Comments on the Cup of China 2013

These are a little late but I figure better late than never! Still catching up on this weekend’s performances so stay tuned for the comments post for the NHK Trophy!

peng zhang 13 coc sp

Biggest Surprise: Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang

I am so sad right now that China only has 2 slots for pairs at the Olympics. I have a feeling the 2 teams will be Pang & Tong and Sui & Han, great teams but this team just takes my breath away. You probably don’t remember them last year and if you did, you’d remember them as the weird Chinese team with 13 years between the ages of both partners. Watching them last year was painful: they looked like they didn’t want to touch each other and every minute of their program was awkward, awkward, awkward. I’m so impressed with how much they’ve matured: their grace and beauty casts a spell on you. Stylistically, they remind me of Shen & Zhao and that’s definitely not a bad thing. They’re not perfect: they need to work on their jumps and the unison in their spins but that takes time. I look forward to their future.

What happened, Caro?

carolina kostner 13 coc sp

Unexpectedly, instead of winning the Cup of China, Carolina only placed in 3rd. What happened? Well, in terms of her performance, musicality and interpretation, she was heads and shoulders above the competition but her programs weren’t as technically difficult and she made a lot of sloppy mistakes which allowed Anna Pogorilaya (solid jumps but very robotic in expression) and Adelina Sotnikova (so-so choreography) to place in front of her. A pity, but I hope she’ll do better at her next competition. I also hope that she changes her dress for her long program, it doesn’t look very flattering on her.

My Men’s Predictions were a total clusterf***

They turned out that way somewhat for a good reason: Han Yan and Takahiko Kozuka were better than expected. I’m especially surprised at Han Yan, who seems like a star on the rise. He has such great charisma (more so in his SP than LP) and a beautiful style.

As for the silver medalist, Maxim Kovtun, all I can wonder is how Mother Russia manages to bring out some exciting new ladies skaters (Radionova, Pogorilaya, etc;) with all very different styles and personalities but when it comes to the men, they all seem to skate in the Lysacek/Plushenko erratic arm-waving (but huge jumps) to mediocre choreography way? I’ll leave that for someone else to answer.

The GPF or Euros may tell us who the Olympic bronze medalists will be

The ice dance competition was interesting since Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat were pretty much in a virtual tie with Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev after the SD. In the end, P/B won with a two-point margin. Looking at the big picture, I think that the GPF or Euros will be very telling since the top European ice-dance team (which will likely be either one of the teams mentioned above or Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte) at either of these competitions will likely win bronze at the Olympics. Even though some of these teams have achieved higher TES than Meryl & Charlie and Tessa & Scott, I think the top 2 teams are still in a place that no other team right now has reached.

Anyways, what are your thoughts on the Cup of China this year?

~The Rinkside Cafe


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny
    Nov 09, 2013 @ 17:29:32

    Thank you for your comments on Peng/Zhang.

    I have been waiting for someone to say something about this pair. Their SP and LP at COC, I watch over and over again. Their style, carriage, connection, expansive movements, posture and in fact the whole package reminded me of Shen/Zhao. Zhao is their coach and in a Chinese article I read recently, Shen goes to the rink nearly everyday with Zhao and she mentors the younger female skaters, especially ‘Peng’, hence, the result of all that mentoring. Their connection & chemistry is just mersmerising considering the age difference. I personally feel, Han Zhang himself has a new resurgence in skating since pairing with Peng. There is more expressiveness & connectivity with the music that I haven’t seen in Zhang before. He used to skate with Dan Zhang and Dan has often been criticised for her lack of expression & connection with the music compared with her peers then of Shen and Pang.

    Also, note that the Chinese pairs have great choreographers behind them, Peng/Zhang’s SP & LP choreographed by Lori Nichol, Sui/Han’s SP & LP by Marina Zueva, Pang/Tong, SP by Nicolai Morozov and LP by David Wilson. All good and work well with each pair’s style. It is Peng/Zhang’s performance of the choregraphy given to them that captivated me. Both SP & LP have superb choices of music – ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ – peace, calm and strength at the same time. ‘Yellow River Concerto’ – their signature program right now. Have you also noticed the costumes from the Chinese teams – simplicity, elegance and ‘colours’ to die for. Loved the ‘lime green’ on Peng’s LP dress. Notice, how each partner has a trimming on their costume that matches the colour of their partner. The inside layer of Peng’s skirt matches the colour of Zhang’s top. Just clever, classy and elegant. The use of ‘diamenties/blings’ were just enough and not over the top. I am referring both in regard to the Chinese pairs and single skaters’ costumes. Han Yan’s LP & SP costumes were masculine, themed and classy. Compare his with Yuzuru’s LP costume which to me was a disaster.

    Yes, this is the team to look out for in the future. I am in favour of them going to Sochi. Shen and Zhao’s influence written all over them – just great – Shen & Zhao’s beauty and grace lives on.


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