Ladies Short, personal review | Golden Skate

Ladies Short, personal review

Alex D

Record Breaker
Sep 23, 2013
Ladies Short, as it happened

The last competition I saw was the Olympics and before that Worlds in 2021, so this was going to be a meeting with lots of new faces for me. It was brilliant to see that there have also been some familiar faces, like Amber Glenn or Daša Grm who did look as sharp and stunning as I remembered them.

Fun fact about Saitama, the fans in the crowd do carry flags of various nations so that they can show their support to all the different countries. We just love everyone, don't we?

Anyways, despite being a bit rusty, I am giving you my thoughts now about the Ladies Short Program. Take it is a read along, while you may watch it again.​

Proud like a god

Our first skater was from Norway, Mia Risa Gomez. One of those I never heard of, but when she stepped on the ice, she was on fire and with just 16 years of age and no fear in her eyes, she opened up a competition which should have a very high level of skating and Ladies that were incredible proud to present their country at a world championships.

Mia who was born at Mexico, was wearing a blue dress and kept her head up high, despite some errors in her program. Her program music "Metamorphosis Two" fit quite well, as she wanted to do better and may have been a bit disappointed about the popped Axel and fall on the triple toe combination, but she was not showing it during her skate.

You could see that she is a very musical person, not just because she plays the piano herself, but due her ability to express the character of the music well during her skate.

As our first skater and just 43.54 points it is unlikely that we can see our "wonder woman" in the Free, but she did compete at the Europeans coming 22nd, so if you like to check this out, just head over to the ISU channel on Youtube and watch it!

Anastasia Gravcheva was our number two and took the lead with a clean performance, and I loved how she was showing her feelings about that, with a big cheer not only after the landed triple Lutz, but also the end of her program.
Competing for Moldova, but being born at Moscow she was all smiles at the kiss and cry and is currently in the lead with 50.55 points.

Ema Doboszová from Slovakia came next and there isn't a picture on her Instagram where she isn't smiling and she is indeed a warrior on ice and all those smiles came out after she was done with another clean performance and a lovely triple Sal – triple Toe to kick off her program.

What I really enjoyed was her interpretation and how she was timing her elements on signature parts of the music, like the little hop after her Axel, being more energetic in the more busy segments, while showing a more calm side when it was more quiet.

I am also a fan of the entire look of her, how she has her hair done and the dress, it was a really wonderful program to watch, thank you for this young lady, well deserved lead and SB of 53.01 points.

Sofja Stepčenko from Latvia came next, with a huge smile on her face and indeed all eyes were on her! That I have not become a figure skating judge is not just because I can't land an Axel myself, but also due me not being able to escape the seductive eyes that some skaters throw at you.

Sofja is one of those. She did skate incredible close to the boards at all times, looking for eye contact and her program overall was really well put together.
She did start with a sharp triple Lutz – triple Toe and then gave the crowd a little breather with a naughty part, before adding further jumps. I really like that, when the elements are more spaced out and not cluttered too much, it gives the program a great touch of progression and variety.

The Japanese seemed to enjoy the program as much as I did, clapping along and the 15 years old was skating wonderfully expressing the lyrics of the song really well while showing a great fighting spirit on the double Axel, when the ankle was a little bit shaky.

With 58.87 points and a new SB she should have a spot in the Free!

Kristen Spours was our final skater in group 1 and despite having not watched any of the movies after Goldfinger, I recognized the James Bond theme and she portrayed the elements of the motion picture really well.

Fighting for her elements like on the triple Loop, it was a battle between life and death, she was totally in character, wearing a black dress, having crazy good-looking hair, sending out some bullets. At the kiss and cry, she was all smiles again after that feisty performance and who knows maybe Hollywood is knocking soon after that application for the next Bond!

53.38 points, it will be nail biter to qualify!
I remember you!

What sounds like a dumb flirt attempt, actually is the truth. Some of the girls in the starting Line Up of group two, I remember from working at the ice rinks, so this is going to be a really interesting group for me.

Júlia Láng was still a novice, when I saw her for the first time, I think it was in Germany or more East and she always had a thing for great skating outfits. I don't remember a performance in which she did not wear gloves, she always looks very graceful and she has the best coach in the world, Alisa Mikonsaari!

Alisa was always my highlight in the early days, retiring way too early! What a delight as a figure skater she has been for me, I went to the ice rink at 5 AM only to watch her practice and then she did not show up! Nah, just kidding, she was a hardworking lady and it is great to see her back in this sport.

Júlia is kind of like Fleur Maxwell, elegant and with loads of grace and flexibility but the jumps are not always working during competition like today. If she can produce a better runnig edge in general, she should be able to fix those little things that are hindering her right now in some of her elements. That being said, I can watch her for hours, what she does with her arms, looks so beautiful, like a Ballerina!

With 44.26 points the dream has to wait a bit longer to come true, qualifying for the Free Skate at a world championships I am afraid. But, she will try again, absolutely, she is a fighter!

Kristina Isaev was also still a novice when she did compete at local events in Germany and being at her first world championships she did start with a bang.
During the warm up she damaged the boards in a nasty fall and collision with the Hungarian, but luckily she got up again immediately a little bit embarrassed with a slight headache I am sure but being clumsy and a figure skater is not necessarily a bad thing as we remember from Kaetlyn Osmond, right?

Let's start by saying that she has made a huge leap forward compared to what I saw years ago. Michael Huth has done a really great job with her, triple Toe – triple Toe (maybe underrotated), a triple Flip and ofc. the Axel clean, while showing a unique spin position at the end, that reminded me of Adelina Sotnikova.

I also liked her expression, which is not always something german skaters are born with, we tend to hold a bit back with our emotions and ya, it was great to see that she was skating for the crowd and not just the judges.

Germany is in good hands here and if I wouldn't have seen it myself, I guess I would not have known what I had missed, as sadly Figure Skating in my country is still a non existent sport for the media.

With 52.93 points and a PB it's going to be tough to qualify and looking at the score, I am somehow thinking the judges did not like her jump elements as much as I did, which shows the potential this young lady has!

Jade Hovine is a new face and one of those who do profit from Loena as she has brought Belgium back to the surface in this great sport.

I am a real fan of her positions in the spins, but also the entire body work during her turns. She does have great posture and stability in her upper body and as a former dancer, you just love people that are able to spin, turn and twist with elegance and a great shape.

It makes it look easy and natural, which must be reflected in her program components! While she did not have a triple – triple combination, she was flawless and this can at times be worth more than a flawed program, not only because it looks smoother, but also because it will grand you a more positive attitude towards your skating abilities.
Yes, I like this one and hope to see her again in the Free, with 54.10 points this will be super close, fingers crossed!

Now the lady I have been waiting for, Daša Grm! She has been around for as long as me in this sport and she still looks like a million dollars, while I look more like a sausage. I wish I could borrow her coach Anej Wagner for a month. I would surely not regret it!

Being at her 10th world championships it was a rollercoaster and with 47.01 points, the car may have jumped out of the track this time, but you just want to shout and tell her, to come back one more time.

Anej was crying, Daša was and me too, she just always sells no matter what and it meant so much to her, after the injuries and doubts. If you compete for such a long time in this so demanding sport, against all these young guns and still qualify 10 times for worlds then this proves what a fighter you are and that you belong.

The words "it does not matter how often you fall, but that you get up again" is written all over her career and despite the errors today, she performed gracefully and full of proudness. Young Lady, you are a heroine!

Sorry for being emotional here and off to our next skater, Olga Mikutina.

What stood out with her was the busy character and musical interpretation, which was the best so far but compared to some others, I would love to see a bit more natural attitude on ice, which I feel would truly benefit her a lot.

She has the technical kit and usually does the triple Lutz – triple Toe with closed eyes, the understanding of music is there and Olga can create lovely pictures on ice. That being said she may be bit too harsh on herself, if things are not perfect and based on own experience I can tell, that this may do more harm than good for your career.

I am looking forward to her Free, with 57.05 points she is on track!

Vive la France, Lorine Schild is here! A much more introverted performance and thank god, the kids of today, still know Linkin Park and the legacy of Chester. "In the end", is a song about all the demons he had inside, that he could no longer control and they broke out, it's such a sad piece of music and many people will surely be able to relate to it.

Lorine, surely not intended, showed that fight right on the start at her triple Lutz – triple Toe, I have no idea how she pulled this off, my god that was an incredible battle that she had won, respect for that!

She also generates speed out of nowhere, which is always good, and I would like to see a bit more in-between her elements as I feel that there is a lot more in this young lady. She is like a gold nugget, that just needs to be shaped to shine even more.

The french scored 54.35 points and is currently on three!

There are 4 more groups to go, and I need to grab some food else I wont last.​

Back and Forth

In group three, we did start with Marilena Kitromilis from Cyprus, who did start skating at the age of 2 1/2! My first GF did start with 5 and I felt this was early, my god are there any pictures of that, I would love to see that!

Anyways, she did everything right, except for the Axel where the weight wasn't where it should be if you ask me, so she popped it. Overall, still a decent performance by Lena and you can see the American shine through at times, attacking her elements, while looking like a star.

With 48.92 points, the journey may have found an end here, but again, its all there, just needs some more polish and positivity and in the end, only 24 can go through and being at worlds, is already a big achievement, that thousands dream of, so heads up!

Next up Eliska Brezinova and something wasn't quite right today. Usually, she is such a powerful skater with big jump elements, expression and sexiness, but today she left most of this in the hotel room.
She may not have very sweet dreams tonight with just 47.92 points but these days are part of the business too and I loved the cart wheel!

With Janna Jyrkinen we have one of our youngest on the ice today, representing Finland. Finnish skaters always come with great skating skills and she used those qualities in a very graceful and confident performance today.

I felt it was really clever what her team put together for her as you may expect a young skater to maybe lack the maturity for these kinds of programs.

So they gave her a very elegant dress with a piece of fabric in the hair, that reflected the youth, yet added this kind of 20s charisma, supported by the gloves and belt and fitting make up which added maturity and grace, combined with laid-back music that may did hold back the tiger in her.

Despite the hands down on the Flip, she showed a very much fleshed out program today, its hard to believe that she is just 15 years of age and capable of such confidential skating!

With 56.06 points she will come back for the Free and I am very curious about what we will see then!

Alexandra Feigin will also come back on Friday, as she showed a technically clean program and I really enjoyed how she was playing with the music during the step sequence.

In the future, I would love to see more confidence and more posture, or better put presentation of herself, as she tends to be holding back a bit, its kind of like you want to skate for everyone at the venue, also those that bought the cheapest tickets. Its quite fun to think about it, on her IG she is such a positive and glamorous figure, I would love to see exactly that on the ice too!

Despite that, her score of 54.65 points was well deserved, and I liked the design of her dress a lot as well she surely has a great taste in fashion.

If we talk fashion, then lets have a minute for Gracie Gold, my forever number one girl from the US, who is nowadays raising awareness for mental health and I wish her all the best for this project.
Athletes from the US, face incredible pressure from the crowds and media at all their events and some people may even show up with rude comments. Its not an easy task and it is important to talk about the effects that this can have on the athletes.

From one American, to the next lets talk about Bradie Tennell. For the first time of the day, we were having standing ovations, for the young American. What a sharp program was that?!

I am such a fan of that dress, which goes into the orange / yellow colours, with the tiny bit of white at her neck. It looks so lovely and gives you that floating vibes and I love how Bradie connects her elements and how clean she enters and exits her jumps, she makes it look so easy and graceful, she is in the moment and the crowds get something for their money.

With a clean program and 66.45 points, Bradie takes the lead.

Last in G3 is our dutch lady Lindsay van Zundert, who I have seen already as a novice and I kept wondering if she was going for a triple – triple at the start, but just didn't had the momentum to add the triple Toe at the end so she just went for the double, which was smart in my opinion, as a fall always impacts the impression of the program and she truly skated wonderfully aligned to the music, with good flexibility and attack, I love the little hop and arms, good work with the upper body, always in motion!

If you enjoyed her attitude and program and want to help her in going to the Olympics 2026, she does have a gofundme page, everything helps!

The crowd was pleased, Lin was and she is through with 57.56 points.​

The suprise Act

Three more groups to go, with 18 skaters, trying to qualify. Our first is Lara Naki Gutmann!

Showing up in a red dress, Lara started with a triple Loop – double Toe skating to "un año de amor" .
Its quite fun, when I was a dancer, this song by Luz Casal was part of our lessons back in school and my partner had a red dress too! I enjoyed how Lara was in character, flirty and sexy – a very mature performance and the last spin, was unique with the hand on the ice.

With 55.22 points she is also qualified for the Free!

Next up another skater from Belgium, you have to wonder where those are all coming from, this is so wonderful and kind of a bit naughty, if we consider that there were days, when the sports federation in Belgium did not truly help their skaters, as I remember from Yorik, who mentioned that he had to cover the costs for his sister, so she could travel to competitions.

Anyways, Nina Pinzarrone is next and I love the dress and composition, but also how she recovered from the double Axel where she did run out of space, performing triple Lutz – triple Toe and triple Loop flawlessly.

Her knee bends are wonderful, so are the open arms, its like watching a Ballerina perform and in dance you have the four elements body, energy, space and time and those were all represented in her choreography.

62.04 points and I am sure the Free will be a blast for everyone!

Now we have Julia Sauter, the 25 years old competing for Romania, really had to fight hard on her triple Loop but she held on to it and didn't she absolutely go for it during her step sequence?

Great speed and attack, leading to 56.02 and I am sure mom will be super proud at home!

With Amber Glenn we are having a skater I remember from a few funny moments when she was at Oberstdorf and she kind of reminds me of a Genie in a bottle when I look at her. Sometimes she shows and sometimes she does not, you just never know with Amber.

Starting with triple Flip – triple Toe, Amber was as sneaky as a cat today and that shake of her head after the triple Loop was exactly how I remembered her. She does things in a very entertaining and funny way and even if not all goes her way, she takes it with a smile and I like that.

Besides that, she can do things with her body, that just look sexy and hot and now I hope I don't get hit by a skating boot, but it's how I feel with this young lady.

With 65.52 she is currently on second place and I am looking forward to her Free skate!

2 more skaters to go in G4, starting with Kimmy Repond from Switzerland. Completely unknown to me, however I know her sister Jéròmie Repond who was with her on the kiss and cry, she used to skate at Oberstdorf and Dortmund, but disappeared kind of at the same time like me from the sport and as I can see now, she has been busy preparing her sister for the world stage.

Kimmy did show a great performance, with good technique on her jump elements, good expression and attitude, it was a very polished program starting with triple Lutz – triple Toe, a clean triple Flip and ofc. double Axel.

If there is one little detail I would like to see improve then its the extensions, because she seems to be holding back a little bit from my point of view. She has long arms and legs, she can go all the way to toes and fingers there.

62.75 points for the young Swiss!

Chaeyeon Kim is our final skater in G4 and had to keep a cool head, after the intended triple Lutz - triple Toe combination did now show, so she had to add the Toe after her triple Flip and this she did!

Quite impressive in my books, some others may have forced the combination early and risked a fall, so this was clever by the young Korean. Overall, she showed good footwork and expression. I am not sure which personality of the Justice League she portrayed as I sadly have not seen the movie, but I am guessing that her outfit would reveal that and that me Alex, just doesn't have a clue.

64.06 points, third behind the leading American ladies.​

A new adventure

With just 12 more Ladies to go, is it me or do we have two skaters wearing the same dress? Rinka Watanabe and Isabeau Levito?

I am sure all the Ladies out there will now scream "how can he not see the difference, it's so obvious!" Well, as a guy, we just tend to not see that difference ladies, sorry! But both look stunning no doubt and I apologize for my lack of seeing the difference!

Our first and only, Canadian Lady Madeline Schizas will kick of the final 12 and I remember her from the Olympics and how she did skate lights out there.

In the short she had to overcome an early fall on the Lutz and had to figure out a way to add a triple triple afterwards, so she kicked out the Loop and went for a triple Toe – triple Toe instead, which was smart and rewarded her with 60.02 points.

I have to admit, I still have not seen the black swan movie, but towards the end, Maddie was really on fire, such fierce expression, great timing on the double Axel and surely my favorite part overall and a great climax and comeback.

Sometimes I feel that with all these skaters, watching the movie will never give me the same pleasure as they do, with all these great interpretations I am kind of spoiled now.

Time for Rinka Watanabe with the Tango!

Oh dear, she went for the triple Axel, but went down and from that point onwards she had to battle through the program, also loosing the Lutz but coming back strong with triple Loop – triple Toe.

Overall, I felt she was under heavy pressure today and super tight, which was reflected in the mistakes. Nonetheless, do I love her attitude and attack that is so important to this kind of music, you just have to commit and not hold back and that she did. 60.90 points is not what she wanted, but you never know what happens in the Free, maybe she will start the comeback of the century at home soil!

Nicole Schott is our second competitor for Germany, and it always impresses me how she manages to have all that power in her jumps and yet, so much grace and elegance. Her level of fitness truly helps her, to keep the momentum until the end, so that its all fire the entire program and she can be very proud of not only nailing the triple Flip – triple Toe and triple Loop, double Axel, but also skating with great artistry and interpretation.

With 67.29 Nicole has taken over the lead and I think I have never seen her better!

Hopefully, I can say the same now about Katerina Kurakova, who impressed me a ton during the Olympics, while missing out on a medal at the Europeans this year by coming 4th.

Her program music fits so well "falling in love with you", as that is exactly what happens when you watch her skate.

Sharp start with triple Flip – triple Toe and always swaying with the music. In the second part of her program, she all of a sudden throws a party and its incredible how her team could come up with such an amazing contrast in a figure skating program, skating to music by Elvis.

All these little emotes and pictures, the naughty and sexy looks, the fun in her eyes it was all there and for sure my favorite program this evening!

She is such a character, so well balanced and musical, a joy to watch! 65.69 and currently on three!

Isabeau Levito next and doesn't she look lovely with the flower in her hair? Skating to "una noche más", it seemed like just another night for her, so flawless as if it was all nothing. At such young age on such a big stage, she showed no nerves and skated a clean program, having all the elements spot on like the triple Lutz – triple Toe combination.

What impressed me most tho were her transitions and the entries, exits of her elements, so sharp and busy and fully packed, while still selling it all with her facial expression, full of confidence and fire, making it look so easy.

Isabeau will have a shot on the medals on Friday with a score of 73.03 points.

Last in this group is Niina Petrokina and it was another superb program, the Ladies are truly skating lights out now. The Estonian had a unique approach, very delicate and yet strong, nailing the triple Flip – triple Toe and triple Lutz, as if it was nothing, high quality on the turns and difficult spins as well, good edges and overall very smooth.

I have the strong feeling she is having some hip hop classes at home, as some of her moves look familiar to me as a former choreographer.
68.00 points put her in the second spot for now, and she surely will come up with some incredible skate on Friday!​

Six Ladies and a fool

We are now moving on dangerous territory, as its time for two of my favorites and I will try to not get too excited in my writing, to keep neutral.

Anastasiia Gubanova, was always around when I did work at the ice rink, she just loved skating for us and she was the leading lady for many years in the novice, advanced and juniors. Her way of skating always grabs me and I could share so many stories now but I will try to focus on the present.

Her skating is always in character and each step and motion show her musicality, while she does skate for the people appreciating everyone in the stands. You can hear a pin drop, while she is on the ice, its so effortless and charming, a great combination of music, personality and outfit.

Her jump elements were not as sharp today as they usually were, but Nastia kept fighting for each landing and rotation and was rewarded with 65.40 points.

Despite being on 7th at the moment, the distance to a medal is just a few points and she does have the potential to strike back on Friday. Even if all 5 upcoming ladies score higher, she will be in the third group so there is still a chance for a great finish in the competiton.

Mai Mihara our second Japanese Lady steps on the ice and the people are on their feet, what a breathtaking performance today. I remember how she once mentioned years ago, that she is a very shy person and that this is not an easy feature for a figure skater and its so courageous how she still performs on such a high level.

Triple Flip, Triple Lutz – Triple Toe all clean, using the more uplifting character of her music well, cracking a smile, while opening up in an overall really well constructed performance, full of transitions and charm.

With 73.46 she takes over the lead, and we only have 4 more Ladies to go!

Haein Lee delivers yet another flawless skate of the evening. I really enjoyed how everything was put together, she goes into the triple Flip as if it was nothing, the triple Lutz – triple Toe were never in danger either and in the background you have the piano playing, softly supporting her skating.

It is from head to toe, a really great skate, you have the presentation, the movement of her body, great arms and expression, it just all comes together and with 73.62 points she takes over the lead for now.

Ouch, Yelim Kim had a very nasty fall on the triple Lutz and I felt the whole program was damaged in the progress, her confidence was just gone, but she kept fighting and came out with a score of 60.02 that may not give her a shot at the medals, but she will for sure come back strong on Friday, to show what she is truly capable of.

She is no doubt a great skater, it just was not her day.

Next up, the powerhouse Kaori Sakamoto, I love the attitude in her jump elements, the distance she travels, those are huge leaps as seen with the triple Flip – triple Toe and triple Lutz and double Axel.

Skating to a Janet Jackson medley, she was so in character that you could easily guess, that she did grow up in the Bronx during the 80´s and 90´s, dancing on the street to this kind of music. Interesting is, that the track "rock with you" is from 2008, but it just gives you those vibes of a time when things were just less busy and more calm in our society.

Kaori´s hair, the outfit, facial expression, the kick towards the judges, it was all there, a really wonderful R&B, Hip Hop, Dance performance. Without a doubt, the best skate today scoring 79.24 points!

The quality of her elements, the speed and the interpretation were second to none, thank you Kaori!

Our last Lady on ice, Loena Hendrickx. What I like about her so much, is her musicality and how she really uses elements of the music, for her advantage as seen with the first spin, where her arms go up right during the naughty lyrics or when she was singing along the un dos tres.

Despite the fall on the triple Lutz – triple Toe, she goes right into the step sequence, full of fire and courage, as if nothing had happened before.

The expression always right on beat, which is so difficult to do when you have a mistake in your program, as everything is choreographed on beat. As a skater you need to make adjustements and get back in sync with the music and that she can do this so good and flawless, shows what talent she has if it comes to understanding music and this is a key element in artistic sports.

With 73.94 points she is still in the run for the medals. Just Kaori has escaped a little bit, but then we have so many Ladies within a few points, that this competition is far from over!​

Final words

This was a great first event for me, and I hope that my review was at least a tiny bit interesting and I will take a break tomorrow, to catch a breather but still watch the ice dance competition and be back on Friday for the Ladies Free.

As always, I apologize for errors be it spelling or with the elements, I did not cross check with the protocols or anything like that so please be kind if something is off.

Thanks to all the skaters, I was greatly entertained!​