Last weekend saw the culmination of the Grand Prix circuit with the final in Barcelona. I’ve already blogged about this event on a number of occasions….but all of those were regarding Yuzuru Hanyu. While I am a mega Yuzu fan and I know a large number of my fans love those posts the most, there was so much good at the Grand Prix Final this year that needs to be mentioned as well!
Dance is definitely the field I’m struggling with this season. I love Kaitlyn and Andrew but overall I’m just not particularly interested.
To me, this event set Kaitlyn and Andrew up to be World Champions in March. Their FD scores were crazy! Those scores are approaching Davis/White and Virtue/Moir territory (their reaction to them was priceless). I was surprised Chock and Bates were not able to match them in the FD. I think the fact they didn’t means the judges are not loving them quite as much as we thought at the beginning of the season. I like this, Chock and Bates just haven’t excited me yet, not loving them.
I am however loving the French! Papadakis and Cizeron are great! Their FD could not be working better for this team. It is soft and elegant and when you are as gorgeous as this team it is easy to sell it. I become enthralled when I see it! Audiences love it and it seems the judges are too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team was #2 by Worlds. Their rise through the ranks is incredible this season and I can’t wait to see them reach the top!
Also, how crazy is it that Kaitlyn and Andrew were able to win the GPF when Scott and Tessa never could!?! This was the first Canadian gold in ice dance at the GPF since 2001!
I also don’t have a lot of interest in the ladies event this year. I have favourites, but I’m not lovin’ anyone right now.
I am super impressed with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva this season! She looks like a brand new skater compared to the lost girl we’ve seen the past couple of seasons. She has her jumps back and a new confidence. It’s great to see. Interestingly, this was Elizaveta’s 7th competition of the season so far. She skated in 4 Senior B events during the fall. I’m not entirely sure why this format was decided on for her, but it seems to be working. But it’s a long season, here’s hoping she isn’t burnt out by March.
Elena Radionova might be my favourite at the moment. She is a young spitfire, exciting to watch and has very impressive jumps. Plus her smile is infectious! Elena wasn’t as clean here, shows she’s human, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t let it happen again.
Anna Pogorilaya looked devastated after her FS here. It wasn’t great but far from as bad as her reaction would indicate. She did look slightly off here though, but not as off as Julia Lipnitskaia. Julia does not look like the same skater as last season. It does not appear like she’s having any fun out there and is simply going through the motions. It’s sad to seen after last season. If she doesn’t get things figured out soon, she just might be left off the World team. I don’t think anyone expected that when this season began. Russian Nationals is going to be intense. I’m almost excited for it more than Japanese Nationals.
Mega props here to Ashley Wagner. I still really want to like her. I applaud her for upping her technical content (clean 3F-3T and added 3L-3S sequence). She was knocked out after the SP but came back fighting and performed one of her best FS, it was very very close to her PB. I think GPF showed that she can still compete and that Gracie might not be able to run away with that National title in January. I know I’ll be rooting for Ashley there!
Congrats Meagan and Eric! Throw 4S! Wow! They are skating amazing this season! I am so happy for them. These two are a perfect example of hard work paying off. I’ve never seen a more determined pair. Their reaction when the scores came up was also adorable. If they keep skating like this, they will be world champions in March.
Stolbova and Klimov have been near perfect all season. However, even pretty clean they are 7 points behind the Canadians. The Russians have the ‘classic pairs team’ look. They have the long elegant lines and graceful style the Canadians are lacking. However, Stolbova and Klimov cannot compete with Duhamel and Radford technically, they loose almost 10 points on the Canadians in base value. They are still doing side-by-side 2A when Meagan and Eric are doing 3Lz. They are doing throw 3S when the Canadians are landing throw 4S. Unless they up their technical content between now and Worlds I don’t think they’ll be able to compete for gold. Meagan and Eric have a couple mistake cushion at the moment. I’m excited for March to see if they can skate it and how the Russians (and others) respond.
Congrats to Sui and Han. They are the most adorable team and I think they’re going to do quite well in the coming years. And extremely disappointing for Kavaguti and Smirnov, I had predicted them for the podium. I hope this is not a case of them peaking at Skate America, the first event of the season.
Next I want to talk about Javi! I’m almost glad Javi delivered a rather poor performance in the SP. This was the first time Javi as had to perform in front of a home audience at a major international event. I think he now has an appreciation for the tremendous amount of pressure Hanyu, Mura, Machida experienced at Worlds in Tokyo and Voronov and Kovtun (would have) experienced in Sochi and at the numerous other events is Russia. I can’t imagine it’s easy and I’m glad he finally got to experience it first hand.
That being said, I couldn’t be happier he delivered a great FS! The Spanish crowd was thrilled! It was great to see him rise from that disappointing SP. I’ve talked about Javi on a number of occasions (here and here) and I continuously want him to do well. However, we saw here the same Javi we’re now seen on a number of occasions – a pretty good FS with a couple errors, and overall, just a little messy. I’m still cheering this Spaniard on. He has gorgeous jumps and can be landed superbly, I just wish we saw those landings more often.
This was the first time in a while we’ve gotten to see Team Orser in full force and I was so happy for it! Yuzu and Javi were simply adorable! And I don’t think Brian could have asked for a better result! The work he’s done with these two continues to amaze me. Yuzu and Javi on the podium together was precious. I think Yuzu was cheering Javi on as loud as the rest of the crowd. It was great to see. The two of them also introduced each other during the gala. It’s wonderful to see that these two are actual really close friends. I’ve also read the crowd chanted ‘Yuzu-Javi‘ on multiple occasions throughout the event, the Spanish crowd was loving them!
I was very happy for Voronov here! Who ever would have predicted that one!?! I mostly love it because he was ahead of Kovtun. I just can’t get into his skating. There are some difficult jumps but compare him to the basic skating skills of Yuzu or Tatsuki and he just can’t compete. I’m not a fan.
And this event couldn’t have gone worse for Tatsuki Machida. It was a little heart breaking watching that FS. Again, I hope he didn’t peak at Skate America. After he skated so well in his first GP event he was quoted as saying something along the lines of him laying down all he has and now it’s up to Yuzu to respond. Unfortunately, Yuzu became injured and wasn’t able to respond till this weekend. But for Tatsuki things have just gone down hill since, NHK was bad but GPF was worse. I am very interested to see how he recovers and skates at Nationals. I’d love a battle between him and Yuzu. Machida is one of few who has the ability to compete with the Olympic Champion.
Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!
Stay tuned for coverage of Russian and Japanese Nationals next weekend!!