2020 NHK Trophy: Thoughts on Ladies

1111bm

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
I don’t think there were uncalled urs. I suggest you check the protocols. Higuchi’s beautiful 3A was called as was her flip edge.

In regard to Japanese technical issues, I don’t think anyone is suggesting they don’t have technical problems. Who has ever said this? (Rika Kihira really doesn’t have technical flaws but she is a unique skater in any country and wasn’t here- most skaters in the world either flutz, lip or have flat edges on both jumps.. I think people were just upset because Russia complained about their skaters getting deserved calls —that’s not cool) People think that Japanese skaters don’t get the same breaks international that other skaters do and their own federation doesn’t give them any breaks either. The technical calling here was harsh, if you want to see the carrots and edge calls just check the protocols. Everyone but Kaori has hammered.

In regard to step sequences, yes it is true that sometimes international panels are harsh but domestic panels aren’t except for Japan.

Stylistically you can like whoever you like but your taste shouldn’t determine PCS scoring..I don’t enjoy Dani G’s programs for instance but that doesn’t mean Daria and Kamila don’t deserve high PCS/GOE . They absolutely do, and so do the Japanese girls with good posture, SS, and transitions whether you like their style or not. Plus, there is no Japanese “style”. Wakaba Higuchi, Kaori Sakamato, and Rino all have incredibly different styles. If you think they are all the same, you really aren’t paying attention and are allowing prejudice to determine your view.
Er, there is a general sentiment, that the russian girls all have cheated jumps, meanwhile the poor japanese ladies don't get rewarded for their better technique. Obviously not everyone will agree with this, but it's still a commonly found opinion and it strikes me as quite the double standard.

And again, neither You's nor Wakaba's 3A got the call and BV reduction, that they deserved. Which, given that the 3A is such a big point getter, gives them quite an unfair advantage over the other skaters.
(hypothetically, since 'they messed it up' with other mistakes)

Also ??? at your comment re stylistic preferences and its relation to PCS.
Where did I even mention PCS in that paragraph?? And saying, that I don't enjoy many programs stylistically, what does that have to do with PCS and how I think it should be scored? I'm thoroughly confused by your interpretation of my words.

I merely stated that I like their skating, but that doesn't mean that I don't notice mistakes on jumps or step sequences.

Also, funny you should mention Kaori, Wakaba and Rino as proof of stylistic differences, when Kaori and Wakaba happen to be the ones standing out so much, precisely because they're quite different from the rest (and btw, are amongst the ones I enjoy watching the most, for this exact reason).

Rino's FS otoh is what I perceive as a classic japanese ladies' program (i.e. commonly found amongst japanese ladies, but, disclaimer, since people are so incredibly sensitive whenever anyone dares make a generalisation: obviously that doesn't mean every single skater from Japan skates programs in that style)
 

yume

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
LOL, out of the ladies that I watched there was not one true Lutz (I didn't watch every single one of them, Tomoe obviously has a true outside edge take-off, but I missed her). I also barely saw any in the men's field, too.
Yet I didn't see even one "e" in the ladies' FS protocols (there was only one "!" on a Lutz I believe).

There were also several uncalled URs, most notably You's and Wakaba's 3As.
Tomoe, Nana, Mako, You, have clear outside edges.
Mana, Rino, Wakaba, Mai have slight outside edges.

If clear outside edge is what you call true lutz, there was at least 4.

The protocols are full of "q", (!) And "<".
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Apart from clear edges, Nana and Tomoe also have nice lutz picking technique (toepick staying firmly planted, jump explodes vertically, a bit like Hanyu). However, both of them have problems with rotation (kind of loose in the air on certain jumps). Powerful jumps, powerful falls. Tsurskaya or Sotskova might be a good Russian analogy.

Also, when people refer to the japanese' skatings skills, they usually have their speed, powerful crossovers or glide in mind. But that is just one aspect of skating skills, and frankly, I don't see more (or less) precise or effortless edgework from the japanese, than from any other nation's skaters.
This is also kind of what I was referring to as well. Stuff like tidy free leg, precise foot placement and whatnot. Incidentally these skills are very important in ice dance (widestepping in mohawks/drop 3s and soccer-kick swing rolls are a no-no!) but not specially recognised in freestyle although some skaters (depending on the coach) are able to demonstrate them. I can kind of guess where the skater trained based on their footwork (e.g. even without looking at his ISU bio, Tomoki Hiwatashi does not skate like a Japanese guy despite his bouncy knees. Team Japan skaters who train abroad sometimes also have 'neat feet', e.g. Tatsuki Machida). Nathan Chen and Andrew Torgashev are examples of neat-footed skaters with rather different styles. Krazhnozhon is an example of a messy-footed skater (but fun to watch anyway). Skaters with neat feet find it easier to transition to ice dance, which might explain why Japan hasn't been very successful in this area so far despite their skaters generally having lots of flow and knee-bend (yes, I know it has to do with public interest and coach availability too).
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Er, there is a general sentiment, that the russian girls all have cheated jumps, meanwhile the poor japanese ladies don't get rewarded for their better technique. Obviously not everyone will agree with this, but it's still a commonly found opinion and it strikes me as quite the double standard.

And again, neither You's nor Wakaba's 3A got the call and BV reduction, that they deserved. Which, given that the 3A is such a big point getter, gives them quite an unfair advantage over the other skaters.
(hypothetically, since 'they messed it up' with other mistakes)


Rino's FS otoh is what I perceive as a classic japanese ladies' program (i.e. commonly found amongst japanese ladies, but, disclaimer, since people are so incredibly sensitive whenever anyone dares make a generalisation: obviously that doesn't mean every single skater from Japan skates programs in that style)
Well, if that is the general opinion then I certainly disagree. It is a double standard. Technical issues are evenly distributed throughout the World. However, I suspect that opinion is really only in relation to Rika who is a strange aberration in terms of having pretty great technique on all jumps.

I did not closely examine You's 3A so I can't say if it was truly UR. However, she was called on several other jumps. After reviewing Wakaba's 3A several times, I can only say that I disagree with you that it was more than 90ur and I think it was 60 degrees ur which makes the q call harsh in my opinion since she ended up with negative GOE due to that call.

About Rino's style being typically "Japanese" I don't it is a particularly popular style at the moment. Only Rino and Mai skated in similar style this weekend. Everyone else showed radically different styles. I was personally highly entertained by Yuhana who has a style completely different to all other skaters in the World.
 
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readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Apart from clear edges, Nana and Tomoe also have nice lutz picking technique (toepick staying firmly planted, jump explodes vertically, a bit like Hanyu). However, both of them have problems with rotation (kind of loose in the air on certain jumps). Powerful jumps, powerful falls. Tsurskaya or Sotskova might be a good Russian analogy.


This is also kind of what I was referring to as well. Stuff like tidy free leg, precise foot placement and whatnot. Incidentally these skills are very important in ice dance (widestepping in mohawks/drop 3s and soccer-kick swing rolls are a no-no!) but not specially recognised in freestyle although some skaters (depending on the coach) are able to demonstrate them. I can kind of guess where the skater trained based on their footwork (e.g. even without looking at his ISU bio, Tomoki Hiwatashi does not skate like a Japanese guy despite his bouncy knees. Team Japan skaters who train abroad sometimes also have 'neat feet', e.g. Tatsuki Machida). Nathan Chen and Andrew Torgashev are examples of neat-footed skaters with rather different styles. Krazhnozhon is an example of a messy-footed skater (but fun to watch anyway). Skaters with neat feet find it easier to transition to ice dance, which might explain why Japan hasn't been very successful in this area so far despite their skaters generally having lots of flow and knee-bend (yes, I know it has to do with public interest and coach availability too).
So skaters should train soft knees, flow, and speed in Japan and train "neat feet" in N.A. Interesting perspective! I think I agree.
 

yume

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Apart from clear edges, Nana and Tomoe also have nice lutz picking technique (toepick staying firmly planted, jump explodes vertically, a bit like Hanyu). However, both of them have problems with rotation (kind of loose in the air on certain jumps). Powerful jumps, powerful falls. Tsurskaya or Sotskova might be a good Russian analogy.
That's why i want them to give up on 3lz-3T and move the 3T on a less powerful jump. They rarely have a stable a fully rotated toe after that big lutz.
A layout with two 2A-3T and 3lz-2T-2lo. Something like 2A-3T/3F/3S/3lo // 2A-3T/3lz-2T-2lo/3lz.
That was Satoko's jump layout during her 3 first seniors seasons (with different jumps placement). In terms of BV it wasn't hammering since she had even an higher BV than Medvedeva. That was her best layout imo and 2A-3T was her money jump.
They wouldn't lose much compared to their current BV and the GOEs will be better.
 

samkrut@mail.ru

Medalist
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
I watched both programs. Despite geoblocking of the stream - this idiocy has to stop one day - one nice person made individual videos in order of appearance so that it was like watching the stream.

As for skating, I liked Kaori, although her previous programs where IMO more interesting. With the new ones she feels quite comfortable, though. My problem with her is that even with the perceived "warm attitude" towards her by the Fed, even with a good margin after a SP she did not try anything new in the free program. Resting on laurels is not what figure skating is about nowadays. She can be competitive with Bradie and Mariah. But with the top Russians her only chance to beat them is relying on meltdowns....unless she is willing to take risks and introduces 3A and/or quads later this season.

I have a soft spot for Marin Honda. It started long time ago when I first saw her as a junior. It's possible to find my praises of her in the archives. Her arms, her grace - they are very different from a "generalized athletic style" of Japanese ladies. This is the territory of my favorite Russian skaters - Medvedeva, Scherbakova, Usacheva. But looks like they gave up on her. Even with seemingly clean jumps she receives low GOE. Nothing special to Japan. In Russia we have cases of Nugumanova, Samodurova - you can keep adding skaters whose URs are under microscope and who never get a leeway unlike some other skaters. I am sure that it affects the motivation to continue competitive career so that I am quite pessimistic about Marin's future as an athlete. Sad - a beautiful skater.

Kudos to Wakaba for trying and landing 3A. Having read about UR I watched the jump in slow-mo. Yes, it was surely URed same as Liza's shown attempt of 4T. But I am not with those who make big deal out of it. I am with those who support athletes in their moving the horizon. I am, as I said, much more critical of those leaders who play it safe. As for the rest of her skating, Wakaba's style was never my cup of tea and it will never be. The only exception was her James Bond program when she somehow found the match between the music, choreography, and her powerful style.

I also read Japanese ladies and NHK forums. I was not surprised by a bit that some posters whom I see every now and then in Russian ladies thread and who have 2 usual approaches: outright critique or "yes....but" - I was not surprised that those posters were very supportive to every skater - like a famous commentator from Canada. I don't plan here to "restore the balance". May be because I do not praise every Russian skater just because they are Russians and because it feels good to be supportive. I am trying to express my bias as sincerely as I can. One more thing about posters. There have been so many harsh words about Eteri and her "dietary practices". I can't remember anything similar in "Japanese threads" and I see no comments on Mai Mikhara at NHK. But one has to be blind to not see how skinny she is now - I don't remember her looking like that before. Any information? As for her skating, it's lovely in general - a feather like skating is a contrast to the "usual Japanese style". Still, I have to use "yes....but" here. But for me it looks juniorish - even some Russian junior skaters like Valieva, Sinitsina, and Usacheva have more "maturity" in their skating.

Young You's skating was rough but, for one thing, not boring. There is some clear potential. The clock is ticking, though. It is high time to start realizing this potential.

As for the rest, some big jumps (Nana Araki?) But I can't remember anything else. Rika was missed.
 

yume

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
One more thing about posters. There have been so many harsh words about Eteri and her "dietary practices". I can't remember anything similar in "Japanese threads" and I see no comments on Mai Mikhara at NHK. But one has to be blind to not see how skinny she is now - I don't remember her looking like that before. Any information? As for her skating, it's lovely in general - a feather like skating is a contrast to the "usual Japanese style". Still, I have to use "yes....but" here. But for me it looks juniorish - even some Russian junior skaters like Valieva, Sinitsina, and Usacheva have more "maturity" in their skating.
Mai's shape is due to a chronic illness, juvenile arthritis. She didn't compete last season because of it. That's a serious illness and she was hospitalized.

At the end of 2018-2019 season she was already losing weight.

No rough eating habits involved there.

And it's commanding from her to only come back but keep her consistency while she's far to have the strength she had two seasons back. She skated in four competitions so far and i recall only 2 or 3 pops.

About her skating i don't share your opinion but evertone has his tastes.
 
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readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
I watched both programs. Despite geoblocking of the stream - this idiocy has to stop one day - one nice person made individual videos in order of appearance so that it was like watching the stream.

As for skating, I liked Kaori, although her previous programs where IMO more interesting. With the new ones she feels quite comfortable, though. My problem with her is that even with the perceived "warm attitude" towards her by the Fed, even with a good margin after a SP she did not try anything new in the free program. Resting on laurels is not what figure skating is about nowadays. She can be competitive with Bradie and Mariah. But with the top Russians her only chance to beat them is relying on meltdowns....unless she is willing to take risks and introduces 3A and/or quads later this season.

I have a soft spot for Marin Honda. It started long time ago when I first saw her as a junior. It's possible to find my praises of her in the archives. Her arms, her grace - they are very different from a "generalized athletic style" of Japanese ladies. This is the territory of my favorite Russian skaters - Medvedeva, Scherbakova, Usacheva. But looks like they gave up on her. Even with seemingly clean jumps she receives low GOE. Nothing special to Japan. In Russia we have cases of Nugumanova, Samodurova - you can keep adding skaters whose URs are under microscope and who never get a leeway unlike some other skaters. I am sure that it affects the motivation to continue competitive career so that I am quite pessimistic about Marin's future as an athlete. Sad - a beautiful skater.

Kudos to Wakaba for trying and landing 3A. Having read about UR I watched the jump in slow-mo. Yes, it was surely URed same as Liza's shown attempt of 4T. But I am not with those who make big deal out of it. I am with those who support athletes in their moving the horizon. I am, as I said, much more critical of those leaders who play it safe. As for the rest of her skating, Wakaba's style was never my cup of tea and it will never be. The only exception was her James Bond program when she somehow found the match between the music, choreography, and her powerful style.

I also read Japanese ladies and NHK forums. I was not surprised by a bit that some posters whom I see every now and then in Russian ladies thread and who have 2 usual approaches: outright critique or "yes....but" - I was not surprised that those posters were very supportive to every skater - like a famous commentator from Canada. I don't plan here to "restore the balance". May be because I do not praise every Russian skater just because they are Russians and because it feels good to be supportive. I am trying to express my bias as sincerely as I can. One more thing about posters. There have been so many harsh words about Eteri and her "dietary practices". I can't remember anything similar in "Japanese threads" and I see no comments on Mai Mikhara at NHK. But one has to be blind to not see how skinny she is now - I don't remember her looking like that before. Any information? As for her skating, it's lovely in general - a feather like skating is a contrast to the "usual Japanese style". Still, I have to use "yes....but" here. But for me it looks juniorish - even some Russian junior skaters like Valieva, Sinitsina, and Usacheva have more "maturity" in their skating.

Young You's skating was rough but, for one thing, not boring. There is some clear potential. The clock is ticking, though. It is high time to start realizing this potential.

As for the rest, some big jumps (Nana Araki?) But I can't remember anything else. Rika was missed
Having seen your post in the Russian ladies, I would say you do support most of them unconditionally and don't like honest posts that start with yes and then add a but. You would not take kindly to a post like yours in Russian ladies thread about Russian skaters. Nor would you like unfavorable comparisons between Russian and Japanese ladies. However, I myself am a fan of honest criticism of all skaters. So, I think your post is fine.

What I find interesting about your post is that you think Mai is the exception in Japanese figure skating rather than the rule.. many who aren't fans of the Japanese skaters point to Mai and say that all Japanese skaters skate like her. Feminine, flowy, and a little boring. and that Kaori and Wakaba are exceptions rather than rule with their speed, power, and less than traditionally feminine style. Anyway, she certainly wasn't at her best here. She is very very skinny, but I don't we can speculate it is related to anything other than her rather severe illness.

I think Rino actually provides a better example of this type of flowy, feminine, skating here than Mai. Her jumps are better, too. There is a reason Mai always comes fourth, and she isn't at her best now.
 

yume

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Having seen your post in the Russian ladies, I would say you do support most of them unconditionally and don't like honest posts that start with yes and then add a but. You would not take kindly to a post like yours in Russian ladies thread about Russian skaters. Nor would you like unfavorable comparisons between Russian and Japanese ladies. However, I myself am a fan of honest criticism of all skaters. So, I think your post is fine.
Provocations...
 

Li'Kitsu

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Mai's shape is due to a chronic illness, juvenile arthritis. She didn't compete last season because of it. That's a serious illness and she was hospitalized.

At the end of 2018-2019 season she was already losing weight.

No rough eating habits involved there.

And it's commanding from her to only come back but keep her consistency while she's far to have the strength she had two seasons back. She skated in four competitions so far and i recall only 2 or 3 pops.

About her skating i don't share your opinion but evertone has his tastes.

Mai's overjoyed reaction after her FS was my personal highlight of the competition.
She's suffered so much in the last 1-2 years, being even hospitalized for so long, and we can still see the toll it's taking on her. Yet she fought her way back and even if not at 100%, has such an airy quality and flow to her skating, delivers consistently, and just looks so happy to be back on the ice.... and that just makes me so happy, that we have her back. I really hope she is happy, she earned it.
 

samkrut@mail.ru

Medalist
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Mai's shape is due to a chronic illness, juvenile arthritis. She didn't compete last season because of it. That's a serious illness and she was hospitalized.

At the end of 2018-2019 season she was already losing weight.

No rough eating habits involved there.

And it's commanding from her to only come back but keep her consistency while she's far to have the strength she had two seasons back. She skated in four competitions so far and i recall only 2 or 3 pops.

About her skating i don't share your opinion but evertone has his tastes.
Sorry, I didn't know about that. Wish her well. She seems to be a very nice person. She always smiles with her nice and open smile.
 

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Even without some of the big guns this was "not a bad" GP - if you can call it that. The Japanese ladies have great deth and Ysquared was also present though You really was a huge disappointment. Kaori's win was well deserved even if there are edge issues - hello Russia and US aren't immune. And the scoring was a little natioanl cooking on the so called international front. Kaori's longwas wonderful clean but I have to say I think it was a bit over marked Her jumps do n ot have the power of flow of say a Kaetlyn Osmond. or the perfection spins of a Cohen but she was pretty clean. Her program in my opinion is MEH. She doesn't have the eprsonality to sell it or she doesn't sellit. Shejust doesn't have the attitude even with the black outfit. She is more Hello Kitty than Black Panther or even Pink Panther. Brian Joubert had much more charisma, zest and characters. But it was a well put together program in respect to program just not a wow (to me because someone love it). I mean if you took away the tricks the program is really a skater trying to maybe bring attitude in a black outfit skating to the matrix but that doesn't necessarily sell the program or concept. Maybe to Me Kaori has the great tricks in this program and the programis decently constructed with a decent premise. just not overly impactful. Wakaba it was nice to see the triple axel in thefs but those pops. It would have been nice to see Satoko and the Rikas.
 

Zora

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
I loooved Kaori's performance. This is probably the program I will re-watch the most so far this season. There are some minor things she could work on, but really, this performance was so good, I don't care right now. I wish more skaters would go for something different like this instead of the usual beauty programs.
It's good to see Wakaba is also back in good form. I'm not too fond of this program, because she only really starts to interpret the music at the step sequence and she can do so much better than that. But she is improving and I'm happy about that.
I also enjoyed Mana Kawabe, great speed, powerful and yet elegant.
I liked that Yuhana Yokoi did a step sequence as her choreo sequence, that is truly rare.
 

samkrut@mail.ru

Medalist
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Having seen your post in the Russian ladies, I would say you do support most of them unconditionally and don't like honest posts that start with yes and then add a but. You would not take kindly to a post like yours in Russian ladies thread about Russian skaters. Nor would you like unfavorable comparisons between Russian and Japanese ladies. However, I myself am a fan of honest criticism of all skaters. So, I think your post is fine.

What I find interesting about your post is that you think Mai is the exception in Japanese figure skating rather than the rule.. many who aren't fans of the Japanese skaters point to Mai and say that all Japanese skaters skate like her. Feminine, flowy, and a little boring. and that Kaori and Wakaba are exceptions rather than rule with their speed, power, and less than traditionally feminine style. Anyway, she certainly wasn't at her best here. She is very very skinny, but I don't we can speculate it is related to anything other than her rather severe illness.

I think Rino actually provides a better example of this type of flowy, feminine, skating here than Mai. Her jumps are better, too. There is a reason Mai always comes fourth, and she isn't at her best now.
I can't agree with my unconditional support of Russian skaters. I would not go into multiple examples. Just one. Rostelecom 2020. Gulyakova. The third place. I wrote in the thread that with all due respect (power, jumps) I find her skating bland. I just don't like this style - it has nothing to do with Russian flag. On the opposite, I praised more than once Ashley, Mao and more recently Marin, Rika, and Bradie. Yes, most of Japanese skaters fall into the category that does little for me. That's my personal opinion - we all entitled to those. And I don't pretend to smoothen the pill with "yes....buts". As for Mai, she was not the exception before - she was the embodiment of this style. It's just because of the changes that unfortunately happened to her she somehow skates differently now.
 

Colonel Green

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Country
Canada
As for skating, I liked Kaori, although her previous programs where IMO more interesting. With the new ones she feels quite comfortable, though. My problem with her is that even with the perceived "warm attitude" towards her by the Fed, even with a good margin after a SP she did not try anything new in the free program. Resting on laurels is not what figure skating is about nowadays. She can be competitive with Bradie and Mariah. But with the top Russians her only chance to beat them is relying on meltdowns....unless she is willing to take risks and introduces 3A and/or quads later this season.
This was Kaori's first clean free skate since the 2018/19 Japan Championships, and especially coming after a previous season that was a total mess (at the end of which she started doing hopeless 4T attempts for some reason). Focusing on execution makes the most sense for her.
 

1111bm

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 31, 2016
This is also kind of what I was referring to as well. Stuff like tidy free leg, precise foot placement and whatnot. Incidentally these skills are very important in ice dance (widestepping in mohawks/drop 3s and soccer-kick swing rolls are a no-no!) but not specially recognised in freestyle although some skaters (depending on the coach) are able to demonstrate them. I can kind of guess where the skater trained based on their footwork (e.g. even without looking at his ISU bio, Tomoki Hiwatashi does not skate like a Japanese guy despite his bouncy knees. Team Japan skaters who train abroad sometimes also have 'neat feet', e.g. Tatsuki Machida). Nathan Chen and Andrew Torgashev are examples of neat-footed skaters with rather different styles. Krazhnozhon is an example of a messy-footed skater (but fun to watch anyway). Skaters with neat feet find it easier to transition to ice dance, which might explain why Japan hasn't been very successful in this area so far despite their skaters generally having lots of flow and knee-bend (yes, I know it has to do with public interest and coach availability too).

Absolutely agree on the neat feet. It is exactly why the skating of certain skaters looks aesthetically pleasing to me, but there's always sth. bothering me about others, even when I enjoy other aspects of their skating (f.i. Yuna and Yuzuru are always 'killing' me with their feet!).

😄 @ Soccer-kick swing rolls. Actually one big pet peeve on mine is, when skaters don't point their feet in a progressive kind of way during a forwards crossover.
Btw, what are drop 3s? Does that refer to the free leg position during the turn?

I actually enjoy a good mix of freestyle and ice dance-ish influence, because Ice Dance on its own can look a bit stiff and stilted to me.
For example I like widestepped mohawks, I think they look athletic and more powerful. But sometimes a mohawk done in a more ice dance-ish style can be a nice choreographic choice, without having to conform to the more strict requirements of actual ice dance, my favourite example will always be this creation from Shae, featuring both a regular Mohawk and an inverted one:

Coming back from my tangent and back on topic, I always thought the japanese ladies usually have nice free leg positions (something many russian ladies are sorely lacking, for me at least) and they have nice arms and move in a very aesthetically pleasing way imo, so I far prefer them over the majority of russian ladies (generally speaking, though there are as always many exceptions).
 

Tolstoj

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
A little late and maybe repeating what others have already said.

I thought overall the judging was very strict and in general skaters deserved higher marks if we compare with previous competitions this season.

Kaori Sakamoto clearly deserved the victory. I think the Benoit Richaud packaging really works for her, especially in this field in Japan where so many girls have princess-like programs, both the short and the long really stood out here, more mature and modern.

Wakaba Higuchi nice to see her back close to her old form. the 3a was very impressive in the long, the programs are nice, i like her new long, kinda reminds me of Akiko Suzuki's flamenco program.

Rino Matsuike, what a surprise! Definitely one to watch for the future. Very fast across the ice, she has the difficult transitions in and out, big jumps with great height and distance, all combos are backloaded, the 3s-3t at the very end of the free skate was very impressive.

A little sad for Mako Yamashita, she was lovely in the short, again she has huge jumps, unfortunately couldn't keep it together in the long.
 

purplecat

Final Flight
Joined
Jul 27, 2003
Country
United-States
The ladies were great! Congrats to Kaori! Great triple axel for Wakaba! Wonderful debut for Rino - I love her fluidity! Great FS comeback for Young! And my personal favorite moment was Mai's comeback - what a joy to see her out there and so happy! :love:
 

nussnacker

one and only
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
Mai's overjoyed reaction after her FS was my personal highlight of the competition.
She's suffered so much in the last 1-2 years, being even hospitalized for so long, and we can still see the toll it's taking on her. Yet she fought her way back and even if not at 100%, has such an airy quality and flow to her skating, delivers consistently, and just looks so happy to be back on the ice.... and that just makes me so happy, that we have her back. I really hope she is happy, she earned it.
I am so heartbroken for my poor Mai, seeing her in this shape is making me so sad... :frown:
But I was relieved to see her smile after her clean skate.
Hope she'll be able to fully recover at some point and continue her fight for top 3 spots. I also hope Japanese Fed will start appreciating my girl more, she was robbed in this competition.
 
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