Skate Canada 2013

Here are my thoughts from Skate Canada this past weekend.

Thanks to CTV for showing so much on TV, but then again please stop showing repeats of what you’ve already shown us. I would have much preferred to watch the first group of Mens Free than a recap of what you’d previously shown us in the afternoon.

Pairs

Definitely not the start Meagan and Eric were hoping for here. Throughout both programs they were shaky and their usual technical advantage left them. I hope they can get things sorted out soon. They have amazing programs this season and I can’t wait to see them clean.

It was great to see such an improved Sui and Han. These two are talented and absolutely adorable. They have a big future ahead of them. And finally, congrats to the Italians. Well deserved!

Ladies

I really dislike Gracie Gold. I just do not like her at all. She has gorgeous jumps but I can’t get into her skating style. Plus I really dislike her programs this season. Ashley might have to watch her back at Nationals this season though, Gracie might be getting her nerves under control now that she’s with Frank Carroll.

Akiko is such a delight to watch. I hope she has a successful final season.

I greatly enjoy Julia Lipnitskaia. She is just adorable and has some crazy good jumps. Thus far she’s been able to handle the pressure of the senior events. Is she finally the star Russia has been waiting for? There’s speculation that she might be able to steal an Olympic medal in Sochi if she keeps putting up such high scores. I’m excited to see her develop; she’s such a talent at only 15. Plus I love her Schindler’s List FS.

Disappointing to see Kaetlyn Osmond withdraw but better here than later this season. She was able to lay down a solid SP to show the world that even after 1 month off the ice she’s already back in competitive shape. Hope she recovers and can make her second event.

This was a pretty successful weekend for Amelie Lacoste. I haven’t been very kind to her in the past but I approve of her decision to switch things up and travel to California to train this season. If she skates like she did here, I hope she makes the Olympic team.

Dance

What a great weekend for Canadian ice dancers!

Paul and Islam were such a delight. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a while but they’ve had such bad luck with falls in competition. Hopefully this is finally behind them and now it’s their time to shine. I love their soft and delicate style, very reminiscent of Scott and Tessa. I hope they earn that final Olympic spot.

Kaitlyn and Andrew were fantastic! Simply fantastic! They definitely out performed Scott and Tessa here. These two could definitely challenge for that bronze medal in Sochi. Their programs are fun, dynamic and exciting. These two just keep getting better and better.

I’m not sure what to say about Scott and Tessa. I miss the times when I wasn’t nervous during their skates. I wish I wasn’t nervous every time they went into their twizzles. That being said I think they have brilliant programs this season, far stronger than Meryl and Charlie’s, and if skated clean I hope they can put up top scores and defend their Olympic title. But before we get there Scott and Tessa need to start getting those levels and laying down solid skates again. If not, Kaitlyn and Andrew are right on their heels.

This is my favourite quote from the weekend: http://m.olympics.cbc.ca//news/article/tessa-virtue-scott-moir-take-short-dance-skate-canada-28446.html

“They watched Virtue and Moir’s performance intently on a TV screen. Weaver looked stricken when the Olympic champs made their glaring twizzles error, and reached out to touch the screen with a sympathetic “Ohhh.”

“Tessa and Scott are Olympic champions, they’re everything in a team that we strive to be, and while their errors are quite uncharacteristic, they are to me the quintessential ice dance team of our time,” Weaver said. “So no it doesn’t make any less excited about our own score, we’re just happy to be in the same sentence as them.””

Men

I’m slightly disappointed the Men didn’t step up here and deliver some brilliant skates. I want to see both Yuzu and Patrick skate their bests.

The Olympic title is Patrick’s if he wants it. He likely has a 1-2 jump error cushion on his competitors but if others skate great and he stumbles it will be interesting. I want Patrick to win the first Olympic Mens gold for Canada and I really hope he gets it. I just hope he can handle the pressure and lay it down in Sochi.

I could watch Patrick just skate, stroke or do edges for hours. It might be my skating and coaching background but you can’t help but appreciate his basics. No other skater today has these basics. Patrick’s skating skills are gorgeous, his transitions ridiculous, choreography brilliant, interpretation spot on and execution just flawless. The judges and I love him for this. Check out Johnny Weir’s NBC commentary of his FS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiaOLIDS484), Johnny just raves about him as well. These fantastic basics and solid 4T make him almost unbeatable.

This season I feel so bad for all the Japanese men, 6 of them and only 3 Olympic spots. I hope these guys don’t start crumbling under the pressure and can skate lights out. I can’t even imagine the pressure and expectations.

I’m not going to be worried for Yuzu at this stage. Just a couple of weeks ago he skated quite well in Finland. Last year many say Yuzu and Javi peaked too early, I’m choosing to believe Yuzu will be ready in a couple months.

The main thing that’s slightly worrisome is how low Yuzu’s PCS was. 76 points is 11 points lower than he received in Finland. Eleven! Yes he was slightly shaky here and yes he looked bored/disconnected for the first 1/3 of his FS but this score was still lower than Worlds where he practically died at the end of his FS. Guess we’ll have to see what happens in France (where he’ll meet Patrick once again).

Finally, I think Skate Canada and Skate America are a great example of how you can’t compare scores between events. Yuzu’s score of 234.80 would have placed him 5th at Skate America but in comparing all of the programs I saw between the two events I’d probably have Yuzu 2nd at Skate America (3rd in the FS). I think the judging at Skate Canada was harsher.

And now onto Cup of China, where I’m honestly not excited for much. This definitely looks like it’s the weakest of the Grand Prix events in a few disciplines. Should be a decent battle between the French and Russian dancers though.

Thanks for reading.
PB

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