Saturday, November 17

My Proposed System of Qualification to Worlds

I've written a lot about it the last few days, but in case you didn't know: the ISU has come up with a minimum technical score that needs to be reached in each program for all disciplines in order to allow skaters to be qualified to compete at the World Championships this season. You can find the full lists of qualified skaters to this point at the top of my blog.

On top of the technical scores, the system of qualifying spots based on 2012 Worlds results is still in play. For example, Italy has earned three ladies berths, but as of now, only two ladies would be able to compete (Carolina Kostner and Valentina Marchei). Currently, no other Italian has reached the minimum scores. On the opposite hand, Russia has eight men that have reached the technical minimum but can only send one man because of the disappointing results Sergei Voronov and Artur Gachinski had at the 2012 Worlds.

Now this presents a problem to me. The minimum score was established essentially to weed out some of the lower-level skaters and make the World Championships more of a 'best of the best' event-- right?

Well... somewhat.

If it is going to be a true amazing Championship with all of the best skaters, I think both systems (the minimum technical score AND spots earned by country) need to be dropped in favor of something that rewards the strongest skaters throughout the season a chance to compete at Worlds, regardless of country.


I would propose that 30 ladies and mens skaters, 25 dance teams, and 20 pairs skaters are able to be registered for Worlds. This is five warm-up groups for each of the disciplines. After the short programs/short dance, 20% of the fields would be reduced, leaving 24 ladies and men, 20 dance teams, and 16 pairs. This is already what the ISU does after the preliminary rounds are held.


First, I believe that Grand Prix Final qualifiers should automatically be given a spot at Worlds. That would be six entries for each of the four disciplines right there, and it gives skaters a huge incentive to compete and do well in the series.


Europeans and Four Continents would also be comprised of a maximum 30 ladies and mens skaters, 25 dance teams, and 20 pairs skaters with the same cuts after the short programs/short dance as discussed above. In some cases, these totals would likely not be reached (Four Continents pairs, for example). The entries for these events would be solely based upon Seasons Best scores directly preceding the events.

After skipping the Grand Prix Final qualifiers final placements (if they elect to compete), the top 9 ranked men and ladies, the top 5 ranked pairs, and the top 7 ranked ice dance teams from each competition would qualify themselves to Worlds.


The remaining 6 spots in ladies and mens, 4 spots in pairs, and 5 spots in dance would be determined by those that are not yet qualified to the World Championships through the Grand Prix Final or Europeans/Four Continents but are highest-ranked on the Seasons Best lists.


The ISU has come up with a decent rule this season (probably the only one). Skaters who compete at the World Championships are no longer eligible to compete at the World Junior Championships. Technically, skaters could still compete at both in a season if they were sure that it was the last time they wanted to go to World Juniors, as it comes before Worlds.

Plan A: Any age-eligible skater World Junior Championship who finishes high enough at Europeans/Four Continents or in the remaining seasons best results to qualify for a World Championship spot is able to compete in both events, only if they understand that competing at senior Worlds makes them ineligible for junior Worlds starting the next season. If they elect not to compete at senior Worlds, although having earned a spot, the next in line on the Seasons Best list would compete.

Plan B: The medal winners from World Juniors would then have the option to go on to Worlds if they elect (while still keeping junior eligibility for the next season), but still having to meet age requirements. Since that would require me to re-work all of my qualification numbers above, I'll stick with plan A.


I understand that this might shut out lower countries from really getting a chance to compete at the big events, and in turn not earn enough points in the World Standings to get events like the Grand Prix. However, the ISU is already on a path that shuts out lower-level skaters from Worlds. I'd rather see all of the top skaters in the biggest competition and not skaters who have qualified based on a spots by country method and THEN reaching a minimum technical score.

Consistency in judging is always going to be a potential issue (as far as levels and components being consistent between events), but we have been debating that for years.

The Seasons Best list would have to reflect all competitions, as it only reflects the senior and junior Grand Prix so far this year.

What do you think?

Grand Prix Final Likely Qualifiers - After Five Events

Here are the likely qualifiers for the 2012/2013 Grand Prix Final, which takes place next month in Sochi, Russia. This is the same rink that will be used during the 2014 Olympics.


Ashley Wagner - 30 Points
Kiira Korpi - 26 Points
Julia Lipnitskaia - 24 Points

On the Bubble:
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva - 22 Points

Next Week:
Mao Asada - 15 Points
Akiko Suzuki - 13 Points
Agnes Zawadzki - 11 Points

Asada likely needs a top four finish at NHK to qualify to the Final. Suzuki needs a podium finish. Zawadzki would have to place in the top two.

My bets are on Asada and Suzuki to qualify at home and Tuktamysheva to slide in as the final qualifier. Christina Gao tied in results with Tuktamysheva, but loses out on overall event scores.


Patrick Chan - 28 Points
Takahiko Kozuka - 28 Points
Tatsuki Machida - 26 Points

Next Week:
Javier Fernandez - 15 Points
Yuzuru Hanyu - 13 Points
Daisuke Takahashi - 13 Points
Sergei Voronov - 11 Points

Fernandez likely just needs a top five finish at NHK, Hanyu and Takahashi need to be on the podium to guarantee themselves a spot (although top four is more likely unless the results are crazy ahead of them). Voronov would need to finish first or second; with a second place, he'd have to beat either Hanyu or Takahashi on overall event scores if one of the two were to finish in third place.

My bets are on Fernandez, Hanyu, and Takahashi to comprise the podium in some order and all earn themselves a trip to the Final.

Kudos to Japanese men this season-- six of them have earned medals on the Grand Prix and all of them will probably finish in the top 10 of the overall standings.


Volosozhar/Trankov - 30 Points
Pang/Tong - 28 Points
Kavaguti/Smirnov - 28 Points
Duhamel/Radford - 26 Points

On the Bubble:
Denney/Coughlin - 22 Points

Next Week:
Bazarova/Larionov - 13 Points
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch - 9 Points

Bazarova/Larionov likely need to finish in the top four at NHK, while Moore-Towers/Moscovitch would qualify with a top two finish. Castelli/Shnapir and Martiusheva/Rogonov would both have to win, which is a huge stretch.


(As of the time of writing this, the dance event was not complete at Trophee Eric Bompard; however, the top two teams after the short dance have enough of a cushion that this should be a safe bet.)

Virtue/Moir - 30 Points
(Pechalat/Bourzat - 30/28 Points)
(Cappellini/LaNotte - 28/26 Points)
Bobrova/Soloviev - 26 Points

Next Week:
Davis/White - 15 Points
Ilynikh/Katsalapov - 13 Points

Both teams would have to finish off the podium at NHK in order to not qualify.

By the Numbers

If my predictions hold true, here are the stats on the qualifiers.

RUS (7) - Lipnitskaia, Tuktamysheva, Volosozhar/Trankov, Kavaguti/Smirnov, Bazarova/Larionov, Bobrova/Soloviev, Ilynikh/Katsalapov
JPN (6) - Asada, Suzuki, Kozuka, Machida, Hanyu, Takahashi
CAN (4) - Chan, Duhamel/Radford, Moore-Towers/Moscovitch, Virtue/Moir
USA (2) - Wagner, Davis/White
FIN (1) - Korpi
ESP (1) - Fernandez
CHN (1) - Pang/Tong
FRA (1) - Pechalat/Bourzat
ITA (1) - Cappellini/LaNotte

Friday, November 16

Icy Gangnam Style

Admit is. As much as you may be annoyed with the song by now, this program still put a smile on your face. It is performed by Misha Ge of Uzbekistan from the recent Ice Challenge competition.

Trophee Eric Bompard - Ladies Short Program

Julia Lipnitskaia, the 14-year old World Junior Champion from Russia, delivered a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, triple flip, and double Axel in her short program to Sabre Dance and she currently finds herself in first place at the Trophee Eric Bompard. The Lutz combination and Axel looked a bit short of rotation to me, but she avoided and under-rotation calls from the technical panel, only receiving an edge call on her Lutz. Personally, I find that any PCS score in the high 6 to 7 range is too high for the current state of Lipnitskaia's skating. She is good, but she still looks like a junior.

American champion Ashley Wagner is just barely behind Lipnitskaia after skating a clean short program to The Red Violin. While all of her elements received positive grades of execution, she elected to do the triple flip-double toe loop as her combination.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia is in third place. She had some trouble with her combination, but I felt like her program was much more complete than that of Lipnitskaia, and there is no way I would have marked her components below Julia's. She actually ended up as the lowest-scoring of the three Russian ladies as far as components went.

Mae-Berenice Meite delivered another solid performance in her home country, coming off a great Skate America showing. Her posture leaves a lot to be desired, but she seems much more comfortable with her movements this year. Since Yretha Silete is out for the season with injury, all hopes of earning more than one spot for Sochi will most likely rely on Meite's World placement.

Polina Korobeynikova got called for an under-rotated triple loop in an otherwise great performance. The judges really like her, and I agree that she has a great quality. She is coached by Viktoria Volchkova.

Christina Gao sits in seventh place. She has a second place finish in the Grand Prix series from Skate America, but will likely have to get up to the podium tomorrow in order to make the Final. She had troubles on her first triple toe, which usually is put in combination with a second triple toe.

Trophee Eric Bompard - Mens Short Program

Thankfully, American Jeremy Abbott came to the short program at Trophee Eric Bompard ready to deliver. He delivered a clean program, although with no quad, to take the lead with 81.15 points. I really enjoyed his program on its' second outing, but I think the costume makes him look awkward at times.

Takahito Mura of Japan is a surprise second after landing a quad toe-triple toe combination with a hand down in-between the jumps, a triple Axel, and triple Lutz. If Mura holds on to a medal here, he would become the sixth different Japanese man this year to win a medal in the Grand Prix series. He has skating skills to die for, but his Malaguena is generic compared to some of the programs he had previously.

Brian Joubert skated into third place at home with a much more solid effort than Cup of China, where he was sick and withdrew after the short program. He landed a clean quad toe-double toe, but stepped out of his triple Axel.

Jorik Hendrickx of Belgium is a surprise fourth place. He had a solid attempt at the triple Axel, which is not yet one of his consistent jumps, but also had to step out of it. He has great footwork sequences in each of his programs and a really solid foundation to his skating.

Florent Amodio and Tomas Verner are in seventh and ninth place. Amodio is lucky to not be in the last place position after falling on both his quad Salchow and triple Axel, and only completing a double Lutz which was intended to be his combination. Verner underrotated and fell on his quad toe, popped his Axel to a single (an absolute point killer), and then had trouble on his combination.

Amodio, with a win here, would have had a decent shot at qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.

Trophee Eric Bompard - Pairs Short Program

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia skated a clean, traditional program to The Blue Danube and earned 66.78 points to take first place in the short at Trophee Eric Bompard. This was one of the more solid skates I have seen from them, but I wish they would drop the mazurka hops that they do on the run-out of their side-by-side jumps. It kills the flow of the element.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada are in second. Although Duhamel fell on the side-by-side triple Lutz jump, the pair has packed a ton of difficult, unique transitions into the program and their technical score, even with the fall, was just a half-point lower than the Russians.

Both the Russians and Canadians will qualify to the Grand Prix Final with top two finishes here.

The new Chinese pair of Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang are in third, while previous Grand Prix series bronze-medal winners Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy, and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia, are fourth and fifth heading into the free skate.

Thursday, November 15

For Your Consideration: If Worlds Started Tomorrow..

Take a look at the graphic. If Worlds started tomorrow (and the ISU doesn't change the minimum technical scores required to compete at the event), compare the total number of possible entries to those that entered the 2012 World Championships.

At least the ISU doesn't need to hold preliminary round competitions now, right? .....

Ice Dance Technical Score Eligibility - Full Worlds, 4CC/Euros Lists

This is up-to-date information listing the ice dancers who have reached the ISU minimum scores for the World Championships and European Championships/Four Continents Championships.

Apologies in advance for teams that are no longer together. I tried my best to remove them. I'm also not 100% sure about some of the junior teams and age-eligibility. Feel free to correct me!


AZE Zlobina/Sitnikov
CAN Edwards/Pang
CAN Gilles/Poirier
CAN Orford/Williams
CAN Paul/Islam
CAN Virtue/Moir
CAN Weaver/Poje
CZE Kubova/Kiselev (split)
FIN Karmi/Lindholm
FRA Carron/Jones
FRA Papadakis/Cizeron
FRA Pechalat/Bourzat
GER Koch/Nuchtern
GER Kolbe/Caruso
GER Zhiganshina/Gazsi
GBR Coomes/Buckland
HUN Nagy/Fejes
ITA Alessandrini/Vaturi
ITA Cappellini/LaNotte
ITA Guignard/Fabbri
ITA Sforza/Fioretti
JPN Reed/Reed
LTU Tobias/Stagniunas
RUS Bobrova/Soloviev
RUS Ilinykh/Katsalapov
RUS Korobkova/Gleichengauz (status?)
RUS Monko/Khaliavin
RUS Pushkash/Guerreiro
RUS Riazanova/Tkachenko
RUS Sinitsina/Zhiganshin
RUS Starygina/Volobuiev
RUS Stepanova/Bukin
RUS Yanovskaya/Mozgov
RUS Zenkova/Sinitsin
TUR Demirsal/Akalin
UKR Frolenkova/Nikiforov
UKR Heekin-Canedy/Dun
USA Aldridge/Eaton
USA Chock/Bates
USA Davis/White
USA Hubbell/Donohue
USA Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt
USA McNamara/Carpenter (not age-eligible)
USA Parsons/Parsons (not age-eligible)
USA Shibutani/Shibutani


23 maximum teams from 15 countries


AUT Geil/Eisenbauer
AUT Silna/Kurakin
AUT Smith/Eisenbauer (not age-eligible)
BLR Kavaliova/Bieliaiev
BLR Tkachenka/Gulitski (not age-eligible)
BLR Valadzenkava/Vakunov
BEL Abts/Buckens (not age-eligible)
BUL Chistiakova/Lichev
BUL Coward/Kenchadze
CZE Cejkova/Sinicyn
CZE Konickova/Lang
CZE Mysliveckova/Brown
CZE Prochazkova/Ceska
DEN Baadsgaard Snider/Dubrovski
EST Allik/Bellantuono
EST Shtork/Rand
FIN Aghai/Partanen
FIN Lindholm/Kanervo
FRA Battu/Poirot
FRA Boutary/Chantelauze
FRA Dufour/Scheuer (ages?)
FRA Elizabeth/Le Gac
FRA Gassoumi/Le Molaire
FRA Hetman/Allain
FRA Lafont/Etzol
FRA Leninger/Caurel
FRA Pousset/Thauron
FRA Rolls/Mallet (ages?)
FRA Rudchenko/Reggiani
FRA Zakhlyupna/Flemin (her age?)
GER Clarke/Dieck (ages?)
-GER Enderlein/Hilpert
GER Geiler/Miersch
GER Gorlov/Vishnjakov
GER Hauser/Lerche
GER Hermann/Hermann
GER Long/Linovic
GER Muller/Gerke
GER Rauthmann/Rauthmann
GER Rehfeldt/Preiss
GER Roscher/Gassner
GER Schiffner/Satalzki
GER Steffan/Steffan
GER Stepanova/Zenkner
GER Vogel/Martin
GER Wehner/Dieck
GBR Aiken/Whidborne
GBR Jones/Sharpe
GBR Smart/Buckland
GBR Walden/Edwards
GBR Zdravkova/Aiken
GRE Glastris/Lettner
HUN Merkwart/Lukacs
HUN Staudt/Staudt
HUN Turoczi/Major
ISR Bolshem/Zilberberg
ISR Reed/Rogov
ITA Bernardi/Mior
ITA Busi/Fabbri
ITA Buttani/Verdi
ITA Ghislandi/Ortenzi
ITA Tessari/Colafato
LAT Pecherkina/Jakushin
POL Kaliszek/Kaliszek
POL Plutowska/Gerber
POL Zajac/Zawadzki
POL Zvorigina/Bernadowski
RUS Baklanova/Bagin
RUS Dolgikh/Prachnov
RUS Evdokimova/Bazin
RUS Gorshkova/Butikov
RUS Khachaturian/Eremenko
RUS Kosigina/Moroshkin
RUS Lobova/Drozd
RUS Loseva/Lunin
RUS Morozova/Zhirnov
RUS Popova/Vlasenko
RUS Shpilavaya/Smirnov
RUS Simonova/Dragun
RUS Sosnitskaia/Karasev
RUS Verezemskaya/Vederov
RUS Voronkova/Trushkov
RUS Werner/Kudashev
SVK Testa/Csolley
ESP Hurtado/Diaz
ESP Robledo/Fenero
SUI Bausback/Rokachev
SUI Elsner/Roost
TUR Agofonova/Ucar
UKR Chiriyatyeva/Shevchenko
UKR Gaistruk/Olejnik
UKR Galyeta/Shumski
UKR Korotitskaia/Spodirev
UKR Nazarova/Nikitin
UKR Nosulia/Kholoniuk
UKR Smirnova/Maltsev


31 maximum entries from 24 countries

Lithuania and Azerbaijan both qualified two teams to the event but only one team has competed/met the criteria. Like with pairs, I am not sure on the status of some of the teams so this number might be lower. Last season, 31 teams competed.


AUS O'Brien/Merriman
CAN Bent/MacKeen
CAN Bruser/Lum (not age-eligible)
CAN Cyr/Brisebois Gaudreau
CAN Dalmer/Firus
CAN Harvey/Gagnon
CAN Hasegawa/Hasegawa
CAN Meng/Meng (not age-eligible)
CAN Poulin/Servant
CAN Ralph/Hill
CHN Huang/Zheng
CHN Yu/Wang
CHN Zhang/Wu
JPN Hirai/de la Asuncion
JPN Oi/Mizutani
KAZ Mansour/Zhunussov
KAZ Uzurova/Ali
MEX Bruhns/Van Natten
KOR Kim/Minov (not age-eligible)
USA Bonacorsi/Mager (split)
USA Cannuscio/McManus
USA Gamelin/Gamelin
USA Hawayek/Baker
USA Heritage/Fast
USA Lichtman/Copley (split)
USA Moore/Klaber
USA Pogrebinsky/Gudis (not age-eligible)
UZB Nagornyuk/Kovalenko

Entry list would be: AUS, CAN, CAN, CAN, CHN, CHN, CHN, JPN, JPN, JPN, KAZ, KAZ, MEX, USA, USA, USA, UZB

17 maximum entries from 8 countries

Like the situation at Europeans, I am not 100% sure about the status/age eligibility of all of these teams, so the number might be lower.

Ladies Technical Score Eligibility - Full Worlds, 4CC/Euros Lists

This is up-to-date information listing the ladies who have reached the ISU minimum scores for the World Championships and European Championships/Four Continents Championships.

Once again, I am not 100% certain about the ages/status of some skaters. If you see any errors, please comment and I will adjust!


CAN Kaetlyn Osmond
CHN Zijun Li
CHN Kexin Zhang
CHN Ziquan Zhao (not age-eligible)
EST Elena Glebova
EST Gerli Liinamae
FIN Kiira Korpi
FRA Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry
FRA Lena Marrocco
FRA Mae Berenice Meite
FRA Yretha Silete (out for the season)
GEO Elene Gedevanishvili
GER Nathalie Weinzierl
GBR Jenna McCorkell
ITA Carolina Kostner
ITA Valentina Marchei
JPN Mao Asada
JPN Rika Hongo
JPN Haruka Imai
JPN Satoko Miyahara (not age-eligible)
JPN Kanako Murakami
JPN Yuki Nishino
JPN Miyabi Oba
JPN Miu Sato
JPN Risa Shoji
JPN Akiko Suzuki
JPN Kato Tomotaki
KOR Hae Jin Kim
KOR So Youn Park (not age-eligible)
RUS Polina Agafonova
RUS Sofia Biryukova
RUS Evgenia Gerasimova (not age-eligible)
RUS Polina Korobeynikova
RUS Alena Leonova
RUS Julia Lipnitskaia (not age-eligible)
RUS Anna Pogorilaya (not age-eligible)
RUS Elena Radionova (not age-eligible)
RUS Polina Shelepen
RUS Adelina Sotnikova
RUS Maria Stavitskaia (not age-eligible)
RUS Uliana Titushkina (not age-eligible)
RUS Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
RUS Kristina Zaseeva
SWE Joshi Heglesson
SWE Viktoria Helgesson
SWE Isabelle Olsson
UKR Natalia Popova
USA Samantha Cesario
USA Alissa Czisny
USA Christina Gao
USA Gracie Gold
USA Leah Keiser (not age-eligible)
USA Vanessa Lam
USA Barbie Long
USA Hannah Miller
USA Mirai Nagasu
USA Ashley Wagner
USA Angela Wang
USA Agnes Zawadzki
USA Caroline Zhang


22 ladies maximum from 15 countries. 51 ladies were entered in 2012.

Georgia would not use the second spot that was earned because there are no other skaters competing internationally. Italy again suffers in this system, as only two ladies have met the technical minimums at this time, but three spots were earned.


AUT Kerstin Frank
AUT Victoria Huebler
AUT Belinda Schonberger
AUT Sabrina Schulz
BEL Isabelle Pieman
BEL Kaat Van Daele
BUL Anna Afonkina
CRO Mirna Libric
CZE Eliska Brezinova
CZE Elizaveta Ukolova (not age-eligible)
DEN Karina Johnson
DEN Anita Madsen
DEN Pernille Sorensen (not age-eligible)
EST Jasmine Alexandra Costa
EST Svetlana Issakova
FIN Liubov Efimenko (not age-eligible)
FIN Nelma Hede (age?)
FIN Henriikka Hietaniemi
FIN Rosaliina Kuparinen
FIN Alisa Mikonsaari
FIN Beata Papp
FIN Minna Parviainen
FIN Seidi Rantanen
FIN Jenni Saarinen (age?)
FIN Juulia Turkkila
FIN Nea Viiri
FIN Eveliina Viljanen
FRA Laurine Lecavelier
FRA Nadjma Mahamoud (not age-eligible)
FRA Carla Monzali (not age-eligible)
FRA Bahia Taleb
FRA Anais Ventard
GER Lutricia Bock (not age-eligible)
GER Isabel Drescher
GER Angelika Dubinski
GER Henriette Graszler
GER Minami Hanashiro (age?)
GER Sarah Hecken
GER Maria-Katharina Herceg (not age-eligible)
GER Sandy Hoffmann
GER Anneli Kawelke
GER Jennifer Parker
GER Annabelle Prolss (not age-eligible)
GER Nicole Schott
GER Anne Zetzsche
GER Katharina Zientek
GBR Amani Fancy (not age-eligible)
GBR Katie Powell
GBR Karly Robertson
GRE Isabella Schuster
HUN Ivett Toth (not age-eligible)
ITA Carol Bressanutti
ITA Sara Casella (not age-eligible)
ITA Micol Cristini
ITA Alice Garlisi
ITA Ilaria Nogaro
ITA Elettra Maria Olivotto
ITA Francesca Rio
ITA Roberta Rodeghiero
ITA Giada Russo
ITA Guia Maria Tagliapietra (age?)
LAT Alina Fjodorova
LTU Aleksandra Golovkina (not age-eligible)
LTU Inga Januleviciute
LUX Fleur Maxwell
NOR Anne Line Gjersem
NOR Camilla Gjersem
NOR Anine Rabe
POL Alexandra Kamieniecki (status?)
ROU Sabina Mariuta
RUS Maria Artemieva
RUS Ksenia Makarova
RUS Anna Ovcharova
RUS Arina Petrova (not age-eligible)
RUS Anna Shershak (not age-eligible)
SVK Alexandra Kunova
SVK Nicole Rajicova
SVK Monika Simancikova
SLO Nika Ceric
SLO Patricia Glescic
SLO Dasa Grm
ESP Marta Garcia
ESP Sonia Lafuente
SWE Rebecka Emanuelsson
SWE Gabriella Josefsson
SWE Linnea Mellgren
SWE Josefine Taljegard
SUI Romy Buhler
SUI Matilde Gianocca (age?)
SUI Nicole Graf
SUI Myriam Leuenberger
SUI Laure Nicodet (not age-eligible)
SUI Tanja Odermatt
SUI Tina Steurzinger
SUI Yasmine Kimiko Yamada (not age-eligible)
TUR Sila Saygi


Georgia would again not use a second spot because there are no other skaters competing internationally from the country.

35 ladies maximum from 28 countries

This is the first instance of a field having the potential to remain close to the same as it was before. In 2012, there were 41 entries.


AUS Brooklee Han
AUS Chantelle Kerry
BRA Isodora Williams
CAN Kate Charbonneau
CAN Alaine Chartrand
CAN Gabrielle Daleman (not age-eligible)
CAN Adriana DeSanctis
CAN Amelie Lacoste
CAN Alexandra Najarro
CAN Natasha Purich
CAN Julianne Seguin
CHN Bingwa Geng (not on National Championship roster.. status?)
CHN Ziaowen Guo (not age-eligible)
CHN Jialei Wang
CHN Ying Zhang (not age-eligible)
CHN Qiuying Zhu
TPE Melinda Wang
JPN Yukiko Fujisawa
JPN Shoko Ishikawa
JPN Hinano Isobe (not age-eligible)
JPN Shion Kokubun
JPN Yura Matsuda (not age-eligible)
JPN Mayako Matsuno (not age-eligible)
JPN Kana Muramoto
JPN Yuka Nagai (not age-eligible)
JPN Haruna Suzuki
MEX Reyna Hamui
PHI Alisson Krystle Perticheto (not age-eligible)
PUR Victoria Muniz
KOR Kyung Ah Cho (not age-eligible)
KOR Hwi Choi (not age-eligible)
KOR Kyueun Kim (age?)
KOR Min-Jeong Kwak
KOR Kyeongwon Park (not age-eligible)
KOR Yeon Jun Park
KOR Chae-Yeon Suhr
USA Kiri Baga
USA Jordan Bauth (not age-eligible)
USA Mariah Bell
USA Ashley Cain
USA McKinzie Daniels (has not competed in 2013 season)
USA Rachael Flatt (taking the season off)
USA Joelle Forte
USA Courtney Hicks
USA Katarina Kulgeyko (has not competed in 2013 season)
USA Yasmin Siraj


21 ladies maximum from 10 countries

Pairs Technical Score Eligibility - Full Worlds, 4CC/Euros Lists

This is up-to-date information listing the pairs skaters who have reached the ISU minimum scores for the World Championships and European Championships/Four Continents Championships.

Apologies in advance for teams that are no longer together. I tried my best to remove them. I'm also not 100% sure about some of the junior teams and age-eligibility. Feel free to correct me!


CAN Dube/Wolfe
CAN Duhamel/Radford
CAN Jones/Beharry
CAN Lawrence/Swiegers
CAN Moore-Towers/Moscovitch
CHN Pang/Tong
CHN Peng/Zhang
CHN Sui/Han
CHN Yu/Jin
FRA James/Cipres
FRA Popova/Massot
GER Hausch/Wende
GER Savchenko/Szolkowy
GER Vartmann/Van Cleave
ITA Berton/Hotarek
JPN Takahashi/Tran (out for season?)
RUS Bazarova/Larionov
RUS Fedorova/Miroshkin (not age-eligible)
RUS Gerboldt/Enbert
RUS Kavaguti/Smirnov
RUS Martiusheva/Rogonov
RUS Petaikina/Kurdyukov (split)
RUS Stolbova/Klimov
RUS Tarasova/Morozov
RUS Volosozhar/Trankov
USA Castelli/Shnapir
USA Denney/Coughlin (out for season?)
USA Scimeca/Knierim

Entry list would be: CAN, CAN, CHN, CHN, CHN, FRA, GER, GER, ITA, RUS, RUS, RUS, USA, USA

15 pairs maximum from 7 countries

Italy would only be able to send one team although two are qualified. I think Takahashi/Tran might be out for the season so there's no Japan entry even though they technically qualified two.

In addition, all skaters above have qualified for Europeans or Four Continents, plus the following pairs.


AUT Martini/Kiefer
BLR Bakirova/Kamianchuk (split)
CZE Herbrikova/Halmaert (split)
CZE Kadlecova/Bidar (split)
EST Zabijako/Kulbach
FRA Letscher/Patlasov
FRA Mendoza/Boyadji
GER Bauer/Seegert
GER Gierok/Just (split)
GER Prolss/Blommaert (not age-eligible)
GBR Kemp/King
ISR Montalbano/Krasnopolski (unlikely due to Montalbano broken leg)
ITA Della Monica/Guarise
ITA Gillespie/Dematte
ITA Manacorda/Macii (not age-eligible)
POL Klatka/Chruscinski
POL Lech/Tyc
POL Malinkiewicz/Lofek (not age-eligible)
RUS Cherniavskaya/Laudelino (ages?)
RUS Davankova/Deputat (not age-eligible)
RUS Gainetdinova/Bich (not age-eligible)
RUS Grechukhina/Filonov (not age-eligible)
RUS Kuklina/Petukhov
RUS Novik/Novoselov
RUS Tudvaseva/Lisiev (not age-eligible)
RUS Vigalova/Zakroev (not age-eligible)
SWE Roll/Forsgren
SUI Morais/Leeman (split)
UKR Lavrentieva/Rudyk (not age-eligible)

Entry List would be: AUT, EST, FRA, FRA, GER, GER, GER, GBR, ITA, ITA, POL, RUS, RUS, RUS, SWE

15 teams maximum from 9 countries

Belarus and Great Britain have two entries but would only be able to send one team. I'm not sure of the status of some of the other teams, though.


CAN Bell/Sylveser
CAN Purdy/Marinaro
CAN Purich/Arcieri
CAN Steele/Schultz (split)
CHN Dong/Wu (status?)
CHN Li/Jiang (not age-eligible)
CHN Wang/Zhang
CHN Zhang/Wang (split)
USA Aaron/Settlage
USA Calalang/Sidhu
USA Davis/Ladwig
USA Denney/Frazier
USA Donlan/Speroff
USA Oltmanns/Santillan
USA Pfund/Reiss (not age-eligible)
USA Simpson/Blackmer
USA Vise/Baldwin
USA Zhang/Bartholomay

Entry List would be: CAN, CAN, CAN, CHN, CHN, CHN, USA, USA, USA

9 teams maximum from 3 countries (if Takahashi/Tran are out for the season)

Same as always here.

Mens Technical Score Eligibility - Full Worlds, 4CC/Euros Lists

This is up-to-date information listing the male skaters who have reached the ISU minimum scores for the World Championships and European Championships/Four Continents Championships.


BEL Jorik Hendrickx (questionable for Euros because of broken ankle)
BEL Kevin Van der Perren (no longer competing)
CAN Patrick Chan
CAN Kevin Reynolds
CAN Andrei Rogozine
CHN Boyang Jin (not age-eligible)
CHN Nan Song
CHN Han Yan
CZE Michal Brezina
CZE Tomas Verner
FRA Florent Amodio
FRA Chafik Besseghier
FRA Brian Joubert
GER Peter Liebers
GER Franz Streubel
ITA Paolo Bacchini
ITA Samuel Contesti (no longer competing)
JPN Yuzuru Hanyu
JPN Ryuju Hino
JPN Takahiko Kozuka
JPN Tatsuki Machida
JPN Takahito Mura
JPN Daisuke Murakami
JPN Kento Nakamura
JPN Nobunari Oda
JPN Daisuke Takahashi
JPN Keiji Tanaka
KAZ Denis Ten
POL Maciej Cieplucha
ROU Zoltan Kelemen
RUS Ivan Bariev
RUS Zhan Bush
RUS Artur Dmitriev
RUS Artur Gachinski
RUS Maxim Kovtun
RUS Konstantin Menshov
RUS Evgeny Plushenko
RUS Sergei Voronov
ESP Javier Fernandez
SWE Alexander Majorov
USA Max Aaron
USA Jeremy Abbott
USA Jason Brown
USA Stephen Carriere
USA Nathan Chen (not age-eligible)
USA Richard Dornbush
USA Joshua Farris
USA Armin Mahbanoozadeh
USA Keegan Messing
USA Ross Miner
USA Douglas Razzano
USA Adam Rippon
UZB Misha Ge


24 men maximum from 16 countries

Kazakhstan, Spain, and Italy would all have to give up the second entries earned in 2012.

In addition, all skaters above have qualified for Europeans or Four Continents, plus the following skaters.


AUT Mario-Rafael Ionian
AUT Manuel Koll
AUT Viktor Pfeifer
BLR Pavel Ignatenko
BLR Vitali Luchanok
BIH Damjan Ostojic (retired)
BUL Manol Atanassov
CZE Petr Coufal
CZE Pavel Kaska
CZE Tomas Kupka
DEN Justus Strid
EST Viktor Romanenkov
FIN Julian Lagus
FIN Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari (no longer competing?)
FIN Matthias Versluis
FIN Valtter Virtanen
FRA Alexi Dalrymple (age?)
FRA Simon Hocquaux
FRA Timofei Novaikin
FRA Noel Antoine Pierre
FRA Romain Ponsart
FRA Charles Tetar
GER Ivan Aldinger
GER Christopher Berneck
GER Paul Fentz
GER Martin Rappe
GER Niko Ulanovsky
GER Denis Wieczorek
GBR Peter James Hallam
GBR Phillip Harris
GBR Harry Mattick
GBR Jack Newberry
GBR Jason Thompson (status? not competing at Nationals)
ISR Alexei Bychenko
ITA Saverio Giacomelli
ITA Paul Bonifacio Parkinson
ITA Maurizio Zandron
MON Kim Lucine
POL Patrick Myzyk
RUS Artem Borodulin
RUS Feodosiy Efremenkov
RUS Gordei Gorshkov
RUS Artem Grigoriev
RUS Mikhail Kolyada
RUS Andrei Lazukin (not age-eligible)
RUS Artem Lezheev (age?)
RUS Alexander Petrov (not age-eligible)
RUS Adian Pitkeev (not age-eligible)
RUS Alexander Samarin (not age-eligible)
RUS Vladislav Sesganov
RUS Mark Shakhmatov
RUS Vladislav Tarasenko
RUS Ivan Tretiakov
RUS Andrei Zuber (not age-eligible)
ESP Javier Raya
SWE Michael Neuman
SWE Adrian Schultheiss (not competing at National Championship.. injured)
SWE Ondrej Spiegl
SUI Laurent Alvarez
SUI Nicolas Dubois
SUI Mikael Redin
SUI Stephane Walker
TUR Osman Akgun
TUR Ali Demirboga
UKR Yakov Godorozha
UKR Dmitri Ignatenko
UKR Ivan Pavlov (not age-eligible)
UKR Stanislav Pertsov


30 Men maximum from 22 countries

Belgium, for now, would not be able to send a second man even though the spot was earned in 2012. Armenia and Hungary had representatives last season but no skater to this point has reached the minimum scores.


AUS Brendan Kerry
AUS David Kranjec
BRA Luiz Manella
CAN Samuel Angers
CAN Elladj Balde
CAN Liam Firus
CAN Mitchell Gordon
CAN Samuel Morais
CAN Nam Nguyen (not age-eligible)
CAN Roman Sadovsky (not age-eligible)
CAN Jeremy Ten
CHN Jinlin Guan
CHN Yuhang Guan
CHN Jiaxing Liu
CHN Yi Wang
CHN Jialiang Wu
CHN He Zhang (has not competed this season.. injury?)
TPE Jordan Ju
TPE Chih-I Tsao (not age-eligible)
HKG Ronald Lam
JPN Taichi Honda
JPN Sei Kawahara
JPN Ryuichi Kihara
JPN Shu Nakamura
JPN Yoji Tsuboi
JPN Shoma Uno (not age-eligible)
KAZ Azbal Rakimgaliev
PHI Christopher Caluza
PHI Michael Christian Martinez 
KOR Alex Kang Chan Kam
KOR Ji Seo Kim
KOR Min-Seok Kim
KOR Dong-Won Lee
KOR June Hyoung Lee
USA Jonathan Cassar
USA Timothy Dolensky
USA Grant Hochstein
USA Brandon Mroz
USA Shotaro Omori
USA David Wang (has not competed in 2013 season)
USA Philip Warren
USA Johnny Weir
USA Jay Yostanto

For the first time in Four Continents history, the three entries per country rule would not apply.


25 men maximum from 12 countries

Wednesday, November 14

Worlds Qualifying Spots: Will They Remain Unused? And Other Questions

Misha Ge posted earlier that his Federation notified him that he is one of only 21 men who would be competing at the World Championships as of now, if the ISU minimum technical scores for both programs are not modified prior to the event.

This got me analyzing all of the protocols from the 2011/2012 season and the completed events in the current season.

Here's where we stand for the men as far as countries with multiple entries to the 2013 World Championships:

Canada - 3 Spots
The only skaters eligible at this point are Patrick Chan, Kevin Reynolds, and Andrei Rogozine.

France - 3 Spots
The only skaters eligible at this point are Florent Amodio, Brian Joubert, and Chafik Besseghier.

Czech Republic - 2 Spots
The only skaters eligible at this point are Michal Brezina and Tomas Verner.

Kazakhstan - 2 Spots
The only skater eligible at this point is Denis Ten, meaning there could be one spot unused.

Spain - 2 Spots
The only skater eligible at this point is Javier Fernandez, meaning there could be one spot unused. Javier Raya, the second entry at Worlds 2012, has the SP minimum technical score, but not the LP.

Italy - 2 Spots
No one has achieved the minimum score. Paolo Bacchini has the SP minimum technical score, but not the LP.

Japan - 3 Spots; USA - 2 Spots
Both countries have plenty of skaters who have fulfilled the requirements. Even Russia - 1 Spot has at least seven skaters eligible.

Countries like Sweden and Romania have more than one senior man that will compete at Nationals, but only one is eligible for the World Championships at this point.

Now, this brings up some questions for me.

What is the point of a National Championship in a situation like Canada, France, and the Czech Republic have right now? Let's take Canada, for example. Say that a different skater without the technical requirements ends up on the podium, and that Rogozine finishes-- 8th. The skater on the podium would have a chance or two following Nationals to reach the minimum score (Four Continents, maybe another senior international), but if they don't achieve it, it's basically telling Rogozine that he could have done whatever he wanted at Nationals and still ended up at Worlds. I actually like Andrei, by the way, so this is really just an example :-)

Second- look at the spots that would be unused if the World Championships happened today. Kazakhstan would drop an earned spot, as would Spain. Italy, at this point, would lose both spots that were earned by Samuel Contesti in 2012! Should there be some kind of rule that guarantees skaters who have other skaters earn spots for the country a ticket to Worlds? Or is that just making the stronger countries even stronger while leaving out lesser-established skating countries? I lean towards the latter in that situation.

Third. If the World Championships are being geared more towards the 'best of the best' by establishing scoring minimums to be eligible, should the whole 'spots by country' situation be dropped in order to bring in a true championship with all of the top skaters, regardless of how many of them might come from Japan or the United States? If so, what would the cut-off for entries be then?

There's one thing for sure with these new minimums-- it seems to keep shutting out the lesser-developed countries from getting to the biggest events. In turn, the most points in the ISU World Standings and Season Rankings are not available. What does that cycle into? The next season, Grand Prix assignments won't be an option for these countries. Don't get me wrong. Sometimes when I watched the 50+ entry short programs at Worlds and saw skaters near the bottom attempting nothing more difficult than double jumps, I got a little bit bored. I know it is costly for the ISU and that is why they had to start cracking down, but I think they made these minimum requirements a little too strict.

For what it's worth (and as I mentioned in the beginning), currently, only 21 men would be competing in the short program at the World Championships. Last season, there were 45 who started the competition.

The strong keep getting stronger and the weak are just going to disappear in this system, I'm afraid.

Pairs and Grand Prix Final: Canada Sends Two Teams?

Following the withdrawal today of German team Savchenko/Szolkowy from Trophee Eric Bompard, it seems much clearer as to which six pair teams will qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

Trophee Eric Bompard

Duhamel/Radford (CAN) and Kavaguti/Smirnov (RUS) should go 1-2 in either order barring complete disaster. Either way, a top two for finish for each team guarantees them a spot in the Final. Stolbova/Klimov (RUS) and Berton/Hotarek (ITA) look to battle for bronze. Both teams already have a bronze medal from their earlier events.

NHK Trophy

In a much depleted event, Bazarova/Larionov (RUS) and Moore-Towers/Moscovitch (CAN) are the front-runners. If The Russians and Canadians go one-two in this event (as I project they will in France) both teams will also qualify here. The Canadians, with a silver, would win the tie-breaker on a likely three-way tie of teams at 22 points.

My Projection for the Final:

Volosozhar/Trankov (RUS)
Bazarova/Larionov (RUS)
Pang/Tong (CHN)
Duhamel/Radford (CAN)
Kavaguti/Smirnov (RUS)
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch (CAN)

Denney/Coughlin (USA)
and then whichever of Stolbova/Klimov (RUS) and Berton/Hotarek (ITA) finishes higher in France.

Alissa Czisny Out of NHK Trophy; Will Osmond Get Another Event?

Surprising said no one that Alissa Czisny has withdrawn from the NHK Trophy after trying to recover from injuries following the end of last season. However, since her withdrawal comes just 9 days before the event, there is no requirement for the ISU to replace her with another lady.

Kaetlyn Osmond, winner of Skate Canada, would likely only need a top five finish in Japan to qualify herself as a surprising Grand Prix Final participant. She is one of five ladies that are 'next in line' as substitutes, but she would also face off against home country skaters Akiko Suzuki and Mao Asada, who are also looking to earn their ticket to the Final.

Savchenko/Szolkowy Officially Out of France; Pairs Season Full of Withdrawals

As expected, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy have withdrawn from Trophee Eric Bompard due to an illness she has been fighting.

I've been following the Grand Prix since the very first season it was in place (1995-1996), and I cannot remember another year where there have been so many withdrawals/splits as there have been with the pairs (and even ladies) in 2012. The ISU is to the point now where there are no other pair teams within the World Standings/Seasons Best or minimum score who are even eligible to skate on the Grand Prix!

Let's look at all of the changes since the initial rosters were published in May:

Skate America

Dube/Wolfe CAN ---> Montalbano/Krasnopolsky ISR
Pang/Tong CHN
James/Cipres FRA
Kemp/King GBR
Volosozhar/Trankov RUS
Denney/Coughlin USA
Donlan/Speroff USA
USA TBD ---> Castelli/Shnapir USA

Skate Canada

Duhamel/Radford CAN
Lawrence/Swiegers CAN
CAN TBD ---> Popova/Massot FRA
Savchenko/Szolkowy GER
Berton/Hotarek ITA
Gerboldt/Enbert RUS ---> Kemp/King GBR
Marley/Brubaker USA ---> Davis/Ladwig USA
Vise/Baldwin USA

Cup of China

Moore-Towers/Moscovitch CAN
Pang/Tong CHN
Peng/Zhang CHN
Sui/Han CHN ---> Wang/Zhang CHN
Takahashi/Tran JPN
Kavaguti/Smirnov RUS
Stolbova/Klimov RUS
Yankowskas/Reagan USA

Rostelecom Cup

Dube/Wolfe CAN ---> Della Monica/Guarise ITA
Lawrence/Swiegers CAN
Hausch/Wende GER ---> Vise/Baldwin USA
Vartmann/Van Cleave GER ---> Montalbano/Kransopolsky ISR
Bazarova/Larionov RUS
Volosozhar/Trankov RUS
RUS TBD ---> Martyusheva/Rogonov RUS
Denney/Coughlin USA

Trophee Eric Bompard

Duhamel/Radford CAN
Peng/Zhang CHN
Popova/Massot FRA
FRA TBD ---> James/Cipres FRA
Savchenko/Szolkowy GER
Berton/Hotarek ITA
Kavaguti/Smirnov RUS
Stolbova/Klimov RUS

NHK Trophy

Moore-Towers/Moscovitch CAN
Sui/Han CHN ---> Della Monica/Guarise ITA
Vartmann/Van Cleave GER
Takahashi/Tran JPN ---> Martyusheva/Rogonov RUS
Bazarova/Larionov RUS
Castelli/Shnapir USA
Davis/Ladwig USA
Marley/Brubaker USA ---> Yankowskas/Reagan USA ---> Scimeca/Knierim USA

Tuesday, November 13

Just How Much has IJS Changed? 2005 vs. Now: Stephane Lambiel

1Stephane LAMBIELSUI144.1867.3276.867.757.577.687.687.750.00#23

There is the box score for Stephane Lambiel, who won the free skate and the gold medal at the 2005 World Championships-- the first Worlds where the IJS was used. Let's look at his result detail and see just how much the GOE and levels have changed, and what he would score if the 2012 handbook was in play back then. I kept all of the jumps the same, and very briefly checked his spins/footwork to see which level they would likely be called in the current day rules. Adjustments are noted.

To watch the program, click on this link (embedding is disabled for both videos I found on YouTube):

Click to enlarge. Sorry it's small in the preview.

Element by element:

1A - Now has a base value of 1.1, while it was previously 0.8. Since he received a 0 GOE for the element, he has +0.3 points in 2012.

4T+3T - Base value is now 14.4, while it was previously 13.0. GOE was the same +1.00, +2.00, +3.00 as it is now on quads. Stephane would earn 15.26 points for this element, compared to the 13.86 in 2005. He earns +1.4 points in 2012.

3Lo - 5.1 base value currently, previously 5.0. He received +.57 GOE for the element. However, The GOE for triple jumps in 2005 was +1.00, +2.00, +3.00 (same as quads). Currently, it is +0.70, +1.40, +2.10 (aside from triple Axel). Converting .57 to the current system, and he earns .40 for the element, giving him a total of 5.5. He loses -0.07 points in 2012.

2A - 3.3 base value both in 2012 and in 2005. This jump also followed the +1.00, +2.00, +3.00 GOE in 2005, but now follows +0.50, +1.00, +1.50. Converting 1.00 to the current system, and he earns .50 for the element, giving him a total of 3.8. He loses -0.50 points in 2012.

CCoSp2 - Back then, there were only three levels for spins. There are now five if you count the basic (0) level that was added this season. The level 2 currently has a 2.5 base value, compared to 3.0 in 2005. I would keep him at a level 2 under the latest rules. The same +0.50, +1.00, +1.50 was used then and now. He earns 3.50 points in 2012, meaning he loses -0.50 points.

(Half-way point had the same 1.1 bonus for later jumps)

4T - After bonus, the base value is currently 11.33, compared to 9.9 in 2005. A 1.43 GOE stays consistent between seasons and he would end up with 12.76 points. He earns +1.43 points in 2012.

2Lz/3T has a current base value of 6.82 points after bonus; in 2005, it was 6.5 points. A +0.14 GOE in 2012 would convert to +0.10, giving him 6.92 points for the element. He earns +0.28 points in 2012.

The FCSSp2 (base value 2.0) in 2005 would most likely be called a FCSSp3 (base value 2.6) in 2012. With a +0.50 GOE, he would earn 3.1 points in 2012, earning +0.60 points overall on the element.

The CiSt2 in 2005 (3.1 points) would be a StSq2 (2.6 points) in 2012. He earned +0.14 GOE on the element. Overall, his score of 2.74 points in 2012 would be -0.50 points lower.

1F was worth 0.6 after bonus in 2005. Currently it is worth 0.55. He would lose -0.05 points in 2012.

FCSp1 in 2005 was worth 2.0 points in 2005. Currently, it starts at 1.9 points. +0.14 on the element gives him 2.04 points in 2012, which is -0.10 points lower.

The second step sequence in 2005, which was called a SlSt1 (2.0 points), would now be the choreographic sequence, and it starts at 2.0 points as well. The 2005 version used a +0.50, +1.00, +1.50 GOE, while the 2012 version uses a +0.70, +1.40, +2.10 sequence. After converting, 0.41 would be added to the base in 2012, for 2.41 points. +0.12 points would be earned here.

3S/2T was 6.4 points after bonus in 2005. It is now 6.05 points. It would earn +.20 points factoring the current-day GOE system, so he would earn 6.25 points in 2012. Compare that to the 6.69 in 2005, and he would lose -0.44 points in 2012.

Another new rule from a few seasons ago was to drop a fourth spin in the programs. While Lambiel earned 3.36 points for his final CCoSp1 in 2005, it would not be scored in 2012. He loses -3.36 points from his score because of this.

Overall, this is how the numbers shape up:

2005: TES- 67.32; PCS- 76.86 = TOTAL- 144.18
2012: TES- 65.93; PCS- 76.86 = TOTAL- 142.79

Even with the removal of the final spin and changes in values to almost every other element, the difference in overall score is 1.39 points less in 2012.

Now, other things to consider: who is to say that Lambiel wouldn't have adjusted levels, added a third jump to one combination, changed his spins around so that the one earning 3.36 wouldn't be lost, etc. etc? Also, GOE for some elements and the criteria to get +2 and +3 has become somewhat easier as IJS has evolved. Those are all hypotheticals, sure, but I tried to keep this as straight-forward as possible. I will score more World Championship performances in the coming weeks if this gains enough interest.

Weir Out of Trophee Eric Bompard; Savchenko/Szolkowy Questionable

Johnny Weir, coming off a withdrawal from the Rostelecom Cup this previous weekend, has also withdrawn from his second Grand Prix assignment at Trophee Eric Bompard. The event begins Friday.

Skate Canada winners and three-time World Champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy are also questionable for the event, as she is fighting illness. They will reach a decision tomorrow.

It is unlikely that Weir or the Germans would be replaced, and Savchenko/Szolkowy would miss the Grand Prix Final in Sochi.

Monday, November 12

Let's Play a Game: Guess What She Said?!

First, enjoy the short program by Vladimir Kotin from the 1988 Olympics if you'd like. He had a charismatic and expressive style to his skating that was very much different from most of the other Soviet skaters of the time.

However, for a good laugh, fast forward to about 3:20 and watch Elena Tchaikovskaya (who, with Kotin, coached Maria Butyrskaya to the 1999 World Championship) say something to the rink volunteer and then move past her, and watch the woman's face. PRICELESS.

So, what do you think Tchaikovskaya said in her deep Russian accent? :)

American Skaters Added to NHK Trophy Roster

Mirai Nagasu and the pair of Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim were both added to the roster of the final Grand Prix stop, the NHK Trophy. Nagasu competed at Cup of China and finished in 4th place, and remained the only lady in the ISU-published top 24 Seasons Best scores from last season to not have a second event. Scimeca and Knierim won the Cup of Nice competition a few weeks ago, posting an impressive 59.01 points in the short program and besting Cup of China bronze medalists Stolbova and Klimov.

Nagasu replaces Russian Polina Shelepen.

Kaetlyn Osmond, winner of Skate Canada, looks to be stuck at 15 points in the Grand Prix series this season. Her only possibility at a second event would be to replace another lady at NHK Trophy, and the withdrawal would have to happen in the next 4 days.

Sunday, November 11

Does It Get Any Better? Patrick Chan

Alright, besides the single toe as the latter part of the combo, does it get any better? I'm in love with Patrick Chan's short program this season to Elegie. The effortless skating, the way he uses his entire body, the transitional footwork throughout the program (particularly down the length of the ice following the first combo), the actual footwork sequence-- everything. Really remarkable.

Watch from 1:30 to 1:42 alone. Even though it's the same set of steps repeated, it's more transitional content than many other skaters in this very competition had in their entire programs, and that's just the beginning.

Other Skating Tidbits from the Weekend

The 2012 Ice Challenge took place in Graz, Austria this weekend. Jenna McCorkell of Great Britain, now 26 years old, took the ladies' gold medal (her second of the year, also winning Nepela) with personal best scores in both segments of the competition. She competes at Trophee Eric Bompard next weekend. Isabelle Olsson of Sweden was second and Monika Simancikova of Slovakia won bronze.

Peter Liebers of Germany pulled up from fourth in the short program to win the mens title, followed by Americans Douglas Razzano and Armin Mahbanoozadeh. Liebers scored a personal-best 142.73 points in the free skate.

American teams won gold in pairs and dance. Castelli and Shnapir won the pair gold medal by over 40 points. They will be at NHK Trophy in two weeks. Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt won dance gold easily, as well. Interesting note that the second-place team, Mysliveckova and Brown, finished all the way down in tenth place in the free dance. The difference between second and tenth for the segment was just 3.00 points, which allowed them to hold on for silver based on the strength of their short dance.

The three US Sectional Championships all take place this holiday weekend. The Midwestern Sectional is literally five minutes from where I grew up, but I'm not going to be in attendance. These competitions will finalize the rosters for the 2013 US National Championships.

Here's an interview with Johnny Weir following his withdrawal from Rostelecom Cup. He still sounds optimistic for Trophee Bompard, even though it starts in five days.

Former European Champion Julia Sebestyen, of Hungary, was recently married. Here are some photos from her Facebook of the special day.

Rostelecom Cup - Mens Free Skate

Patrick Chan is just amazing, whether people want to see it or not. His short program, in my opinion, could have been marked even higher components-wise than it was. It's a masterpiece, whether clean or not, and when you compare it to some of the other programs that we saw here, it's infinitely more complex and packed with movements between the jumps. The free skate continues that trend, although I'm not as in love with it yet. He's really addressed his facial expressions and overall understanding of the music this year. If you listen closely when he's skating, you can constantly hear the 'crunching' sound of the ice as he works his edges. They are deep, powerful, and gain speed almost instantly. A few instances of doubling jumps here, but so much better than his previous two competitions. I'm not even a hardcore fan, but I really, really respect how much he pushes himself in his programs and just how far ahead he is of many other skaters.

Takahiko Kozuka is just so traditional in his movements. I say it just about every time I review his skating, but I really could watch him all day. Good for him for attempting two quads at the beginning of his free skate, but it seemed like on this day, having trouble with both made him a little lifeless and 'heavy' with the rest of the program. I always enjoy his choreography but he seemed much more into the program in his first event. US commentators mention that his dad competed at the Olympics in 1968 in figure skating. Did anyone know this? I believe it's the first I heard it. Anyways, both he and Chan earned a ticket to the Grand Prix Final here, joining Tatsuki Machida as the three qualifiers so far.

Michal Brezina is having problems with the quad this year but still has one of the most beautiful triple Axel jumps that I have ever seen. While I wasn't initially thrilled that he retained his Untouchables/Deadmaus free skate, I think it's a whole lot better than the disaster of a short program he has (see my components scoring post for an idea of just how much I don't like it). Spins still need work but I keep seeing slight improvements in them. Remember at Skate America I suggested that if I was his coach, I'd put ALL of his spin elements during the slow section of the program. He loses all of his energy with this free skate during the jump elements towards the end and then the spins and footwork are somewhat lifeless. If he can get those quad Salchows together (or even one of them), he's going to score huge. For now, I still think his components are really generous.

Konstantin Menshov gets all my respect for having the best results of his life this year, and he's 29 years old. He's really making a case, in my opinion, to be the lone entry to Worlds this year from Russia (if Plushenko does not compete), and that comes with added pressure to get more than one spot for Sochi in 2014. The quad toe loops are just SO easy for him, it's insane (and he's 7 for 9 with the attempts internationally this year-- the two he missed were just tripled). Components still entirely too high. 8 and 8.25 for skating skills? 7.50-8 from some judges for transitions? We are watching different programs. The crowd really got behind him here, but he still could improve in all areas aside from the jumps. The doubled triple toe at the end cost him the bronze medal, as he lost out to Brezina by under a point.

Artur Gachinski's movements and his facial expressions tell two different stories to me. I see a lot of flamboyance and confidence in his choreography (very typical Russian arm movements), but his face seems really reserved and almost shy. Even though he skated very well in 2011 to win the World bronze medal, I think it was way too much too soon. His overall skating quality isn't anywhere near the level of many men and the choreography is just too much upper body with nothing much going on with his feet besides basic crossovers. Components all-around were way too high for all of the Russian men here, in my opinion. Three triples in the program and the quads didn't work. I see potential in him, but skating under Mishin isn't going to get him top results unless he's absolutely perfect. I'd like to see him skating a more traditional, slower program that really makes him hold out his moves.

Nobunari Oda, even with the second-best free skate, was only able to move up to fifth place overall after his disappointing short program. He will not qualify for the Grand Prix Final, and likely has an uphill battle in his own country at Nationals; Hanyu and Takahashi still have great shots at also making the Grand Prix Final.

Johnny Weir withdrew after finishing last in the short. He said, "I don't want people thinking that the withdrawal from this competition means that it's the end of my career." I haven't heard yet if he's going to try to skate at Trophee Eric Bompard next week.

Rostelecom Cup - Ladies Free Skate

Kiira Korpi has never made the Grand Prix Final until now. She landed a tight triple Lutz and a triple flip (although on the outside edge) here which is a big step for her. The loop, on the other hand, is usually one of her most solid jumps but she doubled one and fell on the second this time. Everyone seems to want her to do well (especially the judges!) but I feel myself rotating between loving her to being completely bored with her from season to season. This year is a one where I really enjoy her programs. A well-deserved win and the end of this Once Upon a Time in America program is beautifully choreographed.

I liked Gracie Gold's free skate much more than her short program. I still think looks a little junior with her appearance and choreography, though. Two triple flips in the free skate, I'm not sure if that's the best tactic. They are on outside edges, and combined with the two triple Lutzes she does, she's essentially doing four triple Lutzes here. The flips, even when clean get majority -1's and -2's. This program was really hit-and-miss with the jumps and I'm actually surprised she was as close to Korpi in components as she was. Clean up the entry edge on the flip and she would have won here.

Agnes Zawadzki has such big jumps, and many of them come with very minimal preparation. The program doesn't really do much for me, though. I don't think I've ever been blown away by a Rhapsody in Blue program, though, so it's probably just personal preference. While it seems to have nice pacing, seven of her first eight elements are all of the jump elements with a layback spin thrown in the middle. As I'll mention with Sotnikova, a lot of ladies go this route, but I'd like to see more variety. Definitely a big improvement with her posture and speed, but I much prefer the short program.

Kanako Murakami has strong and crisp choreography-- nice pacing and the jumps are placed well. Footwork in both sequences goes with the music very well. I really enjoy this program and I think it works well for her. As she gets more familiar with it, I think that she will be able to let loose a bit more in the beginning. Here, it was a little tight until the middle section. Things to work on are still her posture and the way she bends forward so much at her waist, and also stretching out the camel spin more. She lost at least 3.5 or so points here by not including an Axel-type jump in her program. The triple toe she did as jump-element seven did not count. She also lost points by not including a second jump on the end of her latter triple flip, as the first one was not done in combination or sequence, either. Sad to say that those technical mistakes were enough to keep her off the podium (.27 away from bronze). It might also be the difference between a ticket to the Grand Prix Final and just missing it.

Adelina Sotnikova, in my mind, is still the one to watch from Russia even with her disappointing showing here and most likely missing out at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi. I wasn't really into this program at Skate America and I'm keeping my opinion here. She's definitely grown in the last year and I feel like her jumps all start to learn immediately after getting off the ice. I am not a fan of the way the jumps are laid out in the program, either. Like many other skaters, there are three in the beginning and then four all in a row right around the half-way point. She has fun with the latter part of the program and Christina Aguilera's wailing, but it just makes the program seem twice as long as it is.

It still amazes me whenever I hear Alena Leonova's age-- still just 21! She's interesting in the sense that there seem to be two extremes for her: either very intently focusing on the choreography and keeping a total stone face, or completely over-doing it with the facial expressions. Really, is there ever any emotion in the middle? I like the program better than last seasons free skate but she just doesn't seem to be feeling it as much this year. I like the moves in the field sequence towards the end, and to her credit, the elements are spread out much better than with Sotnikova's program. For a Morozov effort, I actually somewhat like it. The only jump element that received positive grade of execution was the final 2Axel/2toe combo. Also, to the technical panels credit, they completely downgraded the double toe on the end of her triple flip-- as it was a complete toe-Axel (taking off forwards). It's so weird how that happens with some jumps but with others (3toe/3toe, for example) there's no sign of pre-rotation.

Around the Internet

I always thought Takahiko Kozuka's 2010 short program to Bold as Love by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was the result of very talented music editing, and then I came across this today..

Repeat for hours.