I don't ever remember a more interesting pre-season, where the early senior competitions have been so important or interesting. I applaud skaters for even attempting what they attempted on the ice this early in the competitive season. Bravo!
With that said: I am glad that Johnny Weir has returned to competition. Big kudos to him. He has such strong stage presence that he usually commands your attention when he's on the ice but the performance at Finlandia was like a deer in the headlights.
I hope he has gotten his stage fright out of his system now and shows up at the next competition ready to compete. Level 1 footwork won't cut it either. His team needs to revisit the footwork pronto. Good job for showing up this early though.
I don't get the hoopla surrounding Julia Lipnitskaya. The hallmark of a good skater to me seems to be, if you take the jumps away are they still interesting to watch?
Julia is not. She skates through the music rather than to it. She does not even seem to be aware that music is playing.
She's all about the jumps, but they don't seem very high quality either. They barely get off the ice. The entry edges are often wrong (flutz, flutz, flutz). They just don't sing. When you take away the jumps your left with???? What? Her stroking and ice coverage are so poor...it's like her skates are stuck in molasses. I just don't understand why the judges love her so much.
I was impressed with Evgeny Plushenko. Yes...all the flaws are still there...the lack of in-betweens, the empty programs, the arm flailing and mugging, the posing and skating in place (or just big rests), the lack of stretch and polish, the wobbly spins...all the flaws were still there, but boy does he have stage presence. You can't take your eyes off him when he skates. He's a great skater. I am glad he's back.
I was deeply impressed by what Ashley Wagner put out on the ice. To be this good, this early shows me a fire and hunger. She seems ready and confident.
I am not so sure about Mao. She seems to have regressed so much under Sato. More than anything else, she seems to lack confidence...such as the confidence to really take command and own the performance. Swan Lake is horribly overused by skaters, so anyone using this music needs to own it, to understand the meaning of it and the power of it. Mao seems to throw it all away. It's too bad because she has some really wonderful qualities as a skater such as her soft knees which allow her to float effortlessly over the ice. If only she knew how good she is.
If you take away every jump in Patrick Chans skating programs, he is still the most interesting skater out there, with the best, most difficult programs jam-packed full of interesting transitions and skating moves. He is such a throw-back to the days of "Figure" skating. He does not hide behind his jumps. Even with four falls, the program still worked. It was still interesting. It was still the best. Patrick fulfills my definition of good skating. His programs stand without any jumps.
Ditto for Jeff Buttle. Wish he were still competing as an eligible skater.
I was very impressed also by Mirai Nagasu. She seems to have her fire back and her skating is just beautiful...her jumps are so big, so light, so airy, they cover so much ice...wow...her speed, stroking and edging are so superior, her spins are fast and beautiful...she takes command of the ice surface. I could watch her all day long. I think the judges were stingy with her marks. How was she called for a lutz edge in the LP but Lipnitskaya was not? CoP or no CoP, judges still play favorites. Some things never change. I'm just so glad to see to see Mirai rediscover her joy on the ice. She has everything else to be a champion.
Quite an interesting post. I share many of your opinions perhaps differing with you about Mao. I liked her "Swan Lake."
I think it is easier to like Patrick when he is scored fairly. Last place at the JO seemed right to me.
I don't get Julia either but she is still very young. I prefered Adelina at the same age and still like her much more.
Looking forward to reading other thoughts about what you wrote.
Last edited by janetfan; 10-11-2012 at 10:45 AM.
Thanks for opening this thread. It is truly an interesting pre-season! A lot going on this time. Much more exciting than normal pre-seasons.
My mind is "brain-washed" by CoP and many experts here including MM, so that I'm not used to Johnny Weir's skating that much any more. So empty and still using the recycled movements. Good for him to compete but he won't go far among those young and CoP savvy skaters even within his own country. I totally agree with you on Patrick Chan's skating this season! That is the reason that his four-fall program has earned praise not only from his usual skating fans but also from some of none-fans. Plushenko is the king and he still is. The guts to put two quads out there and make a statement is so admirable! He did what his body could possibly do. May he rest well, and come back to win Europeans!
It's hard to believe that!
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
No, I don't think Weir has stagefright in this comeback. On the contrary, I think he is very relaxed. He was trying very hard and that was all he could do.
At the rink. Again.
He talked about being scared out of his wits getting back out there after the time off. Said his knees were shaking during the SP, so deer in the headlights/stage fright describes that first competition back.
This is a great thread.
I agree that Johnny's style hasn't changed: he's still a 6.0 skater. However, I think his comeback is impressive, and I'm glad to see him trying the quad and landing 3As. It's no easy feat, and Johnny has proved that he's willing to walk the walk. Bravo.
I actually thought Plushenko's LP was better than some previous seasons' programs. He's using his edges more; he's less frantic; he's more enjoyable (for me) to watch.
I agree that Chan's program is beautiful, but the music leaves me cold. We'll see what happens with the jumps.
Let's not forget Oda, as well, who is back landing 3As and trying quads. He's a sentimental favorite for me. I think he's Zatoichi program is wonderful, and his SP with the drums is really fantastic, particularly the performance he did at the GPF that year. I hope he finds some fire to ignite his skating and presentation.
It's definitely been a very exciting pre-season. I wonder what will happen with Lysacek.
I thought Johnny just looked rusty! He hasn't competed in 2 years and has only done shows where he wasn't challenged. His footwork definitely needs some serious work. He's capable, has the quick feet, but it was uninspiring and looked thrown together. But I think he proved that he was serious about coming back and attempting the quad proved he's been working out pretty hard. It's close, too! I think he's still one of the most graceful men ever to touch the ice and I have to admit I took a deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath hoping he wouldn't come out in some outlandish costume with full makeup. Whew! I actually like the Gaga music!!
I also like Layman's concept that if you take away the jumps from a program - what are you left with? An interesting entertaining skater or just a skater who can jump! At the risk of getting ignited with burning oil and a match, still not a fan of Plushy and I thought again that Layman summed up his performances - past and present - pretty adequately. Loved Oda's program! This is definitely a guy to watch! Patrick's music is going to have to grow on me but take away the jumps......and you still have a wonderful program!
Last edited by noskates; 10-11-2012 at 06:16 PM.
I like that concept, too. That's why I still love skaters like Kurt Browning, whom you can't take your eyes off of even today, when he's in his forties and his jumps are less impressive. And it's why so many of us stuck with Alissa Czisny for so many years. (Though I know that people point out that her actual stroking and edging aren't top-flight, there are those spins and spirals and whatnot.) Most of the skaters I truly love in an enduring way are good jumpers only by coincidence. Obviously they have to be able to jump in order to get on the podium, but I rarely take pleasure in watching a really spectacular jumper who is ordinary in other respects. (I will name no names.)
I'm very happy to hear that Oda is storming back into contention. I love his skating. I'll look forward to seeing Johnny's program to see what he's up to. I wish him luck, but with the way skating has progressed in the past few years, I'm not going to pin my deepest wishes on a good outcome for him. Everyone else would have to skate around on their tummies for him to get on the podium.