Thursday, 28 April 2011

Lyrics and loose screws - the World mens freeskate

Results results results! What a mixed bag of performances...if anyone put Artur Gachinski as their bronze medal prediction I will be very surprised.

1. Patrick Chan 280.98

What a skate - beautiful, nuanced interpretation of Phantom. Plus those quads look like triples...and that is a good thing!

2. Takahiko Kozuka 258.41

Also a great skate from Kozuka, so solid on his jumps and a well-deserved bronze medal.

3. Artur Gachinski 241.86

Gachinski totally dark-horsed this one, but anyone else just see him as baby Plushenko? Needs his own identity, which I think should start with a haircut!

4. Michal Brezina 233.61

Two quads and two falls - you don't see that very often. Definitely time to retire that "An American in Paris" routine though.

5. Daisuke Takahashi 232.97

Oh, Daisuke....boot problems are so harsh. Definitely should have been allowed to start from the beginning, and he skated very well considering the disruption.

6. Nobunari Oda 232.50

Oda's performance was pretty good, but an extra triple toe that wasn't allowed made him drop in places.

7. Florent Amodio 229.68

Florent used the lyrical version of his program, but was not given the mark deduction which is usually reserved for doing so. Breaking the rules seems uncalled for, but then it does fit with his skating style, which often seems confident to the point of cocky. It wasn't his best skate, jump-wise, but it is SUCH a great program, especially for the audience.

8. Brian Joubert 227.67

Brian Brian Brian. So proud of him for hitting a clean free skate, but sadly wasn't enough for a medal place for the sixth consecutive year. Maybe next year in Nice? Or maybe not.

That's all I got to see (due to Eurosport absolutely "snooker-ing" us) but the rest of the results are below. What did you think of the competition?
9. Richard Dornbush 222.42
10. Javier Fernandez 218.26
11. Ross Miner 217.93
12. Tomas Verner 216.87
13. Ryan Bradley 212.71
14. Denis Ten 209.99
15. Peter Liebers 205.59
16. Anton Kovalevski 201.64
17. Kevin van der Perren 197.10
18. Samuel Contesti 196.40
19. Jorik Hendrickx 188.24
20. Kevin Reynolds 187.23
21. Paolo Bacchini 183.13
22. Nan Song 176.09
23. Kim Lucine 171.93
24. Joey Russell 168.73

Also here are some post-free skate interviews from the top placers, courtesy of Universal Sports. Not particularly insightful, but definitely worth a watch.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

World Championships - Men and Pairs

So despite my promises of live-tweeting, it turns out that British Eurosport decided only to show the top three performances - how disappointing! Still, here's some commentary and video for the top nine skaters (i.e all I could find on Youtube.)

1. Patrick CHAN - 93.02

Sandra Bezic recently tweeted that you don't "get" Patrick Chan until you see him live, and this is something I would absolutely agree with. His ease of movement, and flow across the ice, is just amazing when seen in person and is not really fully captured on tv. He achieved a world record score with this performance - fantastic. Having said that, to me it's not the most exciting program, in terms of music, but is still performed magically. I think I'll call it now that he has enough of a lead to take this.

2. Nobunari ODA - 81.81

A few stumbles and mistakes makes me think he was lucky to edge out Takahashi on this one - but can he hold it in the FS? Such a gorgeous triple axel on its own though - Oda has a knee bend on the landing of his jumps that is to die for.

3. Daisuke TAKAHASHI - 80.25

Loved loved loved this - this program absolutely plays to his strengths and is just so fun! Again, I question his positioning, behind Oda and so far behind Patrick Chan...hmm.

4. Artur GACHINSKI - 78.34

I'll leave this comment to John Kerr who posted on his Facebook - "who the hell is Artur Gachinski's choreographer!?! Talented kid but the routine is pile of crap!" Loved the use of Pink Floyd though - gave me Virtue and Moir/Delobel and Schoenfelder flashbacks!

5. Florent AMODIO - 77.64

Think Amodio could definitely move up over Gachinski on the long, since he has a really fun yet very consistantly well-performed long program. It was a nice performance, with a great opening jump sequence.

6. Takahiko KOZUKA - 77.62

Kozuka's second performance of this competition so far - due to weird ISU rules he had to skate in the preliminary qualifying round. Kozuka also has gorgeous fluidity on the ice, and a great audience-friendly program, but a botched triple axel landing left him out of medal spots. But I definitely wouldn't rule out a medal just yet.

7. Michal BREZINA - 77.50

I have been a huge fan of Brezina for ages as he has amazingly high jumps, but they weren't quite on today. But with only one point between him and fourth place (him, Kozuka and Amodio are so tight) there's bound to be a lot of movement tomorrow.

8. Tomas VERNER - 75.94

Tomas's program is so light and fun - but a fall on the quad, not so much.

9. Brian JOUBERT - 71.29

Joubert has been on the podium here for the last five years - pretty impressive considering how inconsistent he's been over the past half a decade. However, with performances like this he's never going to retain his world title - he recovered from his opening mistake well but he's twenty points behind Chan, ouch.

And the rest of the results are below (I.E Youtube is letting me down so cannot see the rest of the programs) The skaters below who are in bold advanced to the free skate tomorrow - commiserations to the others.
10. DENIS TEN - 71.00
11. Richard DORNBUSH - 70.54
12. Ryan BRADLEY - 70.45
13. Ross MINER - 70.40
14. Javier FERNANDEZ - 69.16
15. Kevin VAN DER PERREN - 68.34
16. Peter LIEBERS - 67.73
17. Anton KOVALEVSKI - 65.16
18. Samuel CONTESTI - 64.59
19. Kevin REYNOLDS - 64.36
20. Nan SONG - 63.78
21. Joey RUSSELL - 61.69
22. Jorik HENDRICKX - 60.74
23. Paolo BACCHINI - 58.96
24. Kim LUCINE MON - 58.81
25. Adrian SCHULTHEISS - 58.41
26. Viktor PFEIFER - 56.68
27. Min-Seok KIM - 56.19
28. Alexander MAJOROV - 54.24
29. Maxim SHIPOV - 50.10
30. Misha GE - 49.61
And here are the pairs result - I have yet to find any performances on Youtube yet. However I have to say my favourite skate was Volosozhar and Trankov's. They absolutely lived up to the hype, such a perfect match for partners, and he looks so much happier than he was when skating with Maria Mukhortova! Both Savchenko/Szolkowy and Pang/Tong were sublime - tomorrow is going to be close. Major props also go to Eric Radford - he and Meagan did a great job for their first international outing together, made even more impressive by how he skated the majority of the program with a broken nose due to an ill-placed elbow during the opening triple twist! Commiserations also go to Kemp and King; being British I always cheer them on, but just missing out on qualifying for the free skate must be devastating. Below are those who qualified.
1. Pang/Tong 74.00
2. Savchenko/Szolkowy 72.98
3. Volosozhar/Trankov 70.35
4. Bazarova/Larionov 64.64
5. Kavaguti/Smirnov 62.54
6. Takahashi/Tran 59.16
7. Duhamel/Radford 58.83
8. Yankowskas/Coughlin 58.76
9. Berton/Hotarek 57.63
10. Moore-Towers/Moscovitch 56.86
11. Evora/Ladwig 54.64
12. Hausch/Wende 53.90
13. Zhang/Wang 52.25
14. Dong/Wu 49.29
15. Kadelcova/Bidar 45.20
16. Zabijako/Kulbach 44.35

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Preview - World Championships

So this week marks the start of the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships, now held in Moscow instead of Nagano after the devastating events in Japan. So who are the contenders to watch?


Reigning Champion: Daisuke Takahashi
Forerunner for Gold: Patrick Chan
Potential Challengers: Amodio, Kozuka, Takahashi, Joubert, Brezina

Patrick Chan is definitely the main contender for this event - his performance at Canadian Nationals included a quad toeloop in his short and TWO quad toes in his long, and he's going to want to match that in Moscow. However, I suspect his competition will come from the 2014 kids, Florent Amodio and Michel Brezina, who have a history of consistency in competition that Chan does not. Brian Joubert, Takahiko Kozuka and reigning gold medalist Daisuke Takahashi will also be trying to take the gold. The mens event is undoubtedly one of the most exciting of the whole competition as it is notoriously hard to predict, especially with such a deep field.


Reigning Champion: Qing Pang and Jian Tong
Forerunners for Gold: Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy
Potential Challengers: Pang/Tong, Volosozhar/Trankov, Basarova/Larionov

The pairs event seems to be a two-horse race between Pang and Tong and Savchenko and Szolkowy. The Germans won at the recent Grand Prix Final by over 20 points; however, their lack of jumping consistency may be their downfall. The Russian team will also be the main challengers hoping to take a home gold - both Basarova/Larinov and Kavaguti/Smirnov have a good chance, but all eyes will be on Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. It'll be interesting to see if their gamble in partner-swapping paid off - their sizable win at their only competition so far, the Mont Blanc Trophy, seems to suggest so!


Reigning Champion: Mao Asada
Forerunner for Gold: Yu-na Kim (?)
Potential Challengers: Asada, Csizny, Kostner, Ando, Flatt, Murakami

This ladies event marks Yu-na Kim's return to competition after her gold medal win in Vancouver, but how will she fare after a whole season out and a messy split from coach Brian Orser? Mao Asada has had a very mixed season but she's been known to pull a winning performance out when it's been least expected, so she might take a surprise gold. Also hoping for a medal will be Alissa Csizny, riding high on her Grand Prix Final win, and her teammate Rachael Flatt, as well as Japan's Miki Ando and Kanako Murakami.

Ice Dance

Reigning Champion: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Forerunner for Gold: Virtue/Moir
Potential Challengers: Davis/White, Pechalat/Bourzat

This is also a event which marks a return to competition; it is Virtue and Moir's first full competition of the season, as they were forced to withdraw from both Grand Prix assignments, Canadian Nationals and the long program of Four Continents due to Virtue's injury struggles. It'll be interesting to see if Davis and White have managed to leapfrog over their training mates due to their extra practice time - after all, they've always been a very close second! Pechalat and Bourzat will also be fighting for a medal, fresh after their huge win at Europeans.

So that's my predictions/round-up - who are your picks? Also I've posted the dates and times of each event below - enjoy! I'll also be blogging about each event and live-tweeting.

World Championships (Moscow Times)
Monday, April 25
14:00 Qualification round: Men

Tuesday, April 26
12:00 Qualification round: Ice dancing
15:30 Qualification round: Ladies

Wednesday, April 27
13:00 Men's short program
18:30 Pairs short program

Thursday, April 28
13:30 Men's free skating
18:30 Pairs free skating

Friday, April 29
13:30 Ladies short program
18:30 Short dance

Saturday, April 30
13:30 Ladies' free skating
18:30 Free dance

Sunday, May 1
14:00 Exhibition