It was a flashback to last year’s Cup of China. It was a flashback to last year’s World Championships. Mirai Nagasu skated into first place after the short program and the next day fell apart for the free skate. Aptly put by commentator Andrea Joyce, “[There’s] a pattern here that she would love to break.”
So. Much. Insight.
Nagasu is sadly known for a strong short and then a rough free skate in which she simply cannot hold thing together. Despite a great start to the program with a three jump triple-lutz-double-toe-double-toe combination, she continued to miss jump elements and suffered several downgrades, culminating with a fall in the second half of her performance.
My kitchen was a sad place whilst I watched the drama unfold.
Nagasu’s first place ranking perverted into that roughest of place finishes: fourth, and just out of reach of the podium.
So that was also a flashback to last winter, when Nagasu finished fourth at the Olympics.
Lots of flashbacks.
Nagasu was last on the ice for the free skate competition, coming shortly after “once again Miki Ando [had] thrown down a challenge to the teenager from California” (thank you Andrea).
Way to freak out Words to Bumble’s favorite, Miki Ando. Way to freak her out.
Commentator Tara Lipinski reflected that, “There’s so much more pressure on Mirai this season, and if you can’t get your head in the game and block everyone and everything else out, it’s really hard to focus on your elements.”
I mean, her retina may also have been scarred from some of the costumes she had seen over the course of her weekend in Beijing, so her vision may have been compromised.
On the upside, her costume was inoffensive and fitting for a program skated to music from Memoirs of a Geisha. And in addition to her opening three-fer combo, she landed two lovely two-fer combos right after she wiped out on a jump. Way to get back up.
And although she was clearly not a happy camper when it was all over, she still smiled for her bows, she tried a smile and wave after her scores… even though she and coach Frank Carroll then beat it post-haste to get the hell off camera.
So… Frank, Mirai and I are all hoping for a happier free skate at her next Grand Prix event in Paris, France. /I would like to spend a weekend in France shopping, eating and watching figure skating.
And what about—you might ask—the lady who won it all, Miki Ando?
She’s pretty fierce, and probably still pretty mad that she placed 5th at the Olympics, right behind Ms. Nagasu. She skated a clean free program, the only one of the ladies to do so, prompting Lipinski to declare that “She is one of the best technicians” in women’s figure skating. At the end of her program Joyce exclaimed, “She has really thrown it down—so to speak.”
Joyce sounded just a little bit as though she wished she had gone for an alternate wording on that one.
Ando finished 25 points ahead of Nagasu and was joined on the podium by fellow Japanese skater Akiko Suzuki and Alena Leonova.