Baga is very good but prone to meltdowns in the FS, Gao will compete on the senior circuit, Kawamura has lost most of her triples, Maxwell if she's not injured will likely compete senior so we shall see. Also, I don't get this hype about Imai, she was 16th at Junior Worlds last year and didn't seem that great as far as I could tell this season. The Fujisawa girl is much better than her IMO.
I'm hoping Jiang and Cesario get JGP assignments in the coming season, they are very nice skaters and I think they could do well if the lack of reputation doesn't hurt them.
Last edited by pinky166; 04-14-2010 at 05:37 PM.
I think Shelepen will be on the SGP, as she has already medaled on the JGP and at the Final. Ovcharova has skary jump technique and doesn't appear to be the strongest competitor...it's a little premature to be anointing her. Based on the clip posted earlier in this thread, Sheveleva doesn't seem to have the greatest speed or jump technique (her flip particularly). She may be in danger of even getting an initial JGP assignment based on the strength of the Russian junior ladies.
I think you're assessment of Ovcharova is unfair. Yes, she is not the most consistent but she is certainly no worse of a competitor than the likes of Baga, Agafonova, and all the other girls from Russia. She made it to the JGPF as a 13 year old so clearly she has promise, plus her PCS are always among the top at junior events. She won the silver medal at the junior nationals in a deep field, defeating skaters like Shelepen, Tuktamysheva, and Sotnikova. She also won the SP at Junior Worlds with an impressive score of nearly 60 points, receiving +GOE for all her jumps. Her technique seems to be greatly improved since JGP Budapest this fall and I'm sure she will continue to work on it. Clearly the judges think she has a lot of promise so I would not be so quick to write her off - had she delivered a clean LP at Junior Worlds she likely would have won the event, given her scores in the SP. Also, why would the judges give her such a high score if she wasn't a good skater? I think she is blossoming into a great skater and she is so young that she has time to work on her consistency to become a stronger competitor.
You're right about Sheveleva, but I think a lot will depend on if Agafonova, Ovcharova, and Birukova move up to seniors this season or not. You didn't mention Agafonova or Birukova in your post, thoughts on those two?
Anna has not been as consistent all season as the 2 Polina's, Murakami, or even Christina Gao. I dont know if it is all being a headcase or her jump technique problems but she is the only one of the top juniors who never seems to close to a clean long program.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2_EytmJFwk . Maybe not the most asthetically pleasing jumps but they were all rotated and landed and she got a big score of 109+, winning the FS at that event. Also, Anna's not close to clean LPs still always score about 90 points, which on the junior ranks is pretty decent.
Last edited by pinky166; 04-15-2010 at 04:23 AM.
I actually think some of Anna's issues in the LP are puberty based because it looks like she is going through puberty now whereas the Polina's have not yet started puberty. The other thing is that Anna has only gotten most of her triple jumps recently. Last season she only had 2 triples I think and that's why she was so far down in the standings at Jr Nationals. So the combination of learning new jumps while adjusting to a new body is bound to make it a bit difficult, and that may be what she's going through now. The thing is though, she's managing to do well for herself and improve regardless, so in the future when the other girls are fighting their puberty woes, Anna may be fully adjusted to her new body and be able to pull ahead. Doesn't mean it will happen, but it does look like she'll be finished with the dreaded puberty days before most of the others, and having those rough experience while competing on the junior circuit will tarnish her reputation less than having it happen on the senior ranks (like what happened to Mirai and Caroline). If she does another year on the JGP, then when she moves up to seniors she will only be 15 and likely adjusted to her body whereas I think Shelepen will have to battle puberty while on the senior ranks.
I did not see her Russian Nationals LP until now. However she was only 8th in the short so she must have really bombed that.
I think that Agafonova's skating might improve though. People who saw her at Junior Worlds said that she's not slow, but its just she's so tiny that it takes a lot of effort to make it accross the ice. Her skating might improve if she grows a little bit (as long as she doesn't lose her jumps)think she's a better skater than Shelepen and Agafonova, but her jumps aren't as nice as theirs.
Ovcharova's jumping technique is terrible but I am really hoping she can fix it (she's improved it already somewhat since the start of the season, as has been noted already).
She is by far the most interesting skater out of all the "babies" IMO. She is really perky, has tons of character on the ice and very good basics. A strong all-round skater. Just add better jumps to the mix and you have all you could ask for.
As for Agafonova, she is not exactly consistent either. She didn't qualify for the JGPF because she bombed at one of her events and only finished 10th at Russian Nationals, where Anna had two solid performances and finished 5th.
Anna's SP at the Junior Nationals she didn't bomb, she just had issues on her combination (stepped out of it). The scores were all really close and that's why she was 8th, her SP score was like 54 so it wasn't that bad.
I agree that Kiri and Anna could probably beat most of the other girls if they were more consistent, but I think they are both going through some growing pains currently and that may be part of the reason for it. They are the most complete skaters of the junior ladies IMO, they just need to be better about landing the jumps.
I don't know how hard technique is to fix, but one thing that does make her situation different from someone like Caroline Zhang or Alissa Czisny is that he carries a lot of speed across the ice. Her edge takeoffs are also fine and she doesn't have any weird kick so really what I think she needs to work on is flow coming out of the jumps. Her 2a is good in this sense but that's likely because of the forward takeoff. Under-rotations also don't seem to be a big problem for her either except on the loop jump. Also, maybe she should take a break from attempting all of her jumps from such difficult transitions, I know she does that to get the PCS up but she should focus on the technique first. She definitely doesn't seem tentative which is also good because the speed and attack should help when she tries to rework her jumps.
There's an interview with her coach on the Russian skating website where she says next season she is really going to work with Anna on the LP. She says that in the coming season they will pick a LP that will highlight Anna's strengths so that she doesn't fire everything up only in the SP like she did most of this season, and work on doing more run-throughs so that Anna can become more consistent and comfortable with the jumps. I think that sounds like a good plan and hope it works. She was a nice surprise this season, I remember thinking her programs at JGP Budapest were really fun and as the season went on she got much better.
As for basic skating being easier to fix than jumps, it's likely the Polina's will have to fix their jumps once they go through puberty. Mirai didn't have bad technique as a little kid but Frank Carrrol said that in the past year he has had to reconstruct nearly all of Mirai's jump technique. Unless you have flawless technique (which neither Polinas do), chances are you have to rework it once your body changes. I honestly think some of Anna's struggles this season are due to physical changes rather than purely technique issues or being a headcase. Sotnikova and Baga have been having similar issues and Shelepen seems to be developing them too. Anna is 20cm taller than Agafonova so obviously it is harder for her to jump, and she also has a somewhat defined body shape unlike Shelepen who is still built like a little boy with no hips or shoulders, on the ice Anna actually doesn't look that different physically from a lot of the thinner senior ladies so she might be going through the rebuilding period of her jumps now.
Oh and about Liza, she looks about Agafonova's size judging from these pictures:
Alena is 5'3" and Ksenia 5'6" so Liza is well under 5 feet tall. I thought she was tall but she is still very, very tiny and may be a question mark in the future. Shelepen and Ovcharova are both taller than Leonova and therefore less worrisome, even if their jumps aren't as good, as Liza may grow the better part of a foot before she stops.
Last edited by pinky166; 04-15-2010 at 08:15 PM.