‘Tis the Season! Everyone gets a Season’s Best! – Grand Prix Final 2015

Hi everyone and welcome to my Grand Prix Final recap!

I know I’m a little late in this recap. But Star Wars! It was Star Wars week over on my other blog My Fangirl Life. And because it’s so timely, here’s Yuzu wielding a lightsaber:

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I think I watched all of the senior events from GPF live. It’s so much easier when events aren’t in Asia! Though, I have to admit, my productivity during the school/work day definitely decreases when there’s skating on. We’re just lucky GPF coincided with the week I successfully defended my thesis and I was able to take a few days off.

If you want to hear me gush about Yuzuru Hanyu you can find that here and here, today I’m going to be talking about everyone else. Though I do have a lot of thoughts on the fantastic Men’s event we saw and can guarantee Yuzu will be mentioned plenty (would you expect anything else from me??).

First, before I break this down by discipline I want to say that the scoring here was a little ridiculous. Everyone it seemed was getting new season’s bests and there were almost new world records in two disciplines and of course Yuzu broke his own world record set two weeks before. Also, there were some pretty high scores for some less than stellar skates. Calm down judges! It’s only the GPF and not even in an Olympic year. As we’ve seen in the Men’s event, there’s only so much higher you can go!

Ladies

I am a big fan of Evgenia Medvedeva this season. She has an almost whimsical quality about her. It’s really fresh. Yes I think she still needs some work on her basic skating, but hopefully she has time to do this. I also think she needs to limit the half tanos in her program. But her programs are beautiful and well constructed this season and she’s barely put a foot wrong in all her events. Out of all the Russian babies we’ve seen in the past few years, I think Evgenia might be my favourite. Now I just hope she can keep her jumps and everything as she grows. But in the future, please get rid of the over boot tights!

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I really enjoy Elena Radionova and love the fight we’re seeing from her this season. She should almost be a lock for the World team at this point, which is excellent as I can’t wait to see her FS live.

Good fight in the FS Ashley, but these American girls need a sport psychologist or something. How many disaster SP’s are we going to see this season. And in Gracie’s case, that FS was a disaster too. Get it together girls!

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I am loving Satoko! She’s the most consistent little jumper out there today. She also looks like such a sweetheart. Is she officially Japan’s number 1?

Thoughts moving forward:

  • Ashley and Gracie, you’re gonna need a clean SP to compete with these gals in Boston
  • Can Mao find her groove again? Nationals will be exciting!
  • Ashley, please beat Gracie at Nationals again.
  • Will my love for Elena’s Titanic program continue to grow this season?
  • Will the Russians ever learn how to hold a position for longer than half a second?
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Dance

I love the Weaver and Poje were able to keep their spot at the top of the podium. I had some doubts coming into here as to how these dance teams would stack up against each other but I need not worry, just like last year, Kaitlyn and Andrew are looking to be the front runners heading to Boston. I only hope these upcoming Worlds finally go the way they want.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje–2015 Grand Prix Final Free Dance
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I applaud Alex Shibutani for skating with food poisoning. From what I’ve read, he was really not doing so well the day of the FD. I think that makes this performance of their FD even more special. I still think they have the best FD out of everyone this season.

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Thoughts moving forward:

  • What will happen will the French return? Will they reclaim their spot at the top? Can they beat the Canadians who appear to be the favourites? From what I’ve seen, they looked pretty good at French Nationals this week.
  • Can the Italians continue their rise back to the top?
  • Can the Shibutani’s please beat Chock & Bates at Nationals? Please please please!
  • Will Bobrova and Soloviev get back to a place where they can compete for a World medal? Or are they going to find themselves in 3rd place at Nationals and left off the World team?
2015 GPF Ice dance medalists (x)
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Pairs

Stolbova and Klimov definitely deserved this win. They were strong and powerful and completely in tune with the program. But they still leave me feeling cold. There’s nothing to this team that draws me in. They’re not doing anything to make me like them. She also always looks like she’s miserable, but Kaitlyn and Andrew were sitting with her during the Men’s FS, so she must be nice enough, right? All that being said, I love their throws, probably the best in the business.

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Meagan and Eric are struggling a bit more this season than last. There were some uncharacteristic mistakes here as well as at NHK. These two need to start skating clean again. Even with their added difficulty, they need those GOE’s to stay at the top. Though I am glad they finally lost an event here, 9 consecutive wins is a little much. They needed something to inspire and push them for the remainder of the season.

Congrats Seguin and Bilodeau! What a breath of fresh air! I can’t wait to see how their future panes out.

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Thoughts moving forward:

  • What will this silver medal do to inspire Meagan and Eric heading into Worlds?
  • What’s more important – quads or GOE??
  • So many teams missed GPF – Germans, Chinese and Russians – I have zero idea how they will also stack up against each other at Worlds. For once I’m finding pairs quite exciting!
  • Will Segiun & Bilodeau be able to continue this meteoric ride to the top?
  • Will I ever like either or the Russian teams here? Probably not, but we’ll see.
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Men

What a fantastic Men’s event! I don’t know if there has ever been an event of this quality. Not only did Yuzu skate away with two more WRs, but 4 men scored over 100 technically in the FS and 4 over 190 overall in the FS. Wow! That’s some impressive skating.

There have been some discussion since about changing the scoring system as Yuzu’s pretty much maxed out the system. I don’t think the GOE changes they’re suggesting is going to solve the problem. If GOE is now on a +/- 5 scale, I still think Yuzu and some of these other men are going to be getting those +5 GOE’s. That 4S is Hanyu’s SP is definitely +5 or +3 or whatever the highest score it can be. I instead think the change needs to be made in the PCS. With men consistently pushing past 100 in TES, they need to have PCS follow. Perhaps this can be a factor of 2.4 in the FS moving forward for a max of 120? Also, I think the judges need to be reminded what each of the GOE levels means and have a bit of a refresher on PCS because the judges are just throwing these around like candy lately.

And finally, before they talk about changing the system I think we need to see how the next couple years panes out. Perhaps this is just an abnormal season, perhaps no one will fill this void once Yuzu retires, perhaps the men will be a disaster moving forward (I hope not!).

I am very happy Javi was able to skate so well at home in Barcelona! That FS was the best he’s ever done and it was exciting he passed 200 in the FS. This is the cleanest we’ve seen Javi in a while but still a clean Javi can’t beat a clean Yuzu which must be difficult to think about. Though Javi did try 2 quads in the SP at Nationals this weekend, which will keep things interesting. I want these two boys to keep pushing each other and the sport to even higher levels. Such incredible ambassadors for the sport 🙂 .

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Shoma! Shoma! Shoma! I think I finally jumped 100% on the Shoma train this weekend. Shoma is a little firecracker with so much potential. I think I need to blog more about this little Japanese kid. He’s already a lock for the World team and I can’t wait to see how he improves and pushes Yuzu domestically.

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Oh Patrick Chan. Ugh. Ok. First, that SP was a disaster,  I don’t think he even want to keep skating it halfway through. That’s three messy SP’s this season. You should probably look into that. Second. the FS was much better. It was classic Patrick Chan skating and it was beautiful. However, why didn’t he go for a second quad here? It’s not like he had anything to loose. And with these top men competing against each other we really saw how lacking Patrick was technically. He was ranked 5th technically in the FS doing everything perfectly. Does he still think he can compete with these men if he continues to do that?

Patrick had some interesting comments after the event. He did say, ‘Yuzu and Javi have improved a lot’ which is the first time I think he’s said something nice about one of his competitors. But he also said Hanyu is maxed out and that ‘this is just my base and I’m building on it. I’m in a whole different strategy plan than he is. I’m not going to try and compare each other because I don’t think we’re on equal terms.” Really Patrick??? I’ll believe this when I see it. You haven’t improved your technical content in over 4 years!! Whereas Hanyu seems to be improving his every couple competitions. And Patrick, how are you going to accomplish this without a technical coach? I think Patrick’s just coming up with excuses again. I really think what we saw here is the best we’re going to see from him during his comeback.

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Thoughts moving forward:

  • How will Nam stack up against struggling Patrick at Nationals? #TeamOrser
  • Will Patrick finally realize he needs a technical coach?
  • Can Hanyu keep with WR streak up? Will there be a slump at Nationals?
  • Can this please be the podium at Worlds, I’m so in love with it!
  • Will Boyang keep quading his way to the top?
Beautiful✨ Photo by Sunao Noto 能登さんの素敵なお写真! (Source:webSportiva)
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Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Nationals excitement in the next few weeks! This week I’ll be debating whether or not it’s worth it get up at 4am on Christmas morning to follow Japanese Nationals.
– Justine Alyssa

6 Responses

  1. Christianne

    Give Patrick some icewine. And a jump coach, because I do agree, though that long program was classic Patrick, it was also boring Patrick. When he’s skating to his “usual”, he’s the one maxed out.

    • Justine Alyssa

      All of the Patrick and ice wine jokes are hilarious! And yes, Patrick is totally the one who is maxed out.

  2. Great recap! I’m rooting for the Shib sibs for nationals, they are have improved so much but I feel they get underscored often 🙁 I would love the Men’s podium to be a repeat of The GPF podium, the boys are so cute together. I am team anyone but Gracie for U.S nationals lol……

  3. Wow! Yuzu wielding a lightsaber is so coooool!!!!! Thanks for the video! 😉
    As to P Chen’s comments about Yuzu, I totally agree that Chen is the one maxed out. He needs glasses! 🙁

    • Justine Alyssa

      I love Yuzu with the lightsaber. I think it’s so funny and so clever! And Patrick is definitely far more maxed out than Yuzu!

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