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Final Thoughts on NHK Trophy

First of all, forget NHK. The competition I want to see, which is bound to be the most drama-filled of the season, the Japanese National Championships, ladies division. I mean, whoever decided that each country should only be able to send a maximum of three competitors to the world championships must have known what was coming in Japan when they made that rule. This field is just beyond stacked. Mao Asada, Miki Ando, Yukari Nakano, Fumie Suguri and now Akiko Suzuki, and whoever they have waiting in the wings? Ridiculously impressive.

Now, back to NHK. I unfortunately only woke up in time to see Asada from the Japanese sweep, and I compare Mao Asada to what people told me when I was in Ireland: "You don't come here for the weather." With Asada (at least this season), I don't go there for the amazing choreography and presentation (disagree if you must; I think her current free skate program is terrible, jump jump jump step sequence is all I see - same stuff Ando is getting ripped for, only Asada sells it better in my book). I look to Asada for amazing technical ability that I cannot find many other places. I mean, when she is on, and she was, she is a sight to see. As much as I didn't love the program, she performed the hell out of it and I would put it in the top five performances of the Grand Prix, despite the slight stumble at the end. I mean, two triple axels (well, one was downgraded, but whatevs)? She definitely did not need to try both, good for her. Thanks to the powers that be for holding off on putting Asada and Yu-Na Kim head to head; this GP showdown is going to be awesome!

As for the men; not quite as impressive. I'm glad America's Johnny Weir held on for second, hope he really was battling a cold to explain the lackluster jumping and lack of energy towards the end. I didn't think the presentation was that bad but he didn't have the same stuff that Japan's Nobunari Oda did. Oda made a nice (mostly) recovery from some early jumping stumbles. It was a fair to good performance, not great.

Let's be sure not to read too much into the Pairs victory for China's Pang and Tong. Although their free skate was worlds better than their short program, they didn't so much grab the victory as have it handed to them on a silver platter by a lack of competition. Some pairs are going to have to regroup; can't make these competitions so easy for the (semi?) favorites!

In the ice dancing category, I think even Italy's Faiella and Scali knew their dance was not so steady and would not necessarily have competed with some other free skates we've seen over the past six weeks. But maybe it was just an off day. On a brighter note, I am still enjoying U.S.'s Samuelson and Bates and so glad they snuck back in for third.