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