Ladies Short Program, As it happened!

Alex D

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
Introduction

At a time when nobody knew about COVID, I was watching Evgenia Medvedeva at the Olympics, little did I know that it would be my last competitive skate that I would be able to see directly from the ice rink for a very long time.

A few weeks later, an appointment with my doctor revealed to me that I might had no more than 6 months on this planet unless I had lots of luck and the will to finally focus on my health and not ignore it any longer. The thing growing in my head is serious he said but so was I about returning to the ice rink one day!

Figure skating for me was much more than just some sport, it was actually a life saver after the death of my girlfriend in 2009 but also the Loveparade event in 2010. It were skaters like Gracie Gold that made me smile again, that put a fire back into my heart and so I started writing about this sport.

During the years I was given opportunities to dive deeper into the sport, I met so many great athletes, World and Olympic champions, novice and juniors, coaches and other journalists but also fans that brought me chocolate and many wonderful conversations. We laughed and sometimes cried, I learned a lot about myself too and for sure their “no quit” attitude also became mine.

Maybe that was also the reason why I couldn't just walk away, since all the pain in my head and heart was less noticeable when I did sit there for 16 hours a day, watching every single skate.
In the end, I had no choice but to wave goodbye and I admit I missed that sport every day, the interaction with people who I became attached to, yes, they were like family to me.

While figure skating wasn't the only sport I worked at, it surely was the most passionate. To the other sports I have returned already, so I felt it was about time to also return to figure skating.
I do not know yet, how much I can write about Stockholm 2021, I still have to take things easy and writing a lot can still be tricky at times, but I decided to just start with our Ladies Short program and see how it goes from there.


Ladies Short, as it happened


After my lengthy introduction, that I am not mad about if you skipped it, I want to say how amazing it is what all these skaters have accomplished by competing at such a high level. I was in quarantine myself, have been tested more times than I remember, had to spend 23 hours a day in hotel rooms for 2 weeks and it drove me insane.

The mental pressure, knowing that one positive test could be the red card for you and everything you invested, money, hours of practice could vanish within a second, is huge. Besides that, figure skating is one of the most demanding sports physically, so that you must find ways to keep your body in shape.
You start building little check points in your room, some for the upper body, the legs, arms and so on. Water bottles become your best friend, squads your worst nightmare and you will start to appreciate that little bit of sunlight every day so much more!

But its not only about the actual event, its also about the preparation. In Germany for instance, our skaters lost their practice facilities as they became vaccination centers like at Berlin. Then you were not allowed to change clothes inside the venue, you had to socially distance at all times, couldn't meet your friends, coaches and choreographers. The lessons that happened at the ballet room or ice rink, now happened on a TV screen and by phone.

This and much more these skaters had to overcome, leave alone the lack of competitions and I believe that no matter where someone did end up in the rankings, they are all heroes and winners for being where they are now, at the worlds biggest stage for figure skating, at Stockholm 2021.

Group 1

Our very first skater came from the Netherlands and there was something about this nation, right? Yes, indeed, their great attitude and artistry that they always show be it on the ice, floor or beam. To me, they show us what the artistry has to offer in the future, its like a breath of fresh air that figure skating could profit from a lot!

I have to admit, the name Lindsay van Zundert did not ring a bell when she showed up, but she seems to have a habit with going first in a competition and delivering great programs. At the age of just 16, this shows lots of confidence and self believe, we could probably wake her up at 3 AM and she would still skate flawless!

From my point of view, she can be super proud on herself, showing all kinds of facets, while presenting great musical understanding, matching a lot of her steps and emotions with the phrasing of the music.

Emmy Ma, was our second skater of the day and if you ever need someone to present your brand new toothpaste, she is the girl to go. I absolutely loved the smile, she fell on her opening triple flip, but she never dropped it and kept it all the way through the program, showing great recovery on the triple Lutz – double Toe, while having great hands throughout the program, a very expressive young lady, with great spirit on ice.

One of the negative things about COVID is that there are no hugs and cheers for those that just didn't had their best days, like Emilea Zingas. I completely lost myself in her eyes, especially at the end she can really get under your skin with her expressive eyes and posture and she is also a capable jumper with big elements! Sadly today, it was still a learning experience for her. The nerves just didn't let her compete at the level where she belongs to, but this will improve I am sure.

Our final two skaters were well known to me, Angelina Kuchvalska and Elzbieta Kropa. What really struck me like thunder about the Latvian were her Tattoos on both arms and that she is still having the same coach with Jekaterina Platonova, I like it a lot in sports, if athletes stick to their coaches, even if there might be struggles.

As for Tattoos, my friend Elina has a big lion, for her it presents an important part of her life and I have been wondering about Angelina's. While I could not read what she had on her left arm, on the right she had 2 angel wings and the letters VI, maybe some bible code, that I am honestly not as well educated in.

Luckily, social distancing also means that if I just said something stupid and its the picture of a bat which she might have as a pet at home, and in general she is into devils and stuff, Angelina cant throw her skating boot at me!

As for her skating, skating to “hurt” is not easy, as that piece of music is very emotional and indeed “hurting”, as it can bring back memories for lots of people. Maybe, that was also the reason why she picked this type of music, her eyes for sure told you everything you had to know about what it meant to her.

Even without the lyrics, you could hear the words, by just looking at Angelina!

Elzbieta also picked a track with vocals , this time by Audra Mae, “feeling good”. This old classic by Nina Simone saw a rework by Avicii and I could write a book about the pressure and the constant ups and downs of Tim and others in our music industry and this song tells you a lot about the thoughts he had every day before he moved to a new place.

Because of this, even though the title states different, this song wasn't about smiles, unless they were fake smiles. Its a cry for help, a story about someone, who is there but no one can see. And even though the technical aspect did not come together for her, the message was still delivered and while many of us listen, who does truly understand whats going on behind the curtain?

Group2

In Group 1, we had lots of variety, stories and a much smoother competition than many might have believed we could have, after the lack of practice and competition in the recent years. Lets see what group 2 had to offer!

Nelli Ioffe from Israel was our 6th skater of the day and she might not be the tallest or strongest physically but didn't she look absolutely adorable with her performance? Skating to "memories" she was a bit in her own world, which actually reflected the theme of her program music quite well.

Not everyone can be all smiles, super strong so picking music and choreography that works for the skater is so important and I think this job was well done for Nelli. I honestly would like to see her free skate very much, maybe there is more behind that quiet and calm girl we saw today?

Lari Naku Gutmann, was our number two and I have to admit her warm up jacket is already my number one. You wont believe how many of those jackets I have in my closet, I am a collector be it tennis, soccer, gymnastics or skating. Thanks to many wonderful athletes I met in my life, this collection is growing so please Lari send me one, preferable in my size though or two of yours and I tailor me my own one!

On a more serious note, Italy took quite a hit after the departure of their big skaters and quite often this can put a lot of pressure on the next generation, as everyone seems to expect another world champion.
I felt, that exactly this has happened to Lari today. It seemed as if there was a tiny weightlifter sleeping on her shoulder, not being able to lift the weight from her.
Nonetheless, my limited expertise told me that she had the highest skill so far if it comes down to her program components, which is quite fitting as that was also always Caro´s strong side.

A very elegant and graceful young lady, that we surely will hear much more from in the near future!

Anastasiia Arkhipova from the Ukraine stepped on the ice and I am sure many women at home that were watching with their husbands or boyfriends immediately covered the eyes of their partner, as this girl was really rocking that dress, what a beautiful young lady, all eyes were on her!

Today, it was a learning experience for the 17 years old, but I see her skate some powerful and dramatic programs in the future. She has the attitude for it, the expression in her eyes could become her trademark in the future and with less hesitation on the jump entries, she should have no problem putting those on the ice as well.

Hongyi Chen, was not known to me, but if you see the Chinese flag then you always know that the skater on ice will have great elements and the question is just will the expression be of equally high level. Lets start by saying that the choice of music was smart, “cinema paradiso” is a big favorite of mine, just a great OST and it fit her character well! I personally just don't see her in very outgoing performances yet, but the calm and quiet do work.
Very noticeable were the spins, that had unique positions, while compared to the skaters before, she had the best speed and ice coverage! Overall a very good performance and I am sure we will see her again in the free program and who knows, maybe she will surprise me there with cotton eye joe?

Our last skater of group 2 is Jenni Saarinen, a skater I know very well, as those from Finland are very close to my heart and that she was able to qualify shows me, that she was able to keep all those young kittens at bay, which is quite remarkable if you ask me. Jenni is one of those skaters that I always liked watching, at the early days I was so excited about her, that I did run into an old lady, as I had only eyes for Jenni.

Similar could have happened today, as she was absolutely on fire, but as we know, people from Finland on fire can still be an ice cube for us south. But, don't get me wrong, I was absolutely enjoying her performance, pretty much the best I have seen her in years. Strong jumps, including the tripe toe – triple toe combination, which were never at danger, while still offering difficult entries.

It was from head to toe, a performance that you can put in a textbook, she made even the difficult elements look like it was nothing for her and while the jumps were strong with power, her steps, spins and emotions were calm and quiet like of an angel.

Group3

So far we had a very high level of quality, I am actually very curious if there will be some skater later, that will burn the place with some ACDC? Anyways, lets see if those coming next, will keep the high level of skating!

Dasa Grm, this young lady is very special to me. I absolutely adore her skating, she is a real lady and you wont find me ever ignoring her on ice, even if she just stands there doing nothing. If she is there, she gets some words because she is special!

What is so special about her? Well for starters she is 29 years of age, at this age most figure skaters are in retirement for years. Not her, however, she is there to compete and she always brings great maturity, as seen with the exit of her triple Flip. This has been her trademark for some time now, I love that expression of hers and she always looks like a million dollars to me.

Yes, the combination did not happen, you could see it in her face how upset she was about that right when she realized it wont happen, but this also shows she is not there for fun, no she wants to show everyone what she has to offer and I think it would be a real shame to not see her free skating program, as we need more Ladies like Dasa, who compete with all these kids, that might have the better jumps – even though Dasa is mostly struggling with the nerves, as she does these elements in practice just fine! That being said the maturity is second to none with the Slovenian and she for sure had the best mask so far! Please, one more year Dasa, your first Olympics are waiting for you, you are “so close” indeed!

Loena Hendrickx, there was a time when people said to her "I know your brother", now people tell Jorik "I know your sister".

This girl had a tremendous development over the years, not seeing her skate for almost three and looking at her now, was absolutely impressive. I am sure I said this before, but she has a great potential for big skating shows, her spins are gorgeous and she always has great speed, difficult positions and powerful jumps. If you skate with vocals you must be very expressive and powerful, else the music takes over and you just skate alongside it, while you must match it and become one with it.

This Loena really understands well, its an absolute joy to see her on ice. That being said, she kind of has the habit of not skating the whole program at times and so it happened today as well, that out of nowhere the Flip did not go as planned.

Maybe those are just nerves, but if she can fix those, than there will be nothing holding her back anymore and she is surely a medal contender in Europe and no matter what happens during worlds, there is always Oberstdorf and I hope that this time she is getting the support from her federation, she truly deserves it!

Madelina Schizas, was a huge surprise for me. I never saw her as a junior or novice and I believed to have seen most skaters from Canada throughout the years on the JGP level or smaller events where they did compete quite often.
What I saw today, was mighty impressive. Her jump elements were just like of Jenni rock solid, with difficult entries, transitions everywhere and she sold her program with so much grace and attitude, it was really something special. A look at her biography did not reveal much, she has no record of international expertise and yet, skated as if she would have been around for years, winning medals here and there.

Yes, I like this girl already, I am wondering if her mask tomorrow will also fit her dress, she surely will be one to watch!

The overall quality of this competition is giving me shivers already, off to our next lady, who does also compete for Canada! Lets see if Alex can take another of these performances without stressing his heart too much, lets welcome Emily Bausback!

She is quite a fighter, isnt she? Ems never gave up on anything during her performance, she seemed so cool that even an erupting volcano next door, wouldn't have disturbed her. Wonderful program music, she was just floating along and she also had a mask in the colors of her dress. After many injuries and COVID restrictions still a very impressive performance, that she can build on even if she might not qualify, which at the time of writing is on the edge.

After our two Canadian ladies, lets close group 3 with Josefin Taljegard! "Lykke til", they would have chanted if there was a crowd, so it was just a loud “Josefin” on her entry.
The beauty about figure skating is, that you never know what happens, especially in my case with a 3 years absence. Her Tango has been around for some time and I am not necessarily the biggest fan of this piece of music, so I honestly did not expect that much involvement from my side. But, what Josefin did was probably the most expressive and well choreographed program so far.

She was selling every single element in a way that I would describe best as a battle between life and death. Her commitment and musical understanding were huge, there was always something going on, which is so important with such a heavy soundtrack, you need to be spot on, else the music just eats you alive.
Not so with Josefin, even at the end of her program when the legs were tired, she was not crawling over the finish line, but sprinting! I was very impressed and I am sure many Swedish fans at home were chanting her name today and will do so on Friday, as she should have no issues qualifying.

That leaves us with the first three groups wrapped up and 4 more to come.

Group 4

Olga Mikutina
was the first competitor and she is coached by Elena Romanova, not related to the Romanovs me thinks, but what a big surprise was her skater! I cant stress this enough, but when I started writing about this sport, my musical background often revolted as the music wasn't fitting to the skaters personality, the edits were train-wrecks with crackling and clashing frequencies everywhere.

My ears were bleeding at times, therefore I am so pleased that my critique has been listened to and the quality of those programs is blowing up the roof now. Olga understood very well, how to time her elements to the different phrases of music, she was expressive, joyful and a real player on ice.
Her skate was more a dance and yet she added all those difficult entries, transitions and jump elements, never breaking a sweat. Besides that, her personality, the flame dress, the positions and the music it was all in union and a real treat! Its too early to call, but this skater for sure was the total package, well done to her team, they understand their job very well, it all fit so well together!

I am so looking forward to her free program, спасиба большой!

And they just keep coming, Natasha McKay from GB kept the high level of skating with a flawless routine, what a beautiful women, so elegant and graceful. That truly is something that the “older” skaters just have and why I want to see them at these competitions.

Their artistry just always shines through and if the rest of their programs works, they can create magic on ice. Whats very interesting about Natasha is that she actually learned some of her jump elements quite late in her career, which deserves a huge amount of respect, as it doesn't get easier but only harder.
Hopefully she can qualify, its going to be close, but it would be a delight for everyone if she does.

An equal delight, but on a totally different scale it would be if Julia Lang could qualify. As one of the smallest skaters in the field, it is much harder for her to fill out the whole ice and that surely is something she has to improve on. Overall, her flexibility that I mentioned already when she was a novice is a really unique ability which allows her to do things that other skaters cant. We could see this a few times today, during her transitions, it looks so smooth and natural, an ability that will benefit her greatly in the future.

If she can keep this, while adding power, speed and ice coverage, she will surely have her chances!

Eliska Brezinova from the Czech Republic was next and again a great performance, first a little battle with the triple toe combination, but Lutz and Axel were super smooth, with great position in the air. I also enjoyed the Twizzle entry to her Axel I love the variety that the skaters have when transitioning into that element. You could also argue that it is the easiest to spot element for me since its the only forward jump, but this would uncover my lack of skill in regards of this sport, so we just forget about that fact.

What we shouldn't forget about is our next lady from South Korea, Haein Lee. With just 15 years of age, she is at her first world championships, Eliska before was at four! The lack of experience she made up with fantastic elements and at all times it looked as if she belongs.
And before you throw out your TV, no your speakers are fine, she just didn't make any sound on ice and I usually look a lot into the face of a skater, as I just want to see their emotions, but this time I also looked very closely at her feet and those were so light, she was hovering over the ice and all that she combined with her jump elements, spins and turns that just always came in smooth, without hesitation.

Last but not least, we saw the performance by Alina Urushadze from Georgia, with a very expressive performance that was so different to what we saw before. Performing to Spanish rhythms, her posing was very sharp and seductive, always playing with the music, while making it look very natural.
Her acting indicated that she is either an off ice model or just a natural talent with the ability to wrap people around her finger, always playing with the camera and that cant be bad, if we consider that judges are also just humans.

But if you think she is just another pretty face you are wrong! While some of her jumps might not have gotten the full rotation this time, she is never holding back, always making the entries and exits very difficult, while thinking out of the box. From what I saw, she does have really strong legs and knees, which can pull this off and I am sure we will see much more from her in the future.

Four groups done and three more to go, with a total of 17 skaters, which mean its half time and now we welcome half naked dancers, drugged up musicians... oh wait, that's another sport, so we just go on with group 5 then I guess.

Group5

Ekaterina Kurakova from Poland is our next skater and she brought us again a different style with a Janet Jackson Medley. Personally I think she truly has character, her little dance moves were such a joy to watch, I love skaters that add different elements that enhance their programs and I cant stop thinking that maybe a full Hip Hop short program could work really well with her personality. Give her a hoodie, some RunDMC and she would absolutely rock that.

On the other hand, she does have a very beautiful smile, with lovely expression and a touch of innocence in her eyes, that could also work in a more romantic program, maybe supported by music of James Horner.

Yes, I am quite confident that she has the potential, today I felt that the second part was the much stronger one and that she felt much more at home with this than the first part.

Coming first is something that US Americans have in their genes, there is hardly a sport where athletes from the US are not winning medals. Right now I believe archery is one of those rare occasions where it doesn't rain medals yet. But, with expectations, also comes the pressure and please forgive me but I am so missing Gracie Gold and I hope whatever she is doing right now, that it will be a life that she enjoys, away from those negative people that were so rude to her in the past.

With Karen Chen, we now have a new generation of US American skaters and she is actually one of those in the field that I still remember very well from the 2017 season, where she came 4th and looking at the field today, she almost looks as the last girl standing from that great competition back then.
As always, she covers the ice really well, does skate in line with the various phrases of music, timing her elements greatly and always selling every bit of her program, with lots of variety in her transitions.
Time just flies when she steps on the ice and even if you expect those type of performances from American skaters, its so much work to pull this off on such a high level of quality and without a doubt Karen was the best lady on ice so far!

Its also part of these reports to talk about the things that were not so joyful and unfortunately Maé-Bérénice Méité had ruptured her Achilles tendon on the take off of her triple Toe and I hope it wasn't the last we saw of this great skater and I wish her a speedy recovery and many more skates in the future!

Alexandra Feigin was our second last skater of this group and I had absolutely no idea what to expect of her, but have to start by saying that she really did a great job managing the early starting time, as two skaters before had to WD with Maé as mentioned above and Yi Christy Leung, where I have no information as of why.

Back to Alexandra, skating to Schindler's list is never easy, as it is a very fine line to draw between showing no emotions and being thoughtful and sad. What made it additionally hard was of course that the last program of Karen was so different, while having to start so much earlier. If we combine all these challenges that she had to face today, I can only say that she did very well and I am very curious about her free program and how her acting will be different from today.

From a skater I did not know before, to someone I actually know quite well, Kailani Craine. What always impresses me so much with Lani is her incredible desire to always perform no matter what.

We have an empty venue, a few skaters in the stands, but that's 100 people tops. And still, Lani did skate as if the stands were packed, huge expression throughout her program.

Her face told you everything, but it doesn't stop there. It´s the entire body that is in character, she truly has so much talent and often is able to overcome some of the deficits she has in the technical aspect and I cant stress this enough, she started skating really late at the age of 8, when some Russians already attempts triples and double Axels and yet she has competed at the Olympics and five world championships and I am quite sure, if not at Stockholm, then there will be a spot waiting for her at Oberstdorf.

If we look at her program today then she did not have any major mistakes, but lost a few valuable points by just going for the triple Loop – double toe and this might have been costly based on the strong competition so far, where every single point counts.

At the time of writing this, she is on 14th position, 12 more skaters are coming and you could see it in her eyes, that she knew this was almost a mission impossible as of course, we all want everyone to go clean, competing at their best level.

With two more groups to go, it seems more and more reasonable to assume that the cut off is somewhere around 57 / 58 points to qualify, which is a huge improvement over the 55 from two years ago.

Group 6


How was I delighted to see Liza again, last time our paths crossed was at St. Petersburg at a tennis competition, where she was doing her stuff on a tiny little platform during the victory ceremony. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, is surely well known here and personally, I have huge respect for this girl and each time we met, she was a true Lady, who never gave up and always drew a little heart on the pictures I asked her to sign!

If we consider how much depth the Russian federation has, its amazing how she never lost her motivation like so many before her that just gave up, when the next generation showed up and things became more difficult.

For this alone, Liza must receive a big round of applause! Trying to put her program into words is impossible as no matter what I would say now, it wouldn't do her justice. The triple Axel is back, her Lutz as gorgeous as always, her performance is so unique and unmatched by anyone, its just Liza who always makes things look so easy, when they are truly so hard. For this skate alone, it was worth it to come back to figure skating for me, thank you so much my dear Lady!

Next on the ice, has been Alexia Paganini and you could see it at her reaction and by that of her coaches that this wasn't a perfect program, losing the triple jump element by popping the intended triple loop. One mistake, can decide if you are in or out which once again shows the quality and depth of this Ladies competition.

For me, what stood out with the Swizz was her step sequence with loads of different positions and energy and I assure you, if your back is on the ice, try to lift it up as she did, that's not easy!

Ekaterina Ryabova, yet another Russian born athlete but competing for Azerbaijan, brought us the “Mambo Italia” and the first thing I noticed were her gloves that matched that colors of her dress so lovely.

If we look at her skating, then I had the impression that the Axel might be her least favorite jump, as it was less fluent and more telegraphed as with some of the other skaters, however, her triple Lutz – triple Toe looked really sharp, so did the triple Flip.

Interesting as well was her singing along with the music, which can be a bit tricky with the breathing, as if you do it wrong, your diaphragm can start to hurt, which you absolutely don't need as a skater. She has also qualified for the Free and I am very curious about her dress and choice of music there.

Our next skater Yellim Kim picked some familiar music with “Liebestraum” and she truly got the essence of the music right. It was a wonderful performance that showed us very well the differences between the top skaters and those that are still great, but more in midfield.

The transitions, the free edges on the landings, soft arm movements, its just smooth skating, where one element connects without any hesitation with the next in a constant flow of balletic brilliance. At times I was a bit worried about her trying to cover too much ice, as she tends to be quite close to the boards, but then again, isn't this exactly what the ISU wants?

Great performance by this young athlete from South Korea!

Our second last skater does come from my home country and as I said earlier, being a figure skater at Germany can be really difficult at times, as you just don't have that lobby like the male soccer players do and practicing wasn't easy for any skater in Germany due COVID. Maybe this also explains why Nicole Schott wasn't at her best today. Luckily her strong program components kind of pushed her over the finishing line to qualification, but for sure it wasn't the performance she wanted, nor she is capable of.

Eva-Lotta Kiibus might have felt the same about her program, it had ups and downs but also similar to Nicole a lot of potential to score much higher. Most noticeable was a very unique approach in performance, she really likes to create these little pictures on ice, telling the audience her story, while keeping a high level of difficulty as seen with the spread eagle entry on her double Axel.

Some skaters might be low on energy, while this one here who kept talking to herself before the start of the program, might have had a tiny bit too much like on the over rotated double Axel. I am looking forward to her Free program, surely another unique piece of art.

And this wraps up group number six, one more to go, including two Russian athletes, three Japanese and one US American.

Group 7

Our first lady on ice was Alexandra Trusova and I believe she just had too much skill for the short and couldn't settle with a simple triple combination, so that she just over rotated her triple Lutz and in the end, didn't had a combination at all. Nonetheless, did I like how Sasha performed, she was always busy expressing the music, there were no gaps so to speak, her hands and arms always in motion with the phrasing of the music.

If there is one thing I would like to see in the future, then it is her facial expression being more involved, even though we must consider that this was not ACDC but a very calm piece of music, so it did not have a very negative impact here.

That being said, even if the music is more quiet, you can express it in your face and that is exactly what our third lady from Russia did, Anna Shcherbakova! From the first second until the last, you could see how her facial expression always changed, even during very difficult elements such as her spins that showed great flexibility or her jumps and transitions.

If Eteri understands one thing really well, it is “ticking” those boxes, after all that was what won Alina that gold at the Olympics, with programs that were superior point wise, even if my personal taste always rooted for Evgenia most.

Watching Anna skate was a great experience and I feel that her programs offer already more than those of Alina in 2018, which is of course just my personal preference if it comes to music choice, personality and choreography. (this excludes the great show skates Alina did, as I really loved those)

Kaori Sakamoto, was our very first Japanese skater and I felt that she was really tight at the beginning of her program, not giving us much in regards of facial expression, but as soon her jump elements were through, she started to go all out there.

Sometimes it takes that little bit of something, like her great fight on the triple flip – triple toe combination, that she just didn't want to give up and once she realized the “worst” is past her, she truly started to enjoy her program much more visually to those watching.

Satoko Miyahara, oh dear what has happened? I kind of had the impression that she was still waiting for the bus to the skating venue while her jump elements were lost in translation at the Arlanda Airport.

What magic she can create on ice if it all comes together is second to none! We saw glimpses of that also today, she has great finesse and always paints every single note of her music on ice. Even if there would be no music, you could still hear some by just following her motions, that were unmatched today.
She did compete until the end, trying to save what was left within the regulations and this still gives her the chance for a strong comeback on Friday!

Bradie Tennell might need a comeback of sorts as well, as a whole nation is currently on the hunt for her triple toe, that just disappeared!

On a closer look, her triple Lutz didn't give her much room to play with, the energy just wasn't there to squeeze in that second triple, so she opted in for just the double. But if 330 million people are looking for something, then I am sure it will be found on Friday!

Besides that, I really enjoyed her choreography and her interpretation of the music, she is a very beautiful young lady, with great arms and expression so that a modern dance performance really suits her well.
Needless to say, that her program had lots of character, combining the elements without any gaps but fluent transitions, while keeping unique positions as with her sit spin.

Rika Kihira, was our very last skater and second skater of the day with a triple Axel and an overall very sharp and clean program. I loved the clean landings on her jumps, the wonderful and unique entry with the one handed card wheel into the step sequence, she truly had a very wonderful skate with lots of variety and difficulty.

But, that's not all, she was also performing in a very touching way, did you see when she cracked a smile while looking over her right shoulder? That was so lovely and I feel that this program was the most complex and fleshed out for a Japanese skater since Rika Hongo with her Riverdance.
Conclusion

I have no idea why I did have to write so much again, but I guess great performances just need to be mentioned and these world championships at Stockholm have started with a huge bang, it was an absolute delight to watch every single skate, with so much variety and different personalities.

Its been three years for me and I am honestly shocked how much these ladies have improved and how the sport moved forward in such a difficult time. Maybe, not having a crowd did help some of the skaters, maybe social distancing also let them focus even more on their sport, when the distracting boy or girlfriend isn't around.

Whatever it is, the need for almost 58 points in the short to qualify for the Free, is absolutely massive and speaks for itself. While not all dreams came true today, this is a foundation that these young girls can build on and there are no losers today. To come out with such great performances in such difficult times, deserves a lot of respect and while I don't know where my journey will go to in the future, I am sure sure theirs will go to glory.

Thanks everyone for making this great competition possible!

P.S. I have not looked up any protocols and didn't write about this sport for three years, errors and mistakes might have crawled in, please don't shoot me!

P.P.S I did not know if I should post my review at the Ladies short program thread, or make a new one, but since some users were discussing scores and judges at the Ladies thread, I decided to not disturb them with my review and create a new thread. Feel free to move my review, if you feel its better suited in there!
 

PaulE

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Country
United-States
Thanks AlexD for the lovely review of all the ladies that were there doing their best. It is great to know you are still around and able to enjoy our favorite sport. We met briefly at the Nebelhorn in 2013. I would love to be able to go to Oberstdorf again this year (it is one of my favorite places in the world) but doubt if I will be able to make such a trip this year.
 

Alex D

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
Glad you guys enjoyed it, I will post the full summary of the Free program shortly, just need to fix some typos and stuff.

We met briefly at the Nebelhorn in 2013. I would love to be able to go to Oberstdorf again this year (it is one of my favorite places in the world) but doubt if I will be able to make such a trip this year.

Last year, they did not allow a crowd, I am not sure about this year. But if you are interested, I will make sure to give you updates about it, so that you dont have to stand infront of closed doors.
 
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el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Country
United-States
Glad you guys enjoyed it, I will post the full summary of the Free program shortly, just need to fix some typos and stuff.



Last year, they did not allow a crowd, I am not sure about this year. But if you are interested, I will make sure to give you updates about it, so that you dont have to stand infront of closed doors.
AlexD, good to see you here!

It may be in the future, but if you are able, I am sure we would love updates from Nebelhorn, particularly with its importance this year. 🙌
 

Alex D

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
AlexD, good to see you here!

It may be in the future, but if you are able, I am sure we would love updates from Nebelhorn, particularly with its importance this year. 🙌

Yes, I will see what I can do. I am confident that the event will take place, we also had the nordic WC last month with a very good concept, but no crowd of course.
 
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