Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Post-Omaha, Nationals 2013: Men's Overview

Last but not least, the MEN of U.S. Nationals... Men's Overview

Top 6 Men: Max Aaron, Ross Miner, Jeremy Abbott, Joshua Farris, Adam Rippon

The debate: Did Aaron deserve to win?

I made a prediction on January 21st that Aaron would win bronze to Abbott’s gold and Miner’s silver. Had Abbott executed all his planned triples, my prediction probably would’ve been more accurate (although Aaron’s TWO quad salchows kept him a step ahead of Miner’s ONE quad salchow). But I’ve got some of the free skate protocols here in front of me, so let’s take a look at them in an effort for some clarity:

Aaron had four double-digit point-getters... the 4sal/2toe (13.94), solo 4sal (12.93), solo 3ax in 2nd half of program (12.06), and 3toe/loop/3sal in 2nd half (10.88).

Miner’s double-digit point-getters numbered four as well... the 4sal (12.64), 3ax/2toe (11.80), 3lz/3toe (10.20), and 3lz/loop/3sal in 2nd half of program (12.37).

In the wake of his fall on the quad toe, Abbott only had three double-digit point-getters ... 3ax/2toe (11.51), solo 3ax in 2nd half of program (11.78), and 3lz/3toe in 2nd half (12.41).

In terms of points for the ELEMENTS, the top 7 free skate guys shook down like this:
Alexander Johnson (who we’ll talk about in a future post)—81.35
Ricky Dornbush—75.87

While in terms of points for the COMPONENTS (artistic score), it looked like this:


So considering Aaron’s 2 quads were worth about 26 points ALONE, it’s easy to see how he could build up such a lead in an event with no compatible quad success stories. And while his components were nearly 10 points lower than Abbott’s, they were still pretty good (third best of the event). It could be argued that those were too high, but I’m not sure what sort of case could be made against his elements score... unless you want to argue that quads are scored too high, in which case I can think of more than a few skaters who’d want to take the counterpoint position.

Going back to Abbott’s elements... he earned a 3.67 for his 2Lo/2toe combo; had he done a 3Lo/2toe as planned, I think it would have been at least 4 points higher. And the 2sal he did at the very end earned him only 1.43 points; a 3sal would’ve been at least 3 ½ points higher. That’s around 7 ½ points left on the table at an event where there was less than 6 points separating 1st and 3rd place. In other words... in theory, at least... Abbott could have won.

Or if he’d have tripled ONE of those last two as planned, he’d have been in 2nd. Not the winner, but at least he’d have made the world team.

Instead, his season is over in a most maddening fashion... both for him, and for his fans.

All of which should take nothing away from the fact that Aaron and Miner are extremely deserving world team members. Miner (who carries the highest GP point totals of any U.S. skater this season) has been sitting on the bronze side for the past two years, so it’s especially rewarding to see him do so well—almost winning the whole thing, if not for a popped triple axel. As for Aaron, who has cut a fine impression for himself on the junior circuit but is very new to this whole senior thing... I’m honestly not sure what they’ll do with him. IF he has as much quad success at Worlds as he did at Nats, they’ll have to reward him properly. But it’s only part of the picture, and his international components are likely to be considerably lower in London, ON than they were in Omaha.

Will Aaron and Miner be able to win back a third U.S. men’s slot for Sochi? All I know for sure is that Abbott’s already had his turn at this. And had it, and had it, and had it even a fourth time. Given the way those turned out... and given that a third spot might be Abbott’s best bet for a shot at Sochi come this time next season... perhaps these results will prove to be the best thing that ever happened to the guy I used to refer to (with fondness) as JEREMEEEE.

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