Alright, so while there are most decidedly more important things going on in regards to the state of the US right now, let us all take the time to appreciate the fact that the United States now has World Ice Dance Champions. Not only that, but the US also had the third place team as well. And the podium was a North American sweep. What’s more, all of the North American teams were in the top 10. Not only that, but this all went down in Moscow. Which, I am sure, long time figure skating fans are either chalking up as Karma being the bitch that she is, or as a sign of the Apocalypse. I am still on the fence. In either case, it was quite an end to the longest season ever. I and my fantasy team picks are quite happy for the Shiblings. And while I do like Virtue and Moir as a team, I maintain that there was no way they should have been first after the short dance (their Golden Waltz was not good and I think that is a bigger sin than a bobble on the twizzles by Davis and White). I suppose all is well that ends well; I do think I actually mostly agree on the overall results of the dance event for possibly the first time ever. Shocking. I am excited to see the new routines from Team Canton next year. I ponder how they will deal with the mess of a short dance that will be the Rhumba. It should also be interesting to see if Samuelson and Bates can get back into top form; US nationals in ice dance should be quite the event next season.
The ladies event was sad. No one had a clean event. As was noted by Tyra Banks in a recent Top Model, consistency is even more important the simply being the best (Note: I don’t actually watch that show, but not much else was on and I needed noise while I was stoning a dress). That seems an accurate assessment of the ladies at worlds. Miki Ando is not the best skater in the world, but possibly the most consistent. Even she had a bobble, but nothing like singling two jumps. Yu-Na did not skate well. It is sad, because her training videos looked so nice, but she had too many mistakes, and her overall form and lines do not look improved. Her spin positions were not as good as they were last year, and overall she looked uncomfortable. She was crying on the podium. After the split with Orser, the season in seclusion, and the poor showing at worlds, one wonders what she will do about next season and her coaching situation. Commentator Tara seems to think she has to come back to regain her world title, but I wonder if she will continue to have the drive and desire to come back and work hard all season. Not skating at Four Continents was a mistake, and possibly cost her the world title. Also of interest will be to see how Mao does next season. She is clearly committed to working through 2014, but after a rocky season it will be interesting to see how her confidence and jumps are doing next year. I am both very sad and very happy for Alissa Czisny. On the one hand, a fall and just missing the podium is really sad. On the other hand, once past the first jump she looked and skated like a world champion. We most decidedly saw Alissa 2.0, and I hoping next year we get to see Alissa 2.1. I used to be not a fan, but Yuka Sato and Jason Dungen have done wonders for her and showcase her to the best of her abilities. They deserve a major raise. Now just to work the wonders for Jeremy Abbott and we are in business. Rachel Flatt did not skate well. If she knew last Friday that she had a fracture in her tibia, she should have withdrawn and we should have send Mirai. With Mirai and Alyssa at worlds we would have had a serious chance at three ladies spots next year. Once again, next year we will be down to two, and with chemical engineering keeping Rachel off the ice at least some of the time, she stands a much better chance of withstanding injury and returning to her state of boring consistency. Let us all hope that Mirai is out for blood and Alissa 2.1 skates next year. Next year the US ladies need to seriously make their move if we have any hope of sending three skaters to Sochi. Also, having a Lutz-less routine will not make you world champion, but apparently it makes you a shoe in for the bronze; at least if you are European in post-Olympic times.
The pairs event was actually fairly entertaining. I enjoyed the Pink Panther. The side-by-side spins matched. This further corroborates the Apocalypse theory. Hmmmm. In any case, I am also glad the season is over and they can move on to something else. I would love to see something classy from the Germans; their recent routines have been a lot of energy and show, but it would be nice to see a bit of a change. Sadly, Pang and Tong did not win, and the other Chinese teams were not near contention with the Russians, so they will not be allowed to retire. I mean, I am glad to see them continue to skate, but I think they were ready to be finished and move on with life. In other news; wow the Russians have pairs teams again. If only they were all training with Tamara Moskvina. I would love for her to create one more truly spectacular pair for Sochi. Also, the US team skated respectably. They need to go through some serious butt whipping, because they have the talent to be competitive if they can master harder content. It will be interesting to see if Caydee Denney can get a new partner, and to see how quickly Brubaker and Marley mature and how Evora and Ladwig will hold up against all of these newer teams.
Haven’t seen all of the men yet (I know, I know, slacker….) so no comments there yet, except that we should have sent Jeremy Abbott. We may still have lost our third man’s spot, but our showing wouldn’t have been quite so sad.
In any case, what with the talk of having skaters compete at three grand prix events and other things afoot for the new season, next year should be interesting. Somehow, I get the feeling that three grand prix events will be too much and will drain the skater’s energy too early in the season. Should also be interesting to see how things go this summer with coaching changes (probably nothing so dramatic as the Yu-Na/Orser split of ’10), retirements (far less likely this summer), and injuries (will Carolina finally take care of her knee? Is Tessa really all better? Has Evan Bates fully recovered?). In any case, while this is all winding down, the roller skating season will be picking up, so the focus of skating posts will most decidedly shift in the coming months.