The first Grand Prix of the season is underway. And the first day of 2015 Skate America was just full of great skating. Here are some post-game thoughts after day 1.
First off, expect to see LOTS of movement in the standings today in the free skate. I’ll leave it there.
Team USA rocking the house
Certainly the overarching story here so far has been how much the Americans have impressed at their home Grand Prix. We have someone from Team USA leading after the short in three of the four disciplines (Max Aaron, Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knierim, Madison Chock/Evan Bates). And while Chock/Bates are the heavy favorites here and it would take at least two disasters in the free dance for them to not win this week, Aaron and Scimeca/Knierim were podium contenders coming in at best. These are really tough fields, and the fact that they are leading speaks volumes to how well they are skating.
Let’s just say there were more than a few questions posed to me yesterday about whether or not American skaters were overscored. The short of it is no. Scimeca/Knierim have world class technical elements and have not been properly awarded in the past. But their success last season pushed some international panel respect on them, and so their TES saw improvements. Note that their PCS were similar to what they got at Worlds, as were those of Wenjing Sui/Cong Han.
With the ladies, Gracie Gold was second with a 65-point short after her solo jump was invalidated, since she popped it into a double. The rest of her short was clean, and all those elements were superb. Her PCS, similarly, were similar to what she got at World Team Trophy last season (which was in Japan, not the U.S.), and with a clean short, she should be in the low 70s. A triple flip is worth 5.30 in base, so do the math, she’s where she should be.
Speaking of the ladies, Evgenia Medvedeva is just amazing. What a fantastic debut from her – she’s already got the musicality of a seasoned senior skater, and she’s got triple-triples for days. We’ll see how her free skate is today, but she’s most certainly going to be as much of a favorite as it gets in this field going in.
I also got a lot of flack about Jason Brown’s chances coming into the competition. Without a quad in the short, it puts extra pressure on him to be perfect with his triples, which – early in the season – are not as consistent for him. Brown has historically been a late-season skater, so that’s to say that I expect him to progress in his consistency as we continue to see him skate this year. That said, while he’s currently 8th, he’s only two points from 4th, so expect him to climb today. And if there was any doubt, Brown is more than capable of fully rotating a quad toe – fully rotating it today in competition for the first time would be huge for him.