Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Misfortune to Whimsy, and Everything In Between: Keywords for 2010 Cup of China

What came to mind as I looked over my Cup of China 2010 notes? A fierce need to boil those notes down into some key words of reflection… hey, yeah, that’s it! KEYWORDS.

Top 10 Keywords (or Phrases) to Summarize Events at 2010 Cup of China:

10) Sustenance. Takahiko Kozuka is one of few singles skaters so far this season who has led after the SP and gone on to win. Nagasu didn’t do it. Nor did Phaneuf. Or Oda, though he should have. Kostner did, but with the “safest” FS I’ve seen win in a long time (and Rachael Flatt actually won the FS; Kostner just had the point spread to beat her). Dice-K did, but… OK, he’s World Champ Dice-K. But to the rest: Come on, SP leaders! Sustain those successes!

9) Subpar. Once again, the entire ladies event was something of a letdown. Has Kim Yu-Na’s absence, coupled with Mao Asada’s “back to basics” 8th place performance at NHK, sucked all the air out of the arena for the time being? (Breakout stars of 2010, that’s your cue!!)

8) Breakthroughs. AKA “a breakout star’s successful performance,” and yes, there managed to be a couple of these from both China (Geng Bingwa and the pair of Sui/Han) and the U.S. (Brandon Mroz with his best GP performance to date, and Yankowskas/Coughlin).

7) Four. (OK I had to include this because it’s the number of predictions I got right this week…three of the four gold medalists, plus the aforementioned Yankoughlin. Sorry to say, but this is the best I’ve done yet this season. Woo hoo!)

6) Misfortune. Sadly, in watching Kwak Min-Jung at this event I was reminded what a bum deal she got through absolutely no fault of her own. Earlier this year, she was another Brian Orser success story in the making—earning a 6th at Four Continents, and an impressive 13th in Vancouver. Then that relationship became a casualty of the Kim/Orser meltdown… and Kwak was sent back home to train… and here, she fell no less than FIVE times (twice in the SP; three in the FS) and finished second-to-last. The only encouraging thing to say about this 16 year-old having to turn around and compete at Skate America this week is that there’s (almost) no where else to go but up.

5) Whimsy. On the other hand, we have the sparkling-gloved Tomas Verner. Who started 2010 finishing 10th at Europeans and a sickening 19th at the Winter Olympics, yet happily rebounded at this event with a bronze medal. I say “happily” because, well, how else do you describe a guy who skates (well) to “Singin’ in the Rain” for his SP, and skates (very well) to a Michael Jackson medley? Verner’s performances were perhaps my favorite thing about Cup of China.

4) Dueling MJs. OK... this hasn’t happened yet, but if Verner and Florent Amodio compete against each other… look out. (For the record, I like Verner’s MJ better—I thought he captured the essence of the music without resorting to as much showboating.) Here’s the Verner version as the
Clip of the Day.

3) Chaplin. Wow, speaking of whimsical routines… we had Todd Elderege doing
Chaplin back in the early 90s. Then Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze used it about a decade later… then Nobunari Oda skated a Chaplin routine almost a decade after that. Here, just one year after Oda, we had not one but two “Chaplins”-- Pechalat/Bourzat’s free dance, as well as Sui/Han’s free skate (in pairs). Has the spell been broken? Will Chaplin-themed programs cross the line and wander ever-closer to the land of the warhorses? Let’s hope not. I find them pretty endearing… for now.

2) Feet and Crowd Shots. I probably complain about the TV directors at Cup of China every season, so here I go again. There were too many dissolves, too many shots of feet right after music starts… and as always, too much attention on the crowd. For example, Alena Leonova knocked herself deprecatingly on the head immediately after her performance in the free skate, but the director was too tunnel-visioned into getting a crowd shot to notice, so all we saw was a millisecond of Leonova’s priceless reaction. Duh. It’s about the skaters, y’all. Not the ones clapping for them!

Finally, #1…
Forbici. Which is, of course, the Italian word for scissors. (But I’m sure Faiella & Scali know that.)

Skate America predictions coming Thursday!


Anonymous said...

Just for your information, Orser wasn't Min Jung's coach when she finished 6th at 4 Continents, and in Vancouver as well. She had to deal with a back injury since July before the Orser-Yuna drama. She had to participate at the Korean nationals, 1 week before competing in Cup of China. So, your information is incorrect.

Kelli Lawrence said...

Well...you're right about 4CC. In checking, I read conflicting reports as to who was her coach at Vancouver... and since I can't access her Olympic performance online, I'd have to dig out my recordings to be sure. (I do know for sure Orser was her coach at Worlds; I watched him at the boards as she did her SP.)

My point was that she's had a roller coaster year, unfortunately careening in the wrong direction (as opposed to Verner). If she's injured, obviously that doesn't help. But neither did being caught in the middle of the Kim/Orser drama. And if she was sent to Canada to train with him, only to be sent back home less than 6 months later... that just makes it worse.

Thanks for the info. Next time put your name on it so I can acknowledge you properly, OK? :-)