I've said it a billion times, but here goes one billion and one: Sochi is gonna be a mutha!! Remember a few years ago when the ladies field in Japan was about six deep? Well Russia is now the country sporting the largest number of jaw-dropping ladies and these chicks are scary good.
Quick thoughts on the girls:
Julia Lipnitskaya: 60.37 (SP), 112.14 (FS) = 172.51 (1st)
The only thing I can find to complain about with this girl are those fugly gloves she's wearing. Julia has some gorgeous jumps and the bendiest spins I've ever seen. The first time I saw her she aggravated me; her choreography consisted of nothing but pulling her leg over her head. Thankfully, there's a bit more balance to her programs this year. She's channeling Sasha Cohen hella-hard this season, using "Dark Eyes" for her SP and "Romeo & Juliet" for her FS. Kudos for that ballsy move. Of course, there is no comparison, but I like that she aims so high. Where she outdoes Ms. Cohen is in the jumps. Huge 2a-3t (two of them) that covered a ton of ice and looked way too easy. I'm sure we'll see 3-3s in the future. Add Julia to the list of oh-hell-here-come-the-Russians skaters who are gunning for Sochi. I swear, Russian nationals are going to be brutal that year...
This little lady made me smile! I just love her spunk and pizazz. What I really love is her presentation...or attempt at presentation. You can tell she's trying very hard to give the movements meaning, and she did a pretty good job for someone so little. I already know once she gets older she'll be a tough one to contend with. In addition to her presentation, she's technically solid. Unlike Lipnitskaia and Cesario, Miyahara received no edge calls in either program. Her 3f-3t was fully ratified in the SP, though the 3t and a 3lp was URed in the LP. Still, I say give her some time to grow a bit and mature, and Japan will have another star on their hands.
Samantha Cesario: 52.22 (SP), 101.62 (FS) = 153.84 (3rd)
Samanatha is definitely a lovely skater. I'm wondering where she's been up until now and why this is the first time I've seen her compete? I don't know, maybe that's my fault. Regardless, I really like what I saw from her. She has a lovely look on the ice, nice sized jumps and decent spins. Samantha's "Black Swan" program is second to Ashley Wagner's at the moment, though I do think she has a great dress. I expect to see Ashley upstage her there too (Come on, it's Ashley). Samantha's program is nice; however, it's not outstanding. She had only a bobble/UR on her 3f and an edge call on her lutz; a good clean skate from her. I'm excited to see how she'll stack up against the other American juniors.
I already like her better than Courtney Hicks...
Check out the rest of the protocols here and all of the ladies' programs at the fabulous ISU channel here. A few other notes: Best dressed of the night definitely went to Italy's Carol Bressanutti. As Tyra would say, Fierce! There was a "Bitch Stole My Look!" moment too: Agata Kryger totally ripped off Mao Asada's dress. Agata also suffered the worse fall I've seen in a long time...a total belly flop on the ice. Check out the stolen dress and belly flop here. Ouch!