Jump to content


ISU Grand Prix


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 596 posts

Posted 07 December 2003 - 08:28 PM

Any thoughts and comments on the competitions so far?

I caught the Trophee Lalique competition on tv today just in time to see Plushenko skate. All I can say about his long program to the theme from the Nijinsky documentary is "WOW." The artistry of this guy is limitless (his technique can speak for itself). Kevin van der Perren and Brian Joubert also turned in fabulous performances, but I wish they had better taste in music. :green:

I'm finally starting to warm up to Sasha Cohen. I've always thought she had this cool demeanor and "I'm better than everyone else" attitude that I couldn't stand, but I saw another side to her skating in the Lalique competition that I have not noticed before. She skated to Swan Lake (I didn't particularly like this arrangement of it, but it suited her style well) and exuded a softer quality to her skating and seems less tense than usual. Shizuka Arakawa is lovely to watch, but her long program was not in top form.

#2 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,040 posts

Posted 08 December 2003 - 10:59 AM

Plushenko is looking good, even taking his injury into consideration. (I still wish his outfits were less on the Battlestar Galactica side, but it seems to be the thing these days.)

I still have mixed feelings about Cohen, but it's good to see that she and Tarasova don't believe the hype about her "technical perfection" and are working on the problems with her edging and jump technique. (Don’t' get me wrong – she is a skater of the first rank. I just have to grit my teeth when the commentators burble on about her "beautiful spiral" when she's sticking her leg up and coasting on the flat of her blade….) Old Fashioned, I agree with you about the Swan Lake program – although I don't think the music suits her and the editing of the music was indeed poor.

As for Cohen's personality – it is unusual for skaters to be as open as she is about how Musical I Am and how I Want It All, but it's worth reminding ourselves that only by figure skating standards does Cohen have "attitude" (compare the public statements of male athletes in other sports, for example, or those of some of our less diplomatic women tennis stars).

I want so much for Arakawa to get it together. I enjoy watching her even when she crashes and burns, as she did this time out. Even her crossovers are lovely, her skating has great flow, and she has such ease in her jumping.

#3 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 596 posts

Posted 08 December 2003 - 12:50 PM

I still wish his outfits were less on the Battlestar Galactica side, but it seems to be the thing these days.

Haha, yes, I've noticed that, too. Wouldn't it be neat if he wore a costume similar to that of the one in Spectre de la Rose? *dreams*

#4 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,040 posts

Posted 12 December 2003 - 01:48 PM

Plushenko would look great in that. I sometimes get the idea that Russian guys don't really care. They don't have the hangups that Western men have about skating, for one thing, so they're not worried on that score. I remember Alexei Urmanov's White Swan, not to mention Ilia Kulik's yellow and black bee ensemble in his Olympic year. The press kept nudging him about it, and all he said was, "Ask my coach." :wink:

I forgot to mention that little Beatrisa Liang looked very good out there. What a beautiful Charlotte!

#5 Funny Face

Funny Face

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 12 December 2003 - 02:26 PM

If anyone had asked me a year prior to the Olympics which man was going to take the gold, I would have opined that it would be Evgeni Plushenko. He was oozing confidence (indeed, arrogance, albeit combined with charm and humor), while Alexei Yagudin seemed to be struggling in body and spirit (remember the weight loss too?). But on the night of the Olympics, it was clear to me that while Plushenko emulated artistry, Yagudin actually had it. I still think that while Plushenko is eminently talented, his artistry is still somewhat feigned rather than coming from within. Perhaps this is something that skaters have or don't. We'll see, in this case.

For those who are interested, Plushenko is featured on the cover of this month's "Blades on Ice."

It's a figure skating filled weekend as follows:

Today, 12/12 -- Trophy Lalique rebroadcast on Lifetime from 2-4

Sat., 12/13 -- ABC-USFSA Winter Challenge on ABC, 1-3

Sat., 12/13 -- Scott Hamilton and Friends on NBC, 4-6

Sun., 12/14 -- Cup of Russia on ABC, 1-3

I'm sure there will be plenty to talk about on Monday.

#6 Funny Face

Funny Face

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 13 December 2003 - 06:43 PM

Well, the USFSA on ABC was certainly interesting today, no?

As to the ladies' competition, it seems like the lesson learned here was to stay away from "Swan Lake" -- :D Good gosh, the dueling swans met with disaster today.

Kwan was not in perfect form, but I still found her wonderful to watch, with so much spirit and feeling. I enjoy watching her never make excuses for the mistakes she makes. And I particularly enjoy listening to one skater in the ladies' competition who actually sounds like a grown woman. I'm not trying to be facetious or funny here. I mean it. I am tired of hearing so many otherwise grownup young women sound like they suffer from arrested development. It's refreshing to hear a young woman speak like a young woman, with presence and intelligence. I'd like to see more of the same.

As to the men, I hope people appreciate Dick Button's commentary. Many people don't realize this fella was the first to land a triple jump in competition -- back in the 1950s! His comments are quite astute. Today, during Plushenko's skate, which was to be a tribute to Nijinsky, Button went through the program, bit by bit, commentating on how much or how little resemblance the skating had to Nijinsky's dancing and why.

I hear the term "artistry" thrown about quite a bit when discussing figure skaters, and I sometimes wonder if we are all watching the same people on the ice. I believe that artistry has to do with a lot more than emoting from the neck up, and I am glad that Button noted Plushenko's repeated lack of pointing his feet or stretching out his legs, etc. He still gives credit to the young man for his presence on the ice, but also points out things we should be noting, such as that these days skaters are often stretching their bodies in ways that perhaps they shouldn't be -- and noting how many injuries are striking our young skaters in recent times. Note that both Plushenko and a certain other Russian skater (female) are known for pulling their legs up high behind their heads during spins, but also note that neither has been able to demonstrate a fine layback or spiral. There are some, such as I, who would find those moves to fall under the category of tricks, rather than artistry. There is another skater from that country who has been openly critical of Kwan, while holding herself as promoting a standard of artistry. Again, I ask, is this somethng limited to facial expression? Where are the soft, secure landings from well developed plies, the stretch and strength of beautifully positioned spirals, the well-placed body -- supple back, soft arms, turned out and lifted leg in attitude -- in a layback spin? These are some questions I think bear consideration before the word "artistry" is bestowed upon an entire nationality of skaters. I'm wondering if the emperor is really wearing clothes.

#7 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,040 posts

Posted 15 December 2003 - 10:41 AM

Well…I agree and disagree. Plushenko could certainly pay more attention to posture and line. His lack of pointed feet doesn't bother me at all. It's a matter of style. I suppose a Biellmann spin can be classified as a trick, but it's a good showcase for flexibility and very striking when it's done well. However, it has to look absolutely effortless to be effective, and both Slutskaya and Plushenko have kept it in their repertoire of moves when they should have eliminated it long ago. I wince when I see Plushenko doing it now.

Button's comments can still be very shrewd when his pet skaters are not involved. He was very good on Plushenko and Jeff Buttle. (For me, the latter was the star of the show. I haven't seen him that often, and all I can say is Wow!)
Nobody was in perfect form! I read later there was a bad wet spot on the ice, but that alone wouldn't account for all the meltdowns. I'm inclined to think that the problem these days is not too much jumping, but too much eventing. Pace Peggy, limited exposure seems to be doing Kwan nothing but good, while the others may be wearing themselves out.

I didn't think the women were very interesting, except for Jenny Kirk's Sixties beehive. What was going on with that? And she's so skinny these days that she looked as if her hair was going to tip her over. (Maybe it did. :devil:)

#8 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 596 posts

Posted 15 December 2003 - 03:04 PM

I ditto Dirac's comments on Plushenko's basic technique, but he has such a flair so unlike anyone else that it's difficult for him not to be my favorite skater. Another thing that I've noticed about him is the way he jumps- it seems as if he's looking down at the ice the whole time.

The ladies' event was dull indeed...(what competition was this that aired on Saturday?). It's good to see Kwan again, and Shizuka Arakawa looked fabulous out there. Sasha Cohen really fell apart.

#9 Funny Face

Funny Face

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 15 December 2003 - 03:22 PM

I still think Button is generally quite fair, and I'm speaking about decades of commentating. I remember how sweet he was when he saw Butyrskaya for the first time and although she was disastrous, he explained about how the changes transpiring in her homeland were negatively affecting her ability to train adequately. He gives the tv audience more actual skating information than any other commentator, which is educational for those who want to understand more about the technique.

One of the reasons Plushenko seems to be standing out more and more these days is that he's not really getting much competition from others, particularly the men from the United States. I find I am really missing Boitano and Wylie these days, and even Eldredge (who is actually more exciting in person than on video, I believe). These skaters had a carriage and individuality and an intensity I'm not seeing in the current crop of U.S. male skaters.

I'm happy to see that Kwan is still interested in developing herself and trying new approaches to her technique and choreography. I loved the comment, by the way, that Button made about why her spiral gets the response it consistently does -- it's like the audience is waiting for her to open her heart to them. How beautiful is that -- to view a spiral as making yourself emotionally vulnerable.

#10 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 596 posts

Posted 15 December 2003 - 04:14 PM

That's true about how he isn't getting any competition. I shudder every time I have to see Weiss skate, and Goebel could still use some loosening up in the upper body. Alexander Abt is a joy to watch along with a couple of French guys and van der Perren, but if their jumps aren't at the same level as Plushenko's, they won't be able to stand up to him.

#11 Funny Face

Funny Face

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 15 December 2003 - 04:39 PM

I enjoy Abt very much too. As to Goebel, he's an awfully nice guy, esp. with regard to his work with challenged kids, but that rounded back is an eyesore. I want to just go up to him and pull those shoulders back and lift his neck out of his spine. Weiss is supposed to have excellent school figures, and would be scored higher if they were still part of competition, but I don't understand what direction he wants to take his skating in these days. I thought Peter Caruthers was right on in his assessment of Weiss at USFSA. The program was secondary to him -- he kept trying to do that impossible quad for his own satisfaction. Competitions are not the places to wrestle with such demons.

#12 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,040 posts

Posted 16 December 2003 - 11:30 AM

As far as Weiss is concerned, my bet is the train has left the station. In his early days he was a repository of the old fashioned virtues – good figures, good edging, clean jump technique. As Funny Face says, it's hard to know what he's doing out there these days. His current program is a canny one – the patriotic music gets the crowd going without Weiss actually having to make a great effort – but he's reached his plateau, I think.

It's true that Plushenko has no real competition right now, but I enjoy watching him and like seeing him win, so it doesn't bug me too much. I'm still stunned by Plushenko's combinations when they come off – "wicked and sinister" to quote Scott Hamilton.

And there are other men to watch– Ryan Jahnke and Emanuel Sandhu, for example, and personally I don't care if Buttle never gets the quad right as long he does well enough to get plenty of television coverage here in the States. And Brian Joubert.

It was nice to see Kwan, although I still don't like that "Tosca" program. As Funny Face says, she's a woman on the ice, and she has a real dramatic flair now. I gather from her comments that she's contemplating another run at the Olympics, too.
And may I say it was actually nice to see the old scoring system back?


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):