Friday, April 29, 2011

The Ladies' Short

I just got down watching the ladies short and decided to unfollow a few people on Twitter.  It is about time.  Strangely, I didn't unfollow the Polly Positive morons, as they make laugh.  Today was the big day.  Yu-Na skated competitively for the first time in 13 months.  Alissa Czisny got a rematch at Worlds.  And Mao Asada had a rematch with the Technical Caller Shin Amano.

It was a day that sort of lived up to the hype in the extent that these results will be debated for some time, but it was a sloppy event all around.  When such things happen, the caller seems far more important than ever to make sense of the mess.  Things got murky.

Many will see a mistake from Yu-Na Kim and automatically claim Olympic Champion bonus.  Yu-Na did not skate her best, nor did she perform as well as she usually does.  The stumble out of the Triple Lutz was somewhat shocking after reports and videos have showed her being rock solid on it all week.  What did emerge was a fighter.  Yu-Na did what Brian Joubert could not be tacking a double toe onto a solid Triple Flip.  Her Double Axel was among the the strongest she's done.  Everything else was in order throughout the rest of the program.  Now, I am not delusional enough to think that Yu-Na deserves higher GOE on her layback than Alissa Czisny.  The people who argue that are the same ones who will try to claim that it doesn't matter if a spiral is fugly as long as it has a decent edge.  Um no.  Yu-Na is in first place.  You could make an argument that she should be second, but the overall strength on her skating has kept her near the top.  Yu-Na's saving grace is that she has textbook rotated jumps.  In the new age of instant replays, one must take off and land in exactly the same position.  It is all very Hitler Youth.   Yu-Na did okay, but it wasn't the same as usual.  I question the decision not to compete at Four Continents (as I have all season long.)  Yu-Na's PCS were actually kept in a respectable range.  Going by the protocol, the layback is really the only inflated element.  That GOE is inflated in terms of position, but the execution of the requirements is sound.  It just isn't sound to our eyes.  Yu-Na has never really been in many positions where she makes mistakes in the short but has to come out and nail the long.  Hopefully her jitters are now out.  (65.91)

Miki Ando had the cleanest skate of the day, yet is in second.  She didn't attempt a Triple Flip, but did hurt her potential technical element score.  Her lack of a Triple-Triple is also why Yu-Na is able to be competitive with her.  I understand those who want the clean skate to be first, but even with a few smiles from Miki, the overall stiffness of her body continues to lack any emotional connection to the music.  Sweet girl.  Smart girl?  Eh, she dated Morozov.  (65.58)   The virtual tie with Yu-Na has me concerned.

"I don't want to live in a world where Miki Ando is two-time World Champion."- Tarasova's Mink

Ksenia Makarova is somehow third after executing a short program with a Triple Toe+Triple Toe, Triple Loop and Double Axel.  The content feels very Amber Corwin, but she did manage to get every jump around cleanly.  I don't see how Ksenia is ahead of Alissa when judging the overall quality.  Mind you, I like Ksenia's skating.  She is fun to watch and is a Russian singles skater who actually cares about aesthetics.  This is a failing of the IJS, as the overall maturity, cleanliness and heart of the program isn't accounted for like it once was.  (61.62)

Alissa Czisny made it through a short program at Worlds with only a hand down on her Triple Flip.  Unfortunately, she got an edge call. That is the reason why Alissa is behind Makarova.  Yet, the overall short program is far superior.  I don't see the rationale for not rewarding Alissa with the best spins of the day.  The USFSA needs to learn how to politick and psychologically fuck with the other judges and competitors.  It wasn't a perfect skate, but the hurdle is met.  Alissa must be feeling more confident.  It is interesting that Alissa really connects with Jason, while Jeremy connects with Yuka.  It is similar to Paul Wylie being Mary's baby, while Evy loved Nancy.  Fourth for Czisny is good.  If she skates cleanly in the long, she will medal.  There is no way that Makarova has the technical content in the long to beat her.  It doesn't exist.  And let's be honest, Alissa's short is nice but the long has the potential to be magical.  Mission Accomplished.  (61.47)

Irina Slutskaya loved Alena Leonova.  She would.  If ever there was a skater who bring up the same level of bile as Irina, it's Alena Leonova.  The dress alone tells you what kind of Russian crap you're about to witness.  Still, the muscular-thighed skater willed around a Triple Toe+Triple Toe, Triple Flip and Double Axel.  Miraculously, she made the final group.  Her jumps may have been solid enough, but the overall level of tacky skating is inexcusable.  One should never have pom-poms dangling off of their costume.  Irina and Alena can go live in hell together.  Just stay away from me.  Find another corner.  (59.75)

Somehow, Carolina Kostner fell on her Triple Flip and took the final spot for the last group in the free skate.  Remember how Carolina was skating cleanly when she stuck to Toe Loops, Salchows and Loops?  She whips out the Flip and falls.  Enough said.  Carolina is a Fumie Suguri case where you begin to realize that their skating and placement is never going to get any better about 10 years before that though even begins to cross their mind. I'm beginning to wonder if Carolina slept with Ottavio.  You know how these skaters can be. (58.66)

Mao Asada has spent a year searching for jump technique.  I must say, I don't see the improvement.  It appears that the search has only made her more nervous and dubious about her own ability.  I'd consider sending her to Yamada if it caused her to skate with lightness and joy again.  Back when Mao first came on the scene, she only did Flips, Flutzes, Loops and Axels.  Her Toe-Axel and Salchow were not a part of the equation.  Until the Hitler Youth regime of Shin Amano, Mao doesn't put in her Toe Loop because it doesn't tend to be as consistent.  Unfortunately, Mao's Flip has become a real issue over the last two seasons.  If there is a jump that tends to be questionable, it is her Flip.

I feel that The Bells of Moscow has ruined Mao for me.  No matter what she does, everything is boring compared to that mess of a program that I am still just beginning to comprehend.  Where does one go after Mao slaps herself across the face with both hands?  It is wrong that Mao is not in the final group, but that is the IJS for you.  Mao's overall skating is vastly superior to everyone aside from Yu-Na and Czisny.  The jumps may be another story, but this is about skating.  Mao's costume was quite a 'lot of look' at first, but a relief after some of the other things she's worn over the years.  I blame the cross eye that was never fixed.  She didn't wear an eye patch for years like my sister.  (58.66)

Rachael Flatt lumbered out dressed like Big Bird and only did a Triple Flip+Double Toe after Ms. Cocky mentioned the Triple-Triple in almost every interview she's given this season.  It didn't even look like she attempted to go for it.  Who is she kidding?  Not Shin Amano.  Miss Reliable also doubled her Lutz.  I didn't know whether to be happy or to fear for the US ever regaining three spots.  Somehow, Lori Nichol pulled a Mariana Bitang-Gina Gogean bout of bullshit and got Rachael a Level 4 for her step sequence.  Yes, because when I think of footwork, I think of Flatt.  Rachael and Patrick are a marriage of debutante balls and footwork.  They can go hang out in that corner with Leonova and Slutskaya.  Note how much money has obviously been spent on that hideous dress and ghastly haircut.  In honor of the Royal Wedding, I think Rachael should stick with hats.  I bet there's a nice Blossom-type hat that could hide her a bit.  (57.22)

Elena Gedevanishvilli has never looked trashier and Kiira Korpi has never looked lovelier---especially when she moved out of the way to ensure Czisny made the final group.


The order of the final group:
1. Ando
2. Leonova
3. Kim
4. Czisny
5. Kostner
6. Makarova

Expect a podium of Kim, Ando and Czisny in some order.  Poor Mao :(


  1. I think enough russians are being boosted in scores to perhaps see a podium of Kim, Ando, Makarova. Evidence: Artur. Or see them tossing a bone to the Europeans and boosting Kostner back up to the podium. The point spread between 3-8 is so small, one botched jump will kill it for someone while an overmark here or there won't be too noticeable.

  2. I'm hoping that Flatt does just well enough to get the three spots back, but not well enough so that she's encouraged to continue skating.

  3. I doubt Makarova will medal. Her short is ok, but that LP is a fugly mess, and looks worse after you've seen hot Korpi doing it better. It'll probably be Alissa on the podium, or maybe Carolina. Carolina will either finish on the podium or somewhere around 17th.

  4. Hi! I looove YuNa Kim and I'm so happy she pulled through. Like you, I saw a fighter come out of that SP. Not YuNa's best (compared to herself in other SP's) but when I watched her performance again, I thought she skated well. Miki Ando's SP is lovely but very front-loaded and pleasant but meh. Alissa Czisny was a little underscored. Poor Mao Asada was *hammered*. I hope she really pulls herself up in the LP, as her costume and program this year is beautiful. And of course, hopefully YuNa will use her fighting spirit and Olympic focus to bring it out in her LP too. Cheering hard for her. Miki's LP is dreadful along with the back-loaded jumping marathon.

  5. We can go on and on with who got which score rigth or not. Yuna's step sequence got level 3, while Flatt got level 4. Really? I mean, really? Flatt with a level 4 step and Yuna didn't get 4? You compare and track who's score is better than who, and you usually end up seeing A>B B>C but A<C because the scoring system is imperfect. Besides, Yuna's overall GOEs seem way lower than she should have gotten.

  6. To be fair Irina also loves yu-na she said something about how if she was skating in the yu-na era she would aspire to be like her,totally made me LOL.

  7. In what alternate universe should Yuna get more points for her layback spins than Alissa?

    Not liking Yuna's Giselle SP at all, and I'm speaking as a person who likes Yuna the most out of all these ladies. I see a lot of "pained" facial expressions to make up for weak, un-balletic, and much too literal choreography. The whole thing looks amateurish. Hopefully LP will be better than the SP.

  8. @April 29, 2011 8:45 AM
    I quite agree with you.

    Well, Yu-na definitely has an outstanding sensibility, but it was not bad to see her as a fighter.

  9. OMG! AJ you are hilarious! :-D

    I thought Yu-Na did well considering it was her first competition in over a year. ITA about the GOEs but, as the Olympic Champ, she gets boost where she needs it. If she didn't get those +3s she'd have ended up behind Miki...

    It'd be great if Alissa made the podium but I just don't see it happening. 4th or 5th if she manages to keep it together. Mao can rebound to the podium if she skates her LP well. It's magical when she hits her jumps, so I won't count her out yet.

    And I totally think Carolina is boning Ottavio C...there's no other excuse for the scores she gets...

  10. "And Mao Asada had a rematch with the Technical Caller Shin Amano."

    Thank you for this comment. I literally LOL'd in my office. Scared a few people.

    Spot on as always--can't wait to see the video of these programs.

  11. I liked Yuna's short program a lot more in practice than I did during the event. Not just because of the jumps -- I just didn't see any fire or attack in her performance. I agree with you, AJ -- I wish she'd gone to 4CC. I think then she would have been able to skate it to its full potential. The footwork sequence could be so beautiful, but she looked very sluggish to me going into it. I hope she is able to pull out a truly spectacular, inspired performance of Arirang, since that is what everyone (or at least myself) is looking forward to.

    On that note, I agree with everything you've said about the scoring. How do you justify not giving Alissa top marks of the day in spins? No one even approached her in terms of position, speed, centering. I hope USFSA officials are commenting on this between now and tomorrow... it's a shame that our top lady isn't being rewarded for the thing she does better than anyone else int he world. I am sick of the Russian home-rink advantage, too. The ISU already gave them their medal. If Ksenia or Alena makes the podium, I'm going to cry.

    Please let Alissa skate her free tomorrow the way she did at Nats and GPF. It is truly a thing of beauty.

  12. @April 29, 2011 8:45 AM
    I also agree with you. Yuna's step sequence was brilliant and should have gotten her Level 4. Her doulble axel was so enormous that I thought it was a triple something for a moment. Despite the initial step-out, no one still came close to Yuna in terms of overall technique and presentation. No question about that.
    I was thrilled to see her back on the ice.

    Anyway, I was thrilled to see Yuna back on the ice.

  13. Agree re: Kim and Ando on the podium, not so sure about Czisny, unfortunately. The long has more jumps in it and is usually a little more iffy for her, Nats this year being a welcome exception. Wouldn't be surprised to see Makarova (SWR), Kostner (SWEuro), or hell, even Mao (pissed at her short and looking for redemption) take that last spot.

  14. I totally agree with the comment about Yuna's double axel looking like a triple something. It was huge! I haven't quite figured out how the scoring system changed, but the GOE she got for it seem too low.

    Can't wait to see her back on the ice again.

  15. I love how Yuna ubers come here to tout her 2As as 3As and how her GOEs are too low and such. Go back to yunaforum if you're gonna spew usual blind worship and leave us alone. We actually love skating and not just Yuna.

  16. "I totally agree with the comment about Yuna's double axel looking like a triple something. It was huge! I haven't quite figured out how the scoring system changed, but the GOE she got for it seem too low. "

    I see your willful ignorance of scoring system doesn't prevent you from commenting as an expert on GOEs. Even if her GOE for her 2A are too low, which I don't believe it is, Yuna's absurdly high +GOEs for spins alone make up for it and more. So WTF are you bitching about?

    Go read the scoring rules and watch skating videos other than Yuna's videos THEN come back and comment.

  17. "The callers haven't been slapping '!'s on many skaters. It as an 'e' or nothing."

    Don't know if this was sarcasm or if you missed it, but the ! was phased out this year and only e's are given...even if in the past they were given ! - it's up to the judges to assess the severity of the edge call and they must reduce -1 to -3 off GOE.

  18. AJ, I don't know if someone cut you off in traffic this morning or took your drink in sbux or what, but I'm giving you a 10.0 as your component score for sass, keep it up ;]

  19. I think the scoring is appropriate.

    Yuna's GoE for her spins is probably too high (or Czisny's is too low, I haven't worked out which yet), but that is counterbalanced by Miki Ando only scoring 1.5 points behind in components marks. Miki has been very generously scored this season in the absence of another dominant lady, and I think that was reflected in her ~8 average across marks -- despite her lack of transitions and speed.

    Czisny and Asada were definitely underscored. Mao's 3A was judged way harsh, and I really don't see how she has lower components than Ando. It's insulting. Czisny... I mean, I tend to agree with AJ, what is the USFSA doing if they aren't talking up the quality of her spins? With Mirai watching at home, there isn't anyone who even comes close!

    All of that aside, though, the scores aren't that outrageous. The competition is going to come down to the free, which was pretty much what we all knew all along.

  20. Oh, I'm the commenter above. I meant to say "I think the scoring for Yuna and Miki is appropriate." This is what I get for not proofreading ><;

  21. You can easily point out Asada's Flutz or errors on Flip, but never notice Kim still HAS Lip?
    Where did her 3Loop go, huh?

  22. Makarova doesn't have the content that is true. Leonova does though and did tremendous at Euros and Russian nats.

  23. Lovely commentary! I completely agree with everything, especially on Alena Leonova being hopelessly trashy and Ksenia being wrongly put in front of Alissa. I really, really hope Alissa medals. The Russians got Gachinsky on the podium of men's, unless everyone in the final flight bombs (please god no, knocks on wood), no way a medal for Ksenia is deserved. (arguably, Ksenia deserved it last year? over Laura? I don't know.. I liked Laura better, but that girl's jump content...)

  24. It wasn't lip, it was flip.
    I don't know why some people claim about
    yuna's flip. Because she got edge-call past
    08-09 season? so illogical. Just look her flip!
    It was perfect.

  25. Totally agree with you. Kim deserves overall score--Ando's score was inflated--Alissa should be in the 2nd.

  26. FYI, Alissa didn't put her hand down. On the replay you can clearly see that she didn't touch the ice. The judges that gave her a -3 GOE for that fucked up objectively speaking.

  27. AJ I agree with you on the comments of spirals (it's everything that makes a good spiral, no just the edges),

    Tarasova's Mink: it's a matter of taste, but I could actually survive with Miki being champ than enduring living in a world where Patrick "The-Second-Coming" Chan is a world champion.

  28. I agree with you AJ and commenter April 29, 2011 5:26 PM.

    And I think Kim's score shoud be around 67~68 not 65~66.

    Also Alissa did better than Ando. Especially her spin was gorgeous but the score was rediculous. She deserve to get more score trully.

  29. Ando self-admittedly played it safe. Her performace was clean but rather slow and risk-free with no impressive transisitons. Her flexibility and expressions still need to be improved. If you ask my opinion, the overall performance of Yuna Kim was better than Ando's.

  30. Ando's score was inflated. Alissa should be in the 2nd. Yuna is awesome and amazing
    I <3 Yuna & Alissa

  31. I enjoyed Tara Lipinski's commentary way more than I expected to. She's a little low-key and unpolished still, in the way she speaks, but I agreed with everything she said. Way to call it out when things aren't right, whether it's in the skating or the scoring.

    I felt bad for Rachael. I don't actually feel like this SP shows her off that well; she does have some natural artistic instincts, but the drama of the music sets too high a bar. You see her trying and not quite getting there, and it makes her seem like less of an artist than she is. I hope the discrepancy between how she's judged in the US and internationally is sending a message to US judges; it doesn't do her any favors to not have a realistic idea of what to expect internationally.

  32. Yuna is the relentless speed and variation of movements, interpretation, transitions, how she filled the rink with her presence which is very different from everyone else.
    She did not take a rest like certain skaters. who pretend to be expressive whilst practically remain in a stationary position. Kim deserves overall score

  33. agree with you!
    Expect a podium : 1. Kim 2. Czisny 3. Ando

  34. @Anonymous 12:o3AM "I felt bad for Rachael. I don't actually feel like this SP shows her off that well; she does have some natural artistic instincts... You see her trying and not quite getting there, and it makes her seem like less of an artist than she is."

    Rachael has some natural artistic instincts? And it makes her seem 'less of an artist than she is?


  35. This SP contains too much tragic sounding/looking music and choreography for me. A mixture of opposite emotions here and there could have been good.

  36. Yuna's short program was very impressive. It was what I ve waited for more than a year