Monday, December 28, 2009

As The Calendar Turns (Towards Vancouver)… Roundup #2

As the rest of the world is winding down, the skating world winds up again. How else can it be explained when at least two countries of prominence hold their Nationals on and around Christmas Day?

The developments, they kept on a’comin’ throughout December… and a few of them I will touch on before the month is out, so they don’t feel lonely. But just because the U.S. won’t start its Nationals for a few more weeks doesn’t mean the rest of the world does it that way. Here’s a quick roundup of notable championships/winners and, occasionally, their respective links to more info:

Switzerland: No surprises here, as Stephane Lambiel and Sarah Meier did repeat business as winners.

Italy: Samuel Contesti won for the men… but here’s your surprise: Carolina Kostner was upset for the title by Valentine Marchei. Ouch. Doesn’t mean much in that both ladies will still be headed to Vancouver, but still…

Hungary: Not a surprise, but surely a milestone: Julia Sebestyen won her ninth title… and yes, in case you were wondering… this will be her fourth Olympics. (Her best Olympic finish to date was 8th in 2002; her best Worlds was 6th in 2004.)

Finland: Laura Lepisto snagged the Ladies’ title over Kiira Korpi

France: very interesting among the men, with Florent Amodio coming out on top and therefore checking his ticket to Vancouver. As for Yannick Ponsero and Alban Preaubert, I believe I read that they’re both being sent to Euros before a decision is made about the Olympics… anyone else see that?

Russia: Some guy named
Plush-something won for the 28th (or something) time with something like 100+ points in the SP alone. Apparently the judges at this event want us to believe if he’s worth inflating the scores THIS much, no other man need apply for that Vancouver gold medal…
Domnina/Shabalin are back… they won gold as expected too…
Kavaguti/Smirnov beat out Mukhortova/Trankov for the top spot…
And Ksenia Makarova beat out Alena Leonova for gold among the ladies. (Wait a minute—WHO?? And what happened to Leonova? Find out

JAPAN : It was Takahashi, Kozuka, and Oda for the men (all three go to Vancouver)… and Asada made a return to form that was good enough for first place, joined in second by Akiko Suzuki, and Yukari Nakano for third. BUT… because Miki Ando (finishing 4th) already qualified for the Olympics with her Grand Prix finish, the odd woman out was Nakano. (Fumie Suguri lost out as well, but a fall on her SP triple lutz effectively took her out of this tight race early.)

I found
this post at FS Universe that serves as a lovely tribute to Nakano, a fine skater who happens to come from the deepest pool of skating talent in the world, and as I understand it has now been thisclose to the Olympics TWICE. Oh, if only we could bend the rules for Japan this one time…!


Anonymous said...

Some info re French and Italian Nationals and Olympic assignments:

Italy can only send one lady to the Olympics due to Kostner's poor showing at 2009 Worlds. Regardless of what happens at Euros, I can't imagine it will be Marchei - who will miss out just as she did in 2006. BTW, this is not the first time Valentina has defeated Carolina at Nationals, though her previous win was six years ago (she was also the 2008 champion, but Kostner was injured and did not compete).

France has two men's spots in Vancouver. Joubert was already guaranteed one and Florent Amodio has been named for the other, with Ponsero as the alternate.

Kelli Lawrence said...

Thanks much! Yeah, not sure why I thought Italy had two spots for the ladies... and tough break for Ponsero; he's got one of the best quads I've ever seen, but the only thing consistent about his skating is his wild inconsistency.