Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 JGP Bosphorus: Ladies Review & JGP Standings

It's weird how many of these girls reminded me of other skaters...

The final results for JGP Bosphorus:

Leah Keiser (USA): 50.70 (SP) + 105.63 (LP) = 156.33 (1st)
It's a rare thing nowadays to see an American at the top of the podium, so to see Leah come from behind for the win here was a treat.  I like Leah.  She has decent technique for the most part (she does have edge problems with her flip), tight air position on her jumps and nice spins.  She's grown since nationals and it appears as though the height has helped her in terms of her speed and presence.  For some reason (and it may just be me), Leah reminds me of Kimmie Meissner.  Maybe it's their body type: long legs, long arms, short torso...Kimmie looked like that too.  Thankfully, Leah doesn't suffer from Kimmie's dreaded airplane arms but hers are almost a bit too straight at times. I only hope that Leah is able to weather puberty better than Kimmie did.  When the puberty monster attacked Kimmie it hit her squarely in the rotation....hopefully Leah will survive with her rotation intact.

Leah went for a 3Lz-3T in both programs though she URed the back end both times.  Still, she delivered in the LP without any major mistakes and won the segment which placed her first overall.  Way to go Kimmie Leah!

So Youn Park (KOR): 51.45 (SP) + 93.32 (LP) = 144.77 (2nd)
So Youn continues my trend of reminding me of other skaters; she still reminds me of Yu-Na.  I don't know what it is but I think it might be something in her presentation and movement...I just see Yu-Na's influence in So Youn's skating and it's a good thing in my book.  So Youn started off very well in SP, opening with a huge 3S-2T (she really needs to upgrade it to a 3S-3T) and finishing strong on everything else.  She ended up in first place heading into the LP.  At JGP Lake Placid she finished second in the SP but fell apart in the LP.  This time she held it together better and stayed on her feet.  Her salchows are gorgeous and her 2A-3T was great as well; however, she left all of the money jobs on the table, popping her lutz and flip.  So Youn finished third in the LP and second overall.

I love So Youn's style and presentation but she's going to have to step up her technical content if she wants to challenge for gold.  Regardless, this was an improvement over her first assignment and she earned her first JGP medal.

Satoko Miyahara (JPN): 46.62 (SP) + 96.74 (LP) = 143.36 (3rd)
After winning JGP Lake Placid Satoko came in as the one to beat in this competition, but she struggled here a bit.  She started off rough in the SP, URing the 3T in her 3Lz-3T combo and botching her flying camel spin.  Her PCS took a beating (only 19.14) and she ended up in sixth place heading into the LP.  Luckily she rallied and stormed back in the LP, but she wasn't without problems here either.  She got full credit for her 3Lz-3T (note: no flutz calls in either program), but she received a DG and an edge call on the 3F she went down on in addition to UR calls on her 3L and the 2A in her 2A-3T combo.  Even with all the mistakes Satoko finished second in the LP and pulled up to finish third overall.

I'm still really worried about how tiny Satoko's jumps are; they barely get off the ice and, undoubtedly, the judges aren't fans of that. One thing I wish the judges would give Satoko credit for is her SS and TR.  She's very small but the girl has excellent skating skills and some of the toughest transitions in the field...yet she hardly ever gets credit for these areas of her skating.  Just item number 7,492 of what's wrong with this judging system...

As for the rest...

Miyabi Oba (JPN, 4th) had a solid competition.  The highlight of her SP was her excellent opening 3S-3T.  Miyabi reminds me a lot of Miki Ando when she skates; I think it's her carriage across the ice that screams "Miki!" to me, though her posture isn't as hunched as Miki's.  Miyabi skates with a lot of speed and she leaves a bigger impact than Miyahara does, but she's a bit bland.  She lacks personality on the ice, plus she has the ugliest illusion spin I've ever seen! Bland personality and ugly spins aside Miyabi had a solid LP, including a big 2A-3T-2T.  All in all it was a solid competition for her.

Uliana Titushkina (RUS, 5th) started off well enough in the SP, finishing second.  Unfortunately things unraveled in the LP.  Two DGs, two URs and an edge call hurt her quite a bit and killed any chance she had of making it to the podium.  It's strange not to see a Russian on the podium.  This wasn't a great outing for her but I still enjoyed her skating.

Nina Jiang (USA, 11th) was disappointing.  I already knew she wasn't a strong technical skater even though I really, really, really want her to be.  Nina has a presence and command of the ice when she's out there but it's not nearly as convincing as it would be if she actually landed her jumps.  She lacks the difficulty most of the top competitors have which makes landing the jumps she actually does have all the more critical.  *sigh* I think she's absolutely beautiful and her skating is lovely too...but without the jumps, she hasn't got a prayer.  Seeing as how JGP spots are hard to come by nowadays for the American junior ladies, my guess is Nina's poor showing here has greatly lessened any chance she had of getting a second assignment in the future.  Ah, well...I'll see her at nationals I guess.

JGP Standings So Far...

This event marks the official halfway point for the JGP this season.  So far, here's what the standings look like:

As of now Elena Radionova is the only lock for a spot.  With her two gold medals and massive overall scores, no one will be able to knock her out of that top qualifying spot.  Satoko Miyahara's 26 points has a good chance of holding up though it's likely her position will shuffle a bit.  So Youn Park and Uliana Titushkina hold the third and fourth slots for now but it's highly unlikely that those two will make the Final with only 18 points a piece.  Leah Keiser, Hannah Miller, Courtney Hicks, Angela Wang, Samantha Cesario and Rika Hongo all have second events and a medal for either will be enough to overtake those 18 points.  The top six will advance to the JGP Final in December.

Plenty of skating left to go!  Next week is JGP Sencila Bled Cup (who names these things?).  We'll see Japan's Miu Sato, South Korea's Hae Jin Kim, Anna Shershak for Russia, and Americans Courtney Hicks and Barbie Long.

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