Thoughts on Ladies' SP at Russian Nats?

Blades of Passion

Skating is Art, if you let it be
Record Breaker
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Sep 14, 2008
Country
Russia
Could you please do the same analysis for Rika's free skate from this year's nationals?
Let's pretend she was competing at RusNats too, I'm interested to know how you would score and place her in comparison to these girls.

4. Rika KIHIRA -- 142.6 points -- 78.6 TES, 64.0 PCS

4S +2, 'q' on the rotation but great speed and flow
3A< +1, shows good control despite a landing that could flow out better, and not a particularly big jump

3F+1Lo+3S +3, the flip gets a bit tilted and doesn't have ideal rotation but she carries the flow well through the combo and nails the salchow
3Lo +2, nice and clean but nothing special about it
FCSp4 +2, the positions are all pretty good but not amazing, and this can definitely be faster
ChSq
+1, a weak ina bauer into a change edge spiral that shows fine speed and edging but uncontrolled form during the edge change and lack of hold on the final position
2A+3T
+2, not a strong exit on the 3T but essentially clean and good rotation on each jump
StSq3
+3, well controlled throughout with good flow, aside from one series that could have been faster/cleaner and cost her a level, and she needs to extend some of the positions more to create a bigger effect
3F+3T +1, clean but small and not ideally rotated on either jump, could have more speed out
2A
+2, pretty good lift on the jump but the landing seems slightly lacking in control, the turning hop out of it seems maybe improvised to disguise the landing edge being too swingy to hold
LSp3
-1, traveling a lot, does not have great positions, especially on the biellmann there is wobbling and it's not sufficiently held
CCoSp4
+2, not a good back sit position, not a ton of speed or relation to the music, the last position is very nice though hitting an upward note of music as she reaches full extended position and being held out

Skating Skills -
8.5 - generally good speed and control throughout, solid edges but can still be deeper and more powerful
Transitions -
8.0 - not especially complex and can improve the exits on a few elements, but still has a good amount of smoothness and speed into all of the jumps
Performance -
8.25 - seems into the performance most of the time and shows very good expression during the footwork sequence, but needs to push it further, more completeness of movement and attention to good form or conveyance of emotion at all times
Choreography -
7.75 - a generally nice floaty quality but disrupted by some underwhelming spin positions and lack of extension or more exquisite movement, needs to be both more delicate and more fully radiant
Interpretation -
7.5 - she commits to portraying the softness and hopefulness of the music pretty well, but needs to hit more of the highlights (several of the faster piano chords or fluctuations are ignored) and truly embody the reserved sensitivity of the softer aspects, the ending is underwhelming
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
Hmm, so probably Kihira would have led after the SP, for you? But I think she still falls behind overall and finishes 4th at Russian Nationals.

Which means once she gets the 3Lz back, she'd need to do:

4S
3A+3T
3F+1Lo+3S
3Lo
3A x
3Lz+3T x
2A x


Would that push her ahead of Shcherbakova with a good performance?
 

flanker

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Country
Czech-Republic
Hmm, so probably Kihira would have led after the SP, for you? But I think she still falls behind overall and finishes 4th at Russian Nationals.

Which means once she gets the 3Lz back, she'd need to do:

4S
3A+3T
3F+1Lo+3S
3Lo
3A x
3Lz+3T x
2A x


Would that push her ahead of Shcherbakova with a good performance?
Not ahead of Shcherbakova with three quads and I don't think so ahead of Shcherbakova with two quads with a good performance.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
Not ahead of Shcherbakova with three quads and I don't think so ahead of Shcherbakova with two quads wich a good performance.
That's what I'm wondering. Strange how even with two triple axels and a quad, I think Kihira is very comparable in BV to Anna. Anna's two different types of quads really help her to optimize her layout to fight back, and then she's a better performer than nearly everyone. To me Kihira is the best of the field because of no clear weaknesses - but everyone against her has a clear strength over her, AND they play their layout strategically to boot... So in a competitive setting, Kihira will have to settle until she gets a new quad?!
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
In fact, Anna gets a much higher BV - 64.78 to Kihira's 60.44 from the one I proposed...

4S
3A+3T
2A
3Lz
3A x
3Lz+1Lo+3S x
3F+3Lo x


Gets her closer, to 62.89.
 

flanker

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Country
Czech-Republic
That's what I'm wondering. Strange how even with two triple axels and a quad, I think Kihira is very comparable in BV to Anna. Anna's two different types of quads really help her to optimize her layout to fight back, and then she's a better performer than nearly everyone. To me Kihira is the best of the field because of no clear weaknesses - but everyone against her has a clear strength over her, AND they play their layout strategically to boot... So in a competitive setting, Kihira will have to settle until she gets a new quad?!
Rika is definitely the biggest threat to the russian ladies among the current skaters, but even her needs top russian lady to make a serious mistake to get the gold. Remember even with her cleanest performances Rika didn't even surpass Alina's top scores and Alina didn't have 3A/quad. So far Rika replaced one of her 3A with a 4S in her free program, which is not that big boost on BV. At japan nationals Rika's BV was 68.83 with an UR 3A, with fully rotated it would be 70.43 (together with other elements). Anna's BV at Russian nationals was 81.88 (even Kamila with repeated "weakest" quad had 74.31). Now imagine Anna with another 4F (which would probably replace her first 3F in combo), that would give her another 5.7 point, 87.58 in total (truly insane numbers). And there is still question how many quads Sasha will deliver.

If I consider Rika's performance at japan nationals, it was good, but after 4S and 3A she only delivered two 3F, the rest were 2As, 3Ts, relatively low scoring elements. So to come close she either needs another quad/3A or bring Lutz back.
 
Last edited:

kolyadafan2002

Fan of Kolyada
Final Flight
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
In fact, Anna gets a much higher BV - 64.78 to Kihira's 60.44 from the one I proposed...

4S
3A+3T
2A
3Lz
3A x
3Lz+1Lo+3S x
3F+3Lo x


Gets her closer, to 62.89.
This layout is good enough to throw done with Anna, based on the fact Rika "should" have the 3A advantage in the sp. If Anna vs Rika came and both went clean in both programs, I would not be able to tell until after I saw the scores who would be the winner.
Rika has a deficit as well due to the lack of a stable +3Lo combo, so it is likely she'd elect do a +3T instead of the 3Lo (repeating the tripe axel and the triple toe), and then doing a 3Lo instead of the 3Lz.
She definitely needs a 3A in the second half to maximise points, and match Anna on spins and steps (which is very difficult to do).
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
This layout is good enough to throw done with Anna, based on the fact Rika "should" have the 3A advantage in the sp. If Anna vs Rika came and both went clean in both programs, I would not be able to tell until after I saw the scores who would be the winner.
Rika has a deficit as well due to the lack of a stable +3Lo combo, so it is likely she'd elect do a +3T instead of the 3Lo (repeating the tripe axel and the triple toe), and then doing a 3Lo instead of the 3Lz.
She definitely needs a 3A in the second half to maximise points, and match Anna on spins and steps (which is very difficult to do).
Rika "should" have the advantage in the SP - but I think Anna's PCS and +3Lo and spins/steps GOE will add up to make it smaller. In the LP with that layout she is only a couple of points behind, but w/o a +3Lo she is 4 points behind just on BV - and then Anna can easily replace the 3F+3T with a 4Lz+3T.
 

Blades of Passion

Skating is Art, if you let it be
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Country
Russia
Anna doesn't have amazing spins, nor a "steps advantage" (to me anyway) if Rika executes to the best of her ability. There's several things Rika can improve with her spins though, both for technical points and choreography. I'd like to see her do the butterfly flying camel instead of just a plain entry, which would allow her to remove the final catch-foot position from the spin (where she never has the best stretch). With the donut as her final position of the spin, she can hold it out a bit longer and focus on adding an arm movement for texture. It also looks SO much better for most people on a camel (including Rika) when the upside down position and change edge are done separately rather than combined. The way Shizuka Arakawa did it is what I think Rika should aim for.

On the combo spin Rika needs to remove that piked back sit and replace with pancake or twisted intermediate position. For the layback I wish she would remove the sideways position and instead do a classic layback for 8 rotations at the start (also work in improving the illusion turn entry, which she used to do better). It's also a technical disadvantage to include a solo layback in the LP. Choreographically the way I would include it in a CCoSp, considering her other spins, is this: butterfly flying camel, down to twisted sit position, change foot to classic layback position, then haircutter and biellmann. With this setup her LP solo flying camel would go back to the easier entry and hold the donut for 8 rotations to get max level.

As far as jumps go, I'd like to see this from Rika (unless she can add +3Lo combo or another Quad):

4S
3A+2T
3A
3Lo
3Lz+1Lo+3S
3F+3T
3Lz

3A+3T doesn't help her score if she doesn't have +3Lo combo or another Quad, there's no point planning that extra risk for no reason. Putting a 3A in the second half, instead of a Triple-Triple, is similarly not something that helps her score and also just seems like it will make that 3A less reliable.

Rika needs to focus on the quality of her programs and all the elements, she must be competitive on GOE and PCS. Of course she needs to keep up on jump content too (a second Quad might be needed), but without the quality, she won't be able to win.

Hmm, so probably Kihira would have led after the SP, for you? But I think she still falls behind overall and finishes 4th at Russian Nationals.

I wasn't overly impressed with Kihira's SP, she would barely win the SP for me, because of having the 3A. It would help quite a bit if she had done the jump combo cleanly, but the program still needs more big flourishes and attack and refinement of positions. The choreography after her flying camel is all wrong and she doesn't sell the ending, too demure.

Thank you for taking the time to do this analysis.
It seems like you are a very strict judge, but you are being fair and judging everyone by the same standards.
Overall I do agree with scores you have given all these girls. However, I personally prefer more lenient judging.

Thanks! I don't like lenient judging because it doesn't leave enough space for people to get the credit they deserve for spectacular elements or programs. Although my scores are much lower overall than the inflation we see these days, I'm actually a little more favorable about GOE for huge jumps, because they aren't given enough credit. Also when it comes to underrotations, while I think jump rotations need to be understood and looked at better, I tend to be more favorable than the typical judge about GOE when jumps are actually called <, because they tend to always drastically lower the score just because of the call, which is not an accurate assessment of quality; the jump already received base value penalty and needs to be judged on quality itself.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
4S
3A+2T
3A
3Lo
3Lz+1Lo+3S
3F+3T
3Lz
Oh that's good, I completely missed that she could eliminate all 2As with a 3A+2T added. It would probably add an advantage in the eyes of the judges (whether it should or not is a different issue I guess).
Rika needs to focus on the quality of her programs and all the elements, she must be competitive on GOE and PCS. Of course she needs to keep up on jump content too (a second Quad might be needed), but without the quality, she won't be able to win.
I agree that she does need the GOE and PCS. During the off-season I claimed I thought she was the best skater in the world; it was because she had no clear weaknesses to me, though also no clear strength in my book. I'm just not sure if she can out-BV or out-quality the others next season, so basically I'm not sure if what she has will add up to a win. Not out-BV anyway, since others are getting 3 quad LPs consistent.

Which isn't a bad thing to me (you win if you deserve it), but still, interesting to think about.
I wasn't overly impressed with Kihira's SP, she would barely win the SP for me, because of having the 3A. It would help quite a bit if she had done the jump combo cleanly, but the program still needs more big flourishes and attack and refinement of positions. The choreography after her flying camel is all wrong and she doesn't sell the ending, too demure.
Yeah that makes sense. I don't like either program this season, though I like the LP music.
Anna doesn't have amazing spins, nor a "steps advantage" (to me anyway) if Rika executes to the best of her ability.
I don't think Anna has amazing spins, but I do think at their best they are visually better than Rika's. Similarly, I think she's a better performer than Rika, and that does come across in the steps to me - though I must keep in mind that I'd put her behind in edges usually. Could still be that I have it wrong though.
It also looks SO much better for most people on a camel (including Rika) when the upside down position and change edge are done separately rather than combined.
Yes, absolutely agree.
On the combo spin Rika needs to remove that piked back sit and replace with pancake or twisted intermediate position.
I miss the pancakes :(
Thanks! I don't like lenient judging because it doesn't leave enough space for people to get the credit they deserve for spectacular elements or programs. Although my scores are much lower overall than the inflation we see these days, I'm actually a little more favorable about GOE for huge jumps, because they aren't given enough credit. Also when it comes to underrotations, while I think jump rotations need to be understood and looked at better, I tend to be more favorable than the typical judge about GOE when jumps are actually called <, because they tend to always drastically lower the score just because of the call, which is not an accurate assessment of quality; the jump already received base value penalty and needs to be judged on quality itself.
Aw, you have a heart! :laugh:
 
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