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.
Wagner has a more interesting fp, imo. that's her advantage. Otherwise, they are similar. Both are really good
Rejoicing in the land of Kwan
You know FlattFan, you and I have disagreed on things in the past but I think you nailed this one.
Originally Posted by FlattFan
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.
I always try to be objective.
Originally Posted by kwanatic
If it's just a matter of preference, I'll choose Akiko over Ashley simply because she shows such raw emotion whenever she skates, and it's hard not to be moved by it everytime. Ashley on the other hand, is a great actress on ice, but hasn't yet ever moved me to tears. But that's just me and my subjective thoughts..
There are two competitions where Akiko's programs could have scored like Ashley's TEB/SA FS:
-NHK 2012: she actually received two edge calls there, and she was extremely underscored in PCS (only 62.11, when it was a 65+ program, surely!), so I think that if we consider these two factors, we understand why her score was lower than Ashley's, there;
-4CC 2013: in this occasion, the PCS was correct, but she made one serious mistake: she popped the axel and missed completely the combo with the 3T, at SA/TEB Ashley skated clean so that's why her score was higher.
So in my opinion, her NHK score should have been a 130+, but at 4CC it was fair.
If Akiko land 2 perfect programs and gets the PCS scores she got from 4CC (rightfully deserved), she may get 200+ or more. She is so sensational. In the 4CC, I saw her command her SP and LP like never before. A stronger presence on the ice, a champions confidence! The pressure will be on Yu-Na, Mao and Carolina. But Akiko, Ashley, Adelina and Elizaveta are right there with them if they perform a flawless program.
she takes the audience on her journey of emotions
Wow, Flattfan, thanks!
Originally Posted by FlattFan
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.
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.
It is all relative. If Akiko, Ashley, Adelina, and Elizaveta perform a flawless program and Kim, Asada, and Kostner skate so so performances, it could be close between all of them. However if Kim and Asada perform a flawless program they will absolutely crush any of Akiko, Ashley, Adelina, and Elizaveta. Kostner they might get closer to just since she has nowhere near the technical difficulty of Kim and Asada, and less than the Russians a well, even though like Kim and Asada she will undoubtably get higher GOE and PCS than the others. You say maybe those can score 200, but no doubt Kim and Asada are both capable of atleast 220 if they are perfect. In the end a perfect performance is unlikely for any of those, so likely the gap will be about that anyway, barring an unusually bad skate by someone.
Originally Posted by christinaskater
Well Akiko completely poped the 2A and also didn't do the 2T. Ashley did 6 triples and all the possible double jumps. Had Akiko done just 2A+2T, that will have give her another 4 points, thus matching what Ashley got at her first two GP.