2014 Rostelecom Cup

Again, I don’t know how many people actually pay attention to my blogging or whatever.
I had serious thoughts about not doing an entry about today’s competition.

Maybe because things had gotten a little too routine, nothing to really comment on…

Considering this was taking place in Russia, I really was excited. It’s been the first time we’d been back there since the Sochi Olympics.
I’ve gotten to love the atmosphere there, especially when supporting their hometown skaters.
And yeah, part of me was hoping for a cameo from Plushenko. Even them going back to the footage of his withdrawing :shrug: if only to demonstrate a point, how they’re looking for the next Russian man to take his place at the top rankings of the sport.

His name only came up once and it was at the very beginning.
Today I was just thinking about how long it’s been since I’d seen even an interview of him. Thought about him yesterday while recollecting my own back surgery. 15 year anniversary yesterday and a lot of people “liked” my back “selfie” on Facebook. The scar is still there, although barely visible. I credit the time I had off recovering for my writing, but I don’t think I appreciated the procedure more than I have this year. I’m always going to look at Plushenko’s 13 surgeries and feel like what I went through was NOTHING compared to what he went through. I can’t imagine going through it as often as he did for anything, so of course that admiration is always going to come into play.

So I read an interview today, decoding a little Russian, but I still have a lot to learn.
Then there was one quote from him that, no matter how little I understand of Russian, his meaning came through.
“Если буду здоров, буду чувствовать себя хорошо, то почему бы и нет?!”

Which roughly translates to, “if I stay healthy, if my health is good, why not [compete in a 5th Olympics]?”

That amount of conviction he has is so tangible…
now I’m roughly 14 days away from the beginning of December. We’re already getting snow here, but I’m going to stick to my previous conviction: no watching any of Plushenko’s skating until December 1st.
It’s so strange not seeing any of him for a couple weeks now (wish I knew just how long it’s been) because he’s still on my mind a lot, but actually seeing him on video.. it’s been so long that it feels like he was a figment of my imagination, a dream…

so there’s my Plushenko rant, now onto the actual competition:

The first skater to compete was Maria Stavitskaia from Russia. Johnny Weir was on her case about taking her time setting up her jumps, but other than that, I found her a very composed and beautiful skater.
We had two girls from America.
Ashley Cain skated to the music from Evita. She looked good, but didn’t have that extra something.
Quickly followed by Mirai Nagasu. They’re still talking about how she missed her spot on the Sochi Olympic team to Ashley Wagner. (Then again, in Russian, I’m sure a lot of people are still talking about Maxim Kouvton not getting selected and Plushenko being the only male Russian skater and withdrawing…)

But anyway, Mirai Nagasu looked so solid in her routine with a little room for some artistry to break out. I don’t think I’d seen her look so good and Johnny & Tara agreed. She skated to Madame Butterfly (another Puccini opera) wound up missing the podium in 4th place.

Anna Pogorilaya, again, I wasn’t super impressed with her. Her landings were lacking, her hand touched down a coupel times. Yet she placed higher than Mirai Nagasu…. I just didn’t get that, personally.

But then I had one of two surprises.
Rika Hongo from Japan skated to “Carmen.” I’ve previously written about my reservations, seeing as Plushenko’s program to the same music has become so iconic to me. But this was finally the exception to that rule. She looked gorgeous. She put her own punctuations in her skating to match the highs in the music. It was a fantastic program and it made me so happy to see.

She went on to WIN, which made me even more happy. Easily my favorite of the ladies.

Canadian Alaine Chatrand skated to “Doctor Zhivago” and did it very well, although not as well as Rika Hongo did her piece.

I got me to thinking: I have a video saved on my YouTube profile of Johnny Weir skating to the same music, so I finally have a good excuse to watch his version.

Now for the guys’…

Jason Brown was the first to go. From Twitter, I gathered that he had an emotional weekend. Got news that his agent (who also represented Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysachek) passed away.
But I felt like he did so much better than he did at Skate America several weeks ago. I was thinking how gorgeous his spins are, how it’s so hard to take my eyes off him while he’s skating… once he masters that quad, he’ll be absolutely set. It was also kinda nice to hear the Russian audience applaud for him.

Another emotional at the end of a skate came from Misha Ge… Johnny & Tara compared him to Jason Brown, but said he differs in that he knows exactly who he is, whereas Jason is trying several different things.
I don’t know what exactly it is about Misha, but I just love seeing him skate. I enjoy him so much. He’s dynamic and beautiful. Just missing that all-too important quad.

Max Aaron, I found myself a little more invested in this time around, but he kinda fell apart in his program. He didn’t fall, but his quads transformed into double jumps mysteriously. It was difficult to watch.

Then there were a couple of new faces.
Michal Brezina skated to “The Marriage of Figaro” and looked rather strapping in his regal getup. I wasn’t quite as invested in his program (I was juggling my dinner and keeping my eyes on the TV), but he did it rather well.

…the other new face was another Russian, who I believe was the Russian Plushenko himself said is one not to miss.
Sergei Voronov skated to a medley of songs, including “This is a man’s world” and “come together”

As much as I love/enjoy Javier Fernandez, who did really well his “Barber of Seville” free skate, I wanted to give Sergei the win for this.
Tara was fan-girling over his quadruple-triple toe loop combination. It had me thinking that I hadn’t seen that combination done that well since Plushenko all those months ago when I was watching his routines religiously.

Maxim Kouvton also had the jumps, but Sergei had that something extra I’d been dying to see from a next-generation Russian male skater: he had that charisma and spark. He had the step sequences. He also appeared to have abnormally long limbs 😛
But I was super impressed with him.

Now that I have a little extra time off now, I will be able to binge watch figure skating on YouTube so I can get into my research.
He still isn’t at Plushenko’s level, but Sergei Voronov feels like THE male Russian skater to take his place on top of the world. He’s 27, so he has that experience, but in the coming years, that might go against him 😛
I don’t know if any other male Russian skater will have Plushenko’s level of stamina, but then again, I didn’t think I’d love another male Russian skater after him.

All the while, I cannot wait to see more of Javier Fernandez (might watch his Olympic programs again) and I’ll keeping Yuzuru Hanyu in my thoughts. Hopefully his recovery progress goes well.

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