Hello! I’m back with the next instalment of my Grand Prix recaps – this week with what happened in the ladies event at the Cup of China. The winner here was, unsurprisingly, Anna Shcherbakova who is now the first lady to have obtained her place in the Grand Prix Final (I find Eteri Tutberidze’s countdown on Instagram of the medals her skaters have been winning at the Grand Prix very amusing – she is clearly intending on winning them all and is probably quite confident that she will). Anna did a clean short program this time around, although she still did not look happy with the score – most likely because she is thinking how she will fare in the final against her teammates who will most likely also be there. Her free skate was clean too, yet it was not her best performance. I’m sure she would have liked to have beat her free skate score from Skate America, but instead scored nearly 8 points less. She received exclamation points on all her lutzes (as well as the one in the short program – so that’s five in total, definitely something to go home and work on) and a couple of her spins in the free skate looked a little shaky and less confident than usual. Another tiny quibble that I have is that the dress change in the free skate did not look as smooth or as slick as normal so that the magical, exhilarating moment where she transforms was lost. Of course, this is a very trivial thing to complain about in the grand scheme of things, but it just shows what solid programs she did that I’m having to complain about a dress change. I do think it is definitely worth ensuring that her lutz edge is clear however, just to avoid any grey areas in future.
Satoko Miyahara won the silver medal; I was unsure how she would fare here amongst the triple axels and quads given her reputation for under-rotating her jumps, but like I said last week, they are risky and because people made mistakes, she was able to climb into second place. She did have 5 under-rotations across the two programs; she doesn’t get a huge amount of height in her jumps, but she rotates so quickly that she is able to do them, although she does need that extra bit of height in the second half of her programs to get the jumps fully around. She has a chance to make the final depending on how she does next week.
Then in third place was Elizaveta Tuktamysheva who has been chopping and changing her programs throughout the season so far and I don’t think it’s helping her much. She fell on her triple axel in the short program – surprising given how consistent it had been up to this point. She then didn’t do a triple-triple so the program felt a little lacklustre compared to what we know she can do. It was nice to see her fight back in the free skate (she came second here and probably would have come second overall had she had a done a triple flip-triple toe instead of the double toe – I’m not an expert on jump maths, but I think she could have done), especially on her lutz and flip landings that were not very secure. Unfortunately, I would say she does not have much chance of making the final given that there are two competitions left and Bradie remains ahead of her in the running at the moment. I’ve been enjoying watching her this season so we shall just have to see how she does at Russian nationals which is going to be a bloodbath anyway.
Bizarrely, and delightfully, Amber Glenn ended up in third after the short program which I don’t think anyone was expecting, least of all her. However, she very much deserved it because everything was clean, she had no under-rotations and she performs it so fantastically. I know she has been an inconsistent skater, but as of this season, I do not care how she does with her jumps because she simply performs her two programs gloriously. They are excellent programs for her and I really hope she can have two good skates at U.S. Nationals. I think this short program was the most emotive and intense of the whole event. Unfortunately, the free skate did not go as successfully: on her second jumping pass, she decided not to put a salchow after the axel half loop – I’m not sure why because the landing was completely fine and she absolutely could have put the combination on. She also popped the next lutz and I worried that she was going to completely fall apart, but she did manage to pull herself together well enough for the rest of the skate – she stood up on everything and didn’t completely give up. It’s a shame because she probably could have finished slightly higher had she not made these mistakes, but I think the surprise of being in position for a medal after the short program threw her.
I think the possibility of making the Grand Prix Final also threw Young You who did not land either of her triple axels this weekend. She also fell on the flip in the short program, but the rest of her long program was beautiful so she was able to move up a few places overall. I hope we get to see her at Four Continents or Worlds because I want to see her sell that step sequence in the free skate because it already is so good that it could absolutely be even better. Finally, it was good to see that Sofia Samodurova had a more positive outing here than she had at both the Russian Test Skates and the Lombardia Trophy, with no falls that seem to derail her. I don’t think she is quite at the standard yet of last season (wow I miss her Burlesque free skate and this version of Roxanne is not good to listen to), but hopefully a weekend of no falls will boost her confidence.
Next week is the penultimate competition before the final; Rostelecom Cup which might give us a clearer idea of who will make it to the Final. I think this is quite a tough podium to call and I think it will be very tight so for now I will say: Alexandra Trusova, Evgenia Medvedeva and Mariah Bell (or Satoko, but I’m giving it to Mariah because I’m a fan and I would really love for her to get another medal).
What was your favourite moment from Cup of China?
My highlight: it would have to be Amber Glenn’s short program because it gave me chills. Although the sight of Anna Shcherbakova in the kiss and cry with that ridiculously large teddy bear that was about four times the size of her was highly entertaining.
– IG: @evangelineskates