2015 National Figure Skating Championships

A year ago, Jason Brown blew up the Internet when his “Riverdance” Free Skate went viral. My mom was so thrilled that she cued up the video the next day for us all to watch… hmmm, maybe that’s worth a revisit.

When they started showing highlights from the men short programs, I made a couple of notes because there was no way I’d remember everything 24 hours later. And with the women, I did most of the commentary immediately after they skated. Again, while it was still fresh in my mind.

Women’s Competition

Mariah Bell skated to music from Titanic… but when they said she’d previously done it to “little talks,” I had to go to YouTube. It was a cover of it by someone else, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed it.

I’d been dying for someone on “Dancing with the Stars” or “so you think you can dance” to choreograph a Quickstep to that song (the original by Of Monsters and Men) for ages… someone needs to get on that!

Hannah Miller started to lose it halfway through her program. I was thinking so far that everyone has been so good that I hadn’t seen any falls… that all changed in that moment 😛 go figure

I’d previously stated that it’s hard to watch anyone do “Carmen” after getting to know Plushenko’s version so well (I think it’s secretly one of my favorites of his cuz I always gravitate towards it for reasons I can’t explain)… but Samantha Cesario owns that music really well herself. I’d become a fan as a result. Interesting hearing Johnny and Tara talk about how her transitions and step sequences aren’t as strong, the reason why she doesn’t get the high scores… I think she has the potential to be a major contender 😉 Her jumps could be stronger, but found her very entertaining

Amber Glenn was the first SP they showed in the afternoon when they were doing pairs and ice dancing… I missed most of it because I didn’t know they were going to show highlights of the womens’ competition. But it was raved about. [Just saw it on YouTube- it was beautiful, jazzy and pretty much flawless] Then when her “Skyfall” FS came, everything kinda fell apart. She missed a lot of her jumps, popping out of them too early… but I believe them when they say she’s not one to count out

Mirai Negasu falling twice… first by skating too close to the boards and 2nd on a jump. By the time the commercial came, I was starting to get a little emotional cuz she was crying. from the disappointment but also because she might have hurt herself on that first fall… and she did so well with her beginning jumps too

Karen Chen is a junior who recently went to senior… she blew me away in her SP and continued that cycle. A suite of “Godfather” music by Nina Riota. She just exploded with energy. They read my mind and compared her to Yulia Lipnitskaya, and also said she could be the answer to the Russian teenagers dominating the female skaters. So good!

Before she started skating, Ashley Wagner said “I’m terrified” to her coach 😛 so I was a little nervous for her. I didn’t connect with her SP earlier, which is strange because she’s my favorite U.S. women skater. This is probably her personal best ever because I’d never seen her “Moulin Rouge” program look this flawless. There was maybe a minute to go and I was already starting to tear up. Not just cuz I love this music and love Ashley, but I was absorbed by the program and moved by it. I knew it was easily the best…

It’s a tough act for Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds to follow.

Gracie Gold fought for her “Phantom of the Opera” program… technically to the song “Wishing you were somehow here again”. For the most part, she really did well and didn’t show any sign of intimidation. She did kinda miss her chance to top Ashley by falling one jump.
She’s the more technical skater by trade, but I tend to go for more artistry and “fire”… and Ashley has both of those things.

Polina Edmunds had a fall on her program as well. I didn’t really feel the music and after a while just got bored… Johnny talked about how the Peter Pan soundtrack was great for the movie but atrocious for figure skating, especially for someone like her who’s trying to mature as a skater.

By the end of it, Karen Chen got on the podium with a 3rd place finish 😀

Men’s Competition

SHORT PROGRAM comments:

Adam Rippon’s Quad Lutz was ridiculous! Definitely understood how Plushenko hurt his back trying to prefect them in practice. I’m sure if he ever mastered them, they would look AMAZING.

Joshua Farris skating to “Give me Love” by Ed Sheeran… I was in love… so beautiful and he embodied the music… 2nd place
-apparently he and Jason Brown are rivals… didn’t know Jason had anyone like that in competition

Max Aaron skating to Blake Shelton’s “Footloose”… great energy, but still not into his style of skating as much as the others

Jason Brown had a solid program with some great spins, beautiful jumps
1st place

Jeremy Abbott didn’t have the Quad (almost nobody did, which has me thinking that the mens’ program really needs to step up their game if they’re gonna compete with the rest of the world), but all of his jumps were solid. The judges were tough and the commentators disagreed with him being in 3rd place.
At the end of it, I almost cried because I read his expression. He was very emotional. I mean, he almost always looks like he’s going to cry after his programs, but this time it was absolutely understood. He kissed his hand and pointed it to the sky for his dad, who he lost recently.

This afternoon, I was super excited for the guys and they delivered. The final result wasn’t quite what I hoped for regarding a couple skaters. But by the end of it, I wished I could have another hour 😛 I know I’d watched Plushenko’s programs up to 1am in the morning because I get so caught up in them, but I could seriously watch figure skating all day. Womens’ gymnastics is the only other sport where I can 100% back that up (even football can get a little boring after 6 hours every Sunday).

The first several men who competed had me a little concerned, much like last night, about their place in the World. They had quads, but nobody landed them…

Grant Hochstein was the first to catch my attention with his “Don Quixote” program. Something about him, I found intriguing, even though something felt a little off. Johnny & Tara said he wasn’t expressive enough and getting the crowd involved.

Richard Dornbush, who’d become one of my favorites this year, had his worst showing with his Coldplay free skate… I felt bad 😦 I really wanted to get behind him again and support him, but the numbers certainly didn’t.

Max Aaron was the first to skate a clean program. Clearly setting the bar as the first man in the final group of skaters. I’d previously expressed issues I’ve had with him… where I just didn’t connect. Today, I got caught up in his “Gladiator” program to the point where I was almost cheering at the end. The way his greasy hair sticks out on end still bugs me, but I was really impressed today. And felt bad when he didn’t make the podium.

Adam Rippon, I felt, had the moment Jason Brown had last year… I said he skated the most perfect FS program of any guy I’ve seen this season. His Quad Lutz was much better than in his SP and from there, the microexplosions my brain experienced kept happening 😛 at the end, I cheered. Blowing Max Aaron’s score clean off by a good 20 points.

Ross Miner had a tough act to follow and all things considered he did well, but just didn’t grab anyone in the same way.

After that… we had our top three.
Jason skated a clean program, unless you count a couple two foot landings. He beat Adam’s score by 2 points, most likely because he left most of his jumps for the post-2 minute mark to get them a bonus.

I’d been hoping all week for Jeremy to have a good championship run and do well… but it just didn’t happen.
“Adagio for Strings” is a good selection of music for him, but it just dragged too much after a while.
Seeing him end up eventually in 5th place was really frustrating.

Then Joshua Farris skated to music from “Schindler’s List”… not quite the same selection as Yulia Lipnitskaya had during the Olympics. But he had a good clean program that included a quad. But he only managed third place by the end, behind Adam by 10 points.

So I guess I have a little less to doubt when it comes to male figure skaters competing worldwide… if Adam can keep progressing and improving, adding a quadruple toe loop, he could be a force to reckon with, but it might still be too early to be sure.

Johnny & Tara were caught off guard a bit by the scores yesterday, believing that Jeremy deserved first place for his clean program. Had that happened, Adam might have won over Jason :shrug:

I respect Jason and his coach for deciding to wait on bringing out the quad. The comfort zone is absolutely key for that jump. Heck, early on, Johnny talked about how he’d only done the quad a couple times and everyone’s terrified of them in general.
To that, I’m thinking “Plushenko isn’t afraid of quads” while adding “he hadn’t done many since his surgery and he shouldn’t feel the need to rush doing so”

I’m sorry, but right now, my mind can’t help but bring up that argument brought up in Vancouver. Should skaters be awarded more for quads or having a clean program? I hate to be all negative on this, but that’s just how I feel right now.
Adam had the cleaner program and the quad. Jason never fell but had a couple two-footed landings on his jumps.

Anyway, I’ll leave everything off here…
Sadly, I will likely miss this year’s Euros. Will be away on a cruise the first couple weeks in February, but should be back in time to discuss the Sochi-versery on the 13th.

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