Sunday, October 21

Skate America Day Two - Ladies

Ladies Short Program

I am not giving up on Rachael Flatt just yet. There are too many people that are quick to give up on American ladies (think Alissa Czisny, Caroline Zhang in the past). The doubled flip looked like more of a toe-picking issue than anything, and the other jumps were fine. The non-jump element levels were all low, which contributed to her low score.

Christina Gao is so impressive. Freshman at Harvard, and then she puts out a skate like this. She has been one of the more consistent American ladies come Nationals time in the last three years and this was a great start. Pulling for her to deliver in the free skate, as well.

Sarah Hecken has such a likable personality, but I feel like most of her programs are bland and that she hasn't really found a style yet. This is cool music, but she doesn't move strong or fast enough to really match it. She looks like Kimmie Meissner from a distance not only in the face but in the way she moves, which remains below average. Remember, she's been just outside the top 10 at Worlds twice now.

Valentina Marchei has been around for a long while, and I wasn't disappointed in where her skating was going last season compared to where she was around 2007. I thought the programs were blah and too gimmicky, almost. However, Esperanza this year is a good fit for her without having to overact. Nice job.

Mae-Bernice Meite is so powerful. She and teammate Yretha Silete have some of the biggest ladies jumps I've ever seen. I think she has a long way to go in her carriage and posture and just her overall refinement, but she skated clean in the short and now she's in the hunt for a medal. Who would have thought?

I liked the beginning of Haruka Imai's program, but then it lost me a bit. She's a nice but not overly expressive skater. I think the music would work better on some of the other skaters in this competition, particularly Viktoria Helgesson. I think I like a more traditional look for Haruka. The double Axel was small and called under-rotated, hence her score.

I am indifferent towards Ashley Wagner's Red Violin after the first viewing. I think she was lucky in the GOE with her loop jump (which obviously had struggles on the landing), and her PCS has really gone up since her showings last season. I think they were a little bit too high for this performance, but nothing severe like with some of the men.

I really liked Adelina Sotnikova, although she singled the flip. She has a sharpness and a tension to the way she moves and it works for the music. She also seems completely comfortable with herself now and she really sold the program, even after the mistake. Other Russian ladies (in this competition...) can learn from her in that aspect.

Viktoria Helgesson is my favorite eligible lady. I think she has a tremendous amount of content in her programs and that her style is versatile enough for almost anything. This program doesn't blow me away like some of the others have, but it's cute. She really could have made a mark with a clean short here, and that is what she needs to finally get the PCS I think she's deserved for the last few years.

Well, Alena Leonova was a mess, plain and simple. For as dramatic in an over-the-top happy way she is, you would think she'd be able to keep it together and really sell a program when things don't go right. It's the opposite. She gives up, and all of the weaknesses in her skating really start to show. I think the program is lacking between the elements, and I'm just not feeling it. She cried plenty after her skate, but she's only 10 points out of the medals. She's not out of it yet, but I think she knows she has to prove herself each and every time with countrywomen becoming age-eligible.

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