Surprises, surprises! Some skating fans and experts may have called the 2014 Grand Prix Final ladies result, but I was not among them.
Elizaveta Tutkamysheva stole the show and the gold medal from all her fellow Russian countrywomen. Throwing out two clean, high scoring programs with intensity was what won the title for her. The consistency and presentation of her programs this season have really vaulted her to the top and it was great to see her pull off such a big win. I'm looking forward to seeing her compete at the Russian Nationals over Christmas; that competition is arguably the most hotly contested event of the season!
Russia's Elena Radionova won the silver medal after a surprising fall in the short program that left her several points out of first heading into the free skate. She rebounded quite well in the free, completing all her jumps cleanly with great expression as well. Bonus: She's got a new costume that's about ten pounds lighter and not wearing HER! She's still skating incredibly well and I see such a competitive fire in her. I think she'll bring the best of her best to the Russian Nationals, where she definitely has a shot at the gold medal.
In perhaps the most surprising finish, Ashley Wagner rebounded from a disappointing last place finish in the short program to a bronze medal position after her best long program of the season. She scored less than a full point off her personal best free skate after adding in new jumping passes and completing six clean triples. I hope this finish is a huge confidence booster for her as she prepares for the US Nationals, where she really needs a podium finish and a trip to Worlds to keep moving her career forward.
Other News Off the Podium: Anna Pogorilaya of Russia finished fourth after struggling with her jumps in both programs. She can be technically powerful, but her lack of consistency will need to be improved if she intends to earn a spot on the Russian National Team. The fourth Russian, Julia Lipnitsjya, unfortunately continued to struggle this season with a disastrous free skate. Another new costume couldn't even save her from herself, as it appears she's not handling pressure well. Her short was wonderful, however, and she HAS the potential to win big- she just has to own it. Japan's Rika Hongo finished sixth with two decent performances. She was simply out of here league in this field, but it was a great stepping stone for her senior career.
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.