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Things heating up on the ice in MoscowWorld Figure Skating Championships


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#1 Funny Face

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 08:44 PM

Lots of surprises going on in Moscow as we speak. Michelle Kwan is struggling a great deal with the new scoring system. After qualifying rounds, she placed 5th behind Slutskaya, Suguri, Arakawa (defending champ) and Carolyn Kostner. The result is that for the first time in over 10 years, Kwan will not be included in the last to skate group of six. Kwan said the new scoring system had her off her game.

Slutskaya did quite well, but was breathing heavily after her performance.

With the men, Lysacek is the highest scorer of U.S. men, currently in 5th. Weir, who has an ongoing foot injury, is 7th, and fell once. So did Goebel. I sure miss Matt Savoie in this group. I think he would have fit this threesome better than Goebel does. We're seeing a return to artistic skating with our U.S. men -- in my opinion, it's great to see the almighty quad not be such a big deal.

#2 dirac

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:04 AM

Thanks, Funny Face. From the reports Iíve seen it sounds as if Kwan just had a bad skate, but it doesn't look as if this is her year. Slutskaya will be difficult to beat, unless Cohen or Arakawa can come up with something.

#3 Skye

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 01:47 PM

Plushenko withdrew in the long. I was never a big fan... God, that Biellmann spin. Men just don't look good doing that. Lambiel (SUI) won it all - the qualifications, the short and the free.

I hope Sasha Cohen and Carolina Kostner skate well.

This seems to be a whole new generation of skaters. When I started skating, the big names were Stojko, Yagudin, Plushenko, Goebel, Butyrskaya, Nikodinov, Volchkova, Malinina... It's nice to see new faces at the top.

I do miss Anissina and Peizerat, though.

#4 dirac

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 01:54 PM

It is nice to see new people. I'd like to see someone like Joannie Rochette make a big splash.

I thought Plushenko's Biellmann looked kind of neat when he was seventeen or so, but he's been too old for it for some time now. It looks labored. Same for Slutskaya's. Unfortunately, because the new scoring system values Biellmanns so highly, it's likely that neither skater will see the light on this issue.

#5 Funny Face

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:10 PM

Right -- laboriously pulling the leg up and holding the foot just doesn't have the same merit as some beautifully stretched and held spirals. I've always wondered why the U.S. has got such a 'leg up' so to speak in that aspect of artistry. Spirals just don't seem to be valued or worked on by the Russians. Any idea as to why?

#6 Skye

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 08:20 AM

So...

1 Slutskaya
2 Cohen
3 Kostner
4 Kwan

Very happy about Sasha and Carolina :)

#7 mom2

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 12:06 PM

I've been watching on tv this week as well - here in Canada we get fairly decent coverage I think.

I was surprised to hear our commentators say that the new scoring system was affecting Kwan - wouldn't you think that her coaches, etc. would be making SURE that everything was in tip top shape, for a skater of her calibre? I'm not a skater, so I'm sure I'm missing something there.......

I LOVED Lambiel, but was also proud of the Canadian J. Buttle. I keep hoping for greater things from Sandhu, but oh well. He is so incredibly talented it's a shame he can't seem to do two consistently strong programs at the same competition.

As for the ice dancing, I'm off shortly to watch the finals, for some reason CBC decided that we didn't need to see ALL the final couples last night....GRR. Can someone tell me how those infamous twizzles are scored? I can see that unison is important, but what about the actual positioning of the "working" leg (i.e. the one that is bent)? Some skaters seem to only raise the leg a little - others raise it a lot...is there one way that is preferable? I know what I think looks better, but this isn't entirely consistent with the judges marking apparently..........

The top two couples looked lovely, and I'm so happy for Wing and Lowe (Canada, 10th place). Tenth was their goal, and they achieved it! :yahoo:

#8 Skye

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 01:03 PM

The new system has A LOT of new tricks and coaches aren't used to it yet. I believe Kwan's program was made in accordance with the new rules, but it is difficult to find the right balance between the high-level elements and skater's abilities. I don't know how well you know the new system - the skater(s) must perform their routine at the official practice - whole, or in parts, and the Technical Specialist decides about the level of difficulty for each required element.
During the actual event, the judges don't necessarily know what the difficulty is, they just evaluate the performance. They can give -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 or +3 to each element and that mark is added to the basic value of each element. I can't wait to see the judges' scores (protocol) if it will be made public.

To learn more about the new system (includig specific levels and values), check out ISU's website at http://www.isu.org/v...av-list,00.html (the pdf files at the bottom of the page) :yahoo:

#9 dirac

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:43 AM

I donít think itís the new system alone thatís hurting Kwan. She was done in by several factors. She was damaged by her performance in the qualifying round and could not make it up. No matter how much she tinkered with the Bolero program, it never jelled. Etc.

Kwan is just not a favorite with the international judges right now. Maybe she can change that Ė fourth place is not total disaster Ė and maybe not.
Very little top of the line skating in this competition, I think. No one was at his best. Very happy for Lambiel and Buttle. Very upset at ESPN for its meager coverage.

I keep hoping for greater things from Sandhu, but oh well.


I know. It's just too bad. I heard Rochette and Phaneuf didn't do well, and was sorry to hear it.

#10 Helene

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 05:55 PM

Watching Kwan's programs, I assumed from looking at the leveled elements -- spirals, spins, footwork -- that despite getting program evaluation and advice from Lakernik, an ISU bigwig, she was getting killed by low levels of difficulty under the new scoring system.

When I looked at the protocols for the quali round, this appeared to be so: her base difficulty was 44.00 compared to Slutskaya's of 55.70. However, this base score included two downgraded jumps (2F and 2S), which lowered her base by 7 points; she also dropped the 2T off two of three planned combos, after struggling (and doubling) the first flip and faltering on the 3T, and this cost her 2.6 base points. Adding 9.6 to 44, her planned program had a base of 53.9, which was less than 2 points less difficult than Slutskaya's program.

The difference was in execution: Slutskaya earned 59.24 points, or a little over 4 points above her base program, while Kwan earned 44.76, or only .76 above base, having lost 2.64 points on three flawed jumps. Slutskaya was so dominant that she still managed to net over 4 points, despite flaws on two jumps (3Lo and 2A) that lost her 2.86 points.

In the LP, because Slutskaya performed an illegal third 3Lo which received no credit, Kwan's base score was actually higher than Slutskaya's (56.7 vs. 56.1), but even so, Kwan couldn't capitalize, losing 5.71 points on the fall on the 3S and flawed 3Lz, for a total of 55.62, compared to Slutskaya, who received 64.03 points, well over base. (Slutskaya didn't receive a single negative GOE from any judge for her LP.)

There were no truly great skates in the qualification rounds (sadly), but Kwan's performance was lackluster, as though she never really felt the ice properly. Her fifth-place finish was what I felt she should have gotten in last year's qualis, where I thought she was held up to skate in the final group in the SP. Slutskaya's was, by far, the best, and I was surprised at how close Cohen's scores were, for a relatively flat skate. It is clear that the judges want to give Cohen a title, if she'd only grab it. Kwan seemed slower than she has over the last couple of years, and her spins range from medium to slow in speed, although she hits beautiful positions and makes clean transitions between them. The biggest change over the last year has been in the power in her jumps: she'll never be a Slutskaya or Sebestyen or Sokolova, or maybe not even a Rochette, but she looks so much stronger, and she made Cohen's jumps look anemic by comparison, which wasn't true the last three years.

Lack of speed and power was Kwan's undoing in the SP as well, although she looked better than in the quali round. I thought she was a little underrated in the choreography and interpretation for Spartacus. If the judges had taken the mandatory deductions for Slutskaya's break between the steps and 3F and a travel on one of her early spins, as well as penalized her for a very wobbly edge -- multiple changes of edge, actually -- in the first phase of the spiral sequence, she might have been in third in the SP (with all top three skaters within 1 point of each other.) If anyone was stellar in the SP, it was Sokolova, to Don Quixote. In my opinion, she was as underrated in the SP as she had been overrated in the LP, where for 30 of Tchaikovsky's most dramatic seconds of music, she noodled around and skated cross-overs. Kostner was quite wonderful in the short program as well.

Kwan had the performance in the LP that she needed in the quali round. However, despite a much stronger performance, her component scores weren't great shakes, averaging from 7.19 to 7.68, which many of the top tier skaters this year have matched. The second mark was always Kwan's calling card. Bolero was a tough, plodding sell, and Kwan bypassed the Grand Prix, where she could have gotten an indication of her standing under the new system.

Inexplicably, Rochette was "ranked" below Poykio in both the quali and SP's, when she skated much stronger programs, had much greater speed -- although Poykio has the softest stroking of all of the Ladies -- and more drama and "oomph." The judges seemed to want to keep Ando close to contention, because her PCS were, in my opinion, far too high, particularly in the SP. Rochette was this year's Volchkova: after being held down in the first two rounds, she started the LP strongly, with a stunning 3T+3T combinations, leading to a melt down, which was such a shame, because David Wilson's Firebird was such a wonderful program. Arakawa had a terrible, lackluster competition.

Kostner was the great surprise, finally putting together three fine programs in one competition, after a disastrous Europeans in Torino. Thankfully, Poykio came in top 10, which means two Ladies from Finland at next year's Olympics and Worlds. Liashenko's 10th place finish means that Ukraine will qualify two Ladies as well, although Rochette's 11th means only one Canadian Lady at the Olympics, although two at Worlds in Calgary.

#11 dirac

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 11:08 AM

It is clear that the judges want to give Cohen a title, if she'd only grab it.


True. Theyíve been giving her gifts for years now Ė all she has to do is stay on her feet.

Thank you so much for a report from the scene. How did the men look to you?

#12 Drew

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 12:54 PM

Hmm...Cohen did stay on her feet at this year's world's. She did not skate perfectly, and I doubt the judges would have given her a gold over Slutskaya's free skate for anything less--which is fair enough.

#13 dirac

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 02:28 PM

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that Cohen fell in the LP this time around -- only that it's been pretty clear from her marks (to me, anyway :) ) that the judges are willing to overlook virtually everything else if she just doesn't fall. Considering that Slutskaya was near her best and Cohen wasn't -- Cohen was very close in the LP.

I admit, she's not a favorite of mine, and that may very well color my judgment. (I thought she was fabulous when she first appeared on the scene, but later on it struck me that she was a tad overpraised.)

I desperately missed Dick Button's commentating this time around. He's not as sharp as he once was, but he still catches things no one else does. If Susie Wynne had been there I might not have missed him quite so much, but Fleming and Carruthers left a lot to be desired. It's just not the same without "That was first rate!" and "That was UNCALLED for!"

#14 Helene

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 07:07 PM

Ah, yes, the Men. A veritable Intensive Care Unit.

The qualis:

The qualification morning started off with Brian Joubert's skate at 10am in a pretty empty arena -- and it was Luzniki Palace, which only seats 2-3K people. There were perhaps 200-300 of us there altogether, most of us with jetlag. He skated as if it were a 6am practice skate. I don't think he moved a facial muscle throughout the entire program. He left out a jumping pass, and, as a result, a bunch of technical points on the table. He execution was slightly below base. His component scores were inexplicably high, particularly since he had little by way of choreography or transitions that wasn't generic, and without energy and his normally considerable power and speed, his program looked quite empty. Lambiel skated to a month-old program (King Arthur) with considerable energy, attack, and verve, and his total PCS were literally one point higher. After landing a nice 3A and a brilliant 4T+3T combination to open, he was slightly atilt on about half his jumps, and might have been overmarked slightly, but not by much more than a point or so in total. It was quite a brilliant start.

Lysacek had his jumping issues, with his 3A getting away from him on a flawed opening 3A+3T combo and a fall on the solo 3A in his third element, but except for a messy 3Lz towards the end of the program, he didn't let it faze him, given that this was his first Worlds. He skated Singing in the Rain quite joyfully. Buttle downgraded his opening combo to 3F+2T and also lost his 3A for the quali round: his 3A+3T combo was flawed, and he fell on an attempted 3A that was downgraded to 2A, which in itself is a loss of nearly 4 points. He also botched the 3S, which is unusual for him. Like Lysacek, though, he didn't let the program get away from him. Contesti, a young French skater who was making his World debut, skated very well, and was underscored a bit in components.

Buttle and Lysacek were lucky to be 4th and 3rd in their quali round, but Dambier, Zhang, van der Perren, and Goebel skated very poorly and couldn't take advantage of the relatively weak group. Takahashi skated respectably after Honda, skating 3rd, went up for his 4T, jacknifed as if he were doing a flying sit spin, and fell on his stomach. He had injured his ankle in practice, and tore it up while launching his 4T. He was lifted into a wheelchair to leave the ice.

Happily for me, Kristoffer Berntsson of Sweden was in 12th, and it wasn't a nailbiter whether he'd qualify. Sadly, neither Smalun nor Verner could land enough to qualify. One kid who did sneak into 14th place was Viktor Pfeiffer of Austia, a tall, lanky 17-year old who flirted outrageously with the pretty young women in the first row and seemed to have no nerves whatsoever.

In the second quali round, Plushenko skated very cautiously. We were sitting four rows up from the front on the short side of the rink where many skaters started their straightline footwork. The big pause before the footwork begins is where Plushenko usually plays the crowd, but his expression was strained as he looked towards us. He was skating with groin and back injuries, and his center was quite contracted, although his only technical flaw was on the 3Lz. I think his choreography score was overmarked -- in my opinion, Godfather is the weakest program he's skated in four years -- and, inexplicably was higher than Lindemann's, who had brilliant choreography. I didn't think Plushenko was overmarked in Interpretation though; I prefer him to be a little bit subdued, but not because he's hurt. Lindemann, too, was suffering from an injury, and his 3A abandoned him as well, in addition to the 3F. He opened, though, with a fabulous 4T+3T combination, and his spins have improved 50% since last year. Unfortunately, he's a skater who must be seen in person to really appreciate his flow, phrasing, ice coverage, and deep edges.

Chenjiang Li didn't have the most brilliant skate, but he, too, has improved over the last year, and I thought he was robbed in the component scores. Like Stojko, he fused martial arts movement into skating, and, like Stojko, the judges gave him little credit for it. Johnny Weir had tendonitis in his toe and was given injections in order to skate. He skated cautiously and little slowly, but the first half of his program was technically sound, and he amassed many points above base until he doubled the Loop about midway through, and it was rather downhill from there: base on the 3S, a singled Flip, and a missed jump element. IIRC, he only has one combo in the program, and that is just too many points to bypass. His skating is exquisite, nonetheless, but he just didn't have his usual flair.

Dobrin was a nice surprise in 5th, especially since Griazev had many problems with his jumps, although despite this, Griazev showed more overall control and carriage than he did last year. I wish Dobrin could work with a coach who would stretch his line and expect finish, because Gromova, his and Slutskaya's coach, won't make those demands. Dinev skated quite well, considering he missed Europeans to stay in the US with Angela Nikodinov, when her mother was killed in the crash that also injured their coach severely. (Nikodinov was in Moscow to cheer him on at Worlds.)

Sandhu popped his quad combo attempt into a 2T and downgraded two other jumps (1A and 2F). He didn't have a bad skate -- he received only one negative grade on his 3A+2T combo early on -- but his base technical score was very low. I don't think his choreography was very strong this year, and he didn't have much originality or charisma. He looked as if he were going through the motions.

Happy surprises were Nurmenkari, the young Finn who has improved each year, Karel Zelenka, the young Italian who's coached by his father -- that always makes me feel sympathy for him -- and has also improved greatly, and Jamal Othman, the beautiful, lyrical young Swiss skater. I think Othman is one of the most talented young skaters, a dancer on ice, and one to watch.

#15 Skye

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Posted 25 March 2005 - 06:26 AM

Helene, I was wondering if you have any opinions about Hegel and Sebestyen in the ladies event?


Edited by Helene, 29 January 2014 - 12:14 AM.



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