World Team Trophy (April 11 – 14, 2013)

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World Team Trophy

Results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/wtt2013/

I had links to videos throughout this post but the ISU has removed them all in the past 24 hours due to copyright infringement. The entire event is now only on the ISU channel if you’d like to watch.

Congrats to Team USA on their 2nd World Team Trophy title!

Congrats to Team Canada on their silver medal and moving up from fourth after the first day!

Also, I love the Team Spirit shown at this event! I wish we could see this at every event. Team France won the Team Spirit Award : https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10151865072982538&id=278550292537

The next WTT is set to happen in 2015

Men

First off we need to talk about Patrick. My apologies if this turns into a bit of a rant.

This is the first time, I believe, Kevin Reynolds has beaten Patrick in any competition segment. I fear if Patrick doesn’t get his act together it won’t be the last. Yes this is the end of a long season and yes Patrick probably didn’t want to be here. But one can’t not look at his season as a whole and see that something is not right. His programs are brilliant this year and I’m glad he’s keeping his short. This program at Worlds was a masterpiece. Pure perfection. However, he’s consistently made multiple mistakes in the freeskate all season. Sometimes, like at Worlds, he got lucky and the other men had some issues. However, Skate Canada, GPF and WTT has shown that Patrick is beatable. Yuzuru, Javier and Daisuke have all beaten him this season. Team Orser is planning to increase the number of quads and axels in their programs next season (these two are competing with each other now to be the best, I think it’s going to be great to watch Yuzu and Javi develop now that they’re in the same camp!). Patrick doesn’t have the hardest technical content. His two quads and one axel may barely cut it next season. And with this lower technical content he needs to land every jump as gorgeously as possible. He can make up points on their quality but have you seen a healthy quad toe and axel from Yuzu (believe me, I have (seen every program he has ever done)). His jumps are of extremely high quality and he’s starting to get Patrick Chan level GOEs. Patrick needs those jumps and this season he constantly struggled with them! Can’t he see that something just isn’t right. I feel with his dance coach he has lost the structure he previously had. No your life probably doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute but it’s the Olympics next year, shouldn’t that inspire you to get the best coaches and best setting and best everything you can? Where Patrick can pick up points is in the second mark. He is a brilliant skater. Patrick and Daisuke used to be the class of the field in this area. They still are but others are catching up. Patrick no longer has a large PCS buffer over the majority of his competitors. The judges love Patrick. I love Patrick. You have to appreciate the quality of skating skills and transitions and choreography he has. His jumps have become brilliant! Skaters appreciate this as do the judges. However, I don’t want Patrick to win the Olympics by default. I don’t want the men to struggle in Sochi and Patrick to win just because of his second mark and a couple moments of brilliance. The world will be watching in Sochi, far more attention will be put on skating than in non Olympic years. The sport can’t afford any controversial results. If Patrick wants to win he’ll have to skate it. Yes I think Patrick is the favourite for the gold medal. However, there are more than handful of guys who can catch him. It’s the Olympics, you need to bring your A game. I can almost guarantee Yuzu, Javi, Dai, Ten, and Kevin will be aiming for the podium. Based on how he’s been skating he’ll be lucky to make the podium. You can only fall so many times and have so many bad skates before the judges get tired of waiting for your brilliance. I hope this season has been a wake up call for Patrick! Refocus, replan and come back next season skating like a three-time World Champion. Currently he’s going to be remembered for ‘Chanflation’, numerous wins and just as many falls. Change that opinion! Show everyone you are the best in the world and deserve to be Olympic champion. Make it happen! Stay on your feet!

– Rant over.

Congrats to Daisuke! I’ve never been a huge fan but I fully appreciate his amazing skating skills and presence on the ice. His quads are frequently two-footed and underrotated but sometimes he can pull them out like he did here. This season has had its ups and downs, we’ll see what the Olympic season brings. I fear however, his technical content won’t hold up against what some of the others are planning next season. My words of advice at the beginning of the off season are: Leave Morozov ASAP!

Congrats to Kevin! He pulled another ‘Four Continents’ here! I’ve never been a huge Kevin fan but I have to give this guy credit. He’s had a great year! He’s shown he can compete with the best in the world and has shown he can lay it down when it matters. No one can argue his jumping ability and I’m glad he has worked on his basic skating skills. I hope this recent success will encourage him to spend more time increasing his speed and edges. He almost beat Patrick here and with a little more work and based on how Patrick’s been skating who knows what may happen.

Max Aaron I feel is a guy to watch. This guy came out of nowhere this season and has laid it down in every event since he won his national title. He’s shown he has the nerves to compete and the technical content is great. He needs some help on his PCS and in an interview after the event he addressed this. All the talent is there, now it needs to be packaged properly. I’ll always remember thinking how fast he was going at Worlds and constantly telling him to slow down.

It’s a good thing the US has Max as Jeremy is on his way out. This guy is a huge talent and frequently has had amazing programs however his nerves have never been able to handle competing. He could have been a World medalist a couple of years ago, he just couldn’t handle the pressure. Now his technical content can’t compete with the top and he still can’t lay down two solid performances.

Brian. Brian. Brian. People say figure skating isn’t progressing and constantly find negative things in the judging system but the funny thing is, Brian won Worlds a few years ago with the same technical content he did here. Poor Brian for being unable to adapt but I much prefer where the IJS has taken us and the programs and skaters its produced.

Another disappointing outing for the Russian men. I mention Menshov’s withdrawal later in the post.

Ladies

Let’s start with the Canadian ladies. I wouldn’t be too worried about Kaetlyn’s performance here. I wouldn’t worry about anyone’s performances here at the end of a long season, except maybe Patrick (see above rant!). Kaetlyn is super talented and has amazing presence on the ice. Next season I can assume the jump layout of her freeskate will be designed to land her on a World/Olympic program. We know she can land the jumps, next season she’ll have to show us, even more than she’s showed us on a couple of occasions this season, how strong her nerves are and how much she wants it. Following the Olympics I can see Gracie, Adelina, Elizaveta, Zijun and Kaetlyn dominating, with the other Russian and USA babies just waiting in the wings.

Great first outing for Gabby! She’s so young and has a great future ahead of her. Her jumps are huge and relatively solid. She’ll need some work on the quality of her elements and second mark but one can assume that will come with time. Good on Skate Canada for sending her to this event because at this point she’ll most likely be accompanying Kaetlyn to Sochi. It’s great to make your senior debut at a fun event that doesn’t really matter (Gracie made her debut at this event last season). Can’t wait to see how this girl develops, she’s another current bright light in Canadian ladies skating.

And now on to everyone else! What a great way for Akiko to end her season! Worlds was such a disappointment that skating 2 solid programs here and winning the event at home in Japan must have felt amazing! Congrats to her! She’s a delight to watch!

What a great outing for the American ladies. Gracie has started to control her nerves and has been decently laying down the jumps in the second half of the season. Her jumps are gorgeous when landed cleanly! Now she just needs programs with actual choreography and work on her second mark. Maybe then I’ll like her, probably not, but maybe. Ashley’s freeskate is definitely my favourite ladies freeskate of the season. Some have questioned her lack of a triple-triple combination and when everyone skates cleanly she’ll likely find herself behind but when this girl is on and other make slight mistakes she is able to creep right up there. I wouldn’t count her out just yet. In her case, (and for the men I’ll always say the opposite) I might suggest sticking to what you can do and not risk it with the harder combinations. She has a quality to her skating and a presence on the ice that I love. Good for her to end her season on a high note.

Another disappointing outing for the Russian ladies. Both girls are super talented and had such promise only a year ago. This season has not been kind to them. Elizaveta has a tendency to mess up the short and come back with a stellar freeskate, this event she didn’t manage one decent skate. Adelina is also inconsistent and looked like she might have it together after winning the short, but one always has to remember there are two programs to each competition. These two are likely still the favourites for the Olympic team but there are other young Russian girls just waiting. They’re going to have to deliver next season when the pressure is even greater.

Mao Mao Mao. I’m not even sure what to say. This girl is great and is talented. I give her ridiculous credit for reworking all her jumps so late in her career. Unfortunately she just hasn’t come back the same. She’s becoming more inconsistent and we’re starting to see more downgrades. She’s a pleasure to watch, especially her programs this season, and I hope she gets some things figured out in the off season. I would love to see her on the Olympic podium one more time.

Pairs

Disappointing skate for Meagan and Eric. She had some uncharacteristic mistakes on her jumps. Luckily it happened here and not at Worlds. They’re still performing the hardest elements of any team and it’s likely their PCS will get a bit of a boost now that they’re World medalists. Volosozhar and Trankov also had some mistakes, but still the class of the field. Hope they can skate clean next season when the pressure is on!

It was ridiculously close between teams 3-5! Adds some excitement to the event as gold and silver were pretty much a lock. Disappointing placement for James and Cipres. They were great at Worlds and it seems here they had the cleanest program of the event and were underscored.

Dance

Disappointing for Kaitlyn and Andrew not to end their season here with a victory. The gold really should have been theirs. Hopefully the couple mistakes are just the result of lack of training and healing from her injury. It really is just amazing that they skated here and at Worlds. Hopefully next season they can regain their World ranking from 2012 and challenge for the podium again.

Tweets and News and Articles

1. Comparison Between the World Team Trophy and the Olympic Team Event – http://skatingmagazineblog.com/2013/04/09/world-team-trophy-vs-olympic-team-event/

I think I prefer the format for the Olympic Team event. The current format puts too much emphasis on the singles events (Japan winning bronze without a pairs team?). One positive I can see from these events is the development of other disciplines in some countries. Countries, like Japan, will start developing a pairs program so they can be competitive in the team events.

2. Patrick has some nice things to say about this event: http://www.greenwichtime.com/sports/article/World-champion-Chan-struggles-at-World-Team-Trophy-4429665.php

And from a Japanese article (no I haven’t learnt Japanese yet and translated myself)
‘Chan complained about the time of World Team Trophy. He pointed that skaters have difficulty with physical and mental preparation after the World Championships which is the biggest stage of the season. Because of the regulation that each country must send top skaters, “We have no choice of not taking part. This is obviously a problem. April is too late. I wanted to prepare for the Olympics.” Chan said. In the free, he unusually made many mistakes with 3 falls and finished 5th(2nd overall). He couldn’t end his last performance of this season with a smile and his face was fallen saying “I feel irritated.”.’

I will agree with Patrick on this one. The middle of April is late. These skaters have had a very long and busy season. It’s the Olympics next season, the event many of these athletes have been training their entire lives for. Yes I can see running a ‘test team event’ prior to the Olympic team event is a good idea but the format will not be the same and a large number of skaters are tired when they get here and do not perform at their best.

Also, why did Virtue/Moir and Davis/White not have to attend? If they were given this time to train for next season why wasn’t Patrick, who definitely needs to improve some things during the summer!

Finally, few skaters have positive things to say about this event, some the format and some the timing. Last time Scott Moir was very vocal about his dislike for the World Team Trophy. Should this event continue? Should the event be reformatted to more closely follow the Olympic event? Should the event be moved to a different place in the season?

3. Tatjana Flade (sports writer) tweeted: “K. Menshov (RUS) dislocated his right shoulder in a fall on 3A. He was taken to hospital. So sad. Get well soon, Kostia!”

Menshov had landed his opening 4T+2T and 4T before falling hard on his 3A in his WTT FS earlier today and was forced to withdraw.

Tatjana Flade’s tweet from Japan on Saturday morning:
“Update on K. Menshov (RUS): The shoulder was put back into place under anesthetic. Kostia was released from hospital and back in the hotel.”

In the ambulance: https://twitter.com/kudryavkaaa/status/322703294818553856/photo/1

Horrible way to end the season! You don’t often see falls like this in skating. Wish him a quick recovery! This hasn’t been the best season for Russia’s singles skaters. Hopefully things change for them heading to Sochi.

4. Alexei Yagudin: https://twitter.com/yagudinofficial/…39121452965888

“World Team Trophy! A unique opportunity to become a world champion for those who would never be able to do that on their own!:-)”

Many people question whether this tweet was condescending to some athletes and arrogant. Or maybe he actually thinks it’s a neat event. Some also say Alexei and Patrick should get together and discuss their similar opinions and talk about how great they are 🙂

And so concludes the final event of the season! I’m already extremely excited for the fall! Next post will be a short news update.
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Love, Luck, and Lloyd Jones
PB

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