Ladies Free, story focused review | Golden Skate

Ladies Free, story focused review

Alex D

Record Breaker
Sep 23, 2013
Ladies Free Skate, as it happened.

The short program was a real nail biter. Some bigger names could not deliver, while some others showed incredible maturity and desire to get into the Free. If you look at the placements and the gap of less then 2 points between the last qualifier Alexandra Feigin and Kristina Isaev on 29, then you can clearly see a great depth in the field.

At the top we had one dominant figure from Japan with the dancing Kaori Sakamoto being in front by almost six points, followed by three skaters all with 73 points. It is an unusual look, as the Russian force was so dominant throughout the years and now there is even a new face from the US looking at a shot for the podium with Isabeau Levito.

But it doesn't stop there, Loena Hendrickx is still on her medal journey with 71.94 points and all the way down to our number 12 Chaeyeon Kim, everything is still possible.

In the Free, my main focus will be the programs, as I gave you background stories about the skaters already in the short. Since I don't know everything, I may not always have to share all the details about the programs, but I will do my best to dive deep into interpretation and choreography today.

Angels start swinging.

Alexandra Feigin edged out Lorine Schild and Jade Hovine in the short, who I had hoped to see again, as I was so impressed by their short, but no hard feelings of course.
First of all, huge shout out to the designer of her dress, that looks fabulous and she is really rocking it, such a beautiful young Lady! Her story, about a bank robbery and the so-called Stockholm Syndrome, was nicely introduced with the phone call after the Heist, and I felt the various stages of the plot were very visible by certain signature elements like the gun shot and her fearful expression.

Towards the end of her program, skating to "Ti Amo", Alex truly shined during her step sequence, with nice knee bends and more involvement in general. You could see relief in her face, and it was my favorite part of her program, as she truly let go and was free in mind. I could see some modern dance talent there, and I would love it if she could show that side of her more often.

The Bulgarian had to fight through some of her jump elements, but she kept a cool head and had no major errors, while landing six triple jumps.

With 155.74 points and a new SB and I am super curious if she will take my advice going into the next season, as she has a great jumping technique, despite being not the fastest on ice. If she can get some more speed, things will become easier in the air and more involvement in her programs would be fantastic too, as she has everything you need to get the crowd going and with improvements, she will be even better than she already is!

Off to Lara Naki Gutmann and her horror show. I belong to the guys, that are always scared next to women, despite my female friends always claiming I would be so confident but no, I am not!

With Lara, I was really scared. I felt she could easily play Samara at the Ring movies she just has the quality to slip into such a dark role.

Skating to music from Vertigo and Psycho, her involvement with the theme of her music was clearly visible and she went through the three pieces of music really well, it was very smooth and you could hardly take a breather, so intense it was.

Lara seemed to truly be back from the death, showing her darker and creepy side in the black dress, having black finger nails, just like in the movie vertigo and the mind games played there, she was also playing with us watching, staring us down, crawling into our minds, it was so scary!

Ofc. there is no Hitchcock, without the signature of Psycho, and she truly used the music well, for a cart wheel and the great variation in her spin, before she laid down on the ice.

Aw, I am loving it despite my heart bumping like crazy and I enjoyed that there were no major gaps, despite having so many difficult jumps of which I counted seven triples including the opening triple Lutz – Eurler – triple Sal!

With 178.43 points, she is having a new SB and thank god, she smiled at the kiss and cry, else I would have not survived the fear of her jumping out of the screen to get me.

Another skater on ice with Julia Sauter, and a fitting piece of music to the overall "depression" in our society, with "unsteady" and "me before you."

It can be small things that can break you, things that are often happening in childhood that just carry over and the term "broken" often comes across, when you try to explain someone why you are not stable and at 100% all the time.

To me it seemed that she was skating this program for someone and I would guess it was her mum or the husband, who were holding on to her, despite things that may have complicated their relationship.
I don't want to dig deep here, after all its personal business, but she changed nationalities in 2011, did sit out a season in 2019, so there is surely a reason why and I felt the program reflected on something in her past.

The word "unsteady" does show vulnerability to me and when you feel depressed or down, little things can mean the world to you. Someone just talking to you, someone just looking at you with a smile can be such a confidence boost and her smiling after every element she did, reflected this really well in my books.

When she did the Triple Sal – double Axel, you could see a slight hesitation in her eyes and after it was done, the coach Marius who was in general very active, was loudly celebrating. Maybe the element did not work so well in practice, but this time she nailed it and it was an overall, really lovely program and the people it was aimed at, surely got the message.

165.62 points and currently on two, for the young German representing Romania.

When Janna Jyrkinen stepped on the ice, I first thought she would skate to firebird, but then I recalled that her program music is from an old soviet movie, called "The Story of Voyages." In said movie, Martha is on search for her brother May, who does have the talent to spot gold, as he feels unwell next to it.

So he was kidnapped by robbers and later became one. The flames on her dress indicate one part of her journey, when she visits a town that was constructed on the back of a dragon and later burned down, when he woke up. I also noticed the desperate look at the beginning. She was truly searching for her brother.

I had the feeling she was super nervous, going into her program and the disappointment at the end, was so heartbreaking, as she had to carry all that weight, to secure a second starting spot and I felt it got to her.

Yet, she has never been letting go and compared to the short, I felt that the presentation was suffering a little bit under the huge pressure today.
Still, you have to give a lot of credit to the 16 years old. She was giving everything to make sure the jumps like Triple Flip – Triple Toe or later on the triple Loop – double Toe – double Loop were fully rotated and landed.
Janna can be proud of that huge fight, as this makes you advance in this sport, even if you have set backs like on the Lutz today.

I also like, that she keeps eye contact with people, she can really build on that to sell her programs in the future, she is a lovely young lady with great potential for some very story telling programs, it just needs some polish here and there.

160.91 points and a big hug from me, as I was seeing a little tear run down her chin!

Olga Mikutina stepped on the ice and I felt she read my report and told herself, just look I can be confident and positive! She was like a different person today and the negativity the press in Austria can give is truly uncalled for but I suppose this is a world wide problem nowadays.

I am really a fan when Olga is selling her elements with confidence and posture, she has a great body shape and facial expression for that, if she doesn't hold back because she is angry about herself. Today, was really better than in the short, we truly saw what Olga is capable of and I loved that.

She does have some of the most beautiful outfits, they offer elegance and glamour, while not putting a shadow on her, it's like a perfect combination of the beautiful dress and graceful skater. I think my favorite part today was the moment when the haunted vocals kicked in, with the spirals and her expression that was super ace!

Overall, I had no chance to ask Olga and with interpretation it's always a fine line to walk when you did not talk to someone, but from my perspective she was telling us the story of war, the curse so to speak that is always cast on people, the greed by leaders that start a fight with other nations and the people in those countries that suffer under it.

At the end, the "dawn of faith", came up, for a more peaceful together and her desperation in the step sequence and choreo part was very visible to me. Born in Ukraine, Charkiw she must be in lots of pain over what is happening and without knowing it, I felt this program was her message to the people about what she felt.

For the future, I would like to see her not showing it when a jump may feel less good as with the Lutz, like Americans do, they just always smile it away. It may not cut out the error, but judges are human and they will react to a positive look in a more positive manner, believe me.

I like the jumping technique. Toes pointed well, good position and it looks really sharp and controlled in the air as seen with the triple Lutz – triple Toe, so its all about believe and a positive attitude.

172.31 points and a bright future ahead of her.

Off to our pirate Lindsay van Zundert and isn't this a great starting position with her being handcuffed in this 18th century outfit? You can immediately see the program, without even hearing a sound or checking her profile.

She looks left, she looks right and then gets up, with that great look in her eyes, I loved that start!
The double Axel right on beat and again and again, the facial expression, great interpretation skills there, also when she opens the map and pulls out the telescope that is so well done and now she starts on a journey, you can feel the wind blowing into your face, so well it is done by Lin.

I felt you could really feel the open water there, the wide ocean, when she was opening up her arms, creating space - showing great posture to reflect the theme of her program music. There was really a lot in it, different pictures and tempi. She was taking us on a real journey there.

It was a smart move to use the signature part of soundtrack for her step sequence as it carried her at a time when I felt she was a bit tired so the expressive music did cover this up a little bit and she was still attacking and selling despite being exhausted, I like that attitude!

A very demanding program put together by Benoit Richaud, the triple Sal – double Toe – double Loop was a battle but she just kept going for it, great character by the young dutch!

Her 155.55 points, finish the first group of the day and I feel I have already written too much, but that is the way in the Free isn't it? So much in it, you want to talk about it all.​

Hello, its me!

Group two has a couple of skaters; we did expect later in the evening, but in the end, for our pleasure it does not matter when they skate, but that they skate, as we all want to see their wonderful programs don't we?

Sofja Stepcenko enters the ice first and french, is kind of tricky for me. I had it in school, but I am far from a native speaker but my friend in France did give me a run down and she said, that we are looking at a program, in which someone is trying to find the luck.

It's kind of like the story of my life too, you try so much, so hard and it's just never working and you end up alone, while you try to give the positive you have to others, so that they at least can be happy.

My Russian is much better, and I felt her coach was telling her to commit to her elements, especially the jumps and now I may have embarrassed myself if he was talking about the weather to her.

What I instantly noticed was how well spread out the elements were in her program, not everything at the start, so that you had some really nice progression with the triple Flip and triple Toe at the back of her program with the step sequence in between, which is absolutely challenging to do, but she put the triple Toe lovely on ice towards the end.

Sofja had a cracking start with triple Flip – double Axel – double Axel, not something we see that often, I would like to know the story behind that to be honest, it really stood out!

Positive was, that she never lost that smile and you could see the choreography with her hands going towards the crowd, as if she wants to offer them her love and energy, it was so well done and yes, the jump elements did suffer a little bit today, but she still sold it.
There is a saying "fortune to the brave", so I hope she can get more stability next season, maybe tune the Free a tiny bit down, picking music that the crowd may understand better, to get more involved so they can back her up better, which again results in more energy for the skater.

In the end, you see the talent with Sofja. She also has an outgoing personality, wants to connect with the crowd, that is all very positive if we look at her future in this sport!

158.38 points and currently on 6.​

Next up, Yelim Kim skating to summer of 42, a drama in which a woman loses her husband, while a young boy falls in love with her, they spend a night together and she just disappears. There are moments in life, when you just need someone and I felt that was also the essence of her program.

I liked how she was creating space at the uplifting part of her program music, nicely done after the triple Lutz and if we talk jumps, she kind of did not like the left side of the ice much today, she had to pop her opening jumps there sadly. That being said, she recovered towards the end and put a nice triple Sal – double Toe – double Loop on the ice.

Yelim does have a really soft skating style. She floats with the musical arrangement and has that look of "desperation" in her eyes, well done how she put her hand on the chest, to show the pain she was in, which shows great in character skating of her role as "Dorothy" from the movie.

To me it looked as if she was tired, her schedule looks quite busy, so maybe she did just run out of steam towards the end of the season, but her quality in skating abilities still shines through.

With 174.30 points, she is currently on two, with Lara Naki Gutmann still in the lead!

We are now looking at Madeline Schizas, and I got to say, social media was really not the most kind of things after her short and that is always so unfair, when people that cant even land a single Axel, show up with this toxic attitude.

Maddie I never met myself, but she seems to be a hard-working person with a kind personality, people should give her some space and starting spots are important no doubt, but some more kindness goes a long way.

Anyways, skating to Madame Butterfly a sad story about a woman who falls in love and as usual, the guy is not the prince charming he appeared to be, Schizas was offering a very emotional skate today, more focusing on the positive side of things.

Her start of the program was also the start of a young love, nicely shown by her hand going softly over her cheek, followed by the Triple Lutz – Triple Toe combination. In total Maddie landed 7 triples today.

I especially liked the open character later on, during the Spirals backed up by the uplifting character of her music, showing happiness and faith.

It fit so well and you could argue now if that was the part, when his ship came back into the harbour or if she was still with him before the departure, but in the end, no matter how you interpret it, it fit the story really well and you could absolutely see her understanding of the "Lady Butterfly" and her emotional state of mind.

A nice detail was her dress, with the butterflies and didn't Pinkerton say, he will come back when the roses start to bloom?

I am very happy for Maddie. She gave the right answer to the haters and next time, she will skate two clean programs for sure! A well deserved first place for now with 187.49 points.​

From Canada to Japan, from one skater, we did expect much later, to another that is skating quite early in the evening, Rinka Watanabe.

Just like in the short, the triple Axel that did work flawless in the warm up, did not want to show when it mattered, but she recovered beautifully with a Triple Loop – Triple Toe combination. Skating to Jin, a movie about a brain surgeon, who is sent back in time, she was showing the various stages of the TV show really well.

First chapter so to speak, his desire to bring back his fiancee, that Jin performed a surgery on, who afterwards fell into a coma, causing a traumatic experience for the doctor.

Chapter two, starting after the flying camel, introduces his travel back in time, when Rinka is using the swirly sound really well for the spin.
The arrival at the Edo period, introduced by the drums, leads then to the fight with a Samurai shown in her choreo sequence with the very typical signature hand holding at the belt, like Samurai do.

I really like the climax in her program, starting with the Lutz, going over to the combination of double Axel, Euler and triple Sal, it shows the dramatic sequence we are at in the story really well.

And then comes chapter three, where Jin is faced with the dilemma of what to do, he is desperate in going back and he has to make some tough choices that may involve changing history and the world he may one day return into.

Rinka was showing all three pieces with great interpretation skills, she was lost, found and full of desperation, with glowing heart and eyes full of fire.

I really like her style, I think she is a very beautiful woman, who can skate incredible programs with big story lines and how she faded out the program, so lovely and smooth with that spin, it was the perfect ending to a wonderful show. Her coach was in tears, touched by her performance and so was the audience, that grace is second to none, 192.81 points and the lead for Rinka.​

Time for a breather you may think, but they don't stop coming, its time for Nina Pinzarrone from Belgium!

Nina did skate to La vita è bella, a movie about the creativity of a husband and father, who protects his child from the evil that was caused during the second world war and the deportation of innocent people.

Looking at the program, Nina was showing us chapters of the movie, but more how Giosuè must have been feeling all that time. She portraits a happy person, who may run around playing, who is joyful and positive about what there is in the present and future.

That freedom was shown incredibly well, by her strong performance, nailing the Triple Lutz – triple Toe, followed by the Triple Lutz, triple Flip and triple Sal, using her hands to show the connection between the family members, it was lovely done.
In the middle part, she expresses the "naivety" of a child, that while vulnerable, does always find a way, to look at the positive of things, especially with the help of his father, who comes up with the entire idea of playing a game, hiding from the soldiers, to be in the run of winning a tank.

What I liked with her program composition was that at times, the darkness and the violence, the war so to speak did come to the surface a little bit, as seen after her triple Loop – double Toe, introduced by the drums and if you look at her hands, it seems as if she wants to try and hold on to something or someone, which may indicate the separation of the family during the internment.

Yet and this is the small detail here that makes the difference, the darkness was always put aside by the mind of the child, the innocence and the joy this kid had, despite the evil around him.

This program composition was brilliant, and it finished with a bang, when she put this beautiful Biellmann-Pirouette on ice and I felt, this was a stunning finish to a stunning performance by the 16 years old, that could easily be interpreted as the reunion of mother and son.

Her look at the sky, during the first notes and the last, was as if she wanted to thank her "dad" for playing that game with her but you can also interpret it, as the look of a child, because adults are all bigger than you so you have to look up to them.

Again Benoit Richaud was responsible for the choreography, great work by everyone, 191.78 points and the second place for now! One more skater to go, before I can grab a snack and maybe some ice cream, to get my temperature down a bit.

Kimmy Repond, our surprise act from yesterday is on the ice skating to Muse with Exogenesis Symphony Part I and III. The story is basically about humanity ending and starting all over again and the realisation, that unless humanity changes, it will end agin. She did start with the part called "redemption" which reflects that humanity will end again, if we make the same mistakes, while she finished the program with the actual start called "overture."

So she first gives us the result, before going back to the start and this is actually a really cool idea, because that is the intention of Muse with that 13 minute track. The goal is, to show that life is a cycle, there is no real end or start, it's just a constant cycle of the same things happening.

So let's talk about Kimmy and wasn´t she brilliant? She moved on, where Nina left off, nailing triple after triple, starting with the combination of Lutz and Toe, then the Flip and Loop all flawless and well connected.
All her jump elements were clean, the facial expression was spot on, and the transitions like after the Biellmann-Pirouette were smooth and flawless, she just added element after element with ease and there did not seem to be an end to it.

She just never took her foot off the gas, its so lovely to see how she reacted to that big score of 194.04 points and her sister, just lovely these two, congratulations!

Such quality already in the first two groups, wonderful by all the Ladies!​

Skaters I just love

I like everyone equal, but some just a little bit more. A group with Amber, Nastia, Ekaterina can only mean either tears or cheers!

Group three starts with Chaeyeon Kim, skating to "Poeta En El Viento" and there are moments when you have to admit that you don't have a clue and that now is the time for this. I know it is a Flamenco, but I lack the knowledge about what story may be behind this program for her.

So let's see if we can come up with something here. The Flamenco is a traditional term for music from Andalusia, Spain. Its character shows you the suffering, the joy, desperation and fire of a generation called the Gitanos, who were Roma that were held down and prosecuted.

If we go from this and look at the program by Kim, then we do see all key elements of the genre presented in her expression, style and choreography.

We have the painful look, the joy, the space she creates with her upper body, the passion that we can see when she goes down on her knees, putting her arms on her chest and ofc. she also nails every jump, and I lost track a little bit here, but I think I did count 7 triple in total.

Yes, I really liked the program, the dance that it was and it's not as easy as it may look to present a Flamenco, as it does have its shapes so to speak and you want to mix it all up and present all of them to the audience and I felt, Chaeyeon has done this really well and the dress fit perfect to the theme!

203.52 points, is the result and a clear lead!

Time for Anastasiia Gubanova and what a gorgeous dress, if I wouldn't be already in love with this one, I would fall in love now! Skating to Slumdog Millionaire Nastia was greatly in character with that dress, but also the traditional Indian movements of arms and legs throughout the program.

She starts with her triple Lutz – triple Toe, skating to Latika’s Theme, a superquiet piece of music, which has become such a signature of Gubanova throughout the years. I said it yesterday; you can hear a pin drop when she is on the ice and her being the orphan girl Latika, telling us the story about the "faith" of Jamal, fits well to her natural elegance.

But, Nastia wouldn't be Nastia, if she could not also slip into another role as seen with the part of her program after the triple Sal. Her facial expression during the Ringa Ringa theme showed all that happiness and playfulness, that the dancers in India do have and I love that side of her!

Its so smart to slow down the music and herself, to then build up the momentum again and all eyes were on her.

She gives us a real treat here, of a woman that plays with our hearts, by a little belly dance while giving us that seductive look, wrapping us around her fingers. It is unbelievable that a few years ago, she was that little girl sitting next to me and now she is such a mature Lady with a remarkable style of skating.

I don't even want to lose to many words about the fall on the combination of triple Flip – triple Toe, that she however, recovered well from showing another clean triple jump combination afterwards, but still it kind of took her confidence I think.

Personally, I just want to remember this great program as what it was, a dive into Bollywood and I am not even someone who watches these movies, yet, I was greatly entertained by her charisma and if you make something great for me, that I had not much interest in at first, then you are a great figure skater, as I am a bit stubborn with things so convincing me, shows your class and skill, so thank you very much for this.

Towards the end, she seemed to need some help by the audience, but sadly the people didn't respond the way they should have, but thats just my impression, because I like her so much and after the program, she was as graceful as always and this I admire about her so much.

Even if it does not work, she does thank everyone who came watching, she is just such a pleasant person to be around with and I can't stop thinking that maybe, she did carry a little injury going into this competition.
She is still the European Champion and nobody will ever take this from her and my heart she has forever anyways, no matter the score of just 184.92 points.

Time to settle for another of my favorites, Amber Glenn our Genie in the bottle if you remember. So let's see which Amber shows up today!

Ok, since when does she do triple Axels, she is such a box of chocolates, wow. Not perfect, but hey, that did surprise me! Skating to Without You by Ursine Vulpine, it was a typical Amber no doubt about that.

She grabs you with her musicality and dance, acrobatic style, but she also add's laps of concentration here and there, resulting in a few tiny mistakes.

What I liked was her facial expression before the vocals kicked in, her desperation throughout the program, working with the overall sad feeling of the music.
Sometimes people that want to be together, just can't, and I believe we all have experienced that before, the regrets, the new attempts, the loss and the understanding that this is just not working.

Back to the Axel, I think she can be really proud on herself, overall she did try everything today to maybe lift herself up to the podium and that is a risk only winners take and maybe today it did not work, but she gave everything!

Despite the taped knee she put a great triple Flip - tiple Toe on the ice followed by another 4 triples and that s what I like about her, she is such a fighter!

Amber is currently on 5th with 188.33 points.

Of to another of my favorite Ladies, Ekaterina Kurakova, who wants to take us on a trip in her self constructed house / balloon, if just she would know, that I am scared of the height... Oh well, eyes closed and through, huh? But that wouldn't work as a writer so I have to trust her abilities as a captain!

What stands out, are the balloons on her dress that were attached to the house in the movie. A very good look for details there and isn't she a character?

What she does with her facial expression, it always gives you a smile, she looks so happy and positive throughout all of her programs, I wish I had that mindset, if things go wrong, because the jumps were a tiny bit short at times, but she seems to take everything with a smile, that is so adorable!

She kicked off with a huge triple Lutz – Euler – triple Flip combination, later added triple Loop – double Axel and she combined all that with little pictures and emotes like her folded arms in front of her body or the blow of a kiss.

I enjoyed how she was skating us through the story of the movie UP, which is actually quite sad yet positive in its own way, about a couple going by the names of Carl and Ellie that were separated way too early and Carl promised Ellie a trip to Paradise Falls, that towards the end he could fulfill, however, sadly without Ellie, as she did die before their departure.

In the uplifting part of the skate, we could see again, which I mentioned a few times today already, the space that is created by the skater and in this case here, the interpretation of the journey to Paradise Falls during her step sequence.

Ekaterina truly has a unique style on ice. She skates like no other at these world championships and I am really a fan of her charisma and attitude, she is such a joy to watch. She may be a bit surprised about the score of 181.43 points, but scores only tell one part of the story, the other is that she is a superb artist on ice!

Moving on to Bradie Tennell skating to 4 seasons and it was a rollercoaster no doubt and as someone who did not follow the season at all, I do however know that it was not easy for her and still being at worlds with a good performance overall, will hopefully give her a positive look into next season.

What stood out for me, was her interpretation, the theme was reflected on her dress and how she was just everywhere, as if a Leaf was swirling through the air all the time, or maybe a snowflake it is such a demanding and fast choreography which again, is exactly the topic of the music and she did paint this wonderfully on the ice.

With 184.14 points, she surely isn't where she wanted to be, but always look at the bigger picture, her spirit and strong will, the interpretation skills and clean jumping that she can do.

7 more to go and our last competitor in group 3, Nicole Schott steps on the ice. Skating to Bohemian Rhapsody which translates to do your thing, no matter what others may say, is not just the story of Freddie Mercury, but of many people in our society.

It's not easy living in a society, that takes away the freedom of people as much as ours these days and maybe, Nicole experienced similar stuff. She is with all due respect our oldest competitor today with 26 years of age and for some she may be too old, but I so disagree with that!

She is matching all those 10 years younger than her and that is an achievement, she will be super proud of, I am sure!

If you believe then age is just a number and we should all be happy to have skaters like her among a few others, that just keep skating while delivering these beautiful programs full of maturity and passion.

As always, her jumping technique is huge, but at no point feels pressured or with force, it is a mix of both worlds really and she interprets the music so well.

Throughout the program there was a high level of involvement and a connection between the skater, her music and the crowd. By landing six triple jumps, keeping the momentum going until the very last note of her music, she has shown that she belongs, what an explosive performance today and I have never seen her better!

Nicole is currently on second place with 197.76 points, with Chaeyeon Kim still being in the lead with 203.52 points.

And the winner is

Six more Ladies to go, with Niina Petrokina being the first. The start was really good with double Axel – triple Toe, followed by triple Lutz – Euler – triple Sal,

Overall she had a high quality in her spins and she did interpret the music well, when the drums and vocals came out, she went big, covering lots of ice and I have, to be honest, I don't know the story here, but I felt it was all about being a hero in a world, that can be cruel at times.

What I noticed was how she put her knee bends on the key strokes of the piano during her step sequence, that is so hard to do and demanding on your body, plus she was still working with her upper body and had great facial expression throughout which was really standing out for me!

While there were a few errors in the middle of her program, to put a double Axel, after all that hard work in the step sequence perfectly timed with the music is so brave and deserves lots of respect! It even seemed as if she was having enough left in her for yet another minute of world class skating.

Overall, a very musical performance by her and Niina does finish in a top 10 position with a score of 193.49 points, which is awesome for Estonia and I feel that this was really what she wanted to achieve, coming top 10 and that she did.

Moving on to our "fallen" Angel Loena Hendrickx, really well interpreted with the white dress and the feathers.

She is quite a character isn't she? Her attack on ice is just second to none, the expression in her face after the spin, shortly before the step sequence, she is so in character with the haunting voices backing her up and you just see that she loves being an artist, it's just so sharp, the big orchestral music, backing up that fire in her yes, the spirals well placed within the music throughout the program, just great stuff.

The compositions, in general, make her skating programs look like movies, you have a softer part like an introduction, that still has high-quality elements such as the triple Lutz – triple Toe, then the build up to a climax and the grand finale.

It's so well scripted with huge variety and even the "intermission" with her choreographed sequence where she goes from a spread eagle into an Ina Bauer, are just gorgeous.

Loena makes herself big and proud on the ice. You can see what I mean if you look at the part after her first spin. That is what I would like to see by more skaters, presence on ice, "all eyes on me."

Overall there was just one mistake on the Lutz, but I was a big fan of the Ina Bauer going into the element, well interpreted and it adds that little bit of extra risk, which this time did not pay off but that is what champions do, they do challenge themselves all the time.

I know this is a big name, but I feel she has similarities to Carolina Kostner, it's a very touching style of skating that Loena has with great skating skills, just that she is more naughty and wild.

She was rewarded with 210.42 points and is currently on first position!

Next up a girl that was still skating in the juniors last season, Isabeau Levito and she takes us back in time as well to the soviet era, skating to My sweet Tender beast.

In said movie a teenage girl, in all her beauty wants to escape the poverty around her and decides to marry a much older man, despite being in love with someone else. Hoping for a better life, she slowly finds out that her choice, was not as golden as it seemed at first and she regrets her decision by running away after the wedding.

I liked how the program started, as if she wanted to introduce herself to these three men around her, with the shy smile of a young girl, not really knowing how to be a mature lady, yet.

So from this perspective, the program was suiting her really well, as she is still a young girl herself and the entire setup from the story, came out nicely overall.

There have been two key elements, in which you could follow the story nicely. The first was the choreographic sequence, when she was feeling glimpses of happiness, believing her life would now be better, while in the step sequence she tried to escape that very life, while running into the arms of someone else.

Isabeau did show the pain of the girl very well, the regrets, fragility and desperation to escape her situation, which is also a returning pattern in the lyrics. The waltz was a steady pattern in her program as well, the rhythmic moving anti clock wise, covering a lot of ice which is what this type of music is all about.

I kept wondering though, why she did not try to add another combination, because she is allowed to have three, but after the error on the first intended triple Lutz – triple Loop, she did not try to catch up on this by maybe adding a jump after the double Axel for instance.

Score wise, this could have been the lead, but again I don't say this to be rude, I am pretty sure she knows this and if something like this happens now, it will certainly not happen again!

In the end it was a great competition for her, with 5 clean triples and she will come back next year and we will see what happens then, maybe she is the Lindsay Jacobellis of Figure Skating?

This time the journey ends with 207.65 points and the 4th place at a world championships which is absolutely awesome for such a young lady! And hey, Sailor Moon is just the best Anime ever, right?

Mai Mihara steps on the ice next and the crowd is going absolutely nuts! Her program is about a woman, that is haunted by her dead husband, who keeps showing up everytime when she wants to have some privacy with another man.

I don't know if the ghost came out when she did her triple Lutz, but that was such a pity, it was supposed to be her three jump combination and she almost fell and had to change her program a little bit to still get a triple jump combination in.

It all started so well for her. She was focused and composed, as if she was running on rails, showing 4 triple jumps clean. But in the second part, maybe it was still the aftermath of her injury/health problems, she kind of lost that clean skating a little bit, but nonetheless she was fighting for every element today!

Her spirals were spot on with the moment in which she is finally left alone by the ghost, you can see the relief in her face, she is finally free, great extensions and a lovely little hop before she went into her final spin.

The score of 205.70 points gave her the third spot, but there are still two more to go, so it does not look like a medal for Mai today.

With Haein Lee, we are looking at a skater who truly took the hearts by storm in the short, skating today to Phantom of the Opera.

With a total of seven triple jumps, she did set the bar high for Kaori and I really enjoyed that she had a middle part to the signature sound of the musical, in which Christine pulls down the mask and the Phantom takes her with him. I felt the dramatic sequence was very visible with her spin positions, going down into the "catacombs" so to speak.

When "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" came up, she portrays that part lovely first calm and soft with her hands folded together, reaching out while creating lots of space on ice, illustrating the wide atmosphere of the orchestra towards the end with the Ina Bauer.

And if we look at the end of the program, we can hear "masquerade" where the people dance and the phantom shows up, despite not being invited, introduced by her with a typical mask holding motion of her hands in front of her face.

Overall there is a lot in this program, so best check it out and watch the musical on Broadway if you can. With a massive score of 220.94 points, she shoots into the lead and is at least a silver medalist at worlds!

Last but not least, Kaori Sakamoto skating to a song by Sia, elastic heart, which is all about the pain that comes from a bad relationship and the desperate attempt to find a new love, after heartbreak, while being fragile full of doubts.

First of all, I have to give a lot of credit to her, skating the way she did, under all that pressure on home soil, that is so different to being an underdog skating freely with no expectations. That she mastered this shows what a great personality she has and what a fighter she is, which should come in handy in the second part of her program today.

I can't be the only one, who gets that strong feeling of sitting at an exhibition when Kaori is on ice, she just skates with such ease and grace, she is such a cool customer to be honest!

This also shows when you look at the structure of the program, its heavy loaded towards the back and when she popped the Flip, I thought the gamble did not pay off, but she somehow managed to salvage it with an added triple Toe and then she does this amazing combination of double Axel – triple Toe – double Toe.

Her Axels, in general, are huge, she travels a huge distance there, did anyone ever measure that, it must be at least 3 or 4 meters!

What I also noticed before the triple Sal, she had a transition where she kind of picked herself up, it looked so spot on with the theme of her music, that was really well choreographed then she masters the Sal, but then goes down again, which is the whole essence of Sia and her songs, being down and getting up again.

During the step sequence she was lost in between worlds, it is hard to explain, but you folks will know what phase someone is in, if the heart is broken and she really put that "lost" feeling on the ice for everyone to see.

It was just great, Congratulations to her, 224.61 points and the gold medal, her second in a row now!


So what do we take from this event?

For starters, I had a blast, and it was great to see so many new faces with some of my old friends still being around. I was super happy for the Japanese to be able to have a champion on home soil and I felt heartbroken for Isabeau Levito and I really hope, that the fans in the US, will leave her alone now and not complain because it's just the 4th spot in their eyes.

What this girl has done is magnificent, and she needs to develop without stupid fans, commenting everything she does wrong in their eyes.

I also hope, she will not look back at this event with regrets, there is this story of Lindsey Jacobellis that I believe all Americans know about and when she takes that story as a motivation for her own career then maybe she will return someday and be rewarded with what she might have lost today.

Looking at what Nicole Schott did, I really hope it will give figure skating in Germany a boost and that the media will start reporting about it, because right now it's a wasteland and all about football. Personally, my discovery were two skaters here, of which one didn't even qualify, Jade Hovine and Janna Jyrkinen who I am sure, we will hear a lot more from in the future.

That Loena has won her second worlds medal is like a fairytale to me, I still remember how she was 14 or 15 skating and you saw the potential, but she was pretty much always throwing away one of her skating programs and that such a great career would come out of that, is breathtaking and Yorik is doing a fantastic job, which surely does come with some sacrifices and this really touches me, how they stick together as brother and sister.

I have no idea if I ever will get back to an ice rink, but all these performances, some skaters having injury problems or had to sit out a year, all of them are an inspiration to me and I just take them as example and keep fighting to maybe return some day as well.

Writing this report was a bit tricky for me, I had treatment yesterday and after I always feel very tired, so I apologize if the review is not of the best quality.

Thanks everyone for the great competition, it was fun!​