I haven't caught up yet on all the action from the GPF ( I know.) but hopefully will soon enough. I haven't watched the ladies or mens free skates (maybe that's a good thing) but there were certainly lots of surprises from France. I will hopefully catch up before all the big Nationals coming up! Second half of the season, here we come!
USFSA: I had a much stronger showing here, placing 40T for the event with 9/12 picks correct. The smaller field helps : ) Luckily, this has boosted me back up to 47T overall. Let's keep climbing upwards, shall we?
TSL: Finsihed #74 with1, 053 points. Team Cziney came in second and I got 2 head-to-heads correct, along with the overall medal count. upset pick and eight podium predicitons.
These week, the picks were set up by qualifying order. I find that this actually made choosing my team easier, but we shall see how it all shakes out. Happy watching!
Speaking of GPF fields that are meh this season, pairs probably tops the list here. With so many big names out of the series, the gold will likely go entirely uncontested. The only points of interest for me are watching the progress of the new Chinese pair teams and how Seguin/Bilodeau will do with their SBS jumps here after almost missing the Final.
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford should easily win here after Savchenko/Massot withdrew with an injury. They had a messy free skate at NHK, so I am sure they will be looking to skate better here. Though they tend to skate better when they compete against better teams, it would take a near disaster for them to not win the gold here. Their numbers are just too high.
As a new team this season, Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang actually showed the most consistency of any team at this event. Their only real mistake was an uncharacteristic fall from Zhang on a side-by-side jump. With the Germans out of the Final, I actually think they have the best twist and throws of the field, in terms of quality. If they can keep up the consistency, they will make the podium here. I pick them for silver.
While I find their program choices to be entirely unmemorable. Evgenia Tarasova/Vladmir Morosov have upped the technical ante this season with their quad twist. (AND Their 3T is just gorgeous). One 4Tw attempt went awry, and the other was pretty good. They'll need a good attempt here for the bronze medal.
The only reason I am not picking Seguin/Bilodeau for the podium here is because of the harder (and riskier) side by side jumps that they are trying this year. They just haven't been consistent. I think they made a good choice in going back to last year's short program and that they deserve better PCS than the Russians, but they need to be clean for third. It's definitely not out of the question for them, however.
I love Peng/Jin's short program this year, and they're my pick for fifth because of their chemistry as a team. Zabiiako/Enbert have a nice opportunity to compete here, but they don't quite have the quality of the rest of the field in my opinon.
I feel very lukewarm about the ladies field this year if I am being real with you. With big names like Asada, Gold and Wagner out, I am very meh about half of these skaters. Nevertheless, the competion has a few interesting storylines to watch---Can Anna dethrone Evgenia? Can Satoko reestablish herself as a contender?
Although my personal preference would be for Anna to win here ( I can't believe I have lived to see this day), but the numbers just aren't there. Evgenia's TES averages 2-4 points higher in each segment of the competition, and her PCS average over a point better in each. I think it would take mistakes from the World Champ to put Anna on the top of the podium. Though I would love to see that, I think Evgenia Medvedeva will defend her title here.
Anna Pogorilaya is having one hell of a start to her season. I find her program choices to be stronger than Evgenia's and she has brought consistency to her jumps this year. With two wins on the Grand Prix and four solid skates, she certainly isn't out of the running for the gold. She can really keep her name in the mix for the World title if she can skate consistently here and keep her momentum going.
It will be an interestng battle for bronze between Elena and Satoko Miyahara. Both have had less luck with their jumps this season than in the past, but Elena Radionova looked stronger at her last event and she's my pick for the bronze because of it. I think Satoko's skating quality is so underappreciated, but that some jump calls will be the reason she finishes fourth.
Maria Sotskova vs. Kaetlyn Osmund is an intriguing matchup as well. I think Kaetlyn is a better performer, but the consistency of Sotskova's jumps will be what the Russian rookie from finishing #notlast.
UGH, it was a rough week, people. 8/12 picks correct, and one of my dance picks withdrew so I lost a TON of points. I finished 138T for the event (which is only the third worst of the GP) but it dropped me to 56th overall. YUCK. I will have to do better homework for the GPF. That event is *a bit* easier to pick with only six entries per discipline.
In TSL, I actually didn't do too terribly- #74 with 865 points. My celebrity pick was second, I got three head to head matchups, one quad count, the upset pick and 7 placements.
As highly anticipated, Yuzuru Hanyu came through on home ice this week. Though he wasn't perfect, this was certainly an improvement from Skate Candada. I actually think it's good he's starting his season off even slower than normal this year, as maybe it will allow him to peak at Worlds this year instead of the GPF. Men's is probably the field I am most looking forward to at the Final, and my money will be on Yuzu.
Nathan Chen will be headed to the Grand Prix Final in his debut season, quads in tow. Marina Zueva has done good work for his components, but it was interesting to see Raf with him here at NHK. What the U.S. has been looking for for a long time now is a man with multiple quads *and* artistry and Nathan seems to be the bright light in that respect. He's got work to do, but I wouldn't call him just a jumper either. AND THANK THE LORD that Arizona short program costume was changed; this one is much better. I will be very interested* to see his placement at the Final, relative to the Javi/Patricks/Yuzu/Shoma situation as well as to teammate Adam Rippon. (More on that below).
It was a cool moment for Keiji Tanaka to grab the bronze on home ice here. There's something about him that makes me smile haha. Maybe he'll run at that third men's World spot at Japanese nationals? That competition is *so* interesting in singles.
Unfortunatey, Alexi Bychenko and Jason Brown couldn't have solid enough skates to qulaify for the Final. Both will be facing tough competition at their respective National championships, with more talent than Worlds spots available. This isn't the way they would've wanted to enter their Nationals, and this is especially tough for Jason Brown, who will have to watch two teammates compete in France. (HUGE CONGRATS TO ADAM RIPPON THOUGH!!!) The U.S. men's event is probably going to kill me this year.
That's it for the Grand Prix! It flew as usual, but December still brings us the Grand Prix Final, as well as the hugely packed fields at the Russian and Japanese National Championships. Happy Holidays!
Congrats to Anna Pogorilaya for continuing to pleasantly surprise this season, with another consistent set of skates in Japan. I am seriously amazed at the transformation she's made to her career in such a short time. The turnaround has been so quick that her skating feels entirely new and fresh to me, and I think her program choices have been a huge asset this year. If I'm being totally honest, I hope she challenges Medvedeva at the Final for the gold.
When I saw the short program results and found out Satoko Miyahara fell, I thought I was in the twilight zone. That's not really like her, but she rallied for the rest of the program. Her jumps looked weaker in the free than we've seen from her in quite sometime, which could present problems for her internationally as the season continues. I do love her skating and her long program this year, and typically her consistency incredible. Honestly, I hope she can spoil a potential Russian sweep in France.
Maria Sotskova must be channeling the first year Baby Russian good luck, as she picked up her second GP medal. I partially think she benefited from weaker fields in France, but either way she's headed to her first Grand Prix Final. Her ability to stand up jumps has kept her in the top of her fields, but I can't say I'm a fan of her skating at this point. The Final will be good experience for her as she preps for the tough field at Russian nationals to qualify for the World team.
Though she can be technically inconsistent, I am a huge fan of Wakaba Higuchi's overally skating. She has a chance to run at the third Japanese Worlds spot this season and I would love to see her make it. It was great to see Mirai Nagasu pick herself up after Skate Canada and get some more solid skates under her belt before Nationals. I think for Nagasu, the mission in Japan was to just gain confidence and I hope that mission was accomplished in her mind before Kansas City.
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.