This has been quite the day, and I’m just now getting around to watching the end of the short dance competition. Needless to say, the wee-hour of the morning wake up calls are starting to get to me and I’m exhausted. Since there’s one more to go tomorrow, I’ll keep this short and sweet.
The competition really got underway once the American team of Chock/Zuerlein took the ice. They certainly aren’t at the level of the very top teams just yet, but they were far superior to that point. They skated with speed and elegance and I love how they maintain a character throughout. Their free dance is even better.
The Canadians were expected to contend, and they all happened to skate back-to-back.
Weaver/Poje were first to skate and they had their best SD of the season. This program suits them so much better than their free dance. They use the music “At Last” beautifully through the Golden Waltz segment. It was beautiful. They don’t have the technical advantages of Virtue/Moir or Davis/White, but this was a strong performance for them.
Then was the return of Virtue/Moir. While they clearly have a confidence and a quality to their skating that made them Olympic and World champions, I have to say, today they looked a little rusty. They didn’t have the flow, the depth of edges, the crispness…and yet, they pulled in the highest short dance scores to date. Yes, I was left scratching my head…a bit like their toe picks scratched up the ice in the waltz. (Harsh? Maybe. But truth? Yes.)
Crone/Poirier have oodles of potential in the technical department. They occasionally resemble Tessa and Scott, but they still have a lot of work to do with basic skills. They skate quite rough over the ice and often forget to really dig into their edges and get low in their knees. The ride out isn’t there at times to make them top level contenders. That said, a very respectable skate for them, and much to look forward to in the future!
Perhaps the highlight of the event (yet again!) was the short dance from the American silver medalists, Maia and alex Shibutani. They have worked so hard and come so far this season, it’s almost unbelievable. I think it bodes well for them that they’re so strong technically already. Of course, there is room to grow and improve, but they have a solid foundation that will allow them to compete and high levels even while their component scores improve. I have to say, Meryl and Charlie better watch their backs if they intend to skate until Sochi — these two are hot on their heels already!
The top Russian team of Bobrova and Soloveiv skated a crowd pleasing dance to the music from Chess, but the judges were less impressed. They ended up behind the young Americans.
Undefeated this season, Davis/White have left no questions about the fact that they want to win this title. Unfortunately, they haven’t had the chance to compete with V/M all season to see how they compare. That said, they do train with them every day, so they should know what they’re up against. I thought they skated their best short dance by far! They were the fastest of the contenders, but also quite controlled. Charlie had a problem on the twizzles that likely cost them the top spot, but I would still have had them in first after the short. They were far more polished than their Canadian friends, even with the bobble. Clearly, I’m not a judge and they saw otherwise.
The European champs from France landed in 3rd with a 70+ score of their own. They looked a little tight, but they do have a special way of making every moment count and every movement have great meaning and depth. Their free dance is delightful, so tomorrow will be interesting.
For the sake of time, here are your top five. The complete results can be seen here: http://www.isuresults.com/results/wc2011/SEG010.HTM
- Virtue/Moir (CAN) 74.29
- Davis/White (USA) 73.76
- Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA) 70.97
- Shibutani/Shibutani (USA) 66.88
- Bobrova/Soloveiv (RUS) 65.88