Thursday, April 11, 2013

I'll Be the Judge of That: 2013 World Championships - Ladies Free Skate

I’ve been pretty busy but I wanted to finish what I started here. Actually, the scores have been done for a while but it takes a minute to write out my explanations. Anyhoo, here are the FS scores and final standings for my mock scoring for the 2013 World Championships.

Does there need to be some shuffling of the podium?

Here's a refresher of what the standings look like after the SP:

Here are my free skate scores:

As you can see, my scores for Yu-Na Kim came out lower than the judges’ score (140.52 vs 148.34). There are differences in both TES and PCS. My TES difference is 5.81 points (68.92 vs 74.73). This difference can be explained quite simply: I didn’t award +2s and +3s for every single element which is what the judges did. I gave Yu-Na’s 3Lz-3T, 3F, 3Lz, StSq and final spin +2s…everything else was +1. So yes, +GOE for everything but I didn’t feel as though any of her elements were worth +3s. Yu-Na’s toe jumps are her forte: great technique, lots of speed and coverage, very well executed. Her edge jumps are very good but not excellent; her spins are good but not excellent. For that reason, I felt awarding +3s and even +2s on some elements was excessive.

Same case for PCS. I think a lot of the judges were so thrilled by her clean performance that they poured on the good marks which is understandable. There is about a 2 point difference in my PCS for Yu-Na (71.60) versus the judges’ (73.61). The judges’ PCS for Yu-Na ranged from 8.89 to 9.36. My PCS ranged from 8.75 to 9.25…so they were similar. I do think some of the judges got carried away with high 9s and several 10s. As much as I adore Yu-Na, that was not a 10 worthy program in my opinion. Gershwin was a 10 by comparison. But again…the judges were very excited with what she did.

Easy and controlled...

Yu-Na skated last and she skated perfectly. In their excitement the judges wanted to reward her for nailing all of her jumps and delivering under pressure. Was Yu-Na amazing? Hell yeah. Was that program and performance worth +3s and 10s? Um, I didn’t think so. If you’ve read anything I’ve posted before about Yu-Na’s programs this season you know my feelings on her Les Mis program (il est ennuyeux) so even with the wonderful execution of the elements, I didn’t feel this performance was all that moving or inspiring…the program does zero for me.

I’m sure some agree while others will disagree. That’s why this stupid sport is so tough to judge. Subjectivity plays a big role in what kind of scores are handed out. Regardless whether I was moved or not, Yu-Na had one of the best performances of the night and deserved a high score…I just didn’t think it should be as high as it was.

Her best technical performance of the season

My score for Mao Asada (134.90) was almost exactly what the judges gave her (134.37). I thought her score was fair. The early mistakes hurt her but after the lutz she settled in and delivered the rest of the program very well. Both my TES and PCS for Mao were within a point of the judges’ marks. This wasn’t the technical display Mao hoped for (3A, 3-3 and 2-3) but she rotated six triple jumps which makes this her best technical performance of the season. She rotated the 3A even though she stepped out of it (-2) so the gain in points she got was worth the risk (6.36 points). Her 2A-3T was very nicely done (+2) and, as always, her StSq was a thing of complex and intricate beauty (+3). She lost points on two spins (level 3s instead of 4s) but overall, this performance was a success for Mao and the judges scored her fairly.

Down she goes...again

Carolina Kostner’s SP score was very debatable but I thought the judges were fair with her FS score. My score (130.25) is less than a point different from the judges’ (131.03). I had Carolina lower in TES (59.65 vs 61.34) and slightly higher in components (71.60 vs 70.69).

Funny enough my PCS for Carolina is the same as my PCS for Yu-Na (71.60). Again, thanks to subjectivity, I’m sure some will disagree but I honestly feel they match up evenly when it comes to PCS. I gave both ladies a 9.00 for SS and IN and 9.25 for PE (which, BTW, has nothing to do with the execution of technical elements in case you don’t know). Yu-Na beats Carolina in TR (8.75 vs 8.50) and Carolina beats Yu-Na in CH (9.00 vs 8.75). Average it out and you get the same thing.

To me, Carolina’s program and performance were more engaging and exciting. I felt like she was really into her program and, for a while there, she had me spellbound. I get what the judges see in Carolina: effortless and amazing speed, long and gorgeous lines, lovely interpretation and a great level of performance when she skates. I agree with Dave and Jenny from The Skating Lesson when they say Carolina gets so into her performance at times that she loses focus. That explains the brain-fart on the loop and the salchow at the end (ouch). Even with the mistakes Carolina put out a solid technical performance with her 3Lz (+2) and a good 3F-3T (+1) plus level 4s on all of her spins and StSq, which was magnificent (+3). So I do think the judges got it right with her score.

My score for Zijun Li was higher than what the judges gave her but not by too much (129.30 vs 127.54, difference of 1.76 points) so for the most part I agreed with her scores here. I had her slightly higher in both TES (69.70 vs 69.41) and PCS (59.60 vs 58.13). Zijun had one of the top two performances of the night (the other being Yu-Na) both in terms of technical content and clean execution. Zijun’s TES was the second highest of the night for the judges behind Yu-Na (69.41 vs 74.73), but in my scoring she edges Yu-Na’s by 0.78 points for highest TES of the segment (69.70 vs 68.92). Zijun completed seven triple jumps including a soaring 3F-3T (+2) followed immediately by a beautiful 2A-3T (+2). I gave Zijun’s 3Lz -1 for the incorrect edge but gave her second 3F +2 (just as high and fast as the first). Everything else was +1 except for her layback which was a well-deserved +3.

Zijun has lovely speed and flow around the ice as well as a delicate and lyrical style to her skating. Her choreography was nicely done and captured the music very well. I gave Zijun 7.00 for TR, 7.5 for SS, CH and IN, and 7.75 for PE. She was absolutely gorgeous.

She's been better...

Ashley Wagner places 5th in FS with 122.93 (judges gave her 123.36). This was a solid skate for Ashley but she can definitely skate with more fire and attack than she did here. Her opening combo was solid (+1) but her 2A-3T wasn’t (-2). She recovered with her lovely layback (+2) and a huge 3L (+2). I gave the fall in the StSq a -2. If you check the protocols the majority of the judges did not give her -3 for the slip which seems fair. It’s not like a jump or spin where a fall basically equals a big ol’ fail for the whole element. Ashley started the footwork, fell, got up, and finished it. For me, that’s a -2…not -3. She recovered with that invincible final 3F (+1) and I loved her ChSp (+2).

Ashley’s PCS ranged from 7.50 to 8.00 for me. Usually they are higher but I didn’t feel the same attack and energy I usually feel from her programs. She was a little cautious and it lessened the impact of her skating somewhat. Overall though, it was a very solid performance for her and I agree with what the judges gave her.

On Ashley’s heels is Kanako Murakami with 122.23 (123.09 from the judges). Overall, Kanako was very good but the two < and the e on the lutz cost her a few points (-1 for each of those mistakes). I notice in my scoring that Kanako’s non-jump elements are what received the most GOE for me. I gave her StSq, layback, ChSq and final spin +2. She integrated all of her elements so well into the program that it really made each one stand out. As for the performance itself, I think it was one of the strongest of the season. By far this is Kanako’s best FS ever. I love the tension in her movements and she does a great job of capturing that tango feel. Kanako’s PCS for me ranged from 7.25 to 8.00: 7.25 for TR, 7.75 for SS, CH and IN, and 8.00 for PE. I liked the scores the judges gave her and I definitely agree with them.

Stiff arms and blank face for 90% of the program

As always, I’m less impressed with Gracie Gold than the judges seem to be (120.61 vs 125.40). Gracie’s 3Lz-3T was rotated but not landed well (turned out without a proper check of the landing). That lack of control negated the +GOE I would have given her so rather than take away for what she didn’t do, I gave her 0 for that combo. Her 2A-3T was lovely (+2) as was her layback and final spin (both +2). She lost points on her 2A (-2), her 3F combo (e call, -1) and her 3S (-1). My TES for Gracie is lower than the judges (63.01 vs 65.22) but that’s not my biggest issue with her scoring.

My main issue with Gracie is always her PCS. I gave her 57.60 versus the 60.18 the judges gave her. I give Gracie credit on her SS and TR (7.75 and 7.25) but where the judges inflate her is in PE, CH and IN. For those three I gave her 7.25, 7.00 and 6.75 respectively…the judges gave her 7.61, 7.57 and 7.61. Again I ask what program are these judges watching? Zero connection to the music or choreography and yet she scores mid 7s. I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s improved which is why her scores in all three of those problem areas have gone up (they all used to be mid to low 6s for me) but she hasn’t improved enough to deserve those kind of scores. Yet again I disagree with the judges. Gracie was overscored.

My scores for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva came out to about the same thing (118.31 vs 119.52). Her only -GOE was the -1 on her 3Lz but everything else (minus her flying spin) was +1. I thought she regrouped well after her disaster in the SP and put up a good fight. Both my TES and PCS were slightly lower but, for the most part, it averages out to around the same thing. Overall, I thought she did well and I agree with the judges.

Adelina Sotnikova’s scores were almost even as well (116.19 vs 116.36). She had a few < issues on her bigger tricks (3Lz-3T and 2A-3T) and that hurt her as well as the step out of the 3F. I did think she recovered well with her StSq and final two spins (all +2s). Again, I agree with the judges.

Kaetlyn Osmond had a Mirai Nagasu-circa-2010-worlds moment where she was in perfect position to get on the podium but collapsed under the pressure. I had her lower than the judges (110.31 vs 112.09). Kaetlyn lost a lot of points on her jumps; only two of her jumping passes were clean. Her non-jump elements were good but not great (+1s) but the points she gained from +GOE were lost in -GOE. Just too many mistakes… For PCS I gave Kaetlyn 7.50 for everything except CH (7.25) which are really solid scores. She has all the makings of a podium threat but she has to learn to control the nerves.

That’s it. So here are my final standings:

Yu-Na Kim wins gold (duh) and still by a pretty large margin, though not as big. She brought her A game to both segments of the competition and made it easy to determine the winner at these championships.

Due to Carolina’s lower score in the SP, it’s Mao Asada who ends up with the silver medal in my standings. Mao and Carolina’s SP scores were very close so Mao beating Carolina in the FS is more significant and was the difference between 2nd and 3rd.

Carolina Kostner stays on the podium but is one spot lower in 3rd. Her mistakes in both programs cost her and, in my standings, she settles for bronze.

Kanako Murakami retains her 4th place finish. She edges out Zijun Li by 0.30 points. Zijun’s mistakes in the SP are what cost her the higher position while Kanako’s steadiness throughout the competition is why she stays in 4th place.

Ashley Wagner drops down to 6th place, losing out on 5th place by only 0.63 points.

Gracie Gold drops down to 7th place overall, more than 8 points behind Ashley. The good news is even with my scoring Ashley and Gracie would have earned those three spots in Sochi for the US…so yay.

Adelina Sotnikova moves from 9th up one spot to 8th thanks to her slightly higher SP score.

Kaetlyn Osmond drops from 8th down to 9th.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva still places 10th.

And that, as they say, is that.


  1. Hi I disagree with the PCS judging. I am with you that Gracie is a bit overmarked in PCS despite the lack of connection with the music. But Osmond deserves much better scores for her difficult transitions and engaging personality on the ice.
    PCS for Mao Asada should be much lower. Her SS is nowhere near Caro's or YuNa's. She doesn't interpret the music, either. For example, her windmill is totally off the music. Originally, it was timed to the music. But after she modified the program to incorporate 3-3 and 3A, all of her spins have become totally off the music. This indicates that she doesn't care the meanings of her choreography. It was a beautifully choreographed program and Mao should have gone to Russia and consulted with Ms. Tarasova before changing it. Also compare her performance with Oksana's. Mao has nice leg lines and straight back. Her ballet training is at the basic level and fails to live up to this ballet music. Her arms lack extension and stretch and look lifeless. She goes through the motions, but doesn't show the intellectual or emotional connection to the music.
    In contrast, Ashley interprets the music very well. I can totally see that she has taken the time to intellectually analyze the music. She also has great lines and her arms are very expressive. I would give her much higher IN, PE, and TR than Mao. I agree that she lost the energy toward the end, but still a very artistic performance overall.
    Kanako also interpreted the music very well. It was a beautiful piece of program and she was a great performer.
    I would give both ladies higher PCS than Mao. Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate Mao skating to lyrical classical music such as Nocturne. But in order for her to interpret this program, she should have spent more time in Russia to work with Tarasova. Back in 2006-2008, I was looking forward to seeing her artistically grow and mature, but it has sadly not happened yet. She is still focused on the elusive 3A at the expense of clean programs or artistic development. Yu-Na, Ashley, Caro, and Kanako have matured so much and the differences with them are clear. In particular, I'm totally impressed to see how much more matured Yu-Na has become after two years.

  2. LOL Ashley has better interpretation than Mao? She has "great lines and expressive arms"? I don't see it. Intrepretation is subjective but details like great lines and extension are pretty objective. And it's very clear to most that Mao is superior to Ashely in these two areas. Kanako has nice interpretation but she lacks the refinement of Mao. Mao did go to both of her choreographers to make changes before 4CC, so she did consult with Tarasova beforehand, who also gave her the new LP dress. That means her choreographer agreed and made those changes to her free skate. I do think some parts of the original choreography were better but the revised version was still good and I think she does interpret it well. Mao gets criticized for her SS because she is not as fast as some others. But I always thought that she had great flow and a lightness that is really unmatched by others. Caroline did improve in these two years but I don't really see much artistic improvement from Yuna. I feel she was better in 2010 in my opinion.

  3. I'm sorry for my terrible english..
    Butisn't it strange that Caro who had several major mistakes including one fall should get same PCS with clean yuna?

    I know her SS is great.

  4. I am a huge Mao fan. I like your post and I think your judging is objective and fair, way better than those ISU judges. Thank you!

  5. good to see your not one of the judges during that 2013 World....

  6. What happened to the hyped Russian ballerina babes, or whatever silly moniker was bestowed upon them? Weren't Tukt and Adelina supposed to be Sochi's OGM and OSM? And now Russia is down to 2 spots, ha.