Sunday, January 25, 2009

The winds of change...

So, the guys...what a ride that was. Let's talk about the top 6.

Curran Oi...he looked so nervous I thought he was just going to pee right there on the ice! But once he got going it got better. Nice performance, nice kid. He needs to work on the component side of his skating but he made a respectable senior debut. I look for him to do well at Junior Worlds.

FYI...US Figure Skating has announced World, Junior World, and 4CC teams...check it out here. Some of these confuse me...but more on that in a later post.

Johnny Weir, he just never got his head around that program. I think he just over thought it too much and let it go to his head. He's been solid recently and I think he just let that one get away. Ironically, it was his effort that got the U.S. three spots at this years worlds...and he's not one of the people going...sad. Also, they announced during the exhibition that Johnny was Skating Magazine's winner of the Reader's Choice Award, but he didn't even skate in the exhibition. How much fun is Ryan Bradley! He'd been even higher if he just added a little finesse to his skating, but I think that lack of finesse is what makes him great. Solid effort.

I think the same head games that plagued Weir also worked on Lysacek. I don't know how his program looked on T.V. but it was lifeless in the arena. He had the unfortunate draw of skating after Mroz and before Abbott and got backed into a must-do-quad corner...unfortunately it wasn't successful. He was just kind of hanging on that entire program and was never able to 'sell it.' He does get to go to World's so he'll have a shot at redemption. Speaking of quads, Mroz's was quite successful and it kicked off a brilliant program! He has gotten better with each competition this season and what a sensational National's debut on the senior level.

But the man of the hour is Jeremy Abbott. I don't know what punch he's drinking but it's working! He has systematically sub-planted Weir and Lysacek this season to become the top U.S. guy! His free not as sizzling as what he did at the Grand Prix Final but he was still the clear class of the field and the program, just to watch, is amazing! In my opinion, the judges got this one (men's competition) spot on and it was nice to see.

I have lots more Nationals stuff to talk about...I'll do a series of posts. Stay tuned.


slieberm said...

I think the thing that sickens me over all of this is that, had Johnny pulled out of Nationals due to his inability to train properly for the event after his illnesses, he could have petitioned for a bye onto the team. He probably would have gotten it. Instead, the reigning world bronze medalist goes to Nationals, isn't prepared, and doesn't even get to go back to the world championships. I'm confident that Jeremy Abbott and Evan Lysacek will do well at worlds; I can't say that Brandon Mroz was a better choice than Johnny for that third spot, though. In another month and a half, I KNOW Weir would have been in way better shape and could have helped to secure 3 spots in Vancouver...

Anonymous said...

I think USFSA is taking their chances (albeit a fairly safe one). While I think Weir would have been the safer choice, they were looking at the Olympics. Abbot and Weir skates similarly (ie elegant), Lysacek skates more masculinely (for the life of me I'm not sure why USFSA is trying to "masculinefy" male figure skating. Go figure.) and Mroz has both. He obviously can jump better than any US men. He's somewhat elegant (between Lysacek and Abbot). I think USFSA is sending him to the Worlds to expose him to the judges and hoping he'll make a splash at the Olympics. It's all very logical. They just need Lysacek and Abbot's placements to add up to 13 which judging from the weak field this year (compare to last year or the year before), it's very attainable. I can totally see Abbot placing minimally bronze and Lysacek say 5th if he has a somewhat disastrous skate. There is a very good chance of say Abbot silver and Lysacek comes in third or forth so they can take their chances with Mroz. Mroz can jump as well as any of the top male skaters out there right now (ie Joubert) so if they can get Mroz known by the world judges and make sure Mroz fine tune his skates, I can totally see him going toe to toe with Takahashi or Joubert. USFSA must be over the moon. Finally someone who can jump and be elegant at the same time.

I do agree with the prior poster, Weir miscalculated. He should have asked for a bye because they are likely to give it to him than not. I'm very surprised that they are not giving him the Four continents assignment. Perhaps with all the Weir's flamboyant style, they are glad to rid of him and have Abbot take his place instead. But knowing Weir, I'm sure he'll fight back next year and secure his Olympic spot. I do wonder what's this fall's grand prix assignment is going to be like? It'll be interesting to see how USFSA is going to position their chess pieces. In the mean time, i think Weir should enjoy his off time and perhaps make some money from touring until summer. Or perhaps he should learn to nail a quad consistently to surprise everyone next season!

Aaron said...

I think the USFSA is willing to give Mroz the chance because this season he has just slowly gotten better with each competition. He looks very trained and his season is peaking just exactly as a skater's season should. Just look at the progression from Skate Canada, Grand Prix Paris, now Nationals. Also, not much phases him and he doesn't have the pressure of living up to a past standard...seems the perfect choice!

Maat said...

I saw Evan's program on TV, it looked just as dull as you describe. I am not the biggest Evan fan, but I appreciates his intense skating. I did not see that at all. Given the lead he had over Mroz, it was clear he did not get that many points for that free skate.

As for the world team, I do feel sorry for Johnny, I love his skating, and his comments :P, but I think the team was fair. If Mroz had placed 3rd, it might have been fair to give him 4CC and Johnny worlds, but leaving the 2nd place off the team and choosing the 3rd and 5th? That would be odd. And it is not like Evan hasn't done something, he does have 2 world bronzes, even if he looks sad this season. Wonder what there picks would have been if the poduim had been Abbott, Mroz and Ryan Bradley...

As for the masculinity thing, I find it hilarious, to me Evan is not that masculine at all (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Oh, and I loved Mroz free skate. Good for him!

Anonymous said...

True. But Johnny didn't even get 4cc assignment. I thought 4cc assignments were usually reserved for 4,5th place finishers. But now they have the World team assigned for the 4CC slots as well. In fact, Johnny is the 2nd alternate for the 4CC. Talk about add insult to injury.

Evan is not that masculine but compare to Johnny, he is. Plus seems like every chance they get, USFSA plugs Evan and his "Girlfriend" Tanith are such a happy couple..... Save me!

Had the podium been Abbott, Mroz and Ryan Bradley, and Evan came in fourth. They would kick Ryan off and have Evan go instead. I have no doubt about that!

Ali said...

I agree with the comments about USFSA trying to "masculinify" figure skating.

My high school cross country coach used to tell us that if we were going to be really outrageous then we'd better be really good runners too, otherwise people would laugh at us. (in this case he was talking about a kid who had shaved his head and left only a platinum blond strip down the center).

In some ways I feel like this applies to Johnny Weir - but the old Johnny Weir. During the Torino Olympics the Washington Post wrote several articles about him -- like they would follow him around during an evening out partying (um, prior to competing)and he was constantly quoted in the press saying his usual flamboyant stuff and then he totally bombed his long program and I'm sure that was really frustrating for USFSA.

But now he's had two + years where he's obviously working really, really hard. He's put all of his other interests on hold and even dialed back some of his commentary. But USFSA is just so unforgiving towards him and it's really just too bad.

Sort of in that same vein -- I found Jeremy Abbott's antics in the kiss and cry to be REALLY off-putting. There was like a series of frenetic hand gestures, weird faces, and um, shouting. It wasn't like the usual little things people do where they say hi to people and do some special thing - he just went on and on. It was way awkward to watch. Uhhh, so he better keep up the good skating.

Aaron said...

You's so funny how things look on t.v. versus an arena. You commented on Jeremy's 'antics' in the Kiss and Cry. The crowd was eating it up so I think he was just helping the crowd through yet another long break before the marks came. The screaming "I love Kung Fu" bit, on the jumbo tron they kept showing funny little clips from movies and such and they showed Kung Fu Panda...thus his remarks. It did look a little tacky on t.v. but was great in house.