Skate Canada – The Pairs

This was an interesting competition. I thought there were really four teams in the running for the podium and it turns out I was right. (At least, they all had podium ordinals at one point in the competition.) It was intrigued to see who made it there in the end. It was also interesting because I ended up watching a competition in Canada on a Russian live stream while I was in Canada and all because of CTV. Whenever CBC airs figure skating you can watch it no problem but whenever CTV gets involved all of a sudden, it is a problem. At least in the end I didn’t have to deal with Rod. He can really get over-the-top with his puns and plays on words and building the drama. Sometimes I can be in the mood to enjoy the silliness of it but I think he really means it. I don’t think there is any irony involved. (He is the reason I avoided using Canadian coverage in the videos here, if I could, and I also I hate CTV. And really, British Eurosport is the best. I don’t think we even need to debate it.) Tracy is great and keeps it together but Rod gets carried away all the time. No wonder people think Canadians are silly people.

But getting back to the Russian coverage. Thank you Russian person who posted in on youtube! And I don’t know who those commentators were but wow, can those guys ever talk. I don’t think they ever stop and I swear, some of the time they aren’t even talking about the skating. How could they be? SO MUCH TALKING. If anyone knows who the two men are commentating on figure skating for Russian TV, let me know. Who are they? What do they say? Why do they talk so much? (Do they enjoy puns and plays on words?)

Okay, enough of that. Let’s focus on the skating. Here are the results:

skate canada pairs

James/Cipres

Well, I don’t think there is any doubt in the minds of these two that they can take this to the top and they have the determination to do it. I think Tarasova/Morozov are beatable and at the moment these are the guys to do it. They won with 221. That is 17 points higher than what T/M posted last week! I read a comment from them that they weren’t sure if they would continue. I think they have decided that they will take it one season at a time and if this does turn out to be their last season, then they are going to make the most of it. I like the short program a lot more than the first time I saw it. I like how there is suspense built right into the music. They had a few unsure moments but they are really in their competitive groove. They seem to be able to keep calm, carry on and not loose their heads. I didn’t love Vanessa’s outfit. I really liked the red colour in the skirt but the top seemed too much like armour to me with the bronze. I think it should all be just that red colour but still with the embellishment and beading on the bodice. I also think that they would look more like a team. Right now, they look like they might be skating to different programs.

But, she’s looking good in the free! Vanessa can’t really go wrong with a catsuit and I  think this is maybe my favourite of hers so far. I didn’t find myself wondering about distracting details as I frequently do with her outfits. I think they both look great and I think they must be comfortable in their outfits too. Don’t tell me that doesn’t have something to do with skating well and they skated really well. There really isn’t much more to say except keep your celebrations until after the ending pose, Morgan. I feel like all skaters, pairs or not, should hold that pose for a count of three before they burst with jubilation. Aside from that, in the battle of the “Wicked Games” programs, I think they are winning.

Peng/Jin

I really like this music in the short! I think it is a fun and unique choice and good music as well. I love that they are using it. I think it suits them well and from the sounds of it, it also really appeals to them which makes me happy. I like when skaters get to skate things they enjoy skating. I was so relieved to see that Peng Cheng has a new dress for the short and wasn’t wearing that heart plastered on her chest! Such an improvement. I don’t know if the new outfits are the best fit for the music but the dress is quite pretty and I like the beading a lot on it. It looks celebratory, like fireworks! I like the lovely open back too. I also like that Jin gets to wear a more form-fitting top rather than something billowing about. It looks good! So, I guess I’ll take the outfits. I really enjoy the program, the more so the more I watch it. I think the ending pose is a bit tricky to fit with the music and pull off though. I wonder if it will get changed. But knowing how the Chinese teams tend to keep all the choreography, maybe not. It made me really happy to see them (and others) really nail the side by side spins (and I liked the positions) and she looked pretty good with her triple toes this weekend. In the broad scheme of things, it’s great to see something upbeat and, well,  joyful. There is something about her haircut too, with her short hair swishing around that just really expresses the joy of the music to me. (I don’t pay attention to lyrics, so don’t come back and tell me that the song is actually about something sad.)

New outfits for the free too! I really was quite taken with her free skate dress. I love the colour; I think the skirt is quite lovely; and I like how the whole design is a nod to can-can, Paris, France, etc., etc. And again, I just love her hair cut so much. Looking so good! The skating didn’t get off to the best start but they are just so solid in their pair elements, they came through in the end. Their twist and throws are terrific and you know they are working on everything and aren’t going to let levels go at any point if they can help it. And spins – I’m finding myself really into their spins, I guess, because I quite liked their positions in the pairs spin too. I think this program still needs quite a bit of work but good start for them.

I’m very happy for her in particular because she looked palpably relieved when their final score placed them in second. I don’t think it’s a big secret that I really like these guys. She as a pair girl just really appeals to me and I like this partnership a lot. And now that they have a silver, I think they could end up in the final (cross fingers, knock on wood, don’t pay any attention to me universe.) Their next Grand Prix is NHK and I think they are definitely in line for the podium…

Moore-Towers/Marianaro

Well, apparently not everyone thinks this program has terrible music. I don’t understand it but there you go. I do have to admit though that the program as a whole was a bit more effective this time around. So, I’m never going to love it, it’s not in my top pairs short programs of this season, but I guess they can keep it.  And her dress is so pretty, it kind of makes up for the music – but not entirely. I just wish it made a bit more of an impression, a bit more of a splash because really, Boikova/Kozlovskii’s short program was a bit of a gift and had things gone differently, I don’t these guys would have been on the podium. They skated well, they did what’s in their control but they really need to sell themselves more to the judges. But maybe their game plan of being the consistent team is the way to go?

I love when Kirsten is on top of the throws (which is most of the time) and again, (I don’t think this is the first time I’ve said this) I’m really starting to enjoy their lifts. Lifts overall I think are so much more interesting and exciting now with the new rules which is as it should be. Lifts do not deserve to be boring or repetitive. I liked their first lift in particular. I think this program is really strong but I am starting to wonder about the double axel – triple sal combo? Is it landed cleanly in practice? I know that it is going to take time to get it in competition and I don’t want them to give up on it but if it doesn’t become their money element soon, it could start costing them. It cost them a bit here, I would say. With a better combination they could have been in second. So, get your jumps around! Or start considering your other options. I still love her dress though and that’s never going to change.

Boikova/Kozlovskii

I was so excited to see this team make their Grand Prix debut! It was an exciting one and just a clean side-by-side combination in the short program (and some odd change) short of a medal. Nonetheless, they made a great impression. I think there were some nerves in the short, first time out and new program and all.  The twist had a bit of a hard set down and the spins were a bit out and the steps felt a bit ragged but her throws I think are just the best – quite literally, the best. (Tarasova and Morozov could take some lessons on big throws with clean landings from this team.) I quite enjoy the program and the sort of quirky jazz rendition of “Dark Eyes”, which, if anything, is not old and tired and gets your attention. I can’t wait to see it by Russian nationals. I also really quite like Aleksandra’s dress in the short. I think it suits the program quite well and looks good on her. I like that she wears that dark red lipstick too. Good choice.

And then in the free, she surprised me with a new dress! Thank you. It makes me very happy. I never really liked her white snowflake dress before (I didn’t think it was the best taste for “The Nutcracker”.) I like this one very much more. I like the kind of gold hue and the shine and shimmer of the beading is very nice. Plus, I think that the dress suits her so well. It’s very flattering and attractive on her. My one teeny-tiny issue is why couldn’t the detail work on their outfits echo one another. Maybe it does a bit? They both sort of look like frost on a window pane but still, I think they could be a bit more closely related. Nonetheless, I think both their outfits are upgrades. Okay, but let’s talk about what’s really important – oh my goodness, the program! They were flying out there and they just hit everything. All that hard work last season is really coming through for them. They skate the program well consistently. Moreover, it feels like such a treat to see a team who can skate up to this gorgeous, big-scale, orchestral piece. This is not something many teams can do (or that many teams are even trying to do). They aren’t dwarfed by the music and it’s so exciting to watch.

If James/Cipres weren’t here, they would’ve won the free. Their next Grand Prix is France where I think they have an excellent, even better chance than here, of medalling except they will have to go up again James/Cipres again!

Walsh/Michaud

Now on our tour we are entering turn-around city. I don’t even know how this is possible. The difference was so stark between Skate America and here. So after all my doubts and wondering what could be the matter, it turns out it is just nerves and her head (apparently?) And apparently it wasn’t difficult to fix. Well, if anything, I suppose disaster can be motivation to change your thinking and approach because you don’t want to be there again. I guess I won’t mentally split them up quite yet. She just looked so much more in control and the programs can sell themselves so much more in those circumstances. Really, what else is there to say? Good job. Way to turn things around. She can jump after all!

Well, I guess I could say that with the programs going well, I started to notice the dance lifts and transitions they have, especially in the free. They are very nice. As well, I am amazed at just how far she has come in a couple of years. Very impressive.

And, so far I think Evelyn is one my best dressed ladies this season.

Denny/Frazier

It’s too bad about the short program. I was really hoping for more from these guys, especially since I liked the program so much at ACI and they skated pretty well there. I was hoping they could really nail it here. I hope they don’t become a team known (any more) for flubbing the short because that could be quite detrimental to their prospects. (I’m sure they know that and perhaps that’s part of the problem.) I wonder if they should spread the elements apart a bit. Having the jumps and throw back-to-back seems a bit risky to me when they aren’t the strongest jumping team out there. Maybe build in a bit of recovery time? I think it might be a good call.

Now, I have a question about Haven’s catsuit in the short. This is different from before, right? It’s not the same as at ACI, correct? I want to know why she changed. Is this a luggage mix up. It sort of looked to me like she was wearing a sparkly practice outfit. So… I had to go check and oh yeah, it’s a totally different outfit. She was wearing a dress before and you know, as fun as catsuits are, I liked it more. It read more “diva” to me (and “slightly-trashy-bad-girl” too – that’s Billie-Jean, right? And what are the lines.. “a beauty queen from the movie scene.”) But unfortunately for me, I don’t think the change was due to a luggage mix up cause Bradon’s outfit changed too. If they stick with the catsuit, I think they need to amp it up a bit more but I get the feeling that she is more comfortable in a dress. They tried the catsuit last year in the free and ended up  switching back then, so that’s my prediction, a switch-back.

I have to say, I just LOVE their twist. It has such a light, airy quality to it. (And I don’t know what you are talking about British Eurosport. It seems pretty high to me.) It always makes my eyes pop a bit! And the catch is so clean. This was a bit better and the program is growing on me. I quite like it when the music changes. I think the costume change was actually a good call in this case. I was surprised because the first ones were quite nice but I think it was the right decision. I think they reflect the mood of the piece better, although they are a bit reminiscent of Zabaijako/Enbert in the short last season in terms of colour. Inspiration, perhaps?

Am I wrong just wanting her to get more into her knees? I feel like she is too upright and stiff.

Alexandrovskaya/Windsor

Another Grand Prix debut! I think we are seeing steady improvement from these two. Ekaterina is another one in catsuit (I just love saying catusuit) and this one works. It’s really all about the performance and skating for these two. They are still working on putting all the bits and bobs (the elements – which they already have… although, what is going on with Harley’s jumps lately?) together and smoothing everything out into one seamless piece, which is a big project. She does look at him while they skate though and has such a nice expression in her eyes. I think if they work on the connection between each other with that as their starting point and bring it out more, it could really add some magic (like Julianne and Charlie).

Working on making a program one seamless piece also helps explain to me why this team can carry off a short program better than a free but again, the program is improving. I am really appreciating so much about her, watching this. She’s a cat on those throws! Interesting to note that Ekaterina was in a new dress this time around. I quite liked it. Not the solid red anymore, same style but a bit more dramati, and I like the beading detail. Can we also remember how much better these costumes are than last year, let alone improving between competitions this year? The packaging is so much better. This is good work.

They said something interesting things in an interview that I read, just that the adjustment was taking more time than they thought but that it was a very big adjustment going from Russian to Canadian coaches with different technique and everything just different. But that they thought it was good for them in the long-term. I’m impressed by their character they’ve shown so far (she has to be a pretty intrepid girl – Russian to Australia to Canada). They’ve had a Medvedeva-size coaching change and it’s going to take time but they obviously have long-term goals. I’m going to have to be patient with them. But I hope their team doesn’t play about with that twist. It’s wonderful and I think they could maybe help the other Montreal teams in that department.

Ruest/Wolfe

I love the skating with these two. They really have some nice qualities. They do match really nicely and they have a lot of musicality. The jumps seem more secure too and their steps and spins are great. Also, I think they deserve a lot of credit for how the twist has come along. It’s a triple! It’s a big deal. But still… they aren’t hitting the big ticket items like other teams. The throws worry me the most. Maybe Camille could work with Ekaterina on polishing things up and Ekaterina could help Camille with her twist and throws? I think it could be a good trade off.

I think they have two really good programs this year, like last year. (I think they are probably fun to choreograph for!) Her dresses are really nice too. I love the colour in the short. It’s quite cool, definitely with a kind of retro feel to it. (I would, however, change Andrew’s top. It is not cool nor retro.) And her free program dress is beautiful. She glowed.

Next up is Helsinki. We are going to see all new teams again (no repeats yet): Ziegler/Kiefer, Ryom/Kim, Della Monica/Guarise, Suzaki/Kihara, Pavuliuchenko/ Khodykin, Barquero/Maestu, Stellato/Bartholomay and Zabijako/Enbert. So much to look forward to. We haven’t seen Ryom/Kim at all yet, we get crazy Great Gatsby and AXE FIGHT!! So excited.

 

 

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