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Grand Prix Recap: Ladies

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So glad that Mao Asada won this competition, she definitely deserved it. But I feel that it was entirely too close to be comfortable with. She only won by a bit more than two points, despite the fact that Yu-Na Kim fell in the short, fell in the free and popped a lutz in the free. The only major mistake that Asada made was falling on a jump in the free skate, after completing TWO TRIPLE AXELS. I don't think that would make me very confident if I were Asada, because the major error count is 3:1. If Kim had made one fewer error, she would likely have taken the crown.

A skater by skater breakdown:

Mao Asada's free skate is growing on me, and I do love the step sequence. Her jumps were great (although she had one fall). I guess it really did come down to the second triple axel (which she landed with full rotation, awesome!), which scares me, but she only got one point less than Kim on program components (59.60 to 60.72). I think she was underscored for the short program and that her win should have had a bit more padding.

You can definitely see the quality of Kim's skating, and her program is amazing for me whether she falls or makes errors or not. This was probably pretty disappointing for Kim, though. But, the past two years, she's won the Grand Prix and gotten only bronze at worlds. Maybe this is the year a loss in the Grand Prix leads to something better at worlds? Who knows. Excuses, Excuses: I read that Kim has been battling a cold (shades of Johnny Weir at NHK) at this competition. She also was fighting the pressure of the entire nation watching. Thankfully for her, the Olympics are not in Korea.

I was glad that Rochette could rebound from a disappointing short to have a relatively good free skate. She would likely have won the bronze medal if she had skated cleanly in the short program. Her free skate was lovely, although she stepped out of a couple of jumps and didn't seem to have any true combinations. She got a 57.48 for technical elements (which I find a bit high) and a 58.40 for components. Excuses, excuses: I have to say I didn't understand all the excuses surrounding Rochette's preparation for this competiton. There were reports that she had schoolwork and that she couldn't practice that much and then strained her back from sitting and doing schoolwork? You are 22 years old and an elite figure skater. The Olympics are next year. I am impressed with skaters who can go to school while still skating, but I think it might be time to prioritize if it's taking away from your skating and giving you random injuries. And I know Rochette herself didn't necessarily try to use the excuse too much, but she did talk about it, and it was given such attention that I was afraid to predict her as a medal winner in this competition. When you're at this level, I don't want to hear that you didn't prepare well for the competition.

After a fall in the short left her in fourth place, Carolina Kostner had a fairly mediocre free skate (a fall, a touchdown, what appeared to be a two-footed landing, and an inability to hold her final position). But, I am guessing her combinations saved her and she got a 55.45 for technical elements, and a 57.68 for program components. There were a lot of errors in this competition.

Not sure what happened with Miki Ando's free skate. I thought she did very well, had an impressive array of jumps and made less errors with them than Joannie Rochette did, but I am guessing there was a LOT of downgrading or cheated jumps because she got only a 47.45 for her technical elements. I will have to check out the scoring sheet when it goes up because I was not expecting such a low score. On a completely unrelated note, WOW crazy nails. Why have I never noticed Ando's nails looking this crazy before? Maybe they distracted the judges from seeing all that great jumping.

Yukari Nakano didn't make many visible errors in her free skate (aside from flopping the landing on an attempted triple axel and something of a stumble during her footwork), but I could see there were a bunch of doubles that were supposed to be triples and there was probably room for deduction on many of her jumps. It was a lovely performance but she came in last in the free skate with a 44.17 for technical and 55.68 for program components.