Saturday, March 28, 2009

Worlds - Day 5

I couldn't have asked for a better end to the competition. It was really exciting!

I attended public medal ceremony for the Ice Dance Medalists. Tanith Belbin talked at length about the short prep time she and Ben had for this competition. She was thankful to have earned the silver. She lavished praise on all her competitors and thanked the crowd for pushing she and Ben.

The ladies final...what a competition! First, France's Candice Didier gave us a scare early. She stumbled out of a triple jump and ended up hitting the ice hard belly and face first. She then slammed into the boards out of control. She lay on the ice for about 20 seconds rolling around in complete agony. Medical personnel were quick to respond and she did manage to leave the ice under her own power. She took about 2 minutes to gather herself off the ice and stepped back onto the ice while receiving a rousing ovation. Somehow, she managed to finish her program. At the end of her skate, she doubled over in certain pain, took a quick bow, and listlessly skated off the ice. By completing her program, she managed to earn France an Olympic Berth in Vancouver...a berth likely to be hers!

Alissa Czisny had an amazing comeback after her meltdown in the short program. Her free skate was judged one of the best on the night and she pulled up to 11th after being in 14th. Two other skaters had amazing nights, Alena Leonova of Russia and Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia both put down personal bests and earned their countries two Olympic berths. Sarah Meier did the same for Switzerland. The final skater in the Penultimate group was Rachael Flatt. She had a solid skate and got a great ovation from the crowd, but I feel like she is still lacking some connection with the wasn't easy for us to leap out of our seats like we did for Czisny. Still, a solid score and 5th place overall finish...not shabby for her first senior worlds.

The final group was interesting to say the least. Mao Asada kicked things off. She opened with a gorgeous triple axel combo but then fell on her second attempt. After that point the program lacked spark. It was if she knew she had to do everything in order to win and that mistake meant it was over. Despite a solid program, not the score she was looking for. Only a 4th place finish for Asada. Rochette was next and while not as technically proficient as asada, she skated a beautiful program and that was the difference. She squeaked past Asada and took the silver overall, an amazing achievement for her. Miki Ando was next and put on a jumping clinic, landing seven triple jumps. Her program received high marks and she pulled ahead of Asada, much to her shock! Ando won the bronze and, unexpectedly, was the highest placing Japanese woman. Kim was next to skate and she was mesmerizing. She did have a botched salchow but nobody cared because she was just so beautiful to watch. The crowd cheered for what seemed like an eternity and when the score went up she shattered the previous record (held by Asada) for the highest total ever, becoming the first woman to crack the 200 mark. Her performance gave Michelle Kwan something to think about in contemplating her own possible return. She eluded to the fact during the NBC telecast that before she makes a decision she'll have to make sure she can competitive with these girls. The final two skaters of the night had a tough job to follow the previous programs. Carolina Kostner was clearly affected, she failed to complete a single clean triple and dropped all the way to 12th place. Laura Lepisto managed to hang on to 6th place after a pretty program that lacked the technical content of the top women.

So much to take in this week...but it's been a blast. Tomorrow is the exhibition and then I'm on the red-eye back to Chicago Sunday night. I've had a blast here in L.A. and I'm psyched now for the run-up to's going to be something!


slieberm said...

I actually had a question about the scoring records. Didn't Sasha and Irina break over 200 when they were competing? Or do those scores not really count because things have changed even more since 2006 than I thought they had?

Ice Charades said...

Thanks for all of the updates! Wonderful job. Tell me, any pictures of Brian?

Anonymous said...

While Alissa should have gotten a higher score had she skated in the later round, she had no one to blame but herself. I think USFSA had given her enough slacks all these years and she still disappoint. USFSA had a better chance of getting 13 or less had they send Caroline and Rachel. I'm sure next year they'll show no mercy to Alissa for the Olympic selection.

Lenova cleared skated well, but not that well to earn that kind of score.

Elene was very energetic.

Flatt did herself proud for coming in 5th on her first try. She show some good potential. But still, I thought she was one of those you can totally count on (a la nerve of steel) but she proved not to be so.

Meier did a fine job but her skate was just nice but nothing to write home about.

Mao had to do 2 triple axels plus a 332 in order to catch Yuna. However, she's been very with it during this whole season (compare to last year). She started off well but after she botched the 2nd axel, she knew there was no hope thus she was just skating kinda slow. It was disappointing to see.

Joannie got a silver. Her first medal at the Worlds. Again, she cannot do a perfect program. There is always something. She doubled 2 triples. I think she only landed 4 triples. But I might be wrong.

Which brought me to Ando. Ando had a perfect skate. She should have gotten the silver. But then again, she already had a gold so I guess it's not that big of a deal.

Yuna won fair and square. She skated quite fast and her jumps were high. She probably got +3s on her GOEs. I have to check. It seems like the whole Korean town were there cheering her on (Korean town is very close to Staples center).

Kostner was so bad that I'm surprised she ended up in 12. She didn't even do one single triple clean. Not even doubles. I think they were just whole bunch singles. It was horrifying to watch. The judges were very generous to give her 20s for her technical mark. I thought she deserves 10s.

Overall, it was not nearly as good as the men's LP. It should be more interesting when US sends the Alissaless team to the Olympics. You know, like someone who actually has the nerve to do decently well. I didn't think Alissa would medal but c'mon, at least 6,7th place. That would have given US ladies 3 spots (with Rachels' 5)