Comments on Euros 2013

Bobrova Soloviev 2013 Euros SD

I’m still sorting through some of the programs at Euros but here are some comments I have so far:

  • The Platinum King, Evgeni Plushenko might actually be at the end of his competition days. He fell in the SP and aggravated a chronic back problem, according to CBC and withdrew in the LP. I won’t quite miss any of his programs in particular but I can’t help but feel a sense of awe looking back at his career and the wonderment that came over me when I was a child, watching him and Alexei Yagudin duking it out.
  • In ice dance, the judges have struck the gavel. As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s a whole new ballgame and Mother Russia is putting her foot down. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte have been set aside in favour of the Russians. C&L have been beating Ilinykh & Katsalapov at competitions – the Other Carmen program was in general, miles better than that Ghost monstrosity – but it seems as if the tides have turned.
  • Speaking of the Ghost program, it seems as if Morozov toned down the cheesiness a bit. It’s actually somewhat watchable now. Ilinykh & Katsalapov also won the free dance here.
  • Despite Igor Shpilband’s claims that the judges prefer Cappellini & Lanotte’s Carmen better than Tessa & Scott’s it seems as if they’ve made some changes to the beginning of the program. There’s a little more groping but overall the transitions and movements are a little cleaner. Still though, it feels like a haphazard stringing of the opera in terms of the music cuts and performance.
  • Carolina Kostner is holding onto her European title despite Mother Russia’s attempts for the top spot with her little divas. I admit that last Olympic cycle, I wanted Carolina to win. Seriously. I loved both Mao and Yuna but I was sick of the deranged fans who were attacking each other and making those stupid videos on how either of the cheated or whatnot. Carolina was a breath of fresh air. Canon in D and her 2004/5 LP remain in my favourite figure skating programs library.
  • Mother Russia has made herself known that she wants her pairs gold medal back. I kind of feel bad for Aliona & Robin.

Any thoughts on Euros?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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The State of the Union – Pre-Euros, 4CC and Worlds

Ahhh! Euros are here already? Ok. Start!

In my head (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) the figure skating season (or more precisely, the ISU-sanctioned competitions) is divided into two. First you have all the Grand Prix events culminating in the Grand Prix Final and then we have the major international competitions: the European Championships, Four Continents and Worlds. (The Olympics are sort of an anomaly while the World Team Trophy is a cheesefest for the ISU to earn a little more money and by the looks of the last competition, a way to right a few erroneous results at Worlds, though the title isn’t as prestigious.) I divide the season like this because the two halves sort of run with slightly different rules or at least the placements get shaken up a bit.

The changes in placements don’t quite affect the top echelon of A-list skaters or the B-list and below but it does shake things up with the lower end of the A-list. This is partly because of the way the competitors are stacked up at each half. The Grand Prix events have few A-list skaters and so it’s pretty obvious most of the time who are podium contenders are. Some skaters don’t start out well early in the season and don’t make it into the final but are a force to be reckoned with in the second half. This is especially true if the skater is from a country with a strong figure skating union and has the union’s political support. In the second half, political support has a bit of a stronger effect on the placements. The ultimate cream of the crop  of the top GP contenders will likely get higher scores and/or placements while those who are slightly below may find themselves lacking even more points from their PCS. Sometimes, political support can change the placements between two contenders from the same country.

In any case, to make everything short, it’s a slightly different ball game when it comes to Euros, 4CC, Worlds and to some extent, the Olympics. This year, the World Championships take on another level of significance because the placements this season will determine the number of spots each country gets for the Olympics. So without further ado, here are a few comments on the state of figure skating just before Euros are about to start.

Carolina Kostner 2013 SP

Carolina beckons you in. More

Rivalries: The Young Russian Divas

One of the most exciting developments this season was the addition of two very interesting competitors to the senior ladies’ field: the young Russian divas, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Adelina Sotnikova. In the junior field, these two were great rivals and we had no doubt that they’d make a splash in the senior ranks (even though they can’t go to Euros Worlds this season AND next season). The questions on everyone’s minds was: how well would they stack up to the somewhat weak ladies’ field and how would they would stack up to each other once they were on the senior stage. Because let’s face it: other than Mao and Carolina, the ladies field is pretty wide open at this point and it only takes a little bit of Mother Russia bullshit judging and/or mistakes from either of the aforementioned skaters and Mother Russia can take over most of the podium spots with the young divas.

In the last few years, it looked as if Adelina had the upper hand, beating Liza at Russian Nationals, the GPF and Junior Worlds. However, Adelina suffered from a leg injury over the summer and lost a month of training and possibly some momentum as she went into her senior debut. Then she came out with two programs – one with overused music (not to mention a fugly costume)…

… and another which used the same music as Mao Asada, whose version was clearly superior – that probably didn’t show her off as well as they should have.

 

Liza’s programs weren’t any better but Adelina’s rival knows how to work her programs and use her charisma to enchant a crowd. It became clear that in their senior debut, Elizaveta was having the upper hand with wins at Skate Canada and TEB as well as a slot in the GPF. (That and the fact that she beat veterans and World medalists such as Akiko Suzuki and Carolina Kostner.)

 

 

Adelina, sadly, did not fare as well, though she did get some respectable results – a bronze in both the Cup of China and Cup of Russia but no GPF spot. Adelina’s season, it seemed was not as good as some predicted it to be, especially in regards to how her results stacked up against Liza’s. But then came Russian Nationals and Adelina redeemed herself by winning the competition while Liza bombed and placed in 4th.

Adelina seemed to be regaining her upper hand and then the cheezfest known as the Youth Olympics came along and Liza won gold over Adelina. Only time can which of these Russian ladies Mother Russia will support. The results of junior Worlds this year doesn’t really help as Liza withdrew to train for next season while Adelina only won bronze after Julia Lipnitskaia and Gracie Gold.

Who do you prefer in this rivalry?

~The Rinkside Cafe

All my tweets on Euros in one post

Rather than just spamming my Twitter with all sorts of tweets about Euros (most of my followers are my close friends and most of my readers don’t follow me on Twitter anyways – don’t worry, you’re not missing much), I’ll just write my sentiments in 140 characters or less here.

Savchenko & Szolkowy out of #Euros2012. Mother Russia is pleased.

Just saw the pairs results for #Euros2012. Mother Russia is laughing in her bejeweled fur-lined dress.#MotherRussiaDomination

You know that Bazarova/Larionov are just dreading the moment Vera has her growth spurt. Her jumps are barely existent.

Good for Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek for a respectable 4th place finish at #Euros2012~! Very proud of this pair!

What happened Javier? What happened!? You could’ve taken silver at least!

I guess Plushenko is still the Platinum King. Now if only he would tone down the windmill arms. #MotherRussiadomination

Will Mother Russia be able to prevail against Skate Chanada? #MotherRussiadomination???

(On a side note, I think that Mother Russia might just lose the battle against Skate Chanada.)

Dear Florent, You’re wasting your talent on Morozombie program. Run, Florent, RUN!!!

Artur, I don’t see the vampire in you. Maybe you should add more sparkles to your costume.

Tomas and Michal are officially the washed out Czechs. Sigh. What are we supposed to do with you two?

#Euros2012 ladies event: a one pony race. The silver & bronze medalists should be glad Liza & Adelina weren’t there. #MotherRussiaDomination

Pechalat/Bourzat should be able to take bronze this year. Unless they fall again. Then Bobrova/Sloviev will probably pick up the pieces.

Let’s just say Liza & Adelina were in #Euros2012 – then Mother Russia would have 9 of 12 medals. #MotherRussiaDomination #Sochi2014

Tagline for the entire event basically: #MotherRussiaDomination

For the full results of #Euros2012, just click here!

Let’s see how Four Continents play out shall we?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Some Highlights from the 2010/2011 Season

I just started with this picture of Miki Ando because I thought this shot was simply gorgeous.

There were tons of ups and downs in the 2011/2012 season. Seeing that this is the first part of my wrap-up posts, I probably will not be writing about the men’s event at Worlds as I said I would. I apologize but it’s been so long after the fact and I still can’t bring myself to watch the event. (On another note, I saw Patrick Chan doing an interview on a Chinese TV channel the other day…) So, I say, let’s not dwell on the not so pleasant events of this season (there’s enough unpleasantness in the world to deal with anyways) and think of some of the highlights this season. More

Worlds 2011: Pairs – The Ones to Watch

I apologize again for the delay in coverage, my life has been a whirlwind for the past week but I promise to write something about the other disciplines and their outcomes at the World championships. I’ll do the men’s competition last because I need to brace myself… I may need to vomit at Chan’s scores, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he was somewhat deserving of them. Somewhat is the key word there.

Anyways, to pairs skating. We could talk about how Savchenko and Szalkowy regained their World title after their disappointing (but not disastrous) season last year but this competition was really about the up and coming stars and 2011 Pairs silver medalists: Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. PJ Kwong had them pegged as bronze medalists but I was banking on Pang and Tong making tons of mistakes in the long (despite an impeccable short) while V/T skated clean. And I was right. (In fact, I was 3 for 3 on my podium predictions for pairs.)

Let’s begin this discussion with the short program.

Tatiana and Max were one of the first to skate and they began their international competitive career with a bang. They skated cleanly and at the end of the day, was 3rd after the SP. If they had begun their career a little earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pushed upwards to 1st or 2nd, especially with Mother Russia hosting the event.

Aliona and Robin made a small mistake in the SP (they weren’t synchronized in one set of the combination spin) and ended up in 2nd. A bit surprising to me since I thought that their superior skating skills and transitions (and that GIANT throw triple flip) would have carried them above Pang and Tong. Looking at the protocol, I’m a bit confused as to what happened but I do think that they deserved a higher score than they got.

Pang and Tong skated flawlessly. They were even synchronized in their spins – something the Chinese pairs always seem to screw up. I admit that I prefer the choreography and music of this SP (this has become my new favourite SP of the season) over the Germans but I can’t help but think that Aliona and Robin’s programs were a lot harder. Still, with the Zhangs and Shen & Zhao gone, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese federation paid these two a lot of money to compete for another year. Besides, we still don’t know whether Sui Wenjing is 13 (or somewhere below 15) or not.

Also, this result also marks the fact that Kavaguti/Smirnov are official dumped dumped dumped. And even the legendary Moscovina can’t help them anymore. They also abandoned the meat costumes for this competition.

In the LP, things shifted a little bit.

Aliona and Robin skated perfectly. They were flirty, sneaky and actually a lot of fun to watch. I didn’t like this program at the beginning of the season but they’ve really grown into it and learned how to sell it. The Russian crowd was totally into it!

Tatiana and Max skated a great long, with only one mistake – a step out from Max on a triple salchow. However, I must say, that triple twist in the program – best triple twist EVER. It looked so completely and utterly effortless. Still, their scores were not that much lower than Aliona and Robin’s, which was a bit surprising. I would have liked to see the margin between them to a little bit bigger. I blame the hometown advantage, although that is not to say that Tanya and Max aren’t good. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with next season.

As expected, Pang and Tong made a lot of mistakes during their LP, as they have done all season. Tong singled their first triple axel and put his hand down and their second sbs jump was only a double toe. Not something you would expect from last year’s World champions. These two are starting to unravel and I’ve got the feeling that they just want to retire and get on with life. Then again, they rallied after the disastrous beginning and finished beautifully. This skate was the first time I realized that this program was choreographed pretty well to the music. Especially with that throw triple loop near the end.

All in all, Volosozhar and Trankov made this competition a lot more exciting than it would have been. I wish the young team of Iliushechkina and Maisuradze were at there to make a splash. Not to mention they might be more beneficial to Mother Russia in the long run. Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov seem like a decent pairs team – they have lovely lines and a graceful elegance – at the moment but Vera’s jumps are barely getting off the ice and she looks as if she still has some growing to do and goodness knows what they will do to her jumps. I also wish that my little Chinese team could have been there but Sui might be underage. Still, they’re fun to watch.

That’s pretty much it with what I have to say about pairs. The world should really watch out for Volosozhar/Trankov because with the Olympics in Sochi, you never know what they could achieve.

Comments? Opinions? Please share!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Worlds will be held in Mother Russia

… as stated in this tweet by Elena Ilinykh.

I guess Putin’s plea demand worked.

The Event will be held from April 24th to May 1st.

Which conflicts with some of the Canadian Stars on Ice dates. Dammit. I might not be able to see Tessa and Scott again. Grrr… At least they’ll be performing a new FD. It better be awesome possum sauce.

Read the official ISU statement here.

~The Rinkside Cafe

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