Well, when I said we were in for a crazy event, Canada really outdid itself. (Kudos to everyone who made it through that ladies event tbh.) There’s a lot to unpack here, so I’ll do my best to be brief.
BUSINESS AS USUAL:
Shoma Uno rolled through the men’s event to finish first as expected, along with Tessa and Scott in the dance competition. They should both be well on their way to the Final. Kaetlyn Osmond won as expected in the ladies field, but continued her jump struggles in the free skate. Many see her as the only one close to beating Medvedeva, but she won't come close if she can't put out clean programs consistently before February.
Patrick Chan’s fourth place finish here likely means he's out of the Final. There were some reports that he may pull out of NHK, but I hope he competes. IMO, he'll be better served by getting those programs out there internationally a second time before the Olympics. I think he'll need a boost of momentum to do well in South Korea. But that's just me.
Jason Brown's silver medal here is big for his chances for the Final, as well as sealing the deal on an Olympic team spot.
Alexander Samarin's medal here makes the Russian men's Olympic team selection even more interesting. We'll see how Kolyada responds this week in China. Maxim Kovtun is slated to compete at NHK.
Ashley Wagner beating Karen Chen here is a nice boost to Wagner's case for the U.S. Olympic team and keeps her in the conversation for the Final. Both skate again at Skate America, where the field is less competitive and both could make the podium.
Maria Sotskova is looking good for a spot on Russia's Olympic team after a silver medal here. My heart goes out to Anna Pogorilaya and I hope she rests and heals.
Marin Honda is such a beautiful skater and I love everything about her. It's too bad she bombed the short here, she likely would've been on the podium if not. There have been reports that she's planning to withdraw from Cup of China next week, due to injury. She is still listed on the entries, though.Keep an eye on that situation as the week progresses.
GOD BLESS Weaver/Poje bringing back Je Suis Malade and for getting new short dance costumes. Both elevate them to a new level and bring them solidly back into the conversation for Olympic bronze. Hubbell/Donohue still have some work to do on those programs before NHK. They have silver medal chances there, which would be huge for them.
Duhamel/Radford are back in the pairs conversation after a great competition here in Regina.
Um, ladies technical panel, did you need a nap? That was legit the strictest technical panel I've ever seen. And I was worried about Shin Amano! I will say that at least they were consistent (with the notable exception of Kaetlyn Osmond) and dinged everybody.
Let's hope the Cup of China panels are more friendly; I will be watching in the middle of the night and I'm not sure I can handle that level of drama at 4:00 AM, thank you very much. Happy watching!
L.O.L. Skate Canada. What a wild ride that event was! I tanked fantasy this week, choosing 7/12 picks correct. I ended up tied for 199th for the event, and moved to 73rd overall. I only chose 4/12 podium picks correct. Somehow I feel like I always do bad at this event. MOVING ON...
The Grand Prix series moves to Regina, Saskatchewan this weekend for the second stop of the Grand Prix series. No one supports the home team like Skate Canada, so we're in for a fun weekend: )
Other storylines to watch:
After not being able to watch much of Rostelecom Cup live last week, I am mostly just excited to have two full days free to watch and live tweet. Happy watching!
BUSINESS AS USUAL:
Evgenia did the normal Evgenia thing (minus a completely inconsequential fall in the free). Evgenia got the "normal" Evgenia scores. There really isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. Her march to the top of the Olympic podium continues...
Nathan Chen set a nice precedent here, beating Hanyu with two less-than-clean skates. Obviously, Hanyu was not at his best here either, but this result could be the start of Nathan's climb to overcome Hanyu's typical PCS advantage.
Mariah Bell beating Mirai Nagasu here evens their head-to-head matchups, setting up for a very important third matchup at NHK right before U.S. Nationals. There's a lot of buzz about Nagasu right now, but she has to capitalize on it before she hits the ice San Jose.
I shouldn't have underestimated Carolina Kostner. She was able to score big numbers here, even without her most difficult content, because of her cleanliness and quality. Beautiful skates, Caro.
RUSSIA HATES CANADA APPARENTLY:
Gilles/Poirier got screwed over here. While I'm not in love with either of their programs, their quality is way better than Stepanova/Bukin and they should've medalled. Seguin/Bilodeau were also underscored, especially in the short.
A RANT OR TWO:
1. I am over cheesy pairs. I am over cheesy pair programs. With artists like Wenjing Sui in my life, I have no time for kitsch. Since Tarasova/Morosov will likely not change their god-awful free skate music selection, at least get her a new dress, could ya? Also, I know that Valentina Marchei is a brand unto her own, but they're taking a step backwards with program selection this year, IMO.
2. Why is everyone missing the mark on Olympic music selections this year? I feel like Olympic programs (long programs/ free dances especially) should be built with a MOMENT in mind at the end; you know what I'm talking about...the big spin finale set to a huge crescendo type thing. I feel like the Shibutanis free dance is too close to Evolution and a bit one level emotionally; i just don't see it capitalizing on the big Olympic setting. There are many other skaters/teams I could name as well, but I will spare you.
3. As fans, I feel like we get excited by skaters/teams who can show some dynamism with their skating- something new, something out-of-character, something different from year-to-year. A progression, a development, etc. I'm guessing it's the Olympic year to blame, but so many skaters are giving us similar (if not the literal exact same) packaging they've competed before. I'm missing a spark so far this season. Fingers crossed we see it soon! The field at Skate Canada has good potential for excitement.
On to Regina....
Meh, not a bad start to the year over here- I finished 44T in Fantasy with 9/12 picks correct.
For podium predictions, I got 8/12 correct, selecting all of the gold medalists, 3 of the silvers and one bronze. On to Canada!
Welp, I'm not ready, but I am excited! Here we are at the start of the 2017-18 Grand Prix, Rosetelcom Cup. (Anyone else completely thrown off that Skate America isn't first?) Anywhoo, let's take a look at the event:
Storylines to Watch:
Ohmygod, here we go! Happy watching!
After a long hiatus, I'm back- just in time for the start of the 2017-18 Grand Prix.
I love the Grand Prix circuit in the Olympic year- skaters are competing for Olympic team spots and know they have to be in prime shape early to make their case for the Olympics. (Unless you're Hanyu). Hopefully, we're in for a some great flights of competition this season as the skaters lay the groundwork for Pyeongchang. While the Grand Prix is certainly for comparing skaters internationally, for some skaters, how their fare against their compatriots is even more important.
Here's the national battles I'll be keeping an eye on doing the Grand Prix:
Japan: Despite the exquisite talent of their ladies field, Japan has only two ladies spots for the Olympics. With World medallist Satoko Miyahara retuning from injury, fans will be looking for how well she's skating after her absence. Wakaba Higuchi and Mai Mihara had good debut seasons last year and are entering the Grand Prix after stellar skates in the preseason. Not to mention World junior silver medallist Marin Honda who has all the makings of a star and could quite well make a statement early on. The men have two spots wrapped up with Shoma Uno and Yuzuru Hanyu but there are a few players who could grab the third spot.
Russia: Two mens spots are available in Russia, and virtually all of their major players have been wildly inconsistent (#quads). Perhaps the most sure prospect is Mikhail Kolyada but your guess is as good as mine for who steps up to the plate for the second. The ladies are always a bloodbath in Russia and other than Evegnia's guaranteed spot, Zagitova, Radionova, Pogorilaya and Sotskova are in the mix for a place on the team. Tarasova/Morosov seem a sure bet for one of their three pairs spots, with Fedor/Klimov, Zabiiako/Enbert, and Astokhova/Rogonov lobbying for the other two. Similarly, Bobrova/Soloviev should be one of two dance spots, with Stepanova/Bukin perhaps the best shot at number two.
United States: There is only one pairs spot available for the U.S. and while Scimeca-Knierim/Knierim are favored for he spot, I wouldn't say it's a given until we see how Stellate/Bartholomay, Denney/Frazier and Cain/LeDuc fare in the Grand Prix in comparison. A healthy Nathan Chen will be headed to South Korea, but it could be any combination of Rippon, Zhou, Aaron, and Brown that accompany him. Karen Chen, Mirai Nagasu and Ashley Wagner would really solidify their chances for the Olympic team with strong results in the Grand Prix, with Mariah Bell, Bradie Tennell and Courtney Hicks looking to play spoiler.
Canada: The greatest intrigue for Canada will be their three pairs spots, with Duhanel/Radford trying to rebound from a rough year, Seguin/Bilodeau back for a full season after injury and Ilyushechkina/Moscovitch and MooreTowers/Marinaro trying to find the right consistency in their "new" partnerships. The second mens spot is still up for grabs to join Patrick Chan in South Korea.
Xiangning Li and Zijun Li will both compete twice on the Grand Prix (once head-to-head at Cup of China) for China's one ladies spot.
Ready or not, here comes the Olympic season....
About the Blog:
Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.