A lot has happened since blogging last week about the lack of media attention regarding the US Figure Skating Championships. Some cool opportunities cropped up for me (details to be revealed later!), Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes both withdrew due to injury, and the media finally sat up and paid attention when Alissa Czisny rose to the challenge as the veteran skater and delivered unbelievable grace and skill in her short program. Tonight I’m going to give live blogging a try; focusing on my top skating picks from my previous post; all are in the top 10.
Ashley Wagner: So sad she’s in 12th after the short – she’s so much better than that placement. Hope she pulls out the stops here - she’s definitely got power and intensity.
Very solid program; a couple of step outs on landings and I wasn’t wild about the frenetic music but a good comeback for her. And she's only 17 - she could definitely get into the mix for the 2010 Olympics.
* * * * * Final group is warming up * * * * *
OK, so I've always loved Scott Hamilton, but super fun to hear his voice knowing that he received these cards I designed.
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Katrina Hacker: So interested to see her skate. She represents the Skating Club of Boston.
Very pretty music choice (makes me think of Michelle Kwan of course though). Very light on her feet. Commentators say this is it for national level skating as she's going to Princeton next year. I'm not mesmerized but this chick has skills and delivered a solid program; good for her!
Mirai Nagasu: Last year's champ has struggled and in the short she crashed into the boards. Poor girl. Wishing her a rocking free skate.
Uh oh. Just showed a shot of her and she's crying before even getting on the ice. My heart aches for her.
She just landed her last triple. Good for her. Audience is getting behind her with the can-can music. She's on her final spin and she's pulling it off! So thrilled for her. I think she's going to make me cry.
She's currently sitting second, with Ashley Wagner in first.
Brittney Rizo: Rock it Brittney from Braintree, Massachusetts! Have never seen her skate before.
Doubled opening triple. Just got back in with a solid jump combo. She definitely seems to feel the music - very nice.
Not a top contender here but pleasing and I'm really proud to see skaters representing Boston.
Rachael Flatt: The model of consistency is up.
She's a jumping machine. Insane. I don't feel the musicality as much, but she's doing really well.
Another clean program under the belt. She's earned it, but no doubt they'll send her to World's - they need her consistency to help the US secure its 2010 Olympic spots.
She's now in first with two to go.
Caroline Zhang: Fifteen years old. Mon dieu.
Opens with a clean triple-triple. Just popped off another clean combo jump. She's so petite and elegant. Ave Maria is perfect for her.
All jumps done. She's like one of those ballerinas on top of a music box. Did I already say this music is absolutely perfect for her? And she expresses the music too.
Those spins are madness. Absolutely gorgeous. Wonderful for her. So elegant; regarding the whole package I prefer her to Flatt (as solid as Flatt is). I swear it's not an Asian bias.
Alissa Czisny: This will be interesting. She’s so prone to meltdown but she deserves a great night. And hey, she’s got Brian Boitano on her side!
Yay, clean opening jump combo for her. Just knocked off another jump. She looks gorgeous and so light on her feet.
Damn. She just fell. Just doubled next jump. Sad.
Hung onto her double axel. Good for her. Such a bummer though; she looked terrific up to the fall.
Her spins are gorgeous. Such speed and position.
I want so bad for her lead from the short program to hold up but those two mistakes will be costly.
HOLY CRAP - she had enough to pull it out! She’s the national champion! I’m so thrilled for her! I love that she’s the “old lady” of the competition at 21. And she's a college student. Just love it all.
Final thoughts: If the ladies can keep up this momentum, this is a good sign for World's. They'll have home field advantage (LA) and assuming Czisny and Flatt stay on top of their game (I believe they can only send 2 to World's) they'll make a strong showing. I think they need something like 2 women to place with a combined finish of 13 or better at World's in order to get 3 spots for the Olympics (otherwise, they send 2) so it matters a lot that Flatt stay consistent and Czisny use her victory to stay confident and relaxed.
The push to the 2010 Olympics is going to fun. From this evening, Czisny, Flatt, Zhang, and Wagner no doubt all are itchy to go, plus there's Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes. And uber veterans Sasha Cohen and maybe even Michelle Kwan. There's plenty of storyline here.