Friday, January 30, 2015

European Championships: pairs short program



Stolbova/Klimov had not their best program today. There were some exceptional elements such as the side by side triple toe and the side by side spin. The triple twist wasn't great and in the landing of the throw triple flip Ksenia's free leg slightly touched the ice. However, with some good GOEs and the highest components score of the afternoon assured them a 71.38 that put them in first place.

Kavaguti/Smirnov skated a superb short to the music of Meditation from Thais by Massenet. They were flawless technique wise, doing a side by side triple toe, a good triple twist that is usually their nemesis and a throw triple loop. Their elegant program was worth 33.44 points as components score for a total of 69.86

James/Cipres, despite having had a difficult fall season due to injuries, skated their best with energy and attack and got a surprising third place. They nailed a not so clean triple twist, a very good side by side triple toe and a huge throw triple lutz. 60.13

Marchei/Hotarek debuted as a couple at the European Championships short program. They skated early in the second group. Valentina Marchei did her first appereance as a pairs skater. Their performace was very decent considering her unexperience in the discipline; they nailed a side by side triple salchow, a double twist and a throw triple flip. Even though new pairs always need some time to rodate, Marchei/Hotarek are the perfect match as a debuting couple because Valentina is a good single skater and Ondrej is very experienced as a pair skater. 57.95

Tarasova/Morozov were serious contenders for a medal position. They opened with the best elements of their program, a gorgeous triple twist, but then started to faltered. At first Eugenia doubled the side by side triple toe and stepped out of the throw triple loop. The other technical elements had a high quality, but the mistakes cost them few positions. That has to be said that they have all the potential to recover from their debacle and improve their ranking in the free skate, even with three points separating them from third place. 57.13

Thursday, January 29, 2015

European Championships: ladies short program


Elena Radionova skated as second to last knowing the solid performance that Tuktamisheva has produced. Despite that and the fact that this was her European championships debut, she competed as a true champion, nailing everything superbly. She opened with a triple lutz-triple toe and then a triple loop and the double axel in the second half of the program. She got two points more than Tuktamisheva as far as technical score is concerned, probably due to her better spins, and a point and a half of overall lead. (38.44 32.02 70.46)

Elizaveta Tuktamisheva confirmed to be one ofthe top contender of this year. She has been unbelievably consistent: she did a triple toe-triple "tano" toe and her trademark triple lutz. With an intriguing interpretation of Bolero, she scored a personal best of 69.02 and her highest components score of 32.34.

Anna Pogorilaya, after the troubles she had during the fall, she performed an exeptional short program that featured a gorgeous triple lutz-triple lutz and then a triple loop and a double axel in the second half. Her only flaw was her flying camel spin that had a difficult entry and that probably cost her a level.  66.10 

Kiira Korpi has returned to the international competitive scene after two years of stop due to injuries. Her technical content wasn't very difficult, as she nailed a triple flip-double toe and a triple loop. She had a light touch down on the double axel, but the rest of her program was well executed and she earned 60.60 points.

Joshi Helgesson despite some physical problems, accomplished a clean yet watered down program with a good triple toe-double "rippon" toe (with both hands up) and a double axel. She also trains the triple axel and the triple-triple, but she preferred a safer version for the home Europeans. 59.55 
Viktoria Helgesson was very clean as well, skating to Kate Bush she gave the most elegant and emotional short program on the afternoon. 60.37

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

European Championships: Men short program


Javier Fernandez skated after Voronov and Kovtun who didn't perform at their best and had left the door wide open for the reigning European champion. Fernandez didn't completely seize the opportunity he was given: he opened with a stepped out quad salchow, then had a minor step out on his triple lutz-triple toe. However the rest of the program was near perfect nad a stunning triple axel in the second half of the program and the highest components of the competition helped him get an eight points lead over Voronov. a 89.24

Sergei Voronov started off his program with a gorgeous quad toe-triple toe combination, but then doubled his triple axel, planned in the second half of the program , that was preceeded by a very long preparation. Afterwards he nailed a triple loop and got 81.06. 

Michal Brezina had a chance of a lifelime considering how Voronov and Kovtun had skated. He started incredibly well, nailing a stunning triple axel and an almost unseen quad salchow. But then he spoilt any opportunity of being second he had by falling on the triple flip of the combination. He saved his ranking with the second best components of the competition. He scored 80.86.

Maxim Kovtun had quite a debacle. He was planning two quads but hasn't nailed any of those. The first one, a salchow, was meant to be in combination with a toeloop, but did a step out and touched down at the end of the salchow. He did a step out also on his quad toe, so that he wasn't able to do any combination at all. Those two elements brought his score down to 78.21 since they both received very negative GOEs due to the fact that none of them was either preceeded by a step or in combination. 





Monday, January 26, 2015

European Champioships 2015: Dance preview



Gabriella Papadakis et Guillaume Cizeron

The Ice Dance competition at European Championships this year is aa unpredictable as ever before.

The reigning champions Cappellini/Lanotte of Italy had all the potentials to dominate in the fall season. Something went wrong in their very first international competition at Cup of China where they had a disastrous free dance that had put them in third place overall. After that wake up call they decided to skip the rest of their grand prix season to work on adjusting their programs. They then attended Italian Nationals, that they easly won. However, it is always difficult to evaluate skaters from national appereances because, especially in ice dance where judgements are still highly discretional, the panel always seems to be quite generous. Besides, during these months many things have happened in ice dance that could have dramatically changed the rankings between skaters and it is difficult to say where Cappellini/Lanotte could be at this point.

Cappellini/Lanotte's free dance at Nationals


Papadakis/Cizeron have had a unseen improvement from last year, well represented by the increase of their scores. This young couple, superbly coached by the emerging team of Dubreuil and Lauzon, have started to collect success after success in the fall season. Even when they were juniors their talent showed off, but their exploit this season has been incredible. They have a chance to both win Europeans and establish themselves as world medal contenders.

Papadakis/Cizeron's free skate at Grand Prix Final

The 2014 bronze medalists Coomes/Buckland have showed an immense improvement in their first grand prix appereance at Cup of Russia where they were spot on technique wise. They were very close to qualify for their first grand prix final, but a disastrous free dance at NHK Trophy held them back from this achievement. Beside that event, they have been very strong and they have a great chance at Europeans. 

Coomes/Buckland's free dance at Cup of Russia

To also have a shot for an European medal, Ilinykh/Zhiganshin have surprisingly been very competitive since the beginning of their partnership. When Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov split up last spring it seemed like the end of one of the most promising couple of the decade, who hadn't express its full potential yet. However, the new team formed by Elena and Ruslan Zhiganshin, unlike Sinitsina/Katsalapov, has showed competitiveness from their very first competition. They even qualified for grand prix final and won Russian nationals. As always it is difficult to foresee how they will be scored and how well they will do during Europeans, especially since the top contenders haven't had a chance to properly compete against each other earlier in the season. The new Russian champions may not be at the same level as Papadakis/Cizeron and probably as Cappellini/Lanotte, but they have all it takes to fight for a podium finish.

Ilinykh/Zhiganshin's short dance at Cup of Russia

US Nationals: Men free skate videos

1. Jason Brown 181.62

2. Adam Rippon 187.77

3. Joshua Farris 177.58

4.Max Aaron 173.41

5.Jeremy Abbott 168.36


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Us Nationals: ladies free skate videos

1.Ashley Wagner 148.98

2. Gracie Gold 138.52


3. Karen Chen 135.13


4.Polina Edmunds 126.58


5.Samantha Cesario 123.61

Saturday, January 24, 2015

European Championships 2015: Pairs preview





The question is: will Russia nail a pairs sweep as in 2014? Honestly, the Russian team has all the credentials to accomplish this result despite the absence of the Olympic champions Volosozhar/Trankov. 
The olympic silver medalists Stolbova/ Klimov will attempt their first European title in Stockholm. They have been incredibly consistent during the fall season, they have established themselves as top world contenders and their multi-language Notre Dame free skate has captured many's hearts. The goal for them will be not only to take home a European gold medal, but also to improve on the already good scores they received during the grand prix in order to be more competitve against Duhamel/Radford at Worlds. It will be interesting to see weather they will upgrade their technical content next week.

Stolbova/Klimov's free skate at Grand Prix Final


Kavaguti/Smirnov and Tarasova/Morozov are runners up for the other two medals. Tarasova/Morozov, gorgeous couple who made the senior debut this year, won the silver medal with a superb free skate at Nationals ahead of Kavaguti/Smirnov. It is true that Kavaguti/Smirnov have a considerably more difficult free skate compare to Tarasova/Morozov's and probably even an advantage as far as components are concerned, but they often tend to struggle on different technical elements so that not even a nicely executed throw quad salchow can assure them against their younger competitors.

Tarasova/Morozov's free skate at Russian Nationals



Kavaguti/Smirnov's free skate at Russian Nationals