Awesome reports, Helene! Thanks!
For the handful of us who don't have ESPN on our cable subs., you almost put us in the arena.
I was wondering about Dick Button, as he appeared on a PBS fundraiser during the course of Worlds'. It occurred to me that it may have been taped in advance, but then he said something about no longer covering the events. He's been the conscience of American skating since I can remember, and I will miss him.
Things heating up on the ice in MoscowWorld Figure Skating Championships
Posted 25 March 2005 - 12:13 PM
Awesome reports, Helene! Thanks!
Posted 26 March 2005 - 09:32 AM
Helene, I was wondering if you have any opinions about Hegel and Sebestyen in the ladies event?
I like both of these skaters very much. Sebestyen had the impossible draw in the quali round: first up in the first group at 10am. Skating to Carmen, she started with a fantastic, huge 3F, but then fell on what once had been her strongest, but for the past few years has been her nemesis jump, the 3Lz. (She had a forward lean.) I thought her 3Lo from turning 3's was great, but there must have been an underrotation or some error I didn't see, because the protocols give her base score on the jump. She had a rather flat skate, and was given mostly base scores by all of the judges for her spins and spiral, although she hit wonderful, clean positions on them. Her jumps abandoned her, though: she downgraded the Salchow and second Lutz to doubles and tacked on a 1T to the 2Lu, and she also tacked on a 2T to the 2A, which had been quite a nice Axel, but was graded, correctly, on the worst-performed jump. Her serpentine footwork looked rather slow and labored, and was a much smaller pattern than in the finals.
In my opinion, Hegel was judged by protocol: for the quali round, my notes say she had great speed going into the opening 3Lz+2T combination and that most of her spins were fast and well-centered, yet she received base for nearly every element, except two jumps on which she faltered: a hands down on a 3S and a 3S+2T, in which she tacked on the 2T. (The combo was planned for the first attempt.) She moved beautifully across the ice, and I was very impressed with her skate, although the music, Don Juan de Marco couldn't have been more generic. I think she wuzrobbed on the component scores, being placed below Dytrt, who my notes say, "faulty hops into Lutz entries. Flies around, good attack, but no body line or finish, no difference between adagio and allegro." (She skated to Spartacus.)
On the whole in the SP the Ladies in the top 10 either had clean skates (Kostner, Kwan, Poykio) or had a jump error (or more) that were compensated by high levels of difficulty on their spins, steps, and spiral and/or very high component scores. Sebestyen, skating relatively early due to her low standing in the quali, opened with another stunning 3F, but then fell on the 3Lu and didn't complete the combination. I thought she skated five of the remaining six elements superbly, including a huge, fast flying camel and a nicely done spiral, but her circular footwork got bogged down. (She skated a much bigger circle -- or perhaps ellipse -- than most of the Ladies.)
I thought Hegel's opening 3Lu+2T deserved higher than base, which she received from every judge. Her 3F was flawed, and she had a noticeable break between the steps and jump (as did Slutskaya, who got no such mandatory deduction.) Her combo change combo spin was a bit messy, but she did a very nice spread eagle entrance into a solid 2A and a very fast, nice layback. The rest of her elements were satisfactory. Her elements ran the gamut in this program, but she received the range of presentation scores (mid to high 5's) that she should have received in the quali round, in my opinion.
When Hegel and Joanne Carter from Australia end up ahead of Sebestyen in the free skate, you know that Sebestyen had a melt-down of major proportions, ending in 16th place, and dropping out of the top 10 for the competition. (One Hungarian lady at Olympics and Worlds next year ) She started with yet another fantastic, huge 3F, and even landed a huge 3Lu, although she was too close to the boards to add the 2T. From there her jumps abandoned her: her flawed Loop attempts (from running 3's) was downgraded to a double before -2 GOE was deducted, she downgraded a sequence to 2S SEQ 2T, she tacked on a weak 1T to a flawed 3Lu, she doubled the Toe, and she created a 1A SEQ 1A, after singling the first Axel. Nonetheless, her other elements were quite fine, and her serpentine footwork had the speed and power it lacked in the quali round. It was such a sad thing to see, especially since she gained expression over the season in the slow section ("Flower Song"). She didn't give up her commitment to the program, either, even when her jumps unravelled.
Hegel opened her program with a 3Lu+2T+2Lo, which I thought should have been rated higher than the base score she received. She followed with a very nice 3F, a 2A right on the music, a flying camel that started strongly but slowed, a few okay jumps (3S+2T and 3T) and a wonderful 3Lo -- one of the best of the night -- a very respectable spiral, and a few elements that started out fine (combo spin, straightline footwork), but died a bit towards the end.
Posted 27 March 2005 - 07:23 AM
It's good the new scoring system makes the judging process more transparent.
Posted 02 April 2005 - 09:49 PM
I'm a little late, but actually this started fairly recently, in the mid-1990s. Nicole Bobek (1995 U.S. National Champion and World Bronze Medallist) had a spectacular spiral and most of the rest of the U.S. ladies worked hard to keep up, and now it's become a feature of the national skating "style". Before that it wasn't so prominent. But personally I don't like most of the extreme spiral postitions because it requires a fairly ugly displacement of the hip (i.e., leg to the side instead of to the back).
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?
As for the question about twizzles, the free leg position (as opposed to the skating leg-- the one with the foot on the ice) is optional. As long as it's controlled, you're generally okay, unless it's just an ugly position. Twizzles are scored right now, basically, on number of revolutions and entry edges (or, really, changing entry edges and directions in a twizzle sequence-- the edges themselves aren't given much credit, as if the ISU believes each of the 8 twizzles is equally difficult, which is certainly not the case). Obviously the turn needs to be steady, balance held, unison kept (into, during, and out of the twizzle), etc. In my opinion twizzles are given way too much attention in the new scoring system-- ice dance is not about being able to do an 8 revolution twizzle (as I saw one jr. level dancer working on the other day). I've heard the ISU is thinking about restructuring the twizzle requirements, but nothing will be definite until after Congress (in June, I think).
Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:14 AM
But personally I don't like most of the extreme spiral postitions because it requires a fairly ugly displacement of the hip (i.e., leg to the side instead of to the back).
Yes. And too much attention is paid to the leg in the air, as opposed to what the blade is doing (or not doing) on the ice.
Posted 05 April 2005 - 07:41 PM
too much attention is paid to the leg in the air, as opposed to what the blade is doing (or not doing) on the ice.
I agree, which is why I should always prefer Kwan's long-held and change of edge spirals to Cohen's which are skated on a rather flat edge, even if she has the better extension. I also hate the charlotte, which is required to perform on a flate blade. It's a hideous position and doesn't require the effort of an upheld back. This has nothing to do with legs in the air, but in terms of positions of blades on ice, I don't think there could be anything more exhilarating than a beautifully executed, deeply held eagle.
Posted 06 April 2005 - 03:03 PM
although Rochette's 11th means only one Canadian Lady at the Olympics, although two at Worlds in Calgary.
(One Hungarian lady at Olympics and Worlds next year )
Happily, I was wrong on both counts. I had heard that qualifying for the Olympics was harder than qualifying for Worlds, but both competitions use the same formula to qualify more than one skater:
If one skater competes, then:
1. If placement points are two or less, the country earns three spots
2. If placement points are three to ten, the country earns two spots
If two skaters compete, then:
1. If total placement points equal 13 or less, the country earns three spots
2. If total placement points equal 28* or less, the country earns two spots
Skaters who place 1st-15th earn one point for each placement. If the skater doesn't qualify for the SP (not top 30), then the skater earns 20 points for placing 20th through last place. If the skater qualifies for the SP, but not for the LP (not top 24), then the skater earns 18 points for placing 25th-30th. If the skater qualifies for the LP, then the skater earns 16 points for placing 16th-24th.
If three skaters compete, then the top two placements are calculated as if two skaters competed.
For Ladies, Canada's total placement points total 27 (11 for Rochette's 11th place and 16 for Pfaneuf's 20th place). Hungary's total placement points total 28 (12 for Sebestyen's 12th place and 16 for Pavuk's 18th place). Each country earns two spots, along with Ukraine (for Liashenko's 10th place), Finland (for Poykio's 8th place), and Italy (Kostner's 3rd place). The US (Cohen's 2nd and Kwan's 4th), Russia (Slutskaya's 1st and Sokolova's 7th), and Japan (Suguri's 5th and Ando's 6th) earned three spots. Earning one spot each are Croatia (yay, Idora Hegel!), Australia (woo hoo Joanne Carter), Switzerland (love Sarah Meier!), Germany (Dytrt, overrated IMO), and Sweden (nice job Lina Johansson). For Sweden, this is a triumph, as after producing the great early 20th century champions, the program has been mired in worse than mediocrity for many years, and this year had a nice senior debut by Johansson and a very solid performance (14th) by Kristoffer Berntsson in the stronger men's field.
For Men, Canada and the US qualified for three spots, Switzerland, China, France, Belgium and Russia for two spots, and Germany (), Bulgaria (Dinev!), Sweden (Berntsson!!!), Romania, Israel, Italy, and Belarus earned one. In Pairs, Russia and China earned three spots, and Germany, Poland, Canada, Ukraine, and US earned two spots.
The rest of the spots: six each for Men and Ladies and four for Pairs will be decided at the Karl Schaeffer Memorial competition in Vienna in mid-October, unless Italy decides to send a Pair -- then five will be chosen at KSM -- or if any country decides to send less than its quota. (Possible for the smaller Federations.)
What's in the water -- or who's the coach -- in Ukraine that produces such wonderful Ladies' pair skaters? Although they skate for other countries, Savchenko (Germany) and Obertas (Russia) are among the finest pair skaters in the world along with Volosozhar.
Posted 06 April 2005 - 08:25 PM
It quite often happens that the smaller federations don't use all their spots (primary example at the moment I suppose being Bulgaria and dance), so more spots will be available at Karl Schafer than it appears there will be just from looking at the qualifications from Worlds. The host country always gets an automatic entry into every event, but since Italy already has a man, 2 ladies, and 2 dance spots qualified, that will only apply to Pairs, and even there it should still be 4 or 5 spots open at Karl Schafer, as it appears that Ukraine and Poland (who both qualified two spots) only have one pair each (could be wrong about Ukraine, but I'm pretty sure about Poland).
Edited by RedSonja, 06 April 2005 - 08:29 PM.
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