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Thread: Overall Thoughts on Skate America

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    Overall Thoughts on Skate America

    Oh, where to begin!

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    All right, me first.

    General
    Disappointing. It seems that the hometown bonus is tempered in Skate America (will be interesting to see attendance records and compare across nations). But even then, the skating didn't seem all that inspired. So many skaters have either left behind or have yet to get their competitive legs, it seems. Also, doesn't it seem that the runaway scoring we saw on the GP circuit last season is pretty much gone? No Olympics to inflate things for any more, I guess.

    Mens
    Dai vs Nobu? Dai wins on a technicality. Mostly disappointing as yes, Nobunari did skate better but he spots too many points to Takahashi artistically for such flagrant disregard of the rules. Adam... whoa, that was disappointing. I'm always concerned when the skater's reaction is "I don't know what happened," but the moment he stepped out on the ice, you could tell this skate was heading south. He couldn't really maintain his program at all.

    But Murakami? Whoa. You've gotta wonder if you're Japanese or American how much easier your chances would be at international success if you were skating for say, Hungary. The fact that he's not even real contender for the Worlds team with Hanyu/Kozuka/Machida/Oda/Takahashi standing in his way is just another reminder of that. And Armin? Well, if he skates like this at Nationals, it won't be a question that he'll be on the world team. Lovely performer (reminds me of a softer Florent Amodio)

    Ladies
    [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XX1kxQLMsw]Here's Kostner's 2007 SP[/url]. We're a long way from Tokyo. Yes, Kostner's sense of artistry is gratifying in a field dominated by the prepubescent. But given that it's coming at the expense of an engaging technical side renders the achievement specious at best. Murkami's delightful and spunky, but I don't care for spunky. Flatt... you know, I like Flatt. I know she's had a lot of detractors, but I admire her skating. I found her SP last season a complete delight and thought that her SP this season was well on the way to becoming something brilliant as well. Then there's that tonal shift and it's no longer "Summertime" ([URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIDOEsQL7lA"]guys, "Summertime" doesn't need anything else.[/URL]). Good for Viktoria for coming back like she did, and Joshi for having the skate she did. I cheekily predicted they'd tie for fifth. Well, one was fourth, the other sixth, so lets average it, shall we?

    Pairs
    A tale of two cities.

    Let's start with the depressing one, shall we? It tells the tale of half the top ten at worlds missing part of this GP season. It speaks of potentially career ending injuries (Bryce Davison), splits - both tabloid (Murhkotva/Trankov) and calm (Langois/Hays; Volosozhar/Morozov). It speaks of a depressing Canadian field, a worse American one, a confusing Russian one, and an increasingly stagnant Chinese one. So, in those circumstances, the performance here was nothing unexpected. The top team remained the top team (even if they were a little overscored, it was gratifying to see a fully thought out, entertaining pairs LP after the fiasco that was the Olympics). The rest was underwhelming, uninspired or both. It speaks to a barren four years.

    BUT..... we have the junior teams really making a mark this season. Sui/Han's high risk elements are really getting the benefit of the doubt. Klimov/Stoblov suggesting that they could join the rich tradition of Russian pairs with an intriguing SP (don't much care for the LP). Takahashi/Tran medalling earlier this season suggests that the future could be bright.

    And then we have Moore-Towers and Moscovitch. Again, two stories. One tells of an unrefined team with very little musical ability scoring high thanks to their elements and the fact that they remain standing. The other story tells of a team that in the space of a year has improved a great deal, shows competitive vigour and strength. A team that clearly loves to compete and is completely relaxed doing so (watch them in the SP warm-up.). They're not a top five team, but the way this season is heading, I don't think it's unreasonable to predict them in the top ten.

    Dance
    ....sigh. So many narratives came to a screeching halt this season. I'm not gonna write D/W off like some have. They have two ambitious programs that represent a big step out of their comfort zone. I don't know about you, but I thought this was necessary for my continued interest in their career (As great as "Samson and Delilah" was and as thrilling as POTO could be, epic romance can get tiresome). They're clearly hard workers (remember, they followed up the narrowest medal loss in COP history with a free skate that told the world they were aiming for the top). But they won't be cruising to the title like I thought they would.

    The head-to-head between C/P and W/P went decisively to C/P. And this Shibs responded to C/Z's "right back at ya!" SC bronze with a second medal of their own. And the depth in American ice dance is just sickening with Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt proving that they belong on the senior circuit. I think a top five finish at US Nationals is plausible, and that would be terrific.

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    I think the word I’d use is underwhelming. But that was expected, given the field. The year after the Olympics never has the same depth and aside from retirees, there were a lot of injuries/splits/time off. Each event did have some good skates and highlights for me.

    Dance

    Top 4 teams delivered. Sure, there were some hiccups, but I enjoyed all 4 performances none the less. And Maia and Alex show such promise. Love them. Has any head-to-head between C/P and W/P ever gone to W/P? I'm sure C/P will come out on top at Canadians as well. They're higher in the dance hierarchy.
    And I think that W/P should be watching over their shoulder for Paul/Islam.

    D/W may have only won by about 7.5 points, instead of a 20+ margin, but they don’t have the Olympic year inflation and made several mistakes. The twizzles, falls, and lift deductions did them in about 5 points in TES, plus any GOE, plus whatever they may have lost in PCS. And only 4/8 elements got level 4s in the FD. They’ll score higher as the season progresses.

    Pairs

    Aliona and I definitely don’t have the same sense of style. That being said...

    Agree that junior teams are full of potential and are really making their mark. I just hope Wenjing doesn’t seriously injure herself with all the high risk moves. She’ll take herself out of the competition. I can’t help but wonder if she’ll still be doing quad throws four years down the road. She’s gutsy & tough, you’ve gotta give her that.

    As for MT/M, I’m excited by the technical elements, and hopefully the musicality will be developed with time. If they only develop a fraction of the artistry and emotion that Shen and Zhao were able to after being accused of the same crime, they’ll be good. They’ve kind of burst out onto the scene, without a lot of history, junior experience, or time together, so they aren’t as refined or mature or “senior-y” as you’d expect from a team that made the GPF.

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    I'm too tired to do a long write-up (already did a write-up of the mens & ladies free skates).

    But I need to say this, the advertising was deceptive & outrageous, and I'm speaking on behalf of my fellow seatmates that sat next to me. We all thought that the Ladies FS began at 11AM PST, but when we got there we were shocked to see that ice dance was up first? That really POed me because I have the flu and I just barely made it throught the mens, then I find out I will have to sit through 4 hrs. of this all together. I only wanted to see the Ladies, same as the couple next to me, then we find out this b.s. *two huge thumbs down*

    On the bright side of things, I managed to make it through ice dance & ladies without leaving my seat & going to vomit. And the ice dance was tolerable, though me & my niece almost fell asleep during the song "Eleanor Rigby". Also, the Shibutanis were simply wonderful, classic, perfect, a joy to watch skate! And on a shallow note, Meryl Davis & Charlie White are gorgeous in person (though not once did I see Meryl look up; she seems very shy).

    Hmm, what else, oh yeah I recall the audience near me being a tad confused as how Nobunari Oda lost to Daisuke Takahashi.

    And I'll NEVER forget that much deserved standing O Rachael Flatt received from the audience. She was by far the favorite of not just me, but the whole audience, which simply made my whole year, YEAH!!!! Their reaction solidified what I thought the very first time I saw Rachael skate at 2008 Nationals ~ she's A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadine View Post
    And I'll NEVER forget that much deserved standing O Rachael Flatt received from the audience. She was by far the favorite of not just me, but the whole audience, which simply made my whole year, YEAH!!!! Their reaction solidified what I thought the very first time I saw Rachael skate at 2008 Nationals ~ she's A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I loved both her SP and LP; I think she has learned to express herself, the only thing she needs to cement her success is more difficult choreography. But as is, her performances do seem to draw people in. Well at least the two of us and the audience at Skate America.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scout View Post
    I think the word I’d use is underwhelming. But that was expected, given the field. The year after the Olympics never has the same depth and aside from retirees, there were a lot of injuries/splits/time off.
    My sentiment exactly.
    Most of the olympians natually haven't worked up the intensity of focus they had prior to the 2010 Olympics, and promising new comers haven't quite broke out yet. That said, to me, what compels me to watch figure skating is rivalry among skaters.

    The year after the Torino Olympics, Mao-Yuna rivalry was pretty well established among the lady's singles. They both were also exceptional skaters. It makes me wonder if Kanako Murakami's skills as a single skater equal Mao or Yuna at that stage. I would also like to see Kanako being inspired to be pushed by her contemporaries. Could it be Ksenia, Christina Gao? I don't know the answer to that, but I'd like to see it happening.

    Same kind of rivalry could be said about D/W & V/M for ice dancing back in 2007-8. I would love to see compelling rivalry among, say, Shibs, Illinykh/Katsalapov, & Paul/Islam.

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    Ladiezz:

    Viktoria Helgesson - She's really pretty, and is a good technician when she lands her jumps. Nice skate from her today. Maybe she can win a medal at Euros if she skates well there. Her layback spin is awful though

    Jenna McCorkell - Well, she landed most of her jumps, but I still say it's time for her to retire.

    Min-Jeong Kwak - She skated better than in China and was nice to watch due to her gorgeous spins, flexibility, and long limbs. Sal and axel jumps solid, the rest iffy. To me it seems like she's made for pairs, if she can find a tall asian guy to be her partner, I think she could really shine .

    Alexe Gilles - She's very pretty and her jumps are huge when she lands them. Not a great skate from her but it had her moments. I feel for her, she must be upset.

    Elene Gedevanishvilli - Hate the blonde hair but the dress was pretty. Her 3lutz is humongous but the rest of the skate was pretty forgetable. Nice flexibility.

    Mae Meite - She needs a lot of polish, but her jumps are very nice and strong. A good senior debut for her, I hope to see her at Euros this season.

    Amelie Lacoste - Doesn't do much for me, and I thought she was a little overscored. Her jumps are very powerful when landed but the skate was a bit messy tonight. She's definitely been working on her artistry though and it shows.

    Caroline Zhang - Disappointing skate after doing so well in the SP. Opening 3f was nice but her lutz and 2a still need a lot of work. Loop technique is still iffy as well. To me she seemed slow but I was very impressed with her footwork sequence. She's been working hard and you can tell, I just think this will be a bit of a transition year for her as she gets used to her new technique and body.

    Rachael Flatt - Great skate and for once the costume was really flattering! She didn't do the 3-3 but apparently she's hurt? Good job regardless, the standing ovation was well deserved.

    Joshi Helgesson - Awesome for her to skate so well after having come straight from China last week! She doesn't do much for me but I loved seeing her so happy after she skated. Hopefully she can make a splash at Euros this season.

    Kanako Murakami - She's cute as a button and has a killer 3t-3t but the rest of the program wasn't so hot for me. I thought she was a little overscored, I would have had her behind Flatt. Regardless it's great she won her first GP and the joy she skates with is just a breath of fresh air. She reminds me of Mirai circa 2008, very cute!

    Carolina Kostner - A little off tonight but I guess she is injured. Her overall skating is in another league from the rest of the ladies but the jumps weren't there tonight. Still, I thought she deserved her bronze just based on her SP and superior basic skating.

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    I love the skating of both Helgesson sisters. I hope to see more of them.

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    My overall impression of Skate America (and actually the entire Grand Prix this year): ZZZ. I know it's right after the Olympics, so it is to be expected, but I don't recall previous Grand Prix series after the Olympics being quite this boring. Or maybe I'm just getting crankier and more demanding as I age. You pick.

    I'm only going to comment on a few skaters.

    Ladies:

    I never thought I'd say this, because I have never cared for her skating, but Rachael did a good job. She deserved higher PCS and the gold.

    And I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but I thought Kanako's SP was a mess. Yes, she had energy, but it wasn't controlled energy. It was sloppy. She landed her jumps, but the rest reminded me of a kid who is running wild around the room because she's had too much birthday cake. Sugar buzz. She didn't deserve the win here.


    Mens:

    Splat-fest.

    Takahashi and Oda deserved Gold/Silver. No complaints there. Shame about Oda yet again making such a mistake, but the rules are the rules. One can argue that they should be changed, but he is most definitely aware of them by now, so no excuses.

    Adam was a disappointment. And D10. Yikes. How sad that THAT was a SB.

    But Armin? Oh, Armin! Yes, yes, yes! The audience response thrilled him. It was obvious he was getting a high from the love flowing in that building. I think he has caught the bug. Look for him to do great things in the future.


    Dance:

    Very disappointed in Davis/White. Too many mistakes and boring choreography.Their reputation will help them score-wise this season, but they need to get their act together fast.

    Pairs:

    Loved Sui/Han. Future stars for sure.
    Last edited by MrScroogeMcDuck; 11-15-2010 at 09:25 AM.

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    The event may have been underwhelming but this thread is great! This is just the kind of color commentary that is so helpful to those who weren't there or haven't seen any vids yet. Thanks! And, of course, GO RACHAEL!

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    Ah, now that I'm well-rested and feeling chipper again I can now talk even more indepthly about the competition, the participants, the ambience, et al.

    Hmm, where to start, I think I will do so by recalling some first impressions I had.

    Frank Carroll is a rather tall, distinguished, well-dressed, and dapper older gentleman. He has a certain aura about him whilst standing by the boards ~ tall & dignified ~ classy.

    Priscilla Hill is surprisingly a very very pretty woman in person. Not that she isn't on t.v., but in person her charming smile & petite figure is times 10. She's always smiling & happy, I like that.

    And I did a double take when I saw Yuka Sato for the first time, flawless porcelain complexion, and the kindest smile with matching smiling eyes. (:^) She reminds me exactly of Maia Shibutani, whom was smiling throughout her entire practice & looks you in the eyes with laughter & joy. Joyous is the word I would use to describe Maia. The music "Smile" is perfect for her. I just loved their dance. And her gorgeous sparkly blue dress is way more dazzling in person. Honestly, t.v. does NOT do justice to the skaters' costumes.

    Kevin Van Der Perren looks you in the eyes with open curiousity & friendliness, which startled me at first, lol. My jewels is what probably caught his eye to begin with. And since he is the elder statemen out there, I noticed the other skaters allowed him to go first. But really Kevin is a far better skater than what his marks show. It makes me wonder what he was like when he was younger? His jumps, presence, ice coverage are phenomenal. And that's the truth.

    Meryl Davis is like an honest to God porcelain doll out there. She's even more beautiful in person if that's possible, but she has a stand-offish type of vibe, never looks at the audience during practice, eyes cast down, and thee most muscular legs! She is toned, cut, whatever you want to call it, lol. :D

    Daisuke Takahashi I've been reflecting on all afternoon, lol. Seriously, it makes me wonder if that's what it was like to see Elvis Presley in person, especially when he was younger, just starting out? It's like he has these pheromones that attract both women & men. The men want to be like him, while the women want to you know what? His charm is what gets you first, then that face, those dimples, that smile, those eyes, the hair, the body (especially the muscular legs & butt). And he knows it! But not in a conceited way whatsoever, just a look, a grin, a playfulness, a self-deprecating type of charm. Total movie star. He knows exactly how to play up to an audience, he made us laugh, smile, cover all emotions. My gosh all the women, not just myself, were instantly under his spell. You can't take your eyes off him. This one Japanese woman sat in the first row, first seat, all by herself, with a gorgeous banner that she made for Daisuke alone. She was about in her late 40's/early 50's, and the lady near me was about in her late 50's/early 60's, and my own baby niece is only 13 yrs. old. That's how much Daisuke Takahashi appeal covers all age ranges! (8^O

    Rachael Flatt has a similar appeal to Daisuke Takahashi, and I'm NOT lying, but in a different way. She too exudes a charm/a charisma, but hers is more girl-next-door combined with a Doris Day type of appeal. She exudes charm, confidence, a likeable affability, and just pure friendliness. And she too has a sex appeal, but not as pronounced as Daisuke Takahashi's, more like she doesn't know it, if that makes sense, lol. Seriously, the guy sitting behind my niece was whistling & cat-calling to Rachael. And in person she is gorgeous, made even moreso because she literally radiates, like a burst of light is coming from her. This was especially evident in her FS, the choreography shows off Rachael, not Rachael playing a character, but Rachael being Rachael, but in a different way. What you see is what she's actually like in practice as well. She's not faking it. She smiles & looks at the audience both in practice & in the actual performance. And I honestly can't say that about 99% of the skaters (ps: Daisuke Takahashi is the same way, what he's like in practice is also what he's like in the performance, that's him being him!).

    Oh yeah, before I forget I wanted to mention that the USFSA is going all out attracting people to figure skating! Out in the lobby stands were set up with literally a ton of freebies ~ Skating magazine with Yankowskas & Coughlin on the front, thick silver RISE key chains, huge RISE magnets, lovely big RISE postcards, USFSA figure-skate posties, and tons of colorful pamphlets about the USFSA. Also, HUGE gorgeous colorful glossy posters were being given away by the dozen with a huge picture of Rachael Flatt in a red dress posed in an attitude position, smiling, on the left-hand side and Jeremy Abbott on the right-hand side in his "A Day in the Life" costume, with Davis & White in the middle. (:^)

    Oops, I also wanted to post a few pictures that I took of some of my fav skaters. I didn't take too many, only while they were practicing because I wanted to actually watch the *skating* itself, unlike the guy that sat next to me whom just took pictures the entire event with this huge black camera. To me personally that doesn't make sense. I think one misses out on so much when looking through a lens instead of actually paying attention to the skating itself, right in front of you, LIVE! If I wanted pictures I would just go to the internet. Jmho, of course. Anyhow, here they are (btw my niece took about 50+ pictures with her cell phone, which I will try to upload sometime this week): SORRY I WAS UNABLE TO POST THESE -- WARNING SAID I CAN ONLY POST 5 IMAGES PER POST, WHICH I WILL DO SO IN SUBSEQUENT POSTINGS. Thanks for understanding.

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    Nadine, Thank you so much for your impressions. I can almost smell the Zamboni exhaust reading them.

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    Thanks, doris. Btw, I hope I didn't insult you with my first post about ice dance. I was just crabby from being so sick, and I was honestly relaying what the lady next to me had to say. Btw, on the upside, she actually enjoyed dance, and seemed to have a good time. (:^)

    That said, she told me the advertising in the Portland newspaper was very very poor. In fact she didn't buy her tickets until that morning, along with her friend. She said the paper only said that the ladies FS was going to be shown at 11AM. Also, to verify this she showed me her tickets and that's exactly what they stated as well. As for me, I printed my tickets out from my computer, and after looking at them again I noticed "ice dance" was printed in very very small letters under LADIES FS 11AM. Btw, she said if she knew ice dance was going to be shown, her mother would have been there. Once again, the advertising seemed to be very poor per Mary (that was her name).

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    Pictures (5 per post allowed):




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