Skate Canada 2011: Day 1

My cold-induced tiredness is setting on again and the scope of this post will be a limited so I apologize. In any case, let’s begin.

Ladies

I will never have any inclination to watch either Ashley Wagner or Rachael Flatt unless I am in the middle of a live stream. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, I found out last night at 2AM after 2 hours of sleep that my internet connection cannot support the sketchy Russian livestream that I am forced to resort to. I may try again on a different browser too but I don’t know if that will make any difference. I think I may be stuck in this Philistine place with no figure skating on TV and possibly no livestream either. F.M.L.

That aside, I am super proud of my little Liza, who is the LEADER  by almost 5 points after the short program. What a spectacular senior debut at age 14!

She opened with a beautiful 3Lz-3T combination, followed by a 3Lp (not perfect but landed cleanly) and her signature fierce tano armed 2A. Go Liza! I really enjoyed how she attacked her footwork sequence with a Yuna-esque drama and gusto. (Please take note, PJ Kwong, this 14 year-old girl can outshine Cynthia Phaneuf in charisma any day of the week and at any point in Phaneuf’s career.) Looking at the protocols, the judges were tough on her in her PCS in transitions. Admittedly, her program looked more like a checklist of elements rather than one of those skillfully woven programs that garner tons of points. It’s unfortunate because with that much star-power, Liza has the potential to do so much better. I still have the impossible hope of her working with Tatiana Tarasova, though if that’s not possible, David Wilson is sure to be able to bring out the best in his skaters.

I’m already so proud of Liza’s debut in the short that I don’t really care about her overall result. Though prediction-wise, it would be absolutely wonderful if she won. As for the U.S. ladies sitting 2nd and 3rd, they haven’t been the most consistent long program skaters in the past seasons so there’s hope for a few of my other favourites.

And before I forget, Liza hands down had the highest TES score of the day but the highest PCS went to Akiko Suzuki, who despite having a mistake in her combination jump (3T-singled loop), skated with a confidence, determination and fire I never saw before.

Ladies short program results and protocol.

Pairs

Tanya and Max are in the lead after the short (and they have no viable competitors in this competition so it’s likely they’ll win) but whoever said that skating to an elevator-fied version of Evanescence (who was cool like… 10 years ago) was a good idea needs to be punched in the face. On the awkward scale, this ranks 7 out of 10 with Florent Amodio’s tiger Latin thing rated at 20. Still, anything above 5 (which is still pushing it) should not be shown in public and this counts as one of them. Other than Tatiana’s two-foot on her 3T the elements were well executed. The music and the choreography, however, do not capitalize on Tanya and Max’s talents. The program just looks like a desperado’s attempt to be cool.

I have yet to watch the other programs but looking at the rankings, I’d say that there’s not much hope for the new partnership of Dube and Wolfe while Sui and Han may still be hiccuping. The latter’s rather upsetting.

Ice Dance

Yes, this post follows a weird order and you’ll see why in a second.

Tessa and Scott obviously won the short dance here with a score that was slightly higher than Meryl and Charlie’s at Skate America. Other than the ending pose, I didn’t quite get into the SD (partly because the compulsory sequence is just dull, dull, dull) and I feel that these two will really want to tweak this program to get the audience in as they did with their FD at Worlds last year. No rock can be left unturned if they want that World title back because Meryl and Charlie are not going to sit quietly while their crown gets taken away. There’s been debate over Tessa’s dress colour (she DOES have a penchant for constantly switching dresses) and my two cents is that we should abandon the flapper tassels and go with a costume with a parrot colour scheme and a Carnival feel to it.

I probably would’ve blogged about Weaver/Poje in all fairness to the other disciplines who I didn’t blog in detail about the 2nd and 3rd placed skaters but I felt a need to watch this program immediately when FSOnline mentioned that Kaitlyn did tiger animal print right. Unlike this debacle:

Maybe he’ll say that the story behind this program is that he’s being a tiger. A magical tiger… in the winter… with wings……

Anyways, back to Kaitlyn and Andrew. I never thought that anyone can pull off animal print in any way, shape or form (even models) but I do admit that this dress sort of works though the tassels are excessive. But this SD… gosh… THIS is what a rumba SD should be like!!! I seriously think it’s my favourite so far. The compulsory pattern was for once, NOT BORING, the music and the team’s expression made it sensual and smooth and the choreography drew the crowd in and made them excited. I think we should look towards these two as what the SD should be. Their SD last year was fabulous and this year, I look forward to a polished performance of this SD. (There are obviously kinks they need to sort out, but all in good time.) Great job, you two!

Men

Now, the real shocker that absolutely delighted and thrilled me. Not only did Patrick not win the SP but both he and former World champion, Daisuke Takahashi were upstaged by a new Orserite: Javier Fernandez who I had pegged for bronze. To put it realistically though, Javier and Daisuke’s scores are separated by the tiny margin of 0.05 while Chan is only slightly more than a point away from top spot. The top 3 men are pretty much locked in a virtual tie and I won’t doubt that Skate Canada will allow Chan to win on a crappy performance.

Javier was sexy, suave and mysterious in his jazzy SP and his jumps (4T, 3F-3T, 3A) were high with fast spins in the air and just gorgeous. THIS is the man that many should have been if they had been coached properly and given the right choreography. (*cough*Tomas, Florent*cough*) Javier made a good coaching change at a fortuitous time (Orser no longer has any high profile students) and I hope that it really puts him as a contender for Sochi.

Daisuke’s new SP is definitely different from those from the last 2 seasons. It’s mysterious and passionate and well-executed. Daisuke didn’t try the quad but landed clean and gorgeous 3F-3T, 3A and 3Lz. The emotion and dedication is surprising at the beginning of the season but I’m very glad that Daisuke that we know and love has come back and ready to compete. I really wish I could’ve seen this live.

Patrick, oh Patrick. At this point, I think I would’ve been slightly disappointed if he didn’t get a ridiculous inflated score because then my predictions would be wrong. He put his hand down on his quad toe (I think the judges mistook that as some sort of creative choreography or something) and then doubled his triple axel (though that doubled jump was probably so beautiful the judges cried). At least his combination was clean. Oh yes, and his step sequence probably made the judges wet their pants. I’m not even going to try and express the ridiculousness of this score. A crappy skate should NOT be rewarded with points on par with two beautiful performances that were a lot better than this mess. Whatever. Not that anyone’s bitching about this inflation will get us anywhere because it’s all been done before.

Anyways, I’m super excited about the rest of Skate Canada, though I dunno if I have the energy or the internet connection to watch it live. Cross your fingers for me!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ay-sa
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 18:40:39

    “whoever said that skating to an elevator-fied version of Evanescence (who was cool like… 10 years ago) needs to be punched in the face.” -NIKOLAI MOROZOV.

    “though that doubled jump was probably so beautiful the judges cried” – LOL

    Reply

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