 photos.

Group 4: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 64 photos gold medalist Nathan Chen (USA) — 35 photos Boyang Jin (CHN) — 47 photos bronze medalist Patrick Chan (CAN) — 26 photos Shoma Uno (JPN) — 63 photos silver medalist Javier Fernández … Continue reading

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