The second Grand Prix event (where has the time gone? *dramatic gestures*), Skate Canada, finished a few hours ago, and I’m going to do the highlights format I’ve used twice before. Let’s get started!
10. Highlight: Gabrielle Daleman finally lives up to her potential
If you watched the video of Gabby’s short program before reading the explanation of why I chose this as a highlight, you may (rightly) be scratching your head. This short program would’ve been a low point if used by itself, but that’s what the free skate is for…right?
…This is why I chose Gabby as a highlight.
She has always been a skater who had great potential but never lived up to it. The elements were there, but there was always something stopping her from doing them as well as she could, whether it was illness, nerves, or anything else. After a disastrous showing at the 2015 world championships, nobody was quite sure if she would ever be a real contender. Many wrote her off, and her short program only reinforced that. But this, one of her finest showings ever, was the complete opposite. She placed an impressive 3rd in the free skate and 5th overall-nothing to sneeze at for the 21st skater in the world.
9. Low Point: Kaetlyn Osmond makes a dramatic reentrance
Kaetlyn Osmond was the leading Canadian lady for several years until an injury forced her to miss the 2014-15 season. Her enormous jumps had placed her in the top 10 at worlds a few times, so many fans expected her to be a factor when she returned. When Kaetlyn recorded new personal best scores at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September, it seemed like they were right. And her short program at Skate Canada, while bad (she took a freaky, very painful-looking faceplant on a flying camel and another spill on her double axel), was scored high enough to leave her a chance of medaling. Many were anticipating a medal for her.
I…don’t even want to talk about this. But this showing does not seem like a sign of good things to come.
8. Highlight: Timothy Dolensky’s Free Skate
This was my highlight of the men’s event. Just gorgeous. I hope he can continue to skate like this.
7. Low Point: Yuzuru Hanyu’s short program
Yuzuru Hanyu, as an Olympic and world champion, was the heavy favorite to win this event (despite his awful track record with Grand Prix events), and he almost did. But this short program did not start him off well.
I thought he had it in the bag after the gorgeous triple axel at the beginning of the program. But then my wi-fi spazzed out and IceNetwork refused to play the rest of his program…and when it came back on, he was in the kiss and cry getting scores that would land him in 7th place. I didn’t know how that happened, and I wondered how he could possibly get scores that low.
A quick consultation with the internet told me everything. Read: he doubled his quad toe and the triple toe on the back end of his 3-3. The doubled quad didn’t count because it was illegal. The doubled 3-3 didn’t count because it was a repeated jump (even the 3Lutz on the front end was invalidated). It was a mess, and I wasn’t sure if he could medal even if he skated perfectly. (I had nothing to worry about, but of course, I didn’t know that then.)
This was a prime example of losing the competition in the short program.
6. Highlight: New personal bests & a GP win for Ashley Wagner
Didn’t see that coming.
If you told me before the event that Ashley would beat the reigning world champion at a Grand Prix event, I probably would’ve called you insane. But it happened, and this was hands-down her best short program ever. No underrotations! No edge calls! No lost spin levels! Even though I am not a huge fan of the program, I was super happy that she did so well (and luckily for her, Liza Tuktamysheva splatted, knocking out the only other skater who could’ve even come close to that score). She recorded a new personal best SP score of 70-point-something.
Ashley’s free skate was not quite as good as her SP, but it was still excellent and enough for both another personal best and the win. (131 is a great score-especially with two underrotated jumps and an edge warning on her lutz.) She kept the same program she had last year, which is equal parts smart (she knows it already) and questionable (she had some of her most memorable performances ever with it last season, so she has a lot to live up to), but it proved to be a good strategic choice here. This was a very good season opener and I hope she can build on this momentum.
Also, her new dress is gorgeous, so good job on that.
5. Low point: 50,000 music cuts of death
No, it’s not this one. This program, while dismal in its own right-which was more the execution than the actual material-is just for reference in case you hadn’t seen it (as it’s most of the reason she placed so low).
Yes, this is what I was talking about.
If anyone could tell me what “Summertime”, “Jailhouse Rock”, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” have to do with each other, I would be very grateful as I have NO idea. This program falls squarely into the “What were they thinking?” category and that is an excellent question. That might have been slightly more forgivable if she had skated it well, but…she didn’t. Sigh.
I honestly think Alena is done for at this point.
4. Highlight: The rise of M-T/M 2.0
After a rather poor GP showing last year, I was very surprised and happy that Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro managed to win the bronze here! Considering the field here, I didn’t expect them to pull that off-but they did, and in rather convincing fashion. I was impressed!
I was not a huge fan of this program as the repetitive music drove me nuts, but I love Kirsten’s sass and that can save virtually any performance.
This, I thought, was a much better program, no matter how overused the music-I think it’s a good change of pace from their typical bold, sassy programs. It was executed very well, and they’re vastly improved as a team from any of their outings last year. At this point, I would definitely have them as the third Canadian pair at worlds.
3. Low point: Marchei/Hotarek withdraw
Apparently, they had to withdraw due to a concussion sustained by Ondrej in practice. According to the glorious wasteland that is the internet, it happened when Valentina elbowed him in the face on a twist. If that’s true, girl’s got reeeeally strong elbows…
That aside, it was really disappointing that they withdrew-I like this team, and they had a shot at a medal (even if their music was Moonlight Sonata with lyrics that were clearly not in the original, which was NOT okay. NOT OKAY! :p)
2. Highlight: Yuka Nagai’s triumphant deubt
Prior to this event, I had no idea who Yuka was. But when she skated on, I thought, “whoa, did this girl steal Mao’s Madame Butterfly dress?” and then she ACTUALLY SKATED TO MADAME BUTTERFLY and then I had to pay attention because this was a mini-Mao and I wondered if she was any good. She was! I was super impressed with her short program.
I didn’t actually watch Yuka’s FS, but she came in third, so it was probably good. Even if it wasn’t, major congratulations on a bronze in your first Grand Prix event! I expect good things from her this season.
The Shibs are my favorite dance team. I love them a lot. I will always love them a lot. But I must admit that I was very worried about them after a terrible outing at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy a few weeks ago. I wanted them to skate their best here but I wasn’t sure if it would happen.
But it did! And this happened, and it was epic! And amazing! And everything a short dance should be! And I cannot stop using exclamation marks!
IT GOT BETTER!
Eh-hem. Sorry. I will attempt to act dignified now.
This was awesome, ‘kay? They finally have a free dance that totally fits them, is capable of scoring very well, and can contend with any of the top teams. I could not be more thrilled with this performance and I kinda thought they were robbed, but I can’t exactly do anything about that. It looks like they should make the Grand Prix Final if they medal at their next event, so that’s good too.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Comments? :p I’d love to hear from you!