by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(30 October 2017) The Technical Panel in the Ladies competition at Skate Canada 2017 in Regina, Saskatchewan was extremely strict. The Controller Yukiko Okabe from Japan, the Technical specialist Fernand Fédronic from France and the Assistant Technical specialist Scott Davis from the USA (but sho lives and teaches in Calgary) found no less than 46 under-rotated or downgraded jumps among the twelve ladies, which means almost 4 per skater. Is this not too much?
Kaitlyn Osmond (21) from Edmonton, Alberta, silver medalist at the World Championship 2017, always performs very high jumps and was the only lady competitor in Regina without any under-rotations. She won the event with 212.91 points, which meant a distance of more than 20 points to the rest of the field.
She began her free program with a combination of triple flip and triple toe loop, but stumbled on the toe loop. Next was an outstanding combination of double Axel and triple toe-loop, followed by an excellent triple Lutz. Two other triple jumps were very good, but the second flip only double and she fell on the second double Axel at the end. She skated to the “Black Swan” version of Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet Swan Lake and had components with an average of 9.0. “I am absolutely happy how today went, but in my long program I definitely have some work to do,” she commented. “Overall, it was my best performance of the season, although some of the jumps did not work out very great.”
Maria Sotskova (17) from the Moscow school of Elena Buianova, a very tall skater, won the silver medal, earning 192.52 points. She had seven triple jumps and two double Axels in her fluid program, three of which were marked as under-rotated. The layback spin and the step sequence (Level 4) were other highlights of her program. She skated to “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy and her components had an average of 8.2. Later she said: “I am pleased with my performance, because I skated my program clean and I am happy with my score and my result. It is an important season, but I prepared for it like for any other season. I try not to think about it too much, because it would make me nervous.”
Ashley Wagner from the Californian school of Rafael Arutunian moved up from seventh to third place with the fourth best free program and won 183.94 overall points although three of her jumps were announced under-rotated and the triple Lutz got an edge call. Three triple jumps were clean however, and the spins and step sequence got many GOEs of +2. Her music was “Moulin Rouge” which she interpreted as sultrily as necessary and with a strong expression. “Today was a really solid skate for me,” she said. “I think it was a nice checking point for me to see where I am at in the season and where I want to go. It was a huge stepping stone that is out of the way and I am looking forward to Skate America, being even stronger.”
Courtney Hicks (21) from Alisa Viejo in California and student of Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, finished on fourth position with 182.57 points. She has an athletic skating style, skated to “Amazing Grace” and had components with an average of 7.6. After a very good step sequence the triple flip of her combination was clean, but she touched down on the triple loop. Three more triple jumps were clean, but a triple Salchow and a double Axel under-rotated.
Marin Honda (16) was the better of the two Japanese skaters. After two serious mistakes in the short program she had to skate first and moved up from tenth to fifth place with 178.24 points. Five triple jumps were good or very good, the step sequence and the layback spin as well, but a triple toe loop and a triple flip were called under-rotated.
Skating to the opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, her components were around 7.6 and she got a standing ovation. There is already a hype in Japan around her because many Japanese fans think she might become the next Mao Asada. Rika Hongo (21) used the soundtrack of “Frida” (about a female Mexican painter) for her free program, interpreted it with a lot of intensity and had components of around 7.7. Only two of her seven trple jumps were called clean, but five as under-rotated. All three spins had a level 4.
U.S. champion Karen Chen from the school of Tammy Gambill in Riverside, California was not yet in top shape and finished seventh with 170.40 points. She began her free program with a good combination of triple Lutz and double toe-loop (which was planned triple). Her triple flip got an edge call. The first triple Salchow, which she performed in a sequence with a double Axel and a single loop, and the triple Lutz were under-rotated and the second triple Salchow was landed on two feet and was even downgraded. Her loop was double. Her spins and her choreographic step sequence with an excellent spiral like Michelle Kwan has often done were excellent. Because of her elegant style she had components of around 7.8.
French skater Laurine Lecavelier who trains in Monument, Colorado, with Kori Ade since July 2017, placed eighth, earning 166.43 points. Her first four triple jumps were clean, including a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. But near the end she stepped out of the second triple Lutz and her triple loop was under-rotated. Anna Pogorilaya sometimes is a world class skater, but sometimes has very bad days, like during the free program at the World Championships 2017 in Helsinki in March 2017. After a relatively good beginning with a combination of triple Lutz and an under-rotated triple toe loop and a clean double Axel, she missed first a jump combination, then doubled the second Lutz, singled the flip, doubled the second loop, fell hard on her belly on the double Axel and fell again at the entrance of a spin. Thus she did not hold her second position after the short program and dropped to ninth place with 156.89 points. Kailani Craine from Australia had no less than six jumps which were called under-rotated.