US Nationals and Stalker of Rinks

15 Jan

It was a whirlwind of action up in Boston at the TD Garden this week with so much build up for the US Nationals! I loved every minute of it. The tickets were a birthday gift from my boyfriend in December and I was just so excited to finally be there. I did some indoor and outdoor skating myself while I was up there practicing my silver moves and just basically trying not to impale small children and adults alike that were clinging for dear life onto the boards at the outdoor rink in Lynnfield, MA. We happened to make it for the earlier 11am session at the indoor Peabody rink and that was very much like an adult session. They had donuts and coffee too, yum! Extra bonus! Anyone who is in the area should try that rink out if you want to really have a productive practice, it was a nice session. I will admit to being a stalker of ice rinks though,  I have tried more than my fair share and continue to test them out as I travel.

In addition, that same day we also happened upon “Crystal Lake” in Middleton, MA which I am told can be skated on but I was too chicken to try. It was a beautiful wintry day with the snow falling and my boyfriend and I both tested the edges of the pond ice. He actually went out to the middle where someone had cleared an area for hockey so he was a bit braver than me! The ice did look pretty solid but I am not too into testing unknown ponds for skating, only regulated rinks, thank you!

Here I am doing my spiral in my boots on the pond. Ahem… I do this move at the beach, in front of buildings, at new rinks, even New Zealand! Basically any new place I can find…Weird? Ahem.

Yes, probably.

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So, onto Nationals! What can I say that has not been said? I’ll start with the controversial.

Two things.

1. Ashley Wagner deserves her spot as the only US lady to have secured the silver and bronze in the last two international competitions as well as the 3rd spot for the ladies at the Olympics through her placement at Worlds last year. I will also freely admit to being an Ashley follower. I love her skating and have followed her career for years. Her determination and the fact that she is the only US lady that really looks like a fully packaged LADIES skater makes me like her even more. I’m emphasizing that here because over the years I keep seeing 15-16 yr. old girls hop their way around the rink at these competitions without much depth, nice lines or artistry on the ice. Anyone who says she doesn’t deserve her spot probably only tuned in for Nationals and has not been following figure skating for the last two years or for that matter, the last two months. ‘Nuff said.

2. Polina Edmunds. It is a complete shock to me that she is going to the Olympics. Despite the fact that Mirai does not have a coach and has not had a stellar showing the last two years does not mean you place a 15 yr old Jr. skater in her place who does not have even one Sr. competition before this to show on her record. Sorry USFSA, she is not Sarah Hughes or Tara Lipinski or even a Julia Lipnitskaya, who, by the way, all have Sr. competition experience. She needs that EXPERIENCE to even be considered for the Olympic team and yet they think she will pull out two back to back programs to compete on the world scene. All this at the expense of a 23 yr. old who does have experience, proved (despite, yes, the noticeable breathing pauses in her program) that she can compete on the world scene again at a higher level. The worst part is that this is probably Mirai’s last chance while Polina has at least 2 more chances to go to the Olympics. She is the future of skating not the present. Ridiculous decision. Absolutely.Completely. Ridiculous.

I can think of other things to say but I’m going to leave it at that. It’s done and I feel badly for Mirai. She had a standing ovation from the crowd at nationals and she was so happy. It’s just mind boggling why the committee felt that they needed to give her a chance. Does this have something to do with her Russian background? Probably. That and well, duh, her jumps.

In any case, I also felt badly for Ashley. She was so upset about her performance on the ice but I watched all her other competitions throughout the season and there was nothing there to feel bad about. All her grand prix performances had been beautiful and consistently executed with artistry, grace and yes, that damn triple triple combination. I do hope she is just saving the best for last, she is our most consistent skater and I think she will place in the top 6. Yes, I just said that. Watch and see.

Now, Gracie. She is definitely a jumper. I will give her that. Her less than stellar record leading up to this event made me think she was going to tank but she performed. I do not think she is the full package yet. Her jumps are great but that’s about it. What am I missing? She gets the job done on home ice but will she consistently hold up on the world scene? I think we are going to see a crash and burn. Her scores were just a little inflated at Nationals and her fist pumping around the rink after the competition was nauseating and a bit overkill. She won’t be able to jump her way to the podium over Mao, Yuna, Carolina, and even Akiko Suzuki. Not to digress but I actually think Akiko Suzuki has a chance to be the stand out in this Olympics not Gracie Gold. Did anyone see her at Japanese Nationals? Amazing. Just amazing. I think she may surpass all of them and everyone will be left with their mouths hanging open.

Other stand out’s at the ladies event were Samantha Cesario and Barbie Long. They both performed beautifully! Courtney Hicks has explosive jumps and Ashley Cain was so very good! Leah Keiser had some lovely positions and although Caroline Zhang did not perform well that night, it was nice to see her perform. She has a delicate grace about her that is sometimes missing in the current crop of ladies. Very reminiscent of Michelle Kwan.

I’ll post some of my photos below to view and cover the mens next time aka Jason Brown and Jeremy Abbot!

I have so many photos that I don’t know what to do with them right now. It will take me hours to edit them all!

Did someone say OBSESSION? Yes, that would be me!

Enjoy…

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Samantha Cesario and her Fans

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Rachel Flatt performing her infamous ina bauer

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Ashley Cain in a Dick Button Approved Spiral ; )

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Ashley Wagner Starting Position

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Ashley at the Medal Ceremony, Sniff.

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Samantha Cesario in a Jump Combination

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Mariah Bell’s Spiral

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Ashley with her Coach Rafael Arutunian

Till next time…

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