The Russian babies continue to dominate the medals in the ladies circuit this season, as Evgenia Medvedeva pulled out a large victory in Barcelona. Satoko Miyahara’s silver was the surprise (in a good way) placement of the event, with Gracie Gold and Mao Asada surprisingly (in a bad way) ending up at the bottom of the pack.
For Evgenia, winning the GPF in her debut season is a big deal. In the end, she had the two most clean and consistent performances of the group and it was a deserved victory. Truly what she has going for her is that her programs maximize points fully, she gets positive GOEs on all her jumps (ahem, tano) and that she’s consistent technically, which boosts her PCS (though I’m not sure those are 100% accurate). I do think her scores are too high for the true quality of her overall skating. She’s a front runner for Worlds, but I wouldn’t say she’s entirely unbeatable.I think a perfect Mao (It could happen!) could overtake her less mature style.
Congrats to Satoko Miyahara on pulling out a huge silver medal finish here. This field was packed, and she very easily could’ve been buried, but she did was she always does best- she was consistent and it paid off in a big way. I am so in love with her short program and her long fits her style perfectly, and it’s nice to see her scores reflect the artistry she really does perform with. Though it may be more subtle than others, it’s there and she should be rewarded for it. Not sure about that edge call in the short, but this was a great step forward for Satoko. It will be very interesting to see if she can top Mao once again at Japanese Nationals.
Elena Radionova seems to have overcome the rough start to the season she had at Cup of China. Bronze here was good for her, but she didn’t skate her best. I can’t decide if her landings are scratchier than they were last season or if I just liked her so much last year that I didn’t notice. I think she’s just adjusting this season and has to get through it. Though she can consistently skate (and score) well, she’s shown she’s vulnerable to more mistakes than last season, and I think of number of skaters could be beat her if only they could be consistent. I see her easily making the Russian World team, though, even in that huge field.
After NHK and a poor short program, Ashley’s personal best free skate was exactly the performance she needed. She has truly improved her skating over the last two seasons, from jumps to transitions to spins, and the judges are rewarding her when she skates well. She’s clearly worked so hard that it’s tough to watch her not grabbing the opportunity the judges are giving her by struggling with nerves. She is 100% capable of doing the elements and her scores reflect that she’s better than ever. NOW is the time for her to put together TWO good skates at an event. She’s closer than ever before and I want her to get what she deserves!
To be honest, when I saw the skate order for the short program, I knew Gracie was going to have mental issues. She really struggles when she skates after big skaters/big scores and skating here after Evgenia and Ashley really rattled her. Unfortunately, she lost a lot of momentum before Nationals in that poor free skate. Afterter Bompard, it was looking like Gracie was putting her confidence issues behind her, but this event really showed she has more work to do in that area. She is MORE than capable of winning any event she enters, but, like Wagner, she’s not going to get winning scores until she can be more consistent.
It’s heartbreaking to see a skater who is as incredible as Mao Asada is getting beat by baby Russians with questionable skating skills. She’s truly in a class of her own, and I am begging the skating gods to give Mao a break already. As many have said, it may be time to re-evaluate her jump content so that she can be more consistent. It’s not even her axel that’s causing issues! I still have faith that she’s going to be the one on top in Boston- a clean Mao is certainly head and shoulders above baby Russia and many others, based on quality alone. Here’s hoping we see a new jump layout and a confident Mao at Nats or Four Continents!
The respective National Championships for the US, Japan and Russia are going to be VERY exciting battles to watch. I will be attending the free skates at US Nationals, so make sure you stay tuned for lots of previews, event photos and recaps!
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