A zillion skates to watch, but perhaps none anticipated so much as this one:

It’s not quite the same program, of course, and he’s gotten another version of the guitar section(a more intricate one that has greater impact, I think), but at base it’s the program that stunned us all two years ago and is starting to look like it’s going to be Jeremy’s signature piece. Though now I only wish I could believe he’s got a serious chance at an Olympic medal. He may need a perfect skate out of this just to make it to the Olympics…
Of the other Japan Open programs I watched, I was impressed by Joannie working so hard to learn a new long and then doing such a good job with it(I haven’t seen the programs by the other retirees yet…), and happy Ashley’s sticking to her plan and going for her 3-3. Also, I like that she avoided the more cliche choices of Romeo & Juliet music, using pieces from Prokofiev’s ballet besides “March of the Knights.”
Speaking of which, and moving over to Finlandia Trophy, how many skaters with their Phantom programs make such extensive use of “Think of Me” in them? That was smart of Akiko; it suited her. But watching her make a Phantom program work, I still couldn’t help but think that even if this program worked, she’d be so much better with music she didn’t have to make work. Contrast that the Julia Lipnitskaia, who while also outskating her technically had a program she fit into hand and glove(I question whether any Russian should be doing an actual portrayal of Schindler’s List right now, but the fact remains it really suits Julia). Also mixed feelings about Mirai. Downgrade issues aside, I felt the free suited her more than the short, but she lacked her spark in both.
Saw barely any of Ondrej Nepala between one thing and another, but still extremely happy Tomas won it. Now if he can just keep skating well again…

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