|I'm actually sort of inclined to find this photograph funny at this point|
The skategods giveth, and the skategods taketh away.
10 best things about Four Continents:
10) Kevin Reynolds. Yeah, his PCS single-handedly proves the existence of the magical quad bonus but even the crusty old curmudgeonly skating purist inside me is pleased to see a gold medalist skate well and be happy with himself instead of stumbling all over the place. Of course, Mr. Reynolds is to be commended on improving some of the PCS categories over the years but both his SS and wonky jump technique still need a lot of work. It is absolutely criminal that Mr. Reynolds received the same SS mark (7.82) as Han Yan, especially since the two skated back-to-back. What on earth were the judges smoking?
9) Kanako Murakami. I wasn't a fan before, but her programs this year are a revelation. Plus, I just love the transition she does into her CCoSp.
8) Kaetlyn Osmond. Although this was one of her weakest competitions of the season, she was nonetheless a delight to watch, especially in the SP. Her spark, fire and attack is so rare for a Canadian lady and her programs are insanely packed with transitions and choreographic detail. I think she was under-marked in PCS in relation to some of her competitors...how on earth is Miss Osmond scored lower in IN, PE and CH than the likes of Gracie Gold, who has little to no style, expression, or projection as well as some truly mediocre choreography?
7) Chock/Bates' Dr. Zhivago FD. I love this FD. Don't ask. Because I don't even know.
6) Kanako Murakami's and Akiko Suzuki's choreographic sequences. Just stunning.
5) Han Yan's 3A-3T in his LP. If he ever is able to open up and truly perform (or perhaps just try to acknowledge the fact that there is music playing during his program), he will be magnificent.
4) Takahito Mura's cool hydroblading ending in his LP. A very unique way to end the program.
3) Mao Asada's SP. Just a joy to watch and the footwork especially was just super--I know people have been bickering about whether the 3A was rotated or not, but it looked acceptably within the 1/4 turn allowance to me.
2) Misha Ge. He can be such a ham at times...and I love it! Definitely livens up the earlier groups of men.
1) Basically, the entire ladies event--there were some very strong performances and the best skaters won. They were not the ladiezzz here. Worlds is looking more and more exciting!
10 worst things about Four Continents:
10) Yuzuru Hanyu's LP. I can't believe I'm actually typing this (given that I dedicated approximately 1819581 posts featuring paroxysms of utter adoration directed at Mr. Hanyu last season), but I found his LP incredibly dull at this competition. In fact, I felt almost as bored as Mr. Hanyu looked while skating it. Mr. Hanyu may be breaking world records and raking in the medals this year, but I feel like he's lost some of the qualities that made him so special last year.
9) Am I the only one sad to see that Virtue/Moir changed their choreographic lift? The old version was electrifying denouement to their tumultuous Carmen FD and while this new one retains the same theme (i.e. Carmen's sexual and ultimate dominance over Don José) it doesn't quite have the same dramatic effect. Although it is understandable why Virtue/Moir changed the lift--Mr. Moir was clearly struggling to smoothly hoist a fully-standing Ms. Virtue on his thighs throughout the season to the point that their GOE was getting affected.
8) The weakness of the entire pairs event....which I suppose reflects the weakness of the pairs field in general outside of Volosozhar/Trankov and Savchenko/Szolkowy. All those break-ups and injuries suffered by various teams throughout this season have hugely affected the pairs field as a whole, and not for the better.
7) Uber-cliché stereotypical Middle Eastern/Arabian/Egyptian/whatever arm choreography. It's so overdone that it's almost tacky at this point. I'm looking at you, Agnes Zadwadzki and Amelie Lacoste...
6) Max Aaron's LP 'choreography', or lack thereof. I for one fail to see how snapping one's fingers, randomly skating around waiting for the second half of the program to begin and telegraphing a bunch of jumps back-to-back adds up to 7-range CH (or IN and TR for that matter). That sort of patently transparent backloading is even beyond the designs of Nikolai Morozov himself. And don't even get me started on his SS and PE....
5) Mao Asada's new Swan Lake dress. Please change back to the old one...
4) Ludicrous PCS scoring, especially in the men's event. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN LAND QUADS DOES NOT MEAN YOU MAGICALLY HAVE GREAT SKATING SKILLS, CHOREOGRAPHY, TRANSITIONS, INTERPRETATION OR MEET THE CRITERIA FOR PERFORMANCE/EXECUTION (which officially is supposed to include qualities such as carriage, style, and quality of line as opposed to just successfully landing all of one's jumps).
3) I think #4 bears repeating.
2) I think #3 bears repeating.
1) Daisuke Takahashi. No explanation necessary.
I will also punch the next person who tries to tell me that jumps aren't valued enough in figure skating.