Friday, August 13, 2010

Skate Canada Revisited, Featuing a Protocols Showdown: Lepisto vs. Zhang

I was thinking of combining this second part of 2009 Skate Canada Revisited with some more news about programs for the upcoming season, but very few of the ones I planned to mention have revealed such info.

In fact, I couldn’t come up with much new that I wanted to say re: ice dance at this event. It might be worth noting that Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, who took 4th, are likely to be running alongside U.S.’s Samuelson/Bates (who took 5th) for the next several years… they are well-matched in age, experience, expertise… and, unfortunately, both shared an affinity this past season for Popera free dances. (Now that Sam/Bates have made a coaching change, it’ll be interesting to see if they get off the Popera track.)

Over on the ladies’ side of things, I mostly wanted to compare/contrast the protocols on Finland’s Laura Lepisto and U.S.’s Caroline Zhang. Why? Because they’ve both been consistently facing problems with their jumps (albeit very different problems), and I wanted to see how said problems specifically affected their scoring.

(By the way, Lepisto has no new SP music announced yet; she used Imagined Oceans for the past two seasons. On the other hand, she apparently plans to continue using last season’s tango-laced FS in 2010-11. No announcements yet from the Zhang camp on either new program, though with a new coach I suppose she’s got other stuff to work on right now…)

Lepisto SKCAN SP: Component average 6.65
Highest scoring elements—3Loop (5.0), Level 4 spirals (4.40), 2axel (4.30)
Lowest—2toe/3Toe (2.90), Level 3 combo spin (3.10)

Zhang SKCAN SP: Component average: 5.86
Highest—3Flip/3Toe (downgraded) 5.40, 3Loop 4.80, Level 4 layback (4.20) (her “pearl spin”, right?)
Lowest—2axel (3.18), Level 4 flying sit spin (3.20)

Zhang actually outscored Lepisto on elements here, but Lepisto beat her on components… total score was 55.74 to 54.58.

Lepisto’s SKCAN free skate included 3 triples in all, and 8 DOUBLES. Total points for the triples (including one in combo with a double): 16.53. Total points for the other doubles: 14.39. Jumps points total: 30.92.

On the other hand… Zhang’s SKCAN free skate included SIX triples and five doubles. However—two of her triples were downgraded (and resulted in falls anyway), one got an edge call, and she got no points at all for a 3Loop/2toe/2Loop she did late in the program; it was called an “invalid element”. Had she exceeded some sort of combination rule with that one—is that why she was docked? As usual, I’d appreciate your help if you know the details. Total points for all her jumps: 21.22.

Lepisto finished in third place… Zhang was eighth.

So with the scoring system as it is, is Zhang better off doing more doubles, unless and until she gets her triples technique back up to snuff? The math is pretty interesting here.

I’ll leave you with
Zhang’s FS and Lepisto’s FS from that event as co-Clips of the Day… and food for thought.

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