While all U.S. skating fans’ attention was focused on the U.S. Championships in St. Paul, Canada was also hosting their nationals. I finally had time to catch up on the highlights and check in on some of the Canadian skaters before they take part in Four Continents this week.
MEN: Truly, the only man I checked in on was Patrick Chan. It was nice to see him pull out a clean short program for the first time this season; when his jumps are on, you can really relax and take in the great quality of his skating. I also appreciate the change to the sweater vest : ) He’s added a second axel to his free skate, which is definitely taking him in the direction he needs to go technically. Though that second attempt wasn’t successful here, his jumps are steadily improving and I can see him landing both at Worlds. But will it be enough? Though he’s added technical content, he is still not as technically competitive as Javier Fernandez or Yuzuru Hanyu. Yes, Patrick’s skating quality will get him extra points, but enough extra points to make up that gap?
LADIES: Congratulations to Alaine Chartrand for her deserved first national title. She skated the best over both segments of the competition and it was SO nice to finally see a clean free skate out of her! Taking the 3A out of the long was the best decision, and I hope they stick with that choice for Four Continents and Worlds. Her programs work really well for her this year and it would be great for her career to continue the momentum with two more strong events in Taipei and Boston.
You could see how upset Gabby Daleman was with her mistake in the short program; it was nice to see her fight through the long program. Though she did not retain her title, she was able to get a spot on the Worlds team, which is a victory considering how badly Skate Canada really wanted Osmund to get that spot. She had to fight for it, and she did. She is also out of Four Continents with a minor injury, but is expected to compete at Worlds. Best to her!
Though the judges gave Kaetlyn Osmund quite the gift in the short program, she couldn’t hang in through the free skate to get a spot on the Worlds team. Coming back from a big injury is hard, and I think she’s on the right track. Outside of the jumping issues, she’s a really nice skater to watch. The jumps that are clean are good, and I like her lines. She just needs a little more time to get back into fighting condition. She laid the groundwork this season, and she can come back stronger next year. She will get to skate at Four Continents, and I hope to see her skating consistently there.
I'm going to share a few comments on dance and pairs in another post since this one was getting so long!
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.