Mirai Nagasu Training in Japan
|A result of Mura's tutelage?|
Following her god-awful performances at NHK Trophy, the rumor is that Mirai Nagasu stayed in Japan for some time training with a Japanese coach. Two weeks later Mirai showed up at Cup of Russia and delivered two impressively clean programs...the best she's had in years. Many (myself included) assumed it had something to do with whoever she spent her time with in Japan.
No one is sure if the outside training in Japan was a contributing factor, but according to The Skating Lesson's David Lease, after COR Mirai and her coach, Amy Evidente, parted ways. It should be noted that fans on the skating forums are extremely perceptive. Many people picked up on the apparent disconnect between Mirai and Amy based only on the short time they spent on screen together in the Kiss & Cry area during COR. Most felt their interactions with each other were a little icy (pun) and, apparently, they were correct. So as it stands Mirai is in Okayama, Japan training for nationals with Takashi Mura, who is Japanese men's singles skater Takahito Mura's father and coach. A fan linked a picture of Mirai and Takahito posing with a group of young skaters at the rink, so at the very least we have visual proof of that.
I'm thrilled for her. Mirai has had a number of coaches over the years and no one seems to be able to get her to where she needs to be. In the short time she spent with Mura I saw a visible improvement to Mirai's jumps; all of her jumps at COR looked a little higher and tighter, and her landings were more secure as well. It's doubtful Mura will travel to the US to be with Mirai for nationals but there is speculation that Christa Fassi, one of her secondary coaches, will be at the boards for her there.
Considering the turn-around Mirai made in two weeks with Mura, I'm cautiously optimistic about her chances of skating well at nationals. If she can nail the jumps and skate with energy and personality, I think she'll have a better shot at that third spot to Sochi than most of the other contenders.
Mid-Season Program Changes
(RUMORED) It's my Christmas wish!! Kanako Murakami may be dumping her horrible "Swing Bop" SP. Word is she will be returning to "Violin Muse", her SP from the 2011-2012 season and my favorite SP of that entire season.
I absolutely love this program and I think it's a great Olympic SP for her. "Swing Bop" just didn't work and I'm glad she's figured that out. Kanako was trying to recapture the feel of "Jumpin' Jack" but she isn't that kind of skater anymore. She has matured and developed a style of her own which is why I was so devastated to see her go in the opposite direction. Thankfully she's come to her senses. It's a Christmas miracle!
(RUMORED) I pray that Carolina Kostner will grant me another Christmas wish by ditching her and Lori's failed attempt at succeeding with "Scheherazade" and returning to the greatness that was her "Bolero" FS.
It's obvious to everyone that "Scheherazade" isn't the proper vehicle for her if she wants to stand on the podium in Sochi...I'm just hoping it's obvious to her as well. A recent article on the official Olympic site mentions that Carolina will be skating to "Scheherazade" in Sochi; however, we don't know when the interview was conducted, only that it was posted on December 17th. Hopefully this article contains old news and we'll see "Bolero" resurrected at the European championships next month...hopefully.
(CONFIRMED) We have proof that Gracie Gold has dumped her "Three Preludes" SP. Instead she will be skating to pieces from Grieg's Piano Concerto. Eardrum rupturing violin music aside, I thought "Three Preludes" was fine; her FS was the dud that needed a do-over.
I'll start by saying I like the program; the music is nice, I like the choreography...it's nice. Gracie's delivery of it was good but I feel like if someone else, let's say Alissa Czisny, performed this same program, I would be completely blown away by it. These kind of programs look ten times better on people who are naturals at pulling off soft, delicate and lyrical music. Gracie is trying and she's doing a decent job, but it's clear to me this style of skating is something she has to work at...it's not something that comes naturally to her .
I still find Gracie's arms very distracting at times, particularly in the step sequence; they're just too rigid and stiff. Overall though, this is a good program and I'm sure the judges will score her through the roof if she delivers it cleanly at nationals.
Nationals Are Around the Corner...
|My money is on these two...|
Two of the three biggest battles for spots to Sochi are about to begin:
Japanese National Championships: December 21 - December 24
- Ladies SP & FS: December 22 and 23
Russian Senior National Championships: December 24 - December 26
- Ladies SP & FS: December 25 and 26
Usually people are pretty good about posting videos so, hopefully, I'll be able to recap both of these highly anticipated events like I did last season.
More to come soon!