Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cup of China pairs preview

The  pairs’ competition at Cup of China is going to be again a showdown between Russia and China, but this time former world champions Pang/Tong won’t face Volosozhar/Trankov as at Skate America.  Pang/Tong  are one of the most experienced couple in the bunch and had proved a magnificent artistry year after year.  Lately, they have been struggling with injuries and their debut at Skate America didn’t show them in a very good shape. Yet if they can overcome their frailties on the side by side jump, they can be real contenders (and for me even favourites) for the gold agaist the Russian pair Kavaguti/Smirnov. The Russians had to deal with several injuries as well (they did not compete at Europeans nor at Worlds last year) but, again, if their condition has improved, they surely will show some consistency and a great ability of reinventing themselves.

Another Russian pair can be competitive for a podium finish, the same couple that surprisingly landed on the third spot of the podium at European Championships last January. Stolbova/Klimov made their senior debut last year, after a successful junior career, didn’t shine in the grand prixs but certainly did at Europeans, agaist all expectations and maybe helped by some important withdrawals (Kavaguti/Smirnov and Savchenko/Szolkowy left the door wide open in that occasion).

Other contenders could be Canadian Moore-Towers/Moscovitch who were able to finish on the podium on a couple of grand prixs, but disappointingly didn’t qualify for Worlds last year.

 In this competition we will see another Chinese couple, made up from the split of Zhang/Zhang, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists.


Silver: Kavaguti/Smirnov

The battle of the bronze at Cup of China dance competition

Three of the couple attending cup of China will hope for a bronze medal in this season. As the French Pechalat/Bourzat claimed their bronze medal at home Worlds and will probably try to defend it, the Canadians Weaver/Poje are giving their best for being able to reach the same home glory at Worlds 2013 in London, Ontario.

Pechalat/Bourzat proved to be very solid last year, with a program (on an Egyptian theme) that wasn’t appealing to me, but they were able to transform it and take it to its best.

In my opinion, the best free dance of last year was Weaver/Poje’s: their “Je suis malade” was an absolute masterpiece, it was intense and suited them perfectly. They have already had a grand prix debut at Skate America where they earned the bronze medal giving up an expected silver to the Russian Bobrova/Soloviev. They lost a position during the free dance (that is beautifully choreographed but will hardly top “Je suis Malade”) where, as they said, they left something on the technical side.

Bobrova/Soloviev improved a lot from last year. As said before, they won silver at Skate America where they scored the free around 97 points, the best free dance score in this season so far (with the exception of Davis/White and Virtue/Moir who are on another planet) and will be competitive for a podium finish, if not for the gold.

Chock/Bates won’t be a bronze at Worlds, but for them a bronze at US Nationals will be a necessity for a World spot, as they didn’t earn it last year when they finished fourth at Nationals. Bronze last year was given to Hubbell/Donohue, who were fourth at Skate Canada last week.

Sinitsina/Zhiganshin of Russia, who won Junior Grand Prix final and Junior Worlds last year, will be also competing.

Gold: Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA)
Silver:Weaver/Poje (CAN)
Bronze:Bobrova/Soloviev (RUS)

Japan going gold for at Cup of China

There were rumors about Japan not sending its athletes to Cup of China for political issues, but, on the contrary, they are sending their best skaters: Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi.
Takahashi won’t have a very challenging competition from Cup of China’s competitors (as what we saw in the past years) and is the absolute favourite for the gold. He debuted his new free skate at Japan Open and won it over some of the best skaters in the world. The key point, again, will be the quad, that Daisuke has decided to attempt, like a lot of his colleagues, both in the short program and in the free (where maybe he will try for two of them). As for artistry and program components he has no rivals in this competition.
Two North Americans and a French skater will try to skate off Takahashi for a gold medal. Adam Rippon and Kevin Reynolds would probably win if they could skate as one, instead, one has the qualities the other doesn’t.  Kevin Reynolds is a superb jumper, a true quad-man but he is lacking of anything else. On the contrary, Adam Rippon is not very consistent on his jumping (except for his supreme triple lutz, so good that he could try a quad lutz) but has a special sensibility for music, lovely spinning  and a very classic and lyrical style.
The French man, Brian Joubert, seemed to be very solid at home Worlds last year, where he was lifted by the crowd. However, his skating is good as it is his jumping, considering that he is not so artistically gifted, and in the last years he used to be not solid in the first part of the season, so he could be second, as he could be last.
Going back to Japan’s expectations of a medal, take a look out for Tatsuki Machida, surely the weakest of the four men who will compete in the grand prixs, but still he is sixth on the grand prix standings so far, thanks to a bronze medal earned at Skate America.

Gold: Daisuke Takahashi (JPN)
Silver: Brian Joubert (FRA)
Bronze: Tatsuki Machida (JPN)
As for the ladies,  Mao Asada will be the top contender for sure. Mao Asada had two disappointing seasons in the last years for several personal troubles. She missed the grand prix final and the world podium twice and while she has immensely grown artistically in many’s  opinion, her trademark jumping has worsened (or at least her consistency) due to technical changes wanted by her coach Nobu Sato. She seemed to have found her skating back last year and she reached some good results (won National Championships and got the silver at Four Continents) but her showing at World championships was kind of disappointing.
As in the men’s competition the quad is a key point, for Mao Asada the triple axel is the key. And I am afraid to say that not attempting it will be a factor  for her. I was present at her practices at the last Worlds (video 1, video 2), where she tried that jump over and over and I admire her will strength because she didn’t give it up even if none was rightly executed, but doing that element, especially if she fails it, she spends so much energy, that the rest of the program probably is not going to be better. Since it is not a solid element for her at the moment, it would be less risky going for other jumps and trying to built up her reputation in front of the judges in terms of components score. However components should grow in any case this year, because she has a brilliant free skate to the Swan Lake music in which she highlights all of her strengths. (I am working on a step sequence analysis of that free skate, so if you are interested it will be up in the next days).
Her biggest rival is Julia Lipnitskaya from Russia who makes her senior debut at this event. Julia recently won Finlandia trophy against Kiira Korpi who will be competing in China too. She is a very talented skater, she has an astonishing jumping repertoire featuring triple lutz-triple toe and a trademark double axel-triple toe-double toe combo. She has good spins, in which she shows her immense extensions, but, of course, doesn’t have on her side the maturity of her rivals. Anyway, if she is consistent as she has always been, she will be surely land on the podium.
Mirai Nagasu could finish on the podium as well (she won the silver last year in the same competition) but I would suggest to take an eye out for Zijun Li, as Lipnitskaya coming from the junior circuit, who last year won the bronze medal at Youth Olimpics behind Tuktamisheva and Sotnikova. She is a delightful skater, very light and elegant, but I am not sure she is going to be competitive for a medal (I assure beautiful spins, anyway).

Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Julia Lipnitskaya
Bronze: Mirai Nagasu

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Skate Canada pairs free skate

Savchenko/Szolkowy performed to a particular version of Bolero with some mistakes here and there. They struggled slightly in their throw 3flip, that is a trademark for them, then had troubles with a side by side 2toe (meant to be triple) in sequence with a triple toe, a triple twist, a side by side 2salchow (meant to be triple as well) and a good throw 3salchow. The program was not very clean, but gained the gold medal with a score of 129.10.
Duhamel/Radford skated a very ambitious program with difficult elements. They started with a 3twist a good and difficult 3lutz side by side, then waited the second half of the program for completing a side by side 3salchow-2toe-2toe, a throw 3loop with a step out, a throw 3flip hand down. Gained 126.00 and a silver medal.
Berton/Hotarek conquered their second grand prix medal of their career after the bronze won at Cup of Russia last year. They performed a beautiful choreography highlighted by a difficult reverse lasso lift with a difficult variation. Stefania fell on the side by side 3salchow but apart from that the program was cleanly executed featuring a side by side 3toe-2toe-2toe, a 3twist, a throw 3loop and a throw 3salchow. 112.24

Skate Canada Ladies free skate

Kaetlyn Osmond has performed the first Carmen of three we see in this event. She was solid and clean except for a fall on triple lutz. Then she did 3 flip-2toe, 2axel-triple toe, 3salchow, 3flip, 3toe held very hard on the landing, 2axel-2toe-2toe. She had a very mature and passionate interpretation for being a sixteen years old. She took advantage from her short program and overskated Suzuki with 115.89. She gave Canada the first gold of Skate Canada 2012

Akiko Suzuki had a magnificent free skate after a disappointing 5th place finish after the short yesterday. Despite her age (27) she is still able to reinvent herself and maybe this is her best. She skated very clean and did 3lutz-2toe-2loop, 2axel-3toe, 3flip-half loop, a lovely step sequence, 3flip, 3loop, 3salchow, 2axel. Love the choreography and the performance scoring 120.04

Kanako Murakami skated on a tango program that for me was not really working interpretation-wise until she had finished jumping. Anyway her jumping was good: 3lutz with a very long preparation going into it, 3loop, 3flip, 3loop-2loop, 3lutz in sequence with a single axel, 3salchow-2toe-2loop, 3toe. 111.83

Skate Canada Ladies short, expect the unexpected

Elene Gedevanishvili stole the scene at Skate Canada. I think no one would expect her to win the short program considering that her best results were two bronze medals at European Championships (2012 and 2010). She looked absolutely beautiful on the ice and was extremely satisfied with her skating. She landed for the first time in competition a triple lutz-triple toe (under rotated) a triple salchow and double axel. She scored 60.80 and won the short.
One of the highlights of the night was Kaetlyn Osmond's short program that put her in second place. She was very solid technically with a triple toe-triple toe a triple flip and a double axel from a spread eagle, but apart from that she really enjoyed her skating and performed very well. 60.56
Ksenia Makarova is skating the same short she had last season and this choice paid her well. She was solid on triple toe-triple toe and triple loop but completly missed her double axel, she did a half rotation and got no points. However, considering how she has struggled in the past year, that was quite a success. 58.56
Kanako Murakami has a very sophisticated short. Its highlight is a beautiful step sequence unusually done at the beginning of the program, specifically studied for placing the combination and the solo jump in the second half of the program for getting the bonus. She under rotated the second jump of triple toe-triple toe and dowgraded her triple flip so that her technical score was pretty low and placed fourth with 56.21.
Akiko Suzuki was the absolute favourite going into the competition but missed some jumps. She skated to an interesting Kill Bill program that was very captivating. She got a downgrad on second jump of triple toe-triple toe and a wrong edge on triple lutz. Scored 55.12
Elizaveta Tuktamisheva is the defending Skate Canada champion. She is in sixth with 55.10. She lost some points on her opening combination, since she fell on the second jump of a triple toe-triple toe. She dumped down her technical content as last year she was doing a triple lutz-triple toe, but that is mainly caused by the fact that she is recovering from a recent knee injury.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skate Canada practice video collection

Javier Fernandez sp link
Patrick Chan sp link
Nobunari Oda fs link

Akiko Suzuki fs link  sp link
Gracie Gold sp link
Kanako Murakami fs link  sp link

Virtue/Moir fd link  sd link  complete runthrough link
Gilles/Poirier sd link
Cappellini/Lanotte sd link
Hubbell/Donohue sd link

Duhamel/Radford fs link

CTV video of Virtue/Moir practicing their new fd (not the whole runthrough)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yuna Kim setting her goals for the new season

Yuna Kim is one of the best thing happened in figure skating in the last decade. In her shining years (actually all of those in which she has competed) she has become not only a great champion with uncomparable qualities but also a role model even outside the rink.
She has reached the limelight in South Korea over the years and inspired so many young girls in the way of figure skating. From being actually unknown, the sport has immensly grown in popularity. That is quite evident considering the level of Korean junior ladies who got two medals in this season's junior grand prix circuit. Hae Jin Kim, who won the gold at Sencila Bled Cup, the junior grand prix competition held in Slovenia, pointed out that training alongside their idol is acting as a great motivation for the young skaters. "She isn't the type to offer lengthy advice but simply training with her at Taereung helps a lot", she said.

Yuna Kim, who is training hard in Taereung for the upcoming season, found herself a motivation by seeing the great performances of the Korean young athletes in the junior grand prix.

Because I took the season off, I need to go through some preparations in order to participate in the Sochi Olympic Games. I have about 3 competitions ahead of me. One in December, a senior B competition, one in January (South Korean Nationals), and one in March, the 2013 World Frigure Skating Championships.“ 

Yuna Kim has already announced her new programs' musics in late August and she is going to perform to "The Vampire Kiss" in the short program and to "Les Miserables" for the free.
"I've tried to take on different genres and depict different characters," Kim said in a statement. "I wanted to present something new, and David Wilson suggested I try 'The Kiss of the Vampire' for my short program."
For her free skate, Kim said she was seeking a program that would "make a long-lasting impression."
"I was looking for something from films or musicals, and chose 'Les Miserables,' " she said. "Personally, I am really satisfied with the program."
Wilson, the choreographer with whom she has worked for six years, said that "the sensuous and mysterious character of the vampire would suit Kim's on-ice personality for the short program, while the free skate will express a wide range of emotions."

Concerning her future goals, the Korean champion has stated that one of them for the season is getting tickets for the 2014 Olympics

“I’m a bit worried because I took a season off… no actually I’m worried a lot (laughs). I’m working hard. I want to do my best so I can go to the Olympics with my fellow Korean skaters. I want to earn at least 2 tickets to the Games.”

UPDATE: Yuna Kim announced that she reunite with former coaches Shin Hye-sook and Ryu Jong-hyun, who used to train her before she left for Toronto at the age of 15.

"They are the two coaches that helped me grow, technically and mentally, from the beginning," Kim said through the agency. "They've known me for a long time and we enjoyed great rapport before. I don't think I will have any problem getting on the same page with the coaches this time."

sources: Japan and Fever and Korean Times for the changing coach

Monday, October 22, 2012

Skate Canada 2012-Event schedule

Worlds 2011 SD


Friday, October 26
LADIES short program: 14.05-15.25
PAIRS short program: 15.45-16.55
MEN short program: 19.30-20.50
SHORT DANCE: 21.10-22.20

Saturday, October 27
LADIES free skate: 10.45-12.20
PAIRS free skate: 13.05-14.30
FREE DANCEMEN: 16.40-17.55
MEN free skate: 19.10-20.50

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Skate America ladies free, Wagner's triumph

Ashley Wagner was by far the best skater both artistically and technically. She won with 127.76 her first Skate America ever. Her six triples program was highlighted by a triple flip-double toe-double toe, a double axel-double toe, a triple salchow, a beautiful triple loop from a spread eagle, a triple lutz, a triple loop in sequence with a double axel, and a triple flip at the very end of the program. She got a terrific components score of 63.93

Christina Gao skated a very solid and artistically good and got silver here. She performed a splendid tango program with light and ease. She did not do any mistake in a six triples free. She did a  triple flip-double toe, double axel, triple lutz-double toe, triple flip, triple salchow, triple loop, triple toe-double toe-double loop. She scored 117.62

.Adelina Sotnikova did free skate with ups and downs. One big up goes to a beautiful opening triple lutz-triple toe but then hardly landed a double axel and fell on a triple flip plus a not so brilliant triple salchow-double toe-double loop that did not receive any points for being her fourth combination. She scored 110.03

Valentina Marchei improved in presentation and has added sophistication to her programs. She performed well with two beautiful triple lutzes and a good triple salchow-double toe but doubled a salchow. She scored 104.78 and ranked fourth.

Davis/White win the dance competition at Skate America

Meryl Davis and Charlie White won Skate America as expected with a very mature and sophisticated free dance to Notre Dame de Paris. They scored 104.89, not a big score for them mostly because of a level three twizzles in which Charlie lost the balance a little bit but that was high enough for winning the free.

Bobrova and Soloviev were third after the short dance and today skated at their best and came up with a silver medal. They were very solid technically and got level four for almost all of their elements (except the two step sequences that were judge a level three).Their program was very fast and dramatic and they received 97.04 points. 

Weaver Poje lost a position after the short dance and finished with a bonze medal. They were very disappointed when they received their score of 91.53. They got the second best components score, but lost points on the technical merit receiving a level two in the step sequence and level three on twizzles.

Davis/White win at Skate America short dance

The Polka has been performed for the first time in an ISU competition this season and skaters gave some interesting and original short dances.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White skated a stunning and beautifully choreographed short dance. They did some superb level four twizzles, as they always used to do, but received a point of deduction for a too long lift. Apart from the technical content, they delivered an astonishing balletic Giselle. They scored 71.39 and assured the first place.

The Canadian couple Weaver/Poje had already debuted this season at Nepela Memorial and won it. They are currently in second with a 65.69 short dance to Sound of Music. They have a great unison and they committed their short dance.

Bobrova/Soloviev of Russia, who won Finlandia Trophy recently in the season skated a very fresh short dance with ease and confidence. They scored 62.91 and ranked third after the short.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ashley Wagner leads Skate America short program

Ashley Wagner did not disappoint expectations and now leads the short program with 60.61. Her program is very interesting and she interprets that manignificently. She started with a beautiful triple flip-double toe with arms up, then a secure double axel and a slightly bobbling triple loop (double footed).

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia is in second place with 58.93 despite a not so brilliant skating. She opened with a good triple toe-triple toe, but popped her triple flip. The other elements were quite good, including a solid double axel and all evel four spins.
Video link

The surprise of the night, Christina Gao ranked third with a beautiful and elegant short program. Her skating was very polish and she landed a triple toe-triple toe a triple loop out of turns and a double axel. She scored 56.63.
Video link

Alena Leonova who was one of the favourites for a podium finish dropped in 9th after a struggled short program. She popped the second jump in a planned triple toe-triple toe and doubled her triple flip. She received her score of 46.72 in tears at the kiss and cry.
Video link

One interesting fact can be noticed element's level wise as anybody in the competition received a level two for step sequence except Viktoria Helgesson that got a level four.

Other competitor's Videos
Mae Berenice Meite 
Valentina Marchei

Meryl Davis/Charlie White fd practice at Skate America

Yuzuru Hanyu sets a new world record at Skate America short program

Yuzuru Hanyu is leading the short program with a world record score of 95.07 and ten points of lead on the second. He landed a quad toe, a triple axel with a superb transition going in and triple lutz-triple toe with no problems. Grades of execution were the main key for his wonderful score, as he got +2 for the quad and triple axel and all positive goes for every other element. His skating was effortless and he had perfect control and confidence from start to finish. This program was very near to perfection and that is going to add some pressure on the top contenders of the field.
Video link

Takahiko Kozuka had a very good short program scoring 85.32. He had a very elegant program with a slightly two footed quad toe, a triple axel and triple lutz-triple toe. He has very good chances of finishing in second at the end of the event as he has 8 points of gap between him and Jeremy Abbott, who is in third.
Video link

Jeremy Abbott is in third with 77.71. Again, he is a fantastic and sensitive skater, but not so consistent on jumps. He fell on quad toe (that was under rotated too), put hands down on triple axel, and did a good triple lutz-triple toe combo. He had the second best
Video link

Skate America 2012-Pairs short program

As anyone expected, Volosozhar/Trankov of Russia are leading the pairs short program with 65.78. They perforemed a brilliant yet not perfect short program featuring a stunning triple twist and throw triple loop while Maxim did a little turn after the landing of the triple salchow side by side but that did not affect the technical score too much.
Video link

Pang/Tong of China, who were the ones who could challenge Volosozhar/Trankov, are now in second with 61.96. The couple has still some problems in the side by side jumps that negativly marked out their last season. Tong fell on triple toe side by side, then they did a beautiful triple twist but again had a little struggle in landing throw triple loop, that used to be perfect for them. Anyway they showed a beautiful skating quality that is peculiar to them and performed effortlessly in the second half of the program.
Video link

Denney/Coughlin ranked third with 60.75. They skated their short to Concerto de Aranjuez which is a truly overused music, so the program does not sound as anything particularly new but it was well skated with a super high triple twist, triple toe side by side and throw triple flip.
Video link

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Skate America 2012- Event Schedule

Kent, Washington, GMT -8

Friday, October 19th
PAIRS short program: 19.00-20.15
MEN short program: 20.30-22.00

Saturday, October 20th
LADIES short program: 12.30-14.00
ICE DANCE short dance: 14.10-15.30
MEN free skate: 19.00-20.45
PAIRS free skate: 21.00-22.45

Sunday, October 21st
ICE DANCE free dance: 11.45-13.00
LADIES free skate: 13.15-15.00

Monday, October 15, 2012

Are you ready for Senior?

That's the year we were all waiting for.That's the year where we will finally see the widly popular Russian wonder-babies compete all season in the senior circuit. 
Adelina Sotnikova and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva  stole the show last year when they debuted in the grand prix events, but now they are elegible for European Championships and Worlds too.

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva had a massive senior debut last year, as she was the only one skater who won both of her grand prixs and qualified as first fot the final. Not that she was the most complete skater, but she had very solid triple lutz-triple toes and all the other triples on her hands along with lovely charisma and presence on the ice. After that, she won Youth Olympic Games that were set in Innsbruck last year. She had not done a season debut yet, but she showed her new programs choreographed by David Wilson few months ago where she showed to have improved her ice coverage and skating skills. There were rumours of a back and knee injury, but her coach Mishin have confirmed that she will attend Skate Canada.
Sp video

After becoming the biggest hope for the Russian federation and Junior World champion in 2011, Adelina Sotnikova slightly disappointed the expectations on herself and did not shine as everybody would have tought. Somebody supposed it to be caused by a growth spurt that created some technical diseases (Adelina had few problems on lutz and flip edges and on landing jumps and combos that used to be her trademark) and maybe she just needs to find her balance back.
She started her season at Nebelhorn Trophy where she ranked second behind Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond. Adelina has now programs that suit her much more than last year's ones, still, apart from the technical content which is not her best but not bad, she seems to be a little bit immature for the senior circuit that is actually filled by a lot of veteran skaters.
But Russia is not the only nation to send talented girls to the senior events this year.
Talking about Kaetlyn Osmond, it seems like Skate Canada have partly "worked out" the lack in the ladies' category that the retirement of Cynthia Phaneuf had caused. The state of Canadian ladies is not the best of all times, but this young and fresh girl has all what it takes to be a protagonist of her nation's skating. As said before, she won Nebelhorn Trophy over Sotnikova with two technically solid and artistically brilliant programs. She has a free skate on "Carmen" which is usually a unfortunate choice as this music has been overused since 1988 (and actually it has rarely topped Witt's interpretation), but considering Kaetlyn's young age and her approach to it, this is not bad at all.
Last but not least, Gracie Gold of US is going to be a top contender. She has already debuted in seniors at World Team Trophy 2012 and this year at US Classic, where Agnes Zawadzky won over her, and Skate Detroit. She has improved a lot both technically and artistically. She has now  a Rippon lutz and a triple flip-half loop-triple salchow in her repertory along with her trademark triple lutz-triple toe. She has a wonderfully choreographed short program in which every movements she does accentuates the music. As the short program is so impressive, the free skate is not tuned yet, but it can grow as its theme is very deep (the music is the soundtrack of "Life is Beautiful" that Jeremy Abbott used in 2011).
Sp video

So, a lot of promising young ladies are entering the senior events this season (you have to add Junior World champion Julia Lipnitskaya, who seems to be better than anyone else but is not age-elegible for worlds) but the field is going to be more challeging for comebacks and, above all, for the comeback of Yuna Kim.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The US mission at Skate America

The US figure skating federation is sending its best athletes to Skate America, the event that will open the senior ISU season.

In the dance event, Davis and White are the absolute favourites for the gold because their best rivals, Virtue and Moir, the only team who have beaten them since 2010, will not face them in the grand prix circuit. Meryl and Charlie had recently said in an iterview that they have found a new quality to their skating this season and they have grown in interpretation and in getting "on-ice chemistry".
Weaver and Poje, the Canadian silver medalists, will also attend the competition. They made their season debut at Nepela Memorial a week ago, where they won with two interesting programs. This year the Canadian couple is aiming to finish on the home world podium (worlds will be in London, Ontario) as last year they got the fourth place in Nice.

As for men, Jeremy Abbott will not have an easy job against Yuzuru Hanyu and Takahiko Kozuka of Japan. Both Japanese skaters debuted last week and had a brilliant result. Yuzuru Hanyu won Finlandia Trophy amazingly landing two quads (he used to do one) in his free skate and Takahiko Kozuka ranked second at Japan Open behind Daisuke Takahashi.
Jeremy has not the jumping consistency of the Japanese men, but he has on his side a beautiful sensibility and skates with much maturity and soul. If he lands what he is supposed to, he has very good possibilities of being on the first spot of the podium.

Ashley Wagner has improved in the last ten months more than any other female skater. After winning the US Championships, she collected success after success. For me, she is the absolute favourite at Skate America
even if against the world silver medalist Alena Leonova and the Russian promise Adelina Sotnikova.
Ashley won the ladies event at Japan Open against Leonova last week and Sotnikova has not been very solid on jumping in the past year. The ladies event is usually the most unpredictable, but Wagner has the entire package and will surely show some wonderful performances.

The pairs' competition is the weakest for US, as champions Denney/Coughlin will face twice world silver medalists Volosozhar/Trankov, who have a stunning free skate and won Nebelhorn Trophy two weeks ago, and Chinese couple Pang/Tong, who did not shine in the past year but won worlds in 2010 and skate with a magic connection. Having said that, Denney/Coughlin have all what it takes to finish on the podium at Skate America.


Gold: Davis/White
Silver: Weaver/Poje
Bronze: Bobrova/Soloviev

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Jeremy Abbott
Bronze: Takahiko Kozuka

Gold: Ashley Wagner
Silver: Alena Leonova
Bronze: Adelina Sotnikova

Gold: Volosozhar/Trankov
Silver: Pang/Tong
Bronze: Denney/Coughlin

Saturday, October 13, 2012

State of Junior ladies

The Junior Grand Prix is now over and we will wait until December (as the Senior Grand Prix goes on) to see the final. 
Six ladies qualified for the final event in Sochi and will test the 2014 Olympic ice for the first time on an ISU competition. 

Elena Radionova (13 years old) has been the absolute star of the Grand Prix series being the only one girl who won the two assigned competitions this year (Courchevel and Linz). Maybe she is not the more mature female skater in the field (she is actually the youngest) but she performes with great ease and total control of her skating. In this two competition she did not put a foot wrong, nailed all of her jumps, even the more difficult, received high levels on spins and steps and got the highest components score of the whole junior ladies fall season in both short program and free skate. She is surely going to be a top favourite for the gold medal in the final.

Satoko Miyahara (14 years old) is the only Japanese girl who qualified for the junior final. Her best result this year has been reached at USA Grand Prix where she won with eight points of lead on the second. She did not shine in Turkey, where she got a bronze medal, mostly because of a disastrous short program in which she completely missed the flying sit spin. She makes mistakes sometimes, but she is very elegant and her technical content is high enough for assuring her a good score even if not perfect.

Anna Pogorilaya (14 years old) won in Germany getting the third best free skate of the series (behind Radionova and Miyahara). She is an athletic skater with long lines. She does not have very strong triple-triples (compared to her rivals) and goes for a triple toe-triple toe in the short, though her free skate is very competitive with two double axel-triple toe combos and other five triples.

Then, three US ladies are going to compete at Grand Prix Final: Angela Wang, Hannah Miller and Leah Keiser.

Angela Wang (15 years old) is the most promising of the three girls. Training with Patrick Chan's former coach Christy Krall, she has an incredible technical content with a triple lutz-triple toe-double toe in the free skate. She has a very delicate quality of skating and could top her previous results.
Sp video
Fs video

Hannah Miller (16 years old) placed second at both Grand prix event in Austria and Croatia. She is the only one of the six who qualified for the final who does not have a triple-triple comination in her repertoir and that coul really hurt her especially in the short program. Having said that, she has two interesting programs and she uses her strenghts very well.
Sp video
Fs video

Leah Keiser (15 years old) is the more passionate and sensitive girl in the field. She feels the music and has a superior level of interpretation on her two beautifully choreographed programs. She won in Turkey, but she placed fourth in Germany after being first in the short program because of a very tough free skate where she fell twice.
Sp video
Fs video

3-3 in SP
n. of triples in FS

Elena Radionova (RUS)
7 (3lz-3t)
Angela Wang (USA)
6 (3lz-3t-2t)
Satoko Miyahara (JPN)
7 (3lz-3t, 2a-3t)
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
7 (2a-3t, 2a-3t-2t)
Hannah Miller (USA)
none (3lo-2t)
6 (3f-2lo-2lo)
Leah Keiser (USA)
7 (3lz-3t, 2a-3t)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Junior Grand Prix Germany-Men's short program

Maxim Kovtun of Russia leads after the short program just right after a gold medal at Junior Grand Prix Croatia last week. He performed clean landing a triple lutz-triple toe, a triple axel with a light hand down and a triple flip. He scored 68.13
Here is the video

The fourteen years old Shoma Uno (JPN) did not have the highest technical content of all, but skated clean and interpreted well his Roxanne Tango program. He landed a triple toe-triple toe, a triple flip and double axel. He scored 63.48
Here is the video

Jay Yostanto (USA) is currently in third with 61.04 (a new personal best). He did not make major mistakes but his jumps were quite tight. He landed a triple axel, triple lutz-double toe and triple flip. Anyway, he is still in the running for a more precious medal.
Here is the video

Monday, October 8, 2012

Meryl Davis and Charlie White hungry for gold, ready for drama

Meryl Davis and Charlie White have recently annouced their music selections for 2012-2013 season. For the pre-olympics year they have chosen Giselle for the short dance (the well known ballet contains a village part perfect for polka, as Zoueva says) and a free dance set to the musical Notre-Dame de Paris. 

According to White, this free dance might be the best we have seen from them.

"It's really a departure for us from all of our [past] programs, because we've really started to connect on the ice more than ever before," White said on a teleconference last Thursday. "The last few seasons we've really focused on getting that on-ice chemistry, and this season you're really going to see it pay off."

"[Notre Dame de Paris] is a piece of music Meryl found first and just fell in love with; I love it, too. It's really easy to get into and feel. We're excited to be able to show more growth. As well as we've been skating the last few years, we haven't peaked yet."

"Almost all of our elements are totally fresh for this program, and we've worked to make sure [those elements] are part of the story and evoke the feelings of the music." Davis said, also excited for the new program.

Marina Zoueva, their only coach now after the break with Igor Shpilban, points out the great departure from last year's Die Fledermaus.

"Last year was light and easy; this year, we will bring to the world audience drama," the coach and choreographer said at this summer's U.S. Figure Skating Champs Camp. "Not [depressing] drama but something uplifting, about how you can go through drama yet get stronger and make your life better."
Davis and White stated that they had seen Anissina and Peizerat's gala performance to "Danse mon Esmeralda" and tried to take inspiration from that, still creating a different mold to it.

"What's so great about Anissina and Peizerat's [version] is they were really able to let go, and I think that's something they did really well with all of their programs over the years," Davis said. "I think that is what we're enjoying most so far, the ability to let go emotionally and just kind of take on everything the music embodies." 

Davis and White almost dominated the dance scene last year, but missed the most important goal, getting the silver medal at worlds.

"We have to be on top of our game if we want to be world champions," White said at Champs Camp. "Last year, we skated great and we came away with the silver, which was disappointing -- we wanted the gold. It just makes us hungrier.

The US dance team is in the running for the gold medal at Sochi Olympics in 2014 together with team mates and defending olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

"This year is going to be another battle; Tessa and Scott aren't going anywhere, they're fantastic skaters. We have the luxury of seeing how hard they train, how good they are, and we're going to keep pushing ourselves. That's the only way we're going to get back on top."

Sources: icenetwork

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Finlandia Trophy 2012 video collection

Julia Lipnitskaya

Kiira Korpi

Mirai Nagasu

Yuzuru Hanyu

Richard Dornbush

Javier Fernandez

Jonnhy Weir
fs video

fd video

fd video

Finlandia Trophy 2012-Ladies free skate

Julia Lipnitskaya won Finlandia trophy with a free skate of 124.18. She skated effortlessy performing six triples. She did triple lutz-triple toe, double axel-triple toe-double toe, double axel, triple loop, triple lutz-double toe, double flip and triple salchow.

Kiira Korpi came in second after ranking first in the short program . She scored 111.89. She struggled in her opening combo, a triple toe-triple toe (landing just a bobbling triple toe), and on her salchow and flip which she singled out. She did a couple of good triple loops in combo with double toe, double toe-double loop. Overall she performed an elegant program gaining the best components score of the competition and receiving a level four for all spins and footwork.

Mirai Nagasu earned the bronze medal scoring 110.34 in the free. She performed a not so bad program, with ups and downs and with random mistakes. She landed a triple lutz with wrong edge, then did a good double axl-triple toe, under rotated a triple flip and fell on the other one (meant to be in combo), then did a couple of good triple loops and a double axel.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Finlandia Trophy 2012-Men's free skate

Yuzuru Hanyu won Finlandia Trophy with 172.56 in the free. He landed two quads (a toe and a salchow) and two triple axels. Then he did a triple lutz-double toe and a triple lutz-single toe and a triple flip (wrong edge) and triple salchow.
Here is the video

Richard Dornbush ranked second with 168.80 but had the best technical elements score of all. He did two quads (both toes) and two triple axels as well, but fell on a quad. After that he landed a triple lutz-triple toe, a triple flip, triple salchow and triple loop.

Javier Fernandez, after being first in the short program, got the bronze medal with 154.43. He attempted two quads and nailed the first toe followed by a triple toe, but doubled a supposed to be quad salchow. Maybe a triple toe in the second half of the program was meant to be a quad too, anyway he went on with triple lutz-double toe, triple flip-one loop-double salchow, triple loop and single flip.

ISU Junior Grand Prix Croatia-Ladies free

Angela Wang won the ladies event with 104.18. She did a magnificent triple lutz-triple toe-double loop that got her 12.10 points. Her only mistake was on the following flip that she singled out. Then did a triple loop-double toe, double axel-double toe, triple lutz, double axel and triple salchow. She got the highest components score of the bunch.
Here is the video

Hannah Miller (USA) had a very free skate. She did a beautiful opening triple loop-double loop, triple flip with a little turn on the landing and a double loop in combo, a good triple lutz, a two footed triple flip with a double axel in sequence, a triple loop, triple salchow and double toe at the end. She scored 101.88.
Here is the video

Anna Pogorilaya had a good opening with two double axel-triple toe combos (one with another double toe at the end), but then popped the lutz and fell on her last triple loop. She ranked fifth in the free and scored 93.87.
Here is the video

Japan Open video collection

Mao Asada video

Akiko Suzuki video

Daisuke Takahashi video

Takahiko Kozuka video

Jeffrey Buttle video

Michal Brezina video

Patrick Chan video

Evgeni Plushenko video

Ashley Wagner video

Elene Gedevanishvili video

Agnes Zawadzki video

Alena Leonova video

French Masters video collecion

fd video

Brian Joubert
sp video
fs video

Florent Amodio
sp video
fs video (there is also Joubert's fs)

Finlandia Trophy 2012-Ladies short program

Kiira Korpi is leading the short program at Finlandia Trophy with an astonishing score of 69.27. She skated an effortless short with great ease and elegance. She landed a triple toe-triple toe combo, a triple loop and double axel. She received level four for all other technical elements except for the layback spin (level three).
Here is the video

Julia Lipnistkaia, the 2012 junior world champion, debuting this year as a senior, is in second place with 64.05. She did a triple lutz-triple toe with a struggled landing, a triple flip and double axel. She has a beautiful quality in her skating with huge extensions that she uses at her fullest advantage and she is surely going to be a top contender in the few years. Yet, she is a little bit immature and her program is not very sophisticated.
Here is the video

Mirai Nagasu is in third with 52.75. Mirai is coming from a disappointing season where she didn't qualify for worlds. In this program she did a triple toe-triple toe falling very hard on the second toe and under rotated it, then did a triple loop and double axel.
Here is the video

Friday, October 5, 2012

Finlandia Trophy 2012-Men's short program

Javier Fernandez is leading the men's short program at Finlandia Trophy. He performed a beautiful short on "The Mask of Zorro" landing a quad toe, triple axel and triple tulz-double toe. He scored 80.77

Javier Fernandez

Yuzuru Hanyu, now coached by Brian Orser, is in second place with 75.57. He skated a very interesting short program, but struggled in landing his jumps. He fell on his opening quad toe, and fought for a triple lutz-double toe combo. However he did an incredibly gorgeous triple axel taken from a very difficult transition.

Yuzuru Hanyu

Richard Dornbush is in third place with 71.19. He attempted a quad toe at the beginning of his program, but failed and came out with a bobbling triple. Then he did a good triple axel and triple lutz-double toe.

Richard Dornbush

Jonnhy Weir made his season debut after two years of break from the competitive world. He performed an already popular short to Lady Gaga's Poker Face and got the whole crowd on his side during the exhibition. He was not perfect from a technical poin of view: he received a under rotation for his quad toe, but then he regrouped on a triple axel and on a triple lutz-double toe. He ranked fourth with 69.03


Nepela Memorial video collection

Here is a collection of videos from Nepela Memorial

sd video
fd video

Tomas Verner
sp video

Tatsuki Machida
sp video
fs video

Daisuke Murakami
sp video
fs video

Kevin Reynolds
sp video
fs video

Jenna McCorkell
sp video

Monika Simancikova
sp video

Yuki Nishino
sp video


fs video

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ISU Junior Grand Prix-Ladies short program

Angela Wang skated a beautiful short program and destroyed her ISU personal best in the short program with 58.47. She was extremely polish with a triple lutz-triple toe, a triple flip and a double axel taken from a ina bauer. She got the best components score of the competition (23.54)
Angela Wang's short program

Anna Pogorilaya is in second with 51.67. She did a good triple toe-triple toe combo, a triple flip and double axel. Here is the video

Hannah Miller ranked third in the short program with 51.33. She struggled with the landing of a triple loop that probably was meant to be in combo and almost fell, but then recovered on a triple flip and double axel. She skated with a great quality and skills performing a very intricate footwork (level four).
Here is the video

ISU Junior Grand Prix Croatia-Men's short program

Han Yan (CHN), after a disappointing fourth place finish at Slovenia's Junior Grand Prix, won the men's short program with 70.47 points. His tango program was effortless with a triple axel, triple lutz-triple toe and triple flip (wrong edge take off). He skated with natural flow and did a very good footwork that got a level four. His last spin, however, (a combo sit spin) did not receive any level and was counted as a zero.

Han Yan's short program

Maxim Kovtun (RUS) is just one point behind Han Yan (69.47). He performed exactly the same technical elements as the Chinese skater (including a wrong edge on triple flip) but lost a point on components score.

Harrison Choate (USA) is in third place after the short program with 64.05. His jumping content was not very high (triple lutz-triple toe with a step out, triple flip and double axel) but the other technical elements were extremely clean and well executed (he received level four for all spins and footwork).