By Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(18 November 2017) The Ladies Short Program had a relatively low level because of many mistakes, more than the best ladies usually make. The Chinese skater Zijun Li withdrew due to injury several weeks ago and the French federation invited the Latvian skater Angelina Kuchvalska as an alternate, but she withdrew as well. Therefore only 11 skaters did the short program.
Kaetlyn Osmond, second at the World Championships 2017 in Helsinki, Finland, won with only 69.05 points. She doubled the toe loop after the triple flip of her combination and touched down with her hand on the triple Lutz. Her double Axel was excellent, the spins and steps as well, all four elements had a level 4 and got mainly GOEs of +2. The 21-year-old athlete skated to two well-known songs of the famous French singer Edith Piaf: "Sous le ciel de Paris“ (Under the sky of Paris) and "Milord“ which the French public certainly liked. During this season you can hear more vocal music in French language than ever in all five skating categories (including Synchronized Skating), and less American music. Osmond had components with an average of 8,7, with one 9.75 from the Canadian judge Jean Senft for interpretation as highest one.
She commented: “Definitely there were a few things in my program I’m not too excited about. Missing the combo at the beginning and then having a little mistake on my Lutz, I wish I would have done those better. But overall, I pushed through my whole program and I’m happy about where I am. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I didn’t feel any extra nerves today. I felt very confident going into my short program. Mistakes happen now and then. The short program has been going well all season and last time I made a few mistakes in the short it ended up the best event I had. So maybe that’s a lead up for that.”
Maria Sotskova from the Moscow school of Elena Buianova, who had been fourth at the 2017 European and eighth at the 2017 World championships, sits second, earning 67.79 points. Her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was high and had even one GOE of +3 from the Chinese judge. But the 17-year-old skater overturned and stumbled a bit on the triple flip which got GOEs of -1 and -2. The other elements were at least good. She skated to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and had components of around 8.1. “It felt easy to skate and I enjoyed performing today”, she said. “However I made an error on the triple flip and I’m upset about it. I did not feel especially nervous because of the Grand Prix Final. I was very calm, actually I started worrying that I was too calm.”
15-year-old Yuna Shiraiwa from Japan who will celebrate her 16th birthday nine days after this short program, is currently on third position with 66.05 points. She was eighth at the NHK Trophy a week before. Skating to "The Girl with Flaxen Hair“ by Claude Débussy, she began with a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by a good double Axel and a good triple flip. Her three spins had a level 4 and her step sequence a level 3. She was the only top skater without mistakes. She said: “This was the best performance of the season so far and I feel relieved. I had little time to prepare between NHK Trophy and here, so my first priority was to condition my body. I also prepared mentally and did some meditation and I think it helped.”
The second Japanese skater Mai Mihara finished her short program to the Libertango by Astor Piazzola on fourth place, winning 64.57 points. After the triple Lutz of her combination she landed the triple toe loop forward and hit the boards, therefore it was downgraded. The triple flip was clean, the double Axel very good and her layback spin outstanding and therefore had four GOEs of +3. Her components were round 8.2.
Alina Zagitova from the Russian school of Eteri Tutberidze, who had won the Cup of China two weeks before, is only fifth with 62.46 points. After a very good spin and an outstanding and long step sequence she planned her jumps in the second half of the program. But first she fell on the triple Lutz of her combination, which was under-rotated, and could not add any other jump. Then she tried to put the triple loop after the triple flip out of steps. But not being used to this combination, she stumbled on the loop which was also under-rotated. The rest of the program was good and her components had an average of 7.8.
Elizabet Tursynbaeva from Kazakhstan, who trains in Toronto under Brian Orser, is currently sixth, earning 62.29 points. She popped the triple Lutz which was supposed to be her combination, but added later a triple toe loop to the triple flip. Therefore she had a valid combination.
The two French skaters are on seventh and eighth position. Laurine Lecavelier, who trains in Monument, Colorado, with the Jason Brown coach Kori Ade, won 60.68 points after stepping out of the triple toe loop after the triple Lutz in her combination. Mae-Bérénice Méité who trains with Shanetta Folle in the Chicago area, won 58.96 points and did not make any serious mistakes, but got lower components because of her less elegant style.
Polina Edmunds of San Jose, California, did her second competition after her longtime injury. Her short program was better than at the Finlandia Trophy in early October, but she still has not won back the shape of 2014 and 2015 when she was ninth at the Olympic Games in Sochi. She skated to Palladio by Karl Jenkins, but a bit slow. Six of her elements were good, but in her combination she stepped out of the triple toe loop after the triple loop.
Nicole Schott from Germany had been invited as an alternate for Gracie Gold who gets a finve months treatment against depression and eating disorder. Schott sits tenth with 55.45 points. She has an elegant style and did a clean combination of two triple toe loops, but fell on her triple loop. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva from Russia is no longer in the shape of 2015 when she was World Champion. She tried the triple Axel, landed it backwards, and fell. Later she popped the triple Lutz and in her combination performed only a triple toe loop and a double toe loop. Therefore she is eleventh and last with 53.03 points.