20 of the Best Skating Programs from the Fall of 2016

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6. Carolina Kostner (ITA): Long Program

When she stepped off the World podium in 2014, no one truly expected to see Carolina Kostner compete again. When she received a lengthy ban for lying to doping officials about her then boyfriend’s whereabouts, it seemed to only confirm the likely. But Kostner fought it, got her ban reduced, and now she’s back and competing again. Already it looks like she might be ready to pick up not far from where she left off.

Part of that is this long program, choreographed by Lori Nichol to Antonio Vivaldi’s “Nisi Dominus (Cum Dederit).” Kostner does best with poetic long programs, sometimes ones that require a delicate touch. This is a bit bolder a program than those, something that makes use of her strength and speed as well. Nonetheless, it’s appropriate balletic, a good vehicle for Italy’s prima ballerina on ice. It’s a program a number of skaters couldn’t pull off; they’d be too forceful. But Kostner has been pulling off such programs all her career. It helps her with the judges, to show them things many of her competitors can’t.

She doesn’t yet have the ability to match the technical content of those who have come to the top since she left. But with works of art like this one, she might not need it, or at least not all of it.