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Friday, February 7, 2014

Sochi Olympics: More Team Event SP

A puzzled Tigerman marveling at the scores.

If your Olympic day didn't start off with the Figure Skating Team event, it probably began with Mogul skiing. In case you were wondering, the name apparently derives from the Austrian "mugel" for "small hill". No, I didn't know that either. On to the team event, which offered lots of pleasing results, some good performances, and very few surprises.

1st: Russia with 19 points.

Thank you, Plush!
Plush showed up, skated and brought it. These days, I can actually only barely tolerate Marton arrangements, even if Plushenko skates to them. Luckily, this wasn't very much about skating. People might say he is overscored in PCS, and they would be right. But who isn't these days? He showed us the jumps, the fight, and the Plushenko panache. That's what I tuned in for. That's what beats any number of transitions or complex choreography with no purpose; and that one judge who gave 4.5 for TR apparently hasn't read the memo that the PCS have to be used as placeholder marks to balance out the fundamentally flawed system.


Anyhow, V/T did what we expected them to do. Place 1st by a landslide. Great skate, but also props to the judge who gave +3 on the 3 Toes, Max did really hold a nice tight edge on that one and that judge was the only one to see it. I had hoped for Team Russia to gain a little more on Canada in the Pairs, but I wasn't gonna root against Duhamel/Radford for that to happen, which brings us straight to

 2nd: Team Canada with 17 points

Duhamel and Radford. Great skate, I heard he composed their music himself. Major respect for that, we need more artistically inclined athletes in skating, and I truly appreciate it if skaters take charge of their music and choreography themselves. Also: SBS triple Lutzes!

Skating to self-composed music, and very well to boot!
Patrick Chan with a somewhat shaky performance, which included a 4-2 combo and a 3 Axel step out. I was really surprised to see him place anywhere else but 1 or 2, but it was adequate. I still need someone to explain those PE marks to me. I know there are all kinds of physical and emotional involvement factors going on, and the delivering of all the stuff with the music and intent, but let me just juxtapose some skaters' PE marks here:

Peter Liebers: 7.18 - Jeremy Abbott: 7.64
Patrick Chan: 9.00 - Yuzuru Hanyu: 9.11

Please post your enlightening remarks in the comments section. It's much appreciated.
(Don't turn the placeholder PCS joke back at me though.)

3rd: People's Republic of China with 15 points. 

Where can I get those scarves?
In absence of the almost legendary sentimental favourites Pang/Tong, Peng/Zhang really delivered a clean, good skate. With Han Yan coming in 4th in the Men's, they have an actual chance of qualifying for the free skate portion.

A couple PE marks:
Jeremy Abbott: 7.64 - Han Yan 7.68.

4th: Japan with 13 points

That was the best score Japan could have hoped for, today. Yuzuru performed his stunning SP to perfection and easily took 1st place, while Takahashi/Kihara made the best of their scoring potential and eked out 8th place by a hair, 0.22 in front of the Ukrainian pair. Hopefully, Hanyu can follow this up with an equally great short program in the singles event. Fingers crossed. With a stellar Ladies performance and a decent Dance finish, Japan could also be looking at a place in the free skate.

5th: Germany with 10 points

We know it's not going to last, but it's still nice to see them in 5th, despite S/S saving their best for the Pairs event. Liebers put down a fantastic performance again. Equipped with a new costume, he once again showed off his understated no frills, purist style of movement. Love the music. Severely underscored, I'll keep mentioning this ad infinitum, but it's so obvious, it's as good as fact. 7.29 SS, 7.18 PE, 7.25 IN... ???  Look at the great jump run outs on the Lutz (who gave -1 for that?) and Axel. Judges take notice. At least give him more points for choreo, it's Lori Nichol choreo, doesn't that mean more points by default, anymore? Wende/Wende did the best they could, no triple twist, but there wasn't much to be done in the upwards direction, anyway.

6th: France with 10 points

Team France will move up after Dance and Ladies. But it's doubtful they will accumulate enough points to make the free. It's quite a shame actually because Jouby is expected to skate in the free skate. Few things are as serious as depriving me of my well deserved Jouby time. Tigerman's tripled quad salchow didn't really hurt as much as James/Cipres' flawed performance. They could have placed in front of Germany and the US with a clean skate. Florent Amodio actually performed this very nice. In his typical fashion but very nice.

7th: USA with 10 points

I kinda missed Castelli/Shnapir, but assume they had a decent performance. What really had the US a bit low on points was Jeremy Abbott's 7th place finish in the Men's. An underrotated quad, a singled axel and a 3-2 combo culminated in the lowest TES of the segment. With the Ladies and especially Dance still ahead, the US will no doubt move up enough to qualify for the free, and has still a good shot at bronze. Gold and Silver, however, seem out of reach for the moment. It was still the right choice to let Abbott skate the SP. It meant taking a risk but also going for gold ,with the chance to get 2nd or 3rd. A low 80s score, by either Abbott or Brown, would only have meant two points more, and that's still as much going for bronze as it does look now.

8th: Italy with 8 points

Why are people always talking about Trankov's yellow pants
and never about Hotarek's?
Berton and Hotarek, they even begin to get the PCS a little bit. If it hadn't been for Canada's and China's clean performances, they could well have  placed 2nd today. Imagine that. Parkinson's skate was quite intriguing, before the music began, I didn't expect Beethoven, then when he started skating, I didn't really think he captured that music that well, but then when the modern techno part began, it started to match and I knew what he had been skating to, or waiting for, the whole time.

9th: The Ukraine with 5 points

Decent skates in both segments. With a little luck they could have beaten the Japanese pair, but being ahead of Great Britain is still very respectable.

10: Great Britain with 3 points

Matthew Parr achieved a personal best and a 9th place. Kemp/King could have gone for 8th or at least 9th but had too many mistakes.  Britain's strongest suit is their Euro-bronze Dance team, which might still push them ahead of the Ukraine.

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