Saturday, January 24, 2009

U.S. Nationals Notes off-the-cuff

Here is a composite of the notes I took while as I watched the Ladies’ Event tonight (general notes about all the senior disciplines will come next week):

+ Whoa! Elaine Zayak in the house! I’d read that she was coaching someone this year, but still didn’t expect to see her out there by the boards.

+ Bebe Liang skates first… rats, I was hoping she’d give a knockout performance since the pressure would seem to be off her. Bezic makes a comment about kids not being able to focus when they’re fretting about losing points… first ding on scoring system of the night.

+ Alexe Gilles, the tall one… as they mentioned in the first several seconds, and I mentioned several months back in an October 10 post. “She doesn’t skate like a tall person”, says Scott. Her all-Latin number is praised by Bezic as “a brave move”… do they say the same about Bradley for the men? Just curious.

Also can’t help but notice Alexe is sporting some serious gold eyeshadow. The kind that makes one say “it must hurt to wear that”!

+ Dorothy Hamill in the house too!

+ Here is Wagner…ah, cool, she did well except for that lutz.

+ Wait, I was elsewhere for a minute; what happened? Who is this? OK, Laney Diggs…

+ I was wondering who had done so well in the group before this that they were ahead of Gilles… and it turned out to be Angela Maxwell, who was also featured here a few months back (on 9/30). Good for her; too bad she wasn’t televised.

+ Wagner is in front for the moment by 12 points. She should move up well with that.

+ Ms. Diggs did well; level of difficulty not really there, but did well.

+ Musademba now…Bezic says: “with the new rules, you don’t really have a chance to take a rest…” and the dings are up to 2.

+ Is the buzzword this year “learning experience”? Seems like it.

+ Forte seems to be the story they’re glomming onto this year, so let’s see how she does: whoa, good call guys! It was clean. Nice work, Ms. Zayak.

+ “She had some downgrades & some issues w/the scoring” (Scott on Forte)… huh? She’s way down in 6th. Big bummer. Raise your hand if you want to know the “issues with the scoring”…

+ Also, raise your hand if you cringed when you saw that Alissa is skating last.

+ Hacker’s up. Oh, weird… so she’s headed to Princeton but will no longer compete? In an Olympic season? Wow, that’s tough. Maybe that’s because she has “no lutz , no flip”…

+ Wow, pretty amazing skate from Nagasu. I wouldn’t have guessed she could pull that off.

+ Rizo’s up. Wow, another one without a lutz or a flip? This seems unusual. Without them she won’t be able to beat Wagner either. Could Wagner actually make the podium after all?

+ Flatt’s turn! So solid, such a great skate, and yet I suspect the crowd is a little tepid with their applause. Holding back for Alissa?

+ Zhang. Is that a new costume? Is that last year’s program? I can’t remember if she’s been using this all season.

I see a tough decision coming between Zhang & Flatt… looks like the crowd has chosen Zhang… though the judges did not.

+ “Somewhat democratic, but very unforgiving and very punishing,” says Scott on scoring… Ding #3.

+ OK, Alissa, here we go. Let’s see how many times I can say good girl… 1,2,3,4…5… damn!...double-double… crap… come on…well…

+ A good quote from Scott just after her skate:: “She’s thinking about the wrong stuff.”

Indeed, but wow, she still won!

SHOULD she have? I’m hearing that question already, mostly from those who thought Flatt had it in the bag and, rightly so, noted that Czisny only landed three triples to Flatt’s seven. But, lest we forget, Czisny had a 5 point lead going into tonight… yes, Flatt beat her in the LP tonight, but in looking at the scores in a little more detail, just about all the points Czisny was behind Flatt in the tech score she was above with the presentation mark… resulting in a fairly even break that resulted in Czisny leading by approximately the same margin as she did with the SP. If you can follow all that.

One thing tonight’s results showed was that a high-quality program all around can still get the job done, both with the judges and the crowds. Flatt was spot-on, but so far she hasn’t found quite the right vehicle to “wow” the judges.

OK, gotta get to bed. No Clip of the Day, but it will return soon.

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