Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Abbott’s “Single-Handed” Win of Cup of China, and Other Dreamy Tales

The directors for the World Feed of Cup of China have a similar game plan every year when it comes to camera shots: show the skater, show the skater’s skates up close, show at least one spin from a dizzying overhead angle, and show the crowd waaay too soon after the skater hits the final pose. I’ve complained about it in the past, but have (reluctantly) come to accept the way they do things over in Shanghai.

So this time, as I cringed at the multitude of skate shots, I couldn’t help but notice the fog that enveloped the rink on Day 1 of competition (during all the “short” events). Sure, it was basic science causing the problem… but especially since said problem started clearing up by Day 2, it made me think of Day 1 as a sort of long-playing dream on ice. I figure those that ultimately did well at Cup of China might feel similarly. But what about the rest… did those dreams turn to… nightmares?! (Cue scary music)

Let’s see how this shook out with a few examples from each discipline:


Jeremy Abbott dreamed of winning Cup of China even if he didn’t perform the best technically...

DREAM COME TRUE. Who’d have known a hand down on the ice would be the BEST part of an already superb program? Abbott may have fallen on his quad, popped a triple axel, and left out any triple/triple combos, but his FS to Exogenesis: Symphony pt. 3 by Muse is stunning. STUNNING! And if you’re not sure what I’m talking about regarding the hand down on the ice, you can check the program out here.

Nan Song dreamed of jumping well enough to land on the podium...

DREAM COME TRUE. Sk8AM had its van der Perren; Sk8CAN had its Fernandez (who I forgot to cheer about last week—sorry—awesome job!) And now, CoC has its Song—a surprise medal by someone who skated a surprise Lights Out free skate (2 quad toes! 2 triple axels! 2 of those jumps in combination with other triples! And all of them rock solid!!) But what makes this a particularly sweet “song” is the fact that this is the same guy who came in dead last at last year’s Skate America, and 22nd at Worlds earlier this year.

Artur Gachinski and Yuzuru Hanyu dreamed of retaining their 1-2 positions on the leader board after the free skate...

NIGHTMARE x 2. There was no reason to think either one of these young’uns would falter in the free skate… until both of them did just that, with Hanyu falling twice and Gachinski seeming to come undone once he missed his quad. Hang in there, kids—you’ve got time yet.


Carolina Kostner dreamed of doing well enough at CoC to become one of the first to qualify for the GP Final…

DREAM COME TRUE. It wasn’t a flawless skate, but it was enough to give Kostner a spot one better than she earned at Sk8AM 2 weeks ago.

Mirai Nagasu dreamed of making a notable improvement to her skating here, just one week after coming up with 5th place at Sk8CAN.

DREAM COME TRUE… sort of. While her Spartacus free skate (not to mention her Danzarin SP) seemed more inspired, and she “improved” her way to a silver medal… the edge calls on her triple lutzes continue to be her undoing… and might make all the difference in a close “race.” (This wasn’t close, though.)

Adelina Sotnikova dreamed of doing what teammate Liza Tutmyskeva had done the previous week: blast by the competition in her senior GP debut.

DREAM COME a little bit TRUE. Maybe she was a little disappointed with the color of her medal, or the quality of her performance, but I hope not… a bronze for her first time out is wonderful. (And while I’m at it, Kexin Zhang’s 4th place debut was very notable too.)

Kanako Murakami dreamed of continuing at the GP with the same bubbly spunk and precision that gave her two medals on the circuit last year, a bronze at the GP Final, and a top 10 finish at Worlds…

NIGHTMARE. Things just weren’t coming as easily this time around for the 17 year-old, and it showed on her distressed face in the Kiss-n-Cry. Is her 6th place finish an attack of the body-altering puberty monster, or a fluke? Time will tell…


Kavaguti/Smirnov dreamed of a Cup of China being the competition where their still-growing talent could shine without getting lost in the shadow of current Russian champs Volosozhar/Trankov

DREAM COME TRUE. No quad tricks these days; just solid elements melding together well enough to put them ahead of the Zhang/Zhang veterans. And might I add…it’s such a relief to watch them and not be worrying if Kavaguti is going to have to spend half the program popping her dislocated shoulder back in place.

Evora/Ladwig dreamed of getting to a GP podium again, as they’ve only made it there once in nine previous attempts (a bronze at Cup of Russia last year).

NIGHTMARE, if only because it’s almost always the same thing that trips them up—the side-by-side jumps. Their spins are great; their lifts are sublime, and their throw
jumps are increasingly consistent and solid. But if either of their SBS triple toe passes (in the SP or FS) had been clean, they could have had that bronze… less than 1.5 points separated them from actual bronze medalists Moore-Towers/ Moscovitch.

Sui/Han dreamed of… getting a break?
(OK, maybe that’s me thinking of what I’d want if I were them… two years of JGP events followed immediately by GP events? Jeez Louise. Take a nap or something.)

If this was indeed a dream of theirs (admitted or not), then DREAM COME TRUE… at least in the sense that, with their quad twist crash and 5th place finish, Sui/Han won’t have to worry this year about qualifying for both finals.

So let’s skip the NIGHTMARE possibilities, and leave it at that!


Bobrova/Soloviev dreamed that with the help of a dark, dramatic-themed free dance, they’d be the next great Russian dance team to twizzle all over the competition and win by a crazy, 15-point margin…

DREAM COME TRUE…except that this was Cup of China 2011, not Winter Olympics 2014.

The Shibutanis dreamed they’d remain in the GP medal hunt throughout the series… kind of like last year, except it wouldn’t take anyone by surprise…

DREAM COME TRUE… IF, in fact, that’s all they dreamed about. If they had visions of rivaling Bobro/Solo, that aforementioned 15-point margin wasn’t particularly encouraging.Time will tell if the Shib Sibs are simply having to deal with raised expectations now that they’re World Bronze Medalists… or if the Glenn Miller free dance this year is hurting more than helping.

Coomes/Buckland dreamed of staying within reach of the podium after their SD put them in 3rd place…

NIGHTMARE. A tumble near the very end of the free dance did them in, losing the bronze medal to Carron/Jones by less than half a point. Ah, hang in there kids… your 4th place finish was still way better than the pair of 8th places you came up with last season at the GP…

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