Saturday, March 31, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Avoid Seeing Worlds Spoilers at the Site...

This is just a quick list for the survival and/or amusement of those who try to watch the tape-delayed performances on IceNetwork spoiler-free… take it as seriously as you like, but some of these actually, sort of, kind of work. (Unlike begging IceNetwork not to post the winners in their front pages!)

10) Try blocking monitor with your hands so that you can only see the spot you need to click to get to the video itself.

9) Try same thing with a copy of International Figure Skating as your blocker.

8) See if you can navigate your screen with the monitor actually turned off. Curse when you turn it on and discover it didn’t work.

7) Try the same thing blindfolded. (Could work if you’ve got someone spotting you... if they’re not jerking you around. Then you stuff the blindfold down their throat.)

6) See if your cat will sit in front of the screen long enough to make a difference as you navigate around him. Prop him back up when he opts to lay down and stretch out over all your notes.

5) Try turning your head just enough to see the screen out of the corner of your eye. When you see a color of costume you recognize, pretend there’s more than one costume like that.

4) Make a telescope out of a cardboard paper towel tube, then try to peck out the right spot on your computer to click by coming at it from the top of the screen. (This could be your eco-friendly alternative—recycling!!)

3) Beg a friend who doesn’t care about skating to do the navigating for you. Smack them with your cardboard telescope when they say “So I should click above this Asian-looking dude in the bright red shirt…?”

2) Just give it up, and wait until NBC airs Worlds coverage… a week from now. (Kidding.)

And the #1 alternative…?

Make bets on who you’ll see on the spoiler pages. If you are correct—reward yourself with a cookie. If you’re not—console yourself with two cookies.

Hope this helps! Other suggestions for survival are welcome too!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Worlds 2012: Thursday in Review

Here are some quick notes I took during Thursday's events...

LADIES SP-- I wasn't able to watch until the tail end of Ashley Wagner's performance. I know she had trouble w/the 3F and so the 3F/3T she needed in order to be a contender wasn't there. Everything else looked good though... she's in 8th headed to the FS.

And yes, that means I missed my bronze medal prediction (Alena Leonova)... Also Asada (in 4th), Makarova (in 6th), and Gedevanishvili (in 7th). I hope to check out those SPs over the weekend.

Here's who I DID note on:

Marchei : 3ltz pitch forward, no combo… 3sal/2t…2ax. Looked better than usual (though not as good as 2 weeks ago?) 52.14.

Czisny: 3lz FALL… ugh here we go. 3Lo way off axis, FALL, no combo obviously. 2ax steps out of that too. Guess we’ll have no one in the final flight, and once again 3 spots is unlikely. Wish I could get inside Alissa’s head with a vacuum cleaner and suck the demon cobwebs out.

Murakami: great 3T/3T…3F looked good… 2ax… this looks more like the Kanako we saw last season, not earlier this season… 62.67

Kostner SP: Another spot-on 3T/3T!... but doubles her 3Lo. 2ax good. This program and music has grown on me… 61.00

Suzuki SP: 3T/3T again!!... 2’d her lutz… beauty 2ax. I’d still have this program over Carolina’s, but methinks the judges won’t agree… 59.38

Helgesson SP: 3T/3T (so many of these; why can’t our girls get it done too??)... 3Lo nice save… 2ax had a double-3 coming out, or did it? Hard to tell w/choreo.54.39 is TOO LOW but her components weren’t up to snuff.


I never pretend I can take decent notes on dance elements, so just a few comments here:

-- Virtue/Moir took gold, repeating what they accomplished at 2010 Worlds. It wasn't my preference, and my untrained eye saw no reason Davis/White couldn't have won that event rather than take silver. But from those who are ready to point out every detail that allowed V/M to Victory Lane this time, to those (Phil Hersh included) who maintain these medals for ice dance are determined weeks before a blade touches the ice, the results remain the same. Will it be D/W's destiny to win titles in odd-numbered years only? For Olympics' sake, let's hope not.

-- Weave/Poje's angst-ridden "Je Suis Malade" was powerful enough to make me think they'd taken the bronze from Pechalat/Bourzat's hands... but not quite. At least, not this year. While I still MUCH prefer last year's Pech/Bour FD to this year's Skate Like An Egyptian, I was delighted to see them win bronze in their home country. (And if you saw the way Weaver ran to hug them both after they skated... apparently, so was she.)

-- The Shib Sibs picked a bummer time for a sophomore slump (yes, as if they made that choice themselves... heh, I think not). But lots of time left for them to rebound.

-- Let's hear it for Third Teams! Hubbell/Donohue surely surprised many (myself included) with a Top 10 finish... and while Canada's Asher/Hill didn't get much love from the judges in their Free Dance, I found their program (especially the choreo) quite endearing. So did the crowds... I think some of the first score-jeering of the event came with their time in the K&C.

OK-- that's it for now. I'm hoping to get a FRIDAY update posted before, um... the end of Friday. :-)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Worlds 2012: Wednesday in Review

Want to get a gander at my notes from Wednesday's events? Here's what I wrote up about some of the top pairs...

(and let me know if anything needs explaining!)

Marley/Brubaker SP: SBS 3T good, 3twist looked a little like a save... throw 3lutz(?) good, if a little low... But great start! 59.62

Denney/Coughlin SP: Beautiful 3twist... good SBS 3T... throw 3F good (unlike at Nats). John immediately pecks Caydee on cheek when they finish. Very happy! 62.48

Takahasi/Tran SP: I love this version of "Imagine"... SBS 3sal good... 3twist good... throw 3sal may be 2ftd? Very nice death spiral at end. 65.37

Kav/Smir SP: SBS 3T good, 3twist small collision, nice throw 3Lo. Nice positions on lift but big FALL/crash by both on exit. Yikes! Too bad; they had a pretty good one going till that. 59.59… murmur murmur. They look stunned & numb. And are behind MarBru.

Lari/Bara SP Tosca… very rough SBS 3T (someone doubles?) he stumbles out of his… nice 3twist… throw 3F good… is this a new SP? Really nice entrance into lift, nice positions. Afraid this will beat D/C if only on components… oh, and they fell on ending pose! Will that count?? 65.02. It did not count apparently… no deductions. Hmmm. More murmuring. Too high.

Berton/Hotarek SP: Harlem Nocturne… good SBS 3T… pretty low 3twist… throw 3sal? Low but landed… 60.39 new SB for them.

Volo/Trank SP: Bring me Back to Life… 3twist very high but looked like a hard check on the landing… SBS 3T very good… throw 3F? 2ft HE FELL on d.spiral… WTF is happening w/freak falls and the Russians today??? Ooh are they upset. He can’t look at her… I’m sure mad at himself. On replay it looks like he could have nicked her in the forehead… I guess not though. 60.48 is about 12 points off best. He can’t look. Audible gasp from crowd. AND… there goes my prediction for gold. Buhbye.

Duhamel/Radford SP Concierto… good 3twist… SBS 3lz he FELL… lift good… throw 3? Good right at end. 63.69 is new SB. A little surprising considering the fall?

Sui/Han… SP triple twist good… SBS 3T she FALLS… throw 3F Good as usual. 63.27.

Sav/Szol SP Angels & Demons… throw 3ax 2ft... 3twist good… he stumbles out of SBS 3T… They’ll still be in lead, easy… 68.63. not SB but good enough.

Pang/Tong… nice tepid response, folks. Nocturne… SBS 3T he stepped out… 3twist great… throw 3Lo good; slight 2-ft? Positions on lifts could be more extended I think. Kinda sleepy performance, but nice return nonetheless. 67.10 Welcome back.

And here's something similar for the top dance teams...

Hubbell/Donohue SD: Good; I think she bumbled her twizzles at very end. 59.56… way up for SB.

Didn’t see Coomes/Buckland SD… (wanted to, though)

Bobrova/Soloviev SD… she FELL while he was turning her… guess it’s that crumbly ice again.
Big news is that Carron/Jones were a shocking 13th after their SD and have missed “the cut” to qualify for FD. Reportedly Marina Anissina’s jaw fell to the floor. Australians Q’d over them… that’s indeed pretty major.

Weaver/Poje seem to be very pleased with their SD; they should finally take the lead from Hubbell/Donohue after this… 66.47 new SB by a hair.

Cappellini/Lanotte SD: very nice triple twizzles… did well.

Ilinykh/Katsalapov basically OK but still seemed uninspired. Finished behind music but prolly not enough for deduction? I read that they are very good… so much for what I know!

D/W looked flawless to me, and wow I think they changed that last lift yet again… 70.98 but it’s about 5-6 off SB… murmurs again?

Oh Boy now it’s V/M: looked spot-on too… 72.31… and their SB AND they’re ahead by about 1.6… Wong says levels came into play on D/W’s score.

Shib Sibs: great too; nice not to see him doubled over this time.62.35 oooh… not kind.

Pech/Bour:.. did fine as far as I could tell 69.13… SB


I'll take more notes tomorrow!

Worlds 2012 Preview: Men's Predictions

If you caught any of today’s events (Pairs SP and Short Dance)… or heard about them… you know my predictions are so far about as spot-on as they’ve ever been. If by “spot-on” you mean hilariously incorrect, that is.

Nonetheless, here’s my last stab at ‘em… Les Hommes (The Men):

GOLD: Patrick Chan, CAN
SILVER: Daisuke Takahashi, JPN
BRONZE: Michal Brezina, CZE

Chan is the darling of components darlings at this point… even if he makes several technical errors, I’m afraid I have next to no confidence that an element-superior Takahashi will defeat him. Is that one of the Problems in This Sport right now? Well in my opinion… yes it is.

Now suppose Chan gives another lights-out performance or two that offers little or nothing to complain about. Can Dice-K match him? Component-wise, I say yes. But unfortunately Dice-K hasn’t been consistent enough with the quads…

I picked Brezina because he’s been 4th two years running… his technique is highly impressive… and he has two quads in his arsenal.

But, I desperately want to see Jeremy Abbott get a medal… his programs are too outstanding this year for less. (I’m only WISHING this, for fear that I’ll jinx the chance)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Worlds Preview: Ladies Predictions

QUICK PROGRAMMING NOTE! Apparently the IceNetwork streaming times I posted earlier this week were NOT correct, as they were NOT adjusted for Daylight Saving Time. So you’ll either want to subtract an hour from that list, or check out this adjusted one over at IceNetwork.

It’s now time for some Singles predictions… ladies first:

GOLD: Carolina Kostner, ITA
SILVER: Mao Asada, JPN
BRONZE: Alena Leonova, RUS

Why Kostner? Because in spite of her most obvious weakness (the lack of a triple lutz), she’s been consistently at the top of her class all season long… and even when her jumps falter, she’s been a component darling with the judges for years. (That used to bug me, but I happen to think she’s earned it now.)

Why Asada for silver… especially when she’s resurrected her triple axel? Because I just haven’t seen it strong enough yet to be a reliable “weapon.” If she happens to nail at least one, then look out… but considering she finished way down in 6th place at this event a year ago, silver would (I hope) be considered a marked improvement, especially in such a personally tumultuous year.

Why Leonova for bronze? Because compared to others that could theoretically be in the running for it—including Czisny, Makarova, Murakami, Suzuki, and Wagner—Leonova seems the most reliable these days. If this holds true, I see Murakami, Suzuki and Wagner rounding out the top 6 (not necessarily in that order). As for the U.S. ladies… I’ll restrain my optimism just a bit. Rather than predict a medal for one of them, I’ll cross fingers for a 5th place (for, let’s say… Wagner) and a 7th place (Czisny), easily adding up to the under-13 needed to send 3 Americans to Worlds 2013.

One more round of predictions tomorrow night… pairs SP coverage starts bright and early (for North Americans, anyway) tomorrow morning!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Worlds 2012 Preview: Dance Predictions

Ice dancing time is upon us! Predictions...

GOLD: Davis/White, USA
SILVER: Virtue/Moir, CAN
BRONZE: Pechalat/Bourzat, FRA

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I’ve discussed and/or debated the merits of D/W and V/M—not to mention their respective current free dances—all season long, and you probably know where I stand on “the issue” (while freely admitting I don’t understand many of ice dancing’s unique nuances). So as for this prediction… I’m simply going to say that I think D/W’s free dance showcases their strengths better than V/M’s showcases their strengths.

As for bronze—I believe the official news is that Pechalat/Bourzat WILL compete for sure, broken nose and all. I have no idea how such an injury will affect them in such a major competition, though it’s probably a good thing that they’ve had several days to adjust (hey, it could’ve happened after they arrived in Nice!). But, especially after last year’s podium-repelling stumble, I’m rooting for them to defeat what is likely to be some very stiff competition from Weaver/Poje (and the Shib Sibs too, though I’d be surprised to see them defeat both the French and Canadians for bronze this time).

By the way—I meant to post the winning free skates from 2000 Worlds (the last time it was held in Nice) as I went along… so…
this is the FS from Petrova/Tikhonov
Not one of my fave pairs ever, I must admit--

this is the Free Dance from Anissina/Peizerat which won gold 12 years back.
(I liked them a little better.)

Predictions continue tomorrow!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Worlds 2012 Preview: The Pairs Predictions

Pairs predictions first! Here we go…

GOLD: Volosozhar/Trankov, RUS
SILVER: Savchenko/Szolkowy, GER
BRONZE: Pang/Tong, CHN

It wasn’t super-close last year—Sav/Szol won by about 4.5 points—but there was definitely a feeling that Volo/Trank had given notice. This year, I can’t help but think the world title is theirs to lose. Even before an injury kept the Germans out of Euros, it hadn’t been their best year by a longshot. While I’m very fond of their Pina free skate, I’m still giving the nod to the current European champs. I look forward to seeing Pang/Tong back for this event, but have a tough time believing they’ll pull a win first time out of the box.

As for off-podium action… Sui/Han apparently are making their Senior Worlds debut here (fresh off of winning Junior Worlds; didn’t know that was possible, really), and they might get a top-5 finish IF they aren’t just completely burned out at this point of their junior/senior, bi-level season. (I know they’re young, but…)

And Denney/Coughlin will do well to repeat the 6th place finish achieved by Yankowskas/Coughlin last year. To break into the top five—with Kavaguti/Smirnov and Bazarova/Larionov still in the mix too—would be pretty astounding.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Button Feud, The Pairs-Go-Round, and Where to Watch 2012 Worlds (Online, at Least)

So let’s get a few needs-to-know for 2012 Worlds out of the way:

Here’s the streaming schedule at (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, March 28
8:00 a.m. - Pairs short program
1:40 p.m. - Short dance

Thursday, March 29
7:30 a.m. - Ladies short program
2:00 p.m. - Free dance

Friday, March 30

7:30 a.m. - Men's short program
2:30 p.m. - Pairs free skate

Saturday, March 31

7:55 a.m. - Men's free skate
1:30 p.m. - Ladies free skate

And the Universal Sports Network schedule is a little more complex than it used to be, so I’m just going to
link to it here. BUT, can you do me a favor and post a comment if

a) you USED to watch Worlds on USN but no longer get the network on your particular system, or especially if…

b) you are CURRENTLY able to get USN.

I’m just curious. Oh, and I’m also increasingly curious/interested in officially joining Twitter Nation—I’ve posted skater Tweets here from time to time, but still no account of my own. I’m thinking of joining in time for Worlds. I believe the official hashtag for Worlds on Twitter, by the way, is #Nice12… will YOU be following?

Oh, and a couple more things worth mentioning…

+ An instantly fascinating “war of words” has erupted in recent weeks between Legend-in-Too-Many-Ways-to-Count Dick Button, and U.S. Figure Skating, and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame (from which Button deliberately abstained casting a ballot this year). With both sides of the debate proving rather loquacious (SURPRISE!!), I’m just going to post
this Examiner article for now—if you want State of the Skate to post about it in detail, say, sometime after Worlds, let me know. At a (long) glance, though, this looks like the most dust Uncle Dickie has kicked up in The-Powers-That-Be’s collective face since he was part of the movement to establish the World Skating Federation back in 2003.

+ You may have heard that the pairs carousel has started spinning a little early this time around… more details will likely follow after Worlds, but if you want to go ahead and get your scorecard reset for the post-2012 season right now, here’s what I’ve got:

+ Joshua Reagan and Ashley Cain, U.S. Junior Nats champs from last year and 6th place finishers at Senior Nats this year, split a few weeks ago.

+ Reagan officially joined forces (a.k.a. started a pairs partnership) with Caitlin Yankowskas this week… which is great news, especially since former national champ Yankowskas has been un-paired ever since John Coughlin left her for another National pairs champ (Caydee Denney)… with whom he is now the current National pairs champ. (Got all that??)

+ Kiri Baga—who finished 10th this year at U.S. Senior Nats—now plans to add “Senior pairs” to her repertoire, as she officially paired up with Taylor Toth this week. Toth previously skated pairs (and was 2010 U.S. Junior Nats champs) with Felicia Zhang.

+ And one more, this time from across the pond… Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze have split as well. Their highest achievements include winning bronze at 2009 Russian Nationals, and gold at 2009 Junior Worlds. They’re the ones that used A Chorus Line for their free skate this past GP season.

With any luck, Worlds medal predictions will post from Sunday through Wednesday. Be sure to come back, so you can gather evidence to throw back at me when they prove to be dead wrong!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Worlds 2012 Preview, Rhyming-Verse Style

Twas the week before Worlds, and all ‘round the globe
Competitors wait with the patience of Job
To travel to Nice, where they hope it’s so nice
To skate before millions, alone, on the ice.

The sequins and spandex are hanging with care
As are Abbott’s suspenders and the barrette from Meryl’s hair.
Makarova’s jewels, and Kostner’s unitard
Await their last chance to wear pretty and play hard.

Coaches, choreographers, families and friends
Can’t wait to say words like “Merci” and “Bien”
While the hard-working athletes they know so well
Pray THIS is the time everything will gel.

For some it’s their first time representing with pride
And they’re doing their best to take it in stride…
Caluza, Hubbell/Donahue, Ralph/Hill
All are rookies to Worlds, surely looking to thrill

For some, chances for redemption await…
Maybe Czisny, Suzuki, or Leonova will skate
In ways that let the jumping gods settle
With reckless precision that results in a medal

And how ‘bout Joubert, World Champ from years past?
Could this event really be his last?
Or will fans be more concerned to see
Kevin van der Perren… “qu’est-ce que tu fais ici?” *

But for every veteran sits somebody in pain
Forced to give up spot in this year’s Worlds game
Kiira Korpi , we’re looking at you
And Plushy,
the surgery … ah yes… boo hoo

As for Pechalat/Bourzat, the home-country faves
Uncertain to compete—we’d watch them and wave
If it wasn’t so painful to look at the woes
That come with a
twizzle-induced broken nose *

On Hanyu, on Brezina, Kozuka, and Chan!
On Duhamel/Redford, Takahashi/Tran!
To the podium steps, or somewhere quite near
So the numbers add up to get three for next year

All COP and judging issues aside,
The 2012 Worlds should be a fun ride
So with the press en route, and bloggers in place,
And websites on stand-by… (aw, cut to the chase!)

Predictions to come in the next few days,
Followed by updates and observational ways
Of a lifelong fan and the sport she holds dear…
Enjoy Worlds—but come back to State of the Skate now, ya hear?

* van der Perren previously stated that 2012 European Championships would be his final Olympic-eligible event... but due to an injury that kept him out of Euros, his final event is now (presumably) 2012 Worlds.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Catching Up With the Juniors... (and a few of the Seniors)

So in the interest of getting back on track, I’ll cut right to it:

Junior Worlds Medalists + Observations…

GOLD—Sinitsina/Zhiganshin, Russia
SILVER—Stepanova/Bukin, Russia
BRONZE—Aldridge/Eaton, USA

+ Russia’s Sinitsina/Zhiganshin cap off a great season… 5 gold medals in all on the Junior circuit! Their FD is to Phantom of the Opera (in case that jogs your memory on “which team they are”)
+ Stepanova/Bukin, also from Russia, had a very good season as well: 2 golds during JGP and bronze in the Final, then silver at Junior Nationals and silver here. Their FD is to Live and Let Die
+ Aldridge/Eaton of the USA brought home bronze; their Lord of the Dance FD was apparently their saving grace after being 5th in the SD.
+ But they probably had some help from the fact that Yanovskaia/Mozgov had to stop and re-start their FD to fix a broken bootstrap on Mozgov’s costume.

GOLD—Sui/Han, China
SILVER—Yu/Jin, China
BRONZE—Davankova/Deputat, Russia

+ China’s Sui/Han must be dying to age into the senior level of Worlds by now… this was their third junior title. (Come to think of it, all the other juniors must by dying for them to leave as well.)
+ The USA Junior pairs champs Denney/Frazier (meaning Haven Denney; Caydee is her older sister) finished 4th… pretty impressive considering they could only manage a 7th and 8th place on the JGP Circuit this season.

GOLD—Julia Lipnitskaia, Russia
SILVER—Gracie Gold, USA
BRONZE-- Adelina Sotnikova, Russia

+ Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia, previously dubbed Gumbyskaia by me and surely others, pulled off a sizeable victory with a 15-point margin ahead of the silver medalist…
+… who just happens to be USA’s late-season breakout star (and current Junior ladies champ) Gracie Gold, who ran a tight race with (and stayed just ahead of)…
+…Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, who actually won this event last year.

Also representing the U.S. here was Christina Gao, who finished 7th… and Vanessa Lam, who placed 13th.

GOLD—Yan Han, China
SILVER—Joshua Farris, USA
BRONZE—Jason Brown, USA

So there’s a very clear threesome at the top of the Junior Men heap right now, and you’re looking at it: Yan, who took bronze at the JGP Final, Farris, who got the silver at that event, and Brown, who won gold there. Brown remains the one of the three without a triple axel, so when the other two hit their toughest jumps, he tends to come up a little short on overall points. But in any case, these three are consistent and rock-solid at the junior level, and with all three well below the age cut-off, they might be juniors for a while yet… (though Yan has already won his senior national title twice!)

Tim Dolensky also represented the U.S., finishing 12th.

And I don’t know much more yet than they posted in this
IceNetwork article, but here are the more notable finishes at the International Challenge Cup taking place over the past few days in The Hague, Netherlands.

1) Brian Joubert France
2) Jeremy Abbott, USA
3) Samuel Contesti, Italy

1) Carolina Kostner, Italy
2) Valentina Marchei, Italy
3) Alissa Czisny, USA

In other words... pretty good day at this event for Italy. More soon!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time Bandits :-(

Please bear with me, State-of-the-Skate-rs... I fully intended to get caught up on all things skating-related this past week, but a three simultaneous deadlines ended up putting my intentions on hold! I know Junior Worlds is an event of the past, and Challenge Cup is already underway and I'm DETERMINED to get caught up over the next 4-5 days!

In the meantime, feel free to post your own thoughts on either event!

Apologies, and thanks-- more soon!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For Athletes Like Czisny and Mahbanoozadeh... Where Is The Love?

With a Junior Worlds currently in progress, a lesser-known elite event (International Challenge Cup) starting up in about a week, and Senior Worlds taking place about a month from now, might it be a good time to wrap up all the 4CC talk? Yeah, I think so too. So let’s get to these things I’ve been alluding to for a while…

Unless you’ve read the
Phil Hersh article already, you might’ve been like me and figured that Alissa Czisny was invited to compete at 4CC, but opted out this time. Maybe because she wanted to rest up for Worlds, or because she didn’t want to risk another injury like the one she sustained just prior to the GP Final, or even because she hasn’t had very good luck at this event in the past—after all, her highest 4CC finish in three attempts is 5th. But the Hersh article reveals that she wasn’t invited this year AT ALL…a fact underscored by the irony that, apparently, Czisny really wanted to go this time if she qualified. (And she did, big time.) So maybe it was a case of her wanting to be there, knowing she could and should be on the podium at last.

But USFS apparently had other plans, plans that—according to the Hersh article, at least—indicate they make selections such as this with several factors in mind. Sochi 2014, the site of the next Winter Olympics, was one of those factors. Which makes me think that this might be a case of USFS thinking about who will still be on the competitive rise in 2014 vs. who will be sliding down the other side of the hill, if not actually retired by then. Of the recent top 5 finishers at Nationals…

Ashley Wagner will be 22 at the time of the Sochi Games.
Czisny will be 26.
Agnes Zawadzki will be 19.
Caroline Zhang will be 20.
Christine Gao will be 19.

I don’t think Czisny has publicly announced any plans beyond Worlds; whether or not she continues competing into the 2012-13 season may have everything to do with how she skates in Nice. Notice I said how she skates as opposed to how she places—if she feels she put out her best effort and ends up with, say, another 5th place, I could see that being enough for her to call it a day. But even if she does… wouldn’t her podium history (let alone the past 18 months) allow her the privilege of a 4CC invitation?

And speaking of privileges, here’s the other question lingering from 4CCs:
I’ve sometimes referred to 4CC as the N.I.T. of figure skating… it serves (at least in my mind) as a sort of consolation tournament to those from the U.S. that were good this year, but not quite good enough for Worlds. Not to say that World team members shouldn’t be able to compete at 4CC if they wish (see above), but it usually allows a second chance to at least one second-stringer.

Unless one of the second-stringers is made to be a second alternate, behind someone who finished 13th. So when Jeremy Abbott withdrew, it was Richard Dornbush that joined Ross Miner (U.S. bronze medalist) and Adam Rippon (U.S. silver medalist)… not Armin Mahbanoozadeh (U.S. pewter medalist). I assumed it was because he had the best finish of the U.S. men at Worlds last year, as well as respectable GP finishes last fall, and some sort of unanimous decision that his Nationals SP was a fluke of substantial proportions. But all the while (and then some), Mahbanoozadeh has steadily been working his way up the senior men’s ranks—from 8th in ’10 to 6th in ’11 to 4th in ’12—and while his GP placements last fall were not as good as Dornbush’s, he pulled in a bronze medal at Skate America back in ’10.

If Dornbush had finished 5th, or 6th, or even 7th at Nationals, I could see USFS’ decision a little clearer—if only because Mahbanoozadeh had a weak GP season by comparison. But it wasn’t even close. And yes, if Dornbush had shaken off his Nationals demons and brought in a decent finish at 4CC maybe I wouldn’t even be thinking about Mahbanoozadeh at this point.

Maybe Dornbush finishing 13th two competitions in a row will be a blessing in disguise all the way around… in that it potentially underscores USFS’s poor decision, shining a light on those they left out while also giving the former U.S. silver medalist a stinging little wake-up call for next season. We’ll have to see how everything shakes out.

But for now, the season rolls on. Time to start catching up with Junior Worlds!