Monday, November 3, 2008

Eight Observations from Skate Canada 2008

Since we fly right into CoCh (Cup of China) so quickly—compulsory dance starts at 5AM New York time this coming Thursday!—I’m going to type up 8 semi-quick observations from the weekend in Ottawa:

1) My first official chance to follow the events in “real time” on, and I can see I’m going to drive my family bonkers over the next several weeks. “Need help putting boxes back into the garage attic? Sure, but the pairs’ free skate starts at 2:35 so let’s get going”… and so on. Gotta admit there’s a silver lining when you don’t have to wait a whole week for ESPN to run the tape-delayed version. (But I’m having security certificate issues when I try to login this morning… anyone else?)

2) Oh, and another thing… I don’t know that this is IceNetwork’s problem (as they seem to simply be picking up what I think is called the “world feed”), but the distorted/warbly audio I heard over much of the SkCan coverage was a drag. If I wanted to hear what “Otonal” sounds like underwater, I’d watch skating below sea level.

3) My batting average came up a bit with this round; I was 5-for-12 rather than 3-for-12… nailed the pairs predictions, almost nailed the ladies guesses (must admit I’m happier with the actual outcome), messed up considerably on the men, and severely underestimated Davis/White or overestimated their competition with my dance forecast. (More on that later.)

4) Eating my words part 1: Ryan Bradley showed up as Elvis, not Batman, and it seemed to serve him exceptionally well. And while I’m not much of a fan of recycled programs (especially those from 2 seasons ago), his Latin number once again brought him a silver medal—this time of the international variety. He’s obviously doing something right! (And yeah, I found myself a little surprised at Chan’s ability to outscore him.)

5) Reviewing last year’s performances proved helpful in more ways than helping make a good stab at pairs’ predictions. Yannick Pansero was in 2nd after last year’s SP, then turned in a pretty anemic FS and failed to medal. So when he was in the lead this year after the SP, I suspected he might do the same thing… and, in fact, he did. (But I liked his free skate as a whole much better, especially the straight line steps… I’m a sucker for some "Sing Sing Sing".)

6) As for the ladies, there was only one real star in the Canadian sky. SO glad to see Joannie Rochette pull out such a decisive victory… ditto for Alissa Czisny managing a bronze! I thought my prediction was for naught after her SP, but her rally in the FS was very nice to see.

7) From the Anything-Can-Happen-In-This-Sport-And-Usually-Does Files: Kostner’s bizarre slip-ups in the SP, and Suguri’s resurgence as a contender (well, at least for this event… we’ll see if she can keep the momentum swinging her way at Cup of Russia in a few weeks).

8) Eating my words part 2: Charlie Davis and Meryl White proved so solid in all areas of their competition, there was no way the judges could haggle between their performances and anyone elses. Kudos to them… and I’m with Laura at Required Elements in saying Belbin and Agosto better watch their backs in January. The Charleston/Samson and Delilah combo definitely wowed me more than the Steppin’Out/Tosca offering, at least initially.

I’ll be back to talk about Cup of China soon! Till then, the
Clip of the Day showcases Canadian Shawn Sawyer—who actually beat out everyone in the Free Skate Saturday, though he was too far back to medal. Maybe next year…


Sharon said...

So glad you had to eat your words, Kelli! Um..Charlie Davis and Meryl White? lol

As quite an avid fan of theirs, I was overjoyed at their performances and I adore their programs. If they continue to improve their performance levels, these will be quite amazing by Nationals...I also predict Tanith and Ben will have quite a fight on their hands and I much prefer D/W's programs. But I'm so incredibly biased...they completely rock my ice dance world!

Now, you won't underestimate them again, I hope?

Kelli Lawrence said...


I should stick to using last names only when talking about couples... as often as I mix up the first names of people I DO know!

Good catch, Sharon... 40 lashes for me :-)