The Comeback Series, pt. 2: Carolina Kostner

 

In my measly two years as a serious skating fan, I thought I’d learned pretty well what does and doesn’t usually happen. A ladies skater doesn’t (usually) medal at worlds without a SP over 70 points and a FS over 130. A new senior doesn’t (usually) get very high PCS. A good Grand Prix doesn’t guarantee a good Nationals or Worlds. A skater usually doesn’t return to competition at 29 after a two-year ban.

Apparently, I know nothing, because Carolina Kostner is doing just that. I’m excited, because it was unexpected (at least, for me) and I didn’t get to see much of her when she competed previously (only the Olympics and 2014 Worlds). So, like with Virtue/Moir in my last post, I plumbed the depths of YouTube to watch every short program and free skate Carolina ever competed at the senior level to compile this top-10 list. This was no easy task, seeing as that equates to 26(!) programs when you count mid-season program changes, but it was a lot of fun, and I got to discover new programs to add to my list of favorites!

10. 2003-04 SP: “Song From A Secret Garden” 

Young Carolina was, as many people have said, a bit coltish, in contrast to the subdued elegance she’s known for now, and I find this to be a good blend of the two. Also, it is insane how much speed she has over the ice-I’d never really noticed it before, but, as the commentator in one of the videos I watched said, “I wish we had a radar gun.” Wow…

 

9. 2005-06 SP: “The Mission” 

 

I will never not like a Mission program, and this is no exception. Everything is very well-choreographed and catches all the nuances in the music; also, I love the piano arrangement she used, which I’d never heard before. And I didn’t know it was even possible to do a combination spin as long as the one at the end of this program. That’s gotta be, what, ten position?

8. 2004-05 FS: “Piano Concertos No. 1 and 3” (Rachmaninoff)

There is something very youthful and exuberant about this program, which I didn’t expect in a Rachmaninoff program, but it really works. Combined with her insane speed, it’s a very good interpretation of a relatively hard-to-skate-to piece. Also, there is a lot of posing in this program. 🙂

7. 2008-09 SP: “Mujer Solo/Canaro en Paris”

There is something you should know about me: I am obsessed with “Spanish Hands.”

You know the ones. I know you do.

Carolina has some of the greatest Spanish Hands™ known to man. That is all.

6. 2006-07 FS: “Memoirs of a Geisha” 

Honestly, I don’t know what it is that makes this program appeal to me-it just works. 

5. 2011-12 SP: “Allegretto from Trio No. 2” (Shostakovich) 

This piece is not one I would think was particularly skateable, but Carolina does extremely well to interpret it in this program. It’s repetitive, choppy and doesn’t really ever build much, but it’s cleverly choreographed to use the music in a way that convinced me that it was, indeed, entirely skateable. A remarkable use of rather odd music.

4. 2005-06 FS: “The Four Seasons-Winter” 

While the opening choreography (#therobot) had me in stitches, this is actually quite a lovely program. I’m kind of obsessed with her arm choreography in this program, and I really like the cuts of the music she used. Sadly, she had several disastery (yes, I just said “disastery”) skates of this, and I couldn’t find a good performance of this to link here, but…oh, well.

3. 2004-05 SP: “Country” 

This program is very different from anything else she’s had, but I can’t really put my finger on why. But whatever the reason, this program feels very Grecian-inspired, and it was a perfect fit for her at the time: fast, dramatic yet playful, maybe a little bit bouncy. The footwork is incredibly enjoyable and well-choreographed, and her spins are very well-placed on the music.

2. 2013-14 SP #1-“Humoresque”

Well, first of all, how can I not list a program set to what was my favorite violin piece in elementary school? 😉 I really like the calm elegance it has; it was a light kind of elegant, with an almost bouncy feel to it that was unique to this program. I would’ve liked it if she kept it, although changing it definitely paid off (see below).

1. 2013-14 SP #2-“Ave Maria”

One of the things I remember most vividly about the 2014 Olympics was Carolina’s short programs in both team and individual events. The ethereal quality of this program is simply magical; I can easily see why it holds the SP PCS world record (37!). This, I feel, is the best display of her artistry that she’s done, and that is why it’s my top Carolina Kostner program of all time.

 

I am really loving these top-10 posts! Since there currently aren’t any more skaters scheduled to come back next season, I’m planning to feature skaters who came back this season (Mao Asada will probably be next), as I definitely want to keep doing these. Hope you enjoy them, too! 🙂 

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