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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Last call for Sochi

Since it is hardly surprising that Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov got a massive score or that Nobunari Oda did well at the Nebelhorn Trophy, I'd rather move on to the less predictable part of the event: the Olympic qualifying. Pairs, dance teams and singles skaters from quite a few countries got their tickets for the Olympics this weekend (barring injuries, citizenship issues or wacky national criteria).

Obligatory V/T video featuring Trankov's yellow pants

With that fashion crime out of the way, let's take a look at the Olympic qualifiers, with the caveat that the skaters qualified spots for their countries, not directly for themselves. Though in many cases, it's probably one and the same.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The problem with backloaded programs

"Max Aaron isn't the only one in figure skating who knows how to backload a program. Pairs do pretty well with it, too."

This was the first sentence of Ice Network's recap article of the pairs event at the 2013 US International Figure Skating Classic (who came up with that name, anyway?), with a headline to match. My reaction was "and you say that like it's a good thing!" But it certainly appears as though backloading programs is the way to go these days: one week earlier, Nathan Chen won the Junior Grand Prix event in Mexico City with a strange free skate layout that included two (solo) first half double Axels against six jumping passes in the second half. In 2010, Evan Lysacek's jump layout helped him defeat Evgeni Plushenko, whose jump content was harder but not as strategically distributed.

Why, exactly, are these unbalanced programs considered a good thing?