US Nationals Ladies FreeSkate – Inside the Mind of a Skating Fan (or 4)

On Saturday night I watched the NBC coverage of Ladies FS at US Nationals with a couple of my favourite people and diehard skating fans. Being Canadian we were far more invested in those Nationals, but watching the Americans is always fun. To make US Ladies even more entertaining this year we poured some wine and offered our commentary. It’s a little harsh, we’re rather critical, but it’s all in good fun.

Before we start, during warmup there were a couple cries to put Josh back on the screen. What a dreamboat.

On to the first skater…

Mariah Bell Mariah Bell competes in the free skate program during the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden on January 11, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

1. Mariah Bell

Oooh Titanic! Good music, as a Titanic fan I approve. But why the blue dress? Didn’t she get the memo, Rose wears red and pink. It must be Titanic from the view of the iceberg, she is the iceberg. At which point my sister claimed she didn’t recognize the music (I did!). About 10 seconds later she corrected herself (I’m so proud of her). It seems sequences throw her off, but she did enjoy the split jump on beat. She looks like she’s wearing nightgown, an ugly nightgown. She kinda looks like Wendy from Peter Pan. But a sexier version – maybe if Wendy had worn a dress like that Peter would have been more interested. Also, the skirt is always flying up to her armpits, why isn’t it connected lower down at waist level? ‘She moved to Colorado to train’ – to which someone responded, that’s a bad move, she has no potential. They’re expecting too much in uprooting their entire life. That’s a little harsh, but also, at 18 she probably could have gone by herself. This is a very novice program. She has good speed, but very novice transitions. She’s a very joyous skater, with quite pretty jumps,

“I’ll never let go Jack” – Thanks Johnny 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.54.04 PM2. Hannah Miller

Yikes, opening with a spin that’s traveling across the world! Center that spin! Does she have gold blades? I’m surprised Gracie doesn’t, she seems just the type. Don’t be thrown off by sequences sis! Does her school actually start that early? 7:45am is a little early. Her 3-turns into 3F are weird, perhaps that caused the fall. And now she’s falling apart. Don’t talk about flutzs Johnny – you’re sitting next to Tara, the queen of flutzs.

3. Samantha Cesario

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.53.21 PMHer look is so harsh. I don’t think it does her any favours. She looks mean, I definitely don’t think we’d be friends. When she does an illusion her head should at least drop below shoulder level. And then we got bored and started analyzing the audience – it looks like they’re sleeping, that lady’s clapping like crazy, just no one will hear it in those big mitts. She skates on two feet a lot and is now barely moving into this last jump. Oh my word. She’s doing a lot  of crossovers into this choreography sequence – a sequence that consists of two foot skating and basic glides. Her transitions aren’t great, but she is very dynamic! What are all of those red things on the ice??? They look a lot like stuffed apples. Seriously though, why are they not stricter on downgrades here?? If this was an international panel she would not score as high.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.53.42 PM4. Tyler Pierce

If this program had lyrics it’d make it much more lively. We all agree she is quite boring. Now let’s talk about Toller. Why hasn’t US coverage commented on this? I understand he was Canadian but he was still a big deal. And no Johnny, we disagree, maturity doesn’t necessarily mean age. And then we stopped watching, oops! She was boring and we all pulled out our phones.

5. Amber Glen

Amber Glenn - 2015 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 3Thanks for repeating yourself Tara, you already told us what popping a jump meant. Is she skating in circles doing nothing because this is a new program?? She looks lost. She looks like Kevin Reynolds in the SP at Canadians. This song doesn’t make for a good FS. Or perhaps it just really doesn’t fit her. What’s with this super long pause at center ice? She looks lost again. Is she done? (Some of us were hoping!) This is not good choreography. And now a zoom in on her face, ‘I suck’ is definitely what she’s thinking. You know it’s bad when the announcer has to egg the audience on….Oooh what did they say about Parenthood there, another sign that we were so not drawn in by her skate.

Leah Keiser - 2015 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 36. Leah Keiser

Why does the All Year Skating Club have so many skaters? Well they can skate so much more, they have all year! Nice that Johnny knows who the costumes are by, of course he does. Such a Johnny thing. And it seems moving across the country didn’t help her much either. She’s boring too, and then we fast forwarded through the rest. Oops!

Final Flight Warm Up

And on to the final flight!

Why don’t they have the skaters skate in reverse order of SP standings? It would make things far more climatic! Just a casual reminder that I want to punch Gracie in the face. What is it about that girl? From first glance, with a sweater over top, Polina’s dress looks like Hermione’s Yule Ball dress.

And now a special on Gracie – lucky us. They should show the b*tch face photo from the Kiss & Cry at the Olympics. I doubt she normally wears that much makeup to the gym. And now they’re playing some TSwift, her BFF – gross.

Really, except Ashley, I rather dislike them all.

ashley wagner gracie gold first second ladies nationals 14

7. Mirai Nagasu

Now we’re talking about Yu-Na, I’m not entirely sure why….Yikes! That looked painful! That sucks, so unfortunate. Did she say something to her coach – oh sh*t, the f word? She looks in pain. Was that fall really that bad? That’s why you don’t say you’re scared before you compete, my former coach would have killed me!

Maybe she should just quite the program, or quit all together (there were a number in my group who were not the biggest fans). This music isn’t doing much for us, is she moving in slow motion? And she doubles over in pain at the end crying. She’s in too much pain to even bawl. But really, she skated just fine, well maybe not just fine but possibly the best she could do. Has she really skated much better lately? It’s been how many years since you won your title, clearly you’re not going to make it back to the top. And as she leaves the Kiss & Cry she seems to be walking just fine. I hope she gets it examined and everything is alright. Definitely not the performance she wanted here.

ashley wagner gracie gold first second ladies nationals 24

8. Karen Chen

She’s adorable! She looks just like Nam, and it’s not because they’re both Asian. Imagine how cute of a pairs team they’d make! Her dress is nice – but also a little much. Wow she’s fast! Just flying across the ice, attagirl! Her spins are so fast! And a giant 2A. She has a lot of promise. The US is going to love her in the future!! What a great first impression. I don’t understand why they keep comparing her to Julia Lipnitskaia, have they not seen her skate this season?? I’d compare her more to Elena Radionova. Wow! A little carried away with the score! Holy Sh*t! Only two women have scored higher this season, that is ridiculous.

Courtney Hicks - 2015 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 39. Courtney Hicks

Her dress looks like a rag, plus I’m not the biggest fan of her face. Her hair needs to not be that colour. This music does not fit her at all. She is not lyrical enough. She is too rushed throughout, rather cannonball-esque. Yup, we definitely don’t like her. And this program has too many crossovers. Also, why does her dress have snaps on top of the shoulder? We’ve noticed a number of dresses like that. Courtney, you didn’t make us a fan.


10. Ashley Wagner

ashley wagner gracie gold first second ladies nationals 16

‘I’m terrified.’ – that didn’t turn out so well for the last girl. She looks scared. Come on Ashley! She skates like a woman out there and not a child. Her 3Lz-3T actually looked pretty good. And then someone adds, if someone’s gonna win, it might as well be her (seriously no one I know likes Gracie). I like her this season. So dramatic! Definitely could put some more transitions in though. Nice! I love it! I’m so happy for her! She went for it! Her reaction is so cute, except she’s looking a lot like Gracie. When she’s smiling it’s like you could take Gracie’s face and stretch it – I’m not sure if that was a compliment or not. Now onto that score, seriously. That’s practically a WR. She was good, but she wasn’t that good. I’d mark her 5-10 points lower. But I do applaud Ashley for increasing her difficulty late in her career. Here’s hoping she can deliver again at Worlds.

ashley wagner gracie gold first second ladies nationals 04

Ashely’s program is dramatic and intense and I love it. Moulin Rouge is one of my favourite movies and the music is fab. Great choice. There could be more choreography in places and transitions but I’m choosing to believe it’s a work in progress. Hopefully there will be more at Worlds. But I have to give Ashley credit, she sells the crap out of that program. She lives it, breathes it, feels it. She’s only getting better with age. Perhaps, like Carolina Kostner, the best is still to come.





11. Gracie Gold

ashley wagner gracie gold first second ladies nationals 08

Ugh. Is it bad we’re all wishing her to fall down? Nice 3Lz-3T to start. She’s a little tight, but not giving up. I’m still checking the highest scores ever list, goodness Nationals inflation here is ridiculous. What Phantom music is this? I listen to a lot of Broadway music these days and I don’t know it. ‘Iced over her veins’ – best comment! I love it, she’s a total ice queen. Yay she fell down – too bad. We know this Phantom music! But no one does it like Patrick Chan (my nephew, you can dance to it at your wedding (long story there!)). There’s almost a look of death in her eyes. Nice comment Johnny, ‘selective on rotations’. Haha, it is realistic though. Perhaps the US Judges should be a little harsher. An international panel is not going to be so lenient.

This program is all wrong for Gracie. It doesn’t do her any favours. The music is a mess, there’s no story and the program doesn’t build. Ashley’s program tells the story of Satine from Moulin Rouge. She is Satine. Taking this Phantom of the Opera music Gracie easily could have told the story of Christine, she could have embraced that character. Instead she simply skates and the music plays. I feel she could be packaged so much better.

12. Polina Edmunds

Ok, what is she wearing?? I don’t think I remember liking her. Are there Christmas bows in her hair? She should beat Gracie – that would be excellent! Perhaps they’re mad at Gracie (I’m always mad at Gracie). She should be wearing the Wendy dress from earlier, why did she think this dress was a good idea? Perhaps it was on the sale rack? Skating is an expensive sport. Why is the bum of the dress purple? She better not beat Karen. This program is attrocious (thanks Johnny). The jumps don’t fit and the music is horrible. Polina needs better packaging. This makes her look like a pretty princess. Give her something to make her look more mature, something for people to take her seriously. Wow! Karen Chen gets the bronze! Congrats!

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.04.39 PM

That’s all for today! I applaud the quality of skating in the USA. These girls skated really well!

Stay tuned for a couple more Nationals posts later this week!


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