Evie: You're In The Loop - we're here to discuss the ups, downs and sideways of the sport of figure skating, and maybe give you +5 GOE along the way. Let’s introduce this week's hosts.
Karly: Hi, I’m Karly and watching my literal children skate has given me life the past week. I’m on twitter @cyberswansp!
Evie: Hi, I’m Evie and I’m so glad the next two events are both near my timezone, because staying up late and waking up early to watch Junior Worlds this week nearly killed me. I’m on Twitter @doubleflutz.
Sam: And I’m Sam! Unfortunately, I’m not so lucky as to have Worlds in my timezone, so I’ll be hibernating after this to prepare for a week of no sleep! You can find me @quadlutze with an e for edge call on Twitter.
Evie: So let's go over some of the figure skating news of the last couple of weeks, just to get everyone up to speed on what's happened in the world of the sport we all love so much.
Karly: You may have noticed this at the Junior World Championships but Alena Kostornaia withdrew due to injury. She had inflammation in her foot, and she was very dearly missed.
Evie: Yeah, it was so sad to see her withdraw, especially after such she had such a great season and won the Junior Grand Prix Final.
Karly: I know! It literally made me so sad, I was like "That's why I'm watching [Junior Worlds], is for Alena."
Evie: It was so sad.
Sam: It sucked, but please rest, sweet child, and come and kill Seniors next year.
Karly: Oh my god, yes!
Evie: In some slightly surprising news, Liubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau have teamed up as a brand new Pairs team for Canada. If you guys don't know, both of these skaters were with previous partners and skated for Canada just this past season but both of them broke up and now they've teamed up together to form this brand new Pairs team.
Sam: Even more surprising because Liubov was supposedly retired and joined Cirque du Soleil!
Evie: Yeah, I heard something along those lines. It's very interesting to see and I'm very interested to see how they're going to go next season in the Canadian Pairs field, which is kind of dead at the moment.
Karly: Just a little bit.
Evie: Just a tiny bit.
Sam: It will be nice to have some more competition.
Sam: In some competition results, [Winter] Universiade also happened this past week. Matteo Rizzo of Italy won Men's, Mai Mihara of Japan won Ladies, Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin of Russian won Pairs, and Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov [of Russia] won Dance. There was also a Synchro competition and Team Unique of Finland won!
Karly: Yo, Synchro was lit.
Evie: Synchro was literally amazing. Kar and I ended up watching it just because it was on and even though there were only like  teams competing we got so crazy lit for it. It makes me want to learn the rules.
Karly: I'm a Tartastan-stan now.
Evie: I really loved Team Unique too, their Short Program was so much fun.
Karly: Oh my god, it was so much fun.
Evie: It's really wanting me want to watch Synchro Worlds next month but I feel like I'm gonna be just a complete noob at it cause I know none of the rules. I'm still at the point where I'm looking at everything going "That's so cool! I don't understand it but that's so cool!" And, of course, we also have to mention how well Matteo did in the Men's competition. His Free Skate at Universiade was amazing!
Karly: I love Matteo!
Evie: He had such a good performance here and then he also had a great one at Euros last month. I'm so excited to see that his consistency has gone up with his quad and he's having the time of his life every time he skates that new Free. I'm so happy for him.
Sam: No joke, he should have gotten the Free Skate world record. (Hosts laugh) I'm not even kidding, while we were watching it I said "Why isn't he going to get the world record?" Because it was the best-skated program period in international competition [this season] period. [Note: Scores set at the Winter Universiade do not count towards ISU Personal Bests or World Records]
Evie: I completely agree with you, give Matteo 200!
Karly: Honestly, same!
Sam: It was so much fun!
Evie: It was amazing. And then, of course, we have to mention how amazing Mai was in the Ladies competition. It's just so good to see her win something this season! I'm so happy for her.
Karly: It's what she deserves.
Sam: Going out in style.
Evie: And I just have to also say, how great was it how many live streams were available for the competition? There was like 3 of them and they were all free and available worldwide.
Karly: Oh yeah!
Sam: And saving our lives.
Evie: Yeah! Like one on YouTube and one through the Olympic Channel. I mean, ISU get on that. (Hosts laugh)
Karly: We been knew they don't know how to be accessible.
Evie: Yeah. And PJ Kwong was doing the commentary as well, and I really love her commentary. She's so sweet but also really informative. I found it really helpful, especially during Synchro, when she was explaining the different elements because I would have had no idea what was going on.
Karly: And in some other news, as you may know, our interview with Tracy Wilson is out now, coach at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club. And we have more interviews yet to come in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes out!
Evie: Yes, it's very exciting! We've got a couple more to give you, so keep an eye out on our Twitter page for the announcements for when they're going to be released. We're very excited to have the opportunity to interview people and give you guys these interviews. So we hope you enjoy those when they're out!
-end segment- 5:35
START: JWC Pairs
Evie: So, let's go into talking about the event for this week which is, of course, the Junior World Championships which happened last week in Zagreb, Croatia. It's the highlight of the season for the Juniors, and we haven't actually seen a lot of the Juniors since the Junior Grand Prix Final and the JGP late last year. So, honestly, I was just happy to see all of my children again. I missed Juniors in general and it's so good to see all of them back.
Karly: You said it was the highlight for the Juniors? It's the highlight for me! (Hosts laugh)
Evie: I think this competition was kind of up and down? There were definitely some really amazing moments, but at the same time, there were some completely heartbreaking and really upsetting performances. It doesn't trump last season's Junior Worlds in terms of upsetting, considering I still think Alexei Krasnozhon's injury is still very much in mind. It's burned into my retinas. Honestly, it could have gone a lot worse! But everyone lived, so I will take that!
Sam: We can be happy!
Karly: Yeah, exactly.
Evie: We can definitely be happy. And that's all we can really ask for at the end of the day, that everyone lives. So, shall we get into talking about the Pairs first of all?
Sam: The Pairs podium was Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov, Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov, and Polina Kostukovich and Dmitri Ialin - all of Russia, as expected.
Evie: (in a sing-song voice) All of Russia.
Karly: Yeah, I was like "This is not surprising."
Evie: Yeah, I don't think anyone was particularly shocked about the fact that the podium was basically the same as Junior Grand Prix Final except second and third were switched.
Karly: Can I just shout out to the Chinese Pair in 4th [Feiyao Tang/Yongchao Yang]?
Evie: Oh yeah, definitely, they were so much fun to watch!
Karly: I just love Chinese Pairs.
Evie: I think overall it was a pretty good Pairs competition here. I mean, obviously, the Junior Pairs field isn't as deep as the other Junior fields. But I'm sure that absolutely no one was surprised or shocked to see the Russian teams have a complete sweep of the podium. It happened last year, it's a pretty common occurrence in Junior Pairs.
Sam: So an interesting thing that happened was that Mishina and Galliamov had a fall on their triple Sal-Euler-triple Sal - I almost said half loop, I didn't. (Hosts laugh) But they didn't get straight -5's for it, they actually counted a -3 and multiple -4's, which made their GOE a -1.08. If they had have, which I think, correctly gotten the -2.15 for straight -5's, the margin between first and second would have been 0.17 instead of 0.57. So I was thinking, looking at their PCS, if that was scored, what I think, correctly - should have Panfilova and Rylov won?
Evie: It's funny because when you look at this Pairs podium it's like every team has one advantage and one disadvantage. Like Mishina/Galliamov, they've got higher consistency with a higher technical content than a lot of the other Pairs, which obviously does them well. But at the same time, they're not as strong in the PCS department, their Skating Skills... Their lifts are very acrobatic and they look good, but they don't have really fantastic ice coverage in comparison to some of the other Pairs. And then with Panfilova and Rylov, obviously, they don't have triples, which sets them back quite a bit. But their PCS makes up for it, and their GOE as well, because they do everything with such grace and effortlessness. And then with Kostiukovich and Ialin, they're amazing, they've got amazing performance skills and their lifts are freaking insane. But they're just quite inconsistent and they have trouble with their side-by-side jumps and landing the throws, which is sad because I love them and I love all their elements, they look amazing. I just wish they would stick their landings on those beautiful throws!
Karly: Oh my god, with Kostiukovich and Ialin, I finally saw the light of their programs this time around.
Sam: That lift in the Short Program is literally insane. He pops her up, she does a half twist around so she's laying on her stomach, does her positions, lands on his shoulders and then does what I would call an "Around the world." Which is basically just the thing you do when you're a kid when you're trying to flip somebody around in a circle over your body, and it's insane and so impressive and I love it.
Evie: It is! I just really hope that they fix their issues with the landings and just making sure that they land everything and they get their levels on stuff because they could honestly be really strong gold medal contenders if they fixed these problems. They almost won gold at the Junior Grand Prix Final, if their spin didn't get a V, they would have won. And then here they obviously had some issues landing stuff and if they were more consistent they should be winning everything, basically.
Sam: Obviously, I led with the question of should have Panfilova and Rylov won and, in my opinion, they probably should have. Just because their Free Skate is a Senior Level program. (Karly: I agree) Top to bottom, there's never a moment where you're like "This is a part where they're taking a break" or "Here are the crossovers across the rink so they can do the big jump." It just flows effortlessly, and it doesn't have a particular moment outside of the throws, because their loop and their flip throw are perfection. But outside of that, it doesn't have that choreographic moment where you're like "Oh my god, this the most amazing thing I've ever seen." But it just kind of bowls you over continuously with how lovely it is. They did win PCS [in the Free], but because I haven't seen both teams in person, even though that I do get the impression that Panfilova and Rylov just on-screen they do seem a bit faster. Again, watching things on stream, especially on a stream where feet are continually getting cut off.
Evie: Oh my god. (Hosts laugh) This camerawork was the worst.
Sam: It was something! It isn't the best way to judge ice coverage and speed, but I do get the impression that they are faster than Mishina and Galliamov. I would give them every other PCS category, though. They obviously have more Transitions, just based off the impression you're getting from the program where you're like "Oh hey, this isn't empty!" They're better interpreters, they're better at performing, the program is built for them and not put on them. So if they did have that 0.57, then I don't think there's any question that they should have won. Not to mention they were the only team that had two clean programs. Whenever you can have a winner that was the cleanest, that's probably the best option.
Evie: Yeah, I think they're basically the complete package, apart from their technical content. If they could a couple of triples, if they could get triple Sals and triple toes in the span of the off-season, they will be absolutely winning everything. There's absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be winning every competition they enter if they get consistent side-by-side jumps. They're just such a complete pair. They're just so amazing, I can't get over how amazing this Pairs team is, guys!
Karly: Exactly, they're just so well put together.
Evie: It's also interesting to look at Mishina/Galliamov because this is the first time have a serious error in the Free Skate [this season.] We haven't seen them fall before on the side-by-side jumps in the Free Skate, in this season at least. They did have a tendency to get an underrotation on the second jump in the combo. But the trend for the last couple of competitions, at the Junior Grand Prix Final, they were third in the Short Program and then they came back in the Free and skated a clean program, basically. They skated really well. Because if they're close to clean, they're obviously going to win because their technical content is higher than a lot of the other Pairs.
Sam: They have a triple-triple, so...
Evie: Yeah, exactly! They've got triple-triples. And it was interesting to see that they had a problem here in the Free Skate, but they still managed to hold onto gold. It was a very close margin, as we've said. But I agree with you Sam that Panfilova and Rylov, while they only did doubles, they still skated a clean and more complete program. And, personally, if I was on the panel, I would have put them above Mishina/Galliamov.
Sam: Yeah, and it's nothing against Anastasia and Alexander. They didn't have programs that particularly engage me, but they're also a brand new team, so taking that into context when you're like "Oh hey, they've only been together for like a year and they're taking Juniors by storm." That's incredible in of itself, even if they're not the team that I'm like "I'm completely in love with you and I want all the good thing for you," I still admire what they're able to do at this stage when they're so new as partners.
Evie: It's going to be interesting to see if they're going to go Senior next season because they've had a gold sweep throughout this entire season. I think they have one more season of Junior eligibility before Anastasia turns 19, so it will be interesting to see what sort of decision they make in relation to that.
Sam: I would expect they would. Just because she's won the Junior Grand Prix Final twice now. They're Junior World Champions. They were fourth in the Short Program at Russian Nationals this year before finishing fifth. So I don't know if there is really much left for them to do or accomplish in Juniors. I mean they're pretty complete in the sense that they could obviously have more Senior programs if they wanted to. I kind of see Juniors as a similar thing as like Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball.
Karly: Really coming in with the other sports.
Sam: Yep! That's what I'm here for. Basically, Minor League is used to develop players. You have them work down there, and then sometimes what happens is a player is so special that he forces you to bring him up. And there's a tricky way of working their development because you don't want to bring them up too early and you don't want to leave them down for too long. I think they're kind of at that happy medium where it's like well no you actually have to bring them up because there's nothing left to be gained from staying down in Juniors anymore.
Karly: That was actually a really good analogy. Promote figure skating and baseball. (Hosts laugh)
Evie: It's not going to be surprising if they go Senior but I think overall a lot of the pairs in the current Junior field are not going to go Senior if they can avoid it. As we know that pairs, in general, leave the Junior fields quite late in comparison to the others, well as comparison to singles I guess. Ice dance also leaves it quite late. I think Kostiukovich/Ialin also have another year until they have to go Senior because Dmitrii is turning twenty-one next year. So it'll be interesting to see how they do next season. And Panfilova/Rylov both born after 2000 so they've got quite a bit of time before they have to go into Seniors. Obviously, they have to up their technical content if they want to have a chance to compete properly in Senior. I just find it really interesting that we've seen Panfilova/Rylov compete with Mishina/Galliamov three times also this season, internationally I mean. We saw them at Junior Grand Prix Bratislava right back in August, which seems like a millennium ago.
Karly: Ages ago.
Sam: Guys we were both on that episode.
Evie: We were all on that episode!
Karly: I was going to say, wasn't that all us?
Evie: Yeah it was all us and Clara!
Evie: We've seen them both go toe to toe at Bratislava, we saw them at the Junior Grand Prix Final, and we saw them here obviously. Nearly every time they've been pretty damn close in scores. So even with the technical content deficiency that Panfilova/Rylov have, so you know that's just a really interesting trend to see. It just speaks to their scoring potential honestly in how well they could be scored if their technical content was higher.
Karly: Yeah, that's what I was going to say about Panfilova/Rylov, that it speaks to how good they are that they're competing without that technical content.
Sam: And they're winning PCS, rightfully.
Evie: Yaaaay! That's what we like to see.
-end segment- 17:46
Evie: Alright should we move onto them Men?
Sam: Do we have to?
Evie: I mean we don't need to but we kind of...y'know...
Karly: What's a man?
Evie: Good question! The men's event at Junior Worlds did not happen! Next segment!
-jokingly ends the segment-
Sam: Our Men's medalist were Tomoki Hiwatashi of the United States in gold, Roman Savosin of Russia in silver, and Daniel Grassl of Italy in bronze.
Evie: Yeah it was just a bit of a mess. I mean the Short Program for this competition I feel was absolutely insane. We had so many clean skates and they were all back to back. We all kind of expect the men to splat, honestly. I mean obviously they can't do the quads in the Short Program because they're Juniors, but you don't have the expectation going into a men's event that you're going to see so many clean programs.
Karly: We've been knew we have no faith in men.
Evie: And it was just so crazy! The top ten were only separated by what? Like five points from each other?
Sam: Yeah like barely even that.
Evie: It was insane! And then in the Free Skate everyone kind of died so you know [laughter] parallels!.
Sam: The Free Skate sure did happen!
Karly: In the Free Skate, wasn't it only Roman who was clean?
Evie: He wasn't even clean though!
Sam: He wasn't really that clean. It was Roman...Tomoki almost was but he popped a quad toe and then the other...the third Russian [Artur Danielian]. He was close to being clean too, I think.
Evie: I think he fell once, didn't he or something? Or came close to falling?
Sam: Yeah it was close though. Like there was a moment where it looked like he might medal, because everyone was dying.
Karly: So our benchmark is "Close to being clean." It's not clean, it's just close to being clean.
Sam: Our benchmark is "You popped a quad." which is just...
Evie: Our benchmark is "You lived." So yeah extremely close standings after the short. It was just...honestly I think the judges were also kind of surprised that so many men were clean considering how close everyone's scores were. They were just like "Oh god we were not expecting this, now I have no idea how to grade all of these men" kind of thing.
Sam: Especially with the PCS, which were interesting to look at.
Evie: Yeah interesting is a word for it.
Sam: Yeah! Camden Pulkinen for example, the class of the field, had a PCS range of 6.75 to 8.75.
Evie: What kind of range!
Sam: Yep! With only one judge willing to give him 8s, which was judge one who gave 8s to everyone in the top 3.
Evie: Judge one was me, judge one was me secretly.
Sam: There was also my new enemy, judge 7, who actually gave him lower PCS than Daniel Grassl. Who got a 39 flat from this judge and then he gave Camden a 36.
Evie: That's a choice!
Sam: That sure did happen! And this is nothing against Daniel, who is an extremely talented skater. But Daniel does not have good skating skills.
Evie: In comparison to Camden, yeah. I mean I think most men in the Junior field in comparison to Camden do look a little bit weaker because his skating skills are so refined and his expression is so refined. He skates like a Senior.
Sam: He wins every PCS mark by a mile. Like I said this is nothing against Daniel. When you watch Daniel skate he is obviously trying to perform, but his program choreography is not on the same level as Camden's. With his skating skills, he is never secure on his blade, which is why it looks like he is rocking back and forth because he's using his upper body to keep his momentum going and move around. So even though he has lovely spin positions, he's not hitting those same positions when he is actually skating. I understand he skated near last and again it was a long day of really close clean programs. I just have many questions.
Evie: Yeah! And I think that Daniel obviously like you said, his spin positions are really cool and innovative and stuff. And I really appreciate that he really tries with his facial expressions because I feel like a lot of Juniors in general just don't really. They haven't grown into their performance style yet. They're still trying to work out how to express themselves and in their programs. But I think Daniel is doing a really good job considering his age and how much experience he has. I think his choreography at times can be a bit flail-y. He really likes to just shoot his arms out repeatedly.
Sam: He's a noodle.
Evie: He's a noodle, yeah! He's all leg and it's just you know...and his jumps are kind of terrifying every time he goes into them. But you know that's fine! I'm proud he got onto the podium here because he didn't make the Junior Grand Prix Final because he had a bad performance the Junior Grand Prix in Austria. I mean he did have back to back JGPs so that was going to be rough on him from the beginning. But yeah I'm glad that he did so well here and I'm just excited to see how he's going to develop over the off-season. I hope he gets better programs that aren't so erratic and flail-y and that he becomes a bit more of a refined skater over the season because that could happen, you know, as people grow and they learn a bit more. I just hope he becomes a bit more controlled.
Sam: Oh yeah it's totally possible. It's just looking at the marks now you can't help but be like "Hmmm, I don't know about that one." Because he's clearly insanely talented. Nobody else could be doing what he's doing with such choice technique without being this insanely talented.
Evie: Oh yeah! And especially because he's trying all these difficult quads. He's trying the quad Lutz, he's trying the quad loop, and he's in a field currently where those aren't a prerequisite to win. Only a couple of the Junior men have quads and even then they're not that consistent. And hardly any men are trying the more difficult quads.
Sam: Yeah here it was just him and Stephen Gogolev. Quick shout out to Stephen Gogolev for finishing his program after he stabbed himself.
Evie: Oh my god! I almost completely forgot about that - how did I forget about that? That was a mess.
Karly: How do you forget about a stabbing on ice?
Sam: To be fair we didn't know it had happened mid-program.
Evie: Yeah we saw someone tweet about it and we were like "Wait, what? He stabbed himself with his actual blade? What? How does that happen?"
Sam: And then you go back and look and you see it. Yeah, his pants are kind of ripped.
Evie: Stephen please, protect yourself.
Karly. Oh my god no, but Evie what you were saying about Daniel not making the Junior Grand Prix Final. It kind of speaks to the chaos of the men this season that the one person on the podium who was at the Junior Grand Prix Final was sixth. This event was really truly a mess.
Evie: We had Stephen, who finished in fifth, and he won the Junior Grand Prix Final. We had Adam from France who finished sixth here and he was also qualified for the Final. Koshiro [Shimada] finished ninth here, he was also there [at JGPF]. And obviously Camden in eighth.
Sam: And poor Petr [Gummenik]!
Evie: Yeah and Petr! Oh god, that made me so sad. Especially after he did so well in the Short Program. Oh boy.
Karly: The Free Skate was just complete and utter chaos.
Sam: But that also goes to show how hard it is to have a Junior season. Because you start off so early in August to do Grand Prix’s. Then you're off until December and then after December, you might have your nationals that month or maybe like a month and a half away. And then you have to sit around and wait for Junior Worlds. Like it's incredibly difficult to pace.
Karly: Yeah, I kind of wish there were more Junior events.
Evie: Yeah, like one around late-January to early-February-
Karly: Yeah, kind of like a Four Continents-like comp.
Sam: Yeah, honestly they should have a Senior division and Junior division for Continental Championships.
Evie: Honestly, I would love that. That would be awesome to see a Junior division, but that might take a lot of planning to get set up.
Sam: Yeah, I mean honestly how about just having them compete on the same competition ice and then split it? That would be a really long Short Program, but-
Evie: The Short Program’s are already long enough at Euros as it is!
Sam: Yep...that ladies one. Anyway!
Evie: I mean, ladies here at Junior Worlds was nearly 6 hours long...anyway. Let's actually get onto talking about the gold medalist at this event - Tomoki Hiwatashi from the US. Oh boy, I'm so proud of him!
Sam: The greatest kiss & cry of all time!
Karly: Literally, king of spit-takes.
Sam: He's so fun to watch too, and he had the greatest transition of all time: He does a frickin' cantilever into a toe-touch before his triple Sal. Like, WHAT?
Evie: Transitions monster!
Karly: Really, he's a transitions monster.
Sam: It's so cool!
Evie: It's amazing. Just thinking about how his Junior Grand Prix Final appearance wasn't the greatest and he had some troubles there, then at US Nationals having an amazing skate, really stellar skate, and then he went to Four Continents last month, and also skated amazingly too. And now top it all off, he's come here and he's won the gold medal. I'm so proud of him, especially since this is his last Junior-eligible season, finishing on such a high note is so reassuring.
Evie: It's so reassuring
Sam: His journey from first winning that Junior Worlds bronze to now is just insane. He went through so many ups and downs to get here, it's so nice to see him, again, be able to leave out on top. And move into seniors on a high note.
Karly: And he's just had a really good gradual rise this season that ended so well.
Evie: It's what he deserves.
Karly: It is what he deserves.
Evie: And then, going to our silver medalist, Roman, he, as we said earlier, he was the only one who pretty much properly survived the Free Skate. It was at that point, we've said before all the way back in the Junior Grand Prix Bratislava and Cup of Austria episode that Roman's jump technique was terrifying, to say the least. But at the point when he was going at the skate and he was actually landing things unlike all the other men who were kind of falling all over the place, it was just like, "I'll take it!" you know? "I'll take this jump technique."
Sam: I'm pretty sure he didn't have a great Russian Nationals either, so this is the complete 180 there
Karly: It's just for me with his jumps his axis is scary
Sam: It's so weird.
Karly: It's like mid-jump, he just skews off the axis and he just changes
Sam: It's completely normal going up, but then once he hits the peak, he's like leaning backwards.
Karly: He's like, "Wooooh!"
Evie: That's a good description.
Sam: Title the episode: Wooooh.
Karly: It worries me so much. I'm like, "How do you land that?"
Evie: It's impressive that he did end up landing so many of his jumps in his Free Skate, it was just so gratifying to actually see someone come out of their Free Sakte alive, so that's all you can really ask for, at the end of the day.
Karly: That someone lives.
Sam: And he came at the right time too, because it had been a disaster after a disaster, and then you're like, "Wait a minute. Is he going to be clean? Is it going to be okay? Is the ice uncursed, are we good now?"
Evie: He came out, exorcized the ice, and then left gracefully.
Sam: He left just enough good magic for Tomoki.
Karly: Yeah, honestly.
Evie: I just wish he could have left some of the magic for Camden...
Sam: Well we don't need to talk about that, we could just leave it with my perfect discussion of how great his Short was.
Evie: Yep, that's a good point. Let's not even go into his Free, because...
Sam: If you need to break your own heart, please just go back and listen to the Nationals episode or the Junior Grand Prix Final episode. It's basically the same emotion.
Evie: Yeah. And obviously Camden and Tomoki as well both have to go senior next season because they hit the junior age limit. And it's gonna be interesting to see how they slope into the men's field because at the moment the top three in the men's field is pretty much solidified, I mean...I don't really see either of them really breaking into that unless they start doing crazy quads, or Camden gets really consistent with a quad.
Sam: Yeah, they're basically gonna need the perfect Grand Prix season to put themselves in contention for it, which I guess theoretically is possible, they could have a Jun-like season where they're getting bronzes, and then all of a sudden their name is getting mentioned as one of the top US men that could potentially contend for that third spot.
Evie: I think it'll potentially be between Vincent, Tomoki and Camden in the future for that third spot.
Sam: Yeah...Throwing Vincent in, It's hard to wonder about that because he has notoriously bad Grand Prix he has an awful Junior Grand Prix the year he won Junior Worlds, he had an awful Olympic Grand Prix, he had a bad Grand Prix this year and then he always shows up to Nationals more prepared and does better there. So that's a hard question to ponder. I think for them to take-- to beat Vincent they'd have to have the Jun season where they're making the Grand Prix Final and walking into every opportunity they can, but if that doesn't happen and they still beat him at Nationals I would say Vincent's probably still going.
Evie: And also, of course, we still have the question of whether Daniel is going to go full senior next season because he kind of mirrored what Matteo [Rizzo] did last season but, obviously, without the Olympics and without Worlds. Because he did have his two Junior Grand Prix. he went to Euros -- because daniel won Italian Nationals this season -- and then he got a Bronze here at Junior Worlds. Exactly like Matteo did a year ago.
Karly: I was going to say that's exactly what Matteo did.
Evie: Yeah, so it's going to be interesting to see if Daniel goes full Senior next season. I have a feeling that he probably won't because he's a bit younger than Matteo was when he chose to go Senior and I think Daniel still has stuff he needs to refine, and that stuff would honestly be more-- working at your technical problems, your artistry and stuff, it's better to do that in Juniors where you can kind of experiment a bit more, because in Senior you really have to be at your best all the time. So I think it would probably be more advantageous for Daniel to stay in Juniors another year.
Sam: Yeah. Going back to my baseball analogy, I would agree. He obviously has good results this year to make you consider it, but if I were him, or if I knew him, my suggestion would be: just drop the quads for a season and work on your jump tech for that entire season and experiment and try to polish it up before you go Senior, and take the time in Juniors to do that. Because if he goes Senior, he's not fixing them. It's going to be really hard to change what's working when you're already getting the results at the top of where you want to be. So if he does it in Junior's, it's more incentive to be thinking towards the future. And I hope that's something that happens, because, like I said, he's a hell of a talented kid and I would hate for him to be hampered by the fact that he doesn't have the resources to get stellar skating skills and stellar jumps and better posture. If he worked with someone like a Tommy Dickson or a Lori, not move there because I don't think he has the opportunity to do something like that, but just do a camp with someone like Steph[ane Lambiel], who's closer--
Evie: Yeah just go for the summer or something.
Sam: I think that's a bit more viable, and to just take the time to do that over the summer would be super advantageous.
-end segment- 33:05
START: Ice Dance
Evie: Okay, should we go onto Ice Dance? So, our podium for Ice Dance; in gold, we have Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha for Canada, in silver, we have Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Nikita Nazarov of Russia, and then in bronze, we have Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko of Russia. I think overall, honestly, the last couple of Dance competitions we've seen -- Four Continents was a mess but it was an entertaining mess, and then Euros dance was amazing and it's still probably my favorite Dance competition of the season. This one was a little bit...I wouldn't say boring but a bit underwhelming in terms of how much competition there was for the podium if you get what I mean?
Karly: There wasn't a stellar team in both programs. No one had a knock-out competition where you think “Oh yeah, you are the clear winner here.” It kinda just hampered the overall feel of it I guess because there wasn't that team where you think 'oh hey, you won this, everyone else back off. It was more hit-or-miss depending on the program.
Evie: Yeah. And, to be fair the tech panel was very very strict, hardly anyone was getting their levels overall, especially in the one-foot step sequences.
Sam: Oh yeah, it was all 2s.
Evie: It was all 2s, I saw a couple of 1s from the top teams as well, only a very small amount of people got a level 3 on those. Yeah, the tech panel was pretty strict overall here. Which is refreshing to see because I think, especially in Juniors when you want to have that opportunity for all the skaters on the field to grow as much as possible, harsher judging is probably going to do them more good, because they know explicitly what they need to work on. So most of the teams know that they need to work on their consistency with their levels and getting their edges right and skating overall a cleaner program. Lajoie/Lagha... they're the first Canadian team to win the World Juniors title ever since Virtue/Moir did it in 2006 which is very impressive for them. They had a pretty good season; they medalled at one of the Junior Grand Prix, they won the other, they didn't make the podium at Junior Grand Prix Final, because they had a little bit of level trouble there, and they won the Junior Canadian Dance title and now they top it all off with a win here!
Sam: I love their Rhythm Dance, I will say that.
Sam: It's really entertaining.
Evie: Yeah, Marjorie's facial expressions are so memorable and striking [Sam: I agree]. She's just a really great interpreter of the music. I'm just glad I can actually remember things about a Rhythm Dance because so many of them blend together because it's always the same kind of Piazzolla inspired accordion music to Tango...they just all blend together.
Karley: Skating their Rhythm Dance to a Tango!
Sam: The part where they were off level with each other in the knee slide, and their step sequence in the Rhythm Dance is so nice too. He was up higher than she was as they were sliding across right at the end of the program [Evie: Yeah] and I really appreciate stuff like that where you're changing eye levels, it makes things more engaging. I will say though, I kinda felt like Elizaveta and Nikita probably should've been in first after the short [Evie: I agree with that]. They seemed faster in some way. I really do like Marjorie but sometimes she leans forward on her skate, her posture is fine, she still has a straight back but she's just a little bit pitched forward and I find it a little bit distracting when I'm watching their programs. Maybe that's why I'm like “Elizaveta and Nikita were a little bit better” but they just seemed faster. She's special, Elizaveta.
Evie: Yeah, Elizaveta is an amazing performer.
Sam: Yeah, easily the star of that team. So that might have something to do with it because she's just a generational “You're amazing at projecting” kind of skater.
Evie: I don't know. I think, actually, I think Marjorie and Zachary are actually quite fast. They've got speed, they've got ice coverage it's just that their edge quality isn't as strong as some of the Russian teams' and it's quite evident when you watch them skate. Not stellar edge quality is a hallmark of Gadbois where they train, a lot of the teams there don't have fantastic overall skating skills, and that is something they obviously need to work on before they go into seniors, especially because they're going into the Canadian Dance field and that's a bit of a tightly packed field at the top. But, I think they definitely have that...Marjorie especially has that kind of performance quality that makes her very engaging to watch. Zachary isn't quite there yet. I'm sure that with some more practice and a couple more years on the field he'll probably get there, but at the moment I squarely look at Marjorie whenever they skate because she's so engaging to watch.
Sam: Yeah, I agree.
Evie: Their Rhythm Dance is so memorable but their Free Dance...Honestly, I couldn't really, apart from the opening lift, I can't really tell you anything about it apart from the fact it's skated to classical music. That's about it.
Sam: I will say, it's like the perfect example of why lifts are so important. Because, like you said, I can't remember anything about the program other than the music choice and that she was wearing green. Where with Avonley [Nguyen] and Vadym [Kolesnik] I remember that curve lift, it's ingrained in my brain, it's so striking. There needs to be some kind of touchstone with Dance programs because you don't have the jumps, so there isn't that one thing where everyone knows what to look for. So when you have a super strong and engaging lift, it's that thing everyone remembers, and you're like 'oh, hey, that was the impressive part' and it makes the thing, I don't know how else to put this, memorable. And when you don't have that memorable thing, especially with sleepy music like this, it kinda just all blends.
Evie: I agree with that. And the fact that the music itself for their program was quite strong, they didn't really have much variation in the way they expressed the music over the program. It was very onenote aggressive. And some of the parts in the music do soften up so I would've really liked to see more variation in their expression, I think that could've led to a more complete program for them. So that could be something they should look to improve on over the season. They're at Gadbois, they've got a lot of people there that are very talented at performance and expression, they can look at Gabby [Gabriella Papadakis] and Guillaume [Cizeron] or [Madison] Chock and [Evan] Bates...Madi Chock and Marjorie they both have that same kind of performance quality, where you only really want to look at them because they are pulling all of the facial expressions and they're just drawing your attention so distinctly. It's good to see that kind of stuff.
Karly: I love Madi Chock.
Evie: Don't we all? Talking about the Russian dance teams, I find it kind of interesting that the favors have basically completely flipped since the start of the Junior Grand Prix. [Arina] Ushakova and [Maxim] Nekrasov were kind of favored going into the Junior Grand Prix Final because they won both of their events and they had the Junior world records. And then, obviously, they came in silver there and Shevchenko/Eremenko won the Junior Grand Prix Final and now there was another upset here where Khudaiberdieva and Nazarov placed above Shevchenko and Eremenko. And Ushakova and Nekrasov didn't even make the podium, they finished 5th here because they had quite a lot of level troubles in both segments. It's interesting to see how much the favors have flipped and how Elizaveta and Nikita, they were consistently scoring lower over the first half of the season in comparison to the other two teams and now they finish off their season with silver here. I think it's really impressive to see how much change can happen in the Dance field, especially because the Senior Dance field, we don't see that much change in the top teams in the Seniors. So to see a lot of upsets here is quite interesting.
Sam: Yeah, I mean, I don't think it's something that's too uncommon in Juniors because I remember the 2016-2017 season something happened with the two US teams, the Parsons, and McNamara and Carpenter where they were kind of flip-flopping. McNamara and Carpenter were the Junior World Champions but then everything flipped the next season and the Parsons became the number 1 team. So I think it's happening here too, maybe they're not really sure who they want as their team going up into Seniors, so they're not necessarily pushing any one team because they know how talented all three are and they're letting them duke it out and by their places decide who is the number one team here.
Evie: Shall we talk about the fourth place, our potato medalists, (Karly: Yes!) Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik?
Sam: Loves of our lives!
Karly: Literally, Avonley is my daughter.
Evie: I really wanted them to get on the podium here, but I'll take the small medal in the Free Dane because they did so well.
Sam: I was praying that they would be a not too distant 4th after the Rhythm Dance because that Free Dance is obviously going to overtake somebody because they're so good.
Karly: It's so good.
Sam: There is that weird music cut after the "Demons" going into the second half of the program, but the way they perform it is just stellar. And they beat out other teams on tech content, it wasn't even their PCS that did it.
Karly: I was just going to say, didn't they have the highest base level?
Evie: Yeah, they had the highest base value in the Free Dance! They beat Lajoie and Lagha in that respect as well. It's so good to see them, especially since their Rhythm Dance has never been the stronger of their programs.
Sam: Which is a hallmark of Igor [Shpilband] teams. They're never necessarily the best at the Rhythm Dance.
Evie: I read an interview on International Figure Skating with them about the fact that they changed their Rhythm Dance choreography like 4 times during the season, often right before competitions. They changed it once right before the Junior Grand Prix Final, and then they changed it again right before US Nationals. And I'm like "Guys, please! Igor, what are you doing?"
Karly: You are distressing me!
Sam: It just makes it even more insane that they're a brand new team and they're dealing with having to change choreography when they're not necessarily used to each other yet. That's the insane thing, they've only been together for like a year and they're already this good.
Evie: Yeah, they competed last season on the Junior Grand Prix and then they placed, I think, 5th or 6th at US Nationals in Junior Ice Dance and then this season they've done so well. They got on the podium at their two Junior Grand Prix's, they got to the Final, and now they placed 4th here. The amount of growth that they've shown from this season to last is insane. They're completely different skaters, basically. That's how much they've improved. I'm really looking forward to seeing how much they improve next season, honestly. If they take that same amount of growth over this coming off-season, what's going to happen.
Karly: Exactly, it just makes you so excited.
Sam: We would be mistaken not to mention how good of a performer Avonley is too after we talked about Marjorie and Elizaveta because she's right up there with them. She's so good.
Evie: And Vadym is such a solid Ice Dance man, his edge quality is amazing, he's got a really strong back and really good posture as well. He's got that posture that you can just that he's done ballet and dancing, he carries himself so well.
Sam: They're with the coach that gave us Charlie White and Scott Moir, they're in good hands.
Evie: So Lajoie and Lagha have announced that they are going Senior next season, which is going to be interesting to see how they slot into it because at the moments the top three [in Canada] is pretty solid. I don't realistically see them competing for a spot unless someone retires which could be a possibility.
Sam: Yeah, it's possible [Kaitlyn] Weaver and [Andrew] Poje might.
Evie: So it's going to be interesting to see what happens there because at the moment there's really at the moment the top three and then the rest of the field. They would probably be competing with [Carolane] Soucisse and [Shane] Firus in that respect.
Sam: I would expect they would be fourth? Carolane and Shane did not have the best season this year so it's hard to guess where they'd be but based on how Marjorie and Zach have performed this year I think that they would slot ahead of them. And again, if Weaver and Poje are still competing, [Marjorie and Zachary] probably not getting spots, but anything could happen. But I'm guessing that they're probably fourth.
Karly: I would agree with that.
-end segment- 45:25
Evie: Okay, last discipline - the Ladies! Always the highlight of a Junior event. So our podium, in gold, we have Alexandra Trusova of Russia, in second, we have Anna Shcherbakova, also of Russia, and our surprise bronze medalist, Ting Cui from the US. So we have two-time consecutive Junior World Ladies Champion Alexandra Trusova.
Sam: And Men's champion, technically. She won Men's last year, let's be real.
Evie: And this is the first time I believe since Elena Radionova, who won back to back titles a couple of years ago, that another Russian lady, or lady in general, has won back to back Junior titles. So it's definitely impressive to see Alexandra have such a good season overall. The only time she didn't win, in an international event at least, was Junior Grand Prix Final when Alena won. I'm sure that no one was surprised to see her win here, considering Alena was not here.
Sam: And a lot of the discussion afterward was "Should Anna have won, based on PCS?" Viscerally watching it afterward I'm always like "Yeah, maybe she should have," because she hits prettier positions, she's much more nice to watch. But when you actually think about it and go through their PCS categories, she probably shouldn't. There really isn't that much difference in their choreography decisions; they both clearly have a Free Skate hat's built to display their technical content, not necessarily their pure basic skating, and you could actually argue that Sasha's Free Skate is actually better suited for her than Anna's is [for her]. I still think Anna's is too heavy and it's not the right music for her and you kind of sit and you anticipate the quad Lutz, and then after the quad Lutz you just let go and that's it. Whereas with Sasha's, the music is still so loud and her skating is loud so you're paying attention through the whole thing just a little bit more. Their transitions are technically the same, even if Anna is hitting a prettier position in them. Is she interpreting the music that much more? Is she performing it that much more? I don't think so. So I don't think having the quad Lutz landed and then skating it clean afterward can beat two quads - and two quads that are actually pretty decent.
Evie: Yeah, her quad toe's nice.
Sam: Yeah, Sasha used to do this thing with all of her quads where she would land and her skate would kind of buckle and hitch out of it and she wouldn't hold an edge through very nicely and it was really scary to watch, but her quad toe's not like that anymore. I still don't like watching them because she's hunching through them and generating her power through her back and not her legs. But technically speaking, seeing it in real time, it's super high and impressive to see.
Karly: Oh, it's huge.
Evie: It's absolutely giant. And yeah, apart from the issues she has with that hunching and she does have some quite obvious prerotation on the quads, apart from that the height and distance she gets on it is really quite impressive. It's better than a lot of Men's quad toe's in the Junior field, and in general, it's quite a good quad toe. But I'm actually quite surprised how much Sasha's Free Skate has grown on me during the season because I started off really not liking either of her programs.
Karly: I hated it at first.
Evie: At first I was like "Okay yeah, she's punching the judges. Cool?" But I think, honestly, while I wouldn't call it my favorite of the Junior programs in general, it's definitely stood out to me. Especially, I really enjoy the last half of it when she does her step sequence because I really like how well her choreography accents the bits in the music. I want more people to skate to "The Fifth Element" because it's a very nice soundtrack.
Sam: Like I said, it's super well-matched for who she is as a skater which is why I'm like "She probably did deserve to win." Like Anna won PCS, and that's all you can really be hopeful for, but I don't know if saying "Anna should have won because of PCS is correct."
Evie: And just as a note of comparison, Anna got a 66 in the Free Skate for her PCS and in comparison, when Alena won the Junior Grand Prix Final in December, she only got a 67.
Sam: And Alena is in the Satoko [Miyahara] realm for me, everybody's heard me say this (Evie and Karly: Yeah). Give her 73 and above and be done.
Karly: Literally. Just give her 100.
Sam: Yup! (Hosts laugh)
Evie: And talking about scores in general, I mean, Sasha's 150 in the Free Skate - that is a Senior level score. That is 8 points behind the world record that Alina [Zagitova] got at Nebelhorn in September. When I saw that 150, I was like "Okay... I guess?"
Karly: You're like "That's interesting."
Sam: And that goes into the thing, we should be talking about giving either of them higher PCS, we should be talking about giving them lower PCS. Because in comparison to Ting, our bronze medalist, I actually thought that she probably should have had higher PCS than them. Her programs were actually more engaging than Anna and Sasha's to me, even though she didn't have as many transitions, because her skating just naturally looks smoother because she's giving herself the time to hit and hold beautiful positions because her arms are like the most glorious thing you've ever seen in your entire life. They're so pretty. And she is taller, so you can see the way her skate glides into the ice a bit better. But it always seems like her crossovers are a bit more meaningful. Sasha does these two crossovers into her cantilever in the Short Program, and she's over on the side of the rink and she does them super quick and super shallow and she goes nowhere. She's barely moving two feet after she does them and that's where you see why her skating skills - while she is fast in person, her crossovers aren't as important because she's using her upper body instead of using her knee bend to get into the ice. Whereas somebody like Ting, when you watch her do a crossover, you're like "Oh yeah, that's generating speed and she's moving before she does it." Her posture is better, she's just overall probably a natural PCS skater, which is something that I think Anna could be if she was given the opportunity to be, but she's not.
Evie: I think it's just because that Ting doesn't have that reputation going into this event that Anna and Sasha do. Because both of them had a really good first half of the season and, obviously, Sasha won Junior Worlds last season and had that amazing season last year. And Ting, in comparison, her Junior Grand Prix's weren't fantastic. She did have problems there, and then at Four Continents she also had problems in both of her programs with consistency. And then here she two amazing skates and it's really impressive to see that kind of growth from her after those events that she had troubles with, but the judges don't have that incentive to give her the higher marks that she might deserve because it's all to do with reputation.
Sam: And also, got to be honest, she doesn't have the same coach as them. It's been shown that having Eteri [Tutberidze] as a coach is super beneficial when you're talking about PCS because all of her skaters, once they start really getting into their stride of consistency, their PCS skyrockets.
Evie: And at the same time, I think their technical content is also affecting that, kind of like what we see in the Men with higher quads equals higher PCS.
Sam: And usually with her skaters it's because of how many transitions they do.
Evie: Speaking of PCS, let's talk about Yuna Shiraiwa really quickly because, honestly, I think she should have won PCS by a country mile.
Sam: Oh, not even a question, because fun fact - she is a Senior skater! (Hosts laugh) She doesn't just look like a Senior skater, she is one and it's obvious when you're watching a 6 minute warm-up that she's the one out of place.
Evie: She's so lovely to watch and, honestly, I was so upset when JSF announced that they were going to be sending her here because she's been out of Juniors for two seasons now. She moved up from Juniors last season and this season competed on the Grand Prix and at Senior Nationals, and then got placed here. And there was quite a lot of kerfuffle about it when it came out, and people were asking like "Why are they putting her here? Why are they sending her to Junior Worlds? If they were going to send anyone, why didn't they send Mako [Yamashita], who won a medal last year." But maybe that was the right decision on JSF's part because she was the top finishing Japanese lady. She didn't skate clean programs here but she still skated really well considering. I hands down think she should have won PCS in both the Short and the Free because there's a refined quality about her that really only comes from being a Senior skater and having that kind of experience. You know what I mean?
Sam: Yeah, and that should have been enough to get her in 4th, and then the Japanese Ladies would still have 3 spots [for Junior Worlds next season].
Evie: Don't remind me...
Sam: Even with the underrotation and the tech issues she was having, her PCS should be miles better. She should be where Sasha and Anna were, maybe even higher, if we're being honest. She should be at like a 68-69.
Evie: But I don't think the judges would give her that considering they don't score Japanese Ladies well on PCS regardless if they're Junior or Senior.
Sam: And they refuse to give Juniors 9's!
Sam: Well that's not true, I think Anna got a 9.
Evie: And Alena got some 9's, I'm pretty sure, at the Junior Grand Prix Final as well.
Sam: Yeah, but for the most part, they won't give Junior's 9's.
Evie: And obviously, the hot topic coming out of Junior Worlds was the fact that Sasha, Anna and Alena are all going to be age eligible for Seniors next season and it's pretty much expected at this point that they're all going to move up. Because that's kind of the trend, especially with Russian Ladies, they get into Seniors as soon as they're able to. So just in general, how is this going to affect the Russian Ladies field and then the Ladies field in general.
Karly: I have a fear.
Evie: Yeah, I have a massive fear.
Sam: I do not envy RusFed for having to figure out who's going to what Grand Prix and how.
Evie: Oh my god, that's going to a mess.
Sam: There are too many Ladies to consider, and Sasha's guaranteed two, whoever medals at [Senior] Worlds is guaranteed two. It's a mess.
Evie: It's going to be crazy. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Grand Prix Final next season was nearly all Russian.
Sam: Oh yeah.
Evie: Like at least 3 to 4 places at the Grand Prix Final are probably going to end up being Russian's and that's amazing that we're seeing that much depth in the field, but at the same time, it's so disappointing to see how many Ladies are going to miss out on opportunities to go to international competitions because of it. Obviously there's the question about how Alina's going to cope with all of these new Juniors, especially with how her track record has been this season, obviously, she hasn't had the best one.
Sam: And I don't think we're going to know anything about that until Worlds, because she has had a bit of a break between Europeans. Hopefully she took time to rest, we obviously don't know if that happened because of her camp, but hopefully, she did. So I'm praying that she's in better shape than she was there but I don't know if we can really answer the question of where she's going to be then. But yeah, I would expect that all three of these Juniors moving up into Seniors will make the Grand Prix Final next year. I think they're all going to be stellar next year. My question is what happens to Anna and Sasha with the prior season doing the quads. We talked about this during Russian Nationals, when you're learning how to do jumps using your back, that's not great when you grow up and it starts to hurt. Like I said, we're seeing it with Alina now where her jumps are not as springy as she used to be, she's not going the same pop-up and her rotational speed isn't compensating for it which is why she's starting to underrotate a lot more. So I will be curious to see if that trend changes with Sasha and Anna doing quads, and how much longer they can hold on. With Alena, it's a bit different, because while we have seen her do triple Axel's in training, we haven't seen her do it in competition and with the injury and she said the reason why she hadn't been doing them is because she had grown taller and it wasn't the same anymore. So I think she'll have an easier time continuing on if her technical content doesn't raise as much as we might be expecting it to. But supposedly Anna and Sasha are trying triple Axel's too, so I'm like "Oh god, when does this end?"
Evie: And we've got next season as well, Rika [Kihira]'s potentially putting quads into her program, and then Kaori [Sakamoto] is also going to be trying a triple Axel, and then Satoko [Miyahara] has been building up a triple Axel over the last off-season and this season.
Sam: Yuna has always talked about having a triple Axel too.
Evie: Wakaba [Higuchi] as well. A lot of the Ladies are trying to amp up their technical content next season because they know that these Juniors are going to be coming up and really the only way to stay afloat is going to be to up their technical content. Because if they won't be able to compete on that front, they're going to be consistently at a disadvantage. Ladies next season is going to be crazy and probably end up breaking my heart on numerous occasions, guys.
Karly: It's just really interesting to see that we might be witnessing a renaissance of Ladies technical content.
Sam: Especially since when you consider that triple Axel's were first done in the early 90s, and no one really did them again until Mao [Asada]. And then, obviously, Miki [Ando] had the quad Sal, but nothing really started after that either so it's curious to see - not to say that "The Russian Juniors started all of this," but Eteri and her Russian Juniors kind of started all of this. Where it became necessary to try these things again.
Karly: It's just interesting to see how it's going to grow from Juniors to Seniors, and how it might affect Senior technical content.
Sam: It will be curious to see how it affects the cleanliness of competitions. (Karly and Evie: Yeah) You think about it, the Men are not the most fun to watch all of the time because a lot of the time they're messes. Just think about what happened at Cup of Russia this year - it wasn't that great, and Yuzuru [Hanyu] was the one trying the hardest technical content. Nobody was really that close to him at that competition, but it was still kind of a mess. It will be curious to see if they are any more consistent because Sasha and that quad toe, she's landing those like money now but she's still trying the quad Lutz when she hasn't landed it once [cleanly] all season. So it will be curious to see how it affects that if we start seeing people - like the Mikhail [Kolyada] phenomenon when people were complaining at the Olympics because he was beating Adam [Rippon] even though he had falls, and stuff like that starts to happen. Where we start getting planned falls, quad falls, that lead to wins that maybe shouldn't be happening.
Evie: We also have to think about how the Junior field will develop next season because we've got the top contenders all expected to leave, and apart from them, there aren't really any stand-out or guaranteed to win skaters.
Sam: That we know of yet. The younger Eteri Juniors were at Junior Russian Nationals this year.
Evie: I don’t think any of them are going to be age-eligible next season.
Sam: That was my question. I’m not sure they're ready for the Junior Grand Prix yet. If they're not there, and there aren't any “quad kids,” what does that leave us with?
Evie: It's going to really interesting to see how the girls from [Svetlana] Panova’s camp compete next season because we’ve seen quite a few of them do pretty well. Obviously, Kseniia Sinitsyna competed here at Junior Worlds because of Alena’s withdrawal, and she had two really good skates. And then [Alena] Kanysheva and then we also have Anna Kuzmenko from France, who are all very sold technical skaters. They’ve got really good Lutzes and their toe-picking, in general, is really nice. I really want to see how Panova’s girls will do in the field as a whole next season.
Sam: Obviously, we can’t forget our reigning US Champion Alysa Liu will be entering the fray.
Karly: Oh my god.
Evie: Oh boy! That’s going to be a whole thing. I’m excited to see her in the Juniors and the Junior Grand Prix.
Sam: I’m going to drop another sports analogy in for you guys. She’s kind of like a draft pick where you're not really sure with the high boom-or-bust potential. She could either be Junior World Champion and take over the field depending on how consistent she is. Let’s be honest, she has a triple Axel. Not only does she have a triple Axel, but she has a triple Axel that she can do in a combo. So having two triple Axel’s in a Free Skate, and landing them consistently on the Junior Grand Prix, and then maybe winning the Junior Grand Prix Final, winning US Nationals and going into Junior Worlds - entirely possible that she just takes the season. Or she could have a bad early season, not make the Junior Grand Prix Final, maybe be second or third at US Nationals, and then go into Junior Worlds and not the same backing she would have, had she would have been consistent throughout the whole early season. It could go either way with her.
Karly: I think that basically, we're at such a turning point with both the Junior and Senior field because the Junior field is losing three Eteri kids, while the Senior field is gaining three Eteri kids. Both are going through really big changes because of that.
-end segment- 1:02:18
START: Shout Out of the Week
Evie: Our shout-out of the week goes to all of the lower-ranked or non-international competing skaters at the Winter Universiade last week. Universiade is a competition that’s only for university students and it doesn't have any technical minimums, unlike other competitions. Skaters that don't have triple or even in some cases doubles, can come and compete her on the international stage to a huge crowd actually! The venue at every event, even the Pairs Short Program was pretty packed. At least half of the audience was filled for these events that don't gather a lot of audience attention which is really nice to see.
Karly: It's really nice to see lower ranked skaters being able to perform on an international level.
Evie: My favorite was was that there was a man competing in Singles and he was from Brazil wonly did singles in his short program. He skated I believe to Malaguena and the crowd was so with him for the entire time! They were clapping along to the music and he was smiling. Obviously he wasn't the most talented technical skater, he was skating in the last group i'm pretty sure, and everyone was just supporting this guy so much.
Karly: That’s so sweet!
Evie: Brazil is not a figure skating country but to see this one guy come out and support his country, doing it with singles and a smile, and being proud of himself in the Kiss and Cry is so charming and good to see athletes from smaller federations have that opportunity to go compete in a huge event that’s livestreamed the the world. It warms my heart so much.
Karly: I was going to say, it’s just a heart-warming thing.
Sam: Universiade is just a fun competition.
Karly: I know, I really like it! Short shout out to Syncro because it’s amazing to Team Unique, and Marigold Ice Unity, and Tartastan, who I stan. Y'all are great! Keep up your pivoting blocks and your intersections and keep on keeping on; I’m going to watch Worlds.
-end segment- 1:04:31
Evie: Thank you for listening, we hope to see you again for our next episode which will be about the World Championships!
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Evie: and Evie. See you soon!