If it regress like a duck, it must be the shibs.
If Aldridge/Eaton are seniors next year then they will be a non factor. They were majorly gifted with scores at nationals. They're in no danger of beating the Shibs or any of the top senior teams any time soon. If there's any of the top 5 that need to call it a day it's Lynn and Logan, talk about a road to nowhere. The Shibs were no more gifted scores than anyelse was. H/D hadn't reached those scores all season and suddenly they're breaking 100 at nationals, that won't happen anywhere else, neither will C/B's scores.
I thought Madison Chock's Russian snow bunny dress was cute.
Wow this thread. I guess nobody cares that Davis and White won their fifth title.
Anyway, I find these regression arguments amusing because it seems like they come with little context. Yes, I guess it's easy to say "The Shibs have regressed because they used to be third in the world and now they dropped to third in nationals."
Here's some context: We're not seeing a regression in ability of the Shibutanis technical skills. They still have some of the quietest blades in Ice Dance (something noted by Tracey Wilson yesterday). Tanith and Tracey both commented about how you can take a photo at any given moment of their dance because their lines and extension are so well-matched. The struggle this season has been in getting levels. Even Davis and White and Virtue and Moir have struggled to get levels, but you don't see anybody saying they have technically regressed. But all season long, as far as grades of execution, they have scored well.
The problem is that places 4-10 are actually quite crowded, with the teams all having similar levels of skating in the eyes of the judges. The Shibutani's bronze in 2011, clearly came with a tons of stars aligning -- a solid set of programs, mistakes from the others in front of them, etc. Judging by the Grand Prix from the previous fall nobody would have expected this -- they didn't even make the GPF that year.
Ice Dance, thankfully, has not stay static. A number of the teams have improved on the technical side, which is where the Shibs have done well historically. So as a result you have the shuffling of placements based on who best rises to the occasion that day. As we learned later, Alex was dealing with injury and couldn't train fully, so we weren't even dealing with a 100 percent Shibs teams at Worlds last year.
That said, the challenge for them -- besides getting those levels -- is improving that PCS score. Which provides less concrete feedback. And that's why you see them doing this style exploring they've done the last year. And they haven't found something that sticks.
As I mentioned before Maia and Alex look quite young for their age. They look like they're the same age as some of the U.S. junior dancers. That's not their fault -- as I noted Asians (I am one) look young for their age. You think the judges would not mix up youth with maturity, but the programs they did previously only enhanced that youth (and garnered the low scores with it), and as a result they got lower PCS scores. So I don't blame them for trashing the Mary Poppins SD and going for something abstract.
When you think about it's a lot to process in one year -- so it certainly makes sense if they struggle in the short term while they figure this all out.
The Shibs continue to have technical qualities to keep them a top team, however, I don't dispute the fact they now have to work on a whole other things - artistry, style, etc.-- if they want to stay competitive and rise up the ranks. And that takes more time for some teams for others.