Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blogkeeping 101: Old Commentary, New Links, and Everything In Between

Hello! Happy New Year! How are you? Is it wickedly cold where you are in the world? As I start writing this we have 11 degrees (Fahrenheit), wind, and snow showers. I like the snow showers part...

I took another inadvertently long pause with the posting, so there’s plenty to talk about. And then, of course, U.S. Nationals are almost upon us. Two senior titles defending, and two senior titles up for grabs! Who’s excited? Who’s planning on being there in Asheville? Me? No, afraid not. But I’ll be stepping up the posts (that shouldn’t be hard, huh) and following the Championship, aka Senior, division of developments both here and on Twitter. And word on the street is that commentators /fashion soulmates Tara (Lipinski) and Johnny (Weir) will be hosting a Nationals “preview” show on NBC this coming Saturday afternoon.

But before we get to all that, gotta do some blog-keeping (housekeeping for the blog). Pardon me while I go get my broom, some sponges and a whole lot of dust rags:

CONTEST WINNERS: Congratulations to Jessica of Ohio and Jean of Oregon, both of whom won a signed copy of Skating on Air in last month’s holiday giveaway! They will soon be enchanting their friends with stories of what the ABC producers did to keep Peggy Fleming afloat during her early days in the broadcast booth, or the little white lie CBS representatives told in order to start bringing video cameras backstage at the World Championships! (As always, you can get your own copy right here.) 

Grand Prix Final: I know it happened over a month ago, but here are 10 quick observations/notes I’ve gotta put out there before moving on...

1) Not that it’s worth noting, but if you were wondering how I did on those GPF predications that have been up near the top of the blog for weeks on end: Four-for-twelve, or .333 if you prefer it batting average-style. That put my GPF predictions somewhere in the middle of my best/worst event predictions (Best was 8-for-12 at Trophee Eric Bompard; worst was 2-for-12 at NHK and Cup of China)

2) Taking the good with the bad: just as Yuzuru Hanyu got his groove back with a justified GPF victory (and then again with another Japanese National title), we learned he’d be out of commission for several weeks due to necessary bladder surgery. I’m still trying to find a way to blame this on his rockem sockem collision at Cup of China. Anyway, here’s a little article about the surgery (in English) if you’re interested. 

3) Painfully predictable, but still... one of my correct GPF guesses was silver for Javier Fernandez, and indeed he flopped all over his prized “Black Betty” SP and ruined his chances for home-court victory (I think I quipped Black Betty, ram-a-DAMN on Twitter shortly thereafter). Nice comeback in the free skate, though. Wonder how glad he is that Worlds will be nowhere near Barcelona this year...

4) On the other hand, who would have guessed 27 year-old Sergei Voronov to outskate not just Maxim Kovtun, but two highly regarded Japanese men for bronze? We’re talking about a Russian man who is now in his ninth season of elite international competition; who’s only broken into the top ten at Worlds ONE TIME so far (and that was way back in 2008)! How surprising is his season?!

5) Answer: at least as surprising (if not more so) as reigning World Silver Medalist Tatsuki Machida’s retirement announcement at the conclusion of Japanese Nationals. I don’t want to dive into that one on this post, but I do want to share this commentary by Jack Gallagher in The Japan Times, declaring Machida’s decision (or at least the timing and announcement of it) to be “selfish and untimely”. What’s your take on this, or on his retirement in general? Please post it in the Comments!

6) On the other end of the spectrum was a surprise of a different kind: a highly entertaining battle between a Russian teen too young for last year’s Olympics (Elena Radionova), and a Russian teen who had too “off” a year last season to make the Olympic team (Liza Tuktamysheva). I hope both ladies, especially the seemingly overbooked Tuktamysheva, are able to keep bringing it through Euros and Worlds. I’m hard-pressed to come up with any competitors who can match their consistency this season.

7) Fun fact: Ashley Wagner’s bronze medal-winning FS earned her a score of 129.26-- which rivals, but doesn’t quite top, her personal best in international competition (a 129.52 at Worlds 2014). Do with that what you will; she had a higher overall score at Worlds and it was only good enough for 7th place. But the more important thing, perhaps, is the mental boost it surely gave her going into Nats. After last year, there’s no doubt she could use it.

8) Which in a roundabout way, brings me to Julia Lipnitskaia. What a year she’s had... and damn, she’s gotta be glad it’s over. And by “it” I mean both the year 2014 and her 2014-15 skating season. From winning an Olympic (team) Gold Medal to failing to qualify for Euros—with more than enough media keeping track of every road shift—I have three wishes for our favorite Rubberband Girl: to go home, pull the covers over her head, and sleep until next July. Hey, I think that might've been Tuktamysheva's remedy...

But before that happens, the press eked out one more update. Here it is.

I'll be back BEFORE U.S. Nationals, talking ABOUT U.S. Nationals. Good concept, eh?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd swear Machida's announcement almost seemed like a snit. I wondered if he'd just been in an argument with his coach or something.