I see the 3-3 thing/lack thereof as one of those things that will come and go with time. Right now, almost all ladies are doing 3t-3t or 3f(lz)-2 as their combo with one of the harder triples (3lo, 3f, 3lz) as the solo jump. That is the standard among the top ladies now, so there's no real need for the ladies to be going for harder 3-3s in their programs because it isn't necessary to win/medal and if they make a mistake on it, the score will likely be lower than a clean skate with a 3-2 (or 3t-3t). If more ladies start doing hard 3-3s in the SP, others will follow suit, but so far only Gracie and Julia have done that, and their PCS aren't all that strong yet, Julia can't go to senior championships this season, and who knows if Gracie will even be at Worlds.
I compare this situation to the men's around the time of the last Olympics. Hardly anyone was doing a quad in the SP, and the few that did were usually guys who needed a leg up in other areas like spins or artistry (eg. Joubert, KVDP). The importance of a clean SP during that time was huge, unless you were so consistent with the quad, it was better to leave it out and go for a clean SP. Even in the FS, some men left it out because they were confident in their abilities to skate a clean program with no quad and were usually rewarded for this. Then things changed and the quad became a big deal. Now almost all the men are trying it in the SP, and as such, skating a clean SP is not as important and we're seeing a lot less of them. In the FS, you have to try at least one quad with two 3as to be competitive, many are trying 2 quads, some even 3, with a 3a or two all in the program. Clean skates are less often seen and not as important to winning. If the quad craze gets to the point where clean SPs become an anomaly and injuries become widespread or 2 falls in a FS becomes the norm, I'm sure people will change strategies and scale back the use and importance of the quads.
So basically, I'm okay with the ladies SP the way it has been. In order to change and see more difficult 3-3s, I think we either have to see more skaters going for the tough combos and being rewarded score wise for trying it, or the value for these combinations to be raised (like the quad was for the men). The reason 3t-3t is so popular, not only is it worth a little more than 3lz-2t, but it also allows a skater to avoid having to do an edge call jump in the SP. 3lz-3t is worth 2 points more than 3t-3t, and a 3f-3t even less, but if a skater has an edge issue on flip or lutz (most do), and aren't very comfortable with the 3lo, then most of the points gained by the harder combo are negated by an edge deduction on the solo jump.
If the point differential was raised, I think more ladies might be inclined to try it. For the men, doing the quad gives them about a 4-5 point score boost, which could become more like 6-7 if a skater avoids doing a flip or lutz with edge call through doing it, and a fall on a quad is still worth as much as a triple if it's rotated. So if a guy has a lip, doing a SP with 3a, 4t, and 3lz-3t with a fall on the quad, the quad is still worth as much as a 3t, which is about the same as a 3f with an edge deduction, so as long as the skater is pretty sure he can rotate the quad, it makes sense to put it in, as it shouldn't hurt his score by much if any, but could help boost it a lot. Of course as we've seen with a lot of men, issues on the quad often lead to issues on other jumps in the program, which is why I think the trend to do the quad might be dumped soon or at least not be essential to be in the mix for international medals, but basically, it was because of value increase and the incentive of a few guys to try the quad and have success with it (Chan, Hanyu, Fernandez) that really got the others to work more on that element and put it in the programs. If the same thing happens for ladies, I'll think we'll see a switch. But like I said, these things come and go, and I think things will be changing for the men soon, skates are just becoming too sloppy in light of the quad frenzy IMO.
Last edited by silverlake22; 12-07-2012 at 02:17 PM.
I was very impressed with Korpi, Asada and Suzuki's skate today - watched it live on the feed still half asleep. Glad to see Akiko finally pulled it together in the SP and she made changes to her very distracting SP music cuts since Skate Canada, which is now much better and no longer detract her from her performance. Kiira's guts for laying down such strong skate despite her health problem is very respectable. Mao is getting the consistency she needs though with Yu Na coming back, Mao Asada will have to up her technical content if she expects to be competitive with Kim.
Just watched Liz's program. Her costume makes her look heavy. It is nice that Russian skaters have many options for their costumes, probably because they are well funded and Russian has many talented costume designers. As I can remember, Liz's short has a different one for each competition this season, but this one is not flattering at all.
Anyway, glad to see Wagner in the mix. Upon seeing her score I initially thought she must have gone for the 3-3 and hit it because she's never scored 66 in the SP before. But to my amazement, I watched the program and turns out she DIDN'T! A solid performance, if not a bit conservative IMHO due to the lack of a 3-3. But again, if she's scoring 66 without one, perhaps she doesn't need it after all? (This is one of the things I don't really care for in the NJS).
(Same for Asada, too. 66 and no 3-3...)
Too bad about Gao though- but can't say I'm shocked. In fact, I almost expected it.
But giving high scores like that would only do her a disservice. Still, the competition is very close so it will come down to the FS. And honestly based on what I saw from everyone else it looked like the scores were higher for everyone in general.
However, last time I checked, there was no requirement to be "remarkable". Remember, different scoring system, different circumstances. USA hasn't had a top lady come up EXCLUSIVELY in the Cop era. Remember, Cohen was a 6.0 spillover.Unlike the great American women before her though, Wagner is, should we say...unremarkable.
IMHO, the issue here is the scoring system. This is EXACTLY what skaters like Kostner, Asada, Kim and Korpi have been doing (and getting away with) for years. Working the system (judges, too). Team Wagner is finally figuring this out, and she has consistency to boot. I'm not crazy about this technique but the reality is, in this new NJS world, if you want to win, you must figure out how to make the system work best for you and play to your strengths. If one could just jump her way to the title the Russians would be virtually untouchable right now.
I'll tell you straight up, I don't like it, and I would really like to see Wagner up her difficulty and attempt to really wow us. I KNOW she is capable of doing so. But in reality, she is doing just fine with the status quo. The way the system is set up, others can jump themselves out and they won't be able to touch her. She really only has to worry about Asada, Suzuki, Korpi and the comeback skaters (Kim, Kostner perhaps).
Last edited by R.D.; 12-07-2012 at 03:22 PM.
I wish Ashley would at least go for the 3/3...i wonder if her track record in practice is just that low or else Mr Nicks is really emphasizing clean programs. I think that unless Yu-na shows at worlds the world champion this year won't have a 3/3...it really is a trend for the past two years or so. Alissa, Carolina...winning without even the difficult triples never mind a 3/3. When we do see the ladies trying the 3/3 it seems to be the toe/toe.
Then again, perhaps on the flip side this is all strategy and we'll see her come alive and whip out the big tricks later on. And/or it might be a health-preserving move...who knows.
One just has to hope that if she DOES go for them later on, she's confident enough to complete them in high-pressure situations- because at this point, there are no other "smaller" competitions to experiment with stuff.
ETA: We see just how crucial it is to hit that SP. The two that made mistakes- Tuktamysheva and Gao- are now so far back (particularly Gao) that they cannot win without meltdowns from the skater(s) above them.
Last edited by R.D.; 12-07-2012 at 03:44 PM.