The Grand Prix that got away….

One would think that someone who wanted to write a skating blog would have written about the six Grand Prix events that have taken place this fall. I have a good excuse, however. I was part of a grand experiment this fall. Stanford University offered three of their computer science courses online for free this fall, and I took one of them (Introduction to Databases). It was quite difficult, but I learned a lot and enjoyed doing the work for the most part. However, keeping up with the class took virtually all of my free time this fall (that’s what happens when you take a class with people a lot younger than you who have had a lot more computer science than you have). I have watched the last four of the Grand Prix events on my DVR this past week, so I am just now “catching up” with skating. Hopefully I’ll do a better job of planning my time next fall!

At any rate, I did mostly enjoy the GP series this year. In the men’s, since Chan did two quads in his world-champion free skate in Moscow, the other men seem to be trying to get the quad into their programs as well, with mixed results. There are a few guys (like Chan) who land them relatively consistently, but many others don’t seem to have a whole lot of success with them in competition.

I love pairs anyway, and have enjoyed the GP pairs events. I’m not crazy about Savchenko/Szolkowy’s free skate this season. There are too many music cuts for my taste. However, their technical prowess is usually on good display. Without Pang and Tong competing this season, Zhang/Zhang should theoretically be the next leading Chinese pair. I have to confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of this team, primarily because she has the same expression on her face at all times and emotes not at all. Sui/Han are still immature, but Sui can already emote circles around Zhang Dan!

To no one’s surprise, the cream of the crop in ice dance are the reigning world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White and the reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I can’t wait to see them go head-to-head in the GP final. It will be a difficult comparison between D & W’s “Die Fliedermaus” and V & M’s Fred Astaire; the programs are just so different.

The ladies’ events in the GP this year could be subtitled “The Russians Are Coming”, with Elizaveta Tuktamisheva (14) and Adelina Sotnikova (15) making a big splash. Neither one is old enough to compete at Worlds this year, but Tuktamisheva won both her GP events to easily make the final. We’ll have to see if these girls get derailed by the hormonal highway, but the future of Russian ladies’ skating is looking pretty bright leading into Sochi.

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