Friday, January 15, 2010

U.S. Nationals (Day One)

Scheduled Events for Today:

Junior Men's Short Program
Senior Pairs Short Program
Senior Men's Short Program

Check this post for results and musings. I'll also be tweeting during the Senior Pairs Short Program at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern) and during the Senior Men's Short Program at 9:45 p.m. (Eastern). You can follow me on Twitter @skating102.

The Junior Men competed their short program earlier today. Max Aaron leads Jason Brown and Austin Kanallakan. You can see the full set of scores here.

The pairs short program was such a shock! First...what wasn't a shock was Denney and Barrett's short which rocked Spokane Arena and, despite being one of the first teams on the ice, they skated to a short program victory the same as they did last season. Right behind them in 2nd was a polished and solid Yankowskas and Coughlin who also managed a standing ovation. In 3rd are Denney and Barrett's training mates Evora and Ladwig who had an iffy performance but stayed on their feet. Veterans Inoue and Baldwin are in 4th after Rena fell on the throw triple axel attempt and John missed a spin. 2007 Champs Castile and Okolski are in 5th after a program peppered with technical mistakes.

At this point you're thinking, you forgot McLaughlin and Brubaker. I didn't. Keauna and Rockne had a disastrous performance. Keauna fell on her side-by-side triple salchow. Then she two footed the throw triple loop. If it couldn't get any worse, she slipped off her edge on the death spiral and fell again. They are in...wait for it...7th place going into the free and nearly 10 points out of an Olympic qualifying position at this point yet alone a win. The questions are starting to come out...was the pressure too much? Was the expectations of 24 Hour Fitness and Coke more than this team can handle? Was it the switch to John Nicks? Lots of questions right now. This team is going to need the skate of a lifetime in the free and some help from the teams ahead of them to get to Vancouver. I don't forsee them getting a 'good night's rest' tonight.

Full Senior Pairs results are here.

At the conclusion of the men's short program, I'd say things are going about as most expected with maybe a couple little curves thrown in. First, let's talk about who DIDN'T make the cut in the short. Stephen Carriere is in 17th place (ouch right!) and Brandon Mroz is in 10th...guess they won't be medaling this time around. What also didn't make the cut...the quad. All the skaters that tried it...yeah didn't really help them at all.

Let's talk top six. It's becoming clear that anytime Jeremy Abbott skates clean he is dangerous. A clean short found him loftly at the top with a whopping 87.85 points. Really he was brilliant, guess he worked out the kinks from that wonky practice yesterday (see video below). In second is Evan Lysacek who had a solid program but stepped out of his triple axel. Even still he looks Olympic ready and he didn't looked to phased by the mis-step. Johnny Weir currently occupies third but is almost in a dead heat with Evan (these two seem to be like glue as far as their scores and nationals!). Unlike Evan, Johnny skated perfectly clean but didn't have the complex choreography that Evan did...the debate on who should be ahead of who is ensuing on Twitter. Adam Rippon is 4th. He was cruising through his program until he got too close the boards on his patented 'Rippon' lutz. He doubled that jump, ran into the boards, then proceeded to fall on his footwork. Still, his program is brilliant. The surprise of the top group is Armin Mahbanoozadeh who is 5th after a brilliant short despite spending all his free time in Spokane with doctors working on his bruised hip. Rounding out the final group is Ryan Bradley who, after hitting a beautiful quad/triple combo, proceeded to double the rest of his triples...doof! Anywho, nice set up for free skate.

Full results of the men's short can be found here.

UPDATE: Stephen Carriere has withdrawn from the competition. Not sure yet why (17th place SP perhaps?).

Video courtesy KHQ Spokane


Xan said...

Excited about following your tweets. Unfortunately I have to teach until 6, and they NEVER let us put figure skating on at the rink. Hockey and Basketball for the dads. Drives me crazy.

Queen of the Road said...

To paraphrase a character on Ugly Betty: I just don't understand hockey. All that ice and no figure skating.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the Men went as planned, because I had had enough stress watching Pairs. I don't know what to think... M/B have established themselves as the top American team. Everything they've done up until this point has pointed to them being at the very least a top 2 American team... Then they fall on a death spiral in a short program at Nationals and suddenly, they're doomed? They're practically going to have to kill themselves and give the performance of their lives to get on the Olympic team? Let's send someone with no international track record instead? It's just messed up. I don't think it's the endorsement deals... I think it's the pressure to be the best at every event. "Don't make mistakes, or we'll send a no-name with less ability who got lucky and hit today!" Ugh. Must Nationals really be the be-all and end-all in picking the Olympic Team? It has to be more stressful than the Olympics itself! With no death spiral fall, M/B would have been in third place, 5 or so points out of first, and there would be no talk right now about their impending doom as far as making the Olympic team or even winning Nationals. All over a death spiral? Damn.

Anonymous said...

not just the death spiral. They were horrible with many mistakes. Sure, sending someone with little international exposure means 100% no medals for sure. But truth of the matter is none of the American pair teams have any chance of standing on the podium anyway. So why not give the chance to go to the Olympics to the ones who actually earned it?

Anonymous said...

Johnny got "!" for his 3F. That's why he's behind Evan.

Anonymous said...

But Evan also should have got "!" for his 3F. That's why it's so unfair. and Johnny's spins were better than Evan. It's a comedy. Haha and Did you see how audience amused and applaused and clapped with his skating? Play Johnny's and Evan's skating again. and see clearly how audience were moved by Johnny's skating. and Compare it to Evan's. Johnny draw the standing ovantion. but Evan's skating didn't. Who should have gotten the more score? It was so obvious. Something is so wrong. What's wrong with them?? Such a shame. (Excuse my poor English. It's my foreign language)

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what you think of this article...

Aaron said...

That is a VERY interesting article.

She's harping on the fact that the judges here aren't playing the same ridiculous game of inflated scores that everyone else has.

I don't think this hurts anyone going into Vancouver. Those international judges know that score inflation has been out of control this season within national competitions. I think it's impressive that Jeremy, Evan, and Johnny hit scores that are more even with top international scores WITHOUT ridiculous inflation. Anyone can look at Chan and Plushenko's National SP and compare them to Abbott's an know they wouldn't win at the Olympics.

I actually give U.S. Figure Skating and the judges some credit for scoring fairly. Evan's components are NOT as good as Jeremy's and he shouldn't get more credit because he's perceived as the top medal hope just because he's winning the 'expectations race.'

Anonymous said...

Jeremy's score is above Johnny's because his jumps were cleaner. As for Evan's score is better than Johnny's is a mystery to me. And Evan had the audacity to be puzzled by the score. Earth to Evan, come in Evan, stepping out of triple axel should cost more than just a point. The whole performance was flat. And yes, your score at the Grand Prix final was way inflated. It didn't even come close to Takahashi's. Period. It's good that the judges pull him down to earth and tell him he's not as good as he think he is.

None of the top three men here had quad in his sp. I would expect the one who can execute his jumps clean with a quad be way ahead of everyone else. I can see top four after the sp at the Olympics: Plushy, Joubert, Takahashi, and Abbot (not necessarily in this order) . They are the only one who seems to be able to pull out a quad consistently. If Plushy is the only one who pulls out a quad, then he'll be so ahead that only a fall will prevent him from winning. Let's hope there are more men pulling out quads during sp than just Plushy. said...

Her argument in that article appears to be, "But, everyone else is doing it!" I can just hear my mother now, "And, if everyone was jumping off a bridge... "