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dirac

Figure skating world championships

25 posts in this topic

Y'all may want to check out the Blades on Ice website as well for additional information.

There's some unfortunate news on there as well, I fear. You'll know what I'm talking about once you tune in to that site.

On the up side, it looks like Oksana may be conquering her demons. She looked wonderful in her interview in the recent tv magazine special "Second Acts" in which she discussed at length coming to terms with a lot of issues in her life, not the least of which was her estrangement from her biological father. The reunion was videotaped and I don't think anyone could watch that with a dry eye. However she fares on the ice, it appears she is well on her way to being a much happier young woman.

I'm looking forward to Worlds -- it's been a while since we've seen much skating broadcast.

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More info please. I can't find the "bad news" to which you allude. Another hint--ok?

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I hunted around the site and found an article about the new scoring procedures...so I assumed this is what the "bad news" was about??

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I think the new scoring system is indeed bad news, but I'm not sure if that's what you were referring to, Funny Face. :) I took a quick look at the site and didn't see anything, but it was just a quick look.

It has been a long stretch between skating broadcasts. It may well be partially intentional – the networks may be backing off because a) ratings have been down and B) there were a few years of skating overkill and they're cutting back.

Good to hear that Oksana is finally getting it together.

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I noted that Takeshi Honda was not in the results from the qualifying round. Has he turned pro?

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Petrenko has joined Yagudin and Baiul as skaters arrested for drunk driving.

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Not unexpected, Plushenko took the lead today after the short program. Joubert is placed second. Both of them did flawless programs. The biggest surprise was Stefan Lindemann from Germany, who did as far as I can remember, his best skate ever! His quad-toe loop triple-toe loop combination was higher and cleaner than Plushenkos! He ended up in third place.

The biggest dissapointment was Sandhu's skate doing a 2 toe-loop instead of 4 and he fell on his 3 axel. Nevertheless he does have a wonderful style. He ended up in 11th place.

Another surprise was the Russian Griazev, very young and loads of potential. All that energy! But then he is coached by Tarasova and Yagudin, with a solid base built by Mishin!

Even though Lambiel did some mistakes, I still think that he is THE figure skater among the men of today. When he skates, he becomes the music and movement! Every fiber in his body is dancing!

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Thank you for the report, Susanne. I have to go home and watch my tape! Unless something really unexpected happens, the competition is Plushenko's to lose, but it's nice to see Joubert do well. I admire Lambiel, too.

It's too bad about Sandhu, but not unexpected, I regret to say.

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Wow the final of the pairs long program turned out really thrilling!

Even though Totmianina/Marinin delivered a flawless program with the usual Russian precision and grace I must say that Shen/Zhao's program to Nutcracker really touched my heart. It is funny, because I remember the first time I noticed them and they ended 4th or 5th in worlds. Back then they had the technique but there was a lack of presentation. (Just as the other two Chinese couples, no matter how good they technically are, there is still something missing if compared with the Russians). I think htat Shen/Zhao have developed tremendously just as Lu Chen did. I really think they deserved to those 6.0s that they got for their free skate! Nevertheless Totmianina/Marining deserved to win the whole competition as their free skate and short program were wonderful, but without the "skating their hearts out" feeling.

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A few quick notes after watching the pairs' and mens' competitions tonight.

Shen and Zhao's performance and program were exquisite. I thought a skate to the music of the Nutcracker would be corny if not pulled off by the right couple, but they did an excellent job.

WHOA! What a night for the mens'. Johnny Weir was perfection. I didn't find a trace of nerves in him. What beautiful, pure, clean skating. Brian Joubert had one of the best performances I've seen from him yet. I'm glad he's raising the bar in mens' figure skating, for awhile there it seemed no one would be able to reach anywhere close to Plushenko's level. It was touching to see Stefan Lindemann have the crowd going wild for the underdog, the home team. Plushenko did not have a flawless skate, but the wonderful thing about his freeskate was the building tension and excitement he created and those facial expressions! I never know what to expect from him. I wish they would have aired Stephan Lambiel, another skater I truly enjoy to watch.

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I thought Sandhu did a good job tonight. He is a very graceful skater, and has a unique style.

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I loved Shen & Zhao's free skate. Their choreography and rapport beautifully matched the Nutcracker PDD music and they deserved those great scores.

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Very annoyed that Lambiel wasn't shown. I assume that ABC was calculating that, as the lowest-ranking skater not from the U.S., he could be omitted. Instead, we got Weiss, and were told that he was "in the medal hunt." Uh-huh. However, ESPN will be repeating the competition, I'm not sure of the date, and maybe we'll get to see Lambiel then.

Weir had a beautiful skate – I was very happy for him, and Lindemann, too. As Button said on the broadcast, what ballon the latter has! He really gets into the air, and stays there. The men certainly distinguished themselves as a group -- generally fine skating all around.

As for Plushy – okay, he was good, and the fall didn't bother me, but all those 6.0s – and for presentation ??? I thought he was a bit overmarked, although I like the program. Maybe the judges are tossing out as many sixes as they can before it's too late. :)

I nodded off on the sofa and missed the pairs!!! I woke up just in time to see the house coming down for Shen and Zhao. Does anyone have more details?

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The beauty of Shen and Zhao's performance was that it was truly from the heart and showed their passion for skating. It said to me "This is why we do it." Very rarely is there such a performance. Too many times skaters become too focused on the prospect of winning when they get out there on the ice. This seems to be the reason why the most prepared skaters sometimes crash and burn even if they've landed ever jump in practice.

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What element did Plushenko fall in? Did Joubert make any mistakes at all? I am so happy for Lambiel and Lindemann! Unforunately I did not have the opportunity to watch the men's free skate, and it seems as Eurosport won't be broadcasting it again

:angry:

Zhen/Shao did a small mistake right at the end when coming down from a lift (not a pair lift, but rather a dance lift) the camera angle was poor, but it looked like they hooked on eachother or something. But that was the only "mistake" that I could see in their free skate. Maybe Shao's side by side jump was a tiny bit shakey in the landing...but that is what I can come up with when it comes to small "non-perfect" details. But yes, their joy and expression just took your breath away! They remind me of Bereshnaya/Sikarluidze and Gordeeva/Grinkov.

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Susanne, I'm not sure, but it seemed as if Plushenko just tripped or something -- sort of a fluke spill. This is from memory, and someone else's may be fresher.

Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune wraps it up for the ladies (via the San Jose Mercury News):

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...rts/8293506.htm

Most of the articles I've seen emphasize Shizuka Arakawa's jumps as central in her win. They certainly were, but Hersh also mentions her elegant style, which I appreciate. She is far more than a jumping bean, and she looked great out there.

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What element did Plushenko fall in?

Dirac is right, Susanne. Plushenko didn't fall during an element. Looked like he just snagged an edge toward the very end of the program. Still, 6.0 means perfection, and hitting the ice unintentionally, no matter where it happens or how slight the disruption, is a flaw.

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carbro is correct, in the best of all possible worlds 6.0 means perfection or close to it, but not always (certainly not in this competition:)). On occasion, the judges box themselves in by over- rather than under- marking, and at those times someone may get a 6.0 because of 5.9s awarded earlier. However, I could see no justification for Plushy's 6.0s this time around, even sans spill.

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ESPN re-ran the pairs and the men's LPs this weekend -- and they did show Lambiel, bless their hearts. On viewing Plushenko's slip again, it is actually quite clear that he's preparing for a jump -- I must not have been looking too hard the first time around. Button's commentary confirms this, but even without that you can see his preparation. I still don't think it was a big deal -- he recovered nicely.

Susanne, I forgot to answer your question about Joubert. As I recall, he was "clean" although the landing on his quad combo was not ideal and he did only one 3-axel, and not in combination. His footwork wasn't as demanding as Plushenko's, either.

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Did anyone catch the exhibition? I absolutely fell in love with Sasha's performance to Nino Rota's R&J. I finally saw a side to her skating that rarely comes out in competition. It would make the perfect competition program for her with a few more added difficult elements.

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Plushenko caught an edge going around the curve preparing for his 3Loop, which was the only jump he had in the last 1/3 of his program.

I was disappointed in seeing Plushenko's Nijinsky program live, because there were several quiet/rest stops that are TV friendly, but that don't carry in the arena, especially from the other side of the rink with his back to us. But for the first time in a long time, he had height and a proper landing and runout on the 2Loop at the end of his 4Toe/3Toe/2Loop combination at the beginning -- right in front of us -- and a textbook perfect 3A. He also did a 4Toe that was so easy we thought it was a triple. I thought that he had sort of popped out of the landing of his usual 3Axel/3Toe combination, only to find that although the 3Axel wasn't landed well, the 1/2 turn was deliberate to set up to the inside edge take-off of a 3Flip. His jump content was overwhelming, if front-loaded, and his straightline footwork was awesome. But not as awesome as the 1000 step straightline sequence he did in his first exhibition program, which was a tour de force. In the quali round Plushenko gave a near-perfect performance of last year's "St. Petersburg 300" program.

Joubert's program was a bit more well-balanced, but even though Plushenko doesn't always get great form on his spins, they are varied and creative, and Joubert, like his idol Yagudin, sticks to pretty basic sit spins. What was so impressive seeing this program live is the tension and drama he brought to it, and small details that are not telegenic, like the ripples that went through his back and shoulders to the underlying pulse of the music. Perhaps 85% of his program came across on TV.

Lindemann was really wonderful -- he had great speed without sacrificing flow, his ice coverage was superb, and his edges were fabulous. He was more than a jumping bean, not that he's any slouch with the jumps: his technique is generally fine and he gets great height and spinning rhythm on them. Lambiel had better choreography in the LP, and his spin positions were amazing, but his jump technique is sloppy. I'm not sure he had a single landing that wasn't scratchy, atilt, and/or low, and among those great spins were some not-so-great travels. And when his energy is on full-throttle, like it was in the LP, he tends to go toward the flat of his blade; you could hear his stroking from across the rink. By contrast, in his quali round, where he did his "Gypsy Dance" program, his energy was more controlled, and he really danced through his program and was poignantly lyrical, with better basic skating. Under properly marked CoP, Lindemann would have made up in proper technique what Lambiel made up in base score difficulty.

So would quadless Johnny Weir. From watching him on TV, I had no idea that the quality of his skating would be palpable. In his first World Championships, he put down three, nearly flawless programs. (I counted a tight landing on his quali 3A/3T, catching his freeleg heel on the landing of his 3F (?) in the SP, and a travel in a spin.) On the whole, he has the best jump technique of any man in skating, with flow and speed going in and matchless form in his landings and flow-out. Although he doesn't have the greatest height in the bunch, according to CoP, nearly all of his jumps were +2/+3 quality. He also landed 3Axel/3Toe and 3Lutz/3Toe combos in his "Dr. Zhivago" program (quali and LP), and, at least this year, there is only a .5 differential in base scores between 3A/3T and 4T/3T, which Weir would have made up in Grade of Execution. He has beautiful flow around the ice, and wonderful carriage. The only other time I thought "John Curry" while watching a male skater before when when I first saw Urmanov, because his carriage and technique would have enabled him to do anything, but he didn't have the vision or taste to fulfill his vast potential. I think that Weir's the man.

Lindemann skated a brilliant, character-filled short program; I would have placed him above Joubert, who gave a good, but not best performance of the great "Time" program. Lindemann, by the way, is tiny: he stood next to Cohen during the post-Exhibition bows, and he looked about two inches taller than she. Joubert perched about six rows behind us in the civilian section instead of the skaters' section during much of the early competition, and he did not look particularly happy; I suspect he was demoralized after his quali round, which I think he should have won, and this may have been the reason for his sub-par (for him) performance in the short program.

Michael Weiss was deadly boring in all three rounds. Five of the final six men blew off the roof of the stadium; Weiss was the only one to skate a lukewarm program to a lukewarm response. Sadly, Savoie, such a fine all-around skater, was undermarked in all of his rounds, and Ivan Dinev, who is a wonderful skater, couldn't put three good rounds together, although he had many brilliant moments in each program. Klimkin's injury -- a torn hamstring -- was the most depressing event of the week. He was superb, if not flawless, in his quali round, and his "Swan Lake" program is beautiful, even though he couldn't land his jumps well. Unless he doesn't have time to put together another short program for next season, I don't know that we'll see it again, since he did it because his late coach, Igor Russakov, chose it for him before he died after a long fight with leukemia, and Klimkin skated it as a tribute to Russakov. (He's now training with Kudriatsev.)

There's a woman in Finland who has taken the Finnish Eurosport broadcast and created zipped Windows Media Player files of many of the skates. Her website, SomeBodyElsesLife has three programs available for download at any given time. She changes them when she has time. She's not really a figure skating fan, and at this point, I'm not sure she's sure why she's doing this or for how much longer it will last. The WMP files are tiny, but they are a treasure trove. I go to her site every day to see what's up. (I'm still waiting for TiVo to release software that will allow their files to be saved so that they can be played on PC's.)

To download, go to one of the highlighted programs and right-click on the "Online" link in the far right column. Choose Save Target As from the menu and save to your hard drive. From there, if you have Windows Media Player and Winzip (comes with many versions of Windows), the file will unzip and come up in a WMP window when you click on it. Please do not select "Open" as this could take down her site if enough people do it at once.

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hockeyfan228, thanks so much, especially for the "you are there" details. It's very hard to judge some things -- important things like ice coverage -- from television.

Weir reminds me not only of Curry, but particularly of Toller Cranston – he has that almost subversive slinkiness in his quality of movement. (His outfit was slightly Toller-ish, too, although Toller would have opted for more decolletage. :blushing:) I enjoyed watching him and Lindemann the most, but all the top men were fun to watch save Weiss, even if nobody was quite perfect.

I agree with you about Lambiel, too – it's as if his enthusiasm gets the better of him, and he sort of throws himself all over the ice. Some of those landings made me wince. On television, his spins were striking but didn't seem well centered.

Old Fashioned, I saw the latter part of the exhibition. Cohen still doesn't overwhelm me – but you're right, this was probably the best exhibition program of hers I've seen. On the other hand, I don't think heavy dramatic music is really right for her in general – she alternates between inappropriate broad smiles and a pained, I've-got-an-Excedrin-headache look when she's trying for emotion. She is getting better, though.

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Toller Cranston was there in Dortmund to be inducted into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame during a 5pm ceremony between the Original Dance and the Men's Final. He did a a lot of subversive slinking around the stadium, and was a favorite Jumbotron target. No outrageous outfits that I could see, and little decolletage, which was rather disappointing. I was kind of hoping he'd be in d'Artagnon mode.

I travelled with a group, and we were split into the big one in the VIP section in boxes on the ice near the official ISU box, and we plebes in the first tier above that, on the opposite end of the side facing the judges. I saw that at first Cranston sat in one of the ISU boxes close to our VIP group, but bus conversation revealed that someone someone was pestering him there, and after his induction, he was reseated behind the judges, on the other side of the rink!

I missed the actual induction ceremony for a bit of star gazing. Our section was next to the skater's section; at ground level was the backstage entrance for the skaters. There was a half-level about ten feet from the ground that provided a wonderful perch from which to watch the skaters as they came and went. Since it was right after the original dance, I was on the lookout for the dance teams. Belbin and Agosto came through with 100-watt smiles and patiently signed autographs and posed for pictures. Denkova and Staviyski looked a bit sad; she's much more delicate-looking in person. Winkler and Lohse were swarmed; he's got a very cute bad boy look, and she's quite beautiful. Staviyski was very attractive in person, but low-key. Roman Kostomarov, who was understandably pleased with his placement, was standing by, talking and signing and taking pictures, and even from behind, he emitted the star quality like a nuclear reactor. Both he and Lohse are film star material.

In dance, Winkler and Lohse were really on in every phase. Denkova and Staviyski melted the ice in their Midnight Blues Compulsory Dance, were spectacular in the contrasts of Blues and Rock in the Original Dance, and had such achingly beautiful flow and edges in the Free Dance, it was almost painful to watch. The crowd was firmly behind them, and the only thing that saved the judges, who threw out a couple of 6.0's to them to keep the wolves away, was the entrance of Winkler and Lohse. Otherwise, the judges might have had reason to fear the crowd, because it was clear from the marks that they were ready to crown Navka/Kostomarov, on whom they bestowed about nine 6.0's. The judges threw 6.0's around in Dortmund as if they were perishable goods. It would be ironic if the Russian Federation manages to squelch CoP adoption until after the 2005 Worlds in Moscow.

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I went to the site and downloaded Plushenko -- thanks, hockeyfan228 -- it's a great site.

The glam quotient is always highest among the dance teams, I've noticed. Sounds like you got an eyeful. :(

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