Wagner vs. Suzuki
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.