Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rostelecom Cup 2010 Results: Any Questions? (Um, yeah, I have just a few...)

Everything’s a rush this week—another GP event in the books; then Skating with the Semi-Stars, then Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), then another GP event which happens to be the final qualifier. So when it comes to posting something cohesive about last weekend’s Rostelecom Cup (of Russia)… I simply found myself with a list of questions (even though most of them are rhetorical in nature):

(Quick summary: currently quad-less Tomas Verner picked up his first-ever GP victory with 2 relatively clean performances, while the favorite (and judges’ darling) Patrick Chan struggled, especially with his free skate, and settled for silver. Jeremy Abbott also suffered a sub-par free skate, but his short program score kept him in it for bronze. I had the podium names right in my predictions, but not the order.)

My questions:

+ With all the Plushenko, Yagudin, and Weir posters I saw flanking the stands, I had to wonder… what year is this, again??

+ Will Samuel Contesti ever skate a short program that doesn’t take him out of the medal hunt?
+ Will Alban Preaubert ever rise above the 4th-5th-6th placements in which he now seems mired? (Answering self here: probably not with this year’s free skate.)
+ How many more times in one event can Chan fall to the ice and still finish first or second? Won’t someone please take away the Kool-Aid that all the judges seem to be drinking when he’s in an event??

(Quick summary: though she was down in 5th after the SP, Miki Ando once again proved to be the best of the field on FS day and rose to another overall victory. Akiko Suzuki skated better here than she did at Cup of China, but it was close-but-no-cigar event for her as she took silver again. And while home country faves Ksenia Makarova and Alena Leonova both struggled throughout the event, Ashley Wagner found what she needed to improve significantly on her NHK performance, winning bronze in the process. I was 2-for-3 on the predictions.)

My questions:

+ Will Agnes Zawadzki (who started this event in 2nd, but finished 4th after another troubled free skate) be able to take what she’s learned from the GP circuit this fall and turn it into a more successful outing at U.S. Nationals?
+ Will Wagner realize now that one fall in an otherwise clean program is often better than having 4 insecure, two-footed landings? (Um, SP at last year’s Nationals notwithstanding…)
+ Will Leonova ever give a sincere smile on the ice again? The way her face plummets after every disappointing skate these days is bumming me out.

(Quick summary: Yavaguti and Smirnov are back, and won here easily with a lovely, understated take on Claire de Lune. Japanese newbies Takahashi/Tran skated to silver, while Evora/Ladwig relocated their Olympic groove and earned their first trip to the GP podium—a bronze. I was 2-for-3 on this prediction too.)

My questions:

+ As much improved as Yavaguti/Smirnov are with this year’s program… will Ms.Yavaguti ever look anything less than terrified at the end of a routine? (It makes me wonder what sort of fear of God Tatiana Moskvina has instilled in her, especially since missing the podium in Vancouver.)
+ Why do I like the Lawrence/Stiegers free skate to the Van Helsing soundtrack better than most of the programs I’m seeing this year? (They took bronze with it at Skate Canada, but only finished 5th here.)
+ Can Evora/Ladwig be as good at every event as they were at this one? Pretty please? It would make those gorgeous lifts so much more satisfying… and their side-by-side flying sit spins are always a treat too.

(Quick summary: it all started like a normal competitive event, but by the time it was over nearly half the competitors had dropped out due to injury. Of those that remained, home faves Bobrova/Soloviev easily took gold, while Hoffmann/Zavozin of Hungary claimed their first podium finish (a silver) and Russians Ilinykh/Katsalapov took bronze. I somehow ended up 2-for-3 on this pick too.)

My questions:

+ All right, who threw thumbtacks all over the Rostelecom practice ice so three of the eight competing couples had to get injured and scratch the event?? (Road Runner, I’m looking at you… did you think Massimo Scali was Will E. Coyote?)
+ How can I possibly ask any questions about an event that barely took place?
+ Oh, wait, here’s one more: I said it earlier in the week, but it bears repeating… isn’t Tanith Belbin a great addition to the Universal broadcast team? I’m quite fond of Susie Wynne (and she gave me a lovely interview for the Skating on Air book), but the one thing she wasn’t able to do was speak from experience about the IJS system as it applies to ice dance. Belbin can, and does… plus is starting to offer some spirited opinions about the different teams. Go girl!

And one more general question about Rostelecom in general… was it me, or did the crowd here seem unusually quiet (except for when Russian skaters took the ice)? I tend to think it was the Russian version of the World Feed that was the culprit—and that they kept the crowd mic at an overall lower level than other places. (They’re also responsible for using dissolves between the cameras where I would’ve preferred takes, and takes where I’d have preferred dissolves… but that’s just the director in me talking.)

Anyway, I hope they re-think that for the future if that was indeed what happened. Very strange to hear next to NO crowd reaction when someone successfully completes the toughest jump in their arsenal, after all!

Since I already posted his free skate a few weeks ago, I’ll put up Verner’s “Singin’ in the Rain” SP from Rostelecom as the
Clip of the Day.

And despite tomorrow’s U.S. holiday, I still plan to get Trophee Eric Bompard predictions posted before Friday morning… watch this space!


Laura said...

The crowd did seem very quiet. I hope it was the feed because I was feeling bad for some of the skaters who actually did a good job!

Kelli Lawrence said...

I was starting to think they were kind of a rude bunch, but then a time or two I thought I saw clapping occurring without much of the accompanying noise... I should take a closer look at it when I have time! (Meaning roundabouts of February)