Thursday, March 05, 2009

Junior Worlds Wrap-Up

I know, I know...I'm a day late (or like five) and a dollar short but I have to put in my two-cents worth!

I'll gloss over the pairs competition because I thought it rather bland and uneventful. Nice job by the Americans Castelli and Shnapir for getting to the podium with the bronze. It is a not everyday that an American team accomplishes that, it seems to be the discipline where we struggle the most. Russians Martiusheva and Rogonov had one of those come from behind performances to win the free skate from 11th place and get the silver. Gold went to last season's silver medalists Iliushechkina and Maisuradze.

I was quite impressed with the mens event. Artem Grigoriev of Russia nabbed the bronze medal after a pretty good free skate (lacked a triple axel) but more importantly showed that Russia while down a bit (as far as international competitors go), is certainly not out. Seems that Russian skating will survive sans Plushenko. Michael Brezina took the silver after a program that slinked across the ice with great speed and great jumps. I thought he was channeling Jeffrey Buttle as he moved across the ice (the haircut was shockingly similar as well!). The Czech Republic seems on the up and up with mens skaters. But the day belonged to Adam Rippon who really shocked me actually. I wasn't surprised that he won...but rather how he won. All season long I've thought the whole package Rippon had was too heavy. The music, the choreography, just a little thick. But he was amazing in Sofia! He moved across the ice beautifully, the choreography amazing, and the goodness where were those triple axels earlier in the season? The last few moments of his program where he does the sliding camel into his final can just feel the emotion and power in the music! I just loved his program here and I think if Adam skates like that next season he'll be a top contender in every competition he enters.

The Ice Dance competition was all over the map. The Hubbell's just lost more steam with each section of the competition and found themselves in fourth. I was surprised they failed to medal given their solid debut as Seniors at Nationals. Russians Riazanova and Gurreiro slipped in for the bronze medal while Americans Maia and Alex Shibutani slipped in for the silver! There was a lot of slipping as the difference between 2nd and 4th was desperately close. But the clear class of the field was American's Chock and Zuerlein who dominated and never looked back. This competition makes me think...what if? Imagine had both Chock and Zuerlein and the Shibutani's competed as Seniors at National's in Cleveland? Imagine the standings...just think on that...

And the ladies competition was a bit of a tumultuous ride as well. I thought, finally, Elene Gedevanishvili was going to get it together and show she can really be one of the best...wrong. Talk about self-destruct! Ashley Wagner showed one of her weaker performances of the season. That fall on the triple salchow, however, was perfectly timed to the music! Still good enough for the bronze though. Carolize Zhang had another comeback performance, 10th after the short and completely unphased, she delivered another gorgeous, clean free skate (now three in a row...Nationals, 4CC, Jr. Worlds) to get all the way to the silver medal. And Gold went to Alena Leonova of Russia. Interesting how, in the current judging system, you can win no part of the competition and win a gold...sometimes consistency pays off and it did just that for Leonova. Alena is starting to put herself on the map...if you recall, she had an amazing free skate at European's to finish 4th...has Russia found their next female skating star?

Full results (and video if you are so fortunate) can be found here.

But back to my gushing about Adam Rippon! Check his amazing free skate below!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought Adam would have progressed more by this year (I mean 2008) but I was disappointed. I hope he has a better coming season.