Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ten Things the 2010 ISU Grand Prix Final Taught Me

I'm late on this post, so let's get right to it! NUMBER TEN...

10) What a difference 8 weeks makes. Carolina Kostner won NHK at the season’s start with a score of 164.61, in one of the weakest fields of elite ladies I’ve seen in quite a while. As it turns out, Kostner’s score would’ve only been good enough for last place at this event… where the highest ladies score (Czisny) was 180.75, and only seven points separated the top five competitors.

9) On the other hand… the more things change, the more they stay the same. Kostner and her junior-level jumps still managed a silver medal at the senior final, a medal that—as far as I’m concerned—should’ve gone to Kanako Murakami or Akiko Suzuki. Kostner, like Canada’s Patrick Chan, has been saved by outrageously high component scores more times than I care to count. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their efforts… it’s just that there are so many others whose “efforts” aren’t appreciated nearly enough. Kostner and Chan simply aren’t THAT much better at choreography, interpretation, etc. than their peers.

8) The GP Final is a crappy time to skate up—or maybe it’s down—to your namesake (if your name happens to be Flatt). Good grief, what else do you call it when the girl trails the rest of her competitors by some 45 points?!

7) The Final is also a crappy time to test out a new short program (if you’re Miki Ando). Was this new attempt—using “The Mission”, of all things-- intended to tap deeper into her artistic potential? It soooo did not.

6) Expect the unexpected. Suzuki outscoring Ando? I’d hoped for it all season long, and it never happened… but I finally got my wish with the help of clean skates by Suzuki, and Ando’s aforementioned SP mess.

5) Expect the unexpected twice over. I believe my exact words last week regarding Takahiko Kozuka were I don’t think he can defeat Dice-K… at least, not yet. So I was wrong on that one too… though I’m still left to wonder what might have been if they hadn’t had that crazy collision in practice. I think Dice-K seemed more out of breath than usual after that free skate because it (his breath) was knocked out of him so thoroughly a couple of days earlier!

4) Alicia Keys ain’t gettin’ it done for Crone/Poirier. If I didn’t know any better (and it’s ice dancing, so I really DON’T know any better), I’d suggest that Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier spend their Christmas holiday working up a whole new Short Dance. Seems to pale in comparison to what is widely received as a wonderful Eleanor Rigby free dance.

3) Just because ABC doesn’t cover this event anymore doesn’t mean they can’t get a Disney shout-out. On the Universal Sports coverage of the Pairs Free Skate, Peter Carruthers watched the Sui/Han attempt at a throw quad salchow in slow motion… and felt compelled to reference the scene in Bambi where the title character spins and splays across a frozen pond. (Well, he had a point…)

2) There’s nothing like watching a World Feed from China to remind me of how much I miss those folks at ABC. Simply stated… I will never forgive the director of last weekend’s feed for cutting away from Alissa Czisny’s relieved, modestly satisfied face at the end of her program just so they could get their standard, unnecessary audience shot. Never, never, never. (And likewise, I’ll never stop chuckling over the way they went to that audience shot too early on the Pechalat/Bourzat free dance, with its false ending and all. Ha-ha-ha-ha-PSYCH!)

And the #1 thing the GP Final taught me is… I might not be the best blogging medal predictor out there, but at least I was in the hunt! Kudos to Tony at Flutzing Around; I believe he had the most accurate predictions among the 6 of us that tried. I’m on your tail, though, mister… :-)


Robin Agnew said...

Wildly enjoyable post - thank you! My frustration at watching these events on live feed is only slightly offset by the fact that I can see EVERYTHING, but I miss commentary, editing, etc.

Kelli Lawrence said...

You're welcome, Robin!

And having talked to many of the U.S. based directors/producers firsthand, I know they'd appreciate knowing that they are "missed" :-(

JenB said...

I agree with you on #2!! I wanted to look at Alissa's rightfully satisfied expression for its full length! If any Chinese feeds pop up on YouTube, well, share them?