The skating today seemed somewhat more inspired...but the fact that it's early and the season and the fact there was such a quick turnaround for the skaters meant there was still lots of kinks in the chain as of yet.
First, an observation...This arena is huge and given it's size compared to the number of tickets sold...it looks desolate. A note to U.S. Figure Skating...we are in SoCal for crying out loud! Half of the World trains here, you'd think you could have sold a few extra tickets? I suggest to U.S. Figure Skating doing one of three things:
1. Pick a more intimate venue...maybe 5000 seats max. That way it looks full and I think that little "trick of size control" could do wonders.
2. Up the PR. Again, in SoCal, there is no reason why double this amount of tickets couldn't have been sold. This event, ticket prices, list of competitors, etc. should have been in every newspaper on Saturday from July thru last week from San Diego to San Francisco...I suspect it wasn't.
3. Two weeks prior to the event and you have tons of empty seats...start giving them away to local schools, colleges, promotions for non-profits, radio giveaways, etc. If you can't sell the ticket, at least get U.S. Figure Skating some exposure.
Now the skating...
We were treated to the men first. First a huge bit of Douglas Razzano who was 'Steady Eddie' out there and have a supberb skate. For the longest time he was winning the free skate and beat out, among others, European Champ Florent Amodio. Speaking of Amodio, again way too much standing and dancing in place, and I think the judges picked up on it this time (and the fact he didn't jump well). The music is great but you can't stand in place and shake your hips...that's another sport. He finished way down in 9th. Looking at the winners...the young Czech Michal Brezina took the title with a fun skate to The Untouchables. The first half was better than the second half but he had such a lead coming in he had enough buffer to win his first Senior Grand Prix. The silver, and free skate winner, went to Kevin Van Der Perren. It's been sometime since Kevin has looked this good. Jumped fairly well and did enough to be relevant again. Takahiko Kozuka pulled in for the bronze after a forced skate. The music is great but he had to work for just about all his jumps. Richard Dornbush took a note from Ryan Bradley's play book and played to the crowd with a fun western medley. He went for a quad and almost had it but it was under-rotated. He finished 4th. Ten and Murakami had some troubles too and finished 5th and 6th.
In Ice Dance, the first thing I want to talk about is Ralph and Hill's scores pictured below:
I can't figure out how they were scored so low so someone who get's these will need to explain them to me. I thought they were at the least, third best on the night and pretty well matched with the French Team...guess not. Crowd and Twitter weren't happy about their low placement. Tobias and Stagniunas from Lithuania pulled out the bronze with a Jive inspired free dance that had the crowd clapping. Pechalat and Bourzat looked much better in the free. This middle eastern medley has some fun choreographic moments but seems somewhat basic at times. However it is fun to watch. What isn't fun is watching Fabian nearly pass out from exhaustion after the dance. Actually, lots of skaters are looking downright 'gassed' at the end of their skates. Not looking gassed at all was Meryl and Charlie who delighted the crowd to a good proper waltz and skated away easily with the gold by nearly 22 points.
Scores are here.
I'll be back with more after the ladies and pairs shorts.