Fumie, OTOH, got edge calls on both of her lutzes (Rachael got none), did an underrotated 2S, and didn't do her second 3F in combination. In all, she landed only two clean triples. Rachael also got higher levels than Fumie in spins and spiral. IMO (and the judges, who placed Fumie 9th to Rachael's 5th) Fumie did NOT skate better than Rachael in ANY way.
Lepisto also benefitted from being European, and from having skated in the final group.I think Lepisto benefitted from being European Champion! She did skate pretty well but she does tend to pop the 3/3. Glebova was undermarked I agree and i would have had both Lepitso and Flatt behind her.
As for Glebova being undermarked, what performance were you looking at? Glebova's FS was a trainwreck. She had two falls. She did not receive +GOE on any element except her spiral sequence, which was her only level4 element. She landed 3 clean triples: two 3S and a 3T. She never even attempted her 3T+3T combo. Considering that this was her 2nd year in a row with this FS program, she should have been a lot better than this. But she wasn't.
Lepisto landed only two clean triples, a 3L and a 3S, but she did receive +GOE for her two 2As and her clean triples; three of her non-jump elements were level4 and she received +GOE on those.
I can see zero justification for placing Glebova ahead of Lepisto or Flatt. The only skater she should have been placed ahead of was Carolina Kostner, but Kostner's huge PCS scores prevented that.
To me, the most important thing that a skater should show in front of the audience is confidence. Confidence is the the most basic ingredient to draw audience into her performance; it sets up the tone for the performance and helps deliver her emotions to the audience. Then, where does a skater's confidence come from? It comes from her belief that she will execute the major elements in the program well.
One possible way of defining figure skating might be that it is a sport with a goal of reducing uncertainty. Expecially to top contenders who have all the jumps and spins already in their arsenal, they go through repeated practice to achieve two things; to improve their average performance quality, and also to reduce the varying range of ups and downs of their performance, making its quality more consistant. Once her average perofrmance is heightened and consistency is achieved, the skater is able to get peace of mind because she is almost certain about what quality to expect from her next triple jumps or combination spins. This sense of certainty serves as a source of her confidence during her performance in the competitions.
During the ladies' SP, I found skater's confidence in a few performances: the SPs of Joannie Rochette, Rachael Flatt, Miki Ando, and Yu-Na Kim. They knew, because of their solid practice sessions over the week, that they will execute the major jumps, spins and footworks well,and that confidence was present from start to finish throughout their programs; whether or not they made mistakes, I thoroughly enjoyed their performance as I watched them live at the Staples' Center because I felt their emotions and energy through their confidence.
On the other hand, there were a few skaters from whose performance I got absolutely nothing. Alissa Czisny, a beautiful skater with wonderful ice presence, wasn't projecting her confidence, probably because of her jump inconsistency that had plagued her performance all season long. I am a big fan of hers, and I even waited in a line for 30 minutes to get her autograph. But she failed to sell her performance to the audience that day, not because of the two falls that she suffered during her jumps, but because she failed to project a confidence self to the audience. There is another skater I got absolutely nothing out of: Mao Asada. What a shame it was. Whenever she set herself up for a jump, I saw the intense, defeated look across her face. It completely turned me off COLD. In fact, she managed to keep that intense look on her face throughout her SP, driving the audience away from her skating. I have to say it was a very disappointing performance from her. Her program lit up just a little bit at the step sequence, but way sloppy and childish compared to that of Joannie or of Yu-Na Kim. Again, only if she showed more confidence during the program instead of mentally withdrawing, she would have been able to sell her performance and get a higher PCS along the process despite her terrible Lutz, if you can call it that.
I used to be a fan of hers; her 2007 LP at the Worlds was just phenomenal, full of care-free confidence that drove the audience wild. What happened to that Mao Asada? I think the thing that took the skater's confidence away from Asada is the fact that she is no longer a secure jumper. Her triple-triples have been downgraded constantly all season long, and her Lutz and Salchow simply do not exist. There are so many combinations a skater can pull out of so limited choices of jumps. Then, what does she have to do to get her points? Well, she has to rely on the risky triple Axel to make up the points, by doing it not once, but twice in a program! Doing it twice in a program is not an act of bravery or show-off, but of desperation. No wonder she has the defeated look every time she engages in her jumps.
How would Asada be able to lose that defeated look that is quickly becoming something that defines her and allow the audience to enjoy her performance again? I do not think a mere program change will cure her problems. Besides working on her jumps like there is no tomorrow, I think she really needs to go back to her basic training and try to improve her other elements as well. Even her spins, previously strong element of hers, mostly received level three after her SP and LP. Her footworks also received low points, lower than Rochette and Kim after her SP. Improving those poor spins and fixing up the deteriorating jumps would be a tough work, but that is something that needs to be done if she wants to be taken seriously as a competitor getting into the Olympic season. If she cannot improve on these basic elements, not only she will continue to be punished with embarassingly low scores for her standards, but also her passive performance will continue to fail to entertain the audience. Also, she simply needs to put more hours in training. As an official at Japan Skating Federation complained after her poor showings at the Worlds, she should stop slacking and increase her training load from 20 some hours a week to 40 or more, like other competitive skaters in her tier, Rochette, Ando and Kim, had done to prepare for the Worlds; she should remind herself of the fact that she has been dethroned twice this season and should work hard as an underdog, which is the case now. Otherwise, Miki Ando, who has been in the Asada's shadow for the last a few years but proved herself again worthy of a podium spot at the Worlds with the solid jumping techniques, will eat her alive in the next season!
Last edited by jaws12345; 04-11-2009 at 12:32 PM.
A female doing two Triple Axels, a jump that almost no female is capable of doing, is an "act of desperation"?
Welcome to the forum, Jaws, and thank you for an insightful post.
And I agree...you bring up a really good point about confidence being the "core piece" to presentation. If you're not confident, then it shows in your performance as tentativeness and thus it can appear as if you're going through the motions. Very good point, something I didn't really think about until now.
Still though, confidence is not enough. You still need that natural ability to pull an audience in, and if you don't have that, you'll still come across as plain (Rachel Flatt at Nats, for example).
Last edited by R.D.; 04-10-2009 at 04:46 PM.
But, of course, complete transformation is not gonna happen overnight. I think she should probably consider putting school on hold or taking a lighter load- it's amazing what she squeezes in a 24-hr. day. Especially this coming Olympic year- if she wants to have the best shot at an OLY medal, she needs to devote the majority of her time to skating IMO. And stay healthy, of course.