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Better Know a Blogger: Required Elements Laura Spadanuta

Figure skating takes over the nation's consciousness during every Winter Olympics and, as expected, it has done just that once again during Vancouver 2010.  We have a great figure skating blog called Required Elements and our writer is Laura Spadanuta. She has been up late night, covering every single big moment of the Olympics.  So I figured I'd make her work a little harder during her busiest time and answer some questions for your reading pleasure.

Without further ado, let's get to know Laura Spadanuta.

Tyler Bleszinski:  Tell me about how you started blogging.

Laura Spadanuta:  I'm a huge skating fan, and skating isn't covered much in the national media outside of Olympic years, so I thought there was a place out there for a comprehensive skating blog.  Also, I write about very serious security topics at my day job, so writing about skating is a nice change of pace from that.

Bleszinski: What was it about figure skating that appealed to you?

Spadanuta:  I love the blend of artistry and athleticism.  There are so many different spectrums to view a skater through.  I like seeing skaters like Japan's Mao Asada push the technical envelope, but I also love that the sport rewards beautiful spins and musical interpretation.  I also think figure skating is a juicy topic. There are coach firings, judging scandals, and rivalries that are as intense as any you'll ever see.

Bleszinski:  What has it been like since joining SB Nation?

Spadanuta:  It's been great to be part of the SB Nation blog community and receive support and increased exposure.  I think I've attracted a lot of readers during the Olympics because of SB Nation who might not have found the blog otherwise. 

Bleszinski:  How crazy has the Winter Olympics been for you since you've grown more than any other site of ours during that time frame?  Are you doing anything special to try and make sure that some of those figure skating fans stick around?

Spadanuta:  The Olympics have definitely deprived me of sleep!  There were nine major events in 12 days, including previews, analysis, and breaking news.  I'm trying to remind my new readers that Required Elements isn't just an Olympic blog and that I follow skating every day.  I'm also letting them know that the world championships are just a month away!

I've been getting great comments and emails throughout the Olympics.  The added attention has helped me make improvements to the blog already and hopefully I will continue to learn from the experience.

Bleszinski: Who is your all-time favorite figure skater and why?  

Spadanuta:  1992 Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie is my favorite skater.  The Albertville Winter Olympics in 1992 was the first skating competition I ever watched and he's the first skater I can remember rooting for.  Wylie is the epitome of artistry on the ice.  I didn't realize then how rare his talent is.  He was also an underdog who came through and skated his best when it counted the most - that's what the Olympics are all about.  Additionally, he received the silver medal but (arguably) deserved the gold, which was a great introduction into the world of figure skating judging for me.

Bleszinski:  What has it been like blogging about the Vancouver Olympics?

Spadanuta:  The Vancouver Olympics have been the best figure skating competition I've ever seen, without a doubt.  Every single competition delivered excitement and high quality and amazing endings.  There are so many performances here that were truly unforgettable and will go down in history with the greats.  I think the judges got almost every single medal correct, and even though I didn't agree with all of the scores, I liked the judging trends I saw here.

Bleszinski:  What's been your favorite moment so far?  And how about least favorite?

Spadanuta:  There really are too many favorite moments to have just one, so I have to pick a few:

Kim Yu-Na's perfect free skate

Joannie Rochette's courageous short program

Davis and White versus Virtue and Moir in the free dance

And finally, Daisuke Takahashi's short program.  When I saw his score, I realized that Evgeny Plushenko was beatable, which I had not expected.

Least favorite moment was Russian pair Domnina and Shabalin winning the bronze medal in ice dancing.  That was hopefully the last gasp of ridiculous ice dancing judging.  Now, hopefully only the costumes will be ridiculous. 

Bleszinski:  How do you think the United States did compared to what you thought they might do?

Spadanuta:  I thought the United States did as well as expected on medal count and better than expected on medal colors - I did not think Evan Lysacek was going to win gold over Russia's Evgeny Plushenko, so that was a great surprise.  I also think the American women did better than I expected with the fourth place finish of 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu, who has never even competed in a senior world championships, let alone the Olympics.

Bleszinski:  Finally, tell me something about yourself that might surprise your readers.

Spadanuta:  They might be surprised to know that I perform improv comedy as one of my hobbies.  But I think you have to appreciate comedy to be able to get through some of the ice dancing routines.

Bleszinski:  Thank you so much for your time.