Welcome back friends!
Today I recount the fifth event of the Grand Prix circuit. My favourite thing about this event is that I probably watched just as much of it as I did Skate Canada, and I was in Lethbridge this year! You see, I’ve been pushing to get my thesis finished in the past week and faced with the decision of staying up till 3 am or getting up at 5 am, I obviously chose to get up really early – because then I could watch hours of live figure skating from Russia while I worked. Both Friday and Saturday morning this mentality totally worked. I did stay up to 1 am both nights before but I can officially say my thesis is submitted and I got to enjoy a lot of figure skating while working on the final parts.
When we were driving home from Lethbridge a few weeks back I remember saying that I shouldn’t have planned finishing my MSc degree during the GP series, it turns out though that it was motivation and helped me get things done. Funny thing that is. I have a couple days now where it’s a little less intense, which works perfectly for NHK Trophy. It’s like I planned it or something. Though Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of me, the Men’s events start at 16:10 and 16:30….which is midnight? Right? That’ll be easy after the past few weeks (sorry Ladies, doubt I’ll stay up for you though).
But anyways, I watched it all last weekend…so let’s discus!
This event was a preview of Russian Nationals and goodness me! If this was a preview, Nationals is going to be intense this year. And there’s going to be some high scores there. The PCS here was ridiculousness. Lol.
Before I start talking about the Russians, let’s talk about Alaine. Her SP was one of my favourite performances of the entire event! I’ve never seen her skate so well. Those jumps were so solid. And beyond that, her SP is stellar. So detailed and so fun. I was glad to see such high scores, the judges seem to want to reward her when she skates clean! The FS was a different story. Unfortunately she was never going to medal here which may have messed with her a little. The first half of her FS was a mess, but she rebounded and fought through the second half. This was really good to see after the disaster FS from Skate America. I still question her strategy so far this season. Is that 3A really consistent enough to include in her program? Why not instead try for a clean skate? I think this might change moving forward, it doesn’t seem like a strategy Brian Orser is going to endorse. I can’t wait for Canadian ladies at Nationals!!
But finally, I applaud Adelina for actually coming back. We had heard about it for a while now and there was always some reason to delay it. I’m happy we finally saw her again on competitive ice. Now the question is, will we see her again on competitive ice?
If I were to chose my favourite Russian ladies it would definitely be Elena Radionova and Evgenia Medvedeva.
Evgenia is so incredibly young, yet she skates with such a maturity. Her programs are quite elegant and for someone so young is quite developed when it comes to basic skating and interpretation. This bodes well for her future. It was crazy to see her fall in the SP, but I guess she has to show she’s human at some point. The hand over the head is a little repetitive, but I guess if you can do it you might as well flaunt it. She’s also very beautiful and has beautiful dresses. I’m excited to see her in Boston, I’m almost positive she’ll earn herself a spot!
Now I was so happy for Elena Radionova. This girl has really matured and grown on me this season. Perhaps it’s the Titanic effect. Either way, congrats girl. Her jumps were quite solid here. Now let’s talk about that FS. I think I’ve told everyone I know by now about this Titanic FS. I love it so much, but it’s also just so cringe-worthy. The voice-overs just kill me. So funny. But beyond that I’m not sure her program actually matches the music. She likes to skate fast ad wave her arms around. It’s a little distracting. Her choreography is a lot of arm flailing. Her PCS might have been a little high, I’d almost say Evgenia is stronger in this department. But still, I’ll always support a Titanic program. I’ll never let go Jack!
Ok. I’m just really not a fan of these top Russian pairs.
Kavaguti and Smirnov have been around forever! And I don’t think I’ve ever really been on board. I think they’ve just always been slightly mismatched. He’s big and burly and she’s a petite little Asian. I just don’t see it. Plus, and this may have been the first time I really watched them in a while, but I thought they looked old here. Now I know that while they are one of the older teams competing, they are only a couple years older than me and still only in their early thirties. Perhaps it was the super dark costumes. I don’t know. Something about them seemed off. I should mention something about their skating…..I don’t like the little hop they do after every side-by-side. It’s a rather abrupt end to each jump. And second, congrats on going for the quad throws, BUT they don’t look exceptionally secure and Yuko looks so frail I’m scared she’s going to break every time he throws her.
And now the other Russians. Stolbova and Klimov killed it here. They were solid. When this team is on, they are really good. Their 3T-3T combo is their trick to try and combat all the quads and lutzes this season. The disasters from Skate America and Euros are gone and perhaps they might be back on track now. That being said. Could this team look more miserable?? Do they even like each other? It’s funny how much their relationship is based on how well they skate.
Here’s Euro’s last year (epic death glare!):
And then the difference after a clean skate (they almost looked like they liked each other here!):
But that’s not all the Ksenia gifs I have. Because goodness! I thought Gracie Gold had mastered the ‘I’m unimpressed and hate every one’ look, but Ksenia killed it here (the cameraman found this gem after Elena Radionova’s stellar FS):
And let’s continue with the unimpressed theme….I just don’t get Peng and Zhang. He looks like a jovial father in a turtleneck and she looks like a terrified teenager who’s never said a word in her life. So mismatched. I kinda got over the father/daughter vibe last season so I won’t dwell on that. Their programs this season seem like he is skating a program and she is his prop. She’s just there for him to throw around and use as needed. He was laughing when she fell on the quad throw and then he just picked her up and continued on like normal. Just so odd.
And I’m not even going to comment on the Canadian disasters. Just yikes.
This will be short. I never have much to say about ice dance.
This was a stellar dance lineup! I was excited to see how Cappellini and Lanotte were going to stack up against Weaver and Poje, but also how the two Russian exes would fare against each other. I would have thought Ilinykh and Zhiganshin would become the top Russian team this season, but a SD mess they took themselves out of picture here and instead Sinitsina and Katsalapov seem to be on the rise. They may have been slightly over-scored here, but still deserved that bronze medal I think. Again, Russian Nationals are going to be exciting in this discipline.
I’m glad Weaver and Poje were able to hold off the Italians. I was a little unsure heading into this event – Cappellini and Lanotte beat the Americans a few weeks back, and I’m glad they weren’t able to top the Canadians. Kaitlyn and Andrew looked more solid and refined here than at Skate Canada. There programs are being well received this season and their FD is growing on me. I quite enjoyed it here. I could see this being the FD they win Worlds with.
I think Anna and Luca are simply adorable. Last season was rough on them so I’m glad they are fighting to get back on top so far this season. Their programs are fun and so them. They are such characters when they’re on the ice. Ice Dance is exciting this year. I don’t really know how they’re all going to stack up at the GPF.
I complained about PCS scores for the ladies and now I’ll mention the men. The funny thing is, you look at Adelina’s PCS in the FS and her individual components ranged from 8.39 to 8.93, not super high (she was 5 points overall higher at the Olympics!) On the contrary, Javi’s ranged from 9.04 to 9.50 in the FS. The PCS for the men are often littered with 9’s and 10’s, but why’s it still so rare for the ladies? Mao also received similar to Adelina at Cup of China, it’s difficult for the ladies to break into the 9’s! At Worlds this past season the Men’s scores were lower (8.5-9.5) but the ladies were 7.5-8.5? I’ve never really noticed this before. Weird.
Now I often give Javi a hard time here. I am 100% #TeamOrser. But ahead of that, I’m 100% #TeamHanyu (I know, big surprise). This season there have been 15 10.00’s given out to the men, 7 to Javi and 8 to Patrick. Wait, what?!?! Javi is good, very good. And yes, he is a very different skater than Patrick. Patrick has the edges and long strokes while Javi is the performer and showman. His programs are filled with steps whereas Patrick’s are filled with edges. There is a big difference and I think this was one of the first times I watched Javi’s programs and appreciated what he did. Javi has improved tremendously in basic skating and his programs this season are quite stellar, but I question those 10.0’s. Perhaps there’s a World Champion boost or perhaps it’s because Javi hasn’t has much competition in either his events, either way. I keep saying Yuzu and Javi are the best in the world, but I thought this season might turn into Hanyu vs Chan. Now I’m hoping it goes back to Yuzu vs Javi. GPF is going to be fun. I’m still questioning Patrick’s technical ability and I’ve been missing the #TeamOrser boys together.
Javi is skating like the World Champion he is so far this season. He is skating with so much confidence. For the most part his jumps are solid. The GP has gone so well, I wonder how he’s going to be able to hold up skating on home ice at the GPF in Barcelona? Also, why does Javi not have two 3A’s in his FS? That jump sure seems solid, why not add another?
Were there other men at this event? Goodness I talked a lot about Javi. But we can’t forget Nam!
Oh Nam. I became a fan last season and now I’m really not liking the scores he’s receiving. Last year Nam was 3rd and 4th on the GP and this year he was 5th and 7th. Yikes. But the thing is, he’s skating quite well. I think it’s the programs, the judges just don’t seem to be loving them (and really, neither am I). His PCS dropped almost 4 points in the FS between here and Skate Canada!! Yikes! Nam something has to change!
Not only is Nam dealing with Patrick’s return, but now the judges aren’t giving him any love. What is he to do? Well my opinion is he needs a new program. And based on this tweet, I’m hoping this is what he’s going to be working on between now and Nationals. Nam, I’m still cheering for you!
Other comments, little Adian is adorable and quite good. Since I don’t currently have a favourite Russian man, perhaps it can be him. He’s training with the same coach who gave us Julia Lipnitskaia and Evgenia Medvedeva, so I’d expect great things. Also, how did two Americans get 3rd and 4th, ugh, Nam totally should have been up there.
And finally, Team Russia did pretty well here. 7 medals total! And I think you deserved the majority of them, congrats!
And all the champions had some fun after the gala!
Thanks for reading. I feel I was rather snarky this week. Stay tuned for NHK goodness and finally more Yuzu!
Till next time
– Justine Alyssa