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  1. Re: Nathan Chen at the 2018 Olympics, the U.S. media hype around him leading up to those games was intense (for U.S. figure skating). He was heading there undefeated for the season and viewed as a realistic contender for gold, since Hanyu had an injury and was still a bit of a question mark as to whether he would be back at full force. I can’t imagine the kind of mindfuck all of that external, and internal, pressure could create. IIRC, Chen had some LP issues all that season, and was constantly changing some of the jumps around. He depended on the SP more than once to give him enough of a cushion to still win, even when his LPs were less than great. Looking back on it now, those terrible skates at the Olympics seemed inevitable. He was so young and was probably putting an immense amount of pressure on himself, in addition to all of the external pressure/expectations.
  2. I agree that the women’s competition at 4CC was more interesting, however I don’t think it was solely the lack of quads. I think it’s because the medal favorites all came from different training environments and had different skating styles and personalities that showed through more. I know I enjoyed an international championship where the top 3 didn’t come from the same rink producing the same cookie-cutter programs.
  3. The competition for bronze among the men (because something bananas would have to happen for Chen and/or Hanyu to not be 1st and/or 2nd) is going to be fun/stressful for me watching worlds. All of my favorite artistic boys (Aliev, Aymoz, Brown) have a realistic shot if they go clean and other top contenders (like Jin) make mistakes in the free—as has happened multiple times this season. I have the least confidence in Aymoz, since even on a good day his success feels more accidental than assured. Aliev and Brown both seem to be on an upward trajectory since the start of the championships phase of the season.
  4. I also would have preferred Bradie in 2nd over Young You, but I can’t be too annoyed since they essentially tied in the final points total. You is very impressive, especially considering how young she is. I have a lot of love for Kaori, but that free skate was Not Good. I’ve wanted to like her free skate all season, but it just hasn’t clicked for me. I hope she comes back roaring next season—she really is one of my faves to watch.
  5. The 4CC mens short was fantastic. Especially with the last group, it felt like watching a world championship short. A whole different level than what happened at Euros a couple of weeks ago. When I compare the lineups of this year’s 4CC and Euros across the disciplines, the 4CC men is the only group where I didn’t really notice the lack of top European (more specifically, Russian) competitors (with the exception of Dimitri Aliev, perhaps).
  6. It sucks for Tomoki and Jessica and Brian to have medaled but then be alternates for the world team. I’m sure it’s down to having somewhat disappointing results on the Grand Prix this season and competing against skaters with better established/ competitive international reputations. I would love someone’s informed take on these selections.
  7. I’ve never felt particularly emotionally invested in Vincent Zhou as a skater before, but damn if his performance today didn’t hit me in the feels. I hope he is put on the 4CC team. Nathan’s score was particularly ridiculous considering some of his jump landings, but there’s no question he is in a league of his own among the current crop of US men. Like Charlie and Tanith in their commentary, I continue to hate the costumes. But love everything else. Jason’s 2nd place finish is well-deserved. Watching a performance like his today feels special. There aren’t a lot of skaters in the mens field who excel at the non-jumping aspects the way he can. I know he’ll never win a world medal at this point, but I’m so glad to get to watch him do what he does. My heart broke a little for Andrew Torgashev after his free skate. He has so many great qualities. Next to Jason, he is one of my favorites to watch just move around the ice. I hope he can improve his consistency.
  8. Dare I say, I DID NOT hate H/D’s re-vamped free dance? In fact, I kinda sorta liked it? The music changes are blessedly welcome to my ears, and the entrance to their first lift is pretty great. It helped me enjoy their powerful skating and just...their overall projection. Still, cannot deny I’m excited that C/B won. I love the snakesssssss theme! This is a perfect vehicle for them, and I sincerely hope they can get on the world podium this year. IDK what Hawayek and Baker have been doing since their last Grand Prix event, but keep it up you two. I was concerned they might get booted from 3rd in favor of Carreira and Ponomarenko (whom I also love, but not quite as much), but they really brought it in the way you always hope an event-closing performance will. The 4th-6th place teams all have great qualities, it’s just a shame that both Green/Parsons and Macnamara/Carpenter had stumbles. US ice dance is lucky to have such a deep talent pool.
  9. See, and here I am getting sexy dad vibes from glasses!Charlie and not being mad at all. Another thing I love about Charlie is him getting on his commentator soapbox about required elements he’s not a fan of. He is emphatically not a fan of the choreographic slide move requirement. He thinks it’s unfair for the ladies because they’re usually wearing dresses and thinner tights while the men wear pants offering more protection from the ice. I kinda agree, now that I think about it.
  10. P/C had been undefeated for nearly 2 seasons—it was only a matter of time before another team started to achieve scoring parity. I only wish it was not S/K. I just don’t case for S/K’s programs, and that makes it hard for me to appreciate their apparent improvement in the eyes of the judges.
  11. The Euros mens and pairs events were a generally rough bunch to watch. Aside from Aliev managing to hold it relatively together for both portions and win, there wasn’t a lot of greatness on display. The absence of recent top competitors like Kolyada and Fernandez was really apparent. The only discipline I’m looking forward to today is ice dance, purely because of the politicking going on with P/C vs N/K scoring in the rhythm dance.
  12. The rhythm dance was super fun to watch. The NBC stream had Charlie White doing commentary solo—he’s really growing on me as a commentator. He does a great job of not talking while the performance is happening. And color me pleasantly surprised that Chock and Bates are in the lead. They and Hubbell and Donahue had oopsie!moments, and I was expecting Chock and Bates to take more of a penalty for theirs since it happened in the Finn step. I would LOVE to see C/B win this year—mostly because I prefer their programs to H/D. And the teams in 3rd through 6th were also great to watch. It’s a real shame that USFSA and/or NBC hasn’t done a better job hyping up US ice dance since that’s where the depth of talent is right now.
  13. I’m sure there are people in skating circles who don’t agree with how the Sambo70 team trains or their methods, but unless/until Sambo70 reach a certain state of diminishing returns, there probably won’t be many willing to speak against them directly or publicly. No one coach or training center stays number one forever—that’s what I feel, anyway.
  14. My understanding, based on what I learned from an NPR story this morning, is that individual Russian athletes can still petition to participate as long as they can prove they are not doping and are following the anti-doping rules and their drug tests are clean. And they can’t officially represent Russia. They are “neutral” or something like that. So basically what we saw at the 2018 Peyongchang Olympics.
  15. Alina had a very rough free skate. She had one outright fall and a couple of stumbles on other jumps, and every one of her triple jumps was (rightly) called under. At least one of them was downgraded too. Trusova and Shcherbavoka both fell once and had a quad jump called under in their free skates. But Trusova also popped what I assume was a planned quad salchow into a double, her PCS score was the lowest, and she got lower GOE on her non-jump elements in comparison to her fellow medalists. Honestly, I’m a little surprised her PCS scores are as high as they are.
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