What were the Skate Canada highlights for me? Let's start with the amazing performance given by Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch in the free skate. I'm always down for a good Les Mis program and they rocked it. You didn't even care about the bobble Kirsten had on her Salchow because any memory of it was erased by the two fantastic lifts they did at the end to pull the crowd out of their seats. They won the free skate and took the silver overall but the were desparately close to catching the Russians Iliushechkina and Maisuradze for the Gold. Kirsten were joined on the podium by their young teammates Lawrence and Swiegers.The Americans Castelli and Shnapir were so close to medaling after a fantastic short but the free got the better of them. I do love their Avatar free skate though.
I also loved the unpredictability of the dance event. This season it seems like nothing is a done deal and all the teams can't put it on cruise control like they did before. Kerr and Kerr of Great Britain have a lovely free skate and were on their way to victory when they had a slip on lift and it didn't really go as planned. That one mistake was enough to let Crone and Poirier of Canada slip past them for the win with a Beatle's number choreographed by Christopher Dean (so in the end...I guess Great Britain still wins out!). The Canadians are really putting pressure on these Grand Prix Podiums. Paul and Islam, another Canadian Team at this event, was actually 2nd in the free dance and finished 4th overall. It was the Americans Chock and Zuerlein that snuck in for the bronze after after a fun dance set to Cabaret.
The ladies event was so unpredictable start to finish. I actually pegged the Junior World Silver Medalist Agnes Zawadzki to win it because I though at the least she would be consistent and that would win the day. Well Agnes was hot and saucy in the short but nerves got the better of her in the free and she fell to 6th. The podium was quite a roller coaster. Amelie Lacoste 5th after the short, managed the bronze. She didn't have a great free but it was good enough on the day. Johnny Weir tweeted several times that we should all pray for Ksenia. The prayer must have worked because she worked her Evita free skate enough to earn the silver medal. She seemed happy with her skate and Johnny tweeted he almost cried his lashes off! The Gold Medal, however, went for the second time in her career, to Alissa Czisny (video below). She came back from 4th in the short to take it all with a gorgeous program set to George Winston's Winter and Spring. Are good things ahead this season for Alissa?
Finally the men. I took some heat on Twitter for defending the judges at this event. Patrick Chan had a terrible short program and many felt he should have been further back than what he was (4th). In the free skate, he came roaring back (quad included) to take the title. Nobunari fans in particular harped on the "Canadian Bonus" Patrick got in the short. I will be the first to call out any point padding. I think Kevin Reynolds (who hit two quads in the short!) and Amelie Lacoste in particular were beneficiaries of some point bumps at this event. Chan, I felt was marked fairly. His tech score wasn't padded at all, the protocols show that, and he is one of (if not the) the best skaters as far as the component score. A better way of looking at it is like this...so you think Patrick was over scored in the short, so you think he should have been ranked behind Alban Preaubert, Javier Fernandez, Yasuharu Nanri? Even on a bad Patrick Chan day, you have to admit his skating skills are certainly going to keep him ranked ahead of those skaters. On the flip side, you can say Adam Rippon and Nobunari Oda weren't given the component scores they deserved. But as good as they are (and I love both of them!), Patrick is still far superior to them in the component mark. In the end...rationally...I think the judges did get it right and there were just some mad fans. I think Nobunari's silver and Adam's bronze were right. Should I prepare for more egg dodging?
You can see the full results here.
I can report that I am 0 for 8 on accurate podium predictions. I have to improve this. I did do better on my fantasy picks though. Tied for 197th (better than the 365th last week) and have improved to being ranked 175th overall. I just keep telling myself slow and steady... Cup of China next week!