Monday, November 02, 2009

Blood, Sweat, and Tears in Beijing

First, blood. There was a lot of hand slicing in Beijing. The funny part is I never saw how it happened. I kept going..."Oh, where did they cut their hand?" I always wonder if there is some special cleaning trick when you get blood on your nice (read: expensive!) competition outfit. Ice Charades...any tricks?

Sweat. A lot of skaters were working hard in Beijing. First, congrats to all the winners. Shen and Zhao skated great. Hongbo made me a little nervous on a couple of his side-by-side elements but in the end held it together. There was clearly no one close to them at home in Beijing. Nobunari Oda had another great performance to become the first skater to clinch a spot at the Grand Prix Final. I think he has a gem in Charlie Chaplin. Belbin and Agosto came out on top in Beijing adding to the complex situation that is bound to exist in dance this season...their are so many teams in contention for the top. Perhaps the skater who sweat the most was Japan's Akiko Suzuki who not only pulled up from fourth to take the ladies title with a sassy skate to West Side Story, but did a little double time in impressing the Japanese Federation. She certainly made a case for herself as far as the Olympic Team is concerned.

Tears. Poor Mirai Nagasu. She was the leader after the short and it looked like her troubles might be behind her. Then, her free skate happened and it was back to more of the same. In the kiss and cry she told her Frank Carroll, "I just want to go home and practice again." Rachael Flatt was less than impressive as well with a free skate peppered with little jump errors. Perhaps a few tears for Zhang and Zhang who, I'm sure, were hoping for a betting showing against teammates and rivals Shen and Zhao. Rather than shining they labored their way to a silver medal. Joannie Rochette who entered this competition the favorite found herself way down in 7th after the short. She might have saved herself by managing the bronze overall after a free skate that, while not perfect, pulled her up a bit.

You can check the full results here. This week the figure skating world stays in the region with a trip to Nagano, Japan for the fourth Grand Prix event, NHK Trophy.

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