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Thread: Marshall's World Cup of Figure Skating - Results - Ladies Free Skate

  1. #16
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Here is my report on the ladies' competition.

    Ann Patrice McDonough! No, she didn't compete, but there she is in the printed program, stunning in dark red, in a full page ad for Capezio Skatewear. I cut it out and framed it!

    1. Michelle Kwan. There was definitely something wrong. When she came out to skate she spent quite a long time kind of stomping around trying to seat her foot in her boots. She tied and retied her laces several times. Although she got the biggest opening applause of any of the skaters, she seemed distracted and did not relate to the audience like she usually does.

    Whatever the cause, my girl just didn't have the eye of the tiger. I think she two-footed both of her last two jumps, she had a wonky landing on her double Axel, and an awkwardness between the jumps of her triple-Lutz / Double Toe. Overall, I would have to say her performance was ordinary.

    Of course, Michelle's ordinary is anyone else's to-die-for, but still... I wasn't crazy about the new dress, finding it sort of generic. The music did not help her. To me, it sounded tinny and without the full-throated orchestration that it needs for its emotional impact. (Maybe the fault of the audio system, but other music sounded OK.)

    I could not tell that the choreography was any different from Campbells, except for a new variation in her combo spin. (It looked like an interesting position -- I’ll be looking for it again when the show is televised on December 18.)

    Skating first is definitely a handicap, especially for a skater like Michelle, who depends on drawing emotional energy from the response of the audience. It's not just the shortened warm-up time or the fact that under ordinal scoring the judges have to leave room for later skaters. It is more that the audience is not really into the competitive flow of the event yet. If you skate last, the arena is electric with the excitement of, "After that fantastic performance Irina is in first place, but now here comes Michelle, do or die!!" or whatever. It pumps up both the audience and the skater.

    I gave her a 5.6, 5.7 (matching the scores of the Russian judge, LOL.) As soon as Michelle's skate was over I knew Irina had it in the bag.

    2. Sasha Cohen. I'm with Dick Button. For the first 30 seconds of her program, you wonder how anyone can possibly ever beat Sasha. She glides across the ice like an ethereal spirit. Even her jumps seem as if she is just lifted into the air by magic. (For most skaters the energy they put into these elements is apparent -- you can actually see them clenching their butt-muscles for the effort, LOL.)

    Unfortunately, what goes up must come down. I, and a good part of the crowd, thought Sasha was held up on both the tech and the presentation scores. She got straight 5.3’s in technical. I suppose we should derive confidence from the fact that all of the judges agreed. But four of the five judges gave 5.1 or 5.2 to Angela Nikodinov, whose only technical errors were one doubled triple attempt and the singling of her double Axel. And two of the five judges put Sasah ahead of Jenny Kirk in technical, although Jenny hit five triples (I think) and had only one fall.

    The presentation mark, too -- yes, Sasha is a vision of loveliness, wonderful extension and flexibility, etc., etc., etc. But it is how well you present your program that is being judged. I thought that Sasha’s program lost its focus -- although she still did some nice elements --after the three falls.

    I didn’t care for Sasha’s Nutcracker music. It seemed too big and grand for her style. The swells of the music call for the skater to dominate the ice, and for this performance anyway, Sasha wasn’t doing that.

    3. Jenny Kirk. Her best performance of the year. The judges evidently don’t give any credit for flat-out drop-dead beauty, because she only got 5.4s across the board for presentation (5.6 from the American judge -- after all, Jenny might be our third lady at Worlds again, LOL)

    I thought she opened with a triple-triple, but maybe it was only a triple-double (a little bit shaky on the landing of the first jump.) Followed by a 3-Lutz / 2-toe and three more jumps that were pretty nice, although she had to struggle to hold a couple of the landings. She seemed to tire later in the program, leading to a fall. But she came right back with a very solid triple Lutz near the end.

    Jenny’s weakest area is her spirals, IMO. Much room for improvement there.

    When her scores came up, the audience gave a lusty BOOOOO! I don’t think the boos were specifically because the audience felt that the judges had held up Sasha unfairly over Jenny. Just that they didn’t like the low marks (tech scores 5.4, 5.4, 5.4, 5.1 and 5.2).

    Speaking of the third American lady, Jenny made a loud statement that she is not ready to abdicate just yet.

    4. Alissa Czisny. Home town girl makes good. Very nice performance. Opened with a 3-Lutz / 2-toe, I think she completed 4 triples in all. She did do some Sasha-esque flexibility moves, such as an Ina Bauer (held only very briefly, however), a forward Charlotte, a Beaver Cleaver, and some spiral moves. She needs to stretch out more and hold her positions longer. There is still a youthful quality to her overall skating.

    She did a much better Bielmann than Slutskaya.

    Nice outing for Alissa. This is her breakout season for sure, and she has made the most of her opportunities. There was quite a bit of disagreement among the judges about 4th, 5th and 6th place. It could have gone any which way for the last three ordinals.

    Shizuka Arakawa was heavily promoted in the program and in the videos that ran on the Jumbotron. I wonder if Shizuka wishes now that she had come, since Michelle gave a beatable performance, nor was Irina’s out of reach.

    5. Irina Slutskaya. Excellent performance by the comeback kid, especially since she has three back-to-back competitions in a row in three different corners of the globe. Clear first. She did 7 triples in all ,including a triple-triple, two more combinations, and excellent straight-line footwork.

    Her catch-foot change edge spirals (backward and forward) were only OK. Bad traveling on her final combination spin.

    IMO Irina’s program is not intended to grab your emotions, wring your heart, turn your soul inside out, make you fall in love -- that sort of thing. Rather, she goes about her job in a efficient and workmanlike manner, checking off one finely executed move after another. I don’t know whether this is the ticket to CoP success or not. Three of the five judges (Japan, Canada and France) gave Michelle higher presentation scores than Irina, despite an emotionally limp effort from Michelle.

    But Russia and the US gave Irina 5.9s for presentation. I agree, at least in so far as Irina presented her program with outstanding confidence and aplomb. I gave Irina 5.8, 5.8

    6. Angela Nikodinov. What a shame that someone had to finish last. Angela skated great. Only two mistakes, neither of them major. The main thing is that she didn’t fall apart after an error or two. She fought back and finished strong. In fact, her best triple was the one she hit right after doubling her third jump.

    The judges as a whole gave her scores that were at the same level as Kirk and Czisny, and it worked out to 6th place for Angela. Another round of Boos from the audience. I don’t know if I can say she was robbed, but she gave a very nice performance and it is too bad she couldn’t have been rewarded better for it. Unlike Sasha, Jenny, and Alissa, at least Angela stayed on her feet.

    I scored it: Slutskaya, Kwan, Kirk, Nikodinov, Cohen, Czisny.

    Mathman

  2. #17
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    Interesting. Michelle does great going first. Remember Nationals with Aranjuez. The girl was on fire. I just think Michelle had distractions with her boots. She wasn't in the mood if you ask me and whatever Michelle is feeling is translates on ice.

    Also I heard Irina did 6 triples and on 3/3 combos.

  3. #18
    TriGirl Rinkside
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    Thanks MM, been waiting for your report. You really didn't like Michelle's dress? I was impressed by the pictures I saw, liked the color and longer (looking) skirt. That being said, I know Vera does lovely work, but her costumes for Michelle seem somewhat bland.

  4. #19
    In love with the axel!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cianni
    I think Irina won last night and deserved to but I see no different skating from her except she has the advantantage of being able to do the Beilman spin and does so all through the program. I dont think that should be the auto winning move. Her jumps are great but very little choro in the program.
    I enjoyed her choreography. I thought she made excellent use of the music. I did think there were too many Beilman positions, though, between the spiral sequence and the spins. It was kind of like, yes, I know you are flexible, now show me something else.

  5. #20
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lavender
    Also I heard Irina did 6 triples and no 3/3 combos.
    I think that's right. According to my notes, she did 6 triples including three 3-2 combos, but no 3-3.

    The article in todays paper says she did 7, so I thought I got it wrong.

    You might be right about the mood thing, too. I don't know any reason why Michelle would be in a bad mood, but then everybody is from time to time.

    Anyway, that was my first impression, that Michelle just isn't into it tonight, for whatever reason.

    Tharrtell, about the dress, it was OK, it just didn't grab me. Actually, I just now looked at the pictures on the USFS web site, and it looks fine. Irina's dress, on the other hand, doesn't look like anything special in the pictures because you can't see the glitter. In person, Irina looked mahvelous!

    Maybe it was the body language and the emotions of the wearers. Irina was there to kick some major butt. Michelle just never got it going.

    MM

  6. #21
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    Thanks for the report, Mathman. Interesting that you did not see any of the changes others are reporting in Michelle's program. Also as lavender said most other reports say Irina did 6 triples with no 3/3. I guess we will all see for ourselves two weeks from now on ABC.

    insecureedge

  7. #22
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by insecureedge
    Interesting that you did not see any of the changes others are reporting in Michelle's program.
    I'm sure they were there, Insecureedge, I am just not an expert observer.

    MM

    PS. About how people looked in their costumes, for some reason the big four-sided overhead screen in the center of the arena was stretched out horizontally, making everybody look short and fat, LOL.
    Last edited by Mathman; 12-04-2004 at 06:09 PM.

  8. #23
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    Marshalls

    Thanks Mathman for the report it was great. I would guess Michelle was distracted by hurting feet those boots can reek havoc and I can tell you that will cut you short. I agree Sasha was held up big time but with her whats new. Im happy for Irina and think the Irina michelle rivalry will spark more interest in the comps. They push each other. Too bad for Kirk and Angela. I said the judging hasnt changed.. Im also wondering whats with it with Cohen and the judging as she seems to garner way over the top marks no matter how she skates. Ill wait for Nationals and see how all progress.

  9. #24
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    Mathman, I agree about the dress. It's pretty but nothing new. I wish she would wear long sleeves from time to time. I also think she should think about burgandy. That would be a beautiful color on her.

  10. #25
    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    Great report, Mathman........thanks for the effort. If Michelle can skate "in a bad mood", have boot problems, a sore ankle, and land 5 triples and come in second.......well it just shows you how marvelous a competitor she is. Very happy for Irina. Looks like she's back on track. Of course I haven't seen the competition yet, but Irina for me has never been a 5.9 presentation skater. Not surprised at all with Sasha's and Angela's skating efforts. When they're on, they're the best, but when they're not.............. :sheesh: 42

  11. #26
    Custom Title boggartlaura's Avatar
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    Kurt Browning was forced to break in new boots during the 1990 Nationals. His old boots need replacing, and if he didn't do it then, he'd have to do it at worlds.

    I suspect Michelle had a similar reason.

  12. #27
    GOLDEN DREAMS RealtorGal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gezando
    yeah, why does my realtor seem to always get her camera, appointment books, amortizatin calculator, PDA, housing information etc right before she takes me house hunting? Could it be possible it is the tools of the art or trade?
    BTW, if my realtor's PDA ever breaks down minutes prior to clsoing the house, I will tell her oh gee, you have all year to get a new one.
    Ah, re-reading this post and your more recent one makes me realize I misunderstood you. My correct response needs to be:

    Yes, your Realtor gathers up these items right before she meets you; but my guess is that they are not all brand new items purchased right before your meeting. She brings items that she has already "broken in" so to speak--in other words, she knows how to use them well before she meets with you. After all, she KNOWS she needs them to work with you effectively, and she makes darn sure that she's not standing there saying, "Now, how do I use this PDA? Give me a few minutes to work it out!"

    Further, if her PDA breaks down once, well, those things happen. If it happens a second time, she's got a big problem.

    As for Tim, I think we all know now that he had a lot more serious problems going on than just ill-fitting boots. Apparently, he is still experiencing those problems.

  13. #28
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Mathman - I'm impressed. Your critique of the competition was nicely done.

    It seems that Irina's bielman-like-spirals are the cat's meow this season. I guess the skaters with the best back bends have an advantage.

    It also seems that the last 3 ladies scores were somewhat planted in the judges heads before the competition. really sorry about Angela.

    But I'll take a look on the 18th. However, right now I am thinking how many of the 6 ladies and 6 men will I actually see? And how many skaters will be fluffing Holiday Greetings?

    Joe

  14. #29
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    Well, after seeing these results I must say that as much as I love sasha cohen, she needs to clean up her act. From everything being said.... the judges really held her up at this one. I can understand that she has been injured and such, but Nationals is creeping up and there will not be room for 3 falls in her long program a month from now. As far as Irina is concerned... I couldn't be happier for her. She has worked so hard to climb back to the top after all her setbacks, and she is back with a BANG! In Michelle's case, I seem to be disappointed with her so far. She has been doing the same triple jumps for years now and I would hope she'd be doing triple/triple combinations by now. Don't gte me wrong she is a beautiful skater and has done a lot for this sport, but it gets tiring seeing the same stuff from her year after year. In my opionion... no guts no glory!

    Some other skaters on the GP circuit have proven that they can not only compete with these skaters artistic wise, but they can also do the triple/triple combinations. IMO if Joannie Rochette can continue to build on her season so far, she can be a serious threat at worlds this year. She has proven she can do the jumps, and she is also the all around practice, and on a whole I love her skating. Even Cynthia seems to be building on her season each time she competes. Carolina Kostner has battled with consistancy so far this year but Ithink that on a good day she can also compete with the best. Shizuka Arakawa hasn't been in top form yet this season, but I wouldn't count her out. She didn't win a world title last year for nothing. I think she will be just fine and in competition for just in time to challenge for the world title again this year.

    This years worlds proves to be an exciting competition, but I think that certain skaters need to step up their game if they want to win. The title isn't just going to be handed to someone, they have to skate it first.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    I'm sure they were there, Insecureedge, I am just not an expert observer.

    MM

    PS. About how people looked in their costumes, for some reason the big four-sided overhead screen in the center of the arena was stretched out horizontally, making everybody look short and fat, LOL.
    Mathman, you're being too humble. Given that you told us that you were trying to be a good date and combined with your excellent writing, that report was superb. I appreciate your honesty in writing about Kwan's difficulties and your impressions on all the skaters.

    insecureedge

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