Figure Skaters Online

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Rink side: November 23-29, 2009

Figure Skaters Online wraps-up some of the noteworthy figure skating headlines and stories of the week.

Andrei Lutai to miss Olympics after arrest in U.S.

Andrei Lutai, the Russian figure skater arrested on suspicion of stealing a car and driving drunk in the United States last week, has been handed a one-year ban that will keep him out of the Winter Olympics.

“For violating ethical norms of an athlete, the executive board excluded Andrei Lutai from the national team for a period of one year until Nov. 15, 2010,” Russia’s Figure Skating Federation (RFSF) said in a statement on Wednesday to the press, including Reuters.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto withdraw from Grand Prix Final

Five-time U.S. ice dancing champions Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto announced today they will not compete at the 2009 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 3-6, due to illness. Read the statement from U.S. Figure Skating.

• Brian Joubert withdraws from Grand Prix Final

The Ice Network reported that the French Federation officially announced that Brian Joubert would not participate in the Grand Prix Final, to be held in Tokyo, Dec. 3-6, 2010. The 2007 World gold medalist injured himself Wednesday, while training in his home town of Poitiers. Joubert underwent a successful operation Thursday, but no date is set at the moment for his return to the ice.

• Ashley Wagner seeks to fill role as United States favorite

Among the top women in the mix to make the United States Olympic team, only one qualified for the Grand Prix Final: Ashley Wagner, an 18-year-old from Alexandria, Va. She reached the Grand Prix Final based on her second-place finish at the Grand Prix event in Russia and on her third-place finish at the event in Japan.

“It’s really amazing that I’ll be the only one from the U.S. there because I think it gives me an upper hand at nationals,” said Wagner said to the New York Times.  “I’m excited because I think it gives me a huge confidence boost and gives me an advantage and an edge over everyone else.”

U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame announces Class of 2010 nominees

U.S. Figure Skating announced the official nominations for the Class of 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame ballot. The Class of 2010 nominees represents an elite group of individuals who have met the criteria established by U.S. Figure Skating’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee. According to a release from U.S. Figure Skating, the nominees include Olympic Champion Sarah Hughes.

• Lake Placid skater in contest to blog at 2010 Olympics

A Lake Placid figure and speed skater and blogger is in a contest to blog at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Christie Sausa, 19, founder and author of the blog Lake Placid Skater, is one of the five semifinalists in the student category of the Microsoft Office Winter Games Blogging Contest.

She has dreamed of going to the Olympic Winter Games since the time she was 2 years old and watched Kristi Yamaguchi skate at the 1992 Games. “I was inspired to figure skate and reach the same heights. Although I didn’t quite achieve that goal, I would love to represent the sport I love in the Olympics as media,” Sausa told U.S. Figure Skating.