Saturday, August 21, 2010

2009 GP Final Revisited: Did They Skate THAT Much Better in Vancouver?

First, a quick shout-out to Kurt Browning… who as you may have heard lost a great deal of his home to a fire this past week. Browning was a fine contributor to my Skating on Air book; I was very fortunate for his input. Here’s hoping he can rebuild very soon.

Now… as I recently reviewed the 2009 Grand Prix Final, a thought occurred to me: we often hear about athletes’ need to “peak at the right time”… the right time being February (at least in an Olympic year). But how many do, technically speaking? So I compared the judges’ scores between the GP Final (in December) and the Olympics (in February) for the top three finishers at each GP event…


Shen/Zhao 214.25 GP 216.57 OLY +2 points more at Olympics (roughly)- GOLD

Pang/Tong 201.86 GP 213.31 OLY +12 points more - SILVER

Sav/Szol 200.38 GP 210.60 OLY +10 points- BRONZE


Kim—188.86 GP 228.56 OLY +40 points more at Olympics (approx)- GOLD

Ando— 185.94 GP 188.86 OLY +3 points more- 5th

Suzuki— 162.07 GP 181.44 OLY +19 points- 8th

Lysacek— 249.45 GP 257.67 OLY +8 points more at Olympics (more or less)-

Oda— 243.36 GP 238.54 OLY -5 points more- 7th

Weir— 237.35 GP 238.87 OLY +1 points more- 6th

DANCE… this was harder since compulsories weren’t part of the GPF… but it certainly shows the difference said compulsories made between the top 2 finishers:

Davis/White— 169.44 GP 67.08 OD + 107.19 FD = 174.27 TOTAL +9- SILVER

Virtue/Moir— 168.22 GP 68.41 OD + 110.42 FD = 178.83 TOTAL +6-

Pech/Bour— 147.62 GP 59.99 OD, 94.37 FD 154.36 TOTAL +7-


+ On average, this batch of competitors scored close to 10 points higher in Vancouver, though that boost didn’t always result in a medal (Akiko Suzuki bettered her GP score by some 19 points, but it was only good enough for 8th place).
+ Only one of these 12 individuals/teams scored lower in Vancouver… Nobunari Oda, who as you’ll recall, faltered so badly at Worlds one month later that he didn’t even make the finals.
+ The two steadiest competitors: Miki Ando, who only skated 3 points better in Vancouver than at the GP Final, and Johnny Weir, who was only 1 point better by February. I find this especially interesting since both are athletes that had arguably peaked a few years back, but have remained competitive enough to be interesting nonetheless. It would seem the judges were settled into grooves for each of them this past season. (Shen/Zhao were in a similar situation, but with one big difference… the judges put them in a much higher “groove”.)
+ For those who thought Kim Yu-Na’s scores in Vancouver might have been a little over-the-top no matter how fantastic the performances… I definitely see their point. FORTY full points higher, when the difference between the two events was maybe two or three additional triple jumps as far as I can see? Yup, that’s kooky.
+ And something I hadn’t thought of until now: it should be very interesting to see how the new “short dance” affects competition between Virtue/Moir and Davis/White.

I’m including Evan Lysacek’s
GP Final Free Skate as the Clip of the Day… his mistake in this is obvious; had he succeeded with his second triple axel, would his score here have rivaled his Olympic score? Should it have? What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Besides the feeling of the "Olympic inflation" that everyone seems to benefit (Mao's season's best score, from the 4CC, was around 185, and at the Olympics, her score jumped 205), once one understands how Yuna gets her high scores, the gap between her scores from the two events seems normal. Her source of high scores is high GOEs, especially those from executing triple jumps nicely. At the Olympics, she earned close to 28 points through GOEs from the two programs. In the GPF, she screwed up 4 triples; 2 from the short, and two from the long. That left not only the triple jump scores and positive GOEs on the table, but also she received negative GOEs, which made the gap even larger. And then, there is the difference in the overall skating quality. In the GPF, it seemed obvious (to me and Scott Hamilton who called it for NBC) that Yuna was skating with so much more caution. This is apparent in her skating speed; a lot slower than she was at the Olympics. Overall, those things add up to the score differences.

Anonymous said...

Mao did 3 times 3A without any DG in Olympic, and it was 4 points above her personal best. It wasn't so surprised. However, Yuna's Olympics score was too much influenced as Stojko commented. I was 100% agreed with him. Especially Yuna's OG GOEs were 28? Even Lysacek and Plushenko earned only 8 points of GOEs.

Anonymous said...

I made a spelling mistake on my comment. It isn't influenced. It is inflated. Sorry.
From Anonymous August 22, 2010 6:43 PM

Anonymous said...

It is Mao whose scores were inflated- no 3Lz, no 3-3, funny entrance to her flip (and funny technique), messed up 3f-2lo-2lo combo, trips on ice and singled 3t, sludgy, uninspired skate and face-slapping. Her 205 was FAR too generous (and she knows it).

abendkleid said...

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mikeko said...

Hello, are you sure about Suzuki's score at GPF?
Her total score is 174.00. Therefore,
Suzuki— 174.00 GP 181.44 OLY +7.44 points- 8th

Kelli Lawrence said...

Oops-- jotted down Ashley Wagner's GPF total by mistake (she was right below Suzuki)... thanks for the catch.

mikeko said...

Would you make the correction with Suzuki's score? I do not want people to think that she got preferential treatment from the judges like Kim, who also got the ridiculously high PCS at the worlds. Actually Suzuki never received PCS she deserved last season, and I'm not alone who feel that way. You leaving the article as it is without making the correction shows how little respect you have for her.