Sunday, January 31, 2010

Four Continents Cup in the stop, Vancouver!

The Final Pre-Olympics ISU Championship, Four Continents Cup, concluded yesterday in Jeonju, South Korea.

I thought I had the Ice Dance event figured out but my predictions were mostly shot to hell (but oddly, mostly realigned?). I went about pre-placing them logically but logic went out the window with their skating and placement. What I did know all along is that Canadian's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were the team to beat, and, they in fact won. I was shocked to see their teammates Hann-McCurdy and Coreno with the Silver since several of the teams behind them had skated much better than them this season. I was equally shocked to see American's Hubbell and Hubbell capture the bronze since they had lost, just a week ago, to Chock and Zuerlein at U.S. Nationals who placed just fifth here. This goes to show, we can think we know what's going to happen but until the skating happens we can never really be sure.

The ladies event was the chance for Mao Asada to put herself back into the spotlight before Vancouver as a Gold Medal threat. Asada won, she did two triple axles in her free (both credited), but the program still lacked life and I don't think made her any more of a serious threat to Kim than before. I sound like a broken record with this program...I know...but I don't think she's getting the message. Axels or not, this program will have a tough time competing for Gold. There's no time to change it now so she'll have to do what she can with it...which I feel isn't much. In contrast, Akiko Suzuki, who didn't have near the technical content of Asada, lit up the room with another great performance to West Side Story in winning the Silver. Where Asada lacks life Sukuki is full of it. Caroline Zhang pulled up to nab the Bronze Medal (which means I accurately predicted the ladies podium!). She has a lot of work to do for next season but maybe this will give her a much needed confidence boost. Goal #1 for Caroline...figure out how to love skating again. There was a glimmer of the old Caroline here...keep working at it.

The Pairs event was a great opportunity for Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang to grab a little spotlight for themselves without their teammates (Shen/Zhao, Pang/Tong) over shadowing them and they delivered. While choreographically they still need a tune-up, they managed to get through a free skate clean which really helps there programs since their greatest strength is their athleticism. Americans McLaughlin and Brubaker took the Silver. While problems still prevail it was at least something at the end of their season to hang their hat on. Like Caroline Zhang...there is a lot of work to do before next season. Canadian's Duhamel and Buntin won the Bronze.

The men's event was all over the map with skaters doing the placement shuffle after the free skate. Stunningly, from 7th place, Adam Rippon pulled all they way to take the win and he did so with a gorgeous free skate. He got a monkey off his back by landing both triple axels in his free and was a good poster boy for never giving up no matter what place you're in. Japan's Tatsuki Machida won the Silver. Exactly....who? Machida medaled in a couple Junior Grand Prix's a couple seasons ago and was fourth at this years Japanese Nationals but by all means a stunning senior international debut. Canada's Kevin Reynolds, who was the leader after the short, barely managed the Bronze ahead of American Brandon Mroz despite only an 8th place showing in the free.

Four Continent Cups Results can be found here. that all the pre-Olympic competitions are over, you can play in Jumping Clapping Man's Olympic Predictor competition!

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Anonymous said...

Hi, I have been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first post. I think Mao has really worked hard in her programs, which are so hard to get across because they are so gloomy. But I feel with her recent performances, she is getting better in trying to get the feeling across. She has a disadvantage in the PCS aspect, but I think Mao has a decent chance if she manages to make it the most of it out of her TES. She really needs to not falter in the SP (I think that is more crucial than her program choreography).

Aaron said...

But she shouldn't be lacking in the PCS! She is such a gifted skater and can skate circles around any of these ladies. Why she would take on a program that kills the lightness of her skating and kills her PCS is mind blowing!?!?!

Not An Expert said...

I think you're right. Mao should be challenging for the gold, and she definitely could be, but she just...isn't. Maybe she'll really pull it out of the bag in Vancouver and surprise us all, but I'm losing hope that there'll be any real competition between Yu-Na Kim and anyone, really.

On the other hand, the more I see of him, the more I think that I could watch Adam Rippon skate forever. I can't wait to see what he comes up with over the next quad, I think he has the potential to be pretty much untouchable.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Joannie or Miki will surprise us instead at Vancouver. Well I hope somebody surprise us, because if Yuna (as much as I admire her) just wins with no real competition then it's will be so boring.

Vlad said...

And I'm really happy for Adam!Nice job!