Friday, July 30, 2010
Not-so-Random Thoughts About Skate America 2009 Revisited
As we step into last November’s vault to revisit Skate America (or as I like to call it, SKAM), we’re reminded of that seemingly rare falter on Kim Yu-Na’s part in the free skate, as well as how Rachael Flatt surpassed the expectations of many and proved herself a viable candidate for Vancouver. And we’re reminded of Belgosto’s final, 24-point leading SKAM win… and how Khoklova/Novitski faltered after the compulsory dance, clearing the way for the Zaretskys to make the podium along with Cappellini and Lanotte. But what else springs to mind as far as the ladies and ice dance were concerned?
The thought that older skaters tire a little easier. Fumie Suguri and Julia Sebestyen—both 28 at the time of the event—had clean short programs and started off relatively well in their free skates, but were out of gas well before those 4-minute endurance-testers were over. Suguri had popped jumps, downgraded jumps, messy double axels and a slow closing spin; Sebestyen doubled a triple lutz and singled her double axels. Sebestyen finished higher, with a bronze (in a pretty weak field beyond Kim and Flatt). Unfortunately, Suguri is scheduled to continue competing next season.
The thought that I hope Sarah Hecken doesn’t morph into Elene Gedevanishvili over the next four years. Hecken started to show here some of the fun and fire that fueled her performances later in the season, including a lovely triple toe/triple toe. But a few skaters later we had Gedevanishvili, who at age 19 (in November) is still a fine skater, but has dumbed down her jumps enough over the past few years to effectively take her out of the running for much of anything—those triples she does skate (lutz on the difficult end; toe and salchow on the easier end) are often doubled in competition. I’m not sure what’s sadder—watching a former rising star continue to compete and simply spin their wheels mid-pack year after year… or not watching a former star compete at all, several years before you figured she’d be done. (Talking about Meissner there.) Here’s Gedevanishvili’s 2006 Olympics SP as the Clip of the Day as a reminder of one of her first big splashes.
The thought that I made no mention at all back then of Khoklova/Novitski’s 4th place finish in ice dance—which, as it turns out, was the first time they’d missed the podium at a regular GP event in four years. After doing very well with the compulsory dance (2nd only to Belgosto), they had only the 5th best OD and 4th best FD of the event—including four elements in the free dance that only scored a Level 2. The shift allowed Italy’s Cappellini/Lanotte to claim silver, and Israel’s brother/sister Zaretsky’s (who may be retiring, I hear?) for bronze. Khoklova/Novitski subsequently failed to qualify for the GP Final, then only earned bronze at Europeans, 9th place at the Olympics, and withdrew from Worlds. The pair is now split up; 29 year-oldNovitski retired and 24 year-old Khoklova is still seeking a new partner.