This past weekend was the third Grand Prix event, Cup of China. A lot has been discussed in the skating and general sports world on what happened there. I’ve already discussed it here and here. I do have more to say on Yuzu and the general incident but today I’m going to focus on the craziness that was the general Cup of China event.
Julia’s FS was a bit of a disaster. Her jumps, which have been so strong in the past, left her. On top of that, her new FS was very lacking, especially compared to his spectacular FS last season. I love Romeo & Juliet but this program did not intrigue me, it did not suck me in. I’ve heard rumours of her rise to stardom in Russia and lack of training time. This, along with a growth spurt over the summer doesn’t seem to be helping her so far. I really enjoyed Julia last season and I hope this was just a small bump in the road.
On the other hand, this is turning out to be a good season for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She topped her silver medal at Skate America with a gold here. Elizaveta struggled in the past couple seasons after some success early in her career. The Russian Skating Federation essentially wrote her off but she wasn’t a fan of that. She looks stronger and more confident than recent years. Here’s hoping her success carries her through the bloodbath that will be Russian Nationals.
As well, congrats to Gabby! It was a very solid outing for her in her first Sr Grand Prix event. It’s so nice to see these girls representing Canada so well.
The Italians appeared untrained and unprepared. They were sloppy and unrefined. Their programs were also disappointing. The FD did not have the dramatic flair and adorableness that I’m accustomed to seeing from this team. I really think they have their work cut out for them if they want to defend their World Title this year. The Americans and Canadians are looking really strong.
The French however were a delightful surprise! Papadakis and Cizeron blew past their personal bests. They have a very good FD this season and I think it will do very well for them. I seem them drastically improving upon their 13th place at Worlds last year. What a great confidence boost it must be for them to beat the World Champions.
Coming into this event there were only 3 of the 8 teams that I had heard of before, and one likely only because I’m Canadian and have seen Natasha and Drew skate individually before. This was a decent outing for Natasha and Drew. They’ve been together only a short time and Drew is completely new to pairs. Give them some time and I think they could be really good. I’m hoping Natasha has finally found her match.
Who would have guessed there’d be a China sweep!?! I think that was a surprise. Peng and Zhang might luck out this season by simply being one of the teams that stuck together.
There’s a couple of things I’d like to mention regarding this event.
First, congrats to Kovtun! He’s had to deal with the Plushenko spotlight for years and I’m glad he’s finally getting his chance and is showing the Russian Skating Federation that he can compete with the best and they no longer need to put their money on Plushenko.
Misha deserves a shoutout here! I’ve seen Misha skate live before and I’ve followed him last season. I like how the disappointment at Worlds last season has changed his outlook on things. Gone is the showman who threw lyrics in knowing he’d receive a deduction. This season we are seeing a Misha who is trained, improved and has really good programs. I am impressed! I hope his fun side still comes out in gala performances, but for now I’m liking the new subdued style.
Congrats to Nam, again! First, he was able to keep it together after witnessing the Yuzu/Han Yan collision. I imagine it was tough on him, being Yuzu’s training mate and having his coach extremely distracted following the event. And second, in both of his Grand Prix events he has laid down extremely strong skates. He is consistent and getting the jumps done. It’s great to see from someone so young.
There has been a lot of talk online regarding the scores in the Mens FS, accusations of ‘Chanflation’. First, are the judges not allowed to give the reigning OLYMPIC CHAMPION a little bit of a gift right after that collision?? It’s only a grand prix event and he didn’t end up winning. Second, Yuzu’s FS score was 40 points lower than his personal best and 24 points lower than his mistake riddled FS at the Olympics!
At this event Yuzu fell 5 times and landed 3 gorgeous jumps. The first 3 minutes were skated quite well and only in the last minute or so did he completely slow down and almost collapse on the ice. The falls cost him 5×3=15+5 = 20 points. This leaves another 20 points he lost for quality and skating skills and presentation. He did loose quite a lot of marks for these things! Where Yuzu did luck out is the fact that this was a rather weak field. He would not have placed as well with this score at Skate America or Skate Canada. Plus while he was technically a disaster, that FS was without a doubt the best program in the competition. Especially compared to Kovtun.
Stay tuned for one more Cup of China Yuzu post. And then it’s on to Rostelecom Cup in Russia!