As we wrap up this much-delayed (by holidays, news, etc.) re-tread of Cup of China 2009, let’s get the ice dance discussed first—if only because I don’t have much to say about it!
+ This was the debut of Belgosto’s season, and while I could clearly see some rough patches… particularly with the free dance, and especially with Belbin’s skating… I was still intrigued enough to say (at the time) They’re taking something fresh and making it their own without going over the top, much as Virtue & Moir are doing with the Mahler piece. Well, based on results… obviously no, that wasn’t quite right.
+ I should’ve paid more attention to the Canadian team of Weaver/Poje, who might’ve been known this season as the “other” team that used Phantom of the Opera excerpts in their free dance. If I didn’t say it before, I’ll say it now: this is yet another Canadian team that looks like a formidable competitor with a lot of promise. Unfortunately, their 6th-place finish at this event wasn’t representative of that, due to the fall in the OD (they went 5th in compulsories, 9th (last) in OD, 4th in FD). And by the way, does anyone know why all 3 leading Canadian dance teams chose Flamenco for their OD?
The ladies event was more noteworthy to me for a few reasons:
+ Akiko Suzuki turned in perhaps her best performances of the season to emerge from this event as the “surprise” winner. Normally to peak so early wouldn’t seem like a good thing, but I think it was important she come out of the shadows early in the season. Gotta wonder, too, if her win inspired the gradual costume transformation… and if the first lesson someone taught her was champions don’t wear white blouses over their costumes--?
+ Mirai Nagasu led after the SP, but stumbled around a bit in the FS and finished 5th overall… this pattern was repeated in somewhat exaggerated fashion at Worlds four months later.
+ On the other hand, Joannie Rochette turned in weak performances all around, which may have been one of the reasons people wondered if she’d be able to skate as well as she did in Vancouver (especially under the weight she was suddenly carrying).
+ Rachael Flatt was another one who seemed anything but up to speed for this competition. No triple-triple combos (though to be fair, no one else tried them either, including Nagasu), trouble with her lutz in the FS, a step-out on a flip, AND a sub-par double-axel in the SP? Hmm. Plus I made this note during one of her combo spins: “this is probably an example of the problem people have with her-- posture seems poor, speed is lacking, no excitement…” She only finished 4th; but was able to put it behind her 2 weeks later for Skate America…
+ Then there was Carolina Kostner and Kiira Korpi… Korpi ultimately fared much better than Kostner at this event, winning silver while Kostner sank to sixth. But they were in 2nd and 3rd after the SP… and I personally thought Kostner should have been the higher-scorer of the two… so I checked the scoring details, and discovered that while Kostner did have the higher jump score (17.5 to 16.9 for Nagasu and 16.0 for Korpi), she was given no credit for her spiral sequence. Not a level 2, not even a level 1… ZERO.
I’ve included Kostner’s SP from this event as the Clip of the Day … and it wasn’t like she botched the effort a la Kim Yu-Na. In fact, I can’t tell what she did wrong. Maybe one of you can!? Please refresh my memory if this was discussed at the time!