Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 US Figure Skating Championships: Ladies Recap

Ashley vs. Gracie: Part 4
  1. Does anyone else matter to the skating faithful?
    1. I feel that as a skating community, we have taken to Hannah Miller at this competition. Bradie Tennell is another one to watch. 
  2. Does Ashley come from behind in the short to win in the free as has become commonplace?
    1. Well, she was behind and she did so well until that pop, but it wasn't a true Ashley Wagner comeback, clearly, as she took third.
  3. Does my girl Ashley, an old broad by skating standards, have any gas left in the tank to take another US title and have a prayer of a World medal?
    1. I hate to say it because I love her, but I don't think she has a shot at a world medal unless others falter. She had her shot several times when she couldn't nail a short program. 
  4. Does Gracie live up to her word of “no more doubles”?
    1. After popping in the short, Gracie just threw it down in the free. She certainly lived up to her promise. 
  5. Does Gracie, clearly the more talented of the two, get out of her head and put up the points we know she can?
    1. Finally, yes, Gracie got out of her own head and threw down a fantastic performance. That was a "Nationals" performance and she clearly owned that free!
  6. More importantly, which of these two will give us the best Side Eye?
    1. Oddly enough, Polina was giving us some great face when she realized that Gracie had beaten her.
  7. Can Polina finally perform like a mature young woman?
    1. I'm just going to say it, because the free skate hair didn't help. It was more Pollyanna than Polina. She had the jumps, but she needs to learn how to perform and needs to be packaged differently.
  8. Does Karen Chen make the Gracie vs. Ashley debate moot by wiping the floor with all of them?
    1. She did not wipe the floor with them, but her free skate did make an impression aside from the fall. She has the potential to be great, but let's not crown her yet. 
  9. Can Courtney Hicks’ jump propel her back into the conversation?
    1. Unfortunately for Courtney, her jumps are what failed her. In my opinion, she needs to back off the speed and master her jumps again before she can put together a full program again. 
  10. Where does Carly Gold factor in, and more importantly, how does her presence affect Gracie?
    1. If she didn't have a famous sister, we wouldn't be talking about her and NBC certainly wouldn't be showing her short before the pairs free.
  11. What chance does Mirai Nagasu have after all these years, particularly where International assignments are concerned?
    1. She still has the skills, clearly, after nailing 2 clean programs, but that does not guarantee the "committee's" faith in her. She finished behind Ashley Wagner who popped a jump, so that doesn't demonstrate how much faith the international committee has in her. 
  12. Will any one performance make me cry or stand up and cheer?
    1. I certainly didn't cry, but I did cheer for Gracie because she had a true "Nationals moment".
  13. Can anyone from last year’s top ten trio of Bell, Pierce, or Miller surprise us and make the podium?
    1. Miller gave us a true performance. Pierce had that phenomenal short, but she really needed to go clean if she wanted to make to get to the program. She did show some fire at the end of the free so I'm very excited about her going forward! Bell showed us that she has the potential but she needs some smoothing out and just more experience. Unfortunately, not counting her combinations killed her. Fortunately, Kori Ade is her coach and in my opinion, she is the best in the business. 
  14. How will last year’s Junior winner by a mile, Bradie Tennell, handle the pressure of the Senior event?
    1. Bradie Tennell put on a show! She proved that her junior win was not a fluke and that she could handle the pressure. She held onto first until Wagner skated.
  15. Finally, will the dreaded “committee” have to step in when it comes to International assignments or will they let the competition play out?
    1. This should be pretty straightforward--Gracie, Polina, and Ashley will go to Worlds.

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