Naked Ice Blog - Updated

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kwanatic

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Whew, watch your blood pressure there, @kwanatic. :) If it is any consolation (I know it’s not), I have never seen a Japanese skater complain about their results. (Classic example for me: Daisuke at 2012 Worlds, and there are too many Mao examples to list.) They always just say they need to work harder. Wakaba is certainly making a big statement.
I know and I admire that so much. Wakaba looked thrilled with her score and her placement...I was ready to throw my computer out of the window! :lol:

As a side note, not too psyched about Amber's reaction in the kiss 'n cry. "It wasn't a disaster" and "I did a good triple Sal"? I mean, it's good to look on the bright side, I guess, but :confused:.
Such a talented skater, but no confidence and seemingly no plan for improvement that she believes in.
I know, right? I figured I'd go the positive route with Amber's results considering all of the ranting I had to do for the top 2, but I was really disappointed in her skating. She's capable of being so much better than she was and consistently is at these competitions. Her nonchalant reaction speaks volumes in terms of where she is mentally with her skating. It's kinda sad...
 

Weve3

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Great recap of Skate America!

I had such high hopes for Karen this season, but I agree with you that she is being completely mismanaged. It is unfortunate and mind-boggling that she has changed her programs as many times as she has. Pains me to say that, but I am shaking my head thinking about how reckless it is to be so unsure and unsettled at this late stage. This is not something a skater who is trying to make an Olympic team should be wrestling with. I really hope Team Karen pulls it all together by the time Nationals roll around because I can envision a scenario where she could be left off the team entirely, especially if another lady, currently off the radar, should manage to step it up. Mariah, for example, even though she too has had a fair amount of struggle this season could still be a game-changer. Anyone could rock this boat. Karen, I feel, is in a very vulnerable position at the moment. Politics, a 4th place finish at Worlds and a National title might still work its magic, but I wouldn't count on it, not for one minute. Too much on the line, too unpredictable...

Thanks again! As always, good stuff!!
 

clairecloutier

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Great review @kwanatic!!

Wow, that's so impressive that 5 out of 7 of Kaori's jumping passes in the LP got 1.20 or more in positive GOE! Crazy ... but deserved. I really believe her jumps are pretty much the best in the world. The speed, the height, the size, and smoothness all pretty much unrivaled except by Kaetlyn Osmond. If Kaori had had better programs this season, and skated a little better at Rostelecom .... who knows.

Totally agree with your take on Karen and Ashley ... sad to see them both struggling so much, albeit for different reasons. I also feel that neither of them are a lock for the team any more and that anything could happen. :(

I must say I'm not sure about Satoko's victory at this event. Artistically she was great, but I question whether the judges/callers gave her a pass on her jumps. A lot of them in the LP didn't look fully rotated to me. I'd have to go back and analyze, but based on the slo-mo they showed on Olympic Channel, I felt her calling was a bit generous.

ETA: So I just went back and looked at the slo-mo of Satoko's jumps. Yes, it's clear that her 3Lp and the first jump of the 3Lz/2T/2Lp combo were underrotated--but not called. The 3Lz/3T was close but probably OK, yet she got some +2s for that combo? Not cool in my book.

As I've said before, I don't really even care much about underrotations. I think they are far too heavily penalized under the current system. HOWEVER, if the judging panel is going to call them on Karen and Ashley, then they need to call them on everyone who has the same issue.

Tara/Johnny said the judges "didn't even look" at Satoko's jumps for URs. I assume that means they didn't call up video to review. If so, that's negligent IMO, as Satoko is a known underrotater.

Again, the issue here is that you can't just call URs on certain skaters and not others. If you're going to do it, then you must be consistent. Take responsibility for really doing it correctly. But the ISU doesn't, and so that's part of my objection to the current valuation of URs. They can have a huge impact on a skater's score, but they are not called consistently.
 
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kwanatic

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Great review @kwanatic!!

Wow, that's so impressive that 5 out of 7 of Kaori's jumping passes in the LP got 1.20 or more in positive GOE! Crazy ... but deserved. I really believe her jumps are pretty much the best in the world. The speed, the height, the size, and smoothness all pretty much unrivaled except by Kaetlyn Osmond. If Kaori had had better programs this season, and skated a little better at Rostelecom .... who knows.

Totally agree with your take on Karen and Ashley ... sad to see them both struggling so much, albeit for different reasons. I also feel that neither of them are a lock for the team any more and that anything could happen. :(

I must say I'm not sure about Satoko's victory at this event. Artistically she was great, but I question whether the judges/callers gave her a pass on her jumps. A lot of them in the LP didn't look fully rotated to me. I'd have to go back and analyze, but based on the slo-mo they showed on Olympic Channel, I felt her calling was a bit generous.

ETA: So I just went back and looked at the slo-mo of Satoko's jumps. Yes, it's clear that her 3Lp and the first jump of the 3Lz/2T/2Lp combo were underrotated--but not called. The 3Lz/3T was close but probably OK, yet she got some +2s for that combo? Not cool in my book.

As I've said before, I don't really even care much about underrotations. I think they are far too heavily penalized under the current system. HOWEVER, if the judging panel is going to call them on Karen and Ashley, then they need to call them on everyone who has the same issue.

Tara/Johnny said the judges "didn't even look" at Satoko's jumps for URs. I assume that means they didn't call up video to review. If so, that's negligent IMO, as Satoko is a known underrotater.

Again, the issue here is that you can't just call URs on certain skaters and not others. If you're going to do it, then you must be consistent. Take responsibility for really doing it correctly. But the ISU doesn't, and so that's part of my objection to the current valuation of URs. They can have a huge impact on a skater's score, but they are not called consistently.
I mentioned this on a comment on my post about the same thing re: Satoko's jumps. I tend to have a hard time calling Satoko's jumps as rotated or not and often go by what the caller/judges say when it comes to her. Her jumps looked as too close to call as always so I figured if she URed anything the judges would call her on it b/c they always do. I completely missed Tara/Johnny saying that no jumps were under review...I just assumed they were under review because, when are they not? It's almost like a rule for her. The callers rarely ever do her favors in that department so I took her clean protocol to mean her borderline jumps were close enough.

Satoko may have gotten away with one here. If that's the case I'm wondering if Japanese politicking had something to do with it. Fact is if Satoko had been called for any under-rotations, she'd have lost to Kaori...hmmm.

Ah well, a bit too late to go back and change the post now :slinkaway. I'll have to address it in my End of GP review...or if she gets to go to the Final.
 
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shady82

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Interesting analysis. For me, Bradie/Mirai and Karen/Ashley (in the SP only) were really close. I would have personally still have Bradie first, and put Karen in 3rd over Ashley in the LP.
 

clairecloutier

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Great analysis @kwanatic, thanks for doing this!! :)

I do believe there was probably a lot of “talk” before the event about Bradie being the new face of U.S. ladies skating, replacing Ashley. And that probably played a role in how things played out.

I have not had time to sit down and review the ladies’ jumps to make my own assessments about URs/GOE. In terms of PCS, all I can say, being in the building, is I felt all 4 top ladies were good artistically, but in my personal opinion, Karen was the best and Bradie the least impressive. I did really enjoy Ashley’s “Audition” LP and found it quite moving and emotional, especially because the lyrics just fit the situation so well, it was very poignant. Karen’s SP and LP were both beautiful IMO—such strength and grace in her skating, and a wonderful feeling for the music. Bradie’s SP was very nice, but record-breaking? No.
 

Weve3

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@kwanatic, you said "things just got very interesting for next month," re Alina and company. Boy, did they ever!

I like the idea of a challenger or two stepping up and blurring the picture before it is all said and done. I believe, at times, when a skater goes in as a heavy favorite, that expectation and pressure can unnerve that skater. However, when they must compete against other competitors equal in their capabilities to win the top prize, then maybe less expectation and pressure can ultimately lighten the load. I’m from the more the merrier crowd that likes the idea of several skaters having the opportunity to win Olympic gold.
 

clairecloutier

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Good review @kwanatic.

I just finished watching Euros ladies and I’m kind of still thinking over what happened there.

Zagitova is overscored in PCS, and I hate how her victories this season are so reliant on the backloading. I don’t feel she is giving a complete or well-balanced performance in either program. While the LP has a certain audacious charm to it, the SP is just a bit immature and makes me think of other ladies who have skated to Swan Lake far, far better than Alina can at this point.

That said, I agree with Ryan Bradley that Zagitova’s jumps are, basically, better-quality than Evgenia’s both in difficulty of combos and in quality of the landings.

Other things I appreciate about Zagitova: 1) While her music is Warhorse 101, at least her choreography is relatively straightforward, and thankfully spares us the quirkiness, melodrama, and odd facial expressions of the Med/Averbukh style, which drives me bonkers , 2) Zagitova, for all her juniorishness, is still possibly more aesthetically pleasing to me than Evgenia, just because she is more coordinated, more typical in her carriage. I’ve been watching Evgenia for several years now and I’m still bothered by what my dad terms Med’s “coltish” quality. The long, thin arms & legs are just everywhere, and it gives her a gawky look. Also I wish she had more core strength or back strength to hold herself more upright in her posture. Zagitova is much more compact and typical in her style of movement.

Basically, I can see an argument for Zagitova winning OGM over Medvedeva, and in some ways, I don’t disagree with it. (If we think of the OGM as being between them.)

That said, it was good to see Medvedeva back. Her Anna Karenina program is very nice, quite interesting. It is the first program from her that I’ve liked. The storytelling aspect really adds interest to it. And a great dress. Good comeback for her although I think she was a bit overscored.

Carolina was amazing in the SP. the LP wasn’t as good but I think she deserved the bronze. Her artistry is far above Sotskovas, so why shouldn’t that be rewarded? I’m fine with the lime green unitard on its own. But I don’t think it really goes with the gentle, dreamy, yet intense mood of the Faun music.

I wish Sotksova would spend the whole summer working on musicality and finishing off her moves. Good jumps, and her artistry isn’t bad by any means, but I just feel like it could be so much better. When you watch Maria skate to Debussy, right after watching Carolina skate to Debussy ... there’s really just no comparison.
 
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kwanatic

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Definitely agree @clairecloutier.

I'm at odds with Alina. I can't help but be awed by her technical abilities. I mean, come on! Short of having a 3A, she has the hardest possible content in the SP. Her transitions, while overly busy at time, are insanely difficult but well-executed. Her spins are lovely, her jumps are lovely. I do think she's a much better overall technician than Evgenia who always looks to me like she's muscling her jumps with her upper body. Alina's technique seems more focused on her legs, as it should be.

OTOH, I'm underwhelmed by Alina as a performer. I am immensely grateful she's not choreographed by Averbukh and I pray she steers clear of him. I agree her SP is very juniorish in her presentation. She should have waited a few years before tackling Black Swan. Then again when you're getting those kinds of PCS for CH, IN and PE, why bother?

IMO her FS relies entirely the excitement of having all of the jumps within such a short span of time. The program works due to the coordination of the music and the jumps...however, it only works for half of the program. The first half of the program is rather forgettable/boring IMO. I've seen other skaters 100% backload a program and still make it nice to watch (e.g. Alena Kostornaia). I wonder if Alina is capable of "performing?" Whether she wins OGM or not I feel like she'll be around for a while so hopefully she'll develop more. I suppose I should cut her some slack...I keep forgetting she's only 15 years old. Perhaps this is why I sometimes feel the international junior age should be 16 or 17 years old...it's a case of girls competing against women.

I appreciate what Evgenia brings. I agree about her somewhat coltish presentation. She still looks very spindly out there :). However, I admire how committed she is to the character and feel of her music. She stays in it no matter what and that is a major plus for me. To me, that puts her over Alina for now but I don't know if that's what will happen should they both skate cleanly next month.

I do feel, barring some disaster, Evgenia and Alina are locked for gold and silver. Bronze is a bit more open and will likely go to whoever steps up out of Kaetlyn, Carolina and Satoko, with an outside shot for Kaori, Gabby and possibly Bradie and Mirai (if she goes clean on all of her planned content).
 

clairecloutier

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Strong words at the end, @kwanatic. But I think you know how much I agree with you. Like--100%.

Figure skating just exited the big stage that it gets once every 4 years. Question now is, how will things look 4 years from now. What kind of champions will we see then? How many fans will we see then?

It's my belief the sport is in bigger trouble now than the powers-that-be (or many fans) are willing to admit. Whatever changes the ISU undertakes at this next ISU Congress in June NEED to be good changes, to turn this ship around, IMO.
 

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