Episode 16: GP Helsinki 2018 - Transcript

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Evie: You're In The Loop - we're here to discuss the ups, downs and sideways of the sport of figure skating, and maybe give you +5 GOE along the way. Let’s introduce this weeks hosts:

Yogeeta: Hi, I’m Yogeeta and I’ve spent this weekend being very angry about the Ladies event. My twitter handle is @liliorum.

Lae: Hi I’m Lae, it’s 2AM in Australia, I have work in a few hours and figure skating did this to me. My twitter handle is @axelsandwich.

Evie: What’s up, I’m Evie and I’ve been running on very little sleep for the past 3 days because European events hate me. My twitter handle is @doubleflutz.

Evie: So let's just go over some recent news in the figure skating community that's happened over the last week since our last episode. So firstly Kevin Reynolds, the Canadian Men's skater has had to abandon his Free Skate to "Ni no Kuni" after an ongoing dispute with the rights holder. This is a problem that a lot of people trying to skate to music written by the composer Joe Hisaishi have. He's got a really big legal team and it can be very difficult trying to secure rights to music for use in programs. So, unfortunately, Kevin's had to dump his Free Skate for the season and he's going to have a new program next week for NHK, which is kind of unfortunate. It's not a big time turn around and I hope he is able to give us a good program next week.

Yogeeta: I almost wish he was just going back to his program from last season and not trying (Evie: Yeah.) to put out a brand new program in a week.

Evie: It's strange, but I guess whatever works for him. Speaking of NHK, another sad bit of news is that Gabrielle Daleman, the Canadian Ladies champion, has unfortunately withdrawn from her second Grand Prix assignment again due to focusing on her mental health. We hope she recovers and gets better, and we hope to see her whenever she's ready to come back to competition.

Lae: Props to her for putting her mental health first. I think that's really rare in the sporting community, and it's a good example to set. In slightly happier news, in her stead, Kailani Craine from Australia has been assigned to NHK, yay! I love Kailani, she has so much energy and skates with so much joy and enthusiasm, and I believe this is her first Grand Prix assignment?

Evie: It's her second, I think she was at Skate Canada last year.

Lae: Right, so she wasn't initially assigned to anything this year so it's really lovely to see her get an assignment.

Evie: Yay for Australian figure skating.

Lae: Yay! Australian figure skating! We're tiny but we're here!

Yogeeta: Moving on, entries for the Challenger Series event Tallinn Trophy are now available, and it's pretty packed. Notable entries include Maxim Kovtun, Vincent Zhou, Loena Hendrickx, Anastasiia Gubanova, and Karen Chen. Also, for some reason, Anna Kuzmenko was assigned and she is not eligible for this competition, and I think the ISU still hasn't fixed this.

Evie: Yeah... She's only 14! I don't know why they haven't taken her off the entries yet, it's really strange to see that. I hope she doesn't end up accidentally going all the way to Tallinn, Estonia for this competition only to be turned away because she's underage.

Lae: And in final news, Daisuke Takahashi has won the Western Sectionals 11 points ahead of Kazuki Tomono. So yay, the year of uncle resurgence. It's so great to see him back in the competitive scene and doing so well. We'll see him at Japanese Nationals in December. Should be a very very packed- like VERY packed arena. We publish a weekly roundup of news stories that you might have missed during the week on our website. So just go to inthelopodcast.com and you'll find all our articles there.

-end segment- 4:18

START: GP Helsinki Ladies

Evie: So today in the episode we're obviously going to be talking about Grand Prix Helsinki, which happened over this weekend, and I think for a lot of people it was very chaotic. It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster, wouldn't you guys agree?

Yogeeta: It happened. I think the Cup of China curse has carried over regardless of the country it's in.

Evie: Definitely.

Lae: It was a rough event for quite a number of skaters and I think people you may have expected to do well, you know, there were a lot of mistakes and just errors. It's the third event of the Grand Prix Series, but for a lot of skaters this could be their debut event so, hopefully, it's first event jitters. It was a mixed bag, I think, just in general.

Yogeeta: For me, there were definitely a lot more low points than high points.

Lae: But you know what was a high point was - huge shout out to the rest of the In The Loop team members, our European contingent who were at the event. I think we probably spent half the weekend just reading them screaming in the group chat.

Evie: It was definitely worth it.

Lae: It's really lovely, just seeing the experience going live, it's not an experience that a lot of fans are privileged to have. But I think anyone who went to the event live, no matter how chaotic, would have found something amazing and memorable about the experience.

Evie: So, let's begin with the Ladies.

Lae: Let's just say there were some really amazing comebacks, first of all. We had Loena Hendrickx who had to withdraw from the Free Skate at Skate America due to illness making a really strong Short Program performance. We also had Kaori Sakamoto from Japan going from 7th place in the Short Program to 3rd in the overall placements. Honestly, there were some pretty decent skates throughout the entire event, but unfortunately, it was also somewhat controversial, shall we say. This is something that we are going to title this discussion "We need to talk about the tech panel." So, Yogeeta, you have quite strong opinions on this, I believe?

Yogeeta: I have a lot of opinions about the tech panel. Let's first introduce what the tech panel actually does. So, as a brief background, the tech panel, supposedly, is in charge of actually finding any issues in the elements. So, whether they meet level requirements, whether for a Lutz or a flip if they started on the right edge, and if they had any underrotation issues. They are distinct from the judges, who award GOE and PCS. So the tech panel are the ones who make the technical scores drop, and usually, they are a bit hit or miss. Sometimes at competitions, they're extremely lenient. Sometimes at competitions, they're very hard hitting on the skaters. And, most consistently, they're inconsistently hard-hitting on skaters.

Lae: So as viewers, and people viewing live, there are ways to kind of almost be your own tech panel, right? Where you can learn to identify when there's an underrotation, or there's an edge issue, but mostly we're relying on broadcasts as viewers who aren't at the venue live. So, in that sense, a lot of fans who are interested in the judging and the scoring will pause videos on Youtube and analyze them frame by frame to kind of see exactly where, for example, a skater touches down. So one of the sorts of issues that we think the tech panel faces is the fact that when you are looking at something from a camera angle, camera angles lie all the time. And some angles may conceal underrotations better than others. So the problem here is that the general tech panel in basically all international ISU competitions don't get very high tech, high-speed cameras. For most competitions they only get one replay camera that's positioned to the right side of the judge's table. When you think just a little bit more closely about that, that does seem like quite a weakness when you're trying to assess how well a skater's landed through the entire rink, right?

Evie: Yeah, definitely. But you can also see, from the ISU perspective, obviously, that getting expensive cameras that are going to have to do these slow-motion replays is obviously a cost that they don't want to bear. Because, obviously, figure skating is not a popular sport, it's not going to warrant that kind of investment. Just think if you had to have two dedicated slow-motion cameras, that could go into the tens of thousands, and then you'd also need people to operate those cameras, and if you're even having two cameras in the rink you're gonna need two people to operate the replays for the tech panel. It's just costs surmounting over time. So you can see from the economic perspective that it's obviously, to them, not a great investment. But at the same time, you think about how they have the one camera in the rink, and it's not even properly showing - cause of the way that the camera has to be angled to capture the bottom left-hand corner of the rink, you can't see certain things properly. And you notice skaters that have flip or Lutz edge errors usually put their jump in that corner of the rink because the tech panel camera doesn't accurately shoot it properly. And so the tech panel might be more lenient towards giving the skater the benefit of the doubt on that edge if they can't view it properly with the camera. It's really questionable, and it's annoying. Goddamn it, tech panels.

Lae: Yeah, the limitations of technology means that it's easy to game the system, and not saying that skaters do that deliberately but obviously, as a strategic choice, it is a loophole and it's kind of a weakness that people can exploit. As Evie said, good, high-speed cameras, multiple angles - they're all huge economic costs that frankly unless figure skating becomes better funded, gets more audience, and gets more sponsorship and viewership, there is no real priority being given to a solution like that for high frame rate cameras and high-quality multiple angle equipment.

Evie: It just confuses me that they don't give the tech panel access to the other cameras in the rink, like the broadcast cameras. Because often the ones that you see on the broadcast have decent angles to view the edges and underrotations because they're all around the rink. So I'm really confused as to why they don't allow the tech panel, or the data replay operator, to use those feeds as well.

Yogeeta: That would probably make the most sense to me because they wouldn't need to hire any additional cameramen, even if it's not the best slow-mo cameras, it still will get them more information and more data needed to make the right calls and the best calls for the sake of the skaters.

Lae: Absolutely. On the topic of, I suppose, when we were talking about tech panels being consistently inconsistent, my personal feeling is that, we've said this before but, harsh tech panels aren't the problem. Even though in the rulebook it says that the tech panel should rule in favor of the skater when a call is uncertain, but a harsh tech panel that really cracks down on underrotations or edges, and really identifies those issues, it actually is feedback for a skater. And if you're consistently called on your edge, for example, that's automatic incentive to fix it. So, I don't necessarily see harsh tech panels as a problem because it means that the skater has to fix those problems.

Yogeeta: And we’ve seen that happen with skaters. Yuzuru Hanyu had a terrible triple flip [edge] and he kept getting called on it, and he fixed it. These days people aren’t getting called as consistently on their edges, so they end up not paying as much time to fixing their flip or their Lutz edge.

Evie: The way that I like to think about it is that the tech panel has an obligation to the skaters that they’re judging to give accurate, fair, but strict calls. If you’re giving a skater that has a Flutz, an obvious Flutz or an obvious flat edge, and you don’t call them you’re doing a disservice to that skater. Because these are problems that need to be highlighted and you’re not giving the skater any incentive to fix those errors. That’s just personally what I find really annoying, when tech panels are not consistently harsh.

Lae: In some ways we’ve seen the tech panel this season...there are a few changes I’ve noticed through the competitions that have happened so far. The first being that I feel like the tech panel has gotten a lot more harsh on levels with step sequences, with spins. People were not always getting level four step sequences, but I felt it seemed relatively rare to get a lot of step sequence one’s or two’s in competitions. And now we’re seeing them a little more frequently. I think it’s also worth noting that the rules for under rotations has also changed. In the past an under rotation was defined as more than a quarter turn underrotated, now it’s been expanded to include on the quarter turn. So now if you land your jump on the quarter then it is deemed automatically an underrotation. Or it should be at the very least.

Evie: Honestly I’m so surprised that they are actually implementing that rule pretty effectively. When I first saw the change in the rule book I automatically saw that and thought, “Yeah that’s all well and good, but are the tech panels actually going to use this rule? Are they going to apply it effectively?” And over the last month or two we’ve seen skaters who have hit the quarter mark, or have been pretty close to it, and they’ve been consistently getting under rotation calls. Well, reasonably consistently getting under rotation calls. So props to the tech panels for actually doing that. It’s good to see that rules are actually being implemented.

Lae: Yes, rules being implemented is all well and good. But the meat of this entire issue lies in the fact that inconsistent tech panels are the problem. It’s not a case of if the tech panel is harsh across the entire field, across all the skaters in the competition. That’s fine for the reasons that we just said. It’s when a tech panel will call some skater’s underrotations and edge issue and not call others. It does such a disservice to the judging and to the skaters themselves. Because that’s where calls of unfairness arise.

Yogeeta: Here the biggest issue was in the ladies event with Stanislava Konstantinova. In real time, as we watched her skate, I could see potential underrotation calls and edge calls. She ended up getting a clean go by the tech panel. She didn’t get any calls whatsoever and that helped her win silver here.

 Stanislava’s 3F edge

Stanislava’s 3F edge

 Stanislava’s landing on the 3Lz

Stanislava’s landing on the 3Lz

Lae: She beat Kaori Sakamoto by 0.15 in the total score. It stood out because she was one of the few skaters who seemed to get away with underrotations that seemed quite visible in real time, watching on a stream. Even Alina Zagitova got called on her Lutz and loop. It stood out because of the lack of calls and because of that narrow margin, even just one just one under rotation call would’ve shifted the outcome. It was not an insignificant result as well, because Grand Prix Final qualifications hung on the line.

Evie: Obviously she skated really well. Apart from the issues that we saw, she landed everything pretty well and she had really nice spins. Personally I’m not a huge fan of her skating but I can see she has a humongous amount of talent. But her protocols and her scores really stood out in comparison to everyone else because the tech panel was really quite harsh on everyone. And to see, out of the blue, Stanislava get a higher score than we were expecting....it was certainly a bit of a shock to a lot of us. A lot of questions for the tech panel.

Yogeeta: I rewatched her program several times just to make sure I could see what I thought I saw in the under rotations and the edge calls. So there were two underrotations that were on the brink for me but she definitely was not on an inside edge for her flip. It was borderline outside, and her final triple Lutz was clearly underrotated. I think it was over the quarter mark from what I could see. And it blows my mind that neither of those were called, where as everybody else was getting edge calls and those underrotation calls.

Lae: And it’s a case of if the tech panel is obligated to take the skaters side if there is uncertainty in the calls. But in this case I felt like there was a mismatch in the close calls and who seemed to get the benefit of the doubt. You can see this really clearly in Yuna Shiraiwa’s Free Skate. She basically had a clean skate and at the end of her skate her TES was around the seventies. And then it sunk like a stone basically. I went back to rewatch it and her triple Lutz-triple toe - the toe was called under. But I felt even pausing the frame on the broadcast, at the very least, it felt like it was just on the quarter and maybe slightly below. It seemed to me the tech panel were quite strict with her. Again on the underrotation call on her double loop I felt like it was an issue with the camera angles and with the quality of the footage. Because on the footage when I was slowing things down frame by frame on YouTube there wasn’t a lot of height on her jumps. So when you see some frames you can’t really tell if she’s actually touched the ice with her toe pick or if she’s just above touching the ice. Even then the frame where it looks as though she was under was basically on the quarter. It was very borderline.

Evie: For the double loop underrotation it could be that even if she was very borderline with the one quarter because it’s a loop combo off the back of another jump it could be that the tech panel was just harsh on the pre-rotation.

Lae: It could, yeah exactly. So it’s kind of like yes I get where they would’ve been harsh there. But it seems like there were some calls on some jumps that seemed comparable to what Stanislava had landed. So it was an issue of if they were lenient or if they were harsh on one skater what was preventing them from extending that courtesy. And in the tech panels defense maybe Yuna happened to land her jump in a more visible place from where they were. But from a broadcast perspective, from what we were seeing on YouTube, at the end of the day it didn’t seem like they were that different in terms of the nature of the landings.

Yogeeta: We also saw this, not to as great of a degree in my opinion, but still we saw this happening in the mens. In the Free Skate, Yuzuru Hanyu’s quad loop and quad toe looked like they were slightly under the quarter rotation mark to be called underrotated, but they were both called. But none of Alexei Kraznoshon’s jumps had underrotation calls, and he also in real time you could see the underrotations for some of his jumps. And once again this is one of those places where I’m just like why are you being so inconsistent? Alexei needs to know that his jump technique currently isn’t any good before he starts pulling back in his quads. He’s coming off of an injury. Personally for me I don’t want him to get injured again because he thinks his technique is good enough currently to now try for harder jumps and risk further injury.

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 Yuzuru’s 4Lo takeoff and landing

Yuzuru’s 4Lo takeoff and landing

 Yuzuru’s 4T landing

Yuzuru’s 4T landing

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 Alexei’s 3Lz3Lo landing

Alexei’s 3Lz3Lo landing

Evie: So moving on we’ll talk a bit more about the ladies programs. So first the medalists! In gold was Alina Zagitova of Russia. In silver, like we said, Stanislava Konstantinova of Russia. And in bronze Kaori Sakamoto of Japan. Starting with Alina I think it was a bit of a shock for everyone when we were watching her Short Program to see her pop her opening combo. She went for the triple Lutz triple loop. And she had a bit of a shaky landing on the Lutz and just couldn’t get it up for the triple loop and unfortunately singled it out. A minimum of a double is required for the combo for the Short Program, so unfortunately the single loop was invalidated. But she still came first in the Short Program overall.

Yogeeta: I really wish she’d drop the triple Lutz triple loop.

Evie: Yeah same. It seems, especially with the growth spurt that she’s gone through over the off season, I’m concerned it’s going to become more of a problem for her. Especially since we saw it all through the offseason during ice shows when she was landing it quite inconsistently. And then obviously at the Russian test skates, which was a little bit shaky all over. I think it would probably be safer for her to go for an easier combination, just go for a triple Lutz triple toe. It’s better to get good GOE on an easier combo then it is to get bad GOE on a triple Lutz triple loop.

Lae: I will say that in the free program my one issue was with Alina’s skating skills score. I felt like in her in her performance....I felt like in some ways at the beginning it was something about the way she was performing. But actually looking at her step sequence in particular the way it’s choreographed means that she’s really using her entire body to create momentum to go. And I felt like she was noticeably quite slow in some of the turns. And it was partly because she kept alternating between swinging her leg, fully extended out in one direction and then she would have to change direction and swing the other leg in the direction she was turning. Obviously that’s very difficult to do so huge props that she can manage it. But it creates the impression that she’s really muscling through movements. In the way it’s choreographed as well her arms being flung out in multiple directions. It disperses the flow and energy of the step sequence as a whole. Because I guess you would call it multi directional skating, but it some ways it’s kind of like you get to a point where you are sacrificing speed to keep changing directions. It starts to look very scattered and it looks quite labored for her. So I was definitely questioning that gap in skating skills/ PCS between her and someone like Kaori or Yuna Shiraiwa, who were a lot more fluid and flowy in the way that they were moving around in the rink. And I think her ice coverage didn’t look particularly expansive, but obviously again that could be camera angles on broadcasts compressing the space.

Yogeeta: I definitely think that part of the issue here is they try to pack so many transitions in to her program to try and hide that her skating skills aren’t as strong as some of the other ladies. To the judges it hides it pretty well, but we can see as she skates that she moves in a very labored manner. And I I wish she could decompose this program a little and let things move and flow.

Lae: She has amazing skating skills when the programs are simpler, she’s got all the goods there. It’s just that it’s so complicated right now that it sort of brings out the weaknesses more than it’s highlighting her strengths.

Evie: And it’s not just that her programs are packed with all these transitions and all these intricate movements, but also so much of it has been specifically constructed to the music. And if she doesn’t hit those musical accents, we’ve talked about this before a couple times. If she doesn’t hit those musical accents some of the programs charm kind of diminishes. I found that like some...especially with the placements of the jumps if she is off by a fraction of a second and she misses the musical accent it doesn’t show off the programs composition as well. That’s the whole point of her programs, her programs last season did the same thing with the jumps. Like with her Don Quixote program every jump was placed to a specific accent in the music and it worked when she was clean. But it’s very obvious to the viewer when you’re watching her skate it that she’s not hitting those accents. Like you guys have said, I would much prefer her to deconstruct the program. Simplify it a little bit, focus on the basics but I don’t think that’s realistically going to happen. But it’s nice to dream.

Yogeeta: Moving on, let's talk our bronze medalist, Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, who had a stressing Short Program - I think I cried. I cried as I watched her cry and I was just really sad. She fell on her opening triple flip-triple toe combo and didn't get in a combo. So she attempted to combo her triple loop and fell again.

Evie: Yeah. It was absolutely awful to watch. Those kind of performances are the most emotionally distressing things to watch and especially since we heard that the day before in practice that she hit her head and everyone was worried that she might've hurt herself badly and then seeing this program it was just, ugh, it was so emotional! It was just the worst.

Yogeeta: She said in an interview post-competition that after she fell on her triple flip she had a throwback to Lombardia and how she fell apart, which is why she rushed into her triple loop-triple toe combo and then fell again. And I just read that and I was so sad. Kaori Sakamoto is a ray of sunshine and anytime anybody does anything to make her sad, I'm just...no. But the program itself definitely felt and looked rushed, especially after she fell on that opening triple flip. She definitely was nervous and worried, and you could see it in her performance. She really did not keep it together after that and honestly...I'm just so sad, guys.

Lae: Yeah, well, to her absolute credit, she did come back in the Free Skate with an absolutely gorgeously, cleanly skated free program. There was an edge call on her triple Lutz but, honestly, for me, it was the best that I'd ever seen her perform this program. Even when I was still just seeing it for the first time, I felt like I could see the potential in the build of that music and how it would really create a moment. And she definitely got a moment in her Free Skate at Helsinki, so it was really, really gratifying and delightful to see her pull herself together.

Yogeeta: What does she have to do to get better GOE on her elements, because I really would like to know why her double Axel does not get perfect GOE? Because it hits every bullet point - it's a back-counter double Axel with amazing height, amazing flow when she lands it, it's so soft, it's gorgeous. It deserves max GOE and I will die on this hill.

Evie: I was so annoyed after seeing her score. Her PCS I think should've been at least five points higher than it was - at least! It was a disgrace to see after she skated so well. I mean, obviously, she was skating in the first group which was going to hamper down her PCS a bit. But, ugh, Kaori deserved more.

Lae: Honestly, yeah.

Yogeeta: Kaori deserved to win the Free Skate and she didn't and I will also stand by this.

Evie: Oh, I stand by it 100%.

Yogeeta: Yeah, I honestly expected her to get a season's best with this program. I honestly enjoyed it, thought it was way better performed than her version at SkAm [Skate America], which is what currently has her season's best. And I just don't understand the judging at this competition, I really don't!

Evie: Yeah, it's very confusing. But with a silver at Skate America and now a bronze here, she's gonna have to rely on the other ladies' results in the second half of the [Grand Prix] series, as to whether she'll qualify for the Final - which is really sad because I really want her to get in. She really deserves it, she's an amazingly talented skater and I really hope we'll get to see her in Vancouver. But also, at the same time, there's a million other people I would like to see at the final, especially with NHK coming up next week. It's going to be Hell for the ladies. (Lae: It's a bloodbath.) It's going to be extremely packed. It's gonna be a lot, so we're just gonna have to wait and see.

Yogeeta: I'm just so mad, guys.

Lae: Well, something to make you less mad is I say, just a shout-out to Yuna Shiraiwa of Japan. She was second after her Short Program, which I found absolutely adorable. She did struggle a bit with her levels, especially her spin levels, so there were a few issues there. But I just also wanted to point out her free program, which I find is a really, really great example of a beautifully, subtly and sophisticatedly constructed program. It's choreographed by Tom Dickson, who does a lot of choreography for Hamada, Yuna's coach and who coaches Satoko Miyahara and Rika Kihira. I really encourage people listening to this podcast to just watch Yuna's program again, because I feel like Tom Dickson's really a master at using choreography to emphasize musical phrasing. There's a lot of variety in the way she moves, there are little staccato movements to emphasize the staccato beats in the music. And then there's long, held spirals and other choreographic elements that really brings out the music. And as a new skating fan or someone who might be wanting to know more about different types of choreography styles, I really encourage people to watch that.

-end segment- 32:27

START: Pairs

Evie: So let’s move on now to the Pairs. It was a little bit dry at this event, I think. Since, obviously, halfway through the off season we had the announcements that Wenjing Sui and Cong Han were going to withdraw from both of their Grand Prix assignments, and Helsinki was one of them. So the field was kind of barren of anyone super exciting.

Lae: Oof! Harsh.

Evie: You know what I mean! When Sui and Han withdraw, everything else kind of goes downhill, at least in my opinion.

Lae: Yes, yes. It was still a valiant effort on everyone else's part. I think, Evie, you had some strong opinions about [the Pairs]?

Evie: Let's go through the medallists first. So in first place, we have Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert of Russia. In silver, we have Nicole Della-Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy. And in third place, we have Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin of Russia. When I went into this seeing that Zabiiako and Enbert were one of the leading Pairs I was a little bit hesitant because I personally wasn't a huge fan of their programs last season. I felt that they were quite conceptual, and not in a good kind of conceptual, like conceptual to the point where I don't understand what you're actually trying to present on the ice. It was very abstract and it didn't really communicate well with me. I remember during the Olympics when they were performing their Free Skate and Belinda Noonan, the commentator, was trying to walk through their Free Skate and I was like "I am not getting anything of what you're describing." It was kind of confusing, and not my favorite. But I will say that I really like their packaging so far this season, even if their Short Program is a little bit campy with the knight theme that they've got going on, those costumes. It's definitely a look. But I think that the stronger theming works better for them in this case. I like it so far. And Natalia's new haircut... It outsells. Good on whoever decided that the short hair was a good idea for her. Props to you, because it really suits her.

Lae: Short hair for Pairs ladies, that's like-

Yogeeta: It's how you become a good Pairs lady.

Evie: Someone said that she kind of looked like Kseniia Stolbova a little bit and I'm like "Oh, I see it a little bit." It might just be the dark, short hair but you know, the resemblance is strong.

-end segment- 35:06

START: Ice Dance

Evie: So now, moving onto Ice Dance. The medalists were Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia. In silver, we have Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy. And then in bronze we have Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter of the US. So first, Stepanova and Bukin. I think that they have probably out of the entire ice dance field, the best programs - both the Rhythm Dance and the Free Dance. I am absolutely in love with both of their programs.

Lae: They're so good.

Evie: They are so good, and they highlight their strengths so well. Like, I ranted about them a lot in the Finlandia episode, but seeing their Rhythm Dance in full here without the stopping half-way through because of the confetti on the ice situation we had at Finlandia, and seeing the whole program in its entirety, it's just fantastic. Their movements are so sharp and excellent, and they have such a good chemistry with each other. It's just awesome. And I keep ranting about their amazing sit twizzles that they do in the first set in the Rhythm Dance - they only got +1 grade of execution on the whole thing for the twizzles, which is an improvement because at Finlandia they did get level 1s and that was a crime. But they only got +1 GOE, which I understand because they obviously can't get close together in the sit position with both their legs spinning because-

Lae: And she has really long legs.

Evie: And, yeah she has really long legs too, you don't want to start sword fighting- actually, thinking about that, actually I would like that. +5 GOE for sword-fight-blade choreography! I would like that, come on guys, step it up.

Yogeeta: Oh god, that sounds straight out of Blades of Glory.

Evie: I think it would work! It's the drama we need in Tango Romantica this season. (laughs) But anyway, I think their Rhythm Dance was really good. Overall in the RD at this event, the tech panel again were quite harsh on calling levels and I don't think anyone-I think one team got a level 4 on the pattern and that was it, and it was only for one section. So yeah, it was a bit messy. But that's alright, because they did really well. Their Free Dance, they scored another 120, which they definitely deserved. They did change their music cut for the Free Dance slightly - and I know this because I've watched their Free Dance from Finlandia too many times, too many time to count - but, right during the choreographic character step sequence, there's some really intense drums that weren't there before, and that's probably there to fix the issue that they had; they almost got a music violation at Finlandia - I think 3 out of 9 judges voted for it. And because there is the requirement in the Free Dance where you have to have a change in tempo, and they were definitely toeing the line with their old music cut. But I think it's quite jarring, at the moment, especially as someone who's seen them a lot, it's quite jarring. So I hope they soften that a little bit. But apart from that, the program is fantastic, they are fantastic, they are fantastic skaters. Everyone go watch their programs, please!

Lae: I watched them once and I'm like, I am a fan now.

Yogeeta: Yeah, their programs this season are so great. I will say that as a Shibs fan, I find their Free Dance a little too much, but it's great.

Evie: I love their rotational lift in the Free Dance (Yogeeta: Oh my god, it's amazing) it's so good. You don't see many teams try and get that bullet point where the man has to be on one leg for some of the rotations for the levels, but you see Ivan in the last couple of rotations and they're spinning so fast, and then he sticks his leg up and looks at the judges - and it's just like, 'yeah look at me, I've got my leg up!' It's just-

Lae: Witness the leg!

Evie: 'Witness the leg,' there's your episode title! I can't emphasize enough how great Stepanova and Bukin are. Their next assignment is Cup of Russia and hopefully they will get to the Grand Prix Final. I'm not gonna say- I just said something! I don't want to jinx them, but I need them to make the Grand Prix Final because they're so good and they just- agh! I need to stop ranting about them.

Yogeeta: Yeah, I think she rants about them more than Wang/Liu at this point.

Evie: Oh my god, don't tell anyone! (laughs) Okay, moving on, we've got the silver medalists, Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy. Obviously in their Rhythm Dance they had a little bit of an issue at the start of it where the music-

Yogeeta: It was like, a two-minute issue.

Evie: A two-minute issue where for some reason the music got mixed up and they started playing "Clair de Lune."

Lae: Oh dear.

Yogeeta: I would love to see a tango to "Clair de Lune," Evie, I don't know what you're talking about.

Evie: Don't give Papadakis and Cizeron ideas, Yogs, do not give them ideas. They will do that! (laugh) No, I'm pretty sure what happened was Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko, they skate to "Bloodstream" by Tokio Myers in their Free Dance, and that starts with the "Clair de Lune" music, that piece. So I think that for some reason, the music operator got mixed up or something happened with the computer system and it just started playing. So obviously, Charlene and Marco got a little thrown out of their whole sensual-tango mood kinda thing, to "Clair de Lune," so they had to skate around for a little bit, keep warm while they waited for their music to come up. Unfortunately, in the program itself, they did have a time violation with the ending [NOTE: It seems that their RD music was actually played slower than normal which may have resulted in an unfair time violation. As of the time this episode is posted, no official response from Skating Finland or the ISU. Thanks to @skatingmusicguy on Twitter for investigating.]. But they were the only team that got a level 4 on one section of the pattern that particular night, so that was good to see. I think a lot personally, especially coming out of what I've seen of them before from the last couple seasons, I'm very surprised how far they've gone up in terms of scores in general and how the panels seem to be rewarding them - because if you were to tell me at the start of the season that they were going to get two silvers on the Grand Prix and be shoo-ins for the Grand Prix Final, I would've looked at you and gone, 'o...kay, I mean you do you.' But it's certainly- not exactly strange, because they're both very good skaters- I think that especially after Capellini and Lanotte retired after last season, they're looking to be the next top Italian dance team, and it seems like the judges certainly agree with that.

Yogeeta: I was quite confused with the scoring in their Free Dance. They had a fall in their Free Dance - it wasn't on an element, so they didn't lose in tech scores, but we shouldn't have seen 9s in PCS, according to the new PCS guidelines, which clearly states that a fall in a Free Dance would mean that all the PCS scores could not be higher than 9.

Evie: And not just that. You routinely see dance couples that have falls in their programs whether or not they're on an element, you routinely see them get hammered in PCS. So its very confusing to see that the judges gave them such a high score. They got 118, which even considering the changes in the scale of values and the differences in the Free Dance in terms of elements - we've seen a 5ish point increase overall - that's still, in my opinion, a bit too high for a Free Dance with a serious error in it. Even if they did the rest of their elements really well, what we've seen historically just doesn't line up with what you see on the ice.

Yogeeta: I'm also really confused because they scored higher in this Free Dance than they did at Skate America.

Evie: Yeah, they did! And their PCS was a couple points higher here than at Skate America too, which is just...oh man, I have so many questions for all of the tech panels in general at this event. What are they doing?

-end segment- 43:25

START: Men

Evie: Okay, let's move on to talking about the Men at Helsinki.

Yogeeta: So, another core topic that we'd like to hit at is that GOE range has been pretty crazy this season. As we all know, the ISU has changed from the plus/minus 3 system to plus/minus 5 system for GOEs. And GOEs do leave quite a bit of room for interpretation. For example - what is a good take off? It's not clearly defined, so skaters can do what they think is a good take off and hope that the judges agree with them. So positive GOEs for jumps have to hit certain bullet criteria that's currently set out in the ISU rulebook. Like, very good height/distance, good take off and landing, and effortless throughout, whatever that actually means.

Lae: Yeah, and those are three bullet points that must be hit in order for a jump to be able to hit the +4 or +5s of the new GOE range. And so obviously this is an issue with a lot of teething issues at the moment, you know, it's the first season of the judges applying the new rules. So it's natural to expect there to be a bit of fluctuation. Reading a post on Twitter by Joseph Inman, who apparently is a former judge at Worlds or Olympic level - he basically was talking about - well, he was commenting on a clip of Yuzuru Hanyu's twizzle-triple Axel-twizzle in practice at GP Helsinki - and so he was saying that he would give it a +4 because for him, he would want more clarity and defined arm carriage and the landing free leg could have a better line. And it's these justifications that I found really interesting because I assume that all falls under bullet 5, which is about very good body position from take-off to landing. But when you actually look at the way the GOEs are supposedly rewarded, if you hit 5 of the GOE bullets out of 6, you're technically meant to get a +5. So to be honest, it strikes me as just a reflection of the fact that GOEs are very subjective in the minds of judges. And that one judge that might really value and be really nitpicky about body lines, for example, might give a completely different GOE range to another judge who may not look so closely or carefully at this one particular quality. So the lack of specificity in how these terms are defined in the rulebook strikes me as a bit of a problem and probably an explanation for why we're seeing such a huge range of GOEs being awarded for the same element. Because sometimes I'm looking at them and there's been a couple of instances where the difference between the lowest GOE awarded on the same element and the highest has been like, 8. (Evie: That's insane.) And I'm like, did the judges watch the same program? Like do they have the same eyes? What did they see?

Evie: Like, you look at Elizaveta Tuktamysheva at Skate Canada last week, her triple axel went from +4 to -1. Like, are they watching the same element? I'm so confused! It makes no sense to have that much variation in the marking.

Yogeeta: Yeah, this happened here at Helsinki, where the Finnish judge gave Yuzuru's quad toe-triple toe combination in the short a +4 GOE despite the fact he turned out on the landing. And, obviously, it shouldn't have gotten more than +2 if you just look at the other bullet points that he hit. He made a major error in the landing, so he shouldn't have gotten anywhere close to +4.

Lae: Yeah, but then you consider that one judge gave his back-counter triple Axel-Euler-triple Salchow in the free skate a +1, and you're just kind of like...what did he not hit? You know, that's a +1 that in the company of most of the other marks, that were at least +3s, 4s, I think there was a 2 maybe in there as well. But it's just like, that range strikes me as completely absurd because clearly, something's wrong with either how your rulebook is phrased or the way you're training your judges for there to be such a huge range in the same element that they're all watching at the same time. And another thing that I find a bit concerning, I suppose, is that there's no mention of, like, appealing any of the marks being given by judges in the ISU technical handbook, and in their official processes. Apart from being able to appeal the nomination of a judge to a competition, so at the start of the competition you can say 'Okay, I don't want this judge here for these following reasons', but there have been instances, for example; at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy, where Mikhail Kolyada had one judge give him 0.50 for interpretation. And that's an obvious mistake, you know, they probably just entered the wrong value into the computer system. But, it's like 'so...is it just going to hang out there?' (Yogeeta: Yeah) Why aren't there mechanisms for this to be corrected either before they submit it or upon submission?

Evie: Tech panels and the judges, they have meetings after the competition is over to discuss the scores overall -- they discuss the competition, they have round-table meetings. And, like, it's confusing, not only that these errors happen, but no correction is given. Because obviously Mikhail's PCS, his interpretation score, was a mistake but there wasn't a revision given. And I know that Ondrej Nepela is a smaller competition, but you'd hope that at bigger ones an error like this would be revised. Imagine this happened at a Grand Prix event, or at Worlds or at a Championship event -- people would be much more focused in on it. But I think it kind of slipped under the radar a little bit.

Yogeeta: So, let's move on to the medallists of the Men's event. In first place, winning the gold is Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. In second, winning silver is Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic, and in bronze, we have Junhwan Cha of Korea.

So. Yuzuru Hanyu. His Grand Prix debut.

Evie: He finally broke the curse of his first Grand Prix! Well, it's his first Grand Prix gold for his first assignment in something like nine years. That's pretty impressive!

Yogeeta: Yeah, he's done nine seasons and this is the first time he's won his first Grand Prix assignment.

Lae: And he did it in style.

Yogeeta: But he also set three World records here. (Evie: Woohoo!) But, oh God, some of these elements...I have concerns. Like, in his Short Program, I was honestly concerned that he was not going to land his triple Axel.

Evie: Oh my god, what even is an axis anyway? It was so tilted, I thought, I was positive, he was going to either stumble or fall and he carried it off in style, and I was just like 'Damn~ What the hell's going on here?'

Lae: It's very, very rare to see Yuzu struggle with a triple Axel. Personally, I think it's because he's not used to the really, really difficult twizzle entry into the Axel. I think...I can't emphasise enough how difficult that is, and he not only twizzles in and does the Axel, he twizzles out of the Axel as well. So I felt like that was probably what threw him a little bit there. Alas, he also suffered from level curses and got his very cursed Step Sequence 3, which he tends to get sometimes.

Evie: At least his spins were there this weekend.

Yogeeta: Yeah, he got his spin levels after--(Evie: We can be grateful for that!) --after the invalidated spin hell of Autumn Classic.

Lae: Yep, well, he always improves between his assignments, and that's great. Um, I saw some people wonder why step sequence 3 and it's not that his step sequence itself was constructed to not fulfil the requirements of step sequence 4 levels, it was that he made a mistake, um, that he jumped a step in one of his turns and so, basically, when you make a mistake like that it brings you down a level, and you see him do this, I think largely because he tends to rush through his steps because he's really fast at them, so he can kind of be a bit sloppy there. That's why sometimes a couple of small mistakes or one slightly serious mistake will cause him--or cause every skater to drop levels.

Evie: This definitely isn't a new issue, he's been doing it for quite a while now.

Yogeeta: Yeah, Yuzuru tends to miss that one level, that one step. It's always the same step too! It's a hop that he, he doesn't do it correctly and it just...step sequence 3. [Note: the error Yuzuru made in the short program stsq is jumping a turn in a cluster. He was supposed to do rocker-counter-loop but jumped the counter and lost the level (source)] He had a gorgeous quad Sal in his short program and-- just what does he have to do to get a +5 GOE? Someone explain to me what else he can do because his quad Sal is perfection.

Lae: Something I do really want to recommend is to search 'slow-motion camera' of Yuzuru's Ontoñal and I assume they'll probably upload Origin as well. There was a fan with a high-speed camera at Helsinki and they basically have a slow-motion version of Yuzuru's entire program. So I think for new figure skating fans, or just anyone who appreciates good steps, like really it highlights how difficult, and how many things he's doing with his feet, the entire program through. You can really see the way that he moves, the multi-directional skating, the complexity and difficulty of his jump entries and, you know, he's really fast usually in real time, but the slow-motion camera just slows it down and makes you realise just how much he kind of crams in to his steps and into his programs.

Yogeeta: It blows my mind that his transition score is always his lowest program component score when his programs are packed full of transitions.

Evie: I mean, transitions are always the lowest score out of everyone's components.

Lae: It's like the ugly step-child of the PCS family. Like, why? Why? I really don't understand, honestly. I've never seen anyone with a higher transition score, like, where their transition score is higher than their other components.

Yogeeta: One thing I would like to say about his short program is that he did change the music slightly, and, the cut of the end, right before his final spin, was very jarring to me.

Evie: Yeah, it was quite. It really threw me out of it when I first it, especially since we're so used to the original cut of it, hearing that change, and quite a harsh change in the music, really...I wouldn't be surprised if Yuzuru ended up changing it before his next assignment, Rostelecom. Because he can be quite picky with his music for his programs, but yeah, right now I think -- I'm not saying it absolutely needs to be fixed, but it's just something a lot of people noticed while watching his program.

Lae: And just moving on to his free skate, it was not completely clean. He did struggle quite a bit with his jumps and that was something he acknowledged. But he was the first ever to attempt a quad toe-triple axel combination, or sequence rather. It wasn't ratified [correction: it was ratified as fully rotated, Yuzuru’s comment to Japanese media was that he personally did not consider it fully successful because of the minus GOE] because it was a minus GOE, he struggled with landing the triple axel, but as is Yuzu's way that's probably just going to make him more pissed off and determined to come back with a vengeance in Russia in two weeks.

Yogeeta: He explained at the press conference that the reason he's attempting this combination is because he doesn't want any doubles in his free skate. [Laughter]

Lae: He really hates the number two. [Laughter] So yeah. As a program, as a whole, I think it was really obvious that at the start he kind of trying to conserve energy for that quad toe-triple axel. I did find that his movements weren't as sharp and it lacked that kind of fire and snap that really would make Origin as a program sizzle.

Evie: Yeah, I think that there's that one part right between the step sequence and the triple loop, like half-way through the program, where he stops after the step sequence where the music slows down. I think when we saw it in the program in practice for media day that whole section looked very fluid, yet it still had some of the sharpness that step sequence before it had. But when we saw it here and when we saw it at Autumn Classic, it didn't really retain that. To me, it looked quite noticeably slower and sort of imprecise in its movements. Kind of like he was just trying to get from that bit to the triple loop entrance. Which, you know, for the fact we're only at his first Grand Prix now, obviously the program is still going to develop and what we've seen in practice highlighted that bit is supposed to be a bit faster and a bit smoother, so I hope that -- I'm not going to say by Rostelecom because that's only two weeks away -- but, you know, Grand Prix final, hopefully, Japanese Nationals, all that stuff...Again, Japanese Nationals, hopefully! [Laughter]

Lae: Never try to predict the Men's figure skating season.

Evie: I know! (Yogeeta: Evie, you're...) Give me a break, it's 3:30 in the morning!

Lae: Moving on to the silver medalist Michal Brezina. I really liked both his short program and his free skate. It's like the comeback of the uncles season this season. But yeah, I found that he, like, I saw him for the first time at World's in Milan this year, and he really brought the house down with his energy. It was just so palpable. And, like, when you're in a huge arena and someone comes out with that kind of energy and gets the crowd going it is so powerful as a presence. And so, like, I really...I just love the energy he exudes on the ice. I think he really takes ownership of like the rock in his free skate. You really buy into the fact that this is organic, this is part of him, this is what he loves and he sells it so well.

Evie: Yeah, I completely agree. I really like both of his programs this season. I will say though, I wish he would get an actual costume for the short program because the t-shirt, pants and belt really isn't doing it for me. And his free skate! His free skate is literally a repeat of his costume from last season! It's the same one!

Yogeeta: Well, he's clearly putting more energy into actually landing his quads, so I'll accept the costumes if we can keep getting those gorgeous quads from him! This was his best short program of his career, I believe, this was the first time he went over 90 in the short.

Evie: That's just awesome, and like, you know, considering he's got two silver medals from two Grand Prix; who would've predicted this going in, that he was going to do so well in his two assignments and now he's in a really good place to qualify for the final. You gotta have that uncle in the final!

Lae: Yeah, exactly, we want some uncle representation.

Yogeeta: So next we have Junhwan Cha, out bronze medalist. He had back-to-back Grand Prix assignments and he delivered.

Evie: Back-to-back assignments, back-to-back bronze medals!

Yogeeta: I came into this just being really worried about him having to do back-to-back assignments but--

Evie: On different continents as well.

Yogeeta: Yeah, on different continents and, even though I think he did much better at Skate Canada than he did here at Helsinki, he still did very well and he's going home with a second bronze medal. It's amazing. And he's the first Korean man to win a Grand Prix medal, let alone too, so...

Lae: Props to Junhwan for being such a pioneer as well, in, you know, small fed nation represent! I love this podium for that particularly.

Evie: It was a great podium. But I think we also have to talk about the sort of disappointment in the men's' event.

Yogeeta: Do we have to?

Lae: It hurts me, Evie, it hurts me.

Evie: I know it hurts, but you know we kind of have to talk about Boyang. Boyang Jin of China. Who unfortunately gave us some Worlds' 2018 flashbacks in the Free Skate after he was third in the short program.

Yogeeta: We don't speak of Worlds' 2018, Evie.

Evie: Sorry.

Evie: Let's talk about his Short Program. He was third in the short, and apart from the fall on the combo, he did really really well. I love this program for him, I think "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a perfect choice for him music wise and it shows off so much of his natural charm.

Yogeeta: I really love Boyang. I think for some reason I've always enjoyed his Short Programs more than his Free Skates over the past few seasons and I think it's true again this season. This short program is just amazing for him. His step sequence is so great, and it also helps show off his improvements in his skating skills. If you compare Boyang now to the Boyang from three seasons ago, there is a visible improvement you can see to the naked eye in his skating skills and the amount of transitions and choreo that's going into his program right now compared to back then.

Evie: Well, that being said, I would like it if his choreographers gave him more transitions into some of his jumps. Obviously, you need quite a bit of setup for a quad Lutz, but at the same time, we've seen the same sort of setup where he's just gliding across the entire rink to get it and then almost crashing into the boards nearly every time we've seen him in competition this weekend. It's just - oh my god. He got close, but he also got so close a couple times in the Free Skate to the point where his free leg didn't have anywhere to go once he landed. Figure skating, in general, is not good for my blood pressure.

Yogeeta: Boyang's jumps are so huge. I don't know how he does it. I think he has some of the biggest jumps in figure skating, but he doesn't have the control to land them and I want him to get control of his jumps, and once he does that he will do amazing, but right now they just keep getting bigger and bigger every season. I don't understand how this is happening.

Lae: I really loved the way that his projection and expression has really - it just really shines, especially in his Short Program step sequence. It's like a light turns on and then he's really just letting his personality shine and I love that because he has such a quirky and hilarious personality that doesn't always come through in press conferences and everything, but if you go on his social media he is the craziest, most meme-able dude and he's just so funny, so I really love that the Short Program gives him a vehicle to kind of play around with that. Almost be a bit cool, be a bit edgy, but also goofy and energetic at the same time.

Evie: I really hope he re-evaluates what happened in these programs and trains well in the next couple weeks, because, remember, his second assignment is France, and the men's field there is really packed.

Yogeeta: Yeah, but unfortunately, he placed fifth here, which means his likelihood, even if he wins France, of going to the Grand Prix Final, is so low and I'm so sad.

Lae: Yeah, I really did appreciate, though, in his Free Skate, how you could see him visibly gathering all of his energy to kind of throw into that final choreographic sequence. And that was where I really saw the maturity that I think he's developed over the off-season shine through because even though, honestly, the jumps were a bit of a disaster he still could pull himself together and finish strongly. But as someone who watched him live at Worlds, I did not want this, this really wasn't the way I wanted him to start his Grand Prix season and it is hard to kind of say much about the program given all the problems with it, I think it's not the sort of music I think automatically comes alive with his style, but we'll have to see how it goes in France and hopefully better. I'm just so sad.

Yogeeta: Aren't we all really, really sad. We didn't really get to see much of this program because we were all dying from him falling, but I think it's a good program and I think if he can land his jumps in the future it will be a really great vehicle for him to show the maturity and growth that he's had in the past few seasons. I don't think his past few free skates really did that for him, so I think this is a great opportunity for him if he can land his jumps.

Evie: Please, Boyang. For my heart, do it, please.

Yogeeta: Skating gods, please please do this one thing for me - let Boyang be happy and land his jumps.

Lae: Speaking of making someone happy, also please extend that favour to Mikhail Kolyada.

Evie: Oh god. It was so disappointing to how he performed here.

Lae: He was having very good practices too, which is just doubly unfortunate.

Evie: And we saw him have good outings at the Russian test skates, and then the Ondrej Nepela Trophy, and Finlandia. To see him for both programs here kind of fall short of all that, it really isn't great. But I really love both of his programs, even if he didn't perform him to the best of his abilities here. I think the Short Program works really well for his style and the Free Program is one of the best “Carmen’s” I've ever seen - or at least one of the best “Carmen’s” of this season, because there are quite a lot of them.

Lae: I love his program. I think he has the carriage and the intensity to really pull it off, and he has that kind of sly, coy playfulness that really just channels the program for me.

Evie: It works so well. It sucks that Mikhail has two really difficult assignments in terms of fields. Like here and then you've got Rostelecom in a few weeks and it seems like the Russian Fed doesn't really want Mikhail to make Grand Prix Final by the way that they've put him in these assignments. I really do hope he can bounce back and do well and make the podium at Rostelecom in a few weeks.

Yogeeta: Yeah, same. To me, Mikhail is probably the second best all-around skater after Yuzuru, and so watching him - he would be so great if his nerves... I fully believe at this point it's really just his nerves. After he makes one mistake, he just keeps making them. And he's such a great performer, he has great skating skills, he really is putting all of his energy into his programs.

Lae: He has all the raw material. But even when he falls, I just really admire the way he can just...he falls, he gets up, and then there's no change whatsoever to his expression and he just kind of soldiers on.

Yogeeta: He has such great mentality. I just really don't know what's going on with him and his jumps. And I feel like this happens to him a lot at all the major competitions. He does great at smaller competitions, and then once he goes to major competitions (we've seen this historically) he does tend to...something happens midway through a jump. And he has excellent jumps - his height, his entries - it's just landing them that's the issue.

Lae: I think, personally, it's to do with his axis. His axis...he starts off well, and then it kind of tilts. So even the jumps he does land, it's always kind of like your heart's in your throat. It's kind of: "Will he land it, will he not." Sometimes his triple Axel, I'm like, "How did you get that - like how? How?"

Evie: His triple Axel is fantastic though. The height and distance he gets on it is just breathtaking.

Lae: It is.

Yogeeta: It's great. It might help if he went to take some lessons at the "TCC school of saves."

Evie: Do an open class on TCC saves.

-end segment- 1:08:14

START: Shoutout Of The Week

Lae: So, shoutout of the week goes to the Marigold Ice Unity synchronized skating team for their Transformers Free Skate during the Opening Ceremony of Grand Prix Helsinki. We actually have a fancam of that entire performance on the InTheLoop twitter page, so that is InTheLoPodcast @ Twitter. So if you scroll down a little bit, we have a 'Moments' page where you can see all the media from Grand Prix Helsinki, including that performance because it was amazing.

Evie: Yeah. We have to give a big shoutout to all the team members that were at Helsinki this weekend. They shared a lot of content on Twitter. It's just good to see them all having a really great time there, especially since the event was lining up to look so good and they were all having a blast, especially Tilda, who was official press at the event and she got some really lovely photos of the press conferences and some videos of the draws, so a big shoutout to them for doing so much work on a weekend that was truly jam packed with things to do. They really pulled through. And we all need to send them money so they can all get a drink together. They deserve.

Lae: Also shoutout to Kat and Gabb as well for helping with the photo editing on the ground level.

Evie: And you, Lae. You did a lot.

Lae: We were sort of tag-teaming the whole thing, but you know it's all out of the love of bringing the amazing photos that everyone took at the venue to everyone on Twitter. It's by fans, for fans and that's kind of what drives us as well.

-end segment- 1:09:54

START: Outro

Yogeeta: So, thank you again for listening, and we hope to see you again for our next episode which will be about NHK Trophy!

Evie: If you want to get in touch with us, then please feel free to contact us via our website inthelopodcast.com or on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. You can find our episodes on Youtube, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.

Lae: If you enjoy the show, and want to help support the team, then please consider making a donation to us on our Ko-fi page, and we’d like to give a huge thank you to all the listeners who have contributed to our team thus far. We truly, truly appreciate every little bit of support that we get.

Yogeeta: You can find the links to all our social media pages and our Ko-fi on the website.

If you’re listening on iTunes, please consider leaving a rating and a review if you enjoyed the show. Thanks for listening, this has been Yogeeta,

Evie: Evie,

Lae: And Lae. See you soon.