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The Goodbye Post

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This is the most difficult post to write. Life out in the real world, it seems, has gotten in the way of being able to follow and write about figure skating news and competitions as well as I would like. So, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue Required Elements. I have had an amazing time and I've learned so much through sharing figure skating news and analysis with you over the past four-and-a-half years since starting this blog.

Some of the memorable things that have happened during that time:

-Quads were gone and then they came back, and Brandon Mroz got credit for landing a quadruple lutz in competition

-A North American team won ice dancing gold at the Olympics

-Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first American world ice dancing champions

-It was the 50th anniversary of a plane crash that took many lives and devastated U.S. Figure Skating; a documentary highlighted those lives and the crash's impact on figure skating

-I was lucky enough to liveblog several world championship events as well as the Olympics, not to mention Grand Prix events

-An earthquake devastated Japan and nearly led to the cancellation of the 2011 world championships

-Shen and Zhao had a heartwarming and successful comeback

-Coaches were fired, often controversially

-Nicole Bobek did time for her participation in a meth ring and then had a comeback

-Daisuke Takahashi remained mesmerizing

-Patrick Chan lived up to the hype

-we got to see outfits like this and this and this and so many more

-Skaters danced with the stars and stars skated with the skaters

-The original and compulsory dances were scrapped and the short dance emerged

-Jeremy Abbott and Alissa Czisny and Mirai Nagasu won us over and broke our hearts (again and again and again)

-Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek's media-fueled rivalry lasted into a second decade and Lysacek became the first U.S. male olympic singles champ since Brian Boitano in 1988.

-Evgeny Plushenko won a platinum medal

-Zero American women won world championship singles medals

-45,697* American pairs split up (*estimate)

-Yu-na Kim delivered Olympic excellence

-Joannie Rochette delivered Olympic inspiration

-Feel free to add your favorite or least favorite moments in the comments!

I have to thank Brian Michael at Phillies Nation for his help in getting the blog started. And of course a huge thank you to SB Nation for bringing me on in 2009 and putting so much support behind this site. I am still a writer at my day job and I try to be funny sometimes in my spare time by performing comedy, so please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @LauraSpadanuta if you'd like to keep in touch.

A blog is a great way to get your opinions out there but it's nothing without readers. I can honestly say that my favorite part of this experience has been the feedback from you readers, both via e-mail and in the comments. I've loved hearing what you think about things. Thank you so much for taking the time to see what I had to say and for becoming part of the community. Figure skating is a beautiful sport, and it was heartwarming to find others who are as passionate about it as I am. I'll never stop being a skating fan and I can't wait to see how the sport develops and changes in the future, just as I'm looking forward to my next steps as well. I'll always appreciate the time I spent working on Required Elements and I thank you all so much for your support.

Goodbye and thank you!

Laura Spadanuta