Pairs Round Up – Finlandia

Oh, such an interesting pairs competition in Finland this past weekend. The results were not unpredictable but they got there in a bit of an unpredictable way.

Finlandia Trophy

Tarasova/Morozov – This was not the easy-breezy win that it should have been. Really, they are the world class team of the field right now but they didn’t win handily, and I have so many thoughts. (1) The short program – I think this short is a better fit than what we saw at the Russian test skates. I don’t have any real problems with it but I don’t think it’s going to really take them anywhere. It’s not particularly memorable. It doesn’t put them in any kind of a new light. We’ve just sort of looped back to the same track. (2) I think they must just really love retro rock and roll music. I feel like it appeals to them somehow, perhaps provides a certain comfort level for them. I do think she is a happy skater for sure and needs upbeat music to put her in a good skating mood. (3) Perversely, I sort of love their outfits. I can go to a fifties bowling alley if you want me too. (They actually wore these before, briefly, I think back when they did their “Glam” program and I’m happy to see them back.) (4) They have to figure out these throws. She should be able to land cleanly at this point, and a clean landing is not negotiable. Do the throws and do them correctly.  (5) What is with the dots on the back of their free program outfits? Are they suppose to be a ying and yang? (6) I liked the final lift in the free. (7) I feel like they like this free program and are more invested in it than anything else they have skated because Evgenia is selling it to me more than I have seen before. (8) I just hope somehow someone can bring more out of them! (9) It is imperative that this team skate cleanly from now on. (Have they ever done a clean free?) No more fooling around. If they wanted to make their move this season, they needed up come out better prepared than this. THEY LOST THE FREE PROGRAM.

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Pairs Round Up – Nebelhorn and JGP Ostrava

Time to talk about what we’ve been seeing in the pairs this past weekend. Nebelhorn was certainly an interesting competition!

Nebelhorn

Efimova/Korovin – My babies! I’ll be honest, after Alisa and Alexander skated the free program I really wished for them to be on the podium and mentally I said that I didn’t care who had to fall to make it happen. I just didn’t realize I had wished quite so hard! This is a great start of them, and with a win perhaps they can garner some attention from among a very talented pairs field in Russia. They’ve got the twist and throws and they’ve got a nice presence and performance quality. Where they lack is the difficultly of their jumps, but as this competition showed, other teams have got to land the jumps for them to be an advantage. They came prepared, which I like to see, and they won. They didn’t win with a huge score but it still counts! Onward and upward, I say. The short program was a bit tough but they were really giving it everything, especially her, perhaps a bit too much. On the plus side, they really hit the side by side spins and the lift is terrific but she just seemed to lose her head a bit in the side by side jumps and then a stupid fluke fall in the step sequence. She was really beating herself up about it at the end of the program, you could tell. But, they came back and skated the best free in the competition. The lifts and energy throughout have really improved since the test skates. They still need work but I think they are on they’re way. And I forgive whoever made the program decisions for them. I love the short program and the free is really starting to work for them as their comfort increases and they perform more. I love when she comes out that throw salchow and just holds that edge. It’s a great moment.

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From Slovakia to Canada – Men, Ladies and Dance

I just have so many thoughts and I can’t bury my sister in them all, so I’m going to do it here. I enjoyed a lot this weekend! So here comes the stream of consciousness…

Over in Bratislava, which is quite fun to say, I did’t pay much attention to the men (I couldn’t make time for everything) but I had to see Kolyada. I think it’s his year. Everything we’ve seen from him so far, here and at the test skates, has been good; he has delivered well. I definitely enjoy his programs this season – he makes a good toreador. I can totally overlook the use of Carmen for him (and for guys, in general, it’s not used quite so much). He just does everything well. So… keep up the good work! That’s maybe all I have to say about the men. Unless you are really good, if you aren’t a wearing dress, my attention wanders.

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Pairs Round Up – Ondrej Nepela Trophy and Autumn Classic

I love live streams and youtube! Not long ago, I wouldn’t be able to see any of the skating this past weekend but now I can almost everything. [Amendment: now you can no longer see this videos because they’ve been taken down. You have to get them while you can.] It takes up all my time but I love it. I just wish more channels were like the Junior Grand Prix ISU channel with a live stream and videos, because unfortunately, no one on youtube seemed inspired to post the Ondrej Nepela Trophy pairs free program, so I have had to do without. I think I can watch every other skater except for the pairs. It wasn’t a big field but I was definitely curious to see how a couple teams in particular fared…

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Thoughts on the New Season So Far – Ladies, Men and Dance

I think I’m going to use a stream of consciousness style for this post. So many thoughts…

In Europe, Liza looks so happy, like she is having fun skating again. It’s great to see. Her spins have improved. There is still not much between the jumps but what jumps! What I want to know is: will she have new costumes ? (Rather than the shirt and pants and dress from last year she’s got now…. Although they are kind of working.) I always love watching Shoma. Nothing has changed there. Actually, he’s the guy I’m behind this year. Shoma all the way! Or Kolyada. I like what she showed at the test skates. I’m fine with either one. I like that Kaori‘s programs seem to bring out the softness in her skating and knees. Does that make sense? I still want more stretch though. Her layback isn’t my favourite but I always enjoy watching her. I feel like she is a real competitor too. She showed that she’s got some backbone. It’s seems strange to me that Sofia Samodurova has the same coach as Liza. As skaters, they seem complete opposites. Obviously, they have different strengths ’cause it can’t all be the coaching. How have I never watched Andrei Lazukin before? I swear I haven’t. I like him. He’s good!

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