Skate America and my new favorite skater

So it appears that a new figure skating season has began.
And I did skip out on an Eagles game just to see Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski commentate again.

It took me a while to get invested, but once I did, there were some highs and lows.

I saw the top three men plus an Israeli (Bychenko sounded like a Russian name but to no avail) and Artur Gachinski, one of the two Russian men competing, on YouTube for their short programs.
Since I “follow” US Figure Skating on Twitter, I was getting updates that I really did not want to see (wanted to see it unfold live), it couldn’t hurt to see how everyone did to this point so far.

Artur I wasn’t super impressed with :shrug: but then again, I am going by THE STANDARD as far as male figure skating goes.
On the men’s side, I really don’t feel a lot of gravity towards the competitors. Unless it happens to be Yuzuru Hanyu or one of my American guys.

Yuzuru wasn’t competing this weekend, but there’s talk of a new star in Japan- Tatsuki Machida. He won the overall competition.
Admittedly, he was the cleanest of all the skaters, the most consistent and the strongest. But I didn’t feel that same spark, that pull that I feel for my favorites. Maybe because he’s a new face and I’m not used to him yet.

As for the Americans, Jason Brown did really good. Granted, a few jumps weren’t as clean as they could have been (and he fell once on both programs). His music was “Tristan and Isolade” and it did work for him a bit, just didn’t have the same magic and pizazz as his infamous “Riverdance.” LOVED his spins, they were beautiful. And it’s good to hear him say he won’t do the quads until he’s perfected them.
I can’t quite explain what it is about Jeremy Abbott, but I just want so badly for him to succeed. He didn’t fall, but his jumps made me sad to watch. His opening jump was a quad that looked like a single or double. Most of his jumps were under rotated. Johnny and Tara said that what he was doing (or not doing) was worse than it’d be as if he was falling.

Makes me think a little about Plushenko in Nice years ago. I don’t remember him falling, but his jumps were not rotated as well as they could have been.

I know Jeremy is capable of doing well, but each time I’d seen him, he just hadn’t done as well as he could have. Maybe it’s just my thing for wanting to cheer for an underdog.

Another skater they showed was Nam Nguyen from Canada. He was consistent, but to me, he still looked unpolished.
Lacked that spark, that fire.

…so apparently I am very stingy when it comes to figure skaters… kinda hard not to be when the standard has been set so high and I spent several months with a single person’s best programs.

I seem to prefer skaters with more experience and more poise. I want to be shown a good time, but every movement has to have meaning. My attention needs to be held the entire time.
And with the young skaters, well, that might be too much to ask. For them to look like they have a lot of promise, only missing the artistry and the performance factor.

Probably my biggest pet peeve was that they only showed 4 male free skates. The Canadian in 7th, Jason Brown, Jeremy Abbott and Tatsuki Machida…
one of the Russians at least got 6th place, why not show him?

Is it because America has a thing against Russian? Or is it because the Russians aren’t “good enough” to be shown?

Just saw Artur’s free skate on YouTube. He does have potential. He had a pass where he had a quad-triple combination that looked about as sharp as I’d seen Plushenko done it. He just lacks that same attack and artistry, but with more experience, I could see him doing very well.

As for the women… we saw 6 skaters… Elene from Georgia (did a lot of traveling, grew up in Moscow, her mother got deported to Georgia then they went to America and Canada) did a selection of “Burlesque”… apparently it is now ok to do programs set to lyrics, something I thought was only allowed at Galas.
I have mixed feelings about that, especially since Christina Aguilera’s show-off-y vocals get on my nerves.

So Youn Park was the first skater I found myself really getting invested in. She fell once, but she was so gorgeous that I could not take my eyes off her. She’s a favorite for the next Olympics which happen to be in her home country, South Korea.

Samantha Cesario from the US skated to a selection from Carmen… yeah, it was hard for me to judge that since my mind automatically goes to Plushenko’s version. She missed the timing in the music where she’d jump to the right moments in the music, at least for most of the routine, so my bias brings me in the wrong direction right away.

Gracie Gold had a similar problem to Jeremy- under rotating her jumps and losing points on that. Since she skated to some “Phantom,” I thought I’d be an emotional mess just because, but I didn’t feel that same pull. Probably because they didn’t use the strongest parts of the musical, the most significant parts. And also because Sarah Brightman’s voice could be heard in the piece… she’s such a freaking show-off, it’s hard to really connect with the piece.

Then there were the two Russian girls.

The first, Elena Radionova, is only 15. She has skill, but I didn’t feel like she was a prodigy the way Yulia was at Sochi.

Then there was Elizaveta Tuktamysheva… when she was just warming up, I was enamored by her beauty. She looked like a hard-core competitor. And when she skated, she captivated me. Even she was singling/doubling her triples, she had everything I wanted to see in a skater.
And was SO disappointed when she didn’t win. I don’t care if it was a victory for Russia no matter who won. I felt like she was the stronger skater. At least the more seasoned/professional of the two.

When I saw her in the kiss and cry with Alexei Mishin, I had one of those “OHHHHH…” a-ha moments.
It didn’t surprise me at all to find out he was her coach because his skaters are very very good at what they do. They command the ice like a stage they have all the rights too.

So I guess there’s only one thing let to do: watch some of her older routines, get a feel for her repertoire and hopefully she’ll have more surprises in store for me.
[If I weren’t going back to work tomorrow after a 2 month break, I’d be starting on this first thing tomorrow]

Russia might not be there yet with the guys (then again, the next generation has Evgeni Plushenko’s legacy to contend with), but with the women, they definitely have their place etched out in the competitive figure skating world.

…just saw Adian Pitkeev’s programs. He doesn’t look quite as mature in his skating as Artur Gachinksi. He fell on his quad in the free skate. Landed some jumps but others were downgraded. Neither of the two is at that high level set by the legends who came before them, but I’d put my money on Artur over Adian.

I’d be lying if this didn’t have me wanting to rewatch Plushenko’s programs 😛 I had said that I’m holding off on watching figure skating until Winter starts. Meaning December 1st. But since competition season has begun and my country is refusing to show Russia skaters (unless they’re in the top 3), I will have to catch some of this stuff on YouTube just to stay on top of things.
I know he’s concerned about the men’s program in Russia so why not touch base with the latest skaters from his country? :shrug: I highly doubt anyone will come close to him, how I feel about his skating, but just in case, I’d like to know who the best skaters are before other people do.

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