In a final look at Skate Canada, which took place over the weekend, it’s time to have a glance at the ladies, namely the much-anticipated debuts of two North American youngsters. They came in with different levels of hype and left with very different results.
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Two very different debuts
We all knew coming into this season that there would be a lot of expectations on American Gracie Gold. She was so strong last season as a junior, one of the few American ladies to be consistent and have confidence in their technical abilities. She even joined Ashley Wagner at World Team Trophy at the end of the season and skated very strongly there. A lot of people, including me, expected a great Grand Prix debut from Gold.
WATCH: Gold Skate Canada short program
WATCH: Gold Skate Canada free skate
But perhaps her silver at U.S. Classic when most expected gold from Gold (yes, gold from Gold) at that competition was a sign. The confidence was here and gone and back again at Skate Canada. There were moments of brilliance, for sure – look at that triple lutz-triple toe in the free skate – but there were also times when she looked completely out of her element.
Debut jitters or a bad omen of what’s to come? We’ll see. Her practices at Skate Canada were solid, so my guess it’s not jump issues. She will get another chance to prove herself at Rostelecom Cup. Oh, and I want to see that Rippon lutz from Gold!
On the other end of the spectrum was Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond. Yes, she had that great short program at Canadians last season to make her mark. But then she had a less stellar free skate, and subsequently finished tenth at Junior Worlds to Gold’s second.
WATCH: Osmond Skate Canada short program
WATCH: Osmond Skate Canada free skate
But then Osmond comes out and beats Adelina Sotnikova at Nebelhorn Trophy to start the season, and suddenly, she looked like the real deal. She handled the pressure at home well this week, having that same confidence as Gold did in her moments of brilliance, except she was able to take it through the entire 6 1/2 minutes she competed.
Skate Canada is actually her only Grand Prix assignment, and there aren’t any spots left open in the remaining four competitions. So yes, unless something changes, a Grand Prix champion won’t even get a chance to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. The next time we see her will likely be Canadians in January.
A side note – watching Osmond’s win reminded me of a couple of other breakthroughs at previous Skate Canadas. There was Cynthia Phaneuf‘s win in 2004, Alissa Czisny‘s win in 2005, then Elizaveta Tuktamisheva‘s win last year. Maybe there’s something in the air ….
I’ve had a good number of people ask me about my thoughts on Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir‘s Carmen free dance. They’ve only skated it once in competition, but it’s already proven to be a highly divisive program.
WATCH: Virtue/Moir Skate Canada free dance
To be perfectly frank, I am really not leaning either way at the moment. Very much like Savchenko/Szolkowy’s Bolero, I appreciate Virtue/Moir’s attempt to take a much-overused piece of music and do something out of the norm with it. The interpretation and performance are there, though there were definitely a bunch of sloppy moments in the execution.
Technically, it’s got really crisp movements, especially at the beginning of the program, but there seemed to have been more out-of-hold skating than we are used to from Virtue and Moir. The last lift seemed overly complicated for its own good.
So that’s to say, I’m still undecided. I’ll revisit this discussion throughout the season, I’m sure.
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