I have to say that I *really* enjoyed watching this ladies event, mostly (well, entirely…) because of the the three Russians that were battling it out on home ice. It’s so interesting that the Russian federation chose (you KNOW they have some pull) to have these three all at the same event; it just goes to show you how intensely competitive their system is.
I am so incredibly happy for Elena Radionova and her win here. You could tell by her reaction that she’s been under tons of pressure. I’ve heard she’s been through some sort of hip issue (perhaps related to her growth spurt?) and I’m sure it was hard for her after a rougher-than-usual skate and placement at Cup of China. You could tell she came to this event ready to play and show that she wasn’t going to be a victim of puberty and fall to the wayside. I like her packaging much better this season, and technically she had a much stronger showing in than Cup of China. With this win, she should get into the Final.
If Elena was #BabyRussian2014, Evgenia Medvedeva is certainly #BabyRussian2015. After winning at Skate America, she was my favorite to win here, but a fall in the short put her far enough behind Elena that she couldn’t catch her even after winning the free skate. I have really grown to appreciate Evgenia’s music and the way she performs to it on the ice. On a Russian scale, her costumes are good and I like the sophisticated colors. Her and Elena jump very much the same- they set up slow and really muscle the jumps out- and apparently, it works because they both can throw down in competition. Overall, what helps Evegnia is that she’s not a skater that falls apart after a mistake; she digs in a grits out the rest of the performance- and that pays off in the numbers. We’ll see a rematch between her and Elena- and Gracie- at the Grand Prix Final.
Well, the much anticipated return on 2014 Olympic champ Adelina Sotnikova finally happened. Overall, her performance was much improved from the few preseason events she competed in. And truly- finally coming back after her controversial Sochi gold, taking a season off, and having her first competition back be in her home country, against two of her national rivals- it was not an easy situation. In the short program, I could tell that she was really nervous, but she looked more relaxed in the free. The mistakes she made in the free were more a result of completely running out of gas at the end, than of bad technique. In fact, her jumps still look really big and high and I think her non-jumping elements are better now than they were in Sochi. Her PCS were undoubtedly too high, though, but I expected them. It will be VERY interesting to see if she can land on the podium at Russian nationals, and if so, if we will see her at Europeans or Worlds.
Polina Edmunds had a good fourth place finish and her scores improved big time from Skate Canada, which is a positive for her. Some think she should’ve gotten bronze here, and perhaps in another country she may have, but in my opinion, Adelina is more exciting to watch overall. Adelina *gives* it in her performances, and Polina seems to just put on a facial expression and go through the motions. Technically, she stayed on her feet better, but she still got several underrotation calls and those cost her a lot of points. There’s still time for Polina to develop that “it” quality, but right now she just doesn’t have it. If anything, consistency may keep her on the Nationals podium this year, but getting a reputation of underrotations is not going to help her move up the World rankings.
I’m sure Rika Hongo is disappointed with a fifth place finish here. it will most likely cost her a return trip to the Final, and part of me wanted to see her get back there just because she’s been so consistent and because you can tell she’s worked so hard to make improvements in her skating. She got an underrotation call in the short program and she seemed out of it in the long. Overall, I hope Rika’s happy with getting another medal on the series and it will be very interesting to see her stacked against Mao and Satoko at Japanese Nationals later this winter.
It was an up and down competition for Alaine Chartrand. She stunned in the short program, but then another nasty fall on her 3A attempt ruined the rest of her free skate. If that had been the first time trying the triple axel, I would understand keeping it, but she had this exact same problem at Skate America. Personally, I do not think it’s worth it for her to attempt the 3A if it means she will not land the next 3-4 jumps. She did recover better here than at Skate America, though. If she plans to keep going for the 3A, then her team needs to come up with a better mental strategy for her to deal with the fall and carry on with the program. She’ll be in a tight battle at Canadian Nationals, against Katelyn Osmund and Gabrielle Daleman for only 2 Worlds spots.
I can't believe we are already at the end of the GP series... next week, we have NHK Trophy, headlined by home country favorites Mao Asada and Satokot Miyahara, and my girl Ashley Wagner.
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.