I got the same feeling watching Mirai last night that i did at the Olympics in the LP when she knocked it out of the park. This may have been the best i've ever seen her skate a LP. She was fast and confident and her jumps were huge compared to what we've seen this year. If only she skated with half the energy she did last night she would have at least finished 2nd at Nationals and would be on her way to Worlds. I get the feeling the US is leaving it's best skater behind.
Same about Mirai. Her 3Lz for example
As I already said, I have no questions about Miki's jumps, they were clean.
I have to stick up for Lucky Star, she is a pretty fair poster.
I love Asada, but I'm also a little surpirsed that some jumps (3S) weren't looked at more closely. Same with Flatt. Overall, I think it was a really high marked competition, but it was so for everyone, but it works out in the end.
Mirai's jumps looked better than ever to me, though.
I only watched the ladies' top 5 SP/LP at this event so far. My thoughts:
1) Still impressed with Miki's SP. It's one of her best that I've seen (if not the best.) The elegant, glamorous style really suits her--she seems to be drawn towards dramatic, darker themes, but this is where she is really in her element, it seems. The improvement in her spins is very noticeable, but I thought her steps stood out the most: crisp and controlled. Stylistically I don't like her LP as much (reminds me of her older stuff) but her technical remains very strong with powerful, clean jumps with the aforementioned improvements. If my amateur eyes are not deceiving me, even her basic skating skills seem to have improved. Congrats on the win.
2) Mao - has anyone else mentioned how she's switched to wearing her tan skates bare, without stockings covering them? I LOVE IT! It goes especially well with her new SP costume. Her lavender dress in the LP might go better with bare white skates, but still, I really do like the look of her tan skates.
Choreography change in LP - hmm...I think I like it as much as I liked the old choreo. :S I don't have the most keen eye for choreography, but this was just different and I enjoyed it. Especially the unexpected ending short spiral. Gorgeous high 3A, completely and unequivocally fully rotated. I agree with the poster who noted that it deserves stronger Interpretation scores than it got.
3) Mirai. Her LP was my fav of this competition, and she continues to grow on me. Her jumps were soooooo clean with buttery smooth landings (I love those kinds of jumps) and nice expression, with amazing spins as usual. I realize that Alissa's spins are best (considering their centering, acceleration, and smooth transitioning between positions) but somehow I find Mirai's a little more fun to watch. Is it possible for a spin to have personality? It seems there is more personality to Mirai's spins. (I know I may be jumping into hot water with this one.)
Also, the fact that she ranked highest of the American ladies here at 4CC is both something of a vindication as well as a reason for regret. Why couldn't you do this at Nats??? The Tokyo audience at Worlds would have loved to have seen this, I'm sure.
One thing I do notice though, is that Mirai has a slight hammertoe on at least one of her jumps--I hope she continues to work on that technique.
Last edited by prettykeys; 02-20-2011 at 01:59 PM.
Miki deserved the win. I admire how hard she has worked to improve. Mao is beautiful to watch, but I agree with those who feel she was given the benefit of the doubt on most of her jumps. Best I have seen Mirai skate. Her jumps were rotated and her spins wonderful. Hope she can take this into next season and continue to improve.
They could have always assured Czisny the spot (as champion) and then had a skateoff between Nagasu and Flatt for the 2nd spot. Nonetheless, given that Czisny still scored decently despite flaws bodes well for her at worlds if she does better. I think we may have an outside shot at 3 spots after all.
RD: ^^^ Agreed. Overall Alissa has been the stronger US Lady this season and while I know she can go to Worlds and falter due to nerves, I believe she can also go and skate as she did at GPF or Nats and be in the running for Bronze. I also feel she deserves to be on the teams based on her results this season, not just based on being the US National Champion. I'm hopeful that not having a strong skate this weekend will help Alissa for Worlds-she won't have as much pressure as she would have she been on the podium and she had another chance to go out there and skate. It seems like the more mileage Alissa gets under her belt, the more confidence she has. She had to come down off that "high" of her Nationals win and now she can build back up for Worlds.
Personally, as much as I like Alissa, I think Mirai is our best current US Lady. Rachel is a steady eddie and pretty reliable as a solid #2. Watch her now go, have two HUGE skates of her life and be on the podium at Worlds! I just think Mirai will always come out ahead when clean, regardless of what Rachel does. But including a 2ax/3lp and 3fl/3t is quite ambitious! I am so looking forward to seeing her nail both at Worlds! I hope both Rachel and Alissa get to have skates that they can be happy with at Worlds, and getting 3 spots would just be the cherry on top of the sundae!
3 spots looks more than achievable, even if Rachael & Alissa skate no better than they did at 4CC's. If Alissa skates as she did at Nationals and the GPF, a bronze might be possible!
Rachael's total score of 180.31 would have won Europeans very handily. Sarah Meier will not be at Worlds, but her total score was only 170.60. Kostner was second and her score was 168.54 total. Rachael's score here is within half a point of Alissa's PB at GPF (180.75). Alissa's score here was 168.81 and would have beaten Kostner.
So let's say they both skate the same, and that Murakami and YuNa beat both of them. That's Rachael in 5th and Alissa in 6th. And that's 3 spots with some room for error. If Rachael skates as well as she did here, she could beat Murakami, whose PBs for the SP, the LP, and total (all achieved at the GPF) are all lower than Rachael's score at 4CC's. Fourth is definitely possible.
In the LP recap, Rachael is quoted as saying:
That's very ambitious of her.I'm very happy with the way I skated because this is the first time I have tried the double Axel-triple loop combination in a program," Flatt noted. "For this being the first time I've tried it (the new layout of her free program) and practicing it for two weeks, I'd say it went very well. It was a huge stepping stone for me to stay on my feet the whole time. It was a little slow in spots, but overall I think it was a great effort."
For the World Championships, Flatt hopes to bring back her triple flip-triple toe combination in both programs.
Her SP was particularly well received at 4CC's, and I was very pleased to see the non US crowd gave her a standing ovation, so I think Rachael placing between 4th and 8th is very possible for her this year. In fact with luck, a bronze is not totally impossible, if either Yu Na, Mao or Miki falter (and I would not have said that at the beginning of the year). And the same is true for Alissa.