The top prize went to the comeback kid- Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. She had her second strong short program of the Grand Prix circuit and much improved her long program, with six clean triples and the highest total score of the season. I have to admire her tenacity and the spirit she brings to her music this year. Winning this event must mean so much to her and should definitely solidify her spot in the Grand Prix final. I'm very interested to see her in the Final against the other Russian ladies.
Julia Lipnitskya was my pick for the Cup of China gold medallist. She looked like she would easily win after a clean short program that left her on top of the field. However, she shocked us all with a disastrous long program, with a fall and many singled jumps. She reportedly called it the "worst skate of her life" and didn't show up to the award ceremony. She claimed she didn't know when it was, but I suspect otherwise. I genuinely enjoy Julia's skating and I think her programs could serve her well this season. She's a fighter, so I can't see her making mistakes like this again. I expect her to come back strong in her next event and her silver medal here definitely keeps her in the game for the Final.
Skating to two Phantom of the Opera selections (ugh), Kanako Murakami won the bronze medal. I actually enjoyed her short program performance to Think of Me but was less enthused about her long program, where she plays the Phantom. She has some nice moments, but lacks the fluidity and consistency to really keep her on top in a more competitive field. Her battle with Satoko Miyahara for the Japan National title will be interesting to watch, and we get a sneak peek of that at the NHK Trophy in three weeks. She'd be an outside shot for a spot at the Final, but I don't think that's all too probable.
Other news off the podium- American Polina Edmunds rebounded to win fourth place after a costly mistake on her combination in the short program. She said in her blog that she was happy with her performance, but not her "marks or placement" because "she was the only one to skate a clean performance with the highest difficulty of elements". WOAH, there Polina, those are big words for your little britches. I liked the fire in her short program, but frankly- her long program was downright boring aside from the jumps. I think the placement was fair for her performance. I'm interested to see how she stacks up against Gracie Gold at the NHK Trophy.
I'm really liking the athletic style of fifth place finisher Gabrielle Daleman from Canada. She needs polish but I love the attack of her skating and truly enjoyed her two programs.
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.