Part Four: Ladies
Kudos to all who picked Evgenia Medvedeva to win this event- I honestly did not see her preseason scores making her much of a threat. I hate that she backloads her programs and she goes a bit overboard with her hand over the head jumping, but I can’t hate on her too much for working a flawed system to her advantage. I do appreciate that she can interpret music and shows facial expressions when she performs. Minus the short program choker, her costumes and music are fine. Her jump technique bugs me, but she jumps so consistently that she’s hard to beat. Rostelecom Cup will be quite interesting, with Evgenia skating against Sotnikova and Radionova.
Like Evgenia, I think Gracie Gold was overscored here, but she solidly deserved second place. Overall, she held it together much better mentally than she has in the past, which has to be a moral victory for her. Dare I say I like this short program for her? I legitimately saw facial expressions and that is a much needed improvement. This is a much better start to her season than she got last year, and the most important thing she could take away from this event is confidence. She skates again at Trophee Bompbard, where she faces Tuktamysheva and Lipnitskya.
Always underscored in my opinion, Satoko placed third. I acknowledge her jump issues have some merit but her PCS are far too low for the elegant lines and graceful interpretation she has. Both of her programs are some of my favorites so far and I think the short in particular pushes her towards growth in her performance and interpretation. I think to get the respect of the judging panel, she has to keep working to clean up those jumps. I thought her World silver medal would help, but the judges apparently need more time. Her path to the Final is going to tougher now that she’s got a bronze, which is too bad. She faces a stacked field at NHK.
Elizabet Tursynbaeva came back from a rough short that left her in seventh to get fourth place. Seeing her small stature in person, it is amazing to see her rotate jumps so quickly. Overall, she has a lot of promise and I see what they are trying to do with her music selections, but she just needs more work before she can be a wow performer. She’s fairly consistent, though, which is what we have been seeing pay off for all the baby Russians. She has a short turnaround, as she skates again this week at Skate Canada.
I had a moment with Karen Chen during her short program spiral and she got a well deserved standing ovation at the end of that program. I love that she performs with facial expressions and interprets her music. Her double axel and layback spin are truly world-class elements. There is SO much potential here. She let nerves drop her to fifth after mistakes in the long program, which I am sure she’s kicking herself for. I love both of her programs and costumes. I cannot wait to see her at Nationals- I’d love to see her back on that podium. She skates next at Cup of China.
Compared to last season’s meltdown, Julia did okay here. She looked better than the preseason videos we saw and I am glad she is still out there competing because she is so talented. Obviously, compared to 2014, this skater is a shell of that person. Seeing her in person, though, really made me realize how different her body is- she’s had a lot of changes to adjust to. She’s not going to make it back to the top this season, perhaps, but I for one hope she can slowly build back up some confidence and some strong jumps. But that short program dress HAS to go. She seems to like the music, so I can live with it, but the rainbow outfit is a bad choice.
A huge shoutout to Nicole Rajicova for a fantastic free skate, where she scored her personal best score and vaulted from last place to seventh. She was a joy to watch in that program!
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