Sunday, August 27, 2017

2016 JGP Brisbane: Review

The 2017-2018 season is here!  As always we kick off the figure skating season with the Junior Grand Prix.  First up was JGP Brisbane and, as expected, we saw quite a bit of talent right out of the gate.

Alexandra Trusova (RUS): 65.57 (SP) + 132.12 (FS) = 197.69 - 1st
Alexandra is very exciting to watch. She's a tiny little thing but she packs quite a punch out there on the ice.  Her SP was very entertaining and well skated and her FS had a nice edge and tension to it.  Some of her spins need some work but she's solid across the board...especially when it comes to the technical side of things.  Alexandra has a lot of rippon jumps (both arms over her head), a strong 3Lz-3L combo as well as a 3Lz-3T and a 4S...yes, a quadruple salchow.  She went for it in the FS and even though it was called under-rotated, she still earned 6.73 points which is equal to having a third nicely executed lutz in her program.  It's early in the season but Alexandra is looking like one of the ones to beat this year.

Anastasiia Guliakova (RUS):  63.47 (SP) + 117.96 (FS) = 181.43 - 2nd
Anastasiia has a nice look on the ice.  She's taller and more mature looking than most of the other girls out there which makes her stand out.  I think she's a pleasant skater though she seems to be missing a bit of that umph! that makes a skater really shine.  Regardless, she was great here.  She has an excellent arsenal of jumps (several 3-3 combos and rippon variations) and a good presence on the ice.  I continue to be floored by the amount of talent and depth Russia has in their women's field.  It's unbelievable...

Riko Takino (JPN):  60.55 (SP) + 113.61 (FS) = 174.16 - 3rd
Riko is a typical Japanese skater: nice look on the ice, great knees, great edges, solid jumps.  I think she's got the propensity to be a good performer as well. She actually reminds me a lot of Satoko Miyahara.  On the junior level Satoko had shades of that great performance quality that was soon to come and I see that in Riko.  That's a great thing.  Unfortunately, similar to Satoko, Riko also has tiny jumps.  She rotates quickly but doesn't get much air which, we all know, can be a big issue down the road.  Hopefully as she grows her jumps will gain more power.  Overall she did well here and should be proud.

As for the rest...

Akari Matsuoka (JPN; 168.05, 4th):  Akari had a good debut here.  Like Riko, she suffers from tiny jumps as well.  She got hit on a number of under-rotations in this competition which ultimately hurt her score.  Again, like Riko I hope that Akari will gain some power in her jumps as she gets bigger.  Overall, she was lovely and also...holy crap, can this girl spin!  I'm talking Lucinda Ruh speed and centering. She was a blur in her layback spin.  Amazing!

Kaitlyn Nguyen (USA; 161.43, 5th):  Kaitlyn did well here.  She had some trouble in her SP (a fall on her 3Lz) but she fought back in the FS and delivered a strong performance.  Like some of the other ladies she needs to work on her under-rotation issues.  With the field being as stacked as it is under-rotations are death sentences.  It's good to see the U.S. in the top 5 but she and the rest of the U.S. junior girls have some work to do if they want to crack the top 3 this season.

Ting Cui (USA; 150.95, 6th):  I was really impressed with Ting in the SP and she was set up to make a decent run in the FS.  Her FS opening was amazeballs: 3Lz-1L-3S (rippon in both triples), 3L and 2A-3T.  Unfortunately she lost steam in the second half of the program, falling on a jump, popping another and singling her axel.  In the end she gave away way too many points. I'm hoping to see her learn from this and grow.  She's definitely got the talent the U.S. needs right now to be competitive.  Now she just has to learn to compete and not let one mistake take her out of the performance.

This week is Cup of Austria which will take place in Salzburg, Austria. This event has a number of second year JGP vets including Anastasiia Gubanova (RUS), Eunsoo Lim (KOR) and Mako Yamashita (JPN).  We'll also see the debut of Starr Andrews (USA) who I am really excited to see.  This should be a great event!

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