Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Other Half: Ladies/Dance, GP FInal Notes

Wow is time getting away from me… a typical lament from an overextended American with kids at Christmastime, perhaps, but the only excuse I can scrape together when it comes to being late on a post about an event that took place a whole week ago!

I got my DSL speeds back up to snuff a few days back, so I finally got my turn at watching the ladies and dance GP Finals. In the interest of consistency, I’ll frame my smattering of notes with the theme “HAD I REALIZED…”

--Had I realized 1/3 of the dance teams would pull out of the event before it was over, I might have given Davis & White a shot at the podium in my predictions. As it stands, the medal was well-deserved… they were spot-on with their sparkling Samson & Delilah free dance.

--Had I realized Domnina and Shabalin’s free dance seems more and more to be built entirely around 2 giant, soaring lifts… as if all the other elements are merely filler… I would have prayed that somehow Ashley Wagner be the only ranked skater to use Spartacus this season.

--And had I realized how much I appreciate the wildly different themes Delobel and Schoenfelder have chosen over the past few years (Bonnie & Clyde, The Piano)… I might have found myself appreciating their current program (to Pink Floyd) a little sooner. As it stands, it’s growing on me. I still don’t like the random female vocal that crops up every now and again, but that’s probably more about my aversion to Pink Floyd than any aversion to DelSchoen.

-- Had Miki Ando realized she was going to cheat so many jumps (including her newly-returned quad salchow), maybe she wouldn’t have used a program different than she’s used all season. My guess is that she didn’t want to continue drawing unfavorable comparisons to Yukari Nakano’s version of Giselle. And my guess is as good as yours as to whether or not she’ll stay with the Saint-Saens piece for Japanese Nationals.

--Had I realized Mao Asada was going to succeed this time with the back-to-back triple axels in her free skate, maybe I would have predicted her for the top spot.

But I would have winced doing it.

Because, especially in watching them in the same competition, I simply like Yu-Na Kim’s free skate much better. Asada looks like she’s putting every last ounce of energy and concentration in those first two jump passes (the triple axels, one in combination) and, terrific as they are, the intricacies of the program’s remainder seem to fall away as a result. Maybe that’s why Kim could still, at this point, have beaten Asada with a clean skate. Too bad it didn’t happen here. But with less than 3 points separating them in the end, IT is definitely ON (as young people and reality show contestants tend to say).

Anyway… just a couple more thoughts:

-- Had the ISU realized tickets for this GP Final (held this time in Korea) would sell out so quickly—about 45 minutes, I think I heard commentator P.J. Kwong say—perhaps they would have made Goyang City the home of international figure skating events for the past 5 years. (Heck, if U.S. Nationals has any attendance issues when it comes to Cleveland next month… maybe the USFS should consider moving the whole event over to South Korea.)

--And finally… had I not been treated to the low-key, helpful commentary by P.J. Kwong in the early phases of last week’s event, I wouldn’t have missed her as much when her voice was absent from the free skates. Really, IceNetwork or ISU or whoever hired her, you might want to consider doing whatever it takes to keep her on board next time!

Clip of the Day goes back to Davis & White’s Skate Canada performance, where they won their first gold on the senior GP circuit. Since I can’t locate last week’s similar skate on You Tube, this seemed like the next best thing to show.

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