Sunday, November 22, 2009

HomeSense Skate Canada: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!

HomeSense Skate Canada wrapped up literally moments ago but I decided to go right to work on this post because it's all so fresh in my mind.

The Good: Some of the performances! Jeremy Abbott, Daisuke Takahashi, and Alban Preaubert put on quite a performance in the men's free. I have never seen Alban skate so well in my life, putting on a jump clinic. Daisuke came back from his NHK Meltdown with conviction. His free skate is rife with character, solid jumps, and great footwork (he actually won the FS by a smidge). And Jeremy Abbott, who took me by surprise enroute to his necessary win. He skated with conviction and even after a couple of little jump errors proved he could still compete with the big boys. Virtue and Moir captivated the crowd at the "Aud" with a gorgeous free could here a pin drop in there...well, until they did a lift and then the place erupted in applause. They set the new high mark and set a clear (crystal clear I think) message to Davis and White, Belbin and Agosto, and any other team that has their sights set on Olympic Gold. Shout-out to Weaver and Poje who were amazing here and actually found themselves on the podium! I spy Denney and Barrett throwing down another clean free skate! Finally, Savchenko and Szolkowy impressed me to no end with their new free skate to Out of Africa. For me, it gave me that same feeling that Dubreuil and Lauzon's Somewhere in Time did. This one may be a tear jerker for me and they set a World Record (206.71) in the process. I've added the video at the bottom of this post.

The Bad: I hate to mention a win in the bad column but Joannie Rochette was not on top of her game here. She was the benefactor of one of the weakest ladies free skate's I've seen in a while. Lots of doubled jumps and little landing errors. Her closest competition came in the form of Alissa Czisny who, herself, crashed and burned on two triples. Laura Lepisto had some clever choreography but didn't land many triples either to take the bronze. Mirai Nagasu actually had the highest technical score of all the ladies in the free but was hammered in the component score and failed to hit the podium. Dube and Davison didn't look sharp in their bronze winning performance. Poor Denis Ten lost all gas from the short program...we have to wait another day for brilliance via Kazakstan. Samuelson and Bates lost some big time ground here, not only falling behind Weaver and Poje but also Bobrova and Soloviev (Navarro and Bommentre...there's still hope!).

The Ugly: O goodness...Patrick Chan. From time to time he's been known to have a fall in his free skate...never would you expect three. Those falls, add in a doubled loop, and an iffy spin and it equals a disastrous 6th place finish. That was by far the shocker of the competition. Caroline Zhang got disastrous component scores after a slow, emotionless free skate where she fell on both triple flips. One judge gave her a 2.5 for skating skills...2.5!!!! Who could have ever predicted an 8th place finish for her, ouch. Same story for Phaneuf who finished ahead of her in 7th...four falls in the free and at home in Canada. She just cried in the Kiss and Cry, broke my heart. Kevin Van der Perren who is coming completely undone this season. I thought he was on his way to a better start when he did a three triple jump combo but after that all the energy went out of the program. After huffing and puffing his way to an 11th place finish, he looked like he hated skating and left the Kiss and Cry shouting curse words...oy! The last ugly is the scoring. In the short program especially, several skaters seemed to get boosts, most noticeably the Canadians. Joannie Rochette's short program scored a 70.00 without a triple-triple. Patrick Chan had the highest component score in the short despite a flawed performance. Virtue and Moir's OD score was off the charts. Amelie Lacoste and Cynthia Phaneuf made the final group of ladies despite the fact they had been clearly out-skated by Caroline Zhang and Akiko Suzuki in the short. In the free, Joannie Rochette again received some generous scores in the components given her performance while other skaters were grossly under-marked in components.

You can see full results here (including the judges protocol...I encourage you take a look).

So we have a list of those skaters making the Grand Prix Final. They are:

Shen and Zhao (China)
Pang and Tong (China)
Mukhortova and Trankov (Russia)
Savchenko and Szolkowy (Germany)
Kavaguti and Smirnov (Russia)
Zhang and Zhang (China)

Kim Yu-Na (Korea)
Miki Ando (Japan)
Joannie Rochette (Canada)
Alena Leonova (Russia)
Ashley Wagner (USA)
Akiko Suzuki (Japan)

Virtue and Moir (Canada)
Davis and White (USA)
Belbin and Agosto (USA)
Pechalat and Bourzat (France)
Cappellini and Lanotte (Italy)
Kerr and Kerr (Great Britain)

Nobunari Oda (Japan)
Evan Lysacek (USA)
Brian Joubert (France)
Jeremy Abbott (USA)
Johnny Weir (USA)
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan)


jumping clapping man said...

what a bummer that flatt and czisny are the first two alternates, missing out in the tie-breakers. ARGH!

mls GTA said...

I don't know much about skating myself, but that you tube clip is some beauty!! Skating should be re-classified as ART and not sport!


Robin Agnew said...

That Out of Africa program was my first goosebump moment of the year - it's just stunning.

jykang said...

Nice for pointing out the PCS. I really hope they don't do this at the Olympics. Judges need to stay focused and not get carried away by the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Just one US lady in the Grand Prix final tells you a lot about the state of US ladies program.

The unfair grading of Joannie (182 with those two programs? Please!) will be balanced out by the fact that she can never put together two clean skates together. In Japan, they will not give her the inflated scores and she shall receive her true score which is more like a 160s than 180s. Her best bet is a bronze at the Olympics. It's going to be Yuna at the top and Ando in the middle. If Mao wakes up, Joannie has no chance.

Mirai should have gotten the bronze. This tells you how pathetic the state of European ladies figure skating programs are.

Caroline will be relegated to the "B" team like Bebe if she continues to skate slow plus falling everywhere. Really disappointing. Just think not that long ago, she was the darling of US fans.

The ladies in general were just so pathetic. It's really sad. I hope this is not a precursor to what's coming at the Olympics.

Cannot wait to see the Pairs Grand Prix final. The points given out should be a pretty good indication who's going to win the Olympics! Will the judges give Savchenko and Szolkowy higher mark than Shen and Zhao if both teams are perfect? Or the other way around? Personally I prefer Shen and Zhao but we shall see....

term life insurance quote said...

Thanks for the post - damn, I wish I had time to watch this, but I was having a hell of a week...


Anonymous said...

If judges are giving Canadians a boost here, what about Olympics? After all it's going to be at Vancouver which is in Canada.. I suppose we shall see then.

Anonymous said...

That's why all the teams needs to be so much better than the Canadian one that even with the boost, there is no way they'll win. Can you imagine if Yuna skates perfect and Joannie (cough cough) also and they gave the gold to Joannie! That would cause a huge scandal! Oh wait, Joannie has never skated an error free sp+lp. Never mind about that scenario. Or if Plushy and Joubert does perfect programs plus quads and Chan can hardly does his axels and ended up winning? Yeah.... that's going to happen. Both Joannie and Chan will get bronze as consolation prize if both skates clean (or somewhat clean). Feel bad for the ones that should be getting the bronze... American ladies probably has no chance to get any medals. But American men like Abbot, Lysacek, or even Weir will be bumped off the podium even if they deserve it. C'est la vie.