Andrea: 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 week’s hosts:
Yogeeta: Hi, I’m Yogeeta, your resident Ice Dance fan who can now recognise the Argentine Tango pattern after watching way too much Junior Ice Dance this weekend. My Twitter handle is @liliroum.
Maryam: Hi, I’m Maryam. I’m 20 years old and have just adopted twenty new babies after watching Juniors these past two weeks. You can find me on Twitter at @luckyyloopss.
Andrea: Hi, I’m Andrea. I’m a college student studying Business and I put off my studies to watch figure skating this weekend. I’m on Twitter at @starryyuzu.
Kite: Hi, I’m Kite. I work in a lab and I just joined this episode twenty four hours ago, so you can guess what I’ve been doing nonstop for the past day. You can find me on Twitter at @mossyzinc.
Yogeeta: Great! So let’s start talking about some news that’s happened in the figure skating world in the past two weeks.
Andrea: So Boyang Jin competed this week at the National Grand Prix in China. He showed his new Short Program and his new Free Skate. In his Short Program he scored 101.4, the Free Skate didn’t go as well, had some falls, a couple of pops, and he scored 142.78. But an important thing to note is he’s landing the quad loop in practice, so we’re looking forward to seeing that this season.
Yogeeta: I’m so excited to see someone with a good quad loop again.
Kite: It looked really good.
Maryam: Oh, yeah.
Kite: At least the practice video looked really good.
Maryam: Quad loops are some of the prettiest quads. The one he did in the Free was really good, except his body was a little too far forward. I really like his costume for the Free Skate and I’m really excited to see him this season.
Yogeeta: We also had the Russian test skates recently, so we were able to see Evgenia Medvedeva’s new programs. Her Short Program looked really fun, it’s a jazzy program and she looked like she was having the time of her life skating it. Her double Axel looks way better then it was previously. She still has issues with her Lutz edge, but we can’t expect them to solve all of her problems in two months.
Maryam: Yeah, her Lutz is still not really a Lutz edge. It’s still not on the outside edge, but she is taking a longer time to set it up. Before she used to have a really short Lutz set up and now she’s taking more of her time to really reach back, which is new, because before she used to go on her blade and jump off of her blade. But the Lutz is a toe jump, so it’s good that she’s using more of the toe pick now. Good improvement to see. Her Short Program was really really fun, but her Free Skate is a little bit empty as of right now. But since it’s just Russian test skates, it’s the beginning of the season, it’s not really Worlds, we’re not expecting a full-on complete program. I’m excited to see her for the rest of the season and excited to see the bloodbath of Ladies’ skating this season.
Yogeeta: They did say that she forgot half the choreo.
Kite: Yeah, basically all the skaters had some kind of issues at test skates. Alina Zagitova also revealed her programs at the test skates and she had some big issues with her jumps, especially in the Free Skate. And just - the music cuts were kind of tragic, especially the Phantom of the Opera Short. I think she’s doing the best she can with them, but she’s an Olympic champion, get her programs that showcase what a lovely skater she is. She makes these beautiful lines on the ice and it seems like a shame that she’s not really getting to perform to her full potential, because of the programs that she’s been given.
Maryam: Yeah, she has a lot of raw talent and you can see that, but I do wish her programs were packaged a little bit better, but that’s really all on her team and not her at this point.
Kite: Yeah, definitely.
Maryam: We’ll see what happens.
Andrea: In the latest news of teams splitting up post-Olympics, Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek also split up. Valentina is looking for a new partner, she’s aiming for 2022. I’m really sad, I really liked them.
Maryam: They had lovely programs last season. I think Ondrej is wanting to start a family, so I think that’s what his reason is.
Andrea: Yeah, it makes sense, especially since Anna is also retired. They have time now to do that.
Maryam: Yeah. I’m happy for them, but sad, but also happy.
Kite: And in more team splitting - in general national team splitting news, the Chinese national team had a camp for their skaters this past week and we learned that Yu Xiaoyu is looking for a new Pairs partner now, apparently. She has split from her previous partner Zhang Hao. We don’t really know what’s happening aside from the fact that she split and is looking for another partner. Hopefully she’s able to find someone very soon. More Chinese pairs on the rise, it’s very exciting.
Maryam: Chinese pairs have always been super talented. In other news too, Wakaba Higuchi’s mid-season program change. She did announce her program this summer, but she did announce a change to “Four Seasons” music, choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne. Her first competition is going to be later this week. I really hope that it does go well, especially since she’s only had this program for a month apparently.
Yogeeta: I am excited because she and Shae-Lynn work so well together. They gave us the amazing Skyfall last season. I have hopes, but I don’t have that much hope for this competition.
Maryam: Yeah, it’s good that she’s starting at a Challenger Series and testing the program out there instead of her first Grand Prix.
Andrea: For more news we release Weekly News Roundups every weekend. And if you miss anything during the week, you can always check those out on our website and catch up on what you’ve missed.
START: Competition Segment
Yogeeta: So let’s move onto today’s episode. We’re going to be discussing four competitions: US Classic International, Lombardia, Junior Grand Prix Amber Cup and Junior Grand Prix Canada. Have I survived watching all of these competitions this weekend?
Maryam: I doubt it. It was like a skating overdose, so much happening all at once.
Yogeeta: I was definitely watching two competitions at once a lot this weekend.
Kite: Yeah, it was a time. The past 24 hours have been rough.
Maryam: You have to miss seeing skaters live to catch up on other skaters. It was just a mess.
Kite: We’re obviously not going to have time to discuss all the competitions and still stay within a reasonable timeframe, so we’re just gonna touch on the highlights of the events and any skaters that we personally enjoyed, and hopefully open that up for discussion as well. Let’s just get started with the Junior Grand Prix Amber Cup, where we have in the Ladies’ division Alexandra Trusova (RUS), Yelim Kim (KOR) and Ksenia Sinitsyna (RUS).
Andrea: We saw Alexandra Trusova perfom here. In her Short Program she skated to the “Kill Bill” soundtrack. She did all triples in that program and I thought in general her triples look stronger. In particular her triple Lutz-triple loop combination is looking really nice.
Maryam: It is, yeah. She has nice flow in and out and you can tell she’s working on stronger checkouts on the jumps.
Kite: I question why a 14 year old is skating to the “Kill Bill” soundtrack. Personally it doesn’t feel super appropriate given what that movie is actually about. I do appreciate that they used somewhat different music cuts than what you usually see in a “Kill Bill” soundtrack. It was music that I haven’t personally heard before in a Kill Bill program, which was nice. And I have some questions… That costume was not Kill Bill. The black leggings is like a half warm-up costume and then the yellow top is like Ashley Wagner’s Samson and Delilah a little bit. I’m just not really sure what’s going on with this program thematically. And I hope that gets ironed out more, becomes more clear as the season goes on, because I think it does have potential as a program to be quite memorable. But I just don’t think it’s quite there yet and I think the packaging is a big part of why that is.
Maryam: I wish they chose a color other than that shade of yellow and I wish Trusova changed her expression a little bit throughout the whole program. She didn’t emote a lot throughout the program, which I really wish she did. She does have time before the Grand Prix Final and Worlds to work on her expression.
Kite: I think overall she looked pretty strong in the Short Program, her jumps looked strong. She doesn’t get great height on her jumps, but she does rotate really fast, so she’s able to get those triples around without much of a problem. I think that overall her ice coverage could be greater and she could be skating a little bit faster and perform more to the music, because right now it does feel like everything in between the jumps is just kind of filler to get her to the jumps. Hopefully that’s something we’ll see as the season goes on.
Yogeeta: For her Free Skate she skated to “Fifth Element” and had another costume that I was so confused by. She did open up with the quad Lutz. Unfortunately is was underrotated, but she is the first lady to attempt the quad Lutz in competition. So we might actually see a Junior lady land a quad Lutz in competition this season.
Kite: Oh, we will. I will call it now, we’re gonna see it this season.
Maryam: Between her and [Anna] Shcherbakova, yeah, probably this season. I really admire her for going into these jumps and not hesitating at all going into them. I do wish she would use a little bit less of the blade, because a Lutz is a toe pick jump and she does use a lot of the blade, which makes her prerotate and makes her quad look small and similar to a triple if you’re not paying attention. We’ll see if she improves the height and distance with time.
Yogeeta: I am so impressed by her. She fell on the quad toe and then immediately did a quad toe-triple toe.
Maryam: From one side of the rink, fell there, went to the other side and landed a combo. That was pretty impressive.
Andrea: And it was a bad fall, it wasn’t one of those ‘oh, you fell’ and you get back up. She took a hard fall and she just got up like it was nothing. I don’t know how she did it.
Maryam: Yeah, I don’t know either.
Yogeeta: The program itself felt super messy to me. There was just so much going on and I didn’t really know what the story was that was being told here. There was very little emotional impact from her that I was getting in this program.
Kite: I agree with that. Again with the costume, I’m not really sure how it’s relevant to the music that she was skating to. I don’t know if this is the season of bodysuits or something, but overall it was an awkward choice. It was a little distracting from the actual program, I thought, and her Program Component Scores were definitely too high for the performance that she actually put out. I feel like there were a lot of areas in the program that just felt emotionally empty and I don’t think the scores reflected that.
Yogeeta: I agree 100%. Compared to some of the other skaters who performed, she has strong technical skills, but I really don’t like that the judges are like ‘you have really great tech, let’s give you good PCS!’ when that’s not how that should work.
Maryam: Yeah, that’s not how that should work. She does have a lot of transitions, but in terms of interpretation and musicality she’s not quite there and the scores don’t really reflect that. I wish they would.
Kite: To me she’s not a super musical skater. She doesn’t seem to have that same innate musicality that you have from a Yulia Lipnitskaya or Alena Kostornaia. She really seems to have to work to connect with the music and I think that the PCS that she’s getting are not reflective of that necessarily. I would just like there to be more even scoring and for judges to be able to seperate the technical elements from the performance elements, which I know is asking for a whole lot in this day and age. But one can dream.
Yogeeta: This will be a common theme throughout this episode, talking about how PCS has been unfairly given or not given correctly at all. Moving onto another skater I really enjoyed, Yelim Kim placed silver here. Her Short Program was gorgeous, she’s a really elegant skater. She has amazing spins. She had some technical issues: she stepped out of her triple flip and underrotated her combo. But she has such great positions and extensions on the ice. I really admire her and I’m looking forward to seeing how she improves over the upcoming season, especially when she moves to Seniors. The Korean ladies are definitely up and coming and I can’t wait to see how they improve and take on this next quad.
Maryam: I really want one of them to make the Junior Grand Prix Final. I’m excited to see one of them hopefully next year in the Senior ranks. For Yelim I really liked her dress, it had a lot of sparkles, which makes me happy. Her choreo is by David Wilson, you can tell it’s close to his style, but she also adds her own touches. She’s really good at using her hands to accentuate certain notes of the music, she has pretty hands.
Yogeeta: Her Free Skate - she had a clean skate, which was great. She does a lot of Rippons and I wish that her hands were straighter when she did them.
Maryam: Yeah, they look a lot better when your arms are straight, a lot prettier. But her jumps are solid in general.
Yogeeta: She’s a very fast rotator and she gets really nice height as well.
Maryam: She does, yeah. Usually people who rotate fast don’t get a lot of height, so they have to rotate fast to get the rotation. But she has big jumps and she rotates fast, because she has a really tight air position. And she also has a lot of distance, her double Axel-triple toe combo was really huge, she basically flew halfway across the rink in that one combo. I really appreciate that. For Men’s, for the medalists we had Andrew Torgashev, Kirill Iakovlev and Yuto Kishina.
Yogeeta: I really like Andrew. I really liked his Short Program, he has great lines and some very nice musicality. Technical abilities unfortunately… He had an unfortunate step out on the triple Axel and then popped his triple flip into a single flip, which invalidated that element. So I’m really happy to see that US Junior men are embracing having more musicality and performance in their programs, but at the same time it looks like there’s this expense at them losing their technical content. I don’t really know what’s causing this but I hope they find a balance soon.
Kite: His Short Program was very Josh Farris-y, that’s who he reminded me of, which makes sense because Josh Farris is one of Andrew’s coaches. Of course that made me a little bit sad to see a Josh Farris look-a-like on the ice. For a very brief history lesson for those of you who aren’t aware, Josh Farris was an up and coming US skater and he medaled at Four Continents and was a multiple time US National medalist. Unfortunately when he was trying to learn how to get quads, he took a pretty hard fall and ended up with a concussion and that basically derailed his training. He’s had some significant health issues stemming from that concussion recently or in the past few years. Just to be able to see his legacy carried on in younger skates is really nice, because he was a very beautiful and musical skater and you can see that in Andrew’s skating as well. He’s definitely among the most mature of the Junior men internationally right now in terms of expression and artistry. Kind of going off what Yogeeta said about the US men struggling with their technical content but being expressive and musical, I think that just comes back to how the US skaters train.
Yogeeta: Andrew’s Free Skate was also great. He messed up the jumps in the first half, but then came back in the second half and just killed it. The step sequence was everything I’ve ever wanted in life and more.
Andrea: He does a good job of engaging the audience, he really draws them in. And even though he had the mistakes in the beginning of the program, by the end you pretty much forgot about it because of how much emotion he had in his Free Skate.
Yogeeta: Agreed. I don’t really want to see more Moulin Rouge programs, but Andrew can keep his Moulin Rouge program.
Maryam: I think there was another Junior man who skated to Moulin Rouge too, he had a sparkly red costume and I wish Andrew went with that as well. But he didn’t have everything.
Yogeeta: Next let’s talk about Yuto, Yuto Kishina, he placed third on the podium. I really liked him.
Andrea: I really liked his Short Program, especially the step sequence. There were some parts where he hit key accents in the music and I thought it was really cool. As soon as his program was uploaded, I went back to rewatch that step sequence because it was my favorite part of the program.
Maryam: I like how he has a lot of speed and effortlessly uses his knees to gain acceleration. I see that a lot in Japanese Junior men or Japanese skaters in general. The have great great skating skills, great speed across the ice and they’re powerful. I really do appreciate that about them, especially in comparison to… When you see other Junior skaters and then compare the speed, it’s definitely very impressive.
Yogeeta: I really really liked his triple loop-triple toe combination, it was perfect technique, it was great.
Maryam: Not many people do a triple loop and then a combo… It was a very good combo, yeah.
Yogeeta: He did have a harder time in the Free Skate, he had to fight through some of those jumps. I don’t think he sold this program as well, but I think a lot of that goes to the fact that the GOE was falling, he was messing up his jumps and that was taking a lot out of him. He did YOLO his last jumping pass, which I support 100%. He wouldn’t have medaled if he hadn’t and I definitely support him and I look forward to seeing how he grows, because he’s definitely a great young skater, all the young Japanese Junior men have great skating skills. They just need to work on their nerves and learn how to perform better.
Maryam: It’s really hard to predict which of the Junior men will make it to the Grand Prix Final, but I really hope he’s one of them. Looking forward to seeing him in the rest of the season. For Ice Dance medalists, in order, we have Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov (RUS), Avonley Nguyen and Vadim Kolesnik (USA), Darya Popova and Volodymyr Byelikov (UKR). For Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov, they had… The music choice was very unexpected, but my wig was found on Mars.
Yogeeta: Rock tango, rock tango. I didn’t know I needed a rock tango until this skate.
Maryam: The music started and I was like ‘okay, wow, wow’. What was really nice was they both gave a lot of face, which I do stan. It made their performance so much more engaging for the audience and so much more powerful and accentuated the music they were skating to.
Yogeeta: This was so well choreographed, every movement was on point to the music. They hit every musical accent in this program. Do you know how few skaters can do that? I loved them, they’re my new favorites.
Maryam: Their program is very well packaged. It’s busy but it’s also very very well packaged.
Yogeeta: Yeah, it was very busy. I definitely thought they had a lot going on, but I enjoyed that they had that choreo and they were into the choreo. And the same can be said for their Free Dance, they had another interesting music choice here.
Maryam: They’re really good at buying into their choreography and embodying whichever character they’re given. In the Short it was more intense and fierce characters and here it was energetic and fun characters. They do have a wide ratio of talent when it comes to interpreting their own characters.
Yogeeta: Overall I really really do like them. They stand out because of their non traditional music choices. And these programs… I think they were the most packed programs that I saw over the four competitions I watched this weekend. There was just so much going on. I wish there were some points where they took time to just hold a position, instead of just moving on to the next parts, but even then everything worked so well together and was such a great package.
Maryam: I quite liked how they managed to grab your attention for every single second of that program. It’s so hard for Ice Dancers to do that since they have so many required elements they have to do. It’s really nice to see when they can integrate elements so seamlessly and add so many choreographic moves.
Yogeeta: Moving on to the silver medalists, Avonley and Vadym. Oh my god, they are so elegant.
Maryam: They are, they’re just gorgeous. Their skating is really really gorgeous.
Yogeeta: Their costumes were great, I loved Avonley’s dresses for both the Rhythm Dance and the Free Dance. Everything was just so well put together. They definitely had less content. They weren’t as choreographically intense as Arina and Maxim, but they didn’t need to be.
Maryam: Arina and Maxim were a really high bar for how choreographically intense you need to be.
Yogeeta: They had great twizzles. I, as a Shibutani stan, appreciate great twizzles. They were right on the music. They were a little off sync, but they’re young, they can fix that. They had a great curve lift and an amazing rotational lift in their Free Dance. That was one of my favorite lifts I saw over all of the Ice Dance.
Maryam: Oh yeah, the speed of the rotations in that rotational lift were just to die for. They both have real solid edges and knee bends throughout their patterns. And Avonley has a really gorgeous layback position, which I do appreciate.
Yogeeta: They both have great expression as well. Avonley, I definitely felt more expression from her. They kind of lost it in the middle as they were trying to get through some of their patterns and elements. Definitely need to work on keeping that up, but overall I love them.
Maryam: Overall they’re super musical, they’re really good at using their hands to pull you along with the music. Really effective at interpreting the music. They had a really good choreographic lift at the end. And they had a really really good… The transitions into their back camel spins were so crazy. It was just insane. I don’t know how they do it.
Andrea: Now we're going to move on to the discussion of the Junior Grand Prix Canada. So in the Ladies’ division, we had the medalists Anna Shcherbakova (RUS), Anastasia Tarakanova (RUS) and Rion Sumiyoshi (JPN). And so Anna Shcherbakova - she placed first and therefore she will be going to the Grand Prix Final.
Kite: I thought her music choice in the Short Program was unique. It was quite nice. It's pretty unusual sounding, but in my opinion, she doesn't really emote convincingly to it. Again, she seems to be going through the motions between the jumps and everything between the jumps is just like ‘well, I just gotta do this and then get to the next jump’. And with the music itself, there were really no high parts of the cut - there wasn't a climax to the music and so it just stayed on the same level throughout the whole program and it felt a little bit stagnant and a little bit slow to me.
Maryam: It didn’t have a story really.
Kite: Well, I don’t think necessarily a program always has to tell a story, but I think there should be high points and low points so the skater can show off their versatility. It was very nice and very melodic, but it all sounded kind of the same to me. And she did have a pretty nasty fall on her triple Lutz-triple loop. It was really weird - she didn’t quite get her free leg around when she was landing the triple loop and so she kind of lost her edge and she fell really weirdly - she fell on her stomach and usually you see skaters fall on their back. And yeah, it was just super weird, it looked really painful. I was impressed that she picked herself right back up and just started with the rest of the program again. And again with that combination, you don’t really see a lot of ladies doing it.
Maryam: Triple Lutz-triple loop combos are very, very impressive, but you do need good speed coming out of the triple Lutz to go into the triple loop. She didn't have enough height to rotate the triple loop, so I think she should have gone just for a double loop, because she did downgrade so she landed - she was under on the rotation by a little bit more than a half, so I think it would have been better to go on the double loop instead just because falls are punished really, really badly now - falls and downgrades - in terms of the base value deductions. But then again, with triple loop combos, you don’t really have that much time to decide, you have to just go right up into them so she didn't have time to think about whether she'd get enough height, so she just went for it.
Kite: Yeah. Her jumps are quite small, which makes sense because she is very very tiny, so she is not going to get the height that a more physically powerful skater would. As a result they’re quite muscled and she relies basically on rotating very quickly, as a lot of the younger Juniors do. And so I don't really know how long that technique is going to last her when she starts growing, so we'll just have to wait and see. For now it seems to be working - she does hit some nice positions in the elements other than the jumps. She has a really unique Biellmann spin that I enjoyed, where instead of putting her hand on the blade, she puts her hand on her leg. Super nice, it’s very unusual and I liked that a lot. I thought it was kind of a cute Alexei Yagudin reference, where she's kind of throwing snow around during the program. She seemed like she was having fun with the program even if I’m not totally sold on how it’s thematically packaged. So we will get to see this again in December and we'll get to see how much it's changed if at all then.
Maryam: Yeah, she does seem to be enjoying it and I do think it suits her. Also her I-spin has a lot of speed and really good rotations - kind of reminds me of Yulia’s in a way. And not many I-spins remind me of Yulia’s, so I really do appreciate it.
Yogeeta: So in her Free Skate, she did attempt a quad Lutz - she fell and it was also called underrotated, but she was the first Russian lady to start training the quads, so I expect her to be landing one soon in competition. Honestly, I don't like her Free Skate.
Andrea: Yeah, I prefer her Short Program.
Yogeeta: It's just so busy and it doesn't allow her to show her actual skating skills. All I really want from all of the Russian ladies is for them to actually hold the position. I just want that! Just one position, why can't I have that?!
Maryam: I’m sure they can hold it. They’re able to. For example, Alina's Ina Bauer is really gorgeous, but I wish she’d hold it more than half a second, just to showcase her flexibility. Definitely something for them to work on, but again it’s not their choice, it’s their team.
Kite: But yeah, with the fall on the quad Lutz, you kind of see the toughness of these Junior girls, not only in attempting the quads, but also she took a really, really hard fall. It was not the kind of graceful fall that you see from skaters, when they kind of just slip and roll over and get back up. She fell really, really hard, and then she still got up and landed the rest of her program - queen! And she said in her post competition interview with Ted Barton that basically - “falling on the quad Lutz does not impact my ability to do the rest of the program” and I think it’s a very optimistic - it’s a very good way of looking at it, I think. And with that attitude, hopefully she will be able to carry that into the Grand Prix Final in a couple months.
Maryam: Yeah, she does have quite a lot of mental strength. So did the other two Junior Russian girls, which I really do admire. So speaking of Russian Junior girls, another one is Anastasia Tarakanova.
Andrea: So it was good to see Anastasia back, especially because during the off-season, we didn't really know if she was skating, how she was doing. But she had a coaching change, she's now with [Evgeni] Plushenko and I did like both her programs this season a lot more than the ones she had last season. She seemed to be more in control.
Maryam: I love her jumps. I love her flow in and out of the double Axel. But she doesn't connect to the music expression-wise that much, so she does have room to grow in terms of interpretation. In the Free Skate, she struggled just a little bit with jumps, just with checking out on them. But overall, her picking technique on the toe jumps is pretty good. She didn't get her jump technique from Eteri. It came from [Svetlana] Panova, so that's why they're good. (Hosts laugh.)
Kite: No offense!
Yogeeta: She went to Eteri [Tutberidze] with good technique, which is the only reason why she has it.
Maryam: Yeah, so kind of like Polina Tsurskaya.
Andrea: Yeah, she gets really great height on her jumps as well.
Yogeeta: I really liked her program here. She definitely had some issues with the jumps, but she gave it her all and I think she was the highlight of the Ladies’ Free Skate here for me. She was very happy at the end of this and it was a very interesting interpretation of Moonlight Sonata.
Kite: Yeah, I was like ‘wait, what?!’. I was like ‘oh, Moonlight Sonata, whatever’ and then it turned into basically -
Kite: Cyber Moonlight Sonata.
Yogeeta: Well, adding cyber to anything just makes it better.
Kite: Daisuke Takahashi would be proud.
Maryam: Oh, yeah. He would be with his Cyberswan. Like Shoma’s Moonlight Sonata, which is usually how Moonlight Sonata is skated to, it’s very calm and serene. Whereas hers is ‘ah yeah, cyber Sonata’. But it definitely fits her, she's more feisty and powerful. But yeah, again, just like in the Short Program, I’d love it if she worked a little bit more on her expression. The next skater we have is Rion Sumiyoshi. She has lovely skating skills, she holds her positions and the edges after her turns more than most people do, which I do appreciate.
Yogeeta: Yeah, she didn’t do as well in the Short Program, but she came back and she killed it in the Free Skate. To be completely honest, the group 4 of Ladies’ in the Junior Grand Prix Canada gave me terrible flashbacks to Worlds and I never wanted to have those flashbacks again. (Hosts laugh.) But Rion definitely pulled a Wakaba [Higuchi] - she skated in group 3 and then she stayed in first for most of group 4, so she stayed on top to pull out a bronze here and she was great. She’s skating to Swan Lake, which isn't my favorite warhorse - I don't really have opinions on Swan Lake, but I really enjoyed her program and her enthusiasm for it. And she had this amazing triple flip-triple loop combo. Like, my wig on Mars. (Hosts laugh.)
Maryam: Very good height, very good distance. She also uses her upper body quite effectively to connect with the music, which is perfect for Swan Lake and a swan program in general. She does remind me a little bit of Akiko Suzuki, in that she has great interpretive range, as we saw between her Short Program and her Free Skate because they’re different music.
Andrea: Yeah, I really enjoyed this program. I thought it was a great comeback for her and I was really impressed, especially because I hadn’t really seen her skate before this Junior Grand Prix. And I would argue that she deserved a higher score - she got 119 I believe, but I think, especially in the Program Components Score, I think that the judges could’ve given her a little bit more.
Maryam: Yeah, they could have been way more generous. She has magnificent skating skills for a Junior and the scores should reflect that, but sadly they don't.
Yogeeta: One other standout for me at this competition was Young You, who had an amazing short program. It was choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, so thank you Shae-Lynn Bourne as always for my life. She was skating to a Tango and it was well choreographed on all the musical accents. She had an amazing step sequence, and she just kept going. She did have an unfortunate step out on her combo, but she kept improving as the program went on and I really, really enjoyed that. She also has this gorgeous layback Ina Bauer that I wish she had held for just a little longer – she used it as a transition later on in the program. And the same for her spiral. I just want people to hold their positions, is that too much to ask?
Andrea: It's unfortunate what happened in the Free Skate, but I think seeing the Short Program, you can really see how much potential she has, and I'm looking forward to seeing how she grows.
Maryam: Korean Juniors rise!
Yogeeta: Please! I just want all Asian skaters to rise, please.
Maryam: Honestly, a mood. They deserve.
Kite: Oh we’ll get there, we’ll get there. So moving onto the men. At this event, we have our 3 medalists: Petr Gumennik (RUS), Tomoki Hiwatashi (USA), and Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA).
Andrea: So with Petr, his Free Skate I thought was incredible. He did a really nice job, and he opened up the program with a huge triple Axel-triple loop, which you don't see these days — for a junior to be doing that combination, it was really impressive.
Maryam: Yeah, the height on his triple Axel is way bigger than even a lot of the Senior men. He kicks up really high and just has a lot of power throughout the jump. Triple loop combos are super hard, so good on him for pulling that off as well.
Yogeeta: It takes a lot of guts to put on a triple loop combo, especially after a triple Axel, because the triple Axel is one of the hardest jumps, for even the top men to do and for Petr to just decide, you know what, my triple Axel is so good, I'm gonna do a triple loop after it? I’m impressed and I absolutely stan.
Andrea: And apart from the jumps, I was really impressed with his spins as well. He has really amazing flexibility and really cool spin positions. A lot of the time, we see the same kind of spins among the men, and he really had some variety, especially in his donut spin — he did like an upward twist on it, which I hadn't really seen before, and so it was really cool to see a Junior doing these kinds of spins. Especially because with Junior men, their jumps will tend to be a lot better than their spins; their spins tend to slow down, and I really liked his spins and I’m really looking forward to seeing this program in the future.
Maryam: Yeah he was definitely very creative, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody do an upright-facing donut before. Yeah, very, very impressive.
Yogeeta: So next, let’s move onto Tomoki Hiwatashi from the US. He placed silver here. So I’ve been a fan of Tomoki for a while so I was really impressed with his showing here. Once again, like Andrew, he has great performance skills and very great expression. It's just the technical skills are still not a hundred percent there yet.
Andrea: Yeah, I remember seeing him at Nationals and I thought he had done a really good job so it's nice to see him doing well on the Junior Grand Prix circuit.
Maryam: Yeah he’s definitely very musical, but I do wish he’d use a little bit more transitions like going into his triple Axel, he did go into it from a bracket, but to do the triple Axel he was basically just doing forward stroking. So he should just vary his transitions a little bit more. He has a really, really nice Biellmann, Ina Bauer, and split jump. He has really good flexibility especially for a men’s skater. His position and speed are great, he takes no time or effort to pull his leg up in the Biellmann. Like, whenever I watch men I just really, really miss laybacks and Biellmanns from watching ladies so I do love seeing men do them.
Andrea: Yeah, but the sequence of steps going into the triple sal was a really difficult sequence and he pulled it off really well.
Maryam: Yeah, he did just a cantilever and split jump. He has really great distance in jumps — like his quad toe-triple toe. I’m excited to see him progress over the rest of the season.
Yogeeta: Yeah same. I’m excited for his next assignment, and I never want to predict who makes the Grand Prix Final because that’s poor taste - but I would love to see him there if he can make it. Next, let's talk about Yuma Kagiyama, who was AMAZING in the Short Program. Last time I saw him was at Japanese Junior [Nationals] and he struggled a lot there, but here he was so great. I was such a big fan of his skills - his basic skills were on point and he has such great musicality. His program was so fun too, it was an excellent music choice for him.
Maryam: Also, his skating skills here were better than some of the senior men we saw at Lombardia and US Classic. (Hosts laugh.)
Kite: Ooh, that’s a call out!
Maryam: He just has really, really great power and speed to his skating, but also has a lot of control and nice skating skills in general.
Yogeeta: Yeah, I really liked his spins. I thought they could be a little faster, but I overall was very impressed.
Maryam: Yeah, they could be faster for sure, but he did have an outside-edge cannonball sit-spin. Not many skaters can do outside edge sit-spins—usually you see outside-edge or change-edge camels, but you don't really see change-edge cannon-ball spins that much. So, it was very unique.
Andrea: In his Free Skate, he struggled a little bit, but I was really impressed by his speed. He just kind of zooms around the ice. And his spins again — he has really impressive flexibility, and so it was it was nice to see.
Yogeeta: Yeah it was really unfortunate what happened with his jumps, but I really did like this program and I thought that his step sequence here was also very great — definitely showcased his skating skills a lot. His knee bend definitely saved him on a lot of the jumps here, so I hope for him to work on his jump technique. But this was his Junior Grand Prix debut so fourth here is nothing to scoff at. I’m very much looking forward to see what he does at his next showing.
Kite: So moving onto another standout performance, perhaps in a different way: Stephen Gogolev (CAN). Unfortunately, he had some major issues with his jumps at this competition, and he ended up 5th. And he was skating in front of a home crowd — there were a lot of fans in the audience, and I think the pressure of that definitely did affect him, this being his Junior Grand Prix season debut. Just watching his Short Program especially, I’m quite concerned about the longevity of his jumps. His coach, Brian Orser, does say that he has five types of quads, but watching him go into the quad Lutz especially you can see that he pre-rotates the jump a lot, and he cheats the toe-pick takeoff quite a bit. He kind of has a toe hammer, so he’s driving that pick really hard into the ice behind him and then he kind of relies on, not a full-blade but kind of a half-blade takeoff, instead of just cleanly picking into the ice. So that doesn't really bode well for his technique as he grows. Still, this is his first Junior season internationally, and he is only 13 years old — he's very, very young, so it's likely that he's going to stick around on the Junior Grand Prix circuit for a couple more years and solidify his reputation and hopefully work on making those jumps a little bit more solid. And kind of just learning how to compete on the international stage.
Yogeeta: Yeah, I agree, I definitely hope that his team goes back and takes a look at his jump technique because honestly I'm very worried about him and I'm very worried about him getting injured badly in the future. He definitely caved to his nerves here, so hopefully he'll do better the next time we see him. He placed fifth and he does have a gold from his first outing, so anything can really happen in men's figure skating, so he could still end up making the Grand Prix Final, but we’ll have to wait and see. So I definitely hope that he takes advantage; he does have a great team behind him, and that they do actually work on fixing his triples before forcing him into actually taking on all these quad jumps, because honestly at this point you don't need quads to win at the Junior level. I want him to get strong basic skills and get high levels of execution first and then move on to actually doing the quad Lutz, the quad toe, etc.
Maryam: So for the Ice Dance medalists, we have the Marjorie Lajoie/Zachary Lagha (CAN), Polina Ivanenko/Daniil Karpov (RUS), Ksenia Konkina/Alexander Vakhnov (RUS). So for the gold medalists at this event, Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary — I like that they have a lot of sass, like they gave a lot of face throughout the performances.
Yogeeta: They’re a very well rounded team. This is their fourth time on the Junior Grand Prix so I'm very excited for them to move into seniors. You can definitely see that their technical skills are above and beyond everybody else that we’ve seen so far in the Junior Ice Dance. They have really great twizzles, they have a very nice rotational lift — they rotate so quickly, it’s amazing. They definitely have to pay a little bit more attention to their edges — they only got level 3s on the patterns, but overall I enjoy them in the in the Rhythm Dance. In the Free Dance however… I know they're a good team, I know they have great skills, and I can see them on the ice — they have excellent twizzles, they have great lifts, they have great positions, they have great edges and everything is very well done, extremely well packaged team. I just don't feel emotionally connected to them at all? They’re very “Montréal.”
Maryam: They are.
Kite: It’s an adjective.
Maryam: Très Montréal. Yeah, I can tell they’re really, really good, they’re obviously skilled. They did put a lot of emotion into the program, they did go hard. But I just like their Rhythm Dance a lot more.
Yogeeta: They are the second team on the Junior Grand Prix circuit to get over 100 in the Free Dance. So that says a lot to their actual ability so I'm happy with that. I'm very excited for them, but at the same time, I’m not- they feel a lot like Papadakis and Cizeron to me in their Free Dance and, as many of you know, I'm not the biggest fan of Papadakis/Cizeron either. I don’t know, I feel really indifferent to them in general.
Kite: Yeah, I quite agree with what you all said in general but I think they are senior quality in a lot of their technical elements, but I think emotionally they left me pretty cold. I'm not super convinced in their connection with one another, their kind of “oneness” on the ice could be stronger, which I think will come with time or if they decide to move into the Senior ranks I think they'll have plenty of time to work on that, but yeah. Overall, they have a gold here, they have a silver at Junior Grand Prix Austria, so we will see them at the Grand Prix Final in December. In person, for some of us.
Yogeeta: Yeah! Exciting. Next, we have Ksenia and Alexander who got bronze here. I really enjoyed them. They’re a new team — they only recently paired together, so you can definitely see they have very strong individual skills here, and I love their tango. Their Rhythm Dance was probably one of my favorite music choices and I really enjoyed them. They have a great lift, but they unfortunately collided with each other a little during step sequence, and nobody fell but you can see them be a little shaken there. But overall, I'm very impressed with them.
Maryam: They do have a lot to improve on but they're a powerful couple and they pulled off this tango really well, so they do have a lot of potential.
Yogeeta: I really enjoyed their Free Dance - they had a drama opening it was great. I also love their costuming. They both have really strong individual skills, but they definitely have to work on their synchronization. But that's something else that will definitely come with time. They are new team and I fully expect to see them next year being on top of everything. I really did like them and I hope that they continue skating together.
Maryam: So with this team, we have a very nice expression from both, Ksenia especially, and I think we found a pattern going around. I found it when watching Ice Dance, the girl Ice Dancers are kind of less afraid to be more expressive throughout the whole performance and show more face than the men in general.
Yogeeta: Why can’t more men be like Scott?
Kite: Scott Moir is the one and only.
Maryam: He gives so much face, it gives me life.
Yogeeta: But overall, I think that’s it for the Juniors – let’s move onto the two senior competitions that happened this weekend, of death, in which more men die and—
Kite: They certainly did happen…
Yogeeta: Honestly did anything good happen this weekend?
Andrea: Kazuki! Kazuki’s a good thing.
Maryam: Satoko US Classic champion!
Kite: Let’s just get started with the Lombardia Trophy. So in the Ladies we have our three medalists: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS), Sofia Samadurova (RUS), and Mako Yamashita (JPN). So yeah, let’s get right into it.
Yogeeta: Oh my god, Elizaveta’s Short Program was to “Assassin’s Tango” which is one of my favorite tango pieces of all time and like nobody has done this well before, and I'm so excited. I'm actually so excited!
Andrea: Yeah, she really sells this program, like I love how much she gets into it and it makes for a really engaging performance.
Maryam: Yeah, she doesn't leave a note of the music unused. She has a very natural musical ability. And she does have so much sass and can pull off the program really, really well, which I do appreciate.
Kite: Moving onto her Free Skate - she did have this really fun dance music from the Great Gatsby soundtrack and she looks like she's having a lot of fun; she’s really emoting very well to the music and getting into it. She's not quite fast enough for the opening score, it kind of felt a bit slow and sluggish in comparison to how fast paced the music was and she’s not a slow skater but the music was just so fast that it was a little bit hard to keep up with, I think. She did go for the triple Axel here, she stumbled a little bit on the landing, she had a step out. It was pretty clearly under-rotated but it wasn't called by the tech panel for some reason. She, again, does have some of the best jumps, not only in the Russian ladies but in the Senior field. She's one of the very few ladies, in Seniors or Juniors, who has a true Lutz, which I definitely appreciate as a Lutz stan. Again with her speed, I think the step sequence also did need to be a little bit faster, given the music that she was getting to. The choreography of the program felt a little bit empty to me, besides some very dramatic arm movements, but it is early in the season. I think this program is a little bit of a work-in-progress, so I think we will see it become more complex at her next competitions moving forward. I just want to know why she's always peaking in post-Olympic seasons, as opposed to in the Olympic season. She peaked in 2015, when she won the World Championships, and now she has her triple Axel back - unfortunately the Olympics were in February. That is - [Kite laughs.] As her fan that is quite frustrating.
Maryam: Yeah, she did post on Instagram getting her triple Axel back in the post-Olympic off-season, and she joked about it being too late and it’s kind of sad, but she does have quite a lot of potential. She still has really good jumps, and a lot of potential so I’m excited to see her from now on.
Andrea: And I think it’s good that she’s putting the triple Axel out there, and she’s standing up on it. We saw it here, and we saw it at the Russian test skates, so it shows she’s at a pretty good place in the season, and she’s in pretty good shape. It’s exciting to see how this triple Axel is going to go on the Grand Prix season.
Yogeeta: Yeah, so I really like her as a performer. I honestly was not a big fan of the program as it is but obviously it's going to evolve more as the season progresses so hopefully I'll get more into it. She’s just such a great performer, she just draws me into the program, and she has a huge presence on ice like you have no choice but to pay attention to her.
Andrea: Okay, so moving on to Mako, she was the bronze medallist here. She’s a lovely skater, and I think she she has nice skating skills but her Short Program music isn't my favorite. I don't know why they couldn't give her better music but-
Maryam: But overall she does have really good jump technique. She springs herself up on the jumps really effortlessly, especially on toe pick jumps, she has nice flow in and out.
Yogeeta: I’m interested to see how her program develops as the season goes on. Mihoko, why did you choose this music though - Mihoko, why? But, she's a wonderful skater. She has a great technique, she has great skating skills and I'm very much looking forward to her first season in the Senior ranks, and see how she does.
Maryam: Moving on to Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) in her Short Program. I want to shout out her dress, it’s really really pretty - it’s like 50 shades of just gorgeousness, the shades are really pretty and it just flows really nicely when she skates.
Yogeeta: It was an unfortunate bad day for Kaori, she missed her combo and she fell on her opening jump, which is very much unlike her. We saw her last season and she was probably the most consistent of all the Japanese ladies last season, so I hope that everything is going well for her, she did so much better in the Free Skate.
Andrea: Yeah, she showed off her Free Skate in an ice show over the summer, and since we saw it then… I really liked it, and seeing it in a competition setting I think it's a great fit for her. I mean, she did a better job with the jumps, clearly, but because of the Short Program, she had some struggles, she wasn't able to podium. But it is early in the season so hopefully as we move on she's able to perform to her fullest potential.
Maryam: Yeah, like it’s good that she's using this Challenger Series as an outlet to test this program. It’s definitely nowhere near her full potential, but it’s a good learning experience. And, she hasn't even been on the Senior circuit for that long. The spiral sequence during the highlight part of the music is a really pretty moment - it gave me life. Okay, so for Men, for Lombardia we have the medalists Shoma Uno (JPN) for gold, Dmitri Aliev (RUS) and Andrei Lazukin (RUS).
Andrea: So for Shoma, his Short Program I think is one of my favorite Short Programs that he's done. It reminds me of his Loco Free Skate and I really like that style on Shoma. Also, it was nice to see in his step sequence he was smiling, and normally with Shoma we don't really see a lot of facial expressions. He’s a musical skater, but when it comes to emoting the music, sometimes he doesn’t use his face as much as other skaters, but it was nice to see him branching out and growing in that aspect.
Yogeeta: I thought that the first half of this program was pretty empty content-wise but overall I do see a lot of potential in this program so I'm very excited to see how it's going to develop over the season. I don't agree with his component scores at all at this competition, but we can get to that a little later.
Maryam: It was a little bit worse in his Free Skate. For this costume, it’s just a shade of his costume here. I do hope he changes it or at least changes the color, which he probably will because it’s Shoma - you don't know how many times he’ll change it.
Yogeeta: He’ll probably have a new costume every competition, and we'll just accept it. I am mad though, why did he give up Satomi Ito?
Kite: Kind of looking a little bit more at the technical side of this program, as always some issues with the jump technique on the quad flip, which initially I thought was a quad Salchow because the Lombardia stream literally froze right as he was going into the jump and I was very confused as to when he put a quad Salchow in his short program. I mean, some of the same issues he's had with his jumps with the full blade take off, and pre-rotation on the flip especially, and he did double the back end of his quad toe-double toe combo, I think it was meant to be a quad toe-triple toe. So he definitely did not max out his potential at Lombardia. I really love the step sequence, I really love the choreo of it. He is very good at doing the the sharp kind of tango snapping arm movements, and I think he was the class of the field in the Short Program. It’s a very unique cut of music and I think they're doing a good job with it. I think there’s areas where it could be expanded upon, and there's definitely places where for example the transitions are maybe a little bit lacking but it was it was fun. I think he is, this really plays to his strengths and I look forward to where this program goes in the next couple of months.
Maryam: So for his Free Skate, first of all, I do like the costume details quite a lot, but I just feel like “Moonlight Sonata” should be navy blue, not like much of a white color, but again, he’ll probably change it so it's okay.
Yogeeta: Yeah, “Moonlight Sonata”… Oh God.
Kite: It’s a choice.
Yogeeta: The program itself seems very empty to me. I was waiting for him to do something, but he mostly just did crossovers, and spread eagles, and jumps - that was the program.
Maryam: Yeah, he was just like very - do this element, okay, skate to the other side of the rink, do this jump, skate to the other side, do this spin - like that’s what it was. It didn’t have that much content. Shoma did say in the off-season that this program was pretty much empty except for jumps, it’s pretty much jumps at this point. But I do hope that before his first Grand Prix he does add a little bit more content in between the elements.
Yogeeta: He definitely didn’t have as good as a time here with his jumps as he did in the Short Program. He fell on one of his jumps, he repeated the quad toe, his flip was under-rotated. It was not the best program, which is good because I didn’t want Shoma to peak again at Lombardia like he did last season, so that was good for me. I'm excited to see that he's doing the quad Salchow here in his Free Skate instead of the quad loop, so we'll see how that jump treats him this season, because I'm not a fan of his quad loop at all.
Maryam: I mean, his quad Salchow scares me way less than his quad loop definitely.
Kite: We kind of knew on some level going in that this was going to be a pretty easy win for him at Lombardia, there weren’t any other men here who could really realistically challenge him if he was anywhere close to being clean, which he wasn’t really clean, but still. I really have a lot of questions for his team about what they were thinking when they gave him Moonlight Sonata because Shoma already is not the fastest skater out there. He does take some time to get across the rink; he's not slow but especially if you're going to give him a slow classical piece, the fact that he's not a very fast skater is going to become more evident, and to me right now the whole program does feels very lethargic and very empty. I think he can do a whole lot better. I think his team can give him a much better program than this like they're clearly capable of because the Short Program was pretty exciting. He’s had exciting Free Skates in the past, like Loco. I understand, maybe, that they were trying to make him into a more versatile skater but right now it doesn’t work for him at all.
Andrea: With this Free Skate, I really only enjoyed the last minute when the music starts to pick up, because I feel like that's where more things start to happen, and then I start to get excited about the program. But the rest of of the program, kind of like everyone said, it just feels generally empty and there's not a lot going on so it's hard to really connect, which is tough because I really like Shoma, and I like his skating. I just wish I could connect with his programs. So, when I watched this program, I did watch it a few times and towards the end I decided I was just going to count the crossovers just out of curiosity - and I got about 55 crossovers. If you compare that to some of the other top men, it's a lot and it kind of shows that there's just not a lot going on transitions wise, but that's not really reflected in his score because he still gets high transition score so I just wish…
Yogeeta: He got a 8.85 in transitions here, and I just don't understand what transitions these judges were seeing, because I didn't see any.
Kite: For those of you who are interested in doing the math on those crossovers, that's almost 15 crossovers per minute of skating, which it’s just like, Mihoko, why would you do this to us? Why would you do this to Shoma? He is perfectly capable of doing actual transitions. I just, I want that to be reflected in his program - especially now that he’s an Olympic silver medalist.
Yogeeta: My other issue is that he doesn’t need to, because the judges are giving him the scores anyway, so why not give him an easier program to skate, if the judges are still going to reward him as if he has all the transitions that he needs.
Kite: To be fair to Shoma though, he does really make an effort to improve his skating. He’s going to these jump clinics every summer to improve his tech because he’s aware he has a lot of issues with his jumps, so I dont think this is an issue with him so much as it's an issue with his team. I don't think they're like trying to game the system or anything but…
Yogeeta: I think it's just that they're seeing this is what works, so they’re fine to keep doing it since he is doing well with these programs, and I agree, I love Shoma. He has fantastic skating skills, I just wish that he had the opportunity to showcase that.
Kite: I put this mostly on the judges for rewarding things that aren't there.
Yogeeta: I agree.
Maryam: Because, if they were not to reward him, he could possibly unlock his full potential, because he does have a lot of raw talent when it comes to skating skills, and edges, and stuff. It just all goes back to the judges.
Andrea: So with Dmitri Aliev, he did a good job at this competition. His Short Program, I actually really like this. I saw it when he showed it at the Russian test skates and I liked it then, and I think since he showed it there it has improved. I think he has really lovely lines and extensions, and I really enjoy the step sequence. I think Dima has great musicality and this program helps showcase that. He struggled a bit with the jumps, the quad toe didn't work out too well for him but I did like his quad Salchow-triple toe combination.
Kite: I’m excited for the possibility of there finally being a battle of the Russian men, to parallel the very packed field in Russian ladies. In my opinion, [Mikhail] Kolyada is still the dominant Russian man, and I know this might be quite an unpopular opinion, I think that his skating is actually more mature and refined than Dmitri Aliev’s. Personally, I connect more with Kolyada, but I do think that Dmitri has great potential for growth, especially if he can get his jumps more consistent. This is only his second senior season so he has a lot of time to grow and to mature in that respect, and I hope that this program will be a vehicle for him do that.
Maryam: I know for sure Mikhail has better jumps, better skating skills, but I can't help but feel more connected to Dima’s skating. I think it’s just me connecting more to his programs than Mikhail's, but I'm excited to see how they both progress over the season.
Kite: Moving on to the Free Skate.
Yogeeta: Oh God… How the hell do you forget an Axel?
Kite: I know… So he did not do the required Axel in his Free Skate which means his final combination, which was a triple Lutz-double toe, was invalidated, because it had to be an Axel type jump and it wasn’t. There’s actually in the video, you can see his coach yelling at him from the boards, presumably because he hadn’t done an Axel by the time he was at his last jumping pass. I’m just very amused - he is all of us.
Yogeeta: Dmitri clearly still thinks that we have eight jumping passes in the Free Skate now, and so he was planning on his 8th pass to be a triple Axel in honour of Yuzuru Hanyu, but he did land his opening quads. He landed his quad Salchow, his quad toe-triple toe, and his quad toe - and they were gorgeous. Which makes the situation even funnier to me because he landed all 3 quads, and had no Axel.
Kite: Look, we’ve all been there.
Andrea: So, some of the choreography in this program was interesting. He’s running in places, like why are you running? Who are you running from?
Maryam: It does remind me of Evgenia, when she did her Short Program from 2017, when she would do the skipping rope kind of thing. I don’t know how much meaning it adds to the whole thing, but it’s whatever.
Andrea: It was very dramatic.
Yogeeta: I didn’t really like this program, but I do enjoy his skating, so I hope it improves.
Kite: I hope he remembers his Axels next time.
Maryam: We all want to cancel Axels, but Dima that’s not such a good idea.
Kite: Not everyone wants to cancel Axels.
Andrea: Please petition.
Yogeeta: I feel like Yuzuru would kill us if we petitioned for them to cancel Axels.
Maryam: Next, moving on to Kazuki Tomono (JPN).
Andrea: I loved this Short Program. As soon as he did it, I was like “Wow, this is going to be one of my favourite Short Programs.” I was really impressed with how much he grew, his artistry has improved so much, and I think, because Misha Ge did choreograph this program and then he worked with him a lot during the summer, I think that really payed off. You can see a lot of growth in his movement and musicality, which is really exciting. I just really liked this program and I’m excited to see him, because he struggled a little with the jumps, so I’m excited to see him perform it clean.
Yogeeta: I agree. His artistry has most definitely improved, so thank you Misha Ge. You can also see his skating skills have improved a lot as well, like he flows on the ice so much easier and faster. I’m really excited to see how he grows, and his rise. I just wish he’d get the performance components scores he deserves. I just wish. Moving on to his Free Skate, he’s doing “Riverdance,” which is one of my favourite warhorses of all time, so yes! Please! I don't think I’ve seen a “Riverdance” that's gone wrong, so, and he's continuing to give me “Riverdances” that I love. This step sequence was wow, wow, wow. I love it.
Kite: He popped off.
Maryam: He went hard.
Yogeeta: Unfortunately, he still had some issues with his jumps, but those are things that can be improved as the season goes on. I can't wait to see this program if he skates clean - it's going to be unreal.
Kite: It was quite a bold decision of him to choose “Riverdance”, especially because in the first half the music cut is very similar to Jason Brown’s “Riverdance,” which is one of the most iconic programs, I think, in recent memory, and so I was a little bit concerned because obviously people are going to be making these comparison to the “Riverdance” that went viral in 2014. But after watching it, I don’t think I’m worried at all about it. I think it stands up very well on its own. It's a very complex program and it's early in the season but he does deliver it very well already, and even though he did have some issues with his jumps, it has huge potential for him. I think it kind of does signal his transition from being overlooked on the Senior stage last season, to really coming into his own and placing 5th at his first World Championships and everything. I hope this the first step towards him becoming one of the leading men in Seniors.
Andrea: I think he has really great energy, just throughout the program and I like how he's showing different sides of his skating because the Short Program is more of a slower softer piece, and then in this one he’s very energetic and just really draws the audience in with the movements, and the music, obviously. Also, I was really impressed with how when he was going into his triple Lutz, he actually tripped going into the steps and then literally two seconds later he still does the triple Lutz, and he lands it perfectly, and I don't know how he did that but just props to him.
Maryam: Legends only, honestly. So for US Classics, another Challenger Series that happened. We will start with ladies. We have medalists… Gold medalist Satoko Miyahara (JPN) - I love saying this - Eunsoo Lim (KOR) for silver medalist, and Yelim Kim (KOR) for bronze medalist.
Yogeeta: Let’s begin with the saviour of figure skating, Satoko Miyahara. Her Short Program is just life. It was just everything. She was show-stopping, Amazing. She’s a goddess of figure skating. What did we do to deserve her this weekend? I don’t know, but I love her.
Maryam: She really is. Everyone say thank you, Satton. She was show-shopping this weekend. I’ve heard varying views on her dress. Some people liked it, some people didn't like the front cut, but I generally like the concept of the dress and I like how it flows when she moves, especially the skirt part.
Yogeeta: The tech panel went in on her in the Short Program. Three of her jumps were called under-rotated, and she had an unclear edge call on her triple Lutz, which is something I’ve never seen happened to Satoko before. I tried to rewatch it, but the stream didn't really give me a good angle. It did look a little flat to me on the angle I was watching it, but I'm honestly not sure, but that was very unlike her. So, hopefully, they're not doing anything to her Lutz, and this was just an off issue. Here’s hoping. But her double Axel has improved height-wise which amazes me, Satoko has always been a small jumper. She rotates very quickly, but she doesn't get much height, but her double Axel has definitely improved height-wise. Rumor has it she is training a triple Axel so we'll see what happens there.
Kite: I don’t think that’s a rumour. I think she herself confirmed it at the World Championships.
Yogeeta: Yes, that’s true. Let me scratch that… She is training a triple Axel. I don’t know when she’ll be able to debut it, but I am happy it’s helping her double Axel improve.
Kite: For the record, her program is on Youtube now, so I was able to watch it on 25% speed to look at that edge on the triple Lutz and it does seem to be flat. Again, the angle isn’t great, but she does kind of seem to wobble back a little bit on to the flat edge right before she takes off. She does tend to pre-rotate a little bit, just pausing and going frame by frame, it is a little bit noticeable and she doesn't get great height so I can see why she pre-rotates but she does rotate super super fast and she has good air position and as always beautiful performance, beautiful skating skills. She's not the most powerful skater in the field but she does have just beautiful expression, and lines, and she's exceptionally performative and she held her spiral on the program which made me just unreasonably happy. Instead of having that weird microsecond thing that some of the other skaters have, she does hold her spiral. I just want to know why the ISU took out the spiral sequence, I will never understand.
Yogeeta: Because there was so many bad ones.
Andrea: I mean...
Maryam: True, but I’m missing spirals that you can see even if you blink. So even though she held it, she held it even longer in the Free Program. And, with Satoko, even though she’s really tiny, she fills the arena quite easily with her presence on the ice, she does have quite powerful skating skills. Her jumps, they might not be powerful, but overall she is a powerful skater. She’s powerful but also delicate, she has really nice skating, which you can see in her hand movements, and in her spins. One thing that bothers me, when they were making the new GOE handbook, they used her layback as an example of what +5 GOE looks like, but when you look at the protocol in the Short Program, no judges gave her +5 on the protocol - so I’m like how does that make sense? Do you guys need the handbook right on your sides? I just don't know.
Andrea: I had a concern with her Short Program layout. She’s doing a triple flip and at this competition, it was a little scary. It was marked under-rotated and she saved the landing, and I didn’t think she would have. But her triple loop is a much stronger jump for her and usually she does not have an under-rotation problem with that one and she does get positive GOE. I know they lowered the base value for the loop, and so the triple flip is higher now, but I think she would be better off doing a well-done triple loop with positive GOE, than having that triple flip and running the risk of under-rotating or maybe not even landing it. I don't understand why the team chose to do that, but we'll see how it works out for her.
Kite: Let's move on to her Free Skate and - just - oh my god. I just, I love this Free Skate so much already. This is our first time seeing it in a competition. She did have some issues with her jumps. She doubled her opening triple Salchow, and then she went into the triple Lutz and fell on it unfortunately. Again, she fell really weirdly. She fell on her front instead of on her back. So that was pretty unlike her but she recovered very very nicely in the remainder of the program, landed the rest of her jumps, and she tacked on a triple toe onto her final double Axel to make up the combination that she missed when she fell at the beginning of the program. She’s skating to kind of a medley of tango music. Already, even though it’s so early into the season, her interpretation is just amazing. She doesn't leave a note untouched. I think it's perfect for her and I'm very excited about the fact that this is probably not the final program we’re going to see. I think there’s still potential for growth, and so I'm very excited to see where it goes this season, I think it’s going to be perfect for her.
Maryam: Yeah, I think the program can only get better from here as the season progresses.
Andrea: One thing to know is with the double Axel-triple toe combo at the end, in the U.S. Classic, with the site with the scores you can actually see the planned elements, and Satoko had a triple loop planned as her last jump and she just changed that to her emergency combo. So I think that really shows how well-trained she is that she can just do that on the fly because she's aware of the points she has and if she's losing points, so she knew. She fell on the triple Lutz, she didn’t get her combo, so right on the spot she changed it to make sure she did get all those 3 combos to maximize her points which is really impressive.
Yogeeta: Something that surprised me, especially given how her Short Program went, she had no under-rotation calls in the Free Skate which was great, but on the flip side, she was robbed in performance Component Scores so, it all evens itself out I guess.
Maryam: It all balances out. She only got two nines in PCS, so it kind of makes up for her not not being called on her jumps kind of makes up for this discrepancy because she does deserve a lot more nines, especially for her skating skills.
Yogeeta: When will Japanese ladies get the scores they deserve?
Maryam: Honestly, my only wish.
Yogeeta: In my dreams, only in my dreams.
Yogeeta: Let's move on to our silver medalist, Eunsoo Lim. Overall, I liked her in the Short Program. It was a good performance but I didn't really get into the program. She recently switched coaches to Rafael Arutyunyan so I think this transition has given her some interesting programs but not really what I remember liking about her when she was a junior. Hopefully these programs will evolve and get better over the season, but right now I'm not fully sold on either her Short Program or her Free Skate.
Maryam: Yeah, I did definitely prefer her programs last season. She was a lot more engaged to them, you could tell she liked them a lot more than the ones she's skating to this season. I do hope she grows in terms of interpretation for both the Short Program and Free Skate.
Andrea: On her Free Skate, Mariah Bell also skated to Chicago last season and she also had the Roxie part of the music at the beginning of the program. When I was watching Eunsoo’s Free Skate yesterday, it reminded me a lot of Mariah's program, and I know Shae-Lynn Bourne choreographed both of their programs. I wish the choreography could have been a little bit more different, but as Kite and I talked about, we said that the choreography for Chicago programs tends to kind of the same so I don't blame Shae-Lynn for not knowing what to come up with, but I wish it could have been different choreo, different music.
Kite: No shade at all. I love Chicago, I love music, but yeah, the programs, the choreos are kind of all the same. They use really similar music cuts for a lot of them. It’s always in a flapper dress style costume. I think she does seem to enjoy the music, I think she likes the program which is really important, but I did notice that the step sequence in the second half when they’re doing - so at the end of the Chicago musical, basically the two main characters come out and they do this duet, singing and dancing and there’s a lot of jazz music and its very fast paced and it’s very exciting and that what they use for the step sequence music, but the choreography itself was pretty noticeably empty despite the music being so fast paced. So that was really stark and it definitely made the program seem like more of a work in progress and also you could see that she was definitely pretty winded near the end. She wasn't performing and emoting as openly as she did in the beginning and I think, especially with a hard fall on the triple toe that she took at the beginning of the program. It seemed to knock the wind out of her so that was pretty unfortunate, but I think her enjoying the program is a big step towards this program being performed to its maximum potential.
Maryam: She has until Worlds to get this program to its maximum potential expression-wise, like doing more facial expressions and interpreting the music a little bit better. It definitely did get better than from when we saw it at Asian Open Trophy, even at Asian Open Trophy it wasn’t her best day ever. She's a lovely skater and has a lot of time to work on this program. So, we’ll move onto Yelim Kim. In the Short Program she's one of those skaters that’s both doing Junior Grand Prix and competing in Seniors in the same year. I feel like she kind of likes the comfort of the Junior Grand Prix and the familiarity, but also she likes to dip her toes in the deep and and gain experience in the Senior ranks before fully just diving in. I think this will help her and the other people doing both Junior Grand Prix and Senior ranks at the same time, I think it’ll help them build their confidence even more.
Yogeeta: Yeah, I agree. She was actually, just last week, at the Junior Grand Prix Amber Cup and she also medaled there so she’s been gaining a lot of experience both in the Junior and Senior ranks so it’s going to treat her well in the long run.
Andrea: I think her jumps are nice. I like her Rippons, her arms are straight which we talked about before, it's always nice to see. She did take a hard fall on her double Axel in the Short Program, but before that fall she did a back counter into that jump which is obviously a very difficult entry so it's nice to see ladies putting in these kinds of transitions. And then in her Free Skate I think it would be nice to see her emote a little bit more, she's obviously still a very young skater and has room to grow. But I think she has a lot of potential and we'll see how she matures as she continues in this Junior season.
Yogeeta: Great, well, let’s move on to the men. We have Nam Nguyen (CAN), our gold medalist, Michal Brezina (CZE) for silver, and Jimmy Ma (USA) for bronze. So, Nam Nguyen, his Short Program, he’s doing That's Life and this is the third time I’ve seen him compete this season with this program and he’s improved the program every time performance-wise. So far this is the best performance he’s given of this program and so I'm very excited to see how he keeps growing it as the season progresses.
Maryam: Yeah, it's a really really fun program. You can tell he really does like skating to it. He's enjoying all the movements and he’s buying into the choreography really really well and selling his character effortlessly which I really do appreciate.
Yogeeta: He did fairly well technically, he did land his quad Salchow and his triple Axel, but he unfortunately got an underrotation call on his combo.
Maryam: Yeah, I like that he did the triple Axel and he landed right on the music, it's always nice when a skater uses the music to land their jumps.
Andrea: Every time I hear this song, I’m always going to think of the Shibutani’s Short Dance to this.
Yogeeta: It’s the superior program.
Kite: It is.
Andrea: It really is but you see him skate and you can tell he’s having a lot of fun. He does a good job on selling the program and all in all you really just want to see a skater enjoying themselves out there so it's nice to see.
Maryam: Yeah, he did say in an interview that his Free Skate and his Short Program this season are his favorite programs that he's ever done so I'm happy that he at least really likes them.
Kite: His jumps are still a little bit wild, they were pretty tilted when he goes up, probably as a result of his massive growth spurt. Very, very brief tangent, Nam was actually one of Canada's most promising Senior men and he was fifth at the 2015 World Championships and then had a massive growth spurt. Basically had to relearn how to jump again but it looks good that he’s able to hang onto his landings now despite how uncontrolled his jumps are in the air. I think, hopefully that’s promising for him, starting to get his jumps more consistent, and especially his quads more consistent.
Maryam: His quad Salchow - I saw him at Sectionals, I was there at the competition, I was there at rinkside and he did the quad Salchow right in front of me. He had really really good height, and he’s getting a lot of positive GOEs on it, he’s getting it a little bit more consistent this season which is really really nice to see.
Yogeeta: For his Free Skate he skated to La La Land - my enemy.
Kite: As one does-
Yogeeta: There’s so many La La Land programs this season - why? But yeah, it does look like his quad Salchow is getting a lot more consistent so I’m very much happy to see that. Nam unfortunately popped a lot of elements, there was a lot of misses in this program technically but it didn’t really seem to bog him down. He kept on performing which I really appreciate and I know that's really hard for someone to keep falling and then still continue performing, so I'm very proud of him for being able to do that. He does have a lot of pressure on his shoulders now that Patrick Chan is gone to become a top Canadian man so I hope it doesn't really overwhelm him and he's able to work on his nerves. But the program itself has a lot of great potential and so I'm very excited to see it grow and you can definitely see that he enjoys skating to it.
Maryam: He does. The thing about him being the top Canadian national man… After Patrick retired the field is kind of like meh right now which is really sad especially since seeing we have strong ladies, we have strong ice dancers. I do hope that the Senior men and the uprising Junior men can raise their skating skills so that in the future we would have a little bit more potential.
Yogeeta: Okay, next let’s move on to Jimmy Ma, who took us to the club!
Kite: Yes! He absolutely did.
Maryam: You can always count on Jimmy to take you to the club even if the club is your bed at 10am watching skating.
Yogeeta: Jimmy actually has a really nice triple Axel especially compared to the other US men. I was pleasantly surprised but I love Jimmy. I love the creativity of this program. This is what we deserve post-Olympics! I don't deserve seven million Romeo and Juliets - I deserve this program. It’s not the most technically advanced and he’s not the most artistic skater - but he knows how to perform, which is a skill that actually a lot of skaters lack.
Andrea: He’s always super fun to watch and he really delivers. It's refreshing to see someone not care and just skate because they love skating and skate to music that they want to, so it's nice to see.
Maryam: Yeah, he’s not afraid at all to just go super hard and skate his heart out and entertain the audience while he’s doing so, so I really do appreciate that about him.
Yogeeta: Yes, and so let me just say that Jimmy Ma is our US Classic 2018 bronze medalist. Praise be. Praise be. His Free Skate didn’t go that well that well but nobody's Free Skates at US Classic went well so who cares. But yeah, there was a very unfortunate beginning. He started the setup for a quad toe and then tripped so he didn’t get any jump in. That was very unfortunate. So for me Jimmy is a great performer. He puts on a great character when he performs and so for this program to be more on the classical side, I don't think that really embraces what Jimmy is as skater. I understand why he does this - he has the really fun Short Program and the more classically and more figure skating-esque Long Program because he wants to showcase that he does have the skating skills and can perform abstractly. But at the same time I think he could do that - he can still perform a character and still have a really great Free Program, so I wish he would do that more.
Kite: Yeah. I could just interject really briefly since we’re talking about how a lot of the skaters really struggled this weekend, especially for the non-American listeners out there: this competition did take place in Salt Lake City which is at altitude and so there's actually less oxygen in the atmosphere which is not great if you're doing something as intense as jumping quads. And so, a lot of the skaters who don't necessarily train at altitude might have run into issues with stamina - there being literally not as much air for them to breathe. So that’s something to keep in mind, that it’s not necessarily major issues with every skater, it might have just been the location that was making a difference in whether they landed their jumps or not.
Yogeeta: This is true. We should also, once again, praise be Satoko Miyahara who made all of her mistakes in the first part of the program and then continued to improve as the program went on despite not training at altitude.
Maryam: Legend, honestly.
Yogeeta: So yeah, let’s move onto Vincent Zhou (USA), who unfortunately completely fell apart. In his Short Program, the opening combo was underrotated and he fell out of the triple toe and then he invalidated his other two jumps in the program. This was not a good time for Vincent.
Maryam: Yeah he didn’t end up medalling at this event, even though a lot of people predicted he might get first. But yeah, not sure what happened there; maybe a mental struggle with the jumps but then again it could also tie back to the altitude thing, to not being used to training at that high of an altitude.
Kite: But Vincent does train at altitude - he trains in Colorado Springs.
Yogeeta: Let’s see and then the Free Skate also didn't go well, he had four under rotation calls. He kind of fell apart a little. He did have a back injury at Worlds last season and we haven't really heard anything about it since, but I think that that might still be an issue for him. I do think I'm a fan of the potential of this program so I hope that whatever is going on with Vincent, he gets through it because I would like to see this program skated clean.
Kite: Yeah, props to him really for using authentic Chinese music, I think it’s quite a nice touch. I also would like to request please that we have Chinese music other than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There is a wide repertoire of Chinese music out there that skaters can perform to that isn't this piece which has been used quite extensively already in the figure skating lexicon. He did look really really out of shape and exhausted after he finished the Free Skate which I think is due to injury. I actually saw Vincent perform in an ice show just yesterday and he did say at the show that he's been dealing with injuries all summer. So it's pretty likely that he isn't fully recovered. As for the underrotation issue, he has been known to underrotate a lot of his quads in the past. At the show he only did triples but they looked pretty intact - I was actually very pleasantly surprised by his jumping technique, because when someone is known for underrotating you tend to question their technique fundamentally. But I couldn't really see any major issues, he's very tight in the air, he rotates very fast. As part of an encore he did a triple Lutz Rippon out of a cantilever, gets his arms right up. I was quite impressed honestly, and I was surprised to see how small he was on the ice, so quite impressed that he was able to get the power to do these jumps that he has. But I did notice, he did seem to be a little bit hesitant to bend into his jumps when he was setting up, especially for the toe jumps. It did look like he was in pain, so he does still seem to be struggling with an injury a little bit so hopefully that gets worked out soon.
Andrea: I think, also though, he did struggle with the jumps but at least in the beginning of the program you could tell that he is working on his expression and he is working on interpreting the music more which is a growth from what we saw last season and hopefully he continues in that direction.
Yogeeta: So let’s move on to the final event we’ll be talking about today which is Ice Dance. So for the medalists we have Hubbell and Donohue (USA) for gold, Carreira and Ponomarenko (USA) for silver, and Komatsubara and Koleto (JPN) for bronze. On Hubbell and Donohue, in their Rhythm Dance, technically they're great. They're one of the most technically proficient Ice Dancers in this field, but I didn't feel any chemistry between them. Like, this is a Tango, where's my face? Where's my expression? I need these things but I didn’t really feel any of that from them.
Maryam: Technically they were there but expression-wise, interpretation-wise, not so much.
Yogeeta: And then their Free Dance. Oh gosh.
Andrea: They skated to Romeo and Juliet and I just want to know why they felt the need to include those voiceovers. Could’ve done without them. I don't get why people love voiceovers so much.
Kite: Again, especially the Leo voiceover, I think Sam said this in the last episode but Leo is always going to be Jack. He’s not Romeo. So don’t do that. Like, just no with the voiceovers - it just doesn’t work. I’m sorry it’s just why.
Yogeeta: So I honestly didn't feel this program was dramatic enough for Romeo and Juliet and honestly… aren't they a little too old to be skating a Romeo and Juliet program?
Maryam: Yeah. It’s good for a Juniors program, it’s overused by Juniors a lot, but.
Yogeeta: And also the costumes were so boring.
Maryam: Pretty much plain grey and plain black, not much sparkles, not much variety, don’t flow really that well on the ice. Maybe they could change them throughout the rest of the season, we’ll see.
Yogeeta: So let me just go into a minor Ice Dance rant: let’s talk about lifts. I’ve been watching Junior Ice Dancers with boring and interesting lift positions and entries all weekend and then I come to see Hubbel and Donohue give me the most boring lifts I've seen all weekend. Like they’ve been in the Senior ranks for so long, I would expect them to take this opportunity - especially post-Olympic season - to try something new choreography-wise, lift-wise. But instead it seems like they're just sticking with the same things that they've always done. Where is my post-Olympic season experimentation and creativity. For me, the ideal lift, I always go back to the most creative lift I’ve seen, I always go back to Davis and White’s Scheherazade. Their curve lift is magical. And I just don't see anybody doing lifts at that level or even attempting to do lifts at that level anymore and honestly I'm very disappointed. If that's the way Ice Dance is shifting to do more of these abstract pieces on very much the Montréal style of Ice Dance which I'm honestly not the biggest fan of.
Maryam. Mm-hmm. And those get very repetitive, from team to team, to keep seeing that. And the skaters that do pull off very creative lifts and do really creative things, you don’t see them as often.
Yogeeta: Well I would like to give a shout out to Komatsubara and Koleto. After Reed and Muramoto broke up they are currently the top Japanese Ice Dance team and they do have a lot to improve on but this is their second Challenger Series of the season and they got their second bronze medal so I'm very proud to see Asian Ice Dance rising and I look forward to seeing how they progress in the future. They do still need to work on a lot of their skills. Their twizzles are very slow, they don’t move as quickly on the ice as I would like but they're definitely developing and I'm very excited to see where they go.
Maryam: Yeah, I watched this program all the way from when we first saw it at Asian Open Trophy. Back in those competitions they were a little bit sluggish. This showing they had really good confidence carrying the whole program and just expressing it and giving it face, which I really did like.
Yogeeta: Great. Well, that is all the competitions that happened this weekend. Did we survive? I still don't know.
Kite: Yep, so we have four days to rest, to recuperate, and then we have the Autumn Classic International Challenger Series starting Thursday, so that’ll be... something, I’m sure.
START: Shoutout Of The Week
Kite: So our shoutout of the week goes to an Evening With Champions, which is an ice show that I was actually at on Saturday night, and it’s organized by Harvard University. It brings in Olympic and World medalists to perform in the show and the purpose is to raise money for a charity called the Jimmy Fund, which supports the families of mostly children and adults with cancer. And it funds research initiatives at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, so I mean it's a great cause. The pediatric cancer patients have the chance to skate with the cast before the show starts. It's been running for almost half a century now actually, and they’ve raised close to three million dollars. So again it's just it's doing an incredible thing and it's bringing people together to enjoy skating and to contribute to a very important and worthy cause. Some big names there - Elladj Balde was definitely one of the draws. I got the sense that he wasn’t really well known because he is a Canadian skater and I was just kind of rubbing my hands together a little bit deviously just waiting for him to pull out the backflip on all of the unsuspecting crowd members and he did. And it was so funny - people lost their minds because they totally didn't see it coming. Vincent Zhou was there, and Ross Miner was there. And Ross Miner and Alexander Johnson, who is another national competitor, actually attempted some same-sex pairs skating with some throws. So that was really interesting. Yeah. It was just a lot of fun and again for a very good cause so if you're ever in the Boston area in September of any year I definitely recommend going. It was great.
Yogeeta: I'm happy I found it and I sent it your way.
Kite: Yeah, I didn’t even know it was happening until Yogeeta sent me the link. Thank you for my life, it was great.
Maryam: Thank you for listening, we hope to see you again our next episode which will cover the Ondrej Nepala Trophy and Autumn Classic International competitions happening over the next weekend starting this Thursday.
Yogeeta: If you want to get in touch with us please feel free to contact us via website inthelopodcast.com. Or on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. You can find our episodes on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.
Andrea: 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. You can find the links to all our social media pages and our Ko-fi on the website.
Kite: 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 Kite, Andrea, Maryam, and Yogeeta. See you soon!