Controlling the quality of life. That's what she said.
The time has finally come – the figure skating season has officially begun! Most of the skaters I grew up watching have retired, but the 2012 Skate America have brought back some familiar faces. Two of three American ladies snatched the top two spots on the podium with impressive routines.
First-place Ashley Wagner never ceases to amaze me. I never particularly enjoyed her skating, but after watching her throughout the years I can’t help but admire her hard-work n’ perseverance. I was fortunate enough to watch her live in January when Nationals were in San Jose – although I went mainly to watch Alissa Czisny whenever it is she retires, I was pleasantly surprised by Wagner. I find that she has a lower ceiling than other skaters if we’re discussing lines n’ the pure beauty of dancing on ice, but she has improved so much on her musicality n’ deserves so much credit for steadily climbing the ranks. Check out her short program n’ free skate. The next American lady was a pleasant surprise.
I have watched Christina Gao before, but I couldn’t seem to see what many enjoyed about her skating. However, for the first I find her very lyrical n’ enjoyable. I feel that she finally feels comfortable with her lanky stature n’ has begun embracing it. Her lines are beautiful n’ her spins are much improved. Her extensions are amazing – about the only thing I can even think to criticize is to keep working on her endurance since her fatigue shows in her spins near the end of her long program. The music for her short program is beautiful. She just needs to improve on her spiral. I’ve also got to give her props for balancing such high level of skating n’ going to Harvard.
Over the years I have grown to really appreciate ice dancing. However, I find this discipline to be even more subjective that the other three figure skating disciplines – it’s really hard to sit through a routine if you don’t like the pair’s skating style. Luckily for me, I found a duo whose style I absolutely love, n’ they just so happen to be American – Meryl Davis & Charlie White. They are a perfect pair. I love how classy Davis is n’ elegantly she skates, and I love how expressive White is without completely overdoing it. I’ll leave you with their beautiful free dance –
I’m not much of a pairs person so I’ll skip that. The men…what can I say, Jeremy Abbott pulled off a classic Abbott – n’ that’s not a good thing. Right off the bat, he fell on his first jump of his short program. Other than that, the routine was very enjoyable. His footwork lived up to expectations (except that little bobble when it looked like he might fall over) n’ his spins for the most part had such great velocity. So far nothing too disastrous. However, then came the free skate. He has such beautiful artistry, it’s a shame he can’t seem to skate a clean program. Hopefully as the season progresses he manages to pull out the performance of a lifetime. The Japanese men ended up sweeping the podium. I have always enjoyed watching Takahiko Kozuka, so I’m glad he was able to put together such a nice routine n’ find his way to the top of the podium. I must give a special shout-out to Yuzuru Hanyu. To be honest, there was such an overflow of top-ranked Japanese male skaters over the past few years that I never bothered watching any aside from Daisuke Takahashi n’ Takahiko Kozuka. However, after seeing Hanyu place second I had to see how good this young man really was. He is amazing, like a mini-Takahashi. His short program is a must-see –
I look forward to this weekend’s Skate Canada, when I get to see one of my favorites, Canada’s Patrick Chan although I hope he is not as ridiculously overscored as he was all of last season. He has amazing artistry, but a fall is a fall n’ needs show up in his scores. Other entries to look forward to are France’s Florent Amodio, Spain’s Javier Fernandez, USA’s Caroline Zhang (hopefully she continues to improve off of last year n’ clean up her technique because she is such a graceful skater) n’ newcomer Gracie Gould, and Canada’s Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir. October has got to be the best month for sports!