Grand Prix Final 2013

This weekend made me super excited to be a figure skating fan. In every discipline the competition for the Olympic gold medal became even more exciting!

Golden Spin of Zagreb

This past weekend Yu-Na Kim competed for the first time this season at the Golden Spin in Zagreb. While she easily won, she wasn’t clean. What?!?! Things are getting interesting.

In the SP she messed up the 2A and then she fell in the FS. While still getting monster scores I wonder how she’d stack up against her competitors in Sochi if she skated like this.

SP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tz4ToEQ_jw&app=desktop
FS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-LuRoxUhQw&feature=player_embedded

Grand Prix Final

The main thing I will take from the GPF is the fact that the time difference between MST here in Canada and JST in Japan is simply the worst. Come Worlds I may have to slightly adjust my sleeping schedule.

Pairs

Definitely not the best weekend for the Canadian Pairs teams. Both just looked a little lost in their FS. Not the clean skates we’ve become used to. After this weekend they definitely have their work cut out for them if they want to make the podium in Sochi.

I think this is the first time I actually enjoyed Pang and Tong. They seemed like a new team at this event. There was an understated grace to their programs. And now that he’s no longer injured and can jump again this team seems ready to step on the Olympic podium again.

But most excitingly the Russians had mistakes and the Germans won. I never would have guessed that possible just a week ago.

I am so glad the Germans did not include the throw 3A at this competition. I hope this shows that they don’t need it and simply a clean skate is the best chance they have at gold. I had almost written off Savchenko & Szolkowy only a couple weeks ago. This weekend they seemed like a new team and solidified themselves as Olympic gold medal challengers.

Volosozhar and Trankov have been solid and clean for so long that a couple of mistakes were to be expected at some point. And it’s better here than at Sochi. Even with the mistakes, the Russians are the class of the field; those throws and 3Twist are simply perfect.

Ladies

I’m quite a fan of Julia Lipnitskaia. If there’s going to be a surprise in Sochi, I kind of hope its Julia sneaking up to the podium.

I’m also a huge fan of Ashley Wagner. I admire her for adding the 3F-3T into her programs this season. She’s not a natural jumper but I admire all the hard work she’s put in to get where she is. I also wouldn’t mind her surprising for an Olympic medal. But for her to get there she’ll need to perfect because she doesn’t have the technical content of some of her competitors. I’m also still not a huge fan of her FS this season. I had hoped it’d grow on me but it hasn’t happened yet.

I am a huge fan of Mao, I think she’s improved so much and has become a true artist. I am not a huge fan of her complete reliance on the 3A. She didn’t land a clean one in this competition yet tried 3. It’s a big gamble and I’m not sure it’s going to pay off. Especially having two in the FS. I’d like her to win in Sochi over Yu-Na, but I don’t think all these 3A are going to get her there.

Dance

The most exciting thing about this event is finally how close the top two teams scores were. Finally Scott & Tessa laid down two great skates and got the levels they needed. Finally.

Will the Canadians win in Sochi? – I don’t know. But at least when both teams skate like this there is an actual competition. I hope this event was a building block on Scott & Tessa’s rise this season and things are a little different next time they meet.

Everyone knows I prefer the Canadians. The soft, romantic, delicate style is exquisite. This weekend was a throwback to the Virtue & Moir of 4 years ago. Perfection.

I won’t say much about Davis & White. I think I’ve said all I can say already.

Disappointing for Kaitlyn & Andrew, shame they couldn’t get the levels for the second competition in a row. They did have higher PCS than the Russians which I think is a success.

And congrats to Pechalat & Bourzat, they’d be my sentimental pick for the Olympic bronze.

Men

Anyone who’s read this blog knows that I absolutely adore Yuzuru Hanyu and that I think Patrick Chan is possibly the most talented skater ever. Which is why I love everything about this weekend and can’t wait for Sochi!

This was Yuzu’s competition and he needed it more than anyone. Up until Yuzu was named to the Olympic team I feared for him making it to Sochi. Now I’m glad he solidified his spot on the team J I can relax a little. This win means so much for Yuzu’s status at a top contender and even more for his mental toughness.

While I still want Patrick to win in Sochi, I’d be a bad Canadian if I said other wise; I hope these two can skate at their best at the Olympics and there can be a real competition.

We’ve seen Patrick and Yuzu head-to-head three times now this season. In the first two Yuzu was definitely not at his best and this weekend Patrick wasn’t quite at his best. I would love to see Patrick from France and Yuzu from the Final show up in Sochi.

In the SP Yuzu could not put a foot wrong. This program is perfect for him and plays to his loose/relaxed skating style. And my goodness those jumps are gorgeous.  Without that bobble in the final spin we would have broken 100, which is amazing.

In the FS Patrick was clean but he wasn’t perfect like in France. Yuzu was very close to perfect. Minus the 4S Yuzu couldn’t put a foot wrong and gave everything he could in the performance. It was a Yuzu we hadn’t seen so far this season.

This competition emphasized Patrick’s lack of technical advantage amongst the top men. He doesn’t have the most technical difficulty and with a fall Yuzu still beat him technically (Patrick did miss out a 3T on the first 4T, loosing at least a couple points).

PCS are another story. Yuzu’s scores rose quite a bit this competition, and in his and the judging systems defense he definitely skated the most out of these programs this weekend. In the SP Patrick deservedly won skating skills and transitions but Yuzu owned the other components. Patrick deservedly won PCS in the FS, Yuzu’s FS isn’t as strong as his SP and Patrick is still on another level when he skates clean. Unfortunately, I also doubt Yuzu will score quite as high in this department when he isn’t skating in Japan.

And finally, congrats Yuzu! You deserved the win this weekend. And Happy Birthday! As well you were extremely adorable when your marks showed up for both programs.

http://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/69711143f116c993eb7c2f700c30fdd1/tumblr_mxc4s54ufe1rqryl2o1_250.gif?w=940 http://i1.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/703cba0532856fdcaf6aae62e56a9a6f/tumblr_mxe3gyEONk1rqryl2o3_250.gif?w=940 (http://nonchan1023.tumblr.com/)

And talking about the other competitors I think the battle between Oda and Machida for that Olympic spot is going to be extremely exciting at Nationals (plus who knows what Takahashi will show up in a couple weeks) and I hope Kovtun shows his best at Nationals and can get that Olympic spot.

Final video: 4T-3A-3A in the gala encore from Yuzu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FdlSOHEzDU

Thanks for reading!
PB

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