China! Spain! Russia! Oh My! – 2015 National Championships

The events of Japanese Nationals consumed all my skating thoughts during the past couple weeks but there were a number of other National Championships during the month of December. Here I’ll recap Russian, Chinese and Spanish Nationals. All in preparation of Canadians and US Nationals at the end of January.

Chinese Nationals

I checked these results on a whim earlier today. I wanted to see how Han Yan was recovering from the collision at Cup of China. I was surprised to see a name I didn’t recognize at the top of the leaderboard. Boyang Jin is the Chinese National Champion after scoring 180.24 in the FS! While Nationals scores are often inflated, it seems Boyang landed 3 quads in the FS and 2 in the SP! Who is this guy!?! Well, he was 4th at the Jr GPF in Barcelona and 6th at Jr Worlds last year. I watched his FS and I’m impressed. He still skates rather juniorish and I’d like to see some artistic development moving forwards but goodness, this boy can jump and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

Han Yan on the other hand didn’t skate so well. There were a couple of pops and falls throughout both programs. Here’s hoping he can get back on track moving towards 4CC.

Spanish Nationals

To no ones surprise, Javier Fernandez won his 5th National title in December. Javi skated well, but far from spectacular. He popped the 3A and there were a couple other small mistakes in the SP. In the FS there were mistakes on both his quads and like usual, mistakes on easier jumps near the end of the program.

With Yuzu injured, it seems Javi could do very well at Worlds this year….however, he’s going to have to skate better than this!

Russian Nationals

Russian Nationals occurred at the same time as Japanese Nationals and I kinda ignored them…

The Pairs event was rather intriguing! Ksenia Stolbova fell on both throws in the FS!?! I didn’t think she made mistakes! There were some who even thought Tarasova and Morozov should have won. Crazy! Perhaps this will now motivate Stolbova and Klimov heading forward or perhaps they’re still recovering from that loss at the GPF. I’m still interested to see if they’ll attempt to up their technical difficulty before the end of the season. And again it seems Kavaguti and Smirnov cannot repeat their Skate America success.

The most exciting thing about the Dance event was the same as we’ve been seeing all season: Elena Ilinykh totally came out on top of her and Nikita’s split. Ilinykh and Zhiganshin won their first national title while Nikita didn’t even make the podium. Congrats to Elena and Ruslan. I’m sure it’s well deserved, but I don’t think I agree with how quickly they’ve risen in the ranks this season. I think there’s potential to be really good, they’re just not there yet. Right now I think we’re seeing the bump of being Russia’s #1.

My first thought on the Mens event was how ridiculous the scoring was. Seriously, no matter how clean Maxim Kovtun is he should not be getting 98.14 in the SP. That’s a territory reserved for the very best, and Kovtun just isn’t at that level. The FS was interesting and I’m glad the over-scoring was at least consistent for all skaters. It’s the second time in as many weeks that Voronov beat Kovtun in the FS! Both had trouble in the FS and Kovtun barely (less than a point) came out on top overall. I think this is very intriguing. Kovtun was being pushed as the next big thing and now that he’s faltering and has some competition his marks are falling; the judges can now see there are still so many things this boy can work on. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top between these two at Europeans later this month.

Men PodiumThe ladies event had to be the most intense and most talked. Elena Radionova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva are the two to beat this season! These girls have now gone head to head on 3 occasions and each time they’ve skated amazingly well. It’s exciting to see both these girls skating so cleanly so often. I hope a rivalry can develop between them over the next while. However, looking at the depth of Russian Ladies I don’t see that happening. There are a number of young girls just waiting for their chance,, just waiting with their multitude of triple-triple combinations, just waiting till they’re old enough.

Poor Alena Leonova for continuing to try against the youngsters. In almost any other country she’d be National Champion right now. Unfortunately, I don’t see her continuing for much longer. And even worse, this season has been an absolute disaster for Julia Lipnitskaia. On a positive note, Elizaveta found herself in a similar place at Nationals last season and she’s since worked her way back to the top. On the downside, Julia does not appear to have the desire or motivation or will to skate right now. I hope this phase will pass, she’s such a talented young girl and I’d love to see her grow and develop. I hope she battles her inner demons and comes back fighting next season.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.06.32 PMThat’s all for today! Thanks for reading.
Let me know in the comments of any exciting things that happened at National Championships across the World that I forgot to mention!

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