When Suzuki was trying to master 3T+3T last season, she also said that speed was the key. She calls herself a slow learner, but it took her less than a year to become consistent with the combo.
Hi, I just registered today and became a new member. I saw Asada live. She was quite slow, and she made too many mistakes. Her pcs was quite high compared to what she put out on ice. I heard the audience booing after her score showed up.
Akiko's program did not have too many transitions either, but she was clean and should win. Akiko also should improve her spins-i think that interferes her program. Mirai and Asada had better spins.
Just my two cents after watching some live competitions.
Anyway, quite obviously, her toe pick has changed, and I also read that they had to work on her getting rid of a habit she had of lifting her left or right (forget which) shoulder when she jumped. She's no longer jumping as high now, probably so that the final form will not only have height but width as well, in order to get more GOEs. So I think the past two seasons has been slowly changing her form. Now, they are working on her entry speed. I think overhauling a jump technique must be very time-consuming, quite a gamble, really. (And don't forget, she was quite preoccupied with her mother's illness, which also had huge impact on her father; he donated his organ for transplant.)
As her fan, I hope and trust that she will perfect her new jump in time for Sochi!!
I know the audience audibly murmured in surprise when Mao's score came up, but I don't believe a Japanese audience would ever boo Mao or her score. That is quite unthinkable.
Regardless of how transitionless were Asada's Masquerade Waltz and Bells of Moscow, this time Tarasova created a work of art for CoP. This is the best CoP-like program Mao has ever had with transitions going into almost EVERY single jump. Not only did Tarasova make up interesting and fresh choreography for such an overused piece of music, but also she put all the CoP things into it without losing connection to music and theme of the program.
Now, whart transitions does Akiko program have? I find her choreography very interesting and and interpretation of that bird theme very good but transitions? Come on, she doesn't have any transitions going into and out of the jumps. Let her skate Asada program and see if she's still able to land her jumps. I know Akiko is super consistent with the jumps, her age notwithstanding but what if she was to do difficult steps, or even SOME steps before all those jumps? I'm afraid the outcome might be different then.
Let's look at those programs in more detailed way. Akiko has some easy transitions but not directly going into the the jumps or immediately after landing the jumps. She always does simple glides into her jumps and maybe a mohawak or a three-turn, that is what every skater can do and what I don't consider difficult transitions. Her landings are always simple run-outs, usually with good flowout, that's right but with no additional difficulty.
1. short easy spiral, break for set up, mohawk, 3Lz+2T+2Lo, simple exit
2. standard one-foot glide into 2A+3T, simple exit
3. skating almost through the whole rink with 2 turns into 3F, simple exit
4. straight glide with a mohawk into 3Lz, sinple exit
5. one-foot glide into 3Lo+2T, simple exit
6. a simple turn into 3S, simple exit
7. the same one-foot glide into 3Lo, simple exit
No transitions maybe beside that breif spiral. Now, having said that, Akiko is one of my favourite lady skating nowadays and overall I like her FS a lot. I admire her SS with deep edges and knee bent as well as her energy. I would give her high marks for CH, P/E and I as well but not for transitions. Let Akiko skate her program with Mao's transitions and see what would happen.
Now look at Asada's Swan Lake. I will omit interesting choreography and focus only on technical transitions which make the jumps more difficult to land.
1. a few turns leading directly into 3Lo with no long glide, interesting exit with little ina bauer right after landing
2. standard one-foot glide like in Akiko's program going into 2A+3T, simple exit
3. skating through the rink with spread eagle and four turns into 3F, simple exit
4. long and rather simple entry to 3Lz, difficult exit with free leg raised high above hips level
5. just one turn into 3S, simple exit
6. nice approach to 3Lo+2Lo with little ina bauer, little back spiral and some steps, simple exit
7. difficult entrance with steps and very short set-up into 3F+2Lo+2Lo(tano arm), simple exit
The only two jumping passes that has no additional difficulty are 2A+3T which is supposed be 3A later on so that's understandable and 3S which is Mao's least favourite jump. Apart from that, there many transitions in other places like beautiful spread eagles in slow section or those turns at the end of the program whose name I don't know. Mao's spins are much better than Akiko's ad well and her level 4 step sequence is a piece of art in my opinion.
Thank you Bartek for your detailed analysis, much appreciated.
Bartek, thanks for the analysis. I'll look back at both programs keeping your notes in mind. So you feel that Mao has potential to improve later this season and into the pre-Olympic season? I hope you'll say yes! I am so anxious for her, and I want her to stand on both the World and Olympic podiums--at the top if at all possible. Even if I weren't such a huge fan of hers (and you know that I am), I'd want her to do well because I love the idea of someone rebuilding her skating inch by inch. This takes incredible work and commitment, and to see it succeed would be tremendously impressive.
Speaking of their SS, that's right that Akiko is faster but notice how many crossovers she does between her jumps and generally how much time she needs to gain speed. Mao does very little crossovers because most of the time she does some steps and turns. I was really surprised that Tarasova gave Mao so little space to gain speed before her most difficult and speed-consuming combo in the program - 3F+2Lo+2Lo. This combination is prone to underrotation therefore it needs a lot of speed in order to be landed flawlessly. The whole thing is even more difficult because of difficult entrance and tano variation. This might be the only mistake in this program that Tarasova made unless she expects Mao to be able to land it cleanly despite the difficulties.
thanks for the detailed analysis, Bartek. I have the deepest respect for skaters who try to rework jump technique - Rochette always had my admiration for that, and Mao does too. It is a gamble; I hope it works for her - but if it doesn't, I will still be impressed with the effort and courage; and, while I was not happy with the results, find much to enjoy in her program. I also just like watching her skate even when not her best.
What gives? Many continued to believe that Suzuki is a victim of some conspiracy or that Mao Asada is favored on purpose because she is more "beautiful". There are some good reasons why this woman has been having difficulty climbing to the top echelon of her sport and despite being 27 year old already, achieved less than her younger teammates. So when she lost Skate Canada to a 16 year old teenager earlier this year in part because of the closeness of their PCS, it was not unexpected to those who know her limits. But of course, now that history repeats again, you gotta wonder maybe those different panels at two separate competitions both saw something that suggest Suzuki is not a victim but rather she needs to work harder still.
As I said in the other threads, I don't deny that Mao has more transitions or better skating skills and fine with her winning in those areas, but I do not see, per the bulllet points and watching the performances a number of times, how Mao can beat Akiko in the CH/PE/IN. Perhaps I need to go and do the same type of post you did.
But to be fair, Tony Wheeler and Jackie Wong did that for me.
Neither of them seem to be one to be outraged for no reason and both take the time to consider each of the PCS criteria. You might not agree with every point, but again this emphasizes that not everyone who disagrees with the result is some sort of conspiracy theorist.
So Mao gets a break on her mistakes because of her hard work on her jumping technique (which has been pointed out by several posters and I for one admire) or she's challenging herself with a more difficult program, but Akiko's mistakes means she's not working hard enough? Huh.
Forget the PCS comparison for a moment. Let's assume that each skater earned the PCS they got.
What about TES and GOE? Why did Mao receive +1.20 for her 2A/3T combination and Akiko 0.80? They both had the same set-up as Bartek points out; both had good height/distance on the axel and good flow into and out of the element. No creative exits for either of them. They did enough for +1. Yet Mao received more for...what?
Why did Mao receive 0.26 for her opening double loop (going crooked in the air from the start), and why was she penalized only -.21 for her double lutz that got an edge call? Why did she get a +2 from one judge (and some +1s) for her 2F?
Just change the GOE that she was awarded for one of those elements and there you have it, Akiko wins as she deserved to. Mao arguably deserves higher PCS than Akiko in SS and TR, but that doesn't mean she still deserved to win overall. Oh yeah, and Mao's 3F in the SP was underrotated.
I was curious and I looked up Laura Lepisto's protocols from her much maligned 2010 Worlds FS, where she popped three intended triples into nice neat doubles. I discovered something interesting--she received ZERO GOE for each of those popped jumps. And it has nothing to do with a lack of transitions, because Laura's FS that season was stacked with transitions everywhere, more difficult than what Mao had in her program. She skated with great speed, too. Of all the rule changes that have been made since then, I don't think any encourage judges to give out more +GOE to popped jumps on the elite senior level. But that's what happened here, and that enabled Mao to win.