Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Russian Nationals 2011: The Recap

One interesting set of showdowns concludes, and another interesting set opens up in another part of the globe. Actually it’s over already-- Russian Nationals wrapped up yesterday. Here’s what got my attention:

MEN—OK, to be honest… I didn’t watch ‘em, and I might not bother. Two-time champion Sergei Voronov apparently had a disaster of an SP (10th) but rallied on the FS (3rd) to finish 4th overall. Perhaps the most interesting name on the roster—Artur Dmitriev Jr., the 18 year-old son of pairs legend Artur Dmitriev Sr. (yes, THAT much time has gone by)—was looking very good after the SP (2nd), but took enough lumps in the FS (9th) to finish down in 7th. Former medalist Artem Borodulin… does anyone know what’s up with him? He’s been AWOL all season.

In other words, it’s a new batch of fellows in the top 3: Konstantin Menshov (4th last year) took gold, Artur Gachinski (13th last year) took silver, and Zhan Bush (17th last year) claimed bronze. I read that it was basically a quad contest. We’ll have to see how everyone fares at Europeans in late January.

LADIES: I DID watch these top 5 finishers…

Ksenia Makarova, the defending champ, had a clean SP with 3/3toe and 3loop… but in the FS she seemed tight from the start; had a flip out of her 3flip and caught an edge on a 3salchow, resulting in a complete splat. Finished in 5th.

Alena Leonova had a nice 3/3toe but fell out of 3flip in SP. Her FS was cleaner than I’ve seen her skate all season; maybe just one fall out I think? She skated with much more fire, and was visibly delighted afterwards with how she did. For once this year!

Julia Lipnitskaya, all of 12 years old (I have jeans in my closet that are older than she is!) is one of the three “baby ballerina”-class skaters that made the top five this time, with two seemingly clean free skates that added up to a 4th place finish. Remember her for her insane flexibility if nothing else (though she has plenty more to offer). Who knows if she can keep that up by the time she’s a grizzled veteran at age 15? For now, she’s Gumby of the ice.
Here’s her SP; see for yourself.

Adelina Sotlekova, age 14, has a triple lutz/triple loop that makes all the triple toe/triple toe combos look like chump change. Actually she had a little trouble with it in the SP, but she’s young and fearless enough to keep it in her FS—and succeed. She won the event.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva just turned 14 a couple weeks ago, and swooped in for bronze after a 7th place SP. Like Julia and Adelina, Elizaveta (“Liza”) is bit of a jumping machine at this early point who seems to rush through her music w/o feeling. As we’ve been doing in the U.S. w/Caroline (Zhang) & Mirai (Nagasu) & Rachael (Flatt), we’ll have to see how Darwinism works on these youngsters.

DANCE: The big question here was how the new dance team of Jana Khoklova and Fedor Andreev (former Canadian mens’ bronze medalist, and Marina Zueva’s son) would do…
here’s their FD to an Abbey Road medley (Beatles); my relatively untrained eye thought they worked pretty well together! It was good enough for 4th overall. Ilinykh/Katsalapov hung in for bronze with their Don Quixote program (he nearly toppled over during the twizzles); their overall lead on Khoklova/Andreev was only about 4 points. Riazanova/Tkachenko were 2nd overall with their Mexican-themed FD, leaving Bobrova/Soloviev with their first Nationals win.

PAIRS: Ah, here was the real story as far as I’m concerned.

Remember Mukhortova/Trankov, or as I not so affectionately called them, Muk/Trank? Remember how they split up after last season? Neither new team had proven itself to compete in the GP series this fall, so each had its major-event debut at Nationals… and to watch Maxim Trankov with his new partner Tatiana Volosohzar (formerly with Stanislav Morozov, representing the Ukraine) is to have a revelation as to what two people are capable of once they find the right partner. Daaang. Back-to-back great, great performances. Who knew the Germans and the Chinese will need to watch their backs for THIS team? They defeated faves Kavaguti/Smirnov, who weren’t quite as solid as they’d been at their GP appearance earlier in the season but were still good enough for silver. Bazarova/Larionov claimed bronze.

As for Maria Mukhortova (who continues to be coached by Oleg Vasiliev, I believe)… her FS with new partner Jerome Blanchard (formerly representing France) was a hot mess-- trouble on both SBS jump passes (especially on his part), a fall on a throw jump, an SBS spin that went completely out of sync, a weak pairs spin, a lift with a rough exit, and an overall rushed feeling… possibly because they were trying to catch up after all those mistakes. (Ironically, it looked like they ended up finishing the program about 5 seconds early.) Even the music, the can’t-go-wrong Pas de Deux from Nutcracker, DID go wrong because they opted to throw in a little bit of the Act 1 finale from the ballet. Yuck. They finished seventh. Wonder if they’ll continue as a team?

According to my dance card, the next big Nationals on the radar is for Canada—approx. 3 weeks from now.


Anonymous said...

Artem Borodulin - I believe he is injured?

But I only read this in passing somewhere, so please feel free to apply the amount of salt you feel is appropriate to this bit of "information".:)


Kelli Lawrence said...

That's kind of what I was guessing anyway... I was especially curious because he has music listed at Wikipedia for 2010-11 programs, but no explanation given as to why he wasn't skating. In studying the original GP assignments I see he was only slated for one appearance (NHK, the 1st one), so once he was pulled from that maybe the question of "where is he?" sort of faded.