Well, we got such a lovely men's event, we had to pay for it somewhere, right? The ladies free skate was a bit rough overall.
If anything convinces you how bad the ladies free skate was, all I have to tell you is that Evgenia Medvedeva fell on a triple lutz, which is such a rarity for her. Other than that, she cruised to another easy victory in Paris. She's on her way to the Final as the favorite to win for a second year in a row, showing little competitive weakness thus far. I did actually get into her short for the first time this season at this event- it literally seemed very short (in a good way). I still wish she'd take the voiceovers of her free skate.
In her Grand prix debut, Maria Sotskova won the silver medal with technical consistency. Those Russian girls and their debuts, people. They always go so well. I liked her short better than her free, but in general she has some work to do (understandably) in performance quality. She skates again at NHK against Pogorilaya, Miyahara and Higuchi. I would think she'd be third there at best, considering the maturity of the skaters in the field and not make it to the Final, but you never know. It will be interesting to see if she can play a factor in the Russian women's World team, but there's three solid skaters ahead of her.
I have to say, I was incredibly impressed with Wakaba Higuchi's overall skating this weekend. Her maturity and presentation far exceeds Sotskova's (the judges agreed) and had it not been for two costly jump mistakes, she would've finished second. I know she's not the most technically consistent, but I love her programs and was genuinely impressed with her as a performer. At home at NHK, she could also medal, but it will take a better technical performance. Japanese nationals is also going to be quite the competition to watch, with another crazy packed field and several skaters who could get a Worlds spot.
As I alluded to, there was some significant disappointing finishes for the ladies here. It was tough to see Gabby Daleman in tears in the Kiss and Cry after the free skate that dropped her off the podium. She definitely missed an opportunity here, but her skating has made strides this season and I hope she bounces back well at Canadian nationals. Mao Asada's skating was beautiful as always, but she's still struggling technically while dealing with an injury. Best wishes to Mao for a complete recovery for later in the year.
Gracie Gold finished in eighth after two rough performances. Without the GPF, there is plenty of time to turn things around before Nationals, but WHAT they do with that time is the key. She's had mental/confidence issues her entire senior career. I hope they address her mental wellbeing, not just physical, as she preps for January. All I know is this- if you're a fan of U.S. women's skating, you WANT a healthy, happy Gracie Gold on your 2017 World team or we'll be white knuckling three Olympic spots. Hopefully, Gold returns with some regained confidence.
Thanks for reading : ) Back with pairs and dance tomorrow.
About the Blog:
Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.