Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Men Who Put the NO in Nagano (NHK Review Pt. 2)

For the second week in a row, I did fairly well in my podium predictions—9 for 12 at Cup of China; and now 8 for 12 at NHK Trophy. But also for the second week in a row, 3 of the predictions went completely up in smoke when one of the singles’ events went through the meat grinder in terms of expectations and placements. At Cup of China, it was the ladies… this time, we had Joubert and Weir back to form… sort of glad to see it… but what about the other top male contenders?

T.A.M.I.A. ALERT—the Triple Axel Missing In Action network appeared to claim a few more members—everyone from Takahashi (noooo!) to Kozuka (huh?) to Joubert (must be nice to have that quad as backup—didn’t realize he and Lambiel had that much in common). Oh, and other than Johnny Weir, who snapped out of his Sparkly Boy haze long enough to put down two almost-clean programs and claim silver… TAMIA was affecting our Americans just as badly. Adam Rippon still looked great this time, but going 1-for-3 on the axels won’t cut it. Not even when those around you are too busy polishing the ice with their keisters to land much of anything. Speaking of Mr. Abbott…(oooh, snap)

The stumbles of JEREM-who?-- With that awesome, free-flowing Day in the Life SP, I was convinced he was back to the form that served him so well around this time last year. But then came that FS…okay, we all know it was a hot mess. But kudos to Abbott for creating the best “What the hell was THAT??” look of puzzlement I’ve seen in a long time. Did you hear him talking about how “at least I didn’t peak too early this year” afterwards? I almost wonder if his subconscious was messing with him the whole time out of a fear that if it went well, it might bode poorly for later in the season.

Oh, and one more thing I’ve gotta say about Jeremy Abbott… I’m digging the new costumes.

LA STRAKAHASHI—Part of what disappoints so much is when you see all the essentials of a killer program, but the jumps just aren’t there on a given day. That’s how I felt about Dice-K’s take on La Strada. Like Oda’s Chaplin, this is a piece so rippling with personality, I don’t even mind having to eat some crow for saying he has “quad consistency” on his side (I suppose His Evgeniness might be the only one to truly live up to that). I do mind the other falls suffered by Takahashi, though. Daaang.

In other disciplines…

Kudos, DENNEY/BARRETT—though they didn’t make the podium, they still delivered the breakout work I was hoping to see (especially with such a solid SP as the first competitors of the whole event!). And… did anyone notice that, with Firebird as their SP and Scheherazade for the FS they happen to be using the same music this season as one Evan Lysacek? (Though the cuts are surely different)

As for Ice Dance, I was impressed with all three on the podium. Crone/Poirier I admittedly didn’t watch closely their first time out this season, but I enjoyed their music and their kind of unique-looking twizzles. The Kerrs… I’ve liked them all along, and am glad they had a chance to scoop up two medals thus far this GP season. And Davis/White… well, I’m letting “the Phantom” grow on me. Anyway, great effort by all three, and I just hope the top teams who aren’t competing this GP season don’t effortlessly breeze by teams like these when Olympic time comes near.

In lieu of a clip, here’s an article of the day … this weekend marks the 30th (!) anniversary of Skate America; the article features recollections from Scott Hamilton, Peter Carruthers, and Lisa-Marie Allen (who finally got to win a major international competition there in ’79!). Come for the stories, stay for the photo archives from the event formerly known as Norton Skate. Predictions for this weekend coming soon!


Sharon said...

You know you're getting pretty good at the predictions!

Re: Ice dance
"Anyway, great effort by all three, and I just hope the top teams who aren’t competing this GP season don’t effortlessly breeze by teams like these when Olympic time comes near."
I could not AGREE more with this!

Aaron said...

My predictions on the otherhand...oh boy!

I got the Dance and Pairs podium right this time as well as Miki Ando. My mens podium picks were a disaster!