Japanese Olympic Team Announced!

FSAKTE-JPN-OLY-2014

The Japanese Figure Skating Championships are one of the few more exciting National Championships out there because the entire competition isn’t just a one pony race. In the singles events, the field is tough and the sad thing is – if some of the lower ranked competitors were from some other country, they’d be going to Sochi right now. In any case, here is the video announcing the Japanese team for Sochi 2014.

In case you can’t quite pick out the names in the flurry of Japanese, they are: More

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Picks from 2012/2013

At the end of last season, icenetwork released a series of picks and I decided to follow suit with a post. I like the format so much that I think I’ll repeat it again. So, without further ado, my picks for the 2012/2013 season.

Best program:

It’s a tie this year between Akiko Suzuki’s LP to “O” choreographed by Pasquerale Carmelengo and Kanako Murakami’s SP to “Prayer for Taylor” choreographed by Marina Zueva. Both of them were interesting and more than just the cookie-cutter Morozombie programs you see with the CoP system. I love the final step sequence in Akiko’s program and the unusual sequence of elements in Kanako’s SP.

 

Best Performance:

Yuzuru Hanyu at the NHK Trophy, skating his SP – honestly one of the most mesmerizing performances of the season. A great program and a great performer. I’m kind of sad that he’s not the record holder for the highest score for the SP but he’ll get that score again one day. He has the potential to do it.

 

Best Rivalry:

Just like last year, this one goes to: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir vs. Meryl Davis & Charlie White

dance podium 13 worlds

This year, the odds were tipped towards Meryl & Charlie who have skated brilliantly throughout the season. There are a few crazy fans out there who will bash against either team but I love both teams and how they push each other to be the best. *This* is what a skating rivalry should be about. Or skating in general. This element to the rivalry really brings back memories of the epicness of Plushenko vs. Yagudin. I think the level of epicness in this rivalry is pretty similar to that of the two Russian men. The Yags/Plushy rivalry was slightly more entertaining since the two men actually hated each other and would say it out loud on camera. LOL.

Biggest Upset:

Denis Ten at Worlds, especially in the LP where he won that portion of the competition. I don’t think anyone thought he had it in him to beat a whole slew of people for the silver medal. I also think that in a lot of people’s hearts, Denis won the gold at Worlds this year.

 

Favourite Breakthrough Performance:

Zijun Li at Worlds and 4CC. This girl can’t seem to skate a clean short but she’s just a little jumping bean in the long program! I’m keeping an eye out for this girl and her freshfaced look next season and I hope to see her improve more and more.

 

Best Comeback Story:

Yuna Kim. Duh. It’s pretty epic how she comes back to Worlds without competing at any major international competition and wins calmly and effortlessly. I just wish her programs were a little more compelling.

 

Best Moment:

Akiko Suzuki at the World Team Trophy – I wish there was a clip for this but right before she skated, Team Japan chanted her name and you could just see a look of surprise and a sudden glow of confidence light up her face. It was so sweet. She went on to do this:

Girl, at 28,  you’re skating better than ever. She’s the female Plushenko – dauntless, awesome and timeless. Please keep skating.

 

Favourite Outfits:

I don’t care very much for their skating but I love the fun, quirky colours and patterns on Cathy & Chris Reed’s costume for their Beatles Medley FD. Super cute. Also, I feel as if someone needs to make a macro or meme using Chris’ face in this picture.

Chris Cathy Reed 2013 Worlds FD

This season has been quite eventful. What are your picks for the season? Post them in the comments below or send me a link to your list!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Live blog of the SD – NHK trophy

Don’t expect live blogs all the time. I just happen to have a bit more free time than usual today. The pictures in this post are from practice by the way. (Photo credits go to the wonderful photographers at ice-dance.com)

Dora Turoczi and Balazs Major

Hmm… excuse me while I take a food break. Decent lines. Nothing too interesting.

Xiaoyang YU and Chen Wang

This program is horrendously tacked together. A bit sloppy at the end.

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland

I remember this team. They have glimmers of brilliance. They need to mature a bit but I guess this is part of the process. Lovely waltz section, good lines. Need more speed. Bit choppy on the last lift. I thought their scores should be a bit higher than the Chinese team.

Chris and Cathy Reed

I like the Adams family theme of this routine – for a second, I thought Chris was supposed to be Morozov aka the Russian Gino. (You can do better than him, Miki!) The first lift is awkward but it fits with the theme. These two feel really slow during the waltz section. Screwy twizzles, fall from Chris. Midline step sequence faster and more watchable.

Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov

Finally, a team to be excited about. I see these two making a splash this year. Prove me right? Bit far apart oon the first set of twizzles. I’m glad the choreography doesn’t start with the waltz sequence right away like all the other routines. The music is a bit jarring but they’re a lot faster than the previous teams. Very smooth lift. Stumble on the mid-line step sequence. A bit sloppy at the end but a pretty good performance overall. Their superior skills are reflected in their scores.

Weaver and Poje picture to mark the beginning of the warm-up!

(Meryl and Charlie are officially my favourites for this competition but I love Kaitlyn’s dresses!)
FINALLY! Warm-up group 2! *Is super excited for Weaver/Poje, Davis/White and the Shibushibus.*

Lucie Mysliveckove and Matej Novak

Lucie looks as if she slept with in those curls. Oh em gee. No. These two remind me of the tacky team aka Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno. No, stop with that =O face. I’m starting to get a headache. Stop it with the stupid facial expression, Lucie! Elena and Nikita were a lot better. The 2nd part of their music reminds me of a theme song to a really tacky sit-com TV show. Twizzles really out of sync. Ughhh… this team just spews tackiness and I thought I had seen the last of the super awkward tacky hick style when Hann-McCurdy and Coreno retired. Excuse me while I go wash my eyes out. I was so distracted by their tackiness, I didn’t note to much about their skating. Woot for replays. Their footwork is a bit sloppy. They don’t seem to know where the other’s feet are. I fear they may injure each other if they don’t work that out. Ok, those twizzles were out of control. I think the guy left out one rotation on the first set. Would’ve marked them lower.

Maia and Alex Shibutani


Yay!!! It’s the Shibushibus~! These two remind me of Tessa and Scott without the romance. Love Maia’s dress. They’re adorable, I want to pinch their cheeks. They both have such lovely lines. Fast twizzles. They may have less experience, but Meryl, take note of Maia’s lines. Wonderful unison on the mid-line step sequence. And Marina Zoueva is a goddess for seamlessly putting the waltz into the program. Whoa. Freak fall from Alex. Costuming problem for Maia, but at least the little bit of cloth is hanging on a thread. No deductions if it stays on. Not a good start for them. Very smooth transitions during the lifts. Hopefully they’ll be placed 2nd after the Russians despite the fall. Yep.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje

Can I steal Kaitlyn’s dress? You can totally wear that to a nice night out. No tacky costumes here. So excited to see how these two have grown.I hope to see them as Tessa and Scott’s successors for the Canadian National title one day.  Love the music choice. They’ve gained some speed since last season. .  Beautiful chemistry.  Still love their music choice on the 2nd part of the routine. Wow, they got  some audience support… for a second or so. Good unison in the step sequence. Favourite SD so far.  Simple and elegant. Love. Woot! They’ve beaten the Russians!

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte

Lovely couple. The bottom of the dress is a bit strange… Love the song! Que sera, sera! Slowed down on the last part of the waltz… They’re nice and close on the mid-line step sequence. . Nice interpretation of the music on the 2nd half. Twizzles a out of sync but difficult. Adorable! 3rd after Kaitlyn and Andrew and Elena and Nikita.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White

Even when you watch them during the warm-up, you can tell they’re so much better than the rest of the competition. It’s Marlie!!! *squeal* Fast twizzles, in unison, definitely the best of the night. Meryl has improved her line and extension slightly. So much faster and smoother than the other teams.  Is it just me, or Meryl a bit stiff? They aren’t skating with the attack that I know they’re capable of. Meryl has a smile practically plastered onto her face. Lovely new lift, very intricate.  For some reason, I can see Tessa and Scott skating this more than these two… Overwhelming lead. No need to panic about winning this thing, they can fall 3 times and still win.

Top 3:

1. Davis/White – 66.97
2. Weaver/Poje – 58.69
3. Ilinykh/Katsalapov – 56.89

General comments:

Meryl and Charlie are very obviously going to win this thing. There might be a bit of a tussle for 2nd place but Kaitlyn and Andrew’s strongest segment is the FD, so I hope to see a silver medal around their necks at the end of this competition. The little Russians whose names I cannot pronounce for the life of me are doing rather well, as expected. I look forward to their Don Quixote FD. Capellini/Lanotte are only 1.2 points behind Elena and Nikita but I don’t see the Italians surpassing them. The Shibushibus will probably remain in 5th as well… I think they would’ve had a chance at 4th place if they didn’t fall. Pity their season had to start like that. Hopefully they’ll get better as the season progresses.

Results/scores can be found here.

I think I’ll go to bed rather than watch the pairs. There aren’t very many exciting teams. I’ll wake up and hopefully there will be no madness and Pang and Tong will be in the lead.

‘Nighty night!

~The Rinkside Cafe