I’ve decided that I am qualified enough to write about ladies figure skating. I’m probably not at all, but I like to think that I know enough about ladies skating and watch enough of it to comment on it even though this is a level of figure skating at which I will obviously never be. That doesn’t stop me from having opinions on the execution of triple flips and complex step sequences. When the Grand Prix assignments were announced, I wrote a post about my thoughts for the upcoming season so with the season well under way, it’s time to talk about Skate America. I shan’t mention every skater and some may not be in great detail, just things that I enjoy and consider worth mentioning, because this post (and the ones for the next competitions) would be far, far too long otherwise so please let me know what you thought of the competition in the comments!
I had to wake up at 5am my time on Saturday and Sunday this weekend to watch the ladies events and it was so worth it. I try to predict the results of competitions and I love to have my predictions proven wrong (although I also quite enjoy it when I get the podiums correct) and this weekend, the ladies really surprised me.
First of all, the short program was so exciting and this is why I like to wake up at strange times to watch skating live because you never know what will happen and I like to be on the edge of my seat (read, wrapped up in blankets and my duvet lying in bed) and not watching the programs later when I have already seen the results. To have Anna Shcherbakova, the gold medalist, in 4th place after the short program was hugely surprising; while I suspected that she would win with the free skate regardless, you never know how nerves, pressure and expectations would affect her when coming from behind, but I was delighted that she managed to win – although with two successful quad lutzes, I don’t think anyone had much chance of beating her here. She had a fall during her step sequence which was strange, but just proves that even the best can fall on step sequences (which makes me feel a lot better about my own) and I was impressed with her lutz-loop here as I half expected her to fall on it. I love her free skate this season – mostly because of the quads and dress change. If you haven’t seen this program yet, there is something very wrong so please go and watch it immediately. She looked very comfortable with her quads here and I think that the music really suits her, especially when she becomes the firebird which is made all the more exhilarating by the dress change.
Bradie Tennell won the silver medal and came first in the short, which I did not expect, but I was so happy for her. I have always been a fan of Bradie and it was great to see her start off with such consistent programs at the beginning of the season so I hope it continues because she is known for her consistency and I generally feel quite comfortable watching her because she looks at ease and comfortable herself. Her short program is quite quirky, fun and sassy and she looks like she really enjoys it. Everything looked very solid and I love her spins so much. Her free skate was mostly good too – she made one mistake on her second triple lutz triple toe (which the technical caller thought was a triple lutz double toe – it was not, I don’t what you were doing, clearly not paying attention to a great skate); it wasn’t a very stable landing, but she saved it nonetheless. I’m not sure if she has a chance to make the final based on who she will be competing against next week in Canada, but it would be so exciting if she were to make it.
In third place was Elizaveta Tutakmysheva who landed three clean triple axels and which seems to be a very consistent jump for her now and I love the height that she gets on them – they really do look so easy. The other jumps in the short program did not look as comfortable however and I think she needs to tidy them up for a chance to make the final. That said, her free skate was much better and I also really like this program. It’s so weird and crazy, but that suits her marvellously. On a personal note, I’m glad that she seems to be doing something more with her hands when she lands her jumps rather than having them looking limp and as if they are extraneous parts of her body.
I was delighted that Amber Glenn did a very, very nearly clean short program (the triple toe on her combination was under-rotated) because she tends to be quite up and down in her competitions, but this was a really good program for her. She has such great music choices this year and I’m sad that the free skate didn’t go as well for her. She popped a lutz, fell on a flip and popped an axel, but nevertheless fought her way through it which was good to see as she has let mistakes get to her previously. I also adore Karen Chen’s short program this year and I want that dress – it’s so pink and sparkly. It’s a shame that she couldn’t get a triple toe on the end of the lutz, but I’m impressed that she did a double because that was a sketchy landing and you could see her debating whether or not to put the combination on the end or not. It is also a shame that her free skate went the way it did: she had four falls and looked really disappointed in the kiss and cry. You could just see her unravelling as it went on (also the stream died so I missed the end of the program, but I really felt for her). I’m also not sure why she doesn’t have a triple triple combination in her free skate because we know she is capable of doing a nice triple lutz triple toe to start. However, she is doing this on top of starting university, but I hope she is able to get back the level of which she is capable. Finally, I want to say that Wakaba Higuchi’s short program is electric and if you watch any program from this competition make it that because it’s just wonderful. It was also such a turn around from what she did at the Lombardia Trophy so well done to her. I’m sad that her free skate unravelled (a bit like her hair) because part of me wanted her to magically scrape onto the podium after falling in love with her short, but alas, it was not to be.
That’s all I have to say on the ladies event at Skate America (thank you very much for reading if you’ve made it all the way though). I’ve yet to watch the other disciplines, but I don’t feel as knowledgeable about them as I do for the ladies. I sort of got the podium right: I had originally predicted it as Elizaveta, Anna, Kaori, then changed it to Anna, Elizaveta, Kaori after watching the Russian test skates because #quads. I will back with my thoughts on Skate Canada next Monday; currently I think the podium order will be Alexandra Trusova, Rika Kihira and Evgenia Medvedeva, but I will happily be proved wrong again and surprised!
What was your favourite moment of Skate America?
My highlight: Wakaba’s short program.