JGP Saransk Ladies Recap

You know it’s finally skating season again when you miss an event that happened while you were asleep and wake up to approximately 8,900 pages of questions, comments, and concerns about the judging of said event on the Internet forums.

Wouldn’t be the same without them, really.

This time, it was no different, and the online judging critics were in full force – with good reason. Here’s a shake-down of what all happened at JGP Saransk.

1. Polina Tsurskaya 

Polina Tsurskaya was the overwhelming favorite to win this competition, despite having recently recovered from an injury. On that front, she didn’t disappoint. Her SP was phenomenal, earning a well- deserved junior world record score of 69.02. I’m not a huge fan of the droning, monotonous music or the choreography (as with many of Eteri Tutberidze’s students’ programs, there is a lot of miming), but her jumps were fantastic and her interpretation has improved greatly. I also couldn’t help noting that it seems she looks more like an adult this year than most of the seniors. Polina’s FS wasn’t her best, with two pops (a double lutz and a single Axel), and again, I thought the music was a little boring, but the choreography was much better, the rest of her jumps were excellent, and – shallow note – her dress was beautiful (actually, both of them were). Overall, this wasn’t Polina’s best competition, but it was an excellent return to competition. She likely just needs a little more time to get her feet back under her.

Fun random note: my phone tried to correct “Eteri” to “arteries.”

2. Stanislava Konstantinova

This was possibly the most controversial part of the competiton.

With a FS featuring two falls, Stanislava beat both Elizaveta Nugumanova, who was clean but underrotated several jumps, and Yuna Shiraiwa, who fell once but executed most of her other elements cleanly. I personal thought Elizaveta should’ve gotten the silver medal and Yuna the bronze, with Konstantinova in 4th, but there is some basis for what the judges went with. Stanislava had a clean SP that left her with a cushion of about three points going into the FS. While her jumps were clean, I felt like it was a bit frantic and unpolished; however, I can see why she was in second. The free skate, though, was a different story. I didn’t think the program itself was anything special (I was kind of bored) and she fell twice. I really can’t see the logic here-even if the judges wanted a Russian sweep, it could’ve happened with Stanislava in 3rd (which I thought was more fair). But there’s no point in arguing about that now. I try to find something I like to highlight about every skater I write about, so for Stanislava, I think that quality is that she’s different. In a field dominated by copy-and-paste Tutberidze pupils, any kind of uniqueness is refreshing, and I like Stanislava’s quirky style.

3. Elizaveta Nugumanova 

I’m not going to lie, I thought Liza was robbed of the silver. But she has a rather serious UR problem that I was previously not aware of, so it makes sense that that held her down. That aside, I thought her programs were the best of the event. Her spunky “Malaguena” short is a delightful little gem, not to mention impeccably choreographed, and her “Romeo and Juliet” free skate has an innocent sweetness to it that Liza pulls off very convincingly. (Another shallow note: I love her FS dress!) Unfortunately, she raked in UR after UR on her jumps, and while one wouldn’t have mattered much, four of them had an impact on her scores. She still managed to score very well (her SP score was fair, and her FS was slightly overscored), but the placements didn’t shake out in her favor. I hope she can get her jumps fixed up, because her spins, SS and interpretation are really great for such a young skater.

4. Yuna Shiraiwa 

Yuna Shiraiwa went from a nobody to a rock-solid contender for major medals last season; I was expecting her to continue that momentum. But, due to an injury, that wasn’t to be (at least, not here). She actually skated quite well, with a clean SP and one fall in the FS, but for various reasons (you know which reasons…), she missed out on the podium. Her “I Got Rhythm” SP was really well-skated and could be a very fun program if she can add some spark to her interpretation, which was a bit flat. The FS, to an instrumental medley of pieces from “Notre Dame De Paris” (which, for reasons I will never understand, didn’t include “Danse Mon Esmeralda”), is a powerful program that could either bring out the passion in her skating or showcase her weaknesses-hopefully the former. It looked as if she was exhausted towards the end of the program, and she fell out of the last jump, a 3L0. Maybe her stamina has taken a hit since her injury, or it was jet lag, but it seemed like a fluke mistake and I expect Yuna to be back to her usual, consistent form by her next competition.

5. Kokoro Iwamot0

I didn’t actually watch Kokoro’s programs during the competition, so I’m watching her free skate in the post draft and writing about it as I go along. First off, dress on point. I love the combination of gold and white, and it’s a great cut and style. Based on the protocol, her FS was clean except for an edge call (I just saw the flip that got called, and it was 0n a very obvious outside edge, even in real time). Her jumps are pretty good-they look labored, but she gets all the way around, and the height is nice. Her axel technique scares me. Spins are pretty nice. Expression could be better. So, now that I’ve finished watching it, Kokoro seems like your run-of-the-mill-top-5-JGP-skater: pretty good technically but nothing extraordinary, and not the best artistry, but gets the job done. For a JGP debut (I think?), she did really well.

And now I have to go write the U.S. Classic post! Yay…

Things I Like + Things I Don’t: Russian Test Skates & Lombardia Trophy

There was a LOT of skating going on this weekend, and I’m not even going to try to cover it all in one cohesive post, so I’m splitting it up: a simple, informal like/dislike post for Lombardia (a Challenger Series event) and the Russian Test Skates, and one of the JGP posts I normally do for JGP Japan (which works because the JGP isn’t over yet). Word of warning: I only watched ladies at the Test Skates and a little bit of the men’s SP (FS is tomorrow) at Lombardia, so this is going to be about 85% ladies.

Things I Like 

TEST SKATES 

Evgenia Medvedeva’s SP

I started off last season not really being a fan of Evgenia, but she slowly grew on me, and by the end of the season, I really liked her. But with this program, she’s likely to become one of my favorites. I’ve really come to appreciate her style; it’s quirky and offbeat, but combined with her polish and expression, it works. In the beginning of the program, it looks like she’s portraying a little girl (isn’t everyone portraying a little girl in Ilya Averbukh’s programs?) playing hopscotch, or something like that. The first half kind of follows that theme; her interpretation is rather playful and, I think, supposed to convey childlike innocence. In the second half, the music changes to a more serious piece, and her interpretation becomes more passionate and soulful. I’m not sure what this is supposed to represent (complicated storylines are another trademark of Averbukh programs), but if I had to guess, I would say it was probably about growing up/the transition from childhood to adulthood. If I’m right, that is very fitting for Evgenia at this point in her career. But whatever it is, she did it remarkably well.

Yulia Lipnitskaya’s SP

This was the moment Yulia Lipnitskaya’s fans (me included!) had been waiting for for two years: a clean, confident, solid performance in competition. Not only do all of her jumps look significantly more stable, I love the program! She’s not the little teeny-bopper who captivated the world in Sochi anymore, and this is a showcase of what she’s become: one classy lady. 😉 I love her subtle, nuanced interpretation of this music and I’m really impressed with her maturity. She’s always been a mature skater, but this is the first time I’ve seen her really skate like an adult. When most of your competition is under the age of 17, that’s a very striking quality.

Maria Sotskova’s SP 

With only one top Russian junior making the switch to seniors this season, I had high hopes that that skater, Maria Sotskova, would be this year’s obligatory Russian Phenom De Jour. I mean, we’ve had one every year since the Olympic season…Yulia in 2014, Elizaveta in 2015, Evgenia in 2016. They’re almost always just out of juniors, with the exception of Elizaveta, who had been a senior for a few years but was coming off a rough season, so Maria seemed like the most likely candidate for that position. And she’s looking fantastic. It looks like she’s finally adjusted to her height; her jumps are much more stable than they were last season, and they don’t look nearly as labored. On the contrary: I thought they looked very light and easy. Some areas of her skating need work, like her speed and spins (which were painfully slow here), but the jumps look great, and I like this program a lot. The music a relatively unknown (in skating) Alfred Schnittke piece called “Story of an Unknown Actor”, which is kind of repetitive but has enough variation that there’s something to interpret. That works well for Maria: it allows her to be expressive, but doesn’t demand constant or over-the-top emoting. It’s cleverly choreographed and dynamic-perfect for a senior debut. So, Maria Sotskova for Russian Lady De Jour 2017? I think it just might work out.

LOMBARDIA TROPHY

Wakaba Higuchi’s SP

Now for the Lombardia portion of this post! The other high-profile debuting senior this season, Wakaba Higuchi, made her debut at Lombardia with this fantastic SP. (Unfortunately, her FS wasn’t as good, but she still won.) It’s a big change for her: “La Califfa” is quite different from the energetic and/or heavy music she usually skates to. In this case, it worked out. Her expression has improved a lot over the summer, and this music was great for bringing that out. I was impressed with the amount of emotion she showed in this program; I like Wakaba, but I usually think of her as kind of a stonefaced skater. Her jumps and speed were as good as they always are. Unfortunately, she couldn’t maintain that form in the FS, but overall, Lombardia was a promising senior debut for Wakaba.

So Youn Park’s SP and FS 

Class-five headcase So Youn Park, for all her issues, always seems to have great programs. She does something different artistically every season: her passionate, dynamic “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” in 2014, soulful “Romeo & Juliet” in 2015, and sassy “Black Orpheus” in 2016 were all fantastic, but very different programs. This year’s programs continue that trend, exploring new areas and genres. The short program is her first foray into jazz, and the SP kind of continues what she started with “Black Orpheus”: somewhat-serious, somewhat-sassy Spanish programs. She pulled of both pretty well! The short was a lot of fun (and clean!), and the free was very sassy and mature. So Youn struggled with some jumps in the FS, but this was one of her better competitions in a while.

Shoma Uno’s SP 

First off: I admire Shoma’s commitment to literal costuming. His music is from the soundtrack of “Ladies in Lavender.” Lots of room for literal interpretation there. And, what do you know, he shows up in a bedazzled drapey lavender shirt. Way to go, Shoma. 😉 (Actually, I don’t really like the shirt, but I gotta hand it to him for being literal.) Slightly ridiculous literal shirt aside, I loved this program! It was serene and fluid and his upper body movement was on point (that’s gotten a lot better over the summer). His 4F still scares me out of my mind, and I feel like he’s going to break himself, but…um…pushing the envelope! *raises fist*

On The Fence

Elena Radionova’s SP

I like Elena’s new SP a lot, but I’m worried about her jumps. After she managed to keep them through her growth spurt last season, I thought she was out of the woods, but she really struggled here. Of course, that could mean nothing (it is only September), but it’s just not like her to miss two jumping passes in a short program. The program itself is great, though. After a season of overdramatic ballad programs ft. arm flailing, she’s back to what she does best. Elena, charismatic little sassmonster that she is, sells the heck out of this program, and it’s a lot less arm-flaily and more polished than her programs last season. It would be so sad if she lost her jumps the season she finally gets good programs again…so let’s all cross our fingers she gets whatever was happening here worked out.

Mirai Nagasu’s FS 

I have only one problem with this program, and that is that it could be incredible. But it’s not quite there, though, and I shall explain why.

It’s pretty simple, actually. This song, “The Winner Takes it All,” is very emotional. And Mirai skates to it with far too little expression. The choreography is good, the jumps were (mostly) good, but it lacked emotion. She has to sell this thing until the place blows up if she wants to pull it off. Otherwise, it won’t work. Fingers crossed that was just a result of early-season-jump-concentration…

I’m lazy, so I’m going to stop there. Bye! 🙂

 

JGP Ostrava Ladies Recap

JGP Ostrava is a wrap, and from the looks of it (I haven’t gotten to watch a lot of the men’s and dance programs yet, but I saw the results), it was a much stronger competition across the board than the first event. Despite a lot of lackluster free skates and some truly insane scoring inflation in the ladies event, it had its strong points, too. Let’s get started!

1. Anastasia Gubanova, Russia — 185.59

What Happened: Coming into this competition, a lot of people (myself included) had their eyes on Anastasia. She’s one of the most watchable skaters I’ve ever seen: her balletic carriage, gorgeous use of her hands, wrists and arms, and beautiful extension make her skating about as aesthetically pleasing as it gets. However, her jumps…are another matter. Her technique would make my coach cry, and her 3-3s are terrifyingly unstable because of her hold-onto-your-hats 3T takeoff. She reminds me of Yulia Lipnitskaya in almost every way: refinement, expression, extension, spins, and some reeeally sketchy jumps. However, despite falls in both programs, Anastasia’s polish, spins, and the jumps she did land were enough to squeak out a win by the narrowest of margins. This gives her a great shot at the Final, and I can’t wait to see her at her next event.

The Programs: Her short program to “The Swan” is kind of exactly what you’d expect someone like Anastasia to skate to-soft, elegant and balletic. Not exactly a creative choice, but it’s gorgeous. (She does need to look up more, though. My coach would be all over her for looking at her skates throughout the whole program.) I really love her “Romeo and Juliet” FS: it uses my favorite version of that music, shows off her best qualities, and really brings out the passion of the music. (Random: sometimes I’ll see a junior do an R&J program and think, ‘he/she’s too young for that music,’ but then I remember that in the play, Juliet was 13…and then I slowly die because it freaked me out when I first read it and it STILL FREAKS ME OUT.)

2. Rika Kihara, Japan — 185.51

What Happened: Rika was another skater everyone was looking at coming into this competition. A video had recently surfaced of her landing a perfect 3A-3T, and it was rumored she would unveil her 3A here, so fans were anticipating the possible debut of the Triple Axel That Was Not (sorrynotsorry, spoilers!). Her SP, despite not having the 3A, was impeccable, and she lead by a healthy margin. Most of her FS was good, too, except for the Triple Axel That Was Not™: she fell hard, and I didn’t look at the protocol, but it definitely looked <<. Still, gotta give her props for trying. She missed the win by only .07 points-possibly the smallest margin between medalists I’ve ever seen.

The Programs: eh…not sure how I feel about either. Both of them (the SP to “Tzigane” and FS to “Rhapsody in Blue”) are polished, well-choreographed programs, but I don’t feel like she was really “living up to” the very serious, well-known classical music she used. I’m all for juniors using classical music, and “Rhapsody in Blue” was a nice choice (I think that’ll be a nice program when it’s gotten more mileage), but “Tzigane” seemed…too heavy for a junior. Something lighter, like a waltz, or something up-tempo and fun, like “Czardas”, might have been better choices for someone Rika’s age who wanted to use classical music.

3. Alisa Lozko, Russia — 162.28

What Happened: Ted Barton of the JGP Live Stream said it best: Alisa’s a “spinner from heaven.” But her jumps…yikes. She fell in the FS, and through both programs, she racked up so many URs I lost count. It might have been partly because she is better at -3Lo combos than she is at -3T combos, which she had to do her because of the 3Lo being a required solo jump, but those were far from the only things hit with <. However, there were bright spots: I loved her footwork in both programs, and her spins are some of the best I’ve ever seen. (I tried to do something like her biellman variation, where she grabs her knee while spinning in a nearly-split position, at practice the other day, and I almost fell on my head. And it didn’t look an eighth as pretty.) Sadly, if she can’t fix her awful jump technique, she’ll probably get buried in the constant stream of Russian juniors.

The Programs: I’m not really sure how I feel about the music to Alisa’s “Pavlova” SP, but the program itself is really nice. Her “Milord” FS could be really fun, but she isn’t really engaging in it. She has wonderful musicality and uses the music well, but almost no expression, which makes it somewhat hard to connect with her skating.

4. Yuna Aoki, Japan — 155.79

What Happened: Yuna is a category-five headcase, and her leg wrap in jumps drives me crazy, but she is beautiful to watch. She has lovely polish and grace, and her interpretation is top-notch. However, she can’t seem to get through a program without falling or singling something, so I have no idea how she will hold up as a senior.

The Programs: Her “Meditation from Thais” SP is elegant and gorgeous and a joy to watch. The FS (“On My Own”) is nice, if a little generic.

5. Ha Nul Kim, Korea — 149.25

What Happened: essentially, URs kept Ha Nul out of the top five in the SP, and she came back with a fairly strong FS. She’s a nice skater, and her presentation is improving, but I still don’t really get anything out of her skating. Nice, but not anything earthshaking.

The Programs: her SP (forgot the music, but it’s something by Caro Emerald) is really fun, but the FS is nothing special. Since I’m too lazy to go into a long statistical analysis of why I think this, I’ll just leave it at that.

JGP France Ladies Recap

The season has begun! (Finally!) The first major event of the season, Junior Grand Prix St. Gervais (abbreviated to “JGP France”), just concluded. Some disciplines were weaker than others (the dance field was wide open, and the men’s event was a splatfest), but the ladies event featured some fantastic skating that I can’t wait to recap!

 

1. Alina Zagitova, Russia — 194.37 (68.07/126.30) 

As is the case at virtually every event, Eteri Tutberidze’s latest wunderkind, Alina Zagitova, won this event by quite a bit. Her SP, set to “Samson and Delilah”, included a fantastic Rippon 3Lz-3T, 3Lo, and 2A (her axel technique is exponentially better than most of her coach’s other students), strong spins, and a fast, dynamic step sequence that I really enjoyed. Her free skate (random note-I’m pretty the costume is Evgenia Medvedeva’s 2013-14 SP dress) to “Don Quixote” was not quite as strong-a couple of jumps had slightly scratchy landings-but still excellent, with a very nice 3Lz-3Lo and 2A-3T. Again, I thought her StSq was very well-choreographed and enjoyable. Alina has some areas she could work on-in particular, her expression could be a bit less blank-but much of what she would need as a senior is already there. Either way, she’s clearly very talented-she ended up winning the competition with scores that would’ve won last year’s Junior Worlds. Because, y’know…that’s totally normal result in your first international competition. 

2. Kaori Sakamoto, JPN- 178.86 (64.12/114.74)

Kaori had a pretty good competition here, with two near-clean programs. Her SP, a fun, energetic program to “The Artist,”  featured a 3F-3T, 3Lo, and 2A. She’s improved a lot as a performer over the summer: she used to skate a little bit blank-faced but this performance was really fun and engaging. Her FS isn’t my favorite – it’s set to music that kind of bores me (something called “The Color Purple”) and I find the choreography a little generic – but she turned in some strong elements. She didn’t get a planned 3T onto her opening 3F-3T, but made it up later in the program with two 2A-3Ts. Her biggest mistake other than that was an edge call-not perfect, but overall a great competition for Kaori.

3. Rin Nitaya, JPN — 175.01 (60.94/114.07) 

I vaguely remember seeing Rin last season and thinking she was kind of “meh,” so I wasn’t expecting much here. Suffice to say it that she exceeded my expectations! Rin skated a clean short and a near-clean long (her only mistake was a popped axel) to place 3rd. She landed an excellent 3Lz-3T, 3Lo, and 2A in her “Red Violin” short program, and although I found her expression a bit nonexistent bland, she delivered the technical content and was duly rewarded. In the free skate, she utilized what I call the Satoko Layout: two 2A-3Ts in the second half instead of a 3-3. I really enjoy watching her jump: unlike most juniors, her landings are dang solid and smooth as butter. No scratchiness or turnout, ever-which I love, considering how rare it’s becoming. She’s not the most engaging skater, but she deservedly placed really well here.

4. Ye Lim Kim, KOR — 157.79 (55.11/102.68)

Coming into this competition, people were expecting a lot of Ye Lim. Her jump layout was crazy-difficult and she had been looking consistent, so she was a medal favorite here. But it began to unravel in her “Donde Voy” SP: she two-footed her 3Lz-3T, which was downgraded and given mostly -3s in GOE. Combined with her lack of strength in PCS relative to her competition, that was enough to get her off the podium after the short. Her FS was better, but still had some iffy landings and kept her off the podium in 4th. She kind of tripped (not sure how to explain it because I’ve never seen anything like it…) out of the 2Lo in her 3Lz-3Lo-2Lo, which was downgraded, her 3Lz-3T was underrotated, and she got an edge call on her 3F. And to top it all off, she didn’t seem to be connecting to her music at all (I’ll give her a pass because both pieces were very ill-suited for someone of her age and style, which I blame on the choreographer.) She has a lot of potential, but this was just not Ye Lim’s competition.

5. Emmi Peltonen, FIN — 150.00 (53.41/96.59)

Emmi Peltonen was a nice “discovery” at this event: I’d never seen her, but she is a gorgeous skater with gigantic jumps and I think she has a lot of potential. In her short program, she landed a massive 3T-3T and a great 2A but singled her 3Lo. I really enjoyed the program, which was very well-choreographed with a very convincing tangoey flair. Her StSq was great. The FS was also a lovely program, but three pops and a fall did her in. She badly needs consistency (she appears to be the latest in a long line of artistic Finnish headcases), but she could be one to watch for.

Honorable Mentions: 

6. Alexia Paganini, USA: her short program was gorgeous except for a doubled jump, but two falls in the FS kept her from finishing any higher.

7. Julie Froestcher (sorry for spelling), FRA: her reaction to her score was great. 🙂

 

2016 Olympics WAG Quals Subdivision 4 Live Blog

Subdivision 4 is going to be LIT. 

Because. 

Team USA *Pause for patriotic squealing* with Team Netherlands *Pause for artistry appreciation because #Baethora*.

They literally could not have come up with a subdivision I would enjoy more if they had personally asked me. Hehe. 

So, warning: this will not be objective.

Gabby Douglas, USA, FX: double L-turn, 1.5 L-turn the other way, Arabian double front punch front, full-in punch front, double Memmel turn, split to switch split full, switch split full, double pike, double tuck. Well done. 

Courtney McGregor, NZL, VT: DTY. 14.4 on the second vault, which I missed.

I just posted Ariana Orrega’s beam and Sanne Wevers’ bars and now they’re gone…gaah. Both clean. Orrega: 12.733. Wevers: 14.408

Simone Biles, USA, FX: double layout full in, straddle full to split, Biles to stag, double wolf turn, double-double, split jump, tuck full in. Just Simone things…15.733

Aly Raisman, USA, FX: 1.5 twist-double Arabian-layout, split switch full, double L-Turn, piled double Arabian-stag jump, double layout, split jump, split switch full, double pike. Yaaaaaas! I’m calling it, AA silver is hers. 

Random side note: I’m very sorry that I do not know how to tell a split from a Sissone. 

Laurie Hernandez, USA, VT: stuck DTY. 

Jessica Lopez, VEN, FX: tucked full in, whip to triple twist, ring leap, split, switch split, double L-turn, double pike, triple turn, double twist. The steam died and when it came back they’d switched commentators. 12.733

Celine Van Gerner, NED, BB: Sissone, front aerial, split switch half, round off-layout, switch split half – barely stays on, split switch to straddle, front aerial, double back dismount. What a save! 13.800

THEY MENTIONED LIEKE AND EYTHORA BUT DIDN’T SHOW THEM!! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!?!

Sanne Wevers, NED, BB: double L-turn, side aerial-side aerial, triple turn, L-turn to full turn, double turn, switch split to Onodi, full twisting gainer layout dismount. Lovely! Could get her into finals! 15.066. YAAAAAAAS!

Sherine Elziney, EGY, UB: fine set, DLO dismount, 14.100.

Aly Raisman, USA, VT: near-stuck amanar!!! 15.766 

Sanne Wevers submitted an inquiry, which was rejected.

Lieke Wevers, NED, FX: triple L-turn, double back, switch ring, switch split full, double attitude turn, 2.5 twist(?), switch split full, triple turn. Forever one of my favorite floor routines ❤ 13.850

Gabby Douglas, USA, UB: gorgeous routine complete with a stuck dismount. Will it be enough to pull ahead of Raisman in the AA? 15.766

Madison Kocian, USA, UB: goooo, bars bb! Foot-perfect. Bars bb is the best 🙂 15.866-uh, wow…

(Okay, just sayin’, I warned you this would not be objective.)

Eythora Thorsdottir, NED, FX: GOOOO BAETHORA! 2.5 twist-front tuck, Ring switch leap, double back, double l-turn, double turn, double Memmel turn, illusion, 2.5 twist fall (nuuuuuuuuuuu!), leap pass, illusion. Nooooo, she fell! It literally looked like she just slipped. Was it her socks?

It killed Gabby’s beam recap but it was a 14.833. 

Jessica Lopez, VEN, UB: very clean set! She looks pleased. 15.333-she looks absolutely overjoyed. 

Courtney McGregor: POTO… Pike full in, 2.5 twist to front pike, double pike, double Memmel turn, split switch to split, double back, switch split full. Nice! The great warhorses are invading gymnastics…

Netherlands has a total of 171.something. 

Laurie Hernandez, USA, BB: front pike, front aerial to split to switch split, BHS-LOSO-LOSO, double turn, sheep jump, front tuck to wolf jump, side aerial, split to switch split half, switch ring, double pike. YES! Get it, Laurie! Great shot at the beam final with that. 15.366!

Simone Biles, USA, BB: Double wolf turn, split to pike, front tuck, BHS-LOSO-LOSO, front tuck to split, split to split switch half to something, I’m missing things AHHHHHHHHH, stuck dismount! 15.663

16 for 16! Gracie Gold needs some lessons from them…

And the Netherlands are in 7th, and I’m freaking out ugh. 😥

2016 Olympics WAG Quals live blog: Subdivision 3

Slightly late, because I was doing something else, but it’s back! 

Elissa Downie, GBR, BB: front tuck connected to wolf jump, standing Arabian, switch split to switch split half, double turn (balance check), BHS-LOSO, split connected to side aerial, 2.5 twist dismount. It’s got to be hard to concentrate with the crowd going berserk behind you (Brazil’s on floor…). 

Dipa Karmakar, IND, UB: Tkachev, pirouettes, Pak salto, lots of Giants. Hey, I can commentate UB now! Sort of…

Rebeca Andrade, BRA, FX: tuck full-in, 2.5 to front full, split to switch split, double Memmel turn to stag jump, why is there instrumental Beyoncé in this routine, double back, split, double pike. Crowd went nuts for that routine! 14.033

Rebecca Downie, GBR, BB: fall on front tuck, side aerial connected to layout, split switch to split switch half, split switch to half turn to front aerial to another splits, side somi, split switch, double pike dismount. Other than the fall, that was actually great.  13.300

Watching this is making me want tacos, for some reason. This is not the British team’s day but, like in the men’s, Brazil is killing it! I WILL NOT BUY GOLD PEAK TEA NO MATTER HOW MANY ADS YOU PLAY SO WILL YOU JUST NOT SHOW THEM?!?

Tabea Alt: 14.333? I think it was a DTY. Actually, I didn’t see it, but the D-score was 5.8 and I think that’s the value of a DTY. 

My wifi died, and I missed a bunch of routines…le sigh. It’s back, but slow.

Oh, no, Ellie Downie appears to be injured…ugh, why did my wifi have to die? What happened? 

Claudia Fragapane, GBR, FX: double layout full-in, Arabian double pike, ring leap, switch split double turn, I accidentally deleted something, triple twist, switch split, double turn, double layout. WOW. Frags is a crazy-good tumbler. 14.333

Looks like Elissa is out of the vault lineup. I repeat: what. Happened. To. Her?!?!? 

Ana Sofia Gomez, GU, BB: BHS-tuck full, switch split to switch split half, full turn, side aerial to split jump, side somi, front aerial to wolf jump, straddle jump, double pike dismount (chest down). 13.400

The commentators are throwing major shade at the crowd for doing the wave during someone’s beam. 

The stream is being weird. Again. I’m missing so much stuff. 

Ruby Harrold, GBR, VT: nice DTY. 

Pauline Schaefer, GER, BB: switch ring jump, BHS-LOSO, split jump to wolf jump, full turn, front aerial to side somi, double turn, side somi half (trippy!), some leaps, layout gainer dismount. 14.400

Emma Larsson, SWE, FX: switch split full to stag, double layout, tuck full-in, double back, switch split half, double pike, triple Memmel turn. Nice! I’d never heard of her. I like her leotard. 13.500

Brazil’s qualification total: 174.054. 

2016 Olympics WAG Quals-Live Blog

Hey, readers! I’m going to live-blog gymnastics, because I can. Apologies if I can’t do bars.

Martina Rizzello, ITA, VT: DTY. Slight hop on the landing, some leg separation. I like the Italian team’s leos-shiny black with a silver “v-neck” shape.

Kylie Dickson, Belarus, Bars: I have no idea what anything is called, but she did a nice Tkachev. Double full dismount, if I saw that correctly.

Ailen Valente, Argentina, Bars: not sure what she’s doing but her toes weren’t pointed in the Tkachev. Majorly Cowboys double front dismount. 13.033. 

Aliya Mustafina, Russia, Beam: wrote this up but it self-destructed. She fell off on a handstand. 13.033.

Daria Spiridonova, Russia, Beam: BHS stepout-LOSO, switch leap connected to ring leap (eew @ leg position), Onodi, front aerial connected to split and wolf, side aerial, Memmel turn (is that correct for a single?), Onodi, switch leap, double back dismount. She stayed on! 14.266

Ana Perez, Spain, Floor: whip-whip-BHS-BHS-full in, two leaps I missed, double pike, memmel turn, switch leap-ring leap, double twist, l-turn, double back (foot comes up). Music: “Diablo Rojo.” Nice leos! 13.133

They showed the Simone Biles Tide commercial! First time I’ve seen it on a broadcast. 

Stream is uncooperative. 

Seda was clean but my phone killed the write-up. Gaah! She got 13.875.

Giulia Stiengruber, Switzerland, VT: I think that first one was a Rudi. Fantastic! Second vault is a clean DTY. Average score: 14.933

Zsofia Kovacs, Hungary, VT: first vault a very nice DTY. Second vault: Tsukahara full. Both nice! Her leotard is amazing. 14.158

Carlotta Ferlito, Italy, UB: no idea what she’s doing, but it’s lovely. She has nice form. Double back with half(?) dismount. 14.033

Ailen Valente, Argentina, BB: front tuck mount, Flic-LOSO (fall), switch leap, switch half (don’t think it hit 180), some kind of turn I saw out of the corner of my eye, side aerial, split, split-wolf, gainer layout dismount. 11.366

Daria Spiridonova, Russia, FX: split jump, triple twist-punch front (fall, OOB), 3.5 twist, Memmel turn, split switch half, double back, ring leap-ring leap. Shame about the fall. Missed score…ugh!

Farah Boufadene, Algeria, BB: BHS-LOSO fall, split-switch half, front aerial (balance check), side aerial, split, split-wolf, side somi (balance check), L-turn, double pike dismount with big step back. 10.600

WHY DID IT KILL THE RECAP AGAIN GAAH.  Houry Gebeshian was great! 13.266. It also killed Catalina Escobar’s BB recap, which I’m not really mad about because it was a mess.

My stream decided to sign me out and make me sign back in. Came back on Giulia Steingruber’s UB. Scored 13.900. Angelia Melnikova got a 14.933 on a vault I didn’t see.

Sends Tukhtalyan, Russia, VT: huge, gorgeous DTY. Should score well. 14.733

Vanessa Ferrari, Italy, BB: BHS-BHS-back full (fall), split leap, split leap-front aerial, switch split half, ring jump-sheep jump, double pike dismount. 

Maria Paseka, Russia, VT: first vault: no idea what it was, step OOB. Really messy form. The commentator described her leg position as “like an egg-beater”. Second vault: Amanar, quite nice. 

Catalina Escobar, Colombia, FX: Bad fall on double layout. Coaches had to carry her off the floor and it looks like she can’t continue. Really? They gave her a score? 3.700.

Carlotta Ferlito, Italy, BB: front aerial-sheep jump, BHS-BHS-LO (fall), split jump, back tuck, full turn, split-front aerial, ring leap. Double pike(?) dismount. 13.233

Kylie Rei Dickson, Belarus, FX: commentators throwin’ shade! Double back-fall, OOB. Split-split switch half, something into a layout, split jump, double l-turn, switch half, single twist. 10.766

Showing replays of Escobar’s terrifying ankle-murder fall. Poor thing. 😥

Zsofia Kovacs, Hungary, UB: clean, 14.733

 Elisa Meneghini, Italy, FX: double layout, tuck full-in, whip-whip-double back, split jump, ring jump-straddle jump, double pike, straddle jump. Wow, that was a fantastic routine! 14.233

Houry Gebeshian, Armenia, VT: nice FTY. 13.916

Daria Spiridonova, Russia, UB: very nice! Everything was connected. Should be a really high score. 15.683

Kylie Rei Dickson, Belarus, VT: nice FTY. 

I heard Madame Butterfly, and now Nessun Dorma. Must be someone’s floor music-it’s not just a FS thing…

Aliya Mustafina, Russia, UB: hit! Finally. Will it match Spiridonova? Apparently so! 15.8something. 

Catalina Ponor, Romania, BB: switch ring leap, Onodi-front aerial-BHS, split-wolf jump connection, switch half, don’t even know what that was, leap-something full-3/4, full turn, double pike. Takin’ forever with this score…14.900. She seems very happy with that. 

Carlotta Ferlito, Italy, FX: split switch half, tuck full-in, double back tuck, split-split switch half, some dancing on the floor, Memmel turn, ring leap, Sissone, this is Adelina Sotnikova’s 2013 FS music, double pike. The Italians are killing it on floor today!

Giuli Steingruber, Switzerland, BB: Front aerial-split jump, switch split-side somi (balance check), front pike, BHS-LOSO, front tuck, off on switch half, full turn, gainer layout full dismount. Shame about the fall! 12.733. Eek. 

I think that’s the end of this subdivision? I’ll be back later…

JGP Hype!: 10 Junior Ladies To Watch For This Season

IT’S ALMOST JGP TIME *weird excited dance*, which is THE BEST TIME, because juniors are amazing and I almost always end up ubering a 13-to-15-year-old and having to cross my fingers they never find this blog. (Lookin’ at you, Vivian. Speaking of which, she will probably not be in this because she’s competed as a senior at club competitions recently, so I have no idea if she is moving up.) It’s just a few weeks away, and you know what that means: preview time!

So, here are 10 junior ladies I think will make a splash this season!

1. Polina Tsurskaya, Russia

Why She’s One To Watch: Polina totally dominated the junior circuit last season up until her unexpected last-minute withdrawal from Junior Worlds due to an injury sustained in practice. She’s primarily a jumper: her textbook-perfect, freakishly consistent jumps are some of the best I’ve ever seen. But she also has strong spins and presentation. She’s very tall (5′ 6″ according to the ISU, but could be more) and, unlike most tall juniors, actually uses it to her advantage. I love the way she uses her long limbs to enhance the performance, if that makes any sense. When used properly, that can give you a commanding ice presence; Polina gets it right, and combined with her speed and powerful jumps, it does.

2. Marin Honda, Japan

Why She’s One To Watch: Marin was the suprise Junior World Champion last season after the withdrawals of Polina Tsurskaya and teammate Alisa Fedichkina, who she tied in the SP. She doesn’t pack the biggest technical punch: her 3-3 in the SP last season was a 3Lo-3T, which she will not be able to do this season due to 3Lo being the solo jump, and in the FS, a 3S-3T. If she skates clean, as we’ve seen, that won’t hold her back: her jumps are solid, her spins great, and her presentation some of the strongest in the field. But she’s not particularly consistent.  She’s able to keep up, though, and a lot of that is because of her stellar presentation. She has an easy grace and lightness to her skating that’s very pleasant to watch, and her interpretation is great. I call her Baby Mao because her artistic style reminds me a lot of Mao Asada as a junior. That kind of says it all.

3. Alisa Fedichkina, Russia 

Why She’s One To Watch: Alisa is, in a word, charming. Her lyrical, dainty style and adorable smolness (smol=new favorite word) are a delightful combination and she connects to both crowd and programs superbly. Her jumps are a little bit small, but she usually lands them; she’s consistent, though not robotically so, a la Polina. And her spins are excellent. Along with Marin, she’s one of the few juniors whose artistry stands out more than her technical content. Provided she can land things, she will definitely be a strong contender.

4. Elizaveta Nugumanova, Russia

Why She’s One To Watch: Liza is one of the debuting juniors that many people are expecting good things from, with good reason. She’s got it all: her jump technique is excellent (a hallmark of Alexei Mishin pupils, of which she is one), her spins are great, and her presentation is good. She’s not exactly the picture of artistic maturity, but her youthful interpretation really works and is a joy to watch. She makes excellent use of arm variations in jumps (they’re utilized but not overdone), which is good for the scores. And her 3Lo-backended 3-3s are truly gorgeous. Oh, and she’s also extremely consistent. Unless something changes dramatically over the next few months, I’m expecting her to win stuff. 🙂

5. Ye Lim Kim, South Korea 

Why She’s One To Watch: Ye Lim recently won the Korean JGP Selection Event Thingy I Don’t Remember The Official Name Of with a truly impressive technical layout: in the FS, for example, a 3Lz-2Lo that looked popped and was likely intended to be a 3-3, a 3Lz-3T, and an improvised 3F-3T thrown in at the end. And she’s a truly astounding backloader: two of her three jumping passes in the SP are in the bonus, and SIX(!) of her seven jumps in the FS are after the halfway point. Her spins are strong, too. I’m a bit lukewarm on her programs and interpretation, and she could use more speed, but with a layout like that…wow.

6. Kaori Sakamoto, Japan 

Why She’s One To Watch: as far as I know, Kaori’s been on the JGP the longest of anyone on this list. This is her third season, so she has a lot more experience than most of these girls. Her jumps are her standout: solid but floaty, with that inexplicably satisfying “crack” when she taps in for a toe jump. She’s not much of a standout in spins or presentation, but she’s done well on the JGP in the past, so she’s going on this list.

7. Anastasia Gubanova, Russia

Why She’s One To Watch: another of the Russian debutantes, Anastasia is a very expressive skater with lovely lines, spins. Her jumps are great, too: she has a gorgeous 3Lz-3Lo. Anastasia’s issue is with consistency, unlike most of her teammates. Which is a shame, because she’s so strong artistically; her polish is very impressive for a junior. Hopefully, she can keep it together at her events.

8. Alexia Paganini, USA 

Why She’s One To Watch: Alexia has been doing very well at the club competitions she’s done this summer, with near-60 SPs and near-100 FSes. She’s also successfully added a 3Lz-3T to her short program and attempts two 3-3s, 3T-3T and 3S-1Lo-3S, in her free skate. Not on the level of the Russian girls, but strong content nonetheless. Her spins and presentation are nice, too, and she’s fairly consistent. However, she does not seem to attempt the 3F, which might hold her back a little bit (correct me if I’m wrong on this one).

9. Alisa Lozko, Russia

Why She’s One To Watch: yet another debuting Russian, Alisa boasts a great 3Lo-3Lo and one of the best laybacks in the business. She’s not really the greatest artistically, and sometimes her jumps are a bit sketchy, but she could definitely be up there.

10. Ashley Kim, USA 

Why She’s One To Watch: Ashley seems like an odd pick for this list because she’s never been to Nationals (at any level), but she’s had an extremely promising summer. She won the Freezer Aerial Challenge, a jump event, with stellar 3-3s, which also helped her mop the floor with her competition at various summer events. She’s also a strong spinner (her layback is especially fantastic). Her presentation is a bit frantic and unpolished, but she’s a very talented jumper (like many of her Dallas FSC training mates-winkwinknudgenudge). So, on the list she goes!

The GP Assignments Post

It’s that time of year again: that day we wait for for months, only for the announcement to be made four hours later than desired expected, and then become even more impatient for the season to start.

It’s Grand Prix Assignment Release Day/Week (#latetotheparty)!

So, here are my thoughts on this! Events will be covered in chronological order. For reference, here are the entry lists (copied and pasted from the ISU website, because I am supremely good at pilfering things so I won’t have to write them myself):

 

Skate America

Chicago, IL October 21-23, 2016

Skate Canada Int.

Mississauga, ON October 28-30, 2016

Rostelecom Cup

Moscow November 4-6, 2016

Trophée de France

Paris November 11-13, 2016

Audi Cup of China

Beijing November 18-20, 2016

NHK Trophy

Sapporo November 25-27, 2016

Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU CAN

Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD CAN

Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO CAN

Miriam ZIEGLER / Severin KIEFER AUT

Lubov ILIUSHECHKINA / Dylan MOSCOVITCH CAN

Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD CAN

Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN CHN

Lubov ILIUSHECHKINA / Dylan MOSCOVITCH CAN

Julianne SEGUIN / Charlie BILODEAU CAN

Lola ESBRAT / Andrei NOVOSELOV FRA

Cheng PENG / Yang JIN CHN

Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO CAN

Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES FRA

TBD CAN

Aliona SAVCHENKO / Bruno MASSOT GER

Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES FRA

Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN CHN

Cheng PENG / Yang JIN CHN

Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV RUS

Xiaoyu YU / Hao ZHANG CHN

Valentina MARCHEI / Ondrej HOTAREK ITA

Camille MENDOZA / Pavel KOVALEV FRA

Xiaoyu YU / Hao ZHANG CHN

Xuehan WANG / Lei WANG CHN

Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV RUS

Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE ITA

Kristina ASTAKHOVA / Alexei ROGONOV RUS

Aliona SAVCHENKO / Bruno MASSOT GER

Mari VARTMANN / Ruben BLOMMAERT GER

Sumire SUTO / Francis BOUDREAU AUDET
JPN

Madeline AARON / Max SETTLAGE USA

Vera BAZAROVA / Andrei DEPUTAT RUS

Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV RUS

Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV RUS

Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE ITA

TBD JPN

Tarah KAYNE / Daniel O SHEA USA

Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV RUS

Natalia ZABIIAKO / Alexander ENBERT RUS

Natalia ZABIIAKO / Alexander ENBERT RUS

Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV RUS

Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV RUS

TBD USA

Haven DENNEY / Brandon FRAZIER USA

Alexa SCIMECA / Chris KNIERIM USA

Marissa CASTELLI / Mervin TRAN USA

Alexa SCIMECA / Chris KNIERIM USA

Tarah KAYNE / Daniel O SHEA USA

8

8

8

8

8

8

Skate America

Chicago, IL October 21-23, 2016

Skate Canada Int.

Mississauga, ON October 28-30, 2016

Rostelecom Cup

Moscow November 4-6, 2016

Trophée de France

Paris November 11-13, 2016

Audi Cup of China

Beijing November 18-20, 2016

NHK Trophy

Sapporo November 25-27, 2016

Brendan KERRY AUS

Patrick CHAN CAN

Elladj BALDE CAN

Chafik BESSEGHIER FRA

Patrick CHAN CAN

Elladj BALDE CAN

Jorik HENDRICKX BEL

Liam FIRUS CAN

Chafik BESSEGHIER FRA

Romain PONSART FRA

Boyang JIN CHN

Nam NGUYEN CAN

Nam NGUYEN CAN

TBD CAN

Alexei BYCHENKO ISR

Ivan RIGHINI ITA

Han YAN CHN

Alexei BYCHENKO ISR

Boyang JIN CHN

Han YAN CHN

Keiji TANAKA JPN

Takahito MURA JPN

TBD CHN

Ivan RIGHINI ITA

Daisuke MURAKAMI JPN

Michal BREZINA CZE

Shoma UNO JPN

Sota YAMAMOTO JPN

Michal BREZINA CZE

Yuzuru HANYU JPN

Shoma UNO JPN

Daniel SAMOHIN ISR

Deniss VASILJEVS LAT

Denis TEN KAZ

Daniel SAMOHIN ISR

Keiji TANAKA JPN

Denis TEN KAZ

Yuzuru HANYU JPN

Artur DMITRIEV RUS

Artur DMITRIEV RUS

Daisuke MURAKAMI JPN

Sota YAMAMOTO JPN

Maxim KOVTUN RUS

Takahito MURA JPN

Mikhail KOLYADA RUS

Adian PITKEEV RUS

Maxim KOVTUN RUS

Mikhail KOLYADA RUS

Sergei VORONOV RUS

Alexander PETROV RUS

TBD RUS

Javier FERNANDEZ ESP

Alexander PETROV RUS

Adian PITKEEV RUS

Jason BROWN USA

Grant HOCHSTEIN USA

Javier FERNANDEZ ESP

Nathan CHEN USA

Sergei VORONOV RUS

Jason BROWN USA

Adam RIPPON USA

Ross MINER USA

Alexander MAJOROV SWE

Adam RIPPON USA

Max AARON USA

Nathan CHEN USA

TBD USA

Misha GE UZB

Max AARON USA

Misha GE UZB

Ross MINER USA

Grant HOCHSTEIN USA

12

12

12

12

12

12

Skate America

Chicago, IL October 21-23, 2016

Skate Canada Int.

Mississauga, ON October 28-30, 2016

Rostelecom Cup

Moscow November 4-6, 2016

Trophée de France

Paris November 11-13, 2016

Audi Cup of China

Beijing November 18-20, 2016

NHK Trophy

Sapporo November 25-27, 2016

Isabella TOBIAS / Ilia TKACHENKO ISR

Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER
CAN

Viktoria KAVALIOVA / Yurii BIELIAIEV BLR

Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER CAN

Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM CAN

Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR CAN

Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI ITA

Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM CAN

Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN

Lorenza ALESSANDRINI / Pierre SOUQUET FRA

Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN

Marie-Jade LAURIAULT / Romain LE GAC FRA

Kana MURAMOTO / Chris REED JPN

Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR CAN

Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SORENSEN DEN

Marie-Jade LAURIAULT / Romain LE GAC FRA

Hong CHEN / Yan ZHAO CHN

Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON FRA

Rebeka KIM / Kirill MINOV KOR

Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU CHN

Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI ITA

Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON FRA

Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU CHN

Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND GBR

Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS

Laurence FOURNIER BEAUDRY / Nikolaj SORENSEN DEN

Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS

Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND GBR

TBD CHN

Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE ITA

Elena ILINYKH / Ruslan ZHIGANSHIN RUS

Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE ITA

Tiffany ZAHORSKY / Jonathan GUERREIRO RUS

Isabella TOBIAS / Ilia TKACHENKO ISR

Natalia KALISZEK / Maksim SPODIREV POL

Emi HIRAI / Marien DE LA ASUNCION JPN

Alisa AGAFONOVA / Alper UCAR TUR

Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN
RUS

TBD RUS

Elena ILINYKH / Ruslan ZHIGANSHIN RUS

Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV RUS

Kana MURAMOTO / Chris REED JPN

Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA

Federica TESTA / Lukas CSOLLEY SVK

Alisa AGAFONOVA / Alper UCAR TUR

Federica TESTA / Lukas CSOLLEY SVK

Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN
RUS

Natalia KALISZEK / Maksim SPODIREV POL

Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI
USA

Madison CHOCK / Evan BATES USA

Madison CHOCK / Evan BATES USA

Alexandra NAZAROVA / Maxim NIKITIN UKR

Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS USA

Victoria SINITSINA / Nikita KATSALAPOV RUS

TBD USA

Kaitlin HAWAYEK / Jean-Luc BAKER USA

Elliana POGREBINSKY / Alex BENOIT
USA

Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE USA

Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI USA

Kaitlin HAWAYEK / Jean-Luc BAKER USA

10

10

10

10

10

10

Skate America

Chicago, IL October 21-23, 2016

Skate Canada Int.

Mississauga, ON October 28-30, 2016

Rostelecom Cup

Moscow November 4-6, 2016

Trophée de France

Paris November 11-13, 2016

Audi Cup of China

Beijing November 18-20, 2016

NHK Trophy

Sapporo November 25-27, 2016

Gabrielle DALEMAN CAN

Alaine CHARTRAND CAN

Zijun LI CHN

Gabrielle DALEMAN CAN

Kaetlyn OSMOND CAN

Alaine CHARTRAND CAN

Roberta RODEGHIERO ITA

Kaetlyn OSMOND CAN

Roberta RODEGHIERO ITA

Laurine LECAVELIER FRA

Zijun LI CHN

Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN

Mao ASADA JPN

TBD CAN

Yura MATSUDA JPN

Mae Berenice MEITE FRA

Ziquan ZHAO CHN

Yura MATSUDA JPN

Mai MIHARA JPN

Rika HONGO JPN

Kanako MURAKAMI JPN

Mao ASADA JPN

TBD CHN

Satoko MIYAHARA JPN

Kanako MURAKAMI JPN

Satoko MIYAHARA JPN

Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ

Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN

Rika HONGO JPN

Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ

Angelina KUCHVALSKA LAT

Yuka NAGAI JPN

Angelina KUCHVALSKA LAT

Yuka NAGAI JPN

Mai MIHARA JPN

Alena LEONOVA RUS

So Youn PARK KOR

Da Bin CHOI KOR

Julia LIPNITSKAIA RUS

So Youn PARK KOR

Elena RADIONOVA RUS

Anna POGORILAYA RUS

Julia LIPNITSKAIA RUS

Maria ARTEMIEVA RUS

Anna POGORILAYA RUS

Alena LEONOVA RUS

Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA RUS

Maria SOTSKOVA RUS

Serafima SAKHANOVICH RUS

Evgenia MEDVEDEVA RUS

Elena RADIONOVA RUS

Evgenia MEDVEDEVA RUS

Joshi HELGESSON SWE

Nicole RAJICOVA SVK

Gracie GOLD USA

Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA RUS

Nicole RAJICOVA SVK

Maria SOTSKOVA RUS

Karen CHEN USA

Karen CHEN USA

Ashley WAGNER USA

Joshi HELGESSON SWE

Polina EDMUNDS USA

Gracie GOLD USA

Courtney HICKS USA

Polina EDMUNDS USA

TBD USA

Mirai NAGASU USA

Courtney HICKS USA

Tyler PIERCE USA

Ashley WAGNER USA

Mirai NAGASU USA

12

12

12

12

12

12

Skate America 

 

LADIES

What I’m Excited About: firstly, Mao Asada! Super excited that one of her events will be in my time zone (not actually mine, but you get the point) so I will get to watch her live. I’m so glad that Serafima Sakhanovich got a GP after a dismal last season. Oh, and Yulia! And also Mai Mihara-I didn’t even know she was going senior, let alone getting two GPs, but I love watching the debuting seniors so I’m happy about it. In dance, I’m excited that the Shibutanis got SA because, well, Shibs. And I’m thrilled that one of my latest ‘discoveries,’ Tobias/Tkachenko, got this spot-I didn’t know if they would even get two spots, let alone this one! Oh, and Ilinykh/Zhiganshin! 🙂 In pairs, I’m really excited to see Seguin/Bilodeau back at Skate America-they had one of my favorite performances at last year’s event. And I love watching Aaron/Settlage. In men: Shoma’s back, which means my favorite skaters in each discipline (Shibs, Gracie, Shoma, Sui/Han) are going to be at Skate America…*drools*

What I’m Not Excited About: I feel like the Gracie-Vs.-Ashley dynamic in this event is going to mess with both of their heads and potentially knock one or both out of GPF contention. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be really interesting, but if the media milks it like they’ve milked the Ashley/Gracie “rivalry” at every recent Nationals, it could be really bad for both of them. Not a good move, USFSA. In pairs: what the heck are Sui/Han doing on this list?!? I love them to pieces, but Sui recently (last month) had ankle surgery that was supposed to have a four-month recovery period. That is barely the amount of time between the surgery and SA, and even though they reportedly already had programs, I feel like they will either show up super unprepared and bomb or show up still injured and make the injury worse. I seriously hope neither of these things is true, but it seems highly unlikely that something bad won’t happen. The Chinese Federation’s exploits continue…*hides in a corner*

TBA Spot Predictions: Ladies-Tyler Pierce; Men’s-Richard Dornbush; Pairs-Denney/Frazier; Dance-Cannuscio/McManus

Skate Canada 

What I’m Excited About: For starters, Evgenia vs. Elizaveta. Somebody get me some popcorn, because that’s gonna be a good one. (Provided Elizaveta is in better form than last season, which I think she will be-no source there, just gut feeling.) And we get to see Rika’s new programs, which look great in the clips I’ve seen. Alaine has another chance to not bomb and hopefully have programs as great as last year’s. In dance, the much-anticipated return of Virtue/Moir should be exciting, and I’m excited to see how Cappellini/Lanotte-who grew on me drastically last season-will do. And I cannot wait to see Hawayek/Baker, who perenially have some of the best FDs in the business. In pairs, I’m really excited to see Denney/Frazier back in competition. For the men, Daniel Samohin is making his senior debut and it’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up. Also, Grant Hochstein (does anyone not love Grant after that FS at Worlds?!?).

What I’m Not Excited About: There is a 90% chance one or both Canadian ladies currently in this event will headcase dramatically. And it’s really, really sad to see “Yu/Zhang” in print on any official document. Whyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?! (I was not even invested in either of them! Why am I so upset? One of life’s many mysteries…)

TBA Spot Predictions: Ladies-Veronik Mallet (is she ever not the SC host pick?); Men-Kevin Reynolds; Pairs-um, I don’t even know any Canadian pairs who aren’t on this list…hehe.

Rostelecom Cup 

What I’m Excited About: on the ladies side, this one’s got a lot of my favorites-Zijun, Nicole, Elizabet, Elena-and it’s always exciting/painful to see which Anna will show up (Scaryfalls McHeadcase or “This is Why I’m A World Medalist, Suckers!”). In dance, it will be interesting to see if Weaver/Poje will redeem their disappointing Worlds, and GP deubts-this time, Porgebinsky/Benoit’s-are just about my favorite thing ever. Pairs has Seguin/Bilodeau and also Astakhova/Rogonov, who-totally off topic-need to get some kind of award for coming up with the idea of making their free skate a sequel to their last one (I mean, I didn’t love their last FS, but how cool is that?!?). Stolbova/Klimov never fail to bring the drama and excitement-they’re wildly unpredictable, but never boring. In men’s-Deniss Vasiljevs’ senior debut.

What I’m Not Excited About: there’s not much about this one that I don’t like. 🙂

TBA Spot Predictions: men’s-no idea.

Trophee De France 

What I’m Excited About: GRACIE AND MAO AND WAKABA AND MARIA AND TYLER AHFIOWHFIOHFIORHOIRHIOWRHGOIHGIOHRGQEHGOHGIOQHGIOQHGIOHQIOGHQOG  THIS IS GOING TO BE SUCH A FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC LADIES EVENT OMG…

…I promise I’ve calmed down. I am just really excited about that ladies list.

In other disciplines, because they exist too: more of Tobias/Tkachenko and Ilinykh/Zhiganshin in dance, and also, the debut of #TeamSuspiciousBio! (I seriously got a kick out of debating the validity of the famous line in their bio-if you don’t remember, see if you can find it here-during Junior Worlds and it is literally all I can think about whenever I watch/read about them, but it’s made me like them more, so I guess it was a good thing?) Whew, sorry for the extreme run-on sentence. Nathan Chen is making his GP debut and if he doesn’t break himself again, I am excited to see how he factors in at the senior level.

What I’m Not Excited About: annoying people online with my constant blathering about Lauriault/Le Gac’s biography. :p JK, I never don’t enjoy bringing that up in totally irrelevant conversations. Whee! *frolics maniacally*

TBD Spot Predictions:  there are none…

Cup of China 

What I’m Excited About: Elena, Karen, Rika, and Zijun, in that order. Also, the GP debut of Vartmann/Blommaert, who I really liked at Nebelhorn last year. And the Shibs, because every situation is improved by  a touch of Shibness. (I don’t care that that’s not a thing.  I am going to make that a thing.) I have a bit of a (huge) soft spot for Cannuscio/McManus, so I’m excited about that, too.

(Also, in a very twisted way, I kind of am looking forward to Yu/Zheng vs. Peng/Jin. I know. I will go sit in a corner and think about what I’ve done.)

What I’m Not Excited About: …?

TBD SPOT PREDICTIONS: I know nothing about Chinese singles outside of Zijun Li, Boyang Jin and Han Yan, and even less about Chinese ice dancers, so…pass.

NHK Trophy 

What I’m Excited About: another Wakaba/Maria matchup! Why am I suddenly so excited about these two? I mean, I always liked both of them, but why am I going berserk over them getting the same GPs? Egh, obsessions are complicated. Hawayek/Baker and Virtue/Moir make nice highlights for the dance event. Wang/Wang are a lovely pair and don’t seem to get out of China all that often, so I’m excited to see them skate. And open TBA pair spot + no more Japanese pairs = maybe a spot for someone on the sub list that I like?

What I’m Not Excited About: nothing, really.

TBA Spot Predictions: pass.

 

Thoughts? I’m personally very happy with nearly everything on these lists. 

 

In Retrospective: 2013-14 Junior Grand Prix Final-Ladies Free Skate

Here is the final installment of my first “In Retrospective”! This will cover the Ladies Free Skate from the 2013-14 Junior Grand Prix Final.

6. Angela Wang, USA-86.89/131.58

Music: “Nights in the Gardens of Spain”

Program Execution: 3lz(forward)-3T, 3F, 1Lo, 3Lz (fall), 2T-2A sequence, 3S, 2a-2T-2T (fall)

Costume Assessment: pretty, but kind of generic. Not much to see here.

What I Liked About This Performance: like I said when I discussed Angela’s SP, she has very nice polish and finishes her movements. Her spins are nice, too, and the 3S came out of nowhere. I like it when jumps come out of nowhere. 🙂

What I Didn’t Like About This Performance: the falls.

Wuzrobbed?: …isn’t it obvious?

5. Alexandra Proklova, Russia-106.50/157.77

Music: “Bahrein-Oriental Medley”

Program Execution: 3Lz-2T, 3F-1Lo-3S, 3Lo, 2A-3T, 3F, 1Lz, 2A

Costume Assessment: honestly, it was kind of garish. I don’t know what this program was supposed to be about, but I can’t think of any theme/narrative that would require a “leopard in a paint factory” dress.

What I Liked About This Performance: her energetic footwork, fantastic spins, and the absolutely gigantic 2A-3T. Plus, her commitment to selling this admittedly bizarre but kind of cool program. But mostly the 2A-3T. *Grabby hands*

What I Didn’t Like About This Performance: it was a weird and slightly confusing mix of an attempt at a “fun program” and an attempt at a “serious program,” which meant it didn’t make much sense. A let-down, especially considering that her short program flawlessly pulled off both.

Wuzrobbed?: a little.

4. Polina Edmunds, USA-113.57/161.71

Music: “Peer Gynt”

Program Execution: 3Lz-3T, 3F-1Lo-3S, 2A, 3F, 3Lz, 3Lo-2T, 2A

Costume Assessment: I liked this dress for Polina in that it was youthful and age-appropriate, but still sophisticated enough to appear mature. Even the hair jewelry isn’t too bad-I actually kind of like it. (Present-day Polina should be reminded that she wore this next time she goes to the dressmaker’s.)

What I Liked About This Performance: well, first of all, it was clean. And I really liked the way it used her arms-I mean, if you have arms as long as hers, you might as well make them look nice. The light, dainty choreography suited her very well.

What I Didn’t Like About This Performance: there wasn’t much, but if I had to pick something, it would probably be her sit spin, which has never been particularly pretty.

3. Evgenia Medvedeva, Russia-104.93/163.68

Music: “La Califfa,” “Never Gonna Miss You”

Program Execution: 3F-3T, 3Lz, 3F, 2A-3T (stepout), 3S-2T(‘tano)-2T(‘tano), 2A

Costume Assessment: I like this dress a lot, but the gloves were majorly distracting. The dress was great-great color, great sparkle, great back-but the gloves were nearly the length of her arm and it looked very weird. She wears gloves with a lot of her costumes, so she might need them for some practical purpose, but the kind she had for this year’s free skate-matching her costume, but not long-were much better.

What I Liked About This Performance: Evgenia’s extension is really nice here, and all of her choreographic movements and footwork match the music very well.

What I Didn’t Like About This Performance: that 2A-3T was the one of the scariest jumps I’ve ever seen, and the flying sit wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing, but nothing major.

Wuzrobbed?: no.

2. Serafima Sakhanovich, Russia-112.30/172.86

Music: “Closed School”

Program Execution: 3F-3T, 3Lz, 3F-1Lo-3S, 2A, 3Lo, 2A (stepout), 3Lz-2T

Costume Assessment: serviceable, but very bland.

What I Liked About This Performance: I thought Serafima’s interpretation of this music was good, and she gave quite a bit of face. Her speed was also excellent.

What I Didn’t Like About This Performance: again, the scary jumps. I’ve figured out what it was that scared me about her landings: she lands with her chest down and her knees rather stiff and bends them sharply on impact, which is both jarring to watch and very likely terrible for her joints.

Wuzrobbed?: no.

1. Maria Sotskova, Russia-115.46/176.75

Music: “Pina” Soundtrack

Program Execution: 3Lo, 3Lz-3T, 3F (shaky landing), 3Lz, 2A-3T-2T, 3S-2T, 2A

Costume Assessment: the dress could have been okay-not great, but okay-if not for the shredded stuff on the shoulders. It looks like a cat got at her dress. Otherwise, it’s okay, but nothing great. I did like her hair, though.

What I Liked About This Performance: “Pina” is a very quirky piece of music, and Maria’s choreography and interpretation definitely showed that. In general, this was a very well-choreographed program. Her spins were great, too.

Wuzrobbed?: no.