Thursday, February 28, 2013

Junior Worlds 2013: Pairs result

Denney/Frazier (USA), third after the short program, performed with great charactere holding some tough landings. They landed two triple throws and nice side by sides. They unexpectedly won the competition with 103.22.
Purdy/Marinaro (CAN) did a very nice free skate to The Artist soundtrack. They were almost perfect in the technical elements, even if Margaret did double foot on some landings, especially in the throw loop. They lost a position to the Americans and placed second with 101.61.
Fedorova/Miroshkin (RUS) where the favourites for a gold here, but a huge mistake in the short gave them the seventh place after the first segment of the competition. They performed very well in the free skate despite some tough landings on them throw jumps (a triple loop and a triple salchow). They opened their routine with a stunning triple twist taken from a cantilever. They earned 105.14, just a point less their season best. They won the free skate, but that wasn't enough for a more prestigious medal.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Junior World Champioships Preview

Triple lutz-triple toe will be the key word for the ladies junior event, as a lot of skaters are trying this combination both in the short program and free skate.
Defending champion Julia Lipnitskaia is the favourite for the gold medal. She debuted in the senior grand prix this season, qualifying for the final, but an ankle injury compromised her latest competitions so that she could be not in top form for assuring a second world title. She lost the Russian junior title to an arising Elena Radionova who vastly dominated the Junior Grand Prix this season.
Elena has been unbeated all season long (except at Russian senior Nationals) and she neven put a foot wrong in her competitions. Let's see if Julia's experience will win over her.
Anna Pogorilaya could finish on the podium too, giving Russia a sweep, but Satoko Miyahara showed amazing things in her last competitions. The Japanese skater surprised everyone placing third at Japanese nationals over world bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki.

my video preview

With Maxim Kovtun competing at Senior worlds in March, the gold medal will likely go to Joshua Farris of USA. He is the most complete skater of the circuit with nice jumps, lovely lines that remind me of Jeremy Abbott. He is one of the few trying for a quad toe in the free skate and, althought it is not very consistent, his technical package will place him above his competitors.
Jason Brown is probably the most mature and delicate skater o the bunch, but his poor technical content will let him down as he doesn't have a consistent triple axel. If other skaters don't skate at their best he will have a shot for a medal.
Ryuju Hino, ninth at Japanese Championships and third at the Grand Prix Final, is in top form. He is very solid on technical elements and does two triple axels in the free skate.
Take an eye out for Boyang Jin of China (Han Yan will go to senior worlds instead) who could land two quads in the free skate.

my video preview

In the pairs event, a Russian sweep is expected, as all the three Russian team attending the competition won a medal at the grand prix final in Sochi. Federova/Miroshkin are the frontrunners of their team.   A Canadian team could break the Russian dominance. Both Purdy/Marinaro and Jones/Beharry have a wonderful skating quality and especially Purdy/Marinaro have long beautiful lines, that are so unsual in pairs' figure skating. On the other hand, they are not consistent as the Russians, but they could actually finish on the podium if they commit.

In the ice dance competition Russia will have a lock for the gold as well. Stepanova/Bukin looked quite unbeatable this season and will fight for the title in Milan. 
Papadakis/Cizeron of France and Altridge/Eaton, USA National Junior champions, are medal contenders but another Russian team, Yanovskaya/Mogzov, who won last year's edition is in the mix too.

my preview video

Friday, February 22, 2013

Challenge cup 2013: Carolina Kostner wins

Carolina Kostner won Challenge cup 2013 with a 126.09 points free skate. That wasn't her best program of the year, yet she managed to land six triples. She started with a very solid triple lutz, then executed a triple flip-triple toe, an element she wasn't doing since 2010, but got an under rotation call. Her mistakes were a singled axel and loop and she didn't get some levels, but it was a good program overall. She got a very good components score of 70.81. 

Mae Berenice Meite skated very clean nailing six triples, including a double axel-triple toe combo in the second half of the program, a flip and a lutz. 109.43.
Kerstin Frank held her third place position despite a fall on a triple toe. She did four triples and scored 90.17.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Challenge Cup 2013: Carolina Kostner breaks the 70 points

Carolina Kostner broke the 70 points at Challenge Cup 2013 with a perfect short program. She did everything clean opening with a triple loop and then hitting a triple toe-triple toe combo. She received level four on any element except the layback (that was planned to be a level three) and assured the best components score of the competition (34.60). Total score 72.81

In second place Mae Berenice Meite did a triple toe-triple toe and a triple loop too, instead of the usual triple lutz as her solo jump. She was solid and earned 57.12.
Some points behind, Kerstin Frank is currently in third with 53.23. She executed a triple lutz-double toe and a triple salchow. Francesca Rio executed her same elements and received 2 points more than the Austrian skater in the components, but for a level 1 layback spin she is now in fourth with 52.89.

1. Carolina Kostner (audio fixed by pannap86!)
2. Mae Berenice Meite
3. Kerstin Frank
4. Francesca Rio
5. Juulia Turkilla

This videos are without audio for technical problems of the Challenge Cup youube channel, that is kindly uploading all senior ladies programs.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Challenge cup 2013

Challenge Cup 2013 is taking place this week at The Hague and it will host interesting athletes who are going to have a final feedback before World Championships next month. 

The ladies competition will probably be the highlight of the event as it will be attended by reigning world champion Carolina Kostner plus some remarkable others. Fresh of her fifth European title, winner of the 2012 Challenge cup edition, Carolina will likely win this year too and it will be interesting to see the jumping layout she will decide to attempt in order to defend her world title. The Hague's rink could be the place where to test a triple flip-triple toe combo. 
Joshi and Viktoria Helgesson are listed too and should finish on the podium here. (Joshi could withdraw as she has just competed in Wien this past week where she won). Mae Berenice Meite is not too far behind.

As for the men, Brian Joubert is going gold for. He attended this competition last year too and it worked well as a preparation for Worlds and will attend this year's event as the defending champion.

In the pairs event, the French couples will dominate. James/Cipres showed an amazing improvement this season so far, skating a superb free skate at European Championships where they finished fourth. Popova/Massot don't have the same quality as their compatriots, but usually manage some good performances.

All events will take place from Thursday to Sunday and videos will be recorded and available to the Challenge Cup official youtube channell.

Official page
Official Youtube channell

Sunday, February 10, 2013

4CCs Ladies free skate

Mao Asada (JPN) had almost ten points of lead after the short program and nothing to lose, but she tried anything she could an attempted an eight triples free skate. She tried both triple axel and triple flip-triple loop that were two footed and possibly under rotated. She then landed another triple flip, a triple lutz and a double axel-triple toe. 130.96

Akiko Suzuki (JPN), last to skate, realized the Japanese sweep that was expected in the men's event. She was almost perfect technically, landing six triples. She just popped the double axel, giving up the double axel-triple toe combo. She fought on some landings, but at the end she was able to present a nice skate. 124.43

Kanako Murakami (JPN) had a convincing free skate with seven triples including a lutz and a couple of flips. Her only mistake was singling her only axel in sequence with a triple flip. 116.99
Christina Gao (USA) was pretty solid in her free skate landing five triples. She just fell on the triple lutz, trying to take off from the outside edge. 113.94

Zijun Li (CHN), opening the second to last group, had an amazing free skate hitting seven clean triples including a triple flip-triple toe and a double axel-triple toe right after. She also did high quality spins and steps. She still receives very low components score (seven points less than her technical score) getting 54.22, but I am sure she will improve on that. 115.91
Gracie Gold (USA) had a disappointing free skate with few mistakes. She executed a good double axel-triple toe, but then had a fall on a triple loop, popped her second lutz and stepped out of her triple flip. 106.30

Saturday, February 9, 2013

4CCs: Men free skate

Kevin Reynolds (CAN) usually has problems with rotating his jumps and for that his several quad attempts are not rewarded as he would expect, but today his technical score makes you believe that they were very good. He landed three quads (one salchow and two toes), one in the second half of the program and a triple axel-triple toe. 172.21

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), leader after the short, didn't have the best skate of the season. He opened with a stunning quad toe, but then turned to double an attempted quad salchow that he rarely nailed this season. Even his triple axels weren't as easy as he usually does them but his major mistake was on his last jump, a supposed to be triple lutz, that became a single. 158.73

For this being his first important competition as a senior, Han Yan (CHN) performed very well. He has a very good technique, especially his toe-pick jumps are spectacular. He opened with a very good triple axel-triple toe that covered a high distance. He badly fell on the quad toe and it took time for him to get back to the choreography, but regrouped nailing some nice jumps. 150.14

Max Aaron (USA) had a stunning technical program. He landed two high and gorgeous quad salchows at the beginning of the program and then six more triples in the second half of the program including two triple axels. As he was perfect technically, he still lacks in the artistic part, especially in the second half of the program the choreography is very poor, even because six jumping passes are concentrated in the last minutes, giving small space to choreographic movements or transitions in general. However, that was a brilliant performance and he received almost 90 points for the technical elements. 162.19

Richard Dornbush (USA) had a up and down free skate, with some mistakes here and there. He nailed his first quad toe, almost fell on the second, did well the first triple axel and singled the second. A highlight of the program was a very difficult triple lutz-triple toe with both hands up on both jumps, but touched down at the end of the combo. 151.03

Nan Song (CHN) opened very well with a quad toe, a triple axel-triple toe and another triple axel. He skated clean with three more triples. 147.30

Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) had the door for gold wide open. He two footed both his quad toes, landed a good, but fell on a second one and did some randoms mistakes here and there and was unespectedly out of the podium. 140.15
Takahito Mura (JPN) started very well landing a quad toe, a triple lutz-triple toe and a triple axel. He has an amazing ability of landing every jump bending his knees but couldn't help from singling a lutz at the end of the program. 140.05

Ross Miner (USA) had a tough start to his program falling during the take off of his attempted quad salchow which he singled out, then he singled one of the triple axels planned in his program. He regrouped later in the program landing two gorgeous triple lutz-triple toe and triple lutz-single loop-triple salchow. 140.35

Andrei Rogozine (CAN) opened his program with two nice triple axels, one in combo with a triple toe. He had to fight on some landings but overall it was a good skate for him. 131.41

Misha Ge (UZB) had a nice and clean skate. He attempted just one triple axel, that was two footed and possibly under rotated but everything else was correctly executed. He landed a couple of triple flips and triple lutzes and a triple salchow-triple toe in the second half of the program. He received a -1 deduction for using a music with vocals but that didn't affect his score too much. 131.45

Nan Song (CHN) opened very well with a quad toe, a triple axel-triple toe and another triple axel. He skated clean with three more triples.

Friday, February 8, 2013

4CCs: Men short program

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) opened beautifully with a gorgoeus quad toe and triple axel, but then singled out a triple lutz with a triple toe that received a -3 GOE. However his performance was very good and if he completed the combo as planned, he would have scored another world record. He scored the best components score of the competition, about 2 points ahead of Takahashi. 87.65
Yan (CHN) is having one of his first important competitions as a senior. He opened with a huge triple axel, a good quad toe. He gave one of his best perfomances today, nailing all his jumping passes, including a triple lutz-triple toe in the second half, in which he is usually inconsistant, and interpreting majestically despite his young age. 85.08
Richard Dornbush (USA) entered as substitute of Adam Rippon who withdrew due to injury. He had a solid short program, hitting a gorgeous quad toe, preceeded by good steps, a nice and high triple lutz-triple toe. He just struggled on his triple axel's landing touching down. His program was very pleasant to watch, filled with interesting transitions and good spins. He scored 83.01.
Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) debuted his new short program choreographed by Morozov. He stepped out of the quad toe and fell on the triple axel but nailed a triple lutz-triple toe combo in the second half. He skated a superb step sequence but the mistakes at the beginning spoiled the performance. 82.62
After a disappoining and troubled fall season, Nan Song (CHN) was really on today and provided the Chinese record for this segment (just before Han Yan had skated). He was perfect on his jumps, nailing a quad toe-triple toe, a triple axel and a triple lutz later in the program. 81.16
Kevin Reynolds (CAN) tried two quads, a opening salchow in combo with a triple toe and one toe in the second half, bu they were both under rotated. He also succeded in the triple axel, that is usually a hard jump for him.  78.34
Denis Ten (KAZ) decided to not include a quad in his short program. He was almost clean, landing a triple axel, a triple flip-triple toe with a slight step out and a triple lutz in the second half. He did spins and steps of an exeptional quality, especially his camel spin where his flexibility shows off. 78.05
Takahito Mura (JPN), winner of the Trophee Eric Bompard, was the first of the three Japanese skating today. He landed a quad toe-triple toe with a hand down and step out (he was very close to the board), but went clean on his triple axel and triple lutz. 78.03
Ross Miner (USA) had an opening double salchow (planned to be a quad) as major mistake. Then he nailed his triple axel and triple lutz-triple toe. 74.01
Max Aaron (USA) opened with an amazing quad salchow in combo with a double toe not perfectly landed. His performance was partly ruined by a fall on the triple axel later in the program. 72.46

4CCs: Pairs short program

Duhamel/Radford (CAN) completed a stunning technical program as they often do, with a superb side by side triple lutz and a throw triple lutz. They skated with great speed and flow and assured the first place with 70.44 getting a monstrous 40 points on the technical elements.
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch (CAN) have a beautiful and detailed short program that they completely delivered today. Technically, they presented a less difficult program than their compatriots', but went basically clean on any element (a good opening triple twist, side by side triple toe and a high throw triple loop). 66.33
Castelli/Shnapir (USA) opened the last group of the pairs competition. They started well with a high triple twist and a side by side triple salchow. They lost their unison on the side by side spin and Marissa fell on the throw triple salchow over rotating it. 53.06

Monday, February 4, 2013

What to expect from 4CCs: singles

The Four Continents Championships will be an interesting competition as it will for a lot of skaters an early test before the World Championships. 


As the Japanese Federation had decided to send the same World team at 4CCs, the podium could be a Japanese sweep.
Hanyu, Takahashi and Mura will be the top contenders here. The gold will probably be a fight between the newly crowned national champion Yuzuru Hanyu and former world champion Daisuke Takahashi who as been beated twice out of three times by his younger compatriot. It is difficult to say wheather Yuzuru or Daisuke will take the lead in Osaka. If Yuzuru nails the short program, he will have an edge over Daisuke, but it is going to be an open challenge.
Takahiko Mura surprisingly won the bronze medal at Japanese Nationals over Kozuka and got his ticket for 4CCs and Worlds. He also won at Trophee Eric Bompard this season, and with a solid quad in his repertoire, he might give the home crowd one of the best results Japan has ever had.
North American skaters will try to do podiums as well and most of expectations will be on the new US champion Max Aaron who will show an amazing charactere and maybe some effortless quad salchows as he did at Nationals.  
Miner, Dornbush (who replaced Rippon) and Reynolds could be contenders too.

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Daisuke Takahashi
Bronze: Takahiko Mura


Here, again, team Japan is going gold for, but some young promises could fight for a podium position.
Mao Asada is the favourite for a first place finish. She has been pretty consistant in the fall season, despite some permanent issues on rotating her jumps, but her strategy to perform clean with light and delicate programs is working well for her. It will be interesting to see if she will attempt a triple axel, that could be a key factor for the upcoming World Championships.
Murakami is one of those skaters who improve as the season goes on and despite some rollercoaster grand prixs, she skated well at Nationals and I think she is going to do better and better.
Suzuki, on the other hand, seemed to lose confidence as the season went on and she is now collecting a series of struggled free skates. She didn't even medal at Japanese championships, where the bronze was taken by Satoko Miyahara, still in the Junior circuit. In my opinion, Akikohas one of the most interesting free program of the season and she showed amazing things in the grand prix series but since judges don't usually give her high components scores, a weak technical performance could bury her.
Gracie Gold's free skate at US Nationals proved that this girl has an amazing talent  and will surely give her country immense satisfactions. Althought, those championships also showed that she needs time to develope her potential and find consistancy. However, before getting the star everyone is expecting her to be, she has a shot for medaling at this competition.
Another national treasure, Kaetlyn Osmond won her first Canadian title this year with astonishing confidence.   Maybe she is not as polished and sophisticated as some others, but she sates with such a joy and freedom that it helps not just her presentation, but also her triples.

Take an eye out for Zijun Li from China, who has amazing triple flip-triple toe and mesmerizing spins.

Gold: Mao Asada
Silver: Kaetlyn Osmond
Bronze: Akiko Suzuki