Friday, January 23, 2009

So Much Skating, So Little Time to Talk About It—But Here Goes…

I have a shiny new stainless steel kitchen timer that I use with my kids to time out session on the computer, on video games, on the amount of time they have to be nice to each other before mom comes out of the office…

Anyway, they’re not here and that means I can use it to time MYSELF as I attempt a quick summary of the week thus far. Hopefully you have as little time to read as I have to write, and it will all balance out perfectly. Let’s see what I can do:

+ Last night Alissa Czisny took a convincing lead in the U.S. Nationals SP, once again proving that if I predict it one way here, it will often turn up the complete opposite way there. But let’s pretend Alissa is reading this (as I would love her to make the podium or maybe… no, don’t jinx her, shut up…): Alissa, you can do this. You are one of the most graceful and elegant in the sport right now, and there is no rule that says your nerves have to take over and ruin your fun this weekend. Seize the moment! Don’t listen to silly bloggers like me! YOU…CAN…DO…THIS.

+ But Rachel Flatt (who sits in second after the SP) is very capable as well, so consider it hopes set high for two. (And that has nothing to do with the fact that I picked her to win… nothing at all…)

+ Ashley Wagner, sitting down there in 12th (yes, 12th)… throw yourself into that Spartacus routine, girl. I’m afraid you might not get a chance to show it again this year if you don’t. (Not that I think she still has a strong chance of medaling, but there are still 4 Continents assignments to consider…)

+ Earlier in the day yesterday, pairs skaters Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett made that beloved leap from “who?” to “Oh, THEM!” when they topped the leader board after the SP. I just happened to catch their routine as I was leaving the computer for a while, and they kept me fully engaged for the whole program, throw triple flip and all—not an easy thing to do if I don’t recognize a name. While it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to stay strong enough for a medal—only half a freaking point separates the top three—I think they may have already done the toughest part of their job in simply breaking through. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of my pick for bronze (Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent), who are some 10 points away from the top spots right now.

+ As for the overseas action: Joubert came through for the men’s win at Euros, but none of my other picks made the podium (Preaubert settled for 5th, while Verner tumbled all the way to 6th with what must’ve been a free skate similar to last year’s Worlds…oy.)

+ In dance, Dom/Shab have now withdrawn from the whole thing (there goes another prediction), leaving #1 Khoklova/Novitski, #2 Faeilla/Scali, and the #3 Kerrs (YAY!) to duke it out with the top French teams (who are 4th and 5th after the OD). I don’t know what’s going on at the rink where D/S and USA’s Belbin/Agosto co-train… I just know that it won’t be skating that goes on for now.

+ And the buzzer rings just as I’m about to tell what little I know about the Euro Ladies… Laura Lepisto leads after the SP, with Susanna Poykio less than a point behind her and Carolina Koster down in 3rd (!). Those do happen to be my podium picks, but there needs to be some shuffling happening in the Free Skate…

That’ll have to be it for now.

For the
Clip of the Day I’ve got Yannick Ponsero’s FS from Euros… he didn’t medal (was in 9th after the SP), but came might close after this performance that pulled even better scores than Joubert’s FS. Speaking of which, Joubert better keep our eyes on Ponsero… if he ever works out the kinks to where he can turn in two great skates, back-to-back, at the right time, he might do a whole lot more than just beat him at French Nationals (as he did last month).

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