ISU, stop promoting 2-foot skating!
2013 Skate America - Men Short Program Report
2013 Skate America
Men – Short Program
Links to other Reports:
Ice Dance – Short Dance
Ice Dance – Free Dance
Ladies – Short Program
Ladies - Free Skating
Men – Free Skating
Pairs – Short Program
Pairs – Free Skating
Disclaimer: The GOE values listed next to the elements are ones I would award if I was a judge and they’re intended to give you a general impression of how each element was executed. I try to describe each of the elements but there's not always time to be as detailed as I would like and a number can sometimes say a thousand words.
I am generally very nitpicky, try to pay a lot of attention to detail and attempt to notice various errors that judges might have missed. I realise that I’m being very harsh but I try my best to apply the same high standard to all of the skaters.
The report is based on an online broadcast so certain things like ice coverage and program layout are harder to notice.
Any questions, comments, criticisms and discussion are all very welcome.
Brian Joubert has withdrawn, claiming FFSG has sanctioned him for not having competed at Masters, in an interview with L’Equipe. FFSG claims that not taking part in SA was his own choice.
Denis Ten has withdrawn due to illness.
The mostly empty arena seats looked really depressing.
1. Max AARON /USA/
Historia de un amor by Perez Prado
4salchow [-3] – fall
3lutz/3toe  – landings a little tight
camel/up butt out/sit cannonball/change site side twist/up cross-foot 
3axel  – high and solid
to flying camel side twist to catch (not extended very well) 
straight line step sequence  – great attack and expression
sit/jump to sit/change sit broken leg to forward bend  – good rotation speed
His presentation has definitely improved since last season. Carriage is still poor but slightly better. He showed a strong, confident posture (within his limitations, shoulders were still rounded), in character of the music, and at times he has also used his upper body to interpret it. There were some transitions between the elements as well.
Speed was good but he needed a lot of scraped, hasty cross-overs and progressives to build and maintain it. His edges could use some work.
He looked very nervous in the warm-up and popped at least a couple of jumps.
2. Adam RIPPON /USA/
Suite from Carmen for Strings and Drums by Georges Bizet and Rodion Shchedrin
4lutz [-3] – underrotated almost half a revolution, hand down, no preceding steps at all
scratch butterfly to flying sit (camel position in the air) side twist to forward tuck  – good rotation speed
camel coe/jump to change camel to catch  – good rotation speed, quite well extended positions
3axel [-1] – off-axis in the air, had to put his foot down quite quick
3flip/3toe  – solid
straight line step sequence  – good flow and great expression
camel/sit var/change sit broken leg/up layback  – excellent rotation speed
He has also improved since last season. Quite smooth edges and more power in his skating. The program seemed a little disjoined however. A strong opening and ending but it fizzled out in the middle, with neither a lot of connecting elements, nor a lot of relation to the music.
3. Artur GACHINSKI /RUS/
4toe [-3] – seemed to have landed it but his timing wasn’t sharp enough on the landing and he sat down
3lutz/3toe(underrotated over a quarter, step out with hands down) [-3]
scratch butterflies into camel upside twist to catch coe(poorly extended position) 
sit/jump to sit/change sit pancake 
circular step sequence [-1] – fast and frantic movements which really jarred with the music which was longato at the start and only got a more distinctive beat later on
camel/sit broken leg/up raise leg/change up pancake to Y 
A messy performance. It looked as if he had given up on presenting the program after the two initial jump mistakes. This kind of music demands sharp, aggressive movements but he seemed distant and wasn’t extending his lines properly.
Positions in spins lacked extension and rotation speed was a little subpar also.
Both him and Mishin seemed disappointed and Gachinski hastily walked out after seeing the marks.
4. Alexander MAJOROV /SWE/
Khorobushko by Bond
4toe [-3] – fall
3lutz/3toe  – good height as well as speed and flow out
camel/sit broken leg/up butt out/change camel/jump to sit/up  – positions not bad, good flow maintained from start to finish
3axel  – stalked the entry a little but landing ok
scratch butterflies into flying camel to upward catch [-1] – poorly extended positions
straight line step sequence  – good flow, moved in character of the music
steps to sit side twist/change sit to forward bend  – good entry and rotation speed but he travelled
The program was decently choreographed featuring some big sweeping edges as well as flavour movements in character of the music (like Russian folk dancing style crouching). His posture and lines used to be a bit messy in the past and whilst he’s still not the most elegant skater, he’s improved somewhat in those areas. Flow was quite good as well. All in all, he’s another skater whose presentation has improved since last season.
He also seemed to have lost some weight since last season. The flabby stomach is still there, however, I’m afraid. I feel really horrible saying that but he’s a competitive skater competing at the highest level so you’d really expect him to be in the best possible physical shape.
5. Jason BROWN /USA/
The Question of U by Prince
fan kick towards 3axel  – landing a little tight but clean
3flip/3toe [-1] –toe landing was a little weak; he had to put foot down quite quickly
unexpected entry to flying camel to upward catch coe  – very good positions and rotation speed, nice exit into transitions
into transitions to back sit leg behind/change sit var/jump to sit broken leg 
3lutz with arm above  – directly connected with preceding footwork, very solid
straight line step sequence  – deep edges, good flow and upper body movement
camel upward twist coe/sit var/up L/change camel/sit side twist/up scratch  – very well extended positions, good flow and rotation speed throughout
Very strong, creative choreography. A lot of detail in the program both in terms of upper body movement and connecting footwork. Beautifully extended lines. Smooth basic skating.
He could use some more speed and power but as far as the overall PCS package goes, there are few skaters that come anywhere near him. He uses his whole body to interpret the music and the program was packed with transitions.
I am surprised Rohene Ward isn’t hired by more skaters given the consistently high quality of the work he has produced for Brown over the last few seasons.
When his marks got announced, he teared up and looked at the screen in disbelief.
6. KOZUKA Takahiko /JPN/
Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck
4toe [-3] – landing a little weak (-1 quality I’d say), no preceding footwork at all
3axel  – solid landing, good speed in and out and a good position in the air, quite effortless throughout (he stalked the entry a little bit but it was still shorter than what you see usually)
camel/up var/sit broken leg/change sit/jump to sit/up scratch  – off-centred a tiny little bit on the two last positions
3lutz [-3] – heavy step out with hand down
camel upward twist/change camel coe  – quite good camel position but he could use some more speed
sit pancake to forward tuck 
straight line step sequence  – decent speed but footwork could have been more pronounced and he could have made better use of upper body movement
Kozuka has strong basic skating , very good speed and an elegant posture but as usual, he seemed quite introverted and lacked projection. Given performance skills are something he is lacking, why give him this kind of funky music?
He was mechanically going through all of the movements he got choreographed but he didn’t seem to feel them at all and it was very much a ‘behind the glass’ kind of performance. I think that classical music or a Joe Hisaishi soundtrack (only not choreographed by Zoueva, please ;P) would have been a better choice for him.
He has good basics and each season I feel a lot of frustration as a result of his team’s failure to develop his performance skills or at least create programs which would suit him and play to his strengths instead of accentuating his weaknesses.
7. MACHIDA Tatsuki /JPN/
East of Eden (soundtrack) by Lee Holdridge
4toe/3toe  – clean but a slight hesitation between the two jumps and he could have used some more speed and flow out
3axel  – landing nicely accentuated with an arabesque
flying camel coe/change camel  – could use a little more speed but the positions were well extended
flying sit cannonball/jump to cannonball to forward tuck  – quite good positions and rotation speed
3lutz  –a very solid landing with room to spare and good speed out
serpentine step sequence  – great expression but footwork a little bit heavy and scratchy in places
camel/sit broken leg/up butt out/jump to change sit/up cross-foot  – slowed down at the end
It was an impassioned performance and he seemed to be giving it his 110%. Solid on all of the jumps, he completed the program without any hesitation. He used his upper body very well throughout, not just moving his arms up and down but using the entirety of it.
Whilst he skated very well, the choreography was a little lukewarm and didn’t really make a strong statement. It could have used some more character. Some more transitions would have been good as well. He shows a lot of skill and is capable of selling his programs very well, all that is required now is some polishing work.
8. TAKAHASHI Daisuke /JPN/
Sonatino for Violin by Mamoru Samuragochi
4toe [-3] – underrotated, double-footed, step out
camel to catch/change camel upward twist coe  – rotation speed has improved and was decent enough (but not great), the variations weren’t extended very well
3axel [-1] – weak landing, did half a turn out and had to fight to hold it
flying sit cannonball to side twist to forward tuck 
3lutz(very slightly cheated)/2toe(foot down) [-2]
straight line step sequence  – strong edges, fantastic flow throughout, good use of upper body movement
camel/up var to scratch/change sit var/up sideways to layback  – quite good rotation speed
A very well choreographed program featuring detailed upper body movement throughout. Fantastic lines, strong and impassioned movement. Good speed and flow from start to finish.
Great work by Kenji Miyamoto. When skated to its full potential, this program should blow off the roof in Sochi.
Transitions are one thing that was lacking somewhat, in comparison to how strong the performance was in all other PCS areas. But this is something that is usually the case for him, as far as I can recall. Given his lack of consistency on the jumps, maybe his team doesn’t want to make it even harder for him to complete his technical elements or maybe it’s a stamina issue. Who knows.
He has improved his camel spin, which used to be his Achilles heel (he used to do a flying upright spin until recently) but it could still use some work (the variations look quite strained) and whilst his spins are not bad in general, they are not as strong as those of some of his rivals either.
With regards to the judging, the judges lowering his PE shows they don’t understand at all how this component is supposed to be marked. It’s not a reflection of how many jumps a skater has or hasn’t landed (that’s what TES is for). Yes, Takahashi made mistakes on his jumps. But he didn’t let that affect his performance at all. His movement was confident and impassioned, it was in character of the music and his lines were beautifully extended. He ticked all of the PE boxes.
Ziggy, is this a live report or online vid report?
Anyway thank you for the report.
BTW, I enjoyed Kozuka's SP the most.
Big skate, great SS.
ISU, stop promoting 2-foot skating!
Thanks Deedee, even with the mistakes, Takahashi's gorgeous program certainly lifted my day. A great event all round.
Online vid so certain things like ice coverage and program layout are a bit harder to spot. I'll add it into all the disclaimers.
Originally Posted by EricRohmer
Ziggy you should be a judge. You are awesome.
After watching the videos, I cannot agree with some of your statements about the programs, and particularly the ones about Takahashi. Even well-skated and the jumps all there, I don't think this program will blow the roof off of anywhere. I find a sameness and lack of contrast throughout that becomes grating.
Thanks so much for the wonderfully detailed reports! I won't get to watch anything for awhile, and this gives me the flavor of the event. I hope you're right about Takahashi. It was so discouraging to read that his jumps melted away that badly, but your description of his execution of the program gives me hope for the future.
Thanks for the detailed report, Ziggy! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about Takahashi's program. It's not in-your-face as some other programs, but it's beautiful and impassioned (perfect word for it). You can tell that it means a lot to Takahashi to perform this music.
ISU, stop promoting 2-foot skating!
Takahashi's SP lacks light & shade, that is true. But because his movement was so elegant and detailed, and his delivery was so impassioned, it didn't seem to matter much.
Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie
Of course some of what constitutes marks like PE and CH can be quite subjective so opinions will always differ.