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The whirlwind that was Skate Canada

Photo courtesy of Figure Skating Evolution

Photo courtesy of Figure Skating Evolution

The Grand Pix circuit continued this last weekend with Skate Canada. It was a highly anticipated event with some fantastic headliners. Some of these top notch skaters hit the mark, while others fell flat.

Ashley Wagner stumbles into bronze

Ashley Wagner may need to send out some “thank you” cards to some of her competitors. If it was not for their help, she wouldn’t have made it onto the podium. Sometimes all you need is some good luck and a decent free skate to capture the bronze and that’s exactly what happened for Ashley.

Wagner was in seventh place after the short and she made some errors in the free skate. Ashley definitely fought for each element, but it was not effortless and she looked extremely nervous. When she finished her program with a total score of 183.94 and with 6 skaters left to compete, many thought it was over for her. It was an off day for several of the skaters in the last group, so in a twist that only figure skating can bring, Ashley wound up capturing the bronze medal.

Shoma Uno in a league of his own

After the short program, Shoma Uno was not only in first place, but he also had a 9-point lead over Patrick Chan, who was in second place. Uno proved once again that quads win events. Patrick was unable to hold onto his quads and didn’t make it onto the podium. Chan finished in a disappointing fourth place. 

Jason Brown was also unable to master his quads (he fell on his in the free skate), but he knows the scoring system well. Brown and his team have learned how to rack up points without relying on quads. This is a great strategy (that maybe Patrick should be looking into) but it is a lot of pressure because it requires Jason to skate perfectly. This time Brown’s strategy worked and he took home the silver medal, but when he is up against more men with more quads, even if he skates perfectly, he will eventually fall short. Shoma Uno easily won the event with a whopping score that was almost 40 points above Jason’s score. If Brown wants to be competitive, he has to have some quads.

Kaetlyn Osmond wins the event, Marin Honda steals the show

Canada’s new leading lady, Kaetlyn Osmond was a clear favorite going into this event and she did not disappoint. Kaetlyn had a spectacular short program giving her a 7-point lead over her competitors. Osmond was unable to maintain her brilliance in the free skate, but she skated well enough to secure the gold.

Though Kaetlyn won the event, Maria Sotskova took home the silver and Ashley rallied for bronze, the biggest buzz was about Japanese skater, Marin Honda. Honda had some major errors in the short program and was in tenth place, yet she recovered in the free skate and moved all the way up to fifth. Marin is a fierce competitor who has beautiful jumps and a great sense of style. If she can deliver a clean short program and free skate, there will be no stopping her.

Duhamel/Radford re-capture their magic and James/Cipres continue gaining ground

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford have had their work cut out for them. They went from a high of being the world champions in 2016, to a low where they finished in 7th place at the 2017 World Championships. They struggled at the Autumn Classic as doubt and uncertainty began to circle them once again. During Skate Canada it seems like they managed to pull themselves out of a fog and skate the way that they know they could skate. This win for them was much greater than adding another gold medal to their resumes, it was a much needed confidence booster to help them re-capture their joy and remind them of what they are capable of. They are back in the Olympic conversation.

Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot captured the silver medal, while Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres secured the bronze. James and Cipres had this momentum that started building last season and seems like it is only going to continue. There is something about this team that is just so different and so special that I cannot help but to root for them. They have come so far and to finally see them find their rhythm as a team is just exciting to watch. They were only 1 point away from taking the silver from Savchenko and Massot. With other teams struggling with injuries and confidence, James and Cipres could easily become the dark horse in pair skating.

Anna Pogorilaya’s ghost comes back to haunt her

The ladies event was one of those competitions that many skaters and fans wish that we could just delete. Less than a handful of ladies were at their best, while several imploded in the free skate. Anna fell into the latter category.

Pogorilaya has struggled in the past with some of the most dramatic falls that we have ever witnessed. It seemed like during the 2015-2016 season she had finally overcome her demons when she won the bronze medal at the World Championships. But last season she began to unravel, finishing thirteenth at the 2017 World Championships.

Anna had a strong short program and was in second place heading into the free skate at Skate Canada. It’s difficult to understand what was going on in her head, since she started out fairly well in her free skate. Slowly but surely things began to fall apart and soon she was back to some crazy, painful falls that left her in tears. It was difficult to watch her implode. We all know and saw what she is capable of, but now once again she is falling down the rabbit hole. Anna finished in ninth place. She has got to find a way to pull it together, do whatever it was that was working for her before and see if there’s any way she can still make the Olympic Team.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir break another record

It was expected for Tessa and Scott to win this event, but they not only won the event they broke some world records in the process. They finished with a total score of 199.86, breaking their previous score of 198.62 which they earned at the World Championships this last spring. The more wins and high scores they have behind them, the bigger chance there is that they will win yet another Olympic gold.

Perhaps the most exciting portion of the ice dance event was watching Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje fight it out with Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue for that second spot. In the end it was Weaver and Poje who took home the silver, but it was by less than a point. Hubbell and Donohue settled for the bronze, but it’s only the start of the season. This will most likely cause them to fight harder for each point in the future.

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