Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Japanese Nationals - Men's Short

Daisuke Takahashi skated a flawless short program that included a clean quad toe-triple toe combination (the first I ever recall him landing offhand) - he scored 96.05 (50.70 TE 45.35 PCS = 96.05.)

Takahiko Kozuka also skated a clean short and is second with 85.60 (45.30 TE 40.30 PCS = 85.60).

Tatsuki Machida

Yuzuru Hanyu

Kento Nakamura

Keiji Tanaka

Shoma Uno

Yoji Tubio (no video available to my knowledge)

Daisuke Murakami

Akio Sasaki

Ryuju Hino

Takahito Mura

 See here for scores

Note: Yuzuru Hanyu was originally in third place, but there was some sort of mistake and he is now in fourth behind Tatsuki Machida (by a small margin, but fourth nonetheless.).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trophee Eric Bompard: Short Program Results

Men's Short Results

Pairs Short Results

Ladies Short Results

Short Dance Results

Trophee Eric Bompard: A Preview

Ice Dance: Virtue/Moir will be competing here and are certainly the favorites to win. I'm glad to see that Pechalat/Bourzat are competing after his bout with the flu - they'll likely take silver. I'm curious to see how close to Virtue/Moir they can get and am looking forward to seeing their free dance again. The battle for bronze looks like it will be between Cappellini/Lanotte and Ilinykh/Katsalopov both of whom have already won bronze on the Grand Prix this season (although Ilinykh reportedly hurt her knee last week at NHK Trophy, so it remains to be seen how healthy and ready to compete she will be here.).

Pairs: I think Volosozhar/Trankov shouldn't really have any trouble winning here. Bazarova/Larionov also could place quite well here, but Bazarova often underrotates, two foots, or simply falls on their jumps, so I don't think a silver is a given for them. Duhamel/Radford and Evora/Ladwig look like they could be in it for the bronze. Also, Stolbova/Klimov medaled at Junior Worlds twice consecutively and  finished 5th at Skate America last season and could be ones to watch out for here.

Ladies: Carolina Kostner, Alissa Czisny, and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva have all won a Grand Prix already this season. I think Alissa and Carolina might have the edge due to their stronger PCS, but if they falter technically while Elizaveta is clean or near it, her jumps could put her ahead. Kanako Murakami struggled at her last Grand Prix, but her skating is looking more mature this season. If she can keep her jumps together, she might just be able to grab a medal here.

Men: Patrick Chan will almost certainly leave with the gold here; I'm curious to see how he is scored here in comparison to Daisuke Takahashi's from NHK. It's a bit of a toss up when it comes to who else will medal. Michal Brezina won Skate America, but his score wasn't very impressive, he did not attempt a quad (though he has stated that he definitely plans to try some here) and he isn't the most consistent of skaters. Nobunari Oda is a consistent jumper and has begun to land quads again, but is still coming back from his knee issue. Florent Amodio did not start his season off well at all and will want to get things back on track here; if he gains back the consistency he had last season in addition to at least rotating his quad, he could be a factor. Nan Song surprised just about everyone by snagging the bronze at Cup of China with an impressive technical performance in the freeskate. I'm kind of doubtful that he'll be able to duplicate that here, but if he goes clean, it could definitely be interesting. Lastly, Adam Rippon (my personal favorite at this event) is another one that has medal potential, but he'll likely need others to make mistakes in order for him to do so - he struggled with his triple axels at Skate Canada and while he's attempting a quad lutz, I'm not sure he'll be able to pull it off on competitive ice quite yet.

Event Page
Icenetwork's live stream schedule

Monday, November 14, 2011

NHK Trophy Men's and Ladies Results

Daisuke Takahashi landed his first successful quad flip attempt in the 6 minute warmup before his freeskate. (Above is a slow mo clip of it)

He didn't land his quad flip attempt in his freeskate, but he still won NHK by nearly 25 points after a dazzling program. His spins are showing a lot of improvement,  his skating skills (which, in my opinion, were already very good) are better than ever, and his jumps are looking easier.

Men's Freeskate Results
Overall Results

Akiko Suzuki held off Mao Asada to win by less than two points overall after the latter won the freeskate with a better performance than she's given in some time and one that should give her and her fans hope for this season.

Ladies Freeskate Results
Overall Results

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Daisuke Takahashi leads after the men's short program with a personal best of 90.43 points (also the best men's short score of the season).

Brandon Mroz finish 3rd in the short program after landing the first quad lutz ever landed in international competition

Men's Short Results

Free Dance Results
Ice Dance Overall Results

Pairs Freeskate Results
Pairs Overall Results

Friday, November 11, 2011

ISU GP NHK Trophy - Akiko SUZUKI - SP

Akiko Suzuki is in first place after the ladies short with 66.55 points, the highest ladies short score of the season!

Ladies Short Results

Pairs Short Results

Short Dance Results

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NHK Trophy: A Preview

Pairs: Savchenko/Szolkowy are definitely the team to beat, but they'll have more competition this time in Kavaguti/Smirnov. Takahashi/Tran and Iliushechkeni/Maisuradze should be the hunt for the bronze and Denney/Coughlin might be a factor, if they are judged similarly to how they were at their last Grand Prix.

Ice Dance: The Shibutanis, Weaver/Poje, and Ilinykh/Katsalapov seem likely to be the medalists in one order or another. The Shibs have beaten Weaver/Poje before, but not this early in the season; while I'll be rooting for the Shibs, it could go either way. Ilinykh/Katsalapov are the 2010 World Junior Champions and placed 7th at Worlds last season; they also changed coaches during the off season to Nikolai Morozov and this is a good opportunity to see how that has changed their skating.

Ladies: This event doesn't really have a clear favorite. Mao Asada will be competing for the first time this season; she's still working on correcting her flutz, but if her other jumps are being fully rotated, she's definitely one to beat. It still remains a bit of a mystery though - there hasn't been a whole lot of news from her in the off season and I'm very interested in seeing how she skates. Akiko Suzuki is much less of a mystery and is a threat for gold; her main issue is a tendency to pop jumps in the freeskate and that she often doesn't get the PCS that I feel she deserves. Ashley Wagner is coming off of a surprise third place finish at Skate Canada, where despite a fall and flutzing issues, she had an overall strong competition and showed a lot of fight. If she keeps it together like that again here, she could be in the running. Kiira Korpi doesn't have the technical content of some of the other girls, but she usually garners good PCS which, if she does what technical content she has well, could result in a medal. Agnes Zawadzki and Alena Leonova are two more wild cards here; Agnes has massive jumps but lacks consistency, often placing highly in the short program only to falter in the freeskate, while Alena nearly medaled at Worlds last season, but struggled at her first Grand Prix this season.

Men: The battle here should be between Daisuke Takahashi and Takahiko Kozuka, with Tomas Verner, as usual, being a wildcard. Daisuke and Takahiko both had some troubles at their first Grand Prix of the season (and have reportedly both had boot issues) but are still clearly the class of the field. This should make for an interesting matchup (and a stressful one if you're a fan of both, like I am). Tomas played spoiler at Cup of Russia last season, shocking many, and will be looking to do that here, but I believe he'll need his quad if he even wants a fair shake at it. There's a cluster of other guys that will be looking to move up to bronze; the ones that come to mind for more are Armin Mahbanoozadeh, Tatsuki Machida, Brandon Mroz, and Ross Miner. Armin had a poor showing at Skate America and will be looking to improve upon that here and Brandon Mroz has been landing quad lutzes recently, which could help him place highly here if his other jumps remain steady. Ross Miner had a rough short at his last event but came back strong with a solid freeskate; I think it'd be difficult for him to factor in here, but given how the Grand Prix has played out so far... it's hard to count him out. This is Tatsuki Machida's only Grand Prix of this season and he'll want to make a strong statement here to stake his claim on more international assignments. He's one of many good skaters that's had a hard time medaling at Japanese Nationals due to the depth and I'm really looking forward to seeing him skate here.

Event page
Icenetwork livestream schedule 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cup of China: A Preview

Pairs: This is possibly one of the deeper pairs fields on the Grand Prix so far, Zhang/Zhang, Kavaguti/Smirnov, Moore-Towers/Moscovitch, and Sui/Han likely being the major teams in contention for the podium. Zhang/Zhang led the field after the short program at Skate America and grabbed silver overall, despite not having competed in over a year. Moore-Towers/Moscovitch also medaled at Skate America and will obviously want to repeat that here, but I think it'll be more difficult this with the two Chinese teams and the Russians to contend with. Kavaguti/Smirnov have been World and Olympic medal contenders before and definitely have a good chance win over this field here if they skate well. Sui/Han are a very young team but they did well on the Grand Prix last season and won Junior Worlds for the second year in a row. They may lack finesse, but their big tricks can be absolutely massive, which often helps them shoot up the rankings. Americans Evora/Ladwig are an outside shot for a medal in my opinion, but a solid showing here would be a great way to build confidence going into Nationals.

Ice Dance: World bronze medalists Shibutani/Shibutani are the likely favorites for this event and look to win their first senior title of any kind here . Bobrova/Soloviev will probably be their main challengers for the gold. Beyond that, it's a bit more confusing with Carron/Jones and Coomes/Buckland having been World competitors and Lichtman/Copely who medaled at Junior Worlds last season. The newly formed team of Emily Samuelson/Todd Gilles will also be competing and I'm interested to see where they'll end up (Samuelson's former parter Evan Bates placed 4th at Skate Canada last week with his new partner Madison Chock).

Ladies: Carolina Kostner has to be considered the favorite at this competition. There's a few girls that could defeat her, but for most of them that will probably require mistakes on her part and excellent skates on theirs. Mirai Nagasu should be considered a threat, but her programs this season, especially her freeskate, are lackluster and she displayed very little fire at Skate Canada last week. If Mirai is on, I think she could take Carolina, but like Jeremy, it all depends on what's going on in her head. Kanako Murakami did extremely well on the Grand Prix last season (beating Kostner at Skate America even) and placed at the top 10 at Worlds; she reportedly is having boot problems but if she can fight through that, it's easy to imagine her medaling. Adelina Sotnikova is the 2011 World Junior Champion and will be making her senior GP debut at this event and will likely be a factor if her jumps stay together. Christina Gao will also be making her GP debut; I like her, but I'm not convinced she'll be in it for a medal. She does has a triple flip-triple toe that's been competition tested before though, so I don't think it's entirely out of the question.

Men: The battle for the podium here will be slightly less difficult than it was expected to be, due to Brian Joubert withdrawing because of a back injury he's been dealing with recently. It seems like there will be four main guys in contention, with a few possible spoilers should they falter. Jeremy Abbott is a fantastic all around skater, but how he places here will depend on his mental game; if he keeps it together he could come out with a massive score, but if he doesn't, he could end up off the podium entirely in this field. Artur Gachinski is lacking in some areas but can be a very consistent jumper and has a solid quad under his belt. Yuzuru Hanyu shocked many by placing second behind Daisuke Takahashi at Four Continents last season and while still developing (understandable because he's still only 16), has nice style and some absolutely gorgeous jumps. Nobunari Oda is not planning to attempt a quad here because of a knee injury he was dealing with a few months ago, which could make medaling here significantly more difficult with Gachinski, Abbott, and Hanyu competing; especially with all three planning to quad (to the best of my knowledge).  Kevin Reynolds, as usual, has the potential to play spoiler here as he'll probably be attempting at least two types of quads, but he lacks consistency and often falls apart in the freeskate. Richard Dornbush also has a quad planned and can be a steady competitor, but unless the others really struggle, I think don't think his odds of medaling are great.

Icenetwork Livestream Schedule
Isu Event Page

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Skate Canada; Men's Short Program

Elladj Balde (Canada): Edge called on his triple flip-triple toe that also had a slight stepout. Triple axel underrotated ,two footed, and fallen on. Slight bobble on the triple lutz too. First spin was nice, the other two weren't as successful. You could see he was trying to really perform, which is nice. TE 28.82 PCS 28.17 Deduction - 1.00 = SP 55.99 (10th)

Ross Miner (USA): Pretty sure this is the same short program he had last year (it's the same costume as last year, at least). Singled axel at the beginning and his triple lutz was a bit scratching and he only managed a double toe on the end of it instead of a triple. He got it back on track with a nice triple flip. Most spins were alright; the last one was particularly nice, and his footwork was okay. I'm glad Ross didn't give up and got the performance back on track, but it still was kind of bland. Something to work on, for sure.  TE 29.62 PCS 31.21 PCS = SP 60.83 (9th)

Denis Ten (Kazakhstan): He has nice speed across the ice. Triple axel was good in the air and initially on the landing too, but he somehow leaned too far back AFTER actually landing it and stumbled a bit (they counted it as a fall on deductions). His triple flip-triple toe was alright, followed by a lovely death drop and a triple lutz that was fine. Camel changefoot camel with an alright donut position but it slowed. Last spin was a combination spin with an A frame position which was done well enough (that position still is a least favorite of mine though). Footwork has some nice twizzles and other steps, but his arms got flaily in a few parts of it, which was probably made to appear worse than it was by the style of sleeves his costume had. TE 38.94 PCS 33.46 Deduction - 1.00 = SP 71.50 (5th)

Andrei Rogozine (Canada): Good triple flip-triple toe and a spread eagle to his triple axel; the landing had to be worked a bit, but that's was a rather difficult entry. The music randomly changed while he was spinning.. it was a little odd. Good triple lutz and a good spin after. His footwork was okay but his last spin was really slow by the time he was finishing it. TE 35.68 PCS 31.60 = SP 67.28 (6th)

Javier Fernandez (Spain): Nice quad toe to start the program! Man... I forgot how fast Javier rotates in the air - it's really something. Very good triple lutz-triple toe after that, as well as a good triple axel. His footwork went was really suited to the theme of the program; it was cute and done well. His spins could use some work. They traveled a lot and were on the slow side. Pretty impressive overall though... those jumps were ridiculous. He was very pleased with his performance; his reaction was adorable, haha.  TE 45.60 PCS 39.11 = SP 84.71 (1st)

Alexander Majorov (Sweden): His costume made me think that he was Richard Dornbush for a second. His triple axel was alright, but some trouble on the triple lutz; he pitched forward a bit on the landing and had to settle for a double toe on the end of it to complete his combination with it. He had more trouble on the triple flip after that, turning out on the landing. Sloppy sit change sit spin and trouble on the other spins as well. He tried to be entertaining with this Austin Powers routine, but it didn't really work for me; the footwork in particularly felt kitschy. TE 33.36 PCS 31.78 = SP 65.14 (7th)

Adam Rippon (USA): Haha, he made a great face before starting... looking confident. Good Rippon triple lutz to start and nice speed in general. It looked like his free foot might have touched the ice a bit on the landing of his triple axel, but it was rotated and he avoid falling out of it, which is still a victory for him. Triple flip-triple toe combo; the flip was alright but you could see on the replay that the triple toe was under. After that was an alright spin and his footwork sequence, which seemed a little clumsy - I'm wondering if he's just not comfortable with it yet. Loved his split jump after that, and it was nice to see his layback spin again. I'm not sure how I feel about this program; I think it'll take a couple more performances for me to know if I like it or not. Another great face after finishing his program. TE 36.61 PCS 36.28 = SP 72.89 (4th)

Kevin van der Perren (Belgium): Triple axel popped into a double to start, followed by a triple flip-triple toe and a good triple lutz. His spins are still pretty poor, but while his footwork wasn't done amazingly well, it at least had a section of one foot turns that are difficult, which is some improvement. TE 31.86 PCS 32.15 = SP 64.01 (8th)

Patrick Chan (Canada): First was his quad toe, which he put his hand down on and turned out of, followed by his triple axel attempt, which was doubled. Good combo spin but it traveled a bit. Triple lutz-triple toe was alright, and his flying spin and camel change camel were on the good side. Footwork had some nice twizzles and edges. As Patrick said in the kiss and cry, "Better than last year". I'm still not a fan of this program (which he kept from last season). TE 40.38 PCS 42.90 = SP 83.28 (3rd)

Daisuke Takahashi (Japan): The crowd absolutely errupted when his name was announced. Good triple flip-triple toe to start. Good triple axel! A flying sit spin that was quite nice and then an alright triple lutz. His camel change camel with a not so great donut variation and it was his slowest spin. His trademark footwork was gorgeous and he ended with a nicely done combo spin. I love the mood of this program; it's intense and  you could see as soon as he took his opening pose that he was ready to perform. This performance was more than I dared hope from Daisuke at this point in the season; it was rock solid technically and he really drew you into the program. I could not be happier with how he skated.  TE 42.41 PCS 42.25 = SP 84.66(2nd)

Skate Canada: Ladies Short Program

Adriana Desanctis (Canada): Handdown on the triple lutz to start, followed by an alright triple salchow-double toe combo. Her layback spin was nice but it lost speed at the end. Telegraphed double axel, she pitched forward on the landing a bit. Okay combo spin, then slow footwork and a slow spin to end. Her overall program was slow and her music had a strange, moseying feel to it which really didn't help.  26.18 TE + 20.96 PCS = SP 47.14 (9th)

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva (Russia): This is her senior GP debut. Opened with a very nice triple lutz-triple toe, followed by an okay triple loop and a very light, airy double axel (clearly a frontloaded program, but certainly an impressive display regardless). Her layback traveled, and her other two spins weren't particularly great either. Her posture during her footwork could be better, but there was some nice elements to it. She needs maturity, but she's still only 14... she has plenty of time yet and she has a spark about her.  33.95 TE + 25.62 PCS = SP 59.57 (1st)

Sarah Hecken (Germany): Skating to one of the warhorse pieces... Malaguena. Messy triple toe-double toe, followed by a triple salchow that was okay. Her layback could use a lot of improvement. Nice double axel, then she finished up with a couple of okayish spins and footwork sequence. Not a very exciting performance, but it seemed like she was making an effort to try to perform, which I have to appreciate.  22.78 TE 21.72 PCS = SP 44.50 (10th)

Ashley Wagner (USA): Opened with a very nice triple flip-double toe with a Rippon variation on the latter. The landing of her triple lutz was kind of hoppy and she flutzed as well. Finished her jumping passes with a nice double axel. Her spins had nice positions, her footwork was alright, and I really liked her outside edge spread eagle. I liked her program; it was pleasant and suited her well. The thing I like best about Ashley's skating is that she has her own unique feel about her skating that makes her stand out from the other girls. TE 30.02 PCS 24.48 = SP 54.50 (2nd)

Amelie Lacoste (Canada): Okay double axel, a good triple loop-double loop combo, and then a fall on an downgraded triple flutz. Rough day for her. TE 26.71 PCS 24.89 Deduction -1.00 = SP 50.60 (6th)

Cynthia Phaneuf (Canada): I question the design of the back of her skirt...  Nice double axel, and then she popped her triple lutz into a single, followed by a triple toe-double toe. One of her spins was alright, , the others weren't as good. Her footwork sequence that had a bit of sass to it. TE 23.36 PCS 25.34 = SP 48.70 (8th)

Rachael Flatt (USA): I actually forgot that she planned to keep this East of Eden short program, so I was a little surprised to hear it when she started skating, haha. Triple flip-double toe, triple lutz (that one looked possibly a little underrotated to me), and double axel were all completed fine, but her strange technique on all three is still there. That's definitely something I'd love to see her improve on - she'll get more height in her flips/lutzes without the highkick and could get more height of the axel with a different takeoff technique. Her foot position on her layback was nice and turned out, though it'd be nice to see more bend in her back position. Good speed on her footwork but the arm movements could be toned down still. TE 29.14 PCS 25.69 = SP 54.23 (3rd)

Mirai Nagasu (USA): I love her dress, especially the skirt. Lovely Ina Bauer to a nice triple loop and good general speed across the ice. Fall on a downgraded triple lutz, leaving her without a combination. She got it back together with a good double axel, followed by a very pretty layback spin with a good Biellmann variation (free foot in the layback could be turned out a little more, but honestly, that's just nitpicking, considering the overall quality of it). Nice spin position on her flying camel and her footwork was a little slow, but had some nice elements. She finished with nice positions but again, on the slow side. I love Mirai's skating, but I'm not really sold on this program so far. TE 27.61 PCS 26.12 Deduction -1.00 = SP 52.73 (5th)

Alena Leonova (Russia): Interesting pirate costume. Fallout on her combination, a triple toe-triple toe; the second was tilted in the air. Alright triple flip, then a singled axel. Her footwork was character driven but there was a lot of stopping and standing. TE 23.86 PCS 2589 = SP 49.75 (7th)

Akiko Suzuki (Japan): Good presence from the start. Hop out on her triple toe- single loop. Triple lutz looked underrotated to me and got an edge call. Nice double axel and well performed, difficult footwork. Her spins are some of the nicer ones in the competition, with pretty positions and alright speed. I really like this program a lot - it's interesting and she works it. TE 26.14 PCS 26.68 PCS = SP 52.85 (4th)

Short Program Results

Friday, October 28, 2011

ISU GP Skate Canada -- Daisuke TAKAHASHI - SP

2nd place behind Javier Fernandez with 84.66 points. My thoughts on the men and ladies' short programs will be posted later!

Skating Updates

A few pieces of skating news while we wait for the ladies short to start...

Daisuke Takahashi confirms again that he plans to skate until Sochi; also talks about quads and his readiness for this season, among other things.

Brandon Mroz's quad lutz was officially recognized.

Adam Rippon plans a quad lutz at Skate Canada; if he lands it, he'll be the first one to do so internationally.

Ashley Wagner and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir spoke to Icenetwork about this season.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Skate Canada: A Preview

It is almost time for what will almost certainly be the most... interestingly scored event of the Grand Prix. I'll give it to you straight - I am both really looking forward to this and yet dreading how the scoring will play out. In any case though, I'm certainly hoping for much better skating than we saw at Skate America last week.

Ice Dance: Virtue/Moir are clearly the team to beat here - unless they have an absolutely massive meltdown, I just can't see them not winning, especially in their home country and with Pechalat/Bourzat withdrawing due to Bourzat being ill, I don't think there's anyone here to challenge them. Cappellini/Lanotte and Weaver/Poje seem likely to be in the medal hunt. Also of note is the new team of Madison Chock/Evan Bates, both of which have been U.S. National medalists and Worlds competitors with former partners; I have yet to see them skate, but it'll be interesting to see how they do here, as a team that will be hoping to snag that third U.S. Worlds spot come January.

Pairs: World silver medalists Volosozhar/Trankov shouldn't have much trouble here. I think it'll probably a battle for the other two spots on the podium between Sui/Han, Takahashi/Tran, Lawrence/Swiegers, and Duhamel/Radford. Jessica Dube will be competing with her new partner Sebastian Wolfe and maybe they could play spoiler but it's hard to say, especially with them having skated together for less than a year.

Ladies: Like Skate America, there are a lot of ladies here that have medal potential. Akiko Suzuki did very well on the Grand Prix last year, despite less than generous PCS from the judges, and Mirai Nagasu could be a huge factor if she keeps it together in her freeskate. Cynthia Phaneuf will have the home country advantage and has placed in the top 5 at Worlds and Alena Leonova just missed out on a World bronze last season, so if their jumps are there, they're ones to keep an eye on. Rachael Flatt wasn't scored generously internationally last season, but still managed to medal at both of her events and make the Grand Prix Final and is often one of the more consistent competitors. Ashley Wagner has a different style than most of the other ladies and might do very well if her jumps are clean, but she is prone to two footed landings on her triples. Lastly, Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, fresh out the junior ranks, is definitely a girl to keep your eye on. Despite her youth, she is known for consistently landing difficult triple-triple combinations and there's even a video floating around on youtube of her landing a triple axel! The ladies definitely look to be one of the most exciting competitions of Skate Canada and I'm looking forward to seeing how this pans out.

Men: There are probably three main guys to watch out for here; Patrick Chan, Daisuke Takahashi, and Adam Rippon. In all honesty, I'll be surprised if Patrick doesn't leave with the gold here; he fell three times at the Japan Open a few weeks ago and still was the top scoring man. With his generous scores in general and this being one of the events with the most inflated scores, that's probably just the way it's going to be. The 2010 World Champion Daisuke Takahashi is planning to try a quad in both programs this season, but it's hard to say how ready his jumps will be considering his screw removal surgery in his knee a few months ago. I believe in him wholeheartedly, but he just simply might not have enough mileage on his jumps yet for them to be steady here. Adam Rippon started off last season with a bang at the Japan Open but fizzled out as the season went on. If he stays confident and he can control his triple axel and his new quad - the lutz, he has a great shot at medaling here.

Of course, there are other men who could be factors and given the events of last week, it'd be silly of me to disregard them! Kevin van der Perren will be fresh off his silver at Skate Canada and while I doubt that he'll be able to replicate that result here, it definitely proves that if more complete overall skaters really falter on their jumps, his jumping prowess could stand him in good stead. Javier Fernandez, Denis Ten, and Ross Miner likely all have quads planned and if they hit them as well as their other jumps... things could get interesting. Also of note is Chan's countryman, World Junior Champion Andrei Rogozine will also be competing - I haven't the slightest idea where he might end up, but I'll be keeping an eye out.

Here's the online streaming schedule.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Skate America: Ladies Freeskate (Plus a few notes about the event in general)

Skate America as a whole was very underwhelming and, to be quite honest, extremely disappointing this year. It was probably a byproduct of the off season being so short this year and this being the first regular event for top skaters, but even so - I NEVER expected it would turn out to be such a mess. I was busy the day of the men's freeskate and the free dance; I still originally intended to do a writeup on the men, but after seeing the scores and hearing from a few friends what a complete and utter disaster it was, I decided to spare myself the pain of watching the men's freeskate at all (save for Denis Ten, who I'd heard had skated an all around decent program and I actually did enjoy it a good bit). I did watch some of the free dance and I was impressed with Asher/Hill, Pechalat/Bourzat, and Davis/White, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how much the latter two teams free dances develop as the season goes on.

As for pairs, I'm really impressed and pleased with Savchenko/Szolkowy for attempting a throw triple axel in their short program; while obviously, it didn't pay off in that segment, I love that they're continuing to push themselves to improve and it makes me respect them more than I already did. And also, I found their freeskate interesting and hope to see a clean version of it in the near future. One last thing before I get to the ladies - it was nice to see Zhang/Zhang back after a year away from competition! Even if their programs weren't my favorite so far this season, it was strange having such a veteran team away and I'm glad that they were able to come back so successfully. That said, let's get started!

Elene Gedevanishvili (Georgia): Pretty dress, (though I think it'd look even better if the skirt was a little longer, because of the ruffles.). Very nice, huge triple lutz-double toe to start, followed by a singled triple flip attempt. Double axel-double toe-double toe, good. Triple toe attempt popped into a double toe-double toe combo. An alright flying sit spin, then a triple lutz she had to hold onto. Nice triple salchow and Y spiral. Two footed triple toe, followed by a combination spin that had some nice positions. Footwork that had some good difficulty to it, but it was slow. I loved her camel positions in his last spin. There were some nice things in this program and it's really a shame about the pops - her jumps can be quite nice.  TE 48.75 + PCS 49.46  = FS 97.61 + SP 42.91  = Total 140.12 (7th)

Valentina Marchei (Italy): Opened with an underrotated and two footed triple lutz attempt, followed by a nice triple flip. Triple salchow with a double three turn turn out between it and a double toe. Her spins weren't nearly as good as Elene's. Okay biellmann spiral, and a telegraphed triple lutz-double toe. Nice triple toe and a rough double axel. I really don't like the music or this program in general. Fall on an underrotated triple salchow that was somehow also telegraphed. Slow footwork and a poor spin to finish. TE 44.21 + PCS 48.77 Deduction - 1.00 = FS 91.98 + SP 43.19 = Total 135.17 (9th)

Joshi Helgesson (Sweden): Triple lutz-double toe, the latter of which was deemed underrotated. Underrotated triple loop that was also two footed (and the technical panel downgraded). Triple toe that was small but okay. Ugly catchfoot position in a spin, same for the spiral. Triple lutz, again small, and marked as underrotated. Triple toe-double toe, the triple was called underrotated. Alright triple salchow and another spin; it's positions and speed could be a lot better. Double axel-double axel sequence that was good. Footwork was kind of meh and the last spin was poor too. Her music got slow and heavy towards the end of the program. Not a good jumping day for her. TE 43.57 + PCS 45.38 = FS 88.95 + SP 45.03 = Total 133.98 (10th)

Ksenia Makarova (Russia): Her dress was a blinding shade of pink. Crash on her opening triple flip. She had nice speed over the ice. Triple toe-double toe was nice, followed by a underrotated triple loop. Very pretty layback position in her layback spin; biellmann could be better but it wasn't bad. Triple loop-double toe-double loop looked alright but they called the triple loop underrotated. Another underrotation on a triple salchow-double toe, followed by a fallout on a double axel and a handdown on a second double axel. Sudden music change to the Fox theme (the one from the beginning of Fox feature films) during a spin .. strange. Finished with a unimpressive footwork sequence and spin. I heard that Ksenia has a hip injury - I hope it heals well and soon! TE 45.20 + PCS 52.52 Deduction - 1.00 = FS 96.71 + SP 45.95 = Total 142.67 (5th)

Joelle Forte (USA): Opened with an okay triple lutz-double toe-double loop combo (double loop was underrotated), followed by a triple flip (underrotated) and a nice triple salchow. Her flying sit spin that slowed at the end and a double axel that was a little swingy on the landing. Her layback could be arched more (you might've noticed that I'm picky about laybacks and spirals, haha.). Extremely underrotated triple lutz that she fell hard on, followed by a nice triple toe-double axel sequence. Footwork wasn't particularly good and was on the slow side, and an underrotated triple salchow-double toe. Ended with an okay spin. A lot of underrotation marks, but I thought it was a pretty respectable effort for a skater on her first Grand Prix assignment ever. TE 45.43 + 46.41 Deduction - 1.00 = FS 90.84 + SP 48.86 = Total 139.70 (8th)

Viktoria Helgesson (Sweden): Those white fuzzy wrist cuffs on her costume..anyway,  opened with a triple toe-double toe-double loop, she had to eek out that last landing. Fall on a triple lutz that looked bad from the takeoff and was underrotated. Held onto a triple loop and then a slow camel spin that did have some decent variations. Big pop on a flip followed by an average spiral sequence. Good double axel and then a combination spin that could use better positioning and speed. Okay triple loop (called underrotated) -double axel sequence. Handdown on her last triple salchow and her final spin was very slow.  TE 44.41 + PCS 51.21 Deduction - 1.00 = FS 94.62 + SP 51.13 = Total 145.75 (3rd)

Haruka Imai (Japan): Nice triple loop-double toe to begin, followed by a triple lutz that looked nice but was called underrotated. I really like the way that she uses her arms; it's very graceful. The music changed from soft to very peppy... I preferred the soft, personally. Fall on a triple toe that looked under to me. Stepout on a triple loop, followed by a combo spin that traveled and slowed. Underrotated triple salchow-double toe and an okay biellmann spiral. Fallout on a second underrotated triple salchow and just held onto a double axel. Okay footwork and then a layback that had nice arch, but her free foot should be turned out and a nice doughnut position in the followed spin (though it could be a bit faster). It's too bad -she's pleasant to watch, even if I'm not a huge fan of the peppy music. TE 39.08 + 50.19 Deduction - 1.00 = FS 88.27 + 54.67 = Total 142.94 (4th)

Caroline Zhang (USA): Disappointing freeskate after a good short program. She had problems on almost every jump, save for her triple loops. Her lovely layback/pearl/biellmann spin is back, which is great to see. She said in the kiss and cry that she doesn't know what happened. TE 38.81 + 49.84 PCS Deductions -3.00 = FS 85.65 + SP 55.05 = Total 140.07 (6th)

Carolina Kostner (Italy): Pretty dress.  Good triple loop and triple flip at the start. She has great speed over the ice (but not overly fast like she's seemed in the past to me.). An alright spiral sequence followed by a good double axel and a spin that was on the slow side. Double axel-double toe combination was nice. Triple toe-double toe, also nice; I wonder if it was an intended triple-triple though. Very nice triple salchow followed by her sole jumping mistakes, doing a double three turn out of a triple salchow on her triple salchow-double toe-double toe and singling the latter. Her footwork was fine and she finished with a couple of spins that were slow, though the second was a bit better. Good skate! I'm not a fan of her skating in general but this was nice; the music suits her. TE 55.45 + PCS 61.67 = FS 117.12 + SP 60.23 = Total 177.35 (2nd)

Alissa Czisny (USA): Opened with her planned triple lutz-triple toe combination, but the toe was clearly very underrotated and consequently downgraded. Fall on a downgraded triple flip attempt, also given an edge deduction. Held onto the following triple loop and her spiral after that was nice, as usual. Nice flying spin, though the camel position wasn't my favorite. Second triple lutz okayish, marked as underrotated, then a double salchow and a turnout on a triple salchow-double toe combination. Nice double axel-double toe-double loop, ending with a nice footwork sequence and two impressive spins, including a gorgeous layback/biellmann. TE 51.37 + PCS 62.91 Deduction - 1.00 = FS 113.28 + SP 64.20 = Total 177.48 (1st)

I personally am not a fan of either Alissa or Carolina's skating, but in my opinion, Carolina deserved the win much more than Alissa today. She DID have less technical content, but almost every single jump was extremely well done, while Alissa dealt with several downgrades, underrotations, and flawed landings. I know the numbers ended up being very, very close and it's not like Carolina hasn't won medals when I hadn't felt she'd earned them either, but regardless - this didn't sit well with me.

Freeskate Results

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Skate America: A Preview

Here are my brief thoughts on who I suspect will be a factor at Skate America this weekend.

Pairs: World Champions Savchenko and Szolkowy should have no problem winning here. The bigger question is who else will be on the medal stand. Zhang and Zhang were out last season after an odd injury so it's hard to say how well they'll skate, but they've been among the best in the world for years and certainly shouldn't be counted out. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch, Russians Bazarova and Larionov, and possibly
Hausch and Wendes will all be looking to medal here as well.

Ice dance: Davis and White are the clear favorites to win, with Pechalat and Bourzat being pretty much a lock for silver. Who will get the bronze medal is more of the mystery - I'm leaning towards it being one of the two Canadian teams competing here (Paul and Islam and Ralph and Hill).

Ladies: There's a lot of ladies here who could potentially medal, but I think that either Carolina Kostner or Alissa Czisny have the most potential to win this event. Joshi and Viktoria Helgesson, Haruka Imai, Elene Gedenishvili, and Ksenia Makarova could all also be in the hunt as well.

Men: World medalist Takahiko Kozuka has to be considered the frontrunner here, with Florent Amodio being the most likely skater to challenge him. Michal Brezina is anything but consistent but he's managed to squish into 4th at Worlds twice, so it's hard to count him out. Last year's surprise medalist Armin Mahbanoozadeh will be looking to repeat here, with teammate and U.S. silver medalist Richard Dornbush will be competing at his first senior Grand Prix ever. Daisuke Murakami and Denis Ten are each a bit of a question mark, but if either go clean and others struggle, I could see one of them medaling.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A quick note

Hey everyone,

I don't know how many people are reading this or have noticed much, but I'm really sorry for how little I've updated in the last few months. I never intended to have this long of an absence, even with my computer situation being difficult for keeping this blog properly up to date with skating news and anything of substance while still keeping an eye on my other interests as well. However, with the Grand Prix season about to begin shortly with Skate America, I'm going to do my best to at least post my thoughts on the men's events, like last season, and the other disciplines if I can or I feel like I have any thoughts I feel are worth sharing on them (while I enjoy ice dancing and pairs, I know far less about those disciplines than I do about singles, so it can be harder to evaluate each team technically). And as soon as my computer situation is worked out again, I'll definitely be back with skating updates.

Thank you so much for reading this (and caring to read it) - I appreciate it so much! <3


Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011 Daisuke Takahashi SP

Sorry for the lack of updates still everyone... my computer situation is still kind of inconsistent, but I'll hopefully have my own computer set up with working internet again before the Japan Open October 1st. Until then, enjoy Daisuke Takahashi's new short program. =D

Monday, June 27, 2011

Grand Prix Assignmets

Let the madness begin.


An interesting thing to note about the men's assignments is that Evan Lysacek is listed for both Skate America and the Paris Grand Prix. Hmm...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hey everyone!
I'm really sorry about my extended absence - I've been having computer problems, so my time online has been quite limited. Once that situation has been resolved, I'll definitely be back to blogging as usual. Thank you for your patience!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jeff Buttle - 2007 The Ice Show (Japan) - Go The Distance

I had the immense pleasure of seeing Jeff skate this program live once, and I must say; he was absolutely stunning. The quality of his skating left me breathless.

Skating Updates

Icenetwork spoke to Javier Fernandez about some of his plans for next season, skating's growing popularity in his home country, and his Pirates of the Caribbean program.

Nathan Chen won the 3A award (which in all reality, has nothing to do with triple axels. =P ). He plans to use the $1,000 prize to train with Rafael Arutunian this summer. 

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin announced their partnership today. 

A couple of articles on Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov's coaching change to Morozov from Alexander Zhulin (use google translate).

Ryan Bradley talks about his plans and his expectations for the U.S. men next season. 

 Joannie Rochette has enjoyed being away from competition this past season.

Ksenia Makarova, Johnny Weir, and some others are skating in a cancer benefit.

Madison and Keiffer Hubbell have announced the end of their partnership. Madison will compete with Zach Donohue next season while Keiffer is reportedly considering his options.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Skating Updates

Ryan Bradley is retiring from competition. He plans to continue being involved in skating and is going to try to keep his eligibility should the urge to compete strike him again. I wish Ryan the best of luck and while I wish Worlds would have gone more smoothly for him, I truly look forward to seeing him skate in shows - he's such a great performer.

Sarah and Drew talked to Alex Shibutani about he and Maia's World medal win, their stop in Paris, and their excitement for next season.

Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali have taken back their retirement! 

The ISU fiddled with some values of elements, GOEs, and requirements for levels.

Evgeni Plushenko wants to become a legend.

U.S. Figure Skating's Coach of the Year nominations are up. 

Adam Rippon attempting a quad lutz. It looks around 1/4 underrotated, but I'm really curious to see if he can get it all the way around over this summer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Skating Updates

Daisuke Takahashi is not retiring and plans to compete next season. He says he wants to take things one season at a time, but has also stated in several interviews that he would like to compete in Sochi. Daisuke will be having knee surgery to remove the screw left from his prior surgery to repair his ACL and meniscus (this month, if I am not mistaken).

Daisuke also spoke to Icenetwork about his 5 favorite things.

Controversy abounds about whether or not Rachael Flatt should have competed at Worlds with her fractured tibia. While I am of the opinion that she should have withdrawn, I think it's more important to be asking why her coach Zakrajsek would even let her compete in such pain (and in fact, has a history of letting or supporting his skaters do so.)

Meryl Davis and Charlie White make history as the first American ice dance team to ever win Worlds. Alongside Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, they created another historic moment; it was also the first time that North America swept the entire ice dance podium at Worlds.

The ISU President gave out some more details on the team skating event for Sochi.

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin are calling it quits (despite their 6th place finish at Worlds...). She is looking for another partner while he is weighing his options.

Yu-Na Kim donated her prize money from her silver medal win at Worlds to UNICEF to help Japanese children.

An article on Alena Leonova.

Takahiko Kozuka talks about his flawless freeskate at Worlds.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Worlds Free Dance and Final Results

Post free dance interviews

Meryl Davis and Charlie White (1st)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (2nd)

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (3rd!)

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (5th)

Worlds 2011: Interviews I missed

Here's a handful of interviews I missed initially - if there's any more and you'd see to see them added, feel free to email me or post a comment with the link! =)

Ryan Bradley

Richard Dornbush

Patrick Chan

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin

Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov

Worlds Ladies Freeskate and Final Results

Post freeskate interviews

Miki Ando (1st)

Yu-Na Kim (2nd)

Carolina Kostner (3rd)

Alissa Czisny (5th)

Rachael Flatt (12th)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Worlds Short Dance Results

Post short dance interviews

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (1st)

Meryl Davis & Charlie White (2nd)

Maia & Alex Shibutani (4th)

2011 Worlds: Savchenko, Szolkowy interview after FS

Worlds Ladies Short Results

Post short program interviews

Yu-Na Kim (1st)

Miki Ando (2nd)

Ksenia Makarova (3rd)

Alissa Czisny (4th)

Rachael Flatt (8th)

Kanako Murakami (10th)

Scott Hamilton's take on the ladies short

Who do you hope will win the ladies title at Worlds?

Yu-Na won with 79% percent of the vote. The runner up was Mao, with 11%.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Worlds Post Freeskate Men's Interviews

Daisuke talks about his skate problem and continues to have the best broken English ever.

Brian talks about his freeskate & hopes for next season.

Michal Brezina talks about landing two quads in his freeskate for the first time.

Javier Fernandez also talks about landing two quads in his freeskate for the first time.

Florent Amodio talks about his decision to skate a program with LYRICS.

Pairs Freeskate & Overall Results

Worlds Men's Freeskate & Overall Results

Well, THAT was an interesting freeskate. 

  Freeskate Results
Overall Results

Worlds Pairs Short Results

Monday, April 25, 2011

Daisuke Takahashi Worlds Practice Vids

Mostly just blocked the program, did some footwork, etc.

A couple of failed quad attempts, but they were quad FLIPS.

Skating Updates

 Takahiko Kozuka won the qualifying round in a stunning fashion, his sole mistake being an underrotated quad toe.

An article on Rachael Flatt concerning Worlds and her future skating and college plans.

An article on Yankowskas & Coughlin, Savchenko & Szolkowy, and Alexander Majorov.

Lastly, it is Alex Shibutani's 20th birthday today! Happy birthday Alex, and good luck at Worlds! (see _skating for a celebration post)

Worlds Men's Qualifying Round Results

1Q Takahiko KOZUKAJPN165.0088.0077.007.827.547.717.687.750.00#16
2Q Alexander MAJOROVSWE136.6474.5662.086.325.866.186.326.360.00#13
3Q Michal BREZINACZE130.8767.8765.006.826.296.326.616.462.00#15
4Q Peter LIEBERSGER129.8969.9560.946.
5Q Viktor PFEIFERAUT123.2263.1460.086.115.686.
6Q Paolo BACCHINIITA122.2961.5160.786.115.686.
7Q Joey RUSSELLCAN118.3761.4357.945.865.615.825.935.751.00#17
8Q Kim LUCINEMON117.7859.0658.725.575.616.045.936.210.00#22
9Q Maxim SHIPOVISR116.4264.8651.565.464.865.
10Q Jorik HENDRICKXBEL109.5953.4557.145.865.645.645.685.751.00#21
11Q Misha GEUZB109.3954.3955.
12Q Min-Seok KIMKOR98.6750.2549.425.324.754.895.004.751.00#14
13Mark WEBSTERAUS95.8448.8448.005.074.394.794.894.861.00#9
14Justus STRIDDEN95.1648.0648.104.794.434.864.865.111.00#10
15David RICHARDSONGBR93.2047.4246.784.824.434.684.714.751.00#3
16Tigran VARDANJANHUN91.1648.5042.664.683.964.
17Mikael REDINSUI90.7944.3148.485.004.714.754.894.892.00#23
18Kutay ERYOLDASTUR86.6043.4643.144.434.394.184.364.210.00#7
19Stephen Li-Chung KUOTPE85.7138.5747.144.794.394.714.794.890.00#24
20Bela PAPPFIN83.4740.4744.004.504.294.394.464.361.00#6
21Harry Hau Yin LEEHKG82.3946.0936.304.113.363.543.643.500.00#5
22Vitali LUCHANOKBLR81.5137.8143.704.574.324.324.394.250.00#8
23Sarkis HAYRAPETYANARM77.2538.2740.984.213.894.
24Georgi KENCHADZEBUL73.7238.0635.663.863.363.543.613.460.00#2


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poll: Who do you want to win the men's title at Worlds?

And the winner is... Daisuke Takahashi, with 66% of the vote! Patrick Chan is the runner up, with 16% percent of the vote.

The next poll is now up! Vote and let me know who you hope will win the ladies title!

Skating Updates

So sorry for the lack of posting! I've been enjoying the calm before the storm that is Worlds. Updates will definitely be a LOT more frequent when it is about to start. That said, here's some recent skating news!

There will be a free Russian live stream of Worlds!

Japanese skating fans should be pleased to hear that Fuji TV will be covering Worlds.

A new Alissa Czisny article by Phil Hersh.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir talk about Tessa's injury at 4 Continents, and how the delay of Worlds has enabled them to polish their free dance.They have changed a lift to avoid straining her quad again.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White also believe that the wait has been beneficial, but haven't made any changes to their programs.They're trying not to think about the prospect of being the first U.S. Dance team to win Worlds too much.

An interview with Rachael Flatt.

The Final Round of Fantasy Skating is open!

Patrick Chan talks about his hopes for Worlds. 

Ryan Bradley talks about Worlds (of course) and competing against Daisuke Takahashi at World Juniors in 2002. 

Maia and Alex Shibutani spoke to Icenetwork about their five favorite things.

An update from the ISU. Of interest is the fact they have approved the idea of 3 new pro am competitions, as well as allowing (requiring?) seeded skaters to compete in 3 Grand Prixs each season.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Skating Updates

Sarah and Drew's latest blog, featuring interviews from behind the scenes at the annual Ice Chips skating show in Boston. They spoke to Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, Stephen Carriere, and Ross Miner.

An interview with Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat on their hopes for Worlds.

An update on Kimmie Meissner. It does not sound like she will be returning to competition.

Universal Sports and Icenetwork will both offer coverage of Worlds online. Article with details here.

Midori Ito will be competing at an ISU adult competition. This is the first time I've EVER heard of a former elite skater doing this, and I think it's quite fantastic. Who knows; maybe Midori will spark a trend.

Jeremy Abbott dyed his hair and talks about boots,quads, and next season.