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2002 World Figure Skating Ch'ps - Thoughts/Comments


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Hi, everyone! I returned from Rossiya this past weekend. It was such an exhausting three weeks in Moscow that I did not even realize, 'til I returned home, that the World Championships in Nagano, Japan, had come & gone. Now *that's* a first for me to miss & totally 'blank out' on such an event!

I've since seen some of the videotapes of the various finals and caught-up on the news & have the following quick thoughts. perhaps some of our skating-ballet enthusiasts could chime in, too?

* Shen & Zhao won CHINA's first-ever gold medal in the Pairs event. Congratulations, China!!! They were far & away the 'class act' of the field, even with a couple of mistakes in the free skate.

* Russia's #2 pair took the silver. They really need to crank up the emotional level & charisma factor if they wish to keep rising. Love their long lean lines, though. :(

* How on earth the USA's Ina/Zimmerman squeaked in for a bronze medal above Petrova/Tikhonov -- who weren't all that great themselves -- is beyond me.

* Russia's Alexei Yagudin won gold in the men's singles with dash & panache. He actually seemed to be better at Worlds than at Olympics. What a string of perfect 6.0 scores! He deserved them.

* The USA's Tim Goebel won silver - 'Quad King' just keeps getting better & better. Artistry is a tad better than at Olympics, too. Maybe there is hope...

* The host country, Japan, copped two bronze medals in the singles events - Takeshi Honda for the men & the lyical Fumie Suguri in the ladies...I adore her flow & balletic lines. So delicate & less in-your-face-sassy than Sasha Cohen. [sasha placed 4th, just as in Olympics.]

* Russia's Irina Slutskaya was BRILLIANT in all phases of the competition, winning the gold medal that has eluded her for so long.

* USA's Michele Kwan rallied for the silver medal with a fine long program after making major errors in the short program (after which she was in 3rd place)

* In Ice Dance, RUSSIA took the Gold...a bit of surprise, as they skipped the entire autumn Grand Prix season with injuries. However, they had the quickest & most dynamic free program amongst those who chose to compete at Worlds. (The Olympic gold medalists, Anissina/Peizarat, have turned pro; the Italians passed & didn't show up.]

* Canada's Bourne/Kraatz won the silver with their crowd-pleasing Michael Jackson medley

* THE controversy of the year: Israel's Galit Chait & Sergei Savnovsky won a bronze, topping the more seasoned & favored Lithuanian team of Dobriazko/Vanagas. Soon after the competition ended, Vanagas filed a protest with the ISU, to which he attached the signatures of 30+ fellow-competitors (including the US champs, Lang/Tchernichev).

I haven't seen the video of the ice dancing competition yet, so can't comment on whether or not the Israelis were deserving of that medal. I have always admired their speed...but they often sacrifice precision for that speed. Not sure what happened this time & why so many folks are hot-and-bothered about the results.

Comments, anyone?

- Jeannie

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I didn't get to see all the skating. But I did see Yagudin's long program which was skated with much more passion than at the Olympics.

My only other comment is in defense of Sasha Cohen. You stated that she had a sassy, "in your face" quality. I maintain it was part of the choreography. I've seen her skate to other, more contemplative music. What I love so much about her skating is how she inhabits the music.

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I only saw bits and pieces for the most part, unfortunately, but my impressions were as follows:

Men's -- Missed big chunks of this one, but I enjoyed watching Alexei take his victory laps. If Plushenko had been able to appear Yagudin might have had a slightly harder time, but maybe not -- people tend to run out of gas at Worlds in Olympic years. I was hoping to see Honda or Abt in the second spot -- not to be unpatriotic, but I would be happier if Goebel sat in third for a time internationally, just so it's drilled into him that the quads aren't enough.

Ice dancing -- I think I have it worked out now -- you just have to relax and go with the garish campiness of it all, and you'll have a good time. We can't always be ruled by the tyranny of good taste, although I wouldn't say that to Sasha Cohen just now. In any case, in my inexpert opinion the Israelis should not have been on the podium. No edges. That same old choreography to the same old music they've been flogging for years. The judges were telling the Lithuanians that they didn't want to hear any more beefing about the scores, or so it seems to me. I still don't think this quite rates as sport, but the ratings are great so we're probably stuck with it.

Pairs -- Missed the pairs completely, alas.

Ladies' -- I saw more of this one than the others, chiefly because the girls always get more TV prime time, which I resent although I understand the reasons -- I've usually preferred watching the men. Anyway, it was good to see Slutskaya in the top spot, as she ought to have been in SLC, but no one performed spectacularly this time around, although Jennifer Robinson of all people did seven triples.

I still don't like the Tosca program, but I don't blame Slutskaya -- one of my problems with the current state of ladies' skating is this insistence on forcing the women into being "elegant," "lyrical," (or, as Dick Button put it during Kwan's SP, "So ladylike!") whether they are suited to such a style or not. Yoshie Onda was a very pleasant surprise in this respect, and I hope they encourage her (and I hope she gets to work on her presentation skills). Suguri seemed underpowered, and the choreography for her program was competent but not tailored to her, it appeared to me -- I have admired Nichol's choreography in the past, but lately it's seemed rather generic, IMO.

Good to see Kwan getting it together in the LP. I noticed something I thought was interesting. Normally when Kwan receives marks as low as those, there tends to be a great wailing and rending of garments among the ABC commentators, but not this time -- Button and Fleming just passed right on to the Wonders of Sasha. Kwan's presentation still seems under par to me -- is it the program? Anyone who tries Scheherazade after Curry is just asking for me to slap him/her around anyway, but I really don't think her suited to that music. Maybe Kwan should just throw in the towel and bring back Taj Mahal.......

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