Today, the JGP USA concluded with the ladies free skate, and-spoiler alert-the altitude got everyone.
To put it in perspective: the winner fell, and all but one other skater in the top 5 had at least two falls, step outs, edge calls, URs, or hands down. That’s how bad it was.
For background, it was in Colorado Springs, the Land of High Altitude and Total Exhaustion At the Slightest Bit Of Physical Exertion. And I know this for a fact, because I’ve been there. I was literally huffing like a walrus after running up two flights of stairs, so I can’t even imagine what doing triple-triples in that would be like. But these girls’ performances left nothing to the imagination, and that is not a good thing.
Let’s discuss the winner.
1st place: Yuna Shiraiwa, Japan-164.50
Yuna had a good short program, coming in 4th, but nobody expected her to win. Her charming Over the Rainbow SP won the hearts of many in the online skating community, but in the end, it was only a small glimpse of what she could do.
Yuna’s free skate, while the second-best of the night, easily secured her the gold, even with a fall. She dealt with the altitude surprisingly well! That and the lack of pressure (again, nobody expected her to medal) helped her win her first Junior Grand Prix. Great that she was able to prove herself here! A charming skater you should watch out for.
2. Marin Honda, Japan-156.44
Marin set herself up to win with a beautiful short program to Beethoven’s Spring Sonata. Technically almost flawless, she lived up to the hype, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. However, the soft, youthful feel of this program suited her very well, and she gave us a look at what she could be in the future.
Like everybody else in this event, Marin crumbled under either pressure, altitude, or both. Two falls, two stepouts and several underrotation calls-yikes, this was not a good day for her. However, the fun, quirky program was a joy to watch, and she’s shown herself to be quite versatile in her interpretation, which is very impressive for such a young skater.
3. Vivian Le, USA-156.08
Vivian was the heavy favorite going into this event, and that, added to the altitude, was not good for her. She stepped out of her opening 3lz-3t, almost falling, and got an edge call on her triple flip (i.e. it was a lip). The rest of her jumps were successful, and two of her spins and her footwork got level 4s, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the lead.
Oh, gosh…this was depressing. A fall on her opening 3Lz made it impossible to complete her 3-3, and she missed a double axel as well. Not good. But the saddest thing is that she was so close to 2nd, and that could’ve gotten her into the Junior Grand Prix Final. Two bronzes probably won’t. Oh, well. Perhaps Bradie Tennell or Amber Glenn can pull off a freak upset?
My other favorite junior, Paige Rydberg, was in this event, and she had a fantastic 2nd-place short program. Unfortunately, a meltdown free skate knocked her down to 5th. However, that’s still a good showing for a first JGP, and her FS is my favorite of the juniors this season:
A bit like Gracie, no?
And, on another note, I have seen so many JGP programs to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” that I’ve memorized all the lyrics. 😐 Thanks for that, kids.
Well, that’s it! Bye!