Ladies Free Skating Report - 2013 Skate Canada
2013 Skate Canada
Ladies – Free Skating
Links to Other Reports:
Ice Dance - Short Dance
Ice Dance - Free Dance
Ladies – Short Program
Men - Short Program
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 numbers 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.
Any questions, comments, criticisms and discussion are all very welcome.
1. Courtney HICKS /USA/
Evita by Andrew Lloyd Webber
3flip/3toe(landing not very strong) 
3salchow  – good height but off-axis in the air (+1-1)
flying camel to donut to forward camel catch  – well extended positions, quite good rotation speed
circular step sequence 
2axel  – landing a little weak
3lutz/2toe/2loop(underrotated over 1/4, fall) [-3]
three-turns into 3loop into 2axel 
to flying camel upward twist/change sit broken leg/up layback catch  – good rotation speed but the first two positions poorly extended (+1-1)
choreographic sequence: front spiral /split jump 
camel to sideways twist catch/change sit cannonball  – quite good rotation speed
Good rotation speed in her spins and an impressive array of jumps but some of them were off-axis in the air and she needed to dig deep in her knee on the landing to hold on to it.
She needs some dance training really badly. Her upper body movement is quite stiff and the program lacked character and expression.
She has improved her Personal Best by a massive 8.89 (although the previous one was for a junior program).
I don’t know what happened but she was taping her boots before the start.
2. Veronik MALLET /CAN/
Funny Girl by Jule Scyne
3flutz [-3] – underrotated slightly, clear change of edge before take-off
3loop [-3] – fall
flying camel to upward catch coe/change sit/up sideways catch  – rotation speed not bad
3loop [-3] – fall
flying sit broken leg to pancake  - rotation speed not bad
straight line step sequence [-1] – weak edges, choppy footwork
2axel  - solid
choreographic sequence: front spiral / ina bauer 
2axel/2toe/2toe  (third combo/sequence so didn’t count)
camel to illusion/up/change sit cannonball/up butt out to up 
Her movement was a little limp and not very well defined. More confidence and projection is needed.
3. Natalia POPOVA /UKR/
La Bayadere by Leon Minkus
3flip [-1] – weak landing without much flow out
3loop [-3] – cheated over 1/4, two-footed
to flying camel coe to upward twist to donut to forward camel catch 
camel/sit cannonball to broken leg/change up pancake to Y  – good rotation speed
3salchow/2toe [-1] – salchow cheated over 1/4
1salchow [-3] – wild pop, turnout with foot down
straight line step sequence 
choreographic sequence: Y spiral / catchfoot spiral / split jump 
into layback to sideways to layback catch to biellmann  – not a lot of flexibility in the back, not a lot of speed
A very stiff back and arms moving independently of it. Having said that, she has moved her arms in a more elegant way than in the past and it’s something she has improved on. Not a lot of expression. The program lacked variation and light and shade.
Her jump landings were quite heavy and she didn’t get a lot of flow out of them.
4. Amélie LACOSTE /CAN/
La Valse d'Amelie (from "Amelie Poulain" soundtrack) by Yann Tiersen
Les jours tristes (from "Amelie Poulain" soundtrack) by Yann Tiersen
Comptine d'un autre ete: L'apres-midi (from "Amelie Poulain" soundtrack) by Yann Tiersen
La Noyee (from "Amelie Poulain" soundtrack) by Yann Tiersen
3loop  – high and very solid
3flip [-3] – underrotated way over 1/2 (looked like almost a full revolution), turnout
3salchow/2loop  – solid
flying sit side twist/change sit broken leg to forward tuck  – quite good rotation speed
circular step sequence  – quite good edges
2flip/2toe  – high and solid, entry quite long though
2axel [-1] – off-axis in the air, landing a little strained
3loop/2loop/2loop  – not a lot of flow out
layback to sideways to layback catch  – extension quite limited, not a lot of speed
choreographic sequence: front spiral (nicely extended) / arabesque / footwork 
2axel [-3] – fall
camel to illusion/change up butt out/sit /up Y  – quite good positions and decent rotation speed but lost balance at the end (+1-1)
Good edges. There was variation in the music and her movement reflected it but it was all quite introverted and lacked conviction. She could have used more projection and the program could have used some highlights.
The light pink super girly dress didn’t fit the Amelie music.
5. Kaetlyn OSMOND /CAN/
Mission Cleopatre (soundtrack) by Philippe Chany
Numerobis Theme (from Mission Cleopatre soundtrack) by Philippe Chany
Asterix and Obelix (from Mission Cleopatre soundtrack) by Philippe Chany
Cleopatra and Caesar by Claude-Michel Schoenberg and David Nixon
She has withdrawn due to hamstring injury. She said that she woke up with pain in her hamstring and later during the practice it has gotten worse, therefore her team has decided to err on the side of caution and withdraw.
Given that she was suffering from a foot injury in the first place, maybe her team should have let her recover fully before returning to competition.
6. Christina GAO /USA/
Angels and Demons (soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer
3flip(weak landing)/1toe [-1]
2axel  – nicely held and accentuated landing but not a lot of flow out, a little off-axis in the air
3flutz/2toe [-1] – slight change of edge before take-off
circular step sequence [-1] – edges quite scratchy, not a lot of flow
to scratch butterflies into flying sit var/jump to pancake(slowed down a little) 
three-turns into 3loop  – solid but didn’t hold the landing long and not a lot of flow out
camel coe/layback catch/change sit/up var to Y  – decent positions and rotation speed
3salchow  – possibly slightly cheated
choreographic sequence: ina bauer / split jump / back spiral 
to flying camel upward twist/sit/jump to sit broken leg/up cross-foot  – quite good rotation speed
There were quite a lot of arm movements throughout by they weren’t very elegant or fully extended and she skated with rounded shoulders. Whilst the program featured a few interesting movements, overall the choreography was quite generic.
7. SUZUKI Akiko /JPN/
The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
3flip [-2] – step out
2axel/3toe(cheated over 1/4)/2toe  – solid (+1-1)
3flutz  – solid but a slight change of edge before take-off (+1-1)
scratch butterflies to flying camel upward twist to coe to forward camel catch  – decent rotation speed but positions not very well extended (+1-1)
circular step sequence  – deep edges, good flow
3flip/2toe  – not a lot of speed out
3flutz(cheated over 1/4)/1toe [-2] – slight change of edge before take-off, a little hesitation before doing the single toe (probably because she was very close to the boards and needed to skate away from them first)
3loop  – solid but entry telegraphed (+1-1)
choreographic sequence: Y spiral to crescendo in the music / footwork / falling leaf / front spiral  – good speed, well extended spirals
to camel/up Y/change sit side twist to forward tuck 
flying camel(a lot of revolutions)/sit side twist/jump to change up sideways to layback  – decent rotation speed but travelled a little changing feet (+1-1)
Very good edges, a lot of freedom in her movement with her using her whole upper body and not just moving her arms. However, again, the choreography didn’t have a lot of variation, lacked interesting highlights and didn’t give her an opportunity to go all out.
Her (f)lutz technique has improved and the change of edge is now less pronounced than it used to be.
8. Julia LIPNITSKAIA /RUS/
Schindler's List (soundtrack) by John Williams
steps into 3flutz/3toe  – solid but a slight change of edge before take-off (+1-1)
scratch butterfly into flying camel donut coe to camel-biellmann to forward camel catch  – good positions and rotation speed but off-centred slightly (+2-1)
straight line step sequence  – ok but edges not that well pronounced, could use some more speed
3flip  – solid
2axel  – landing a little heavy but good speed out
3loop  – solid
hyperextended front spiral to three-turns into 3salchow  - solid
3lutz(a little over the toe)/2toe  - slight change of edge before take-off but I think she was still on outside edge, that call could have gone either way though
layback to sideways to hyper-extended biellmann  – fantastic extension, very good rotation speed
choreographic sequence: footwork / ina bauer / front split spiral to charlotte  – really well extended positions
camel upward twist/sit cannonball to broken leg/change up hyper-extended Y  – excellent positions and flow throughout, very good rotation speed but off-centred slightly on the last position (+3-1)
There were a lot of arm movements throughout but they weren’t fully extended, accentuated and held long enough making them look a little frantic. Given the music was longato, slower and gentler movement would have been more appropriate. The choreography lacked variety.
She still seems to lack speed and power in comparison with some of her rivals but that probably is largely the result of her still being so tiny. She was quite smooth over the ice, however and the program flowed quite well.
She has smashed her previous (junior) personal best by 7.38 points.
9. Gracie GOLD /USA/
Sleeping Beauty by Petr I. Tchaikovski
3lutz(very good height and distance)/3toe(a little bit over the toe, not that much flow out)  (+2-1)
2axel [-1] – scratchy landing on inside edge
3loop  – solid, good flow out
transitions into flying camel to upward catch/sit tuck/up Y  – very good rotation speed
circular step sequence  – decent flow
3lip [-2] – over the toe on the landing, slight change of edge before take-off
3lutz [-3] – fall
3salchow [-3] – underrotated over 1/2, foot down, turnout
camel to upward twist/change sit cannonball to sideways twist/up layback  – very good rotation speed
choreographic sequence: front coe spiral to catchfoot 
to 2axel/2toe/2toe 
transitions into sideways to layback catch to biellmann  – good extension and rotation speed
Her improvement since last season is quite astounding. She used to be very stiff in her upper body but here she showed quite soft arm movements. There was quite a lot of upper body movement throughout and a fair amount of transitions as well. The movement was quite varied as well. A quite well choreographed, sophisticated program.
There's still room for improvement on her posture and the way she uses her upper body and there some points in the program, which were quite empty but she is definitely moving in the right direction.
When her music choice was revealed, I didn’t understand why a skater who isn’t balletic at all has chosen something classical. What I didn’t remember, however, was that “Sleeping Beauty” is a really powerful piece (flashbacks to Rechnio’s FS). It was a good fit for her.
Wicked Yankee Girl
ITA, I was shocked at how well Gracie's program fit her-and I like the witchy version of her costume. And that the paddle arms were gone. I don't know whether this is Zoueva's influence (the choreographer) or quick tips from Frank Carroll, but this is the makeover of the year. She definitely deserved her bronze medal here.
I remember somebody saying that Gold has been working with a dance coach every day to improve her movement. Don't have the link though.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
I wish that more skaters would follow her suit because she's testament to how much you can improve your presentation in one off-season if you work really hard on it.
Now if the girl could just skate 2 clean programs at a competition she would be all set. When she makes a mistake in the LP you know she's going to make another one. She has to learn how to move on and forget about it.
Unfortunately she's never been very consistent. I can't remember her skating two clean programs. I wonder if she's working with a sport psychologist.
Her jumps usually seem very high and solid when she's on top of her game so so her issues are probably mental and not technical.
To me, it seemed like Gracie's legs went stiff in the middle of the program. The jump landings that she missed, it looked like she came down straight-legged -- no soft knees.
That's a good point. And you need that soft, gradual movement, first touching down with toe-pick and then moving onto the rest of your blade whilst cushioning the fall by bending your knee. If you land on a stiff leg, you'll usually won't be able to maintain the balance.
Wicked Yankee Girl
She has worked with a sports psychologiest in the past. I'm hoping she can work through her problems, because while she seldom puts together 2 good programs (Jr Nationals & Jr Worlds were the only 2 cases I remember), none the less she seldom screws up both programs. She seems to be best when she screws up the short and has nothing to lose in the long. She hasn't mastered skating last at all. Frank will probably do staging with her on it.
I think she skated clean at her only JGP event too. But that was ages ago when you think about it. And it was before the hype and it was in Juniors.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
Wicked Yankee Girl
I think you're right. It's possible she may get used to the hype after a season or two and take it in stride.
Both Julia's Lutz attempts were flutzes, one of which just not called.
I think both Julia and Gracie had some lovely parts to their programs. One thing that struck me about Gracie was her posture. Maybe this is partly due to the dance work she's been doing. I'm very excited about her possibilities.
Ziggy, thanks for the reports and analyses!
Thanks for pointing that out. I've just had another look at it and whilst she did indeed start to roll off the outside edge towards the inside edge just before take-off, I think that she was still on the outside edge when she took off. It was certainly very close though and I wouldn't guarantee that it definitely was an outside edge without watching it closely in slow-motion.
Originally Posted by Moment
Sure it depends a lot on the angle on videos. People who were at the venue told me her flutzing was pretty obvious.
Originally Posted by Ziggy
Also Akiko's second flutz+1toe was definitely under-rotated on the first jump. It was called and it should be considered in GOE scoring, making it -2 at most. Unfortunately the quality of her jumps and speed in and out of them are really suffering with her age.
Thanks for pointing that out as well. I noticed it too, must have had a brain freeze and forgotten to write it down.
Originally Posted by Moment