Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Skate Canada 2011 in Review: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly "A-Spin"

Here's a little list of my observations from last weekend's GP event:

THE GOOD…

Terry Gannon, upon introducing Canadian team Harvey/Gagnon’s FD (set to a Rolling Stones medley): “Gagnon playing Mick Jagger here; we’ll have to see if he has the moves like Jagger too.” Ah, that Terry with the pop culture drop-ins… he’s the best!

High props to Adam Rippon and Denis Ten. Sure, they only finished 4th and 5th respectively, with programs far from perfect. But Rippon needed to start somewhere with getting experience on his shiny new quad lutz, and Sk8Can was as good a place as any—even if it was something of an incomplete mess, good for him actually going for it! And Ten’s pair of fifth-place finishes (at Sk8Can and earlier at Sk8Am), reinforced with steadily improving quad toe attempts and NICE 3axels, is refreshing to see… especially knowing how he’s struggled in the past year.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the quad twist executed by rising stars and possible perennial munchkins Sui/Han… nicely done, as Scott would say! Also rather satisfying to see Duhamel/Bradford make it to the podium, especially after being reminded multiple times how she broke his nose 6 months ago.

Over in ice dance, Virtue/Moir unveiled their Funny Face free dance for the GP crowd, with predictably joyous results. (Check it out here; it's the Clip of the Day.) It’s delightful, whimsical, and all the other “-als” you might be able to come up with… and, it made me think more about the differences between V/M and Davis/White. What I come up with is a color analogy: if D/W is an eye-popping indigo blue, V/M is a dreamy sort of periwinkle. If D/W is a rich, lush burgundy, V/M is a stunning shade of rose. Which is not at all to say that V/M is some sort of paler, less interesting version of D/W… but rather something subtle & intriguing in a manner that’s as successful as D/W’s deep, bold tones. Does this idea work for any of you?

I had to laugh when Gannon mentioned, during Coach Frank Carroll’s time in the Kiss-n-Cry with Denis Ten, that Carroll is frequently seen passing the time with a book at these GP events… presumably because these “events” are so ordinary for him by now. So if anyone sees him reading Skating on Air (MY book), let me know ASAP :-)

But nothing made me laugh more than poor Ashley Wagner… not because she skated badly (quite the opposite—yea!), but watching her try and get off a greeting to her fans in the K-n-C while coach John Nicks talked to her sporadically was a hoot. Every time she looked into the camera and started to say “Hi everybody” there was Nicks coming up with something new to tell her, seemingly oblivious to her attempts. Then, when she let several seconds of silence go by before trying again… the director went to the replays of her jumps. “Oh my goodness,” she sighed… much more politely than I might have under the circumstances!

THE BAD…

Elladj Balde’s free skate. Sure, the Canadian newcomer finished last, but I was actually referring to his choice of music. Guess he didn’t get the memo that 2010, not 2011, was the year of the Michael Jackson FS medley…

Rachael Flatt’s free skate. I was going to say that her debut interpretation of Firebird—with only ONE clean triple to speak of—was sadly reminiscent of either her injury-plagued FS at Worlds earlier this year, or her dismal FS at last year’s GP Final. But in looking at her scores for each, I see that I was wrong… this one was worse than both of them. And without an injury cited (would she dare to admit an injury this season, I wonder?), I can only guess she hasn’t worked the delicate skating/Stanford balance out just yet… she did mention some sleep deprivation issues prior to the event, after all. Kidding or not, methinks she may have a point.

Kevin van der Perren. I’m not sure when the Sk8AM silver medalist came in to replace Alban Preaubert, but right about now he’s probably wishing he could hoist his 8th place finish on Preaubert too.

And finally, THE UGLY…

Peter Carruthers isn’t candy-coating it any more—especially when he’s commentating with Gannon, who lives to egg him on at times. Carruthers is not a fan of the A-spin, plain and simple. Know which one I’m talking about—where the skater spins with both his (it’s usually a male) legs straight while he’s bent over, with his tush in the air? Yeah, gotta say I’m not a fan of it either. Anyway, it played a part in at least 3 or 4 of the men’s free skates at Sk8CAN… much to Carruthers’ chagrin (and Gannon’s delight).
“There it is again!” Gannon prompted, the moment a skater assumed the position, as it were…
“I HATE IT!” Carruthers eventually came to bellow with each one.

Or maybe it was only once or twice at this event. We can only hope for more A-spin taunting at Cup of China… which comes next. Look for a preview here on Thursday.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What did you think of Mirai? People said she just seemed like she wanted to disappear (both during and after the uninspired FS)

Kelli Lawrence said...

The thing that I noticed most about Mirai this time was her facial expression, or lack thereof. Her skating was OK, but for those who said she looked like she wanted to disappear... I'd argue that I'm not sure she was "there" to begin with. Know what I mean?

sara.raju said...

totally agree about the V/M comparison to D/W. Davis and White are all about power and drama, and Virtue/Moir have always been more about romance and softness. love them both though!