Ladies Short Program
Gracie Gold rebounded from Skate Canada with a clean short, including a triple flip(outside edge)/triple toe. The Lutz was the highlight for me-- so much power and coming straight out of an Ina Bauer. That's a +2 or +3 element, easily. However, here's the critical side of me. She's strictly a senior skater now and already anointed by many to be the next big thing out of the USA. Her program looks very junior and 'cutesy', and her basic skating level is not up to the level of her individual elements. With that said, I would have her components a bit lower. I'm really hoping her overall ability catches up to the jumps and spins.
The only thing I ever seem to say about Kiira Korpi is that it seems obvious that the judges are willing to push her all the way to the top-- if she ever delivers. That essentially means that I feel they are pretty generous with her. Perfect example, the triple loop here. It was a good jump, it had turns directly into it, all of that. But many judges felt it was a +2 element. Compare that with Gold's amazing 3Lutz jump out of steps-- which received 0's and +1's as the majority. Components were deservedly higher, although I wish she'd skate with more speed (regardless of music choice).
Agnes Zawadzki is much like Gracie Gold to me. In her situation, I think it can be simply summed up by saying that her coach was Tom Zakrajsek: solid technical ability, and lower than average skating skills/speed. She's definitely improved, and the skate today, in my opinion, should have been marked as first place. It's close enough between the top three that it's alright, but she should have definitely been ahead of Gold in components. The program, at least for me, was much more put together. I really don't understand it being behind Korpi (even if her combo spin was only level one).
I prefer Alena Leonova's short program dress from Skate America (on the right above). Seems like the judges were ready to give her first place here without the fault on the Axel. The program has Morozov written all over it though. Standing around in the music change, and not much going on until the flamboyant footwork. I don't think it's a bad program, I just liked last years effort better and this one kinda sends Alena right back to her over-the-top theatrics. Transitions mark was way too high. One judge gave it 5.25.
The flip continues to give Adelina Sotnikova troubles (she went one for three at Skate America). However, I personally believe that she is the one to watch out of the handful of Russian skaters vying for Worlds this year. She's progressing into seniors nicely. I don't love her free skate, but the short program shows the improvements she's made in a short time. I really enjoy watching her now. There should have been a bigger cushion on components between Adelina and both Americans ahead of her, in my opinion.
Kanako Murakami had underrotation issues on the end of her triple toe/triple toe combo and on the triple flip she fell on. The program still isn't doing as much for me as she's capable of, as nice as it is. The way she bends her whole upper body forward while stroking around doesn't work well with soft music. Her road to the Grand Prix Final will be difficult.