Friday, January 22, 2010

U.S. Nationals: Senior ladies practice notes (Friday 1/22)

I attended the championship ladies free skate practice today. Below are some jump notes and impressions:

Alexe Gilles looks very strong. She hit numerous triple Lutzes and triple flips, and had a mostly clean run through. She looked relaxed and confident, and I think she will rebound very nicely after last night's rough short program.

Sasha Cohen looked like a completely different skater after her stunning short program last night. During her run through, she opened with a triple Lutz-double toe-double toe combination (wrong edge take off on the Lutz), but then fell hard on the triple loop. She also hit a nice triple flip. Sasha did not do a very complete run through (even leaving out much of the choreography) and this may come back to haunt her. She has always been a strong short program skater, but the real test will come tomorrow in the free skate which she hasn't trained as much as the other girls on the competition.

Alissa Czisny looked confident, hitting all of her jumps during her run through. I didn't see any major errors from her; she looks in prime form.

Christina Gao could be a surprise threat tomorrow. She hit a number of beautiful triple-triple combinations and had a mostly clean run through as well. She is looking confident and much improved under the tutelage of Brian Orser.

Amanda Dobbs had a rough practice. I don't think she'll be able to maintain her current 6th place standing.

Rachael Flatt had a decent run through. She turned out of the landing on her double Axel (it looked very close to the boards) and then doubled a planned triple flip combination. She regrouped to hit her last four jump elements, and also hit many other jumps during the session, including a perfectly clean triple Lutz-triple loop combination. She coudl very well take the title tomorrow.

Mirai Nagasu looked the best I have ever seen her. I did not see one underrotated jump. Her technique is so refined and pure now; she is able to rotate triples with ease and confidence. She also looked very happy which was nice to see. Her run through had one fall, but during the session she also landed multiple double Axel-triple toe combinations and even one (clean) triple Lutz-triple toe.

Melissa Bulanhagui looks quite strong, too. Her triple Lutz is a thing of beauty, and her run-through was excellent. Look for her to move up in the standings tomorrow.

Emily Hughes had a rough practice session, and an even worse run through. She doubled or singled almost every triple attempt. She did land a triple toe, but it looked very suspicious rotation-wise. She won't factor into the medals, or even the top 8 really.

Bebe Liang looked ok. I saw one fall on a triple loop but I missed the rest of her run through. I also missed Ashley Wagner's run through, but I heard that she did fairly well.

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