Hi y'all! It was such a busy weekend that I did not have time to watch all of the Japan Open videos, yet but I had to check out the ladies, because it was such a great lineup for this event. I will share my thoughts on their performances, but not too much on the scoring, as I think the scoring here will differ from what these skaters will see on the Grand Prix circuit.
If you would've asked me to predict a result here, I would've said- Asada, Tuktamysheva, Gold, Miyahara, Wagner, Sotnikova. Clearly, I was wrong on a few counts.
Gracie Gold- There's obviously still a mental issue here because she looked very strong at Glacier Falls and in TSL's training videos; she's in good shape and is well trained. If she wants to make it onto a GPF or World podium, she needs to get a handle on this issue. She truly could win a medal every time she competes- she has the talent and she is always scored well. I am interested to see how she responds at Skate America- will she be more confident against a field without Asada and Tuktamysheva? Or will she buckle again under the pressure of being the "headliner" and a medal favorite?
Ashley Wagner- All in all, this was not a bad debut for Ashley. She suffered from jump calls, as is always her nemesis, but I did notice the subtle additions to the choreography and footwork that they're working on to increase her element levels. I really like her new combination spin -it's a needed upgrade. I am concerned about the new jump layout, though?? I'm no mathematician, but I feel like she needs that 3lz-3t to be at her most competitive- as well as to have a chance to make the GPF. Because she's keeping this program, I think she needs to give it its own identity, with a new costume and harder choreo/transitions.
Adelina Sotnikova- Her performance here was a definite improvement from the videos we saw at the Russain test skates. She needs a lot of technical improvement before she could really be competitive, but she has a lot of time before Rostelecom Cup to work on that. The true test for her will come over Christmas when she competes at Russian nationals against the toughest ladies field. It will be be really interesting to see who comes out on top there. Even if this isn't Sotnikova's year to make it back onto the Russian World team, she's making the necessary steps to attempt get back there before Pyeongchang.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva- I like this long program for her and I think it will score well this season. The dress is a massive improvement from her mumus of last year and I think she can carry this music. She fell on her triple axel attempt, which makes for interesting competition now that Asada is back on the scene with a 3A of her own. Perhaps it was just early season lag, because last year Liza was ON when she needed to be. We shall see how she responds to the pressure of being the reigning World champ this season.
Satoko Miyahara- Satoko did what she does best here- she was consistent, subtle and beautiful. Her long program is incredibly well suited for her balletic, graceful style and her clean performance stood out amongst a tough field. Her consistency could truly pay off this season; she may not be an explosive jumper or performer, but she gets her job done and looks beautiful while doing it. Don't count her out! I still do wish the hot pink dress would be traded in for a more mature color, though.
Mao Asada- What a beautiful return to competition it was for the three time World-champ. She skated beautifully in front of an excited home crowd and really handled the pressure of a comeback here. Her performance was not perfect, but considering she's been off for a year, she looks good. I am glad to see her going for that triple axel and really look forward to seeing her compete with it on the Grand Prix. I like her long program- the music and her dress are gorgeous. I hope she connects to this music and can interpret it with joy this season. I have to say, it was good to have her back.
Also worth noting- it was cool to have a delayed broadcast available for this event! Though not live, it was the next best thing and I hope they keep it for next year!
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.