If one must get snowed in by a blizzard, it’s nice to have U.S. Nationals to watch while the snow’s coming down. Heck, it’s even thanks to it I was home to watch the short dance! Although at one point storm coverage on NBC pushed it to an obscure non-HD channel that didn’t display right on my TV, but generally I’m more put out by IceNetwork freezing up so much, or going to low quality, to the point the score tracker wasn’t readable. That was some tracker, though. The ISU would do well to adopt it for international competitions. It was also interesting to see for the first time how many non-jump elements also get flagged for review, although it seems that often works out in the skater’s favor-i.e., Nathan Chen’s final spin initially getting voided, then getting credited after all, which was vital at getting him that impressive 100 TES.
Generally, the opinion seems to be Nathan should have at least won silver, or possibly gold, but I don’t know if he’s anywhere near Adam Rippon artistically yet(it’s especially weird to hear Johnny Weir insisting he should’ve won on the quads; his opinion has certainly changed from his own competitive days!). Perhaps ultimately the USFSA officials actually thought so too, given they really departed from precedent rejecting Jason Brown’s petition in favor of sending Nathan to Worlds. Or maybe they just figured he’s got a better chance at a higher placement; it’s genuinely difficult to gauge right now which one of them the judges would favor, although perhaps they were also worried Brown might not deliver anyway.
At least we know we’ve got a good ladies team, and also a clear heir apparent should both Gracie and Ashley take their departures after the next Olympics. You can say the tech panel was too nice to Polina(although really, they were too nice to everyone), but that short program was truly something. And hopefully still being owned by Gracie will make clear to her she’s not at the top yet. She’s got two years left to get that. Meanwhile, the cred increase should make a good top ten finish in Boston easy, and with Gracie getting a little consistency back and Ashley probably arriving at Worlds still mad…home ice may indeed finally deliver the U.S. another ladies medal. Hell, it’s not impossible they could both make the podium, although they’d definitely need some help for that.
Which is a good thing, because much as we were all overjoyed to see the Shibutanis finally get their due, the blow to Chock & Bates could very well cost the U.S. that dance medal. Either team might still get it, of course, and the Shibs might even pull out enough crowd support to get their scores boosted, but now the other three teams vying for it have the edge, and that’s leaving the Russians out; we’ll have a better idea how they and the other two big European teams stand after this week hopefully.
Speaking of surprise winners, wow, Tarah Kayne & Daniel O’Shea! What a time to finally get your short program right! Very much looking forward to seeing that one live.
Off the ice: wow, is John Coughlin a good commentator, and Ashley’s live-tweeting the men right along with the rest of us was kind of priceless. Her post-competitive tweets too. Never change, Ashley.