Wednesday, March 6, 2013

TSL: 2013 World Championships Ladies' Preview with Pj Kwong



Our preview of the ladies' event at the 2013 World Championships with Pj Kwong.

FYI: I know Kostner was at Worlds prior to 2005. I am pointing out that she was really introduced as a gold medal threat at that event when she reached the podium.

69 comments:

  1. I hope Yuna wins. Love Mao too

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  2. I dunno. I think it will either be Mao or Kostner on the top. Pleasantly surprised if it's Yuna.

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  3. My Top 3!
    1. Mao
    2. Carolina
    3. Yu-Na

    Dave, I love how you can pull Michelle into any conversation!
    FYI, I still haven't forgiven 05' Worlds@! Boo Carolina! LOL
    J/K, not totally!

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  4. I wasn't mad at Carolina at 2005 Worlds--I was mad at the judges for under-scoring Michelle's short program. As I recall, Irina made mistakes but scored better than Michelle. Boo Irina! (:

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  5. I will remember Suzuki, forever, Dave put it better by saying she might not be the most intense competitor.

    PJ and Jennifer, I don't know, nothing really special about her skating? "stripped down to expression and leotards" she can't keep up? She capitalizes on other's errors? Great story but not memorable skating. Frankly, besides that American obsession with "great stories, this is just annyoing. For one thing, how many skaters out there would fit that description a lot better than Akiko? A lot. IMO, Ashley Wagner, for example.

    Granted that Ashley exudes more of a Diva attitude and exhibites a fiercer competitive spirit. She lives by her consistency and overall skill package, there's not one programme of hers, I will feel the need to ever rewatch again.

    Not so with Suzuki. And how can you seperate the programmes from the skating to make your case of a skater being memorable. And how much does PJ know about the work Suzuki has to put in vs. other skaters.

    I can't understand people wanting to replace Dave, btw., if anything he's the one to keep.

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    1. Who are these "people" wanting to "replace" Dave? No replacing ANYONE!

      Dave & Jenny go together like peanut butter & jelly. Like the birds and the sky. Like salt on a cracker.

      Dave & Jenny FOREVER!!!

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    2. ITA about Akiko and Ashley and was disturbed by PJ and Jenny's comments. Oddly enough, I adored Ashley a few years ago when she was a young ball of fire. Now that she is so carefully packaged, she never breaks out of her safe mode. I don't see the fierce that Dave talks about. Akiko OTOH is full of grace and fire. She is a soulful skater like Daisuke. Her Hungarian and Fledermaus programs from last year that got her on the Worlds podium were things of beauty and her two programs this year are unique and exciting. I will certainly remember this skater with the piquant face who added a 3-3 at an age when many skaters retire and who gave us such charming, dazzling programs in the age of COP.

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    3. I love Ashley's Black Swan program and have watched it over several times. I think it was the best ladies program of the 2011-12 season. I also love Akiko--I don't get the knock on her. Her footwork is the best of any current ladies skater. She also has no real weakness. Her long program this year is one of the best. I expect to see her on the podium.

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    4. Best footwork award should go to Carolina and Mao who both deserve 9s across the board. Come on, Akiko is lovely to watch, but frankly she isn't the likes of Mao and Carolina.

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    5. Depends on what we are talking. Ease of movement or skating skills? I agree. Regarding performance quality and expression she is up there with the best, and ITA, to say she is not memorable in any way is ridicolous.

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    6. Truth hurts! Akiko is a good solid skater. Yet, truth is nothing stands out about her. Nothing that grabs the attention/imagination.

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    7. Truth? Does it even exist? :)

      It's always in the eyes of the beholders. What makes her magical to me is her performance quality and her great programs. That puts her above of lot of skaters who may have better jumps or skating skills or whatever...

      Like some of the above anons, I wonder how PJ on the one hand says that for her it's all about the program, yet talks about how Akiko is not memorable in any way if you take away the program and package.

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    8. Akiko's LP dress is not peacock.
      Akiko said "It shows kingfisher"

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    9. I love Akiko's musicality especially because of the way she uses her superb skating skills to express the music. She not only has deep edges and effortless flow, but effectively uses the varied speed, power/energy and acceleration to accentuates ups and downs of the music. This is figure skating. She's so mature.

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    10. I still have lingering hurt feelings made by PJ Kwan's comments. What she said was very unkind. She said Akiko needs such help as a nice costume, otherwise forgettable, nothing special etc. I think that it was an unforgettably hurtful thing to say in public. I find it almost humiliating and she doesn't really offer any constructive analysis and just sounds plain mean. I hope Akiko hasn't listened to it.

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  6. I love Carolina even though she beat my Michelle. Carolina was a big Michelle fan too and she's just a nice girl (humble). I don't know any Michelle fan that dislike her for that reason. That whole 2005 situation was the judges because how on earth you come in 3rd in the short and the long then come in 4th. Yeah that’s silly. This was a way to get rid of Michelle and they did. I’m sure they regret it now because they need someone like Michelle and they don't have that.

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  7. I’m sorry but after Michelle I don’t care if we (the U.S.) has that top skater anymore. I just like who I like and I don’t care where they are from. Also I don’t think most care that Evan is champion because of his skating. Johnny had more fans and if he had actually became OG in 2010 it would have been a big deal. That’s one of the reasons things died down with Sarah H so quickly. She had hardly any fans loving her skating.

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  8. Anybody who's thinking that Kim will be on the podium at this year's Worlds is only fooling him/herself. Mark my words, she won't even make it to the top ten placements. You'll be watching her crying to death (so much more weeping and going ballistic than at the 2011 Worlds when she lost to Miki). She's gonna be so disappointed and disgusted with herself that she'll call it "quits". Well, so much better for the world of figure skating, we never needed such a drama queen and the flash in the pan to begin with, lol.

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    1. Obviously you have no idea what you are talking about. Troll!

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  9. I still don't know what's so special about YK's skating.

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    1. IKR!

      Kim is a snooze! She's a good jumper and that's about all. Frank Carroll refuted the argument that Kim would be remembered as anything more than a great technician.

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    2. Your comment is very generous considering the fact that YNK is not even a great technician anymore. She cannot jump half as well as promising skaters like Tuk and GG. Those two and Mao with her 3-3 as well as 3A can kick her *** anyday. Frankly, Kim is nothing other than the judge's pet (for reasons unbeknownst to me) who gets atrociously overscored everytime she's on the ice. It is such a travesty and needs to be stopped!!! May the skating god show us the justice this time!

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    3. No, Yuna is a better technician for jumps (at least most of them) than Mao. We never hear of rotation issues for her.

      But the reason I deeply prefer Mao to her, and think Yuna is overrated, is because there is no artistry with Yuna. It's like she skipped the obligatory ballet classes for skaters. Her toe is never pointed, and when she's doing footwork, she makes me think of the "character artist" in ballets, or whoever plays a peasant and shows it by having their heel up. As Yuna doesn't intend this, it's deeply distracting. Her arms are gangly, perhaps by nature, but also by lack of good ballet posture.

      Yuna is a great performer - you can never get bored while watching her - but for me, I will never get over the lack of grace. I think it should be more of a factor in the PCS mark than it apparently is.

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    4. Kim is a better technician??? Excuse me, but what have you been smoking? Kim has only six planned triples in her LP due to the lack of a triple loop. Have you heard of an OC and WC who cannot do such a basic jump?
      Look at the juniors from this year. Most of them can do 3Lz-3T as well as planned seven triples. Kim doesn't even perform at the level of juniors!
      If that isn't a disgrace to the figure skating as a sport, I don't know what is. She doesn't deserve being called "a better technician". I can name several senior skaters who are far better technically than she ever hopes & will be.

      Besides, jumps are just a part of technical goods, not the whole. Kim has one of the poorest spins and step sequences. She hasn't been improving on those aspects as she should have been long before. I would say in fact that she has regressed as if she wasn't bad enough already.

      I'm not even gonna get into discussing her PCS marks, which is a complete joke. If Kim deserves 8s in PCS components(which she doesn't, of course), I would say Mao, Carolina, and Akiko deserve more than 10s!

      Kim is neither a better technician nor a great performer as you claim to be. If you think so, it only means that you don't know what figure skating is and should be about. You mentioned lack of rotation issues for her. You know why we don't hear such issues from her? It's because she is always given the preferential treatment over the rest of the field and the benefit of doubt (highly unfair to the other skaters), not b/c she rotates her jumps fully. She still has lipping issues that judges pretend not to see and it is truly dishertening. Kim's problems are not just limited on the lack of ballet training, they are far more than that and unfortunately not fixable as long as she seems unconcerned about those issues.

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    5. Most seniors Kim's age don't do 3Lz-3T. Maybe it's due to being less able to do it past puberty. Maybe it's also because she doesn't need to take the risk. She's getting enough scores from her other elements, so why do such a complex 3-3? Mao has been able to win via PCS without her 3A, so it wouldn't surprise me if Yuna thinks she could win through her good jumps.

      Because she does have good jumps. Even if there's no 3Lo (and I do believe skaters should try to do each type of jump), the ones she does do are huge and show great technique. She deserves her GOEs for those.

      But in my opinion, she doesn't deserve the PCS. I know PCS can be made up both of skating skills, interpretation, and great lines/grace, but it seems the latter is seriously neglected with Yuna. Perhaps it's not so suprising. To do her jumps so well, she would have to have focused on them to the detriment of other elements. On the other side of the coin, Mao may suffer from jump technique issues because she spent more time perfecting her lines and positions.

      I value those, which is why she is my favourite skater, and Yuna isn't. Someone who values jumps more than lines is probably going to pick Yuna over Mao, because aside from Mao's 3A and her loop, her jumping isn't terribly impressive. And for the record, Mao doesn't do 3Lz-3T either, but I wouldn't say she performs below the level of juniors!

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    6. And when I said "great performer", I meant performer as in entertainer. Yuna has the same sort of spark that perhaps Akiko has as well, and that I don't think can be taught. She commands the audience's attention. Whereas at least up until this year, Mao's programmes can be a bit boring. Often she looks like she is concentrating far too hard on her elements. A performer makes things look easy when they are really dificult. That's what Yuna has, and even though I do not like her as a skater, I can't deny that it is her ace.

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    7. I find Mao's lines sophisticated and work well for soft, lyrical classical music like the last season's FS.

      But to skate to the Swan Lake, I'd like to see more solid training in ballet. Compared to other performers like Oksana Baiul, her ballet training is nothing beyond the very basics.

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  10. I hope Yuna wins!!!!

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    1. Well... Keep dreaming till the cows come home, Rofl.

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  11. It doesn't really matter though because the judges give her monster scores. I will be surprised if they don't try their best to keep her on the podium. Sigh.

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    1. I beg to differ. The judging will be a lot more difficult this time and the judges cannot simply hand Kim massive scores like sugar candies because we have superior skaters like Mao and Carolina who are sure to perform to their best and trump Kim mercilessly with their fantastic programs. Both rightfully deserve whole lot better scoring than the boring and uninspiring Kim. Even if the judges may try to get away with placing Kim on the podium (which I think is a very slim chance), the audience at the arena won't take it too kindly because her winning even a bronze would be a complete joke and an insult to other great skaters who are far better than her both in terms of artistry and technical contents (likes of Akiko, Ashley, Tuk, Sot, KO and GG come to mind, for example).

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    2. You don't remember how judges love Mao for many yrs. Just think about NHK in this season.

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  12. LOL at maobots!

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  13. 1.Yu-Na
    2.Carolina
    3.Ashley
    4.Akiko
    5.Mao/Adelina

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  14. 1.Yu-Na
    2.Carolina
    3.Adelina
    4.Akkiko
    5.Elizabeta
    6.Ashley
    7.Mao

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  15. The "Yu-Nuts" have arrived! LOL

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  16. Maobots are on a roll!!!!!! LOL. NHK Trophy again?

    She didn't change at all. Only, Rules have been changed to her credit.
    Her cheating jump skills haven't changed. What a convenience!

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    1. Do I have to remind you that Mao Asada is the only female skater among the current top ladies who can do both triple-triple combinations and triple axels in the same program? If that's not enough and impressive already, she holds the highest short program score this season. Compare that to your third rate skater who cannot even do a simple jump like triple loop, lol.

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    2. Asada's 3F-3Lo will never be ratified. She doesn't have 3-3T either. How many 3Fs has she URed or popped this season despite of the judges having been super lenient for her? She's been surely regressing as a jumper. Sure she can win whatever, like she did NHK.

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  17. Jap money will talk!!! Way to go, Mao.

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    1. Talking trash about Japanese and their skaters won't make you a better person than the scum you are. Ugly zealots like you are the big reason why skating fans dislike Kim and despise her. I suggest putting your time and effort into something else positive and respectable.

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    2. Not trash talkin' about JPN skaters but wanna say that I'm told that Japanese money does help buy the good reviews for their cars when they have serious problems and are not so much better than N. American brands. Problems with all cars are some of the crappy suppliers. JPN just knows how to work the systems. Try to buy and support american and canadian made!!

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    3. I buy American label cars but I love JPN skater Akkiko! I wish Miki could come back soon. For American I Hope for Gao.

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    4. I'm sorry, but I don't see what Japanese autos have anything to do with Japanese skaters??? Do you have something against Japanese people?

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    5. If Mao competed at US nationals this year, she would have been buried like Nagasu and Zhang for underrotated jumps.
      Asada should be thankful for her nationality.

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    6. Don't ever put Asada and the other Japanese skaters in the same bag!

      Suzuki never cheats her jumps like Asada always does, yet she's always sacrificed for Asada by JSF.

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  18. I feel like rooting for Li Zijun if for no other reason then to see how it could mess with the dynamics of the Korean/Japanese Yuna/Mao feud now going on.

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    1. Amen to that!!! Give her about one to two years, she will be magical and hard to ignore as she blossoms into a lovely woman. She's got the goods already, it's just a matter of time required for maturity and packaging, I think.

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  19. This whole Mao vs Kim thing is so last decade! And you guys arguing are so delusional and ridiculous that it's not even worth reading the stupid things you write. I would be happy to see both of them off the podium with new faces on top. And I want new faces on the Olympic podium too.

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    1. ITA. My dream podium for both the worlds and Sochi:
      Gold - Gracie
      Silver - Elizaveta
      Bronze - Katelyn

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  20. I personally think that Michelle was being sent a message! The judges and Cinquanta didn't like that she continued to skip out on the Grand Prix. Then came to Worlds under the new system for the first time and out skated both Cohen & Slutskaya in the short. Had she been scored correctly in the short she'd have been on the podium. Michelle was still the "face" of figure skating. I think that is why she basically called Cinquanta's bluff when he proclaimed it "paramount" Michelle take part in the Grand Prix. And hinted at taking action to assure it. However, could not take the chance of pissing her off. Therefore, this route was the better one taken.

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    1. So true! Cinquanta killed the goose that laid the golden egg--not just with the scoring at 2005 Worlds but with the entire IJS. The bots can talk all they want about Mao and Yu Na, but both are rather boring skaters who are constrained by a system that clearly makes it too difficult for ladies skaters to skate clean programs or to add significant artistry. All of the praise for Carolina's Bolero fails to note that it is rather empty--no transitions; she skates from jump to jump. But it is one of the few IJS programs by a ladies skater that is truly innovative and worth watching more than once. Yu Na's 2010 Olympic program will never be "for the ages" because it has one of those awful spiral sequences required by the IJS at the time. Michelle should be glad she never became an IJS skater. Her programs will live on when most of the current skaters' (usually flawed) programs will be forgotten.

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  21. I wonder if Yuna or Mao ever feel embarrassed by the behavior of their "fans" and the way they conduct themselves.

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    1. Why should they? They neither know or have any control over anyone's behavior. If i were either I'd say DO NOT put that on me.

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    2. At least Yu-Na don't.

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  22. The 18 year old debut of this 15 year-old's program still puts what is currently out there to shame!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEnZwD4Zozk

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  23. I'm so sick and tired of this old and boring Kim vs Asada rivalry. Both of them fall short of MK's level and I fear we may never have another MK in our lifetime if these two skaters who are considered the very best of the past and present guadrennials aren't good enough to achieve what MK did during her prime. I hope and pray that someone else than these two steps up to the plate and proves herself worthy of the title "queen" and give us the awe-inspring moments as MK often did. Are we ever gonna be lucky to witness that someone before this quad is over?

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  24. I'm so sick and tired of the worship of MK too. Some afraid of handing over Kwan's throne to others.

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  25. AJ. I really enjoy reading this blog and appreciate your clever insights on FS & AG.Keep up the phenominal work!! Having said that, could U make a YNK-bashing post plz? It looks like YNK is hated by several anoms here including myself and we could have a real riot with that one lol. The title could go something like this: 10 (or more) reasons why we hate YNK. How about it?

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    1. how pathetic... go make that bashing post in your own diary.

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  26. What a lot of cowards and sad individuals encourages hate instead of celebrating great sporting achievements in all forms and sizes by anyone anywhere. Total abuse of anonymity.I bet most are bigots or nationalist who need to latch onto someone's elses achievements to feel good about themselves. Insecure much? How about doing something useful instead of pollute these boards with garbage.

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  27. Gao is great, but I love Akkiko. No little girl skating and I still love her Fiddler on the Roof program. How can you say she isn't memorable. YK's dress was not dowdy. Better than bathing suit look. Kostner, Bolero dress could be great but skirt is too short,like for a little girl and the top reminds me of the fake bubbies outfits that Sasha and Nastia wore. You are there for sport, please stop with the fake bubbies look. That goes for Osmund too.

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  28. Yu-Na won and I am so happy :-)

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  29. OKAY, I WANT 2013 WORLDS LADIES REVIEW FROM THESE PEOPLE.

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  30. Wow, what these guys guessed turn out to be all wrong.
    Sorry AJ Yuna cleaned the both short and free programs, winning the gold, because I can see you wanted Carolina to be a champ so bad. Carolina really fought for it in her free program, but it was obviously not good enough to catch Yuna's sensational performance. Carolina and Yuna are both heavily favored in Sochi. Hope they'll bring their A games to Olympic and blow us away!!

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  31. The Yu-Na vs. Mao rivalry is officially over in the actual competitive records. Since 2008-2009, Mao has barely been able to beat Yu-Na except for the times when Yu-Na had a meltdown. Mao improved during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons and peaked at the 2007-2008 season. During the 2008-2009 and 2009-201 seasons when she was basically training by herself away from her coach TAT and focusing too much on 3A, her overall skating regressed little by little although the success rate on 3A increased. She then started to rework on her techniques, but has still continued to practice mainly at her university rink rather than at Mr. Sato's rink. Mr. Sato has had difficulty communicating with her because she has been too stubborn to understand or listen to him. This was very obvious at the 2012 Worlds, when she persisted on 3A that she never landed after dozens of attempts at practice. When asked about her slow speed, Mr. Sato revealed that Mao was not convinced to skate faster because it affected the consistency of jumps. The very reason she lost to Yu-Na at the Olympics was her almost exclusive focus on 3A at the sacrifice of the total packaging. After two years under Mr. Sato who is known for valuing basics, she hadn't learn the lesson. This tells something alarming about her maturity. Her skating reflects this.
    This season, her only reliable jumps have been solo 2A and solo 3Lo. Instead of perfecting her other jumps that she's been working on, she decided to bring back her 3A and 3-3. As a result, choreos of her program were affected. She was off the music. A lot of ppl commented that she looked too focused on her jumps at the sacrifice of artistry.

    When I watch Yu-Na and Mao back to back, it is clear that Mao doesn't have the speed, smoothness, projection, sophistication, and elegance that Yu-Na has. Mao was not slow in the past, but she has become slower during the last few years. After 3 years under Mr. Sato who taught her basics, she still skates noticeably slow, which makes her skating look small. Yu-Na looks smooth and elegant even when she is just stroking. Mao shows little emotion through her arms and on the face. Her costumes are also questionable.
    All in all, I haven't been able to enjoy her programs since Nocturne in 2006-7 and Fantaisie-Impromptu in 2007-8. I feel that she peaked then. Mao was a good rival for Yu-Na. In contrast to Yu-Na whose team including herself was smart and strategic to make her reach her potential, Mao focused too much on 3A and neglected the basics and total packaging. Even now, it doesn't look like she really understand the importance of total packaging. She's already 22 years old and this is sad. I wondered if this had something to do with the little secondary education that she's received. She "graduated" despite that she went to school less than 10 days and barely completed assignments. Yu-Na's skating reminds me of the importance of intelligence and maturity. I admire Mao's athleticism and guts, but would like to see her grow and skate like a 22 years old instead of a 15-year-old cutesy in her SP. The program and the costume matched her so well, which in itself is the program that I worry about.

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    1. Typo: "a problem" instead of "the program" in the last sentence. Pardon me for some grammatical errors earlier in the text as well.

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