Monday, January 07, 2008

Quads the word!

Interesting little experiment the Russian Federation is playing with this season and I must admit I'm a big fan, pros and cons aside.

Sergei Voronov just won his first Russian National title (all the hype of the much heralded return of Plushenko and Yagudin didn't pan out...they weren't at the event). He did so with solid jumps (a credit to his coach Alexei Urmanov), great footwork, and decent spins. He also got a little extra credit. Sergei Voronov was handsomely rewarded for landing quad jumps.

In addition to the extra bump you get anyway for a quad in the judging system, the Russian Federation is handing out a two point extra bonus for every clean quad you land. Voronov hit a beauty in his short program...the extra two points helped open up a ten point lead. He hit another in his free and the extra points gave him a thirty point lead over his next closest rival Andrei Lutai (Griazev took the Bronze).

I have to tell you I'm a fan of this bonus. I think it pushes competitors and makes the skating more exciting. I also like that you only get the bonus if it's fully rotated and cleanly landed. I think it gives a new dynamic to the skating and an athletic flare to a sport that is often criticized for not being "sports-like" enough.

And while I'm on the topic of bonuses (if you'll allow me my soapbox please!), I also like Paul Wylie's idea of giving bonuses to women who hit the big five triples (Lutz, Loop, Flip, Salchow, and Toe) cleanly in a program and men the same bonus for hitting all six (just add the Axel) cleanly. Recently, especially among women, a lot of them are substituting other jumps and taking others out (there has been a decline in the attempt of the triple loop recently?).

Other Russian Nationals news...Kawaguchi and Smirnov won in pairs and Khoklova and Novitski won in Dance (Domnina and Shablin didn't compete).

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