Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Pyeongchang Olympics: Team Event - Review

The team event gave us an opportunity to look at a number of the headliners before the individual competitions get under way later this week.  Some of the events were skated rather poorly (*cough* men's SP *cough*) but others stepped it up and made it a memorable (and in some cases historic) event.

"Oh (hell yeah!) Canada..."

Final team results:

Short Program 
She's back!

Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR): 81.06 - 1st
Evgenia looked very rusty at the European Championships a few weeks ago.  Judging by her performance here, she's gotten rid of the rust and polished her skating back to the pristine shine we're used to seeing from her.  It was a classic Evgenia program complete with classic Evgenia scoring.  Tons of +2s and +3s from the judges and the majority of her components were 9.50 or higher.  She scored a world record of 81.06 (which is ridiculous in my opinion) and set the bar impossibly high for everyone except Zagitova to reach next week in the individual event.

Not great but still pretty damn good

Carolina Kostner (ITA): 75.10 - 2nd
Carolina's start to her 4th Olympics was solid but not perfect.  She went for the 3F-3T at the beginning of the program and barely hung on.  The 3T received an under-rotation call which lost her some points but she was able to perform the rest of the program cleanly and maximize all of her non-jump elements which helped to boost her score.  Her performance was as elegant and graceful as ever and if the silence was any indication, she completely captivated the audience.  It was a strong opening for Carolina and left her with room to improve for the individual event.

Get it together, Kaetlyn

Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN): 71.38 - 3rd
Kaetlyn is usually a ringer when it comes to the SP but lately she's been struggling to put out a clean performance.  She opened with her 3F-3T but spun out of the landing on the 3F before going for the 3T.  She didn't shift her weight to her free leg before the second jump so the jumps were still counted as a combo, though she did lose points from -GOE as well as an under-rotation.  Kaetlyn hung on to her 3Lz (!) and finished up with a great 2A and all level 4s on her non-jump elements.  It wasn't the kind of performance she wanted but it held up point-wise and gave her something to build on for next week.

It might be time to panic...

Satoko Miyahara (JPN): 68.95 - 4th
Satoko is still struggling big time with under-rotations.  Both jumps of her opening 3Lz-3T combo received under-rotation calls which really hurt her overall score, dropping her below 70 points.  The rest of her elements were clean and well-executed, all level 4s (for the non-jumps) and just lovely.  Technical issues aside, she performed her "Memoirs of a Geisha" program beautifully which helped her in terms of PCS, though not as much as I thought she deserved.  The under-rotation issues are critical at this point.  Losing out on points for big element like this can take her out of contention for a medal...

Wonderfully done!

Bradie Tennell (USA): 68.94 - 5th
Bradie performed as well as expected and placed as well as expected too.  Her jumps were strong and she performed her program well.  Unfortunately, being a new face in a field full of seasoned veterans at the Olympics is always a tall order.  Unlike the judges at nationals, the judges at this event did not pad her scores with +GOE and high components.  She earned solid GOE on her elements and an even 30.00 in components.  Now that she's had her time in front of the international judges, Bradie can begin to build on this performance.  Performing well again should help her components to go up.  Job well done!

Other competition notes: Dabin Choi (KOR; 65.73, 6th) had a wonderful skate in front of a home audience.  I'm sure that was a very special moment for her...Aimee Buchanan (ISR; 46.30, 10th) had a very "Olympic moment" skate.  You could tell she was out there just soaking up the experience of being there.  It was really beautiful to see.

On to the free skate...

Free Skate

I think she might be unstoppable...

Alina Zagitova (OAR): 158.08 - 1st
It wasn't a shock to see Alina come out and rock her performance.  She posted the highest TES ever recorded for a woman (83.06 points) thanks in large part to the massive amount of +3s and +2s she received which added a total of 17.05 points to her base score.  Alina's amazing technical display paved the way for some unfathomably high PCS which gave her a record breaking FS score of 158.08.  Like Evgenia in the SP, Alina was able to set the bar impossibly high for the FS next week...perhaps a bit too high for even Evgenia to reach...

This reaction was everything

Mirai Nagasu (USA): 137.53 - 2nd
Mirai opened up her FS with a massive 3A that was clearly rotated (no review necessary) and received +1.57 in GOE.  Mirai will go down in history as only the 3rd woman to do a triple axel at the Olympics (Midori Ito and Mao Asada are the other two) and it marks Mirai as the only American woman to do one at the Olympics.  She wasn't finished though...Mirai reeled off seven more (fully ratified) triple jumps including a 3F-3T and 2A-3T, earning her yet another spot in the history books as the first senior woman to receive credit for 8 triples in one program.  Mirai's placement secured the bronze medal for team USA.  She's begun a wave of momentum that can carry her much farther than she was expected to go if she can capitalize on it.  A strong SP (complete with another 3A) could put Mirai in a position to contend for a spot in the top 5...

It's on.

Gabrielle Daleman (CAN): 137.14 - 3rd
I was very happy to see that the confident and calm Gabby that showed up at nationals last month was still alive and kicking in Pyeongchang.  Gabby turned in a strong performance to her "Rhapsody in Blue" program that was very nearly perfect.  Unfortunately she under-rotated her 3L which lost her points and cost her a better placement.  By that time Canada had the gold medal locked up so all she needed to do was deliver...and Gabby did.  It's good that she has this performance under her belt and, like everyone else, she has something to build on for next week.

Gotta do better than that

Carolina Kostner (ITA): 134.00 - 4th
At the time of the ladies' FS, the USA and Italy were neck-and-neck for that bronze medal.  A stronger placement by Carolina could have swung the favor in Italy's direction.  I'm not sure if it was the pressure of knowing she needed to have a good performance or if she's still getting her feet under her for these Games, but Carolina was not great.  She opened with a beautiful 3Lz (+1.50) but everything seemed to go downhill after that.  Several bad landings and under-rotations cost her valuable points and dropped her in the standings.  Carolina needs to regroup fast if she hopes to have a chance at that bronze medal.

Not a bad Olympic debut at all

Kaori Sakamoto (JPN): 131.91 - 5th
Kaori has been very strong lately but she seemed to be a little off here.  She under-rotated her opening 3F and wasn't able to complete the combo, but was smart enough to add the 3T to her second flip which ended up getting her more points as it was completed in the bonus half of the program.  Kaori is still relatively new on the scene so she has to rely on her TES to boost her above the more established skaters.  It wasn't her best but it was by no means a bad performance.  She'll just need to be more calm and relaxed next week so that she can put out her best.

So happy for these two!

The team event is still a rather weird addition to the Olympics in my opinion.  Why is it only at the Olympics?  Why have they not thought to add it to the World events and count it as a legitimate ISU competition?  Meh, I don't know but this was a pretty good event for the most part.  I'm happy for everyone who got a medal, especially the Canadian and American teams.  The individual gold and silver medals are already locked up for Evgenia and Alina which means everyone else is competing for only one medal.  The team event was a way for people who don't have a shot at winning a medal by themselves to take home some hardware from these Games as a team.

Based off of the results here I am SO looking forward to this Russian head-to-head between Evgenia and Alina.  It's going to be so brutal...I can't wait!  I'm also looking forward to seeing who will step up and claim that 3rd and final spot on the podium.  We'll find out next week!

In the meantime, I haven't done a poll in a while so here's one:  Who will win Olympic gold?  Evgenia Medvedeva or Alina Zagitova?  Make sure to vote!


  1. Mirai won't be in top five if the other skaters (Carolina, Satoko, Kaori, Kaetlyn, Gabrielle, Maria) does clean skates.

    And it's not like the AMerican ladies will be on the podium if the skaters above skates clean. You're talking about a 25-50pt inflation.

  2. I think after Carolina's Euros, the free was a big step up. Hopefully she can keep improving for the individual event.

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