Very happy to see Miki go clean, but I think her performance lacked the sparkle it had at Japan Open. Anyway, congratulations! To Akiko and Alena, too!
Miki has always got the crowd on her phenominal jumping prowess. Otherwise her performance has always been bland. She is a Tech skater.
Amanda is a beautiful skater who needs more Tech.
Other lady skaters I find to be imposters. I wont name them.
Miki's SP should have been first, but it's a moot point now. Congrats to Miki and Akiko. Akiko's PCS is slowly improving.
First group warmup only has four ladies--Qiuying Zhu withdraws “for medical reasons.” Hmm. History repeats itself. At last year’s CoC, the trailing Chinese lady after the short program (Binshu Xu) also withdrew “for medical reasons.” Yeah, uh-huh. Oh well, on to the skating, first group warmup. Min-Jung looks especially tiny out there with “Amazons” Dobbs, Musademba and Szmiett Amanda is doubling a lot of jumps—wait! She just landed an honest-to-goodness triple flip. I had to rub my eyes...there may be hope...
Szmiett starts off and is a total disaster. I was embarrassed for her. No triples landed, and I counted only one double (axel). Few transitions and just going through the motions. This wouldn’t even pass muster in a North American novice competition. What is wrong? This is not the same woman that came to CoC last year and did a great free program.
Kwak up next. Great music but maybe too over her head/ability to interpret at this stage in her development. I thought to myself, this is “Mao music!” Really ominously bad start with two falls, then she rallies. I admire her for not giving up and for fighting back and pushing through to the end. She is a good skater and very nice to watch. I think she has a decent competitive future ahead, if she can get into a happy coaching situation. Sad that this wasn’t a better GP debut.
Musademba’s music and program I did not like. I didn’t see much effort at interpreting it from her, either. She gives the impression of a deer caught in headlights. Lots of jump problems: step outs, pops, hand down, and a fall. Very pedestrian skating skills shown tonight, and not a lot of substance between jumps. Not sure if she’s undertrained, or having a really bad case of nerves. From this competition, I don’t see much and certainly don’t see the Second Coming of Debi Thomas (mentioned somewhere on the forum by another poster).
Ah, Dobbs. Very pretty blue dress and Aranjuez. Quick flashback to Michelle Kwan. Back to present. Dobbs has a few bobbles on her jumps, but very nice quality to her skating. She unfortunately left that 3F behind in the warmup. Oh boy, spiral in music at exact point where (flashback again) Michelle put her trademark spiral. Fortunately, Dobbs wisely doesn’t try to copy the Kween measure for measure. Dobbs slows down noticeably towards the end of the program—the footwork looked pretty labored, ends slightly behind music. Possible stamina issues? Rough skate, but with some more work on it, should be a winner for her.
Joshi Helgesson up first in second group. Like her music but not the choreography. She’s also got jump problems and I think some underrotations. But it’s not a bad outing for her. Should be close to Dobbs, though I thought Dobbs would have better PCS marks.
Leonova is using Witches of Eastwick, same as Mirai’s SP. Still don’t like this music for her either. Jumps are sloppy, spins are so-so, she’s trying to make a decent go of it. There is nothing “wow” about her anymore, though she still manages to cobble together enough technical content to do well. I wouldn’t give this stellar marks for performance/ interpretation, though. Judges ended up being more generous on PCS than I would have been.
Geng, big round of cheers from the partisan crowd. Also using Aranjuez, with heavy organ background—ugh. Wow, she is turning out a good program. Not clean, but she’s not holding back or being conservative. Noticed her spins are better than those of a typical Chinese elite singles skater. Crowd is not liking that she is placed behind Leonova, but I think it’s right (except the spread should be a lot closer). Bingwa is probably the best of the current Chinese senior ladies, but whether she can stay ahead of Zijun Li in the next couple of years, is unclear.
Miki Ando just gets straight down to business and starts cranking out jumps like she’s running a checklist. Most of them look good—if there were underrotations, my eyes couldn’t catch them in real time. My notes say there was no 3F in this program...hmm. Pretty much vintage Miki, not much in between the jumps. Didn’t like that the music built to a climax but her meh footwork didn’t go along with it. But it’s obvious this is going into first place for the moment. I’m hoping she wanted to use this first GP as a technical test to see how clean she could get it, then start focusing on the artistic side. I’m liking the music, I’m liking her dress (for a change), but I’m wanting to see better choreography. With the latter, this could be a signature piece for her. I like the potential of this package more than most of what I’ve seen from her in recent years.
Akiko has convinced me that show tunes are good for her. Last year West Side Story, this year Fiddler on the Roof. She really knows how to present. Starts out pretty well, then loses the plot in the middle of the program with 3 jump mistakes in a row. Now she has no prayer of catching Ando. Rallies with the nonjump elements. Not sure how things look to viewers watching screens, but Suzuki has actually been the fastest lady skater tonight. And this has been the most enjoyable program to watch. If she could skate this program cleanly, it would be an incredibly competitive vehicle—she is a superior skater. Not sure if the judges will diss her again with undermarked PCS—whoa! I am amazed that they marked her highest PCS of the night so far, above Ando. Finally, some justice.
Nagasu, final skater. She looks serious and starts out skating tight, as if Frank Carroll had pushed her out on the ice with a cattle prod. Starts out OK with a combo jump (UR?) then a popped axel then it goes fairly downhill at least on the jumps. Oh, no Mirai. These are mental mistakes, not physical ones. Her spins look good as always and her other non-jump elements are nice. Her PCS should be OK but not outstanding tonight. This could be a stunning program but needs a lot more work. BTW, I never noticed before, but is Mirai developing a mule-kick on some of her toe jumps? It’s pretty obvious that she threw away an opportunity to win gold or at least silver here—history repeats itself. Now I’m wondering if she can stay on the podium—IMO, she should still be placed over Leonova, but I’m sure she’s going to get some downgrades and/or ur’s from the tech panel. Score out and she is off the podium. Very hard night for her. Wonder if Frank will have a few choice words for her later.
All in all, not a great ladies competition but there were a few highlights.