2015 Finlandia Trophy
The final results:
Rika Hongo (JPN): 65.75 (SP) + 121.70 (FS) = 187.45 (1st)
Rika is looking very good for early in the season. I'm always impressed with her preparedness and focus; she never shows up looking like she's not ready to compete. She threw down in the SP and other than an under-rotation on her 3F-3T(<), she rocked it. I really love this program Akiko Suzuki has put together for Rika. It has a very different feel and it fits Rika's style very well. Same thing for the FS. The Riverdance theme works really well and Rika carries it brilliantly. I'd like to see a little more control in her movements but that will come with time. For now it's a high energy and very entertaining FS that I'm sure will make my favorites list this year. With the exception of a pop on her loop and another under-rotation on her combo, Rika jumps were solid in the FS as well. She won the FS and won the event by more than 15 points. Way to kick butt Rika!
Julia Lipnitskaya (RUS): 62.81 (SP) + 109.52 (FS) = 172.33 (2nd)
Julia's SP dress looks like a rainbow got drunk and puked on her. It's definitely a bit too much for my tastes but, whatever floats her boat. I like that she's trying something different with the SP but this needs some work. Julia doesn't really grasp the feel of this program yet. The music is upbeat and fun but very little of that is coming across during her performance. Julia is still struggling with the jumps. She looked kinda labored and slower across the ice here. Maybe it's conditioning? I don't know but she wasn't flowing as effortlessly as she has in the past. The FS is classic Julia: pleasant but not much going on choreographically. Technically it wasn't good. Julia only completed 3 triples. She has a lot of work to do before taking on the field at Skate America in two weeks...
Joshi Helgesson (SWE): 56.69 (SP) + 107.59 (FS) = 164.28 (3rd)
With Viktoria officially gone, it's up to Joshi to hold it down for her Swedish sister. I must admit I like Joshi's SP this season. It's much better than some of the ones we've seen in the past and she did a really nice job performing it here. She fell out of her combo (3T-2T) but the rest of it was good and the crowd really loved it. She finished 3rd in the SP. Joshi turned in a strong FS as well. She lost points on an under-rotated 3Lz and she doubled one other jump, but overall she gave a good performance and still landed 5 triple jumps. She placed 4th in the FS and 3rd overall.
As for the rest...
So Youn Park (KOR; 159.93, 4th): So Youn's M.O. is the same...weak SP, stronger FS. I think she is a gorgeous skater with a lot of potential to be that go-to skater Korea needs on the senior level. Until she can put together back-to-back skates consistently, I don't know if she'll ever move up.
2015 JGP Zagreb
Marin Honda (JPN): 57.92 (SP) + 123.30 (FS) = 181.22 (1st)
It was nice to see Marin come out and have a stronger competition here. She dropped some points in the SP with a doubled flip and several level 3s on her non-jump elements, but she stormed back in the FS with 7 triples including a 3S-3T and a 2A-3T in the bonus, all level 4 spins and level 3 steps, and the highest PCS of the segment. Marin won the FS, the gold medal and a trip to the Final.
Wakaba Higuchi (JPN): 60.77 (SP) + 114.29 (FS) = 175.06 (2nd)
Wakaba started off well by winning the SP but she could have done better. She doubled the back end of her 3-3 combination and lost points on non-jump elements as well. Just like her last event, she motored back in the FS. She opened with a gorgeous 3Lz-3L (+1.20, she makes it look so easy) and reeled off 4 more triples including a 3Lz-3T in the bonus. Her one snag was a popped 3F at the end of the program which lost her at least 6 points. She finished 2nd in the FS and 2nd overall. Unfortunately, Wakaba needed to finish first here in order to earn a trip to the Final.
Diana Pervushkina (RUS): 60.52 (SP) + 92.71 (FS) = 153.23 (3rd)
Diana started strongly in the SP. She opened with a 3Lz-3T but lost points on the 3T(<). Still she finished out the rest of the program cleanly and placed 2nd in the segment. Unfortunately, she couldn't keep it together in the FS. Diana was only able to complete 3 clean triples (a fall and a few doubled jumps), placed 4th in the segment and dropped to finish 3rd overall.
As for the rest...you know where the videos are.
So with all of the JGP events out of the way, we have our lineup for this year's Final...
Serafima Sakhanovich (RUS) was not able to medal at her first event and withdrew from the final event. As she was the only skater who could shake up the top two in the standings had she won, nothing has changed at the top. Polina Tsurskaya (RUS) and Maria Sotskova (RUS) qualify 1st and 2nd with 30 points each.
With her second win at JGP Logrono, Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN) also earned 30 points which qualifies her in 3rd place.
Marin Honda's (JPN) win at in Zagreb gave her 28 points and qualifies her in 4th place.
Mai Mihara (JPN) qualifies in 5th place with 26 points.
Alisa Fedichkina (RUS) earned a total of 22 points which put her in a four-way tie with Kaori Sakamoto (JPN), Da Bin Choi (KOR) and Vivian Le (USA). However, thanks to Alisa's higher overall point total, she wins that 6th and final spot. The other three ladies are this year's substitutes.
And we're done with the juniors! Bring on the grown women! The first event of the 2015-2016 Grand Prix is approaching quickly. We've got a one week break until the senior ladies take the ice at Skate America. I've got my ladies season preview coming up soon. Ta for now!