Monday, March 1, 2010

NBC Didn't Call the Penultimate Group in the Olympic Ladies' Final... So I Did it Instead

Aah, so much Olympic stuff still to talk about… must strike while the iron is still relatively warm; we’ve got Junior Worlds starting in about a week and Senior Worlds starting up March 23!

(By the way…if you look at the very bottom of
this article at you’ll see that Ashley Wagner has withdrawn from Junior Worlds, to be replaced by Novice National champion Kiri Braga. Sounds like a good move on Wagner’s part; I don’t quite understand how they returned her to Junior Worlds last year when she’d been at Senior Worlds the previous year (finishing 16th)… and now they wanted her back at Junior Worlds a third time? Doesn’t it count for anything that she was the only U.S. female to make the GP SENIOR (not Junior) Final this season? (Sigh) Anyway…

Since it’ll probably be a while before Olympic performances start stumbling onto YouTube, I went ahead and downloaded the Silverlight software program so I could see some of the stuff I missed at the website (it’s no biggie to download that, by the way…if you can tolerate and/or mute the screen through even MORE Marriage Ref promos, you’ll be fine).

Consequently, I’ve got the rundown of what we missed with the penultimate group while Nordic Combined had its moment in the sun…three for you now, and three more later (I’m throwing Kiira Korpi in there tomorrow since she had a decent finish, though I think she skated a group earlier).

Here’s who we’ve got today:

ALENA LEONOVA (RUSSIA; skating to cuts from the Chicago soundtrack in the same deep blue, one-gloved outfit she’s had all year):

Started with nice 3toe/3toe… then came a level 4 spiral sequence… triple lutz with a double-3 out…then came a double axel with a double-3 out (somone’s not checking those landings!!!)… a level 3 flying combo spin that came off well… triple loop that looked OK to me, but got a .20 negative GOE…a 3 flip/2axel sequence done nicely… then a flying sit spin that only got a level 2 (I’m guessing she was aiming higher)… Level 3 straight line steps… then a 3salchow/2toe/2loop that she pulled off, but the loop was downgraded (no flow coming out, among other things)… 3 flip with another double-3 out… and a level 4 change-foot combo spin that went well. Leonova goes so bonkers with joy she doesn’t really even hold her end pose for a millisecond—I guess she’s thrilled because she got through it without falling. But with at least 4 points lost in unchecked landings, I’m not sure going bonkers with joy would be my initial reaction.

SCORES: 110.32; 172.46 TOTAL. FINISHED 9th.

AKIKO SUZUKI (JAPAN; skating to cuts from West Side Story in sleeveless red w/black accents; she’s had a few variations on this outfit so I’m not sure if this is new or not):

Nice 3Flip/2toe/2loop to start…then 3toe/ 2axel sequence, also nice…then triple loop (all three of these passes had a +1 GOE, by the way)… then a level 4 change foot combo spin…Level 4 spirals… then a doubled 3flip; one of only two minor mistakes…then 3lutz… then 3loop/2axel sequence, and the crowd really starts to sound excited for her at this point… then a downgraded 3salchow (had a wonky landing, the only mistake that was truly noticeable)…Level 4 flying camel spin… then comes this straight-line FW that I honestly could watch all day… surprised it’s only a level 3, but it’s so effective!... ends with a flying level 4 change foot combo spin, and I think the cheers have been building steadily since the footwork…Suzuki is clearly moved by the crowd’s reaction. It’s a damn shame that her “story” (specifically her battles with anorexia) weren’t able to be shared with the NBC audience—this performance, like Joannie Rochette’s, was inspired and true. SO happy for her.

SCORES: 120.42/181.44 TOTAL. FINISHED 8th.

CAROLINA KOSTNER (ITALY; skating to Bach’s Air on a G String and Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in a blue and flesh-toned dress that makes me miss her “snowflake” outfit from 2006 Torino) :

She looked like she wasn’t feeling well when she took her opening pose. Anyone know? Had a 3flip/2toe/2loop planned to start, but put both hands down on flip so nothing more happened… then 3lutz downgraded, with a fall… already wigged out by this start, her 2axel/3toe became a single ax/2toe…a flying camel spin became a “flying combo spin level 4”… spiral sequence was only a level 2…next was another 3flip; since she messed up her first combo it’s assumed this one will be a combo of some kind…until she falls again. Yikes. Gets up relatively quickly, then heads into a 3Loop, which she just plain sits down on like she’s lost the bones in her legs for a moment. Sigh. This is painful. (By the way that loop was downgraded too.) Somehow she regroups well enough to land a 2axel… then moves on to a 3salchow/2toe that is fine. Flying back sit looked good… then straight line steps that were level 3 (Suzuki had a slightly higher GOE on this)… finally her change foot combo spin; perhaps because she got a bobble of some kind going in the middle this she only got level 2. Rough, rough, rough. At the end she throws her hands over her eyes and stays that way for several seconds, like she’s praying to God it was a nightmare. It wasn’t.

Question: does Christa Fassi now coach her exclusively? I know Kostner moved to Frank Carroll last summer, but does she now work solely with Fassi? Or did he simply keep Fassi with her that night because he needed to focus on Mirai?

SCORE: 88.88, with a tech score of 34.84 (big OUCH). She puts her hands up in the “whaddayah gonna do?” pose. I have some ideas on that, Ms. Kostner…
TOTAL 151.90. FINISHED 16th.

I’ll post details of three more very soon… in the meantime, I guess it’s time to revive the
Clip of the Day! This time it’s Kiri Braga (the one replacing Wagner at Jr. Worlds) as she skated in the Junior Grand Prix this past fall.


Edward said...

Thank you, Kelli, for your vivid descriptions. I feel as if I were watching the skaters live the way you described them.

Side note: the fact that NBC-in it's infinite wisdom; yes, I'm being sarcastic-is one of many reasons why I sincerely hope ESPN does win the American television rights bid for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. Even though I LOATHE the way ESPN overhypes certain people-not to mention the acceptance/encouragement of classless, unsportsmanlike behaviour that ESPN happily promotes-at least according to an article on, should ESPN win the rights to the Olympics, they say they would broadcast the events live, in their entirety, regardless of time differential. So, up to a point, I could live with the major negative for a few positives.

Edward said...

Sorry, I left out something from my first post. I was writing quickly.

What I SHOULD have wrote was the fact that NBC-in it's infinite wisdom-chose not to show all of the ladies figure skating free program is the reason why I hope ESPN does win the rights to broadcast the games beginning in 2014. My apologies for the grammatical errors.

jumping clapping man said...

rumor has it (and a rumor is just a rumor) that carroll "fired" kostner (ala goebel) because she wouldn't consistently do full run-throughs. if that's true, i'm not surprised, given her results the past few seasons.

Kelli Lawrence said...

Edward-- You're welcome... I'm here to help :-)

JCM-- that would be in line with something Sandra said during the Olympics about it being a shame that Carolina didn't train properly (w/full run-throughs). Wow... I just don't get moving halfway around the world to blow off some very logical instruction. Carroll must've watched her performance with a heavy heart...