Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 US Nationals: Ladies SP

Thanks to the 3-hour time difference between here and Spokane, as well as the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the agonizingly long resurfacing breaks, I wasn't able to stay around Rafael's computer (seeing as, despite my interest, I would never actually buy IceNetwork) long enough to watch Emily Hughes' and Ashley Wagner's SPs (although I did end up staying up late enough, but my weird lack of nighttime management is another story).

But before I can even get to the skaters, I just feel a need to point out how annoying Tara Lipinski is as a commentator. Actually, she annoyed me as a skater too, but I was a little too young to fully absorb this; now I definitely understand. Although she was surprisingly knowledgeable about technique (being able to spot the position of a skater's toe-in and her balance in the air, for instance), she chattered constantly in a falsely positive voice, and also pointed out the obvious ("Oh that will be a negative GOE."). Of course she isn't even close to being the only commentator who does these things, but (and I can't believe I'm going to say this) commentators like Dick Button keep it real.

Anyway, the first skater I paid any attention to was Rachael Flatt. Her hairstyling has definitely improved this year, and she generally seems more mature (helped along with the loss of her braces, no doubt), but she is still so slow and lacks the engagement with the music and audience that memorable performances and champions have. In general, though, the music for her SP seems to have been well-chosen ("Sing, Sing, Sing" sort of forces you to engage, at least minimally), and as usual the technical side was clean and consistent although the landing on her triple flip seemed a little iffy. Rachael's spirals still need work, but in this field, whatever.

Alissa Czisny was a huge disappointment. Right before her first jump, I sort of squealed "Don't fall!" and of course she fell, and of course Rafael blamed this on me. And then she doubled something else, and everyone knew it was all over. Her spins and spirals definitely made up for some of the jumps, but really, if you just want to be all flexible and pretty then you can go become a ballerina or even a model. Figure skaters need to jump. Still, you always wish she would do better, and more consistently.

Mirai Nagasu! As many people have been saying, along with some of my snarkiness above, the US ladies' field is a little blah, and I've been having a hard time deciding who I care about enough to want to win. After some thought I finally chose Mirai, although really, in the large Olympic-scale scheme of things, it's not going to matter. But I thought that her FS at Nationals last year was really memorable in the way she cried, relieved her tension, then laid it all out there, and I found myself quietly cheering her on to make a full comeback. And she totally did. She has really grown over the past year or so, and everything about her seemed more mature. Her jumps were fluid and she did a much better job of presenting than Rachael, but amazingly she beat Rachael in the TES and lost in the PCS. I briefly tried to figure this out by looking at the protocols, but of course they make no sense because a given element can receive a -1 GOE and +2 GOE simultaneously.

Things after Mirai were pretty boring for a while. Ellie Kawamura skated to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" dressed as a rainbow (BAD IDEA, if she wanted to go for the obvious and tacky she might as well have gone for Dorothy) but that's about all I remember.

And then... finally... Sasha Cohen. She looks pretty much the same as four years ago, although I've noticed in some pictures that her arms seem more muscular. Rinkside before the six-minute warmup, she was at the very back of the group, but somehow had made her way to the front by the time they started calling out names, and was first onto the ice. I suppose aggressiveness never dies. She was beautiful as usual in her performance, and surprisingly had no mistakes, unless you count the long edge and inside takeoff of her triple Lutz, which wasn't called. (How could it not be called?) I think everyone knew she would either be great or terrible, and a good number might have been leaning towards the latter. Anyway, things are getting interesting.

As I mentioned, I missed Emily's and Ashley's programs, but they don't seem to have been anything remarkable. I guess I'll catch them later on YouTube and wait for the FS tomorrow.

Go Mirai!

No comments: