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Thread: Wagner vs. Suzuki

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    Wagner vs. Suzuki

    Hey everyone,

    I was re-watching a couple of programs on youtube in the wake of 4CCs and I was surprised at Suzuki's scores as they compare to Wagner's. On the GP circuit this year, Ashley consistently got 127+ for her 6-triple free skates (she got "e" calls on her lutzes, but they were judged fully rotated). Suzuki has now done two 6-triple programs. One at NHK and one at 4CC. At NHK, Akiko received 126.62 (this was actually a 6 triple program without any edge calls, not 7 because one of her 3 loops was downgraded), and at 4CC, Akiko received a 124.43 (with 6 triples and one "e" call on the lutz). In reviewing the videos, I couldn't figure out one thing that Ashley does better in her programs than Akiko, yet she's consistently received higher scores. I know it's sometimes difficult to compare scores across competitions given that judging panels and technical callers vary in their leniency, but I was still surprised. Am I missing something? Can we attribute the score difference (which mostly manifests itself in PCS) to Akiko being the #2 or #3 Japanese woman while Ashley is the #1 American?

    In light of worlds coming up next month and these two both being medal contenders, I felt curious enough to start this thread. I don't mean to belittle Ashley- I like her programs this year, and I think she's an excellent competitor- but I don't think she should get better scores than Suzuki when both do programs of similar difficulty and execute them with similar skill.

    Thoughts?

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    Would it be too cynical to suggest that Ashley being her country's number 1 and Akiko being her country's number 2 has something to do with this? For me, Akiko has never really achieved the PCS she deserves, especially internationally.

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    Custom Title hurrah's Avatar
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    The way Akiko skated at 4CC surpassed anything Ashley has put out so far, I feel. The jumps were on par and Akiko's spin had improved at 4CC, though I'd still say Ashley's spin is better than Akiko's. Akiko has always surpassed Ashley in terms of the speed and edges, and she was particularly good at 4CC.

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    Here's my comparison.

    Lutz: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko sometimes doesn't get edge call. Ashley is sure thing.
    Flip: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's flip is actually her strong jump. It looks nice, clean, good flow, good landing, good attack. Akiko's flip is ok.
    Loop: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's loop has better entrance, cleaner landing. Akiko's loop takes longer to set up. The landing isn't as smooth.
    Salchow: Akiko = Ashley. Both are just ok.
    Toe: Akiko > Ashley. She can do 2A-3T and 3T-3T regularly. Ashley has trouble rotating her 3T.
    Spins: Ashley > Akiko.
    Steps: Akiko > Ashley.

    Skating Skills: Akiko > Ashley. She's fast, has deep edge, her steps are more difficult, and she covers the ice better.
    PE, CH, IN: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko is a performer, and she always has interesting programs. Win these 3 categories easily unless she bombs.
    TR: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley has more transitions.

    Generally, if both skate cleanly, Akiko should be around 64+ for PCS, Ashley should be around 62+ for PCS.
    GOE, Ashley should beat Akiko easily, should definitely make up for the PCS difference.

    I personally believe they are about equal, whoever lands more triples should win. Ashley got too much benefit of the doubt where as Akiko got none, and I have a big problem with that.

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    They are skaters of roughly the same level. Only a biased fanboy of one or the other would suggest one is signifiantly stronger than the other overall on a good or typical day right now, if anything Wagner is probably a bit more consistent of the two but not by much. Wagner though is her countries #1 and Suzuki her countries #2 so now if both skate cleanly are comparably Wagner will always win.

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    Wagner has a more interesting fp, imo. that's her advantage. Otherwise, they are similar. Both are really good

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    Rejoicing in the land of Kwan kwanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    Here's my comparison.

    Lutz: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko sometimes doesn't get edge call. Ashley is sure thing.
    Flip: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's flip is actually her strong jump. It looks nice, clean, good flow, good landing, good attack. Akiko's flip is ok.
    Loop: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's loop has better entrance, cleaner landing. Akiko's loop takes longer to set up. The landing isn't as smooth.
    Salchow: Akiko = Ashley. Both are just ok.
    Toe: Akiko > Ashley. She can do 2A-3T and 3T-3T regularly. Ashley has trouble rotating her 3T.
    Spins: Ashley > Akiko.
    Steps: Akiko > Ashley.

    Skating Skills: Akiko > Ashley. She's fast, has deep edge, her steps are more difficult, and she covers the ice better.
    PE, CH, IN: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko is a performer, and she always has interesting programs. Win these 3 categories easily unless she bombs.
    TR: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley has more transitions.

    Generally, if both skate cleanly, Akiko should be around 64+ for PCS, Ashley should be around 62+ for PCS.
    GOE, Ashley should beat Akiko easily, should definitely make up for the PCS difference.

    I personally believe they are about equal, whoever lands more triples should win. Ashley got too much benefit of the doubt where as Akiko got none, and I have a big problem with that.
    You know FlattFan, you and I have disagreed on things in the past but I think you nailed this one.

    The only thing I would change is PE, CH and IN. IMO, Akiko>= Ashley. Ashley has developed a very strong presence on the ice and, like Akiko, her programs are tailored to her strengths. I prefer Akiko's programs this season to Ashley's but Ashley has two strong programs this season that have been received well. At their best, I'd give the edge to Akiko...but Ashley wouldn't be that far off.

    I agree that the two of them are pretty much equal and the difference will come down to whoever has the cleanest skate. However, Ashley's position as the top skater in the US affords her a certain level of respect that Akiko (as Japan's #2 or #3) doesn't always receive which doesn't go over well with me either. The judges feel comfortable screwing Akiko over and I really, really don't like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    You know FlattFan, you and I have disagreed on things in the past but I think you nailed this one.
    I always try to be objective.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    Here's my comparison.

    Lutz: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko sometimes doesn't get edge call. Ashley is sure thing.
    Flip: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's flip is actually her strong jump. It looks nice, clean, good flow, good landing, good attack. Akiko's flip is ok.
    Loop: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's loop has better entrance, cleaner landing. Akiko's loop takes longer to set up. The landing isn't as smooth.
    Salchow: Akiko = Ashley. Both are just ok.
    Toe: Akiko > Ashley. She can do 2A-3T and 3T-3T regularly. Ashley has trouble rotating her 3T.
    Spins: Ashley > Akiko.
    Steps: Akiko > Ashley.

    Skating Skills: Akiko > Ashley. She's fast, has deep edge, her steps are more difficult, and she covers the ice better.
    PE, CH, IN: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko is a performer, and she always has interesting programs. Win these 3 categories easily unless she bombs.
    TR: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley has more transitions.

    Generally, if both skate cleanly, Akiko should be around 64+ for PCS, Ashley should be around 62+ for PCS.
    GOE, Ashley should beat Akiko easily, should definitely make up for the PCS difference.

    I personally believe they are about equal, whoever lands more triples should win. Ashley got too much benefit of the doubt where as Akiko got none, and I have a big problem with that.
    Wow, Flattfan, thanks!

    I would defo agree. I think for me, Akiko's superiority on SS and step sequences trumps Ashley's (obvious) superiority in spins and also Ashley's superior stretch and lines. but only just. there are parts of their programs I enjoy better than the other's I suppose. In general, Akiko seems to have something - spontenaeity or a genuine personal style that Ashley doesn't seem to quite have.

    I'd give the PCS edge to Akiko for sure. On the other hand, Ashely does seem like the more secure and powerful jumper.

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    I agree with the idea that a clean Akiko should be a hair ahead of Ashley if they are both clean and had the same BV. For me personally, I find Ashley's skating a bit overly-cautious and I'm not moved like I am when I watch a clean Akiko. I think the comparison to Mao does hold Akiko back, but to be fair Akiko has squandered many winning opportunities where she lost by a close margin but could have won decisively if clean. For Ashley, I'd really like to see her push herself to do a 3/3 (or at least a 2A/3T) because it would add some excitement to her programs. She is in for a rude awakening if she thinks a clean SP without a 3/3 is going to get her anywhere close to a podium position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    Here's my comparison.

    Lutz: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko sometimes doesn't get edge call. Ashley is sure thing.
    Flip: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's flip is actually her strong jump. It looks nice, clean, good flow, good landing, good attack. Akiko's flip is ok.
    Loop: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's loop has better entrance, cleaner landing. Akiko's loop takes longer to set up. The landing isn't as smooth.
    Salchow: Akiko = Ashley. Both are just ok.
    Toe: Akiko > Ashley. She can do 2A-3T and 3T-3T regularly. Ashley has trouble rotating her 3T.
    Spins: Ashley > Akiko.
    Steps: Akiko > Ashley.

    Skating Skills: Akiko > Ashley. She's fast, has deep edge, her steps are more difficult, and she covers the ice better.
    PE, CH, IN: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko is a performer, and she always has interesting programs. Win these 3 categories easily unless she bombs.
    TR: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley has more transitions.

    Generally, if both skate cleanly, Akiko should be around 64+ for PCS, Ashley should be around 62+ for PCS.
    GOE, Ashley should beat Akiko easily, should definitely make up for the PCS difference.

    I personally believe they are about equal, whoever lands more triples should win. Ashley got too much benefit of the doubt where as Akiko got none, and I have a big problem with that.
    The only thing I disagree with here is putting Ashley ahead of Akiko in Transitions. Yes Ashley has more transitions but in most cases I would rather quality over quantity. I think a lot of the in between turns and steps of Ashley look stiff and scratchy, and would rather her do less with better quality.

    However I agree that in terms of technical ability they are on par, but Akiko is way ahead in PC. Although as we can all agree Akiko has been underscored alot over the past season in PC so I hope she gets what she deserves at worlds. In my opinion though the highest she could place with the current ladies field is 4th.
    I predict....
    1. Yuna Kim
    2. Mao Asada
    3. Carolina Kostner
    4. Akiko Suzuki
    5. Elizaveta Tuktamisheva
    6. Ashley Wagner
    7. Kanako Murakami
    8. Adelina Sotnikova
    9. Kiira Korpi
    10. Valentina Marchei
    11. Gracie Gold
    12. Zijun Li
    13. Kaetlyn Osmond

    Some I am not to sure about and I have then said who I want to place where. However it would be hilarious if this happened because no third ladies spot for US and no 2nd spot for Canada!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlattFan View Post
    Here's my comparison.

    Lutz: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko sometimes doesn't get edge call. Ashley is sure thing.
    Flip: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's flip is actually her strong jump. It looks nice, clean, good flow, good landing, good attack. Akiko's flip is ok.
    Loop: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley's loop has better entrance, cleaner landing. Akiko's loop takes longer to set up. The landing isn't as smooth.
    Salchow: Akiko = Ashley. Both are just ok.
    Toe: Akiko > Ashley. She can do 2A-3T and 3T-3T regularly. Ashley has trouble rotating her 3T.
    Spins: Ashley > Akiko.
    Steps: Akiko > Ashley.
    Akiko's double axel is super spinny (she initiates rotation off the take-off by throwing her right arm across), which is bothersome to me. Sometimes she avoids the Flutz call, but all-in-all Ashley gains on Akiko just by virtue of her transitions into and out of the jumps, and the lack of excessive telegraphing. The top Japanese ladies are all chronic telegraphers for most of their jumps (either they telegraph or they use VERY SLOOOOOW entrance/take-off mechanics to buy themselves time).

    Spins should be "Ashley >>>>>>>> Akiko" Akiko's spins are beyond bad, and it's something her coaches are likely working on, though I haven't seen any improvement in them.

    Steps I think they are about equal (however if the transitions in and out of their technical elements is to be factored in, in that case I would even give Wagner the edge...).

    Skating Skills: Akiko > Ashley. She's fast, has deep edge, her steps are more difficult, and she covers the ice better.
    PE, CH, IN: Akiko > Ashley. Akiko is a performer, and she always has interesting programs. Win these 3 categories easily unless she bombs.
    TR: Ashley > Akiko. Ashley has more transitions.
    I still have no clue what Akiko's program is about, and TBH it seems a bit junior'ish. I like her rather youthful energy and her smile (so few ladies genuinely smile), but really I'm lost as to what the program is about. Really Ashley's programs are clearly superior to Akiko's in terms of performance quality, relatability, and choreography. I hear people say she's a real performer... What exactly is she performing. I hear something about a peacock. What is she, what's going on in the program. We get that from Ashley's program, and Mao Asada's. I'm totally lost with Akiko. It's like Gracie Gold with a bit better choreography/skating skills, but worse jumps.

    Skating Skills they're about equal, Ashley has better transitions, Ashley executes things better than Akiko (better extension, etc.). Ashley seems to be more of a balanced skater, which is why she's able to do these things in and out of jumps and jump with less telegraphing compared to Akiko. Akiko is faster.

    Generally, if both skate cleanly, Akiko should be around 64+ for PCS, Ashley should be around 62+ for PCS.
    GOE, Ashley should beat Akiko easily, should definitely make up for the PCS difference.

    I personally believe they are about equal, whoever lands more triples should win. Ashley got too much benefit of the doubt where as Akiko got none, and I have a big problem with that.
    If both hit their programs the judges will place Ashley ahead of Akiko, and Ashley will beat her PCS score.

    Akiko really needs to fix her "form issues." It makes the whole program look rather messy. She just doesn't come across as a skater who has nice lines and extension, while Ashley does. The whole performance suffers because of it.

    What I like about Suzuki is her youthful energy and her smile. She always seems like she's happy to be performing, and that's refreshing to see these days.

  13. #13
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    Akiko is one of the best artist and dancers in the sport. She may not have the full biellmann extensions to her spins, but her spins are very good and gets level 4's.

    I appreciate an artist / musical skater taking risk by skating to music without a "mainstream" story and bringing the people through her journey of emotions through the song.

    I don't think Akiko is a "messy" skater. I dislike one position in her camel spin but the rest of her program is beautiful!

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    Rejoicing in the land of Kwan kwanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateNater View Post
    It's like Gracie Gold with a bit better choreography/skating skills, but worse jumps.
    I agreed with a few of your points but I think that last sentence just gave me a stroke...
    Last edited by kwanatic; 02-20-2013 at 03:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateNater View Post
    I still have no clue what Akiko's program is about, and TBH it seems a bit junior'ish. I like her rather youthful energy and her smile (so few ladies genuinely smile), but really I'm lost as to what the program is about. Really Ashley's programs are clearly superior to Akiko's in terms of performance quality, relatability, and choreography.
    Quote Originally Posted by SkateNater View Post
    Yet you still can't tell me what km watching when she performs her programs.

    To the poster below you, that's fine. Gracie's program suffers the same as Suzuki's. I have no idea what it's about. She just has better transitions and a bit better choreography. However Gold has a more polished look on the ice.
    Can you point me to the place in the PCS overview where it says "all programs must have an easy to understand concept"? It's exactly this kind of approach that gets us all these Carmens and Swan Lakes - oh noes, if the music's not familiar it'll be too difficult for people to understand.

    I've stayed out of this thread, as I don't want to criticize Ashley Wagner, a skater I admire, just because I like Akiko Suzuki better. But I think Akiko has challenged herself far more than Ashley has in terms of expanding her range as a performer and choosing diverse pieces of music and program concepts. Yes, it's easier for the audience to understand that Ashley was the Black Swan; it was made so obvious in the program that it would be hard not to. Some of Akiko's programs are more subtle and less obvious, but this does not make them lacking artistically (I liked Morozombie's take on her O program from this season). Where you got juniorish, I have no idea; you could say that about Mao's SP this season, maybe, but Akiko's? Of all the critiques that can be made about her, and there certainly are some, that one shouldn't even be on the list.

    Both Wagner and Suzuki are wonderfully committed to their programs and choreo; for me, it comes across as more genuine in Suzuki's case, but I like seeing that kind of enthusiasm in any skater. I respect both ladies for sticking it out in the sport despite challenges and disappointing results along the way. Suzuki is still dealing with the challenge of not being her country's #1 skater, which certainly doesn't help her scores. She has been an underrated skater for years.

    To suggest that Gracie Gold has a more polished look than Akiko Suzuki is laughable. Gold is a promising young skater, but she still has a way to go when it comes to presentation, polish, sophistication etc. She shouldn't even be part of this discussion. Maybe a few years down the line she'll be where Suzuki and Wagner are today.

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