The Judges’ Table Does European Championships 2017

 

james-cipres-euros-cropped

Despite crowning three reigning winners as the 2017 European Figure Skating Champions, Euros was about as exciting an event as you could ask for. Ice dance scoring changes! Illegal triple toes! Javier Fernandez / Russian men getting their swag back! An outstanding final group of pairs teams!

We now have to wait several week before we see if Four Continents can match the quality and drama of this year’s European Championships. In the meantime, before you go into figure skating withdrawal, here is our Euros rejudging! Thanks to all the judges who sat at the table for this event:

Aiden (@aidenaiena)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Have been a fan since 1994.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Mao Asada 2014 Olympic FS.

Carla
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I’m a roller skater and I’ve been an avid fan of figure skating since I saw Yuna Kim at the 2010 Olympics. I attended the 2015-16 Grand Prix Final in Barcelona.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Ashley Wagner and Yuna Kim at the 2014 Olympics.

Francy S. (@fs_evolution) | Figure Skating Evolution Events Photography 
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Avid fan since the 2006 Winter Olympics! I try to attend live competitions whenever I can – most of my holidays are skating related 🙂 I find watching practices fun and extremely interesting. Recently getting into skating photography too.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje 2014 Worlds FD

Heidi M. (@heihei_0422)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Casually watched Euros and Worlds as a child, started to follow the sport more actively in late 2011 (why then? no idea) and now I’m at a point where every missed live stream of any A-level competition is A Failure At Life.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Satoko Miyahara’s free skate at 2016 Worlds.

Judit F.
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I was an ISU referee and ISU Technical Delegate until 2003. Since 2003 I have been a commentator for figure skating at Eurosport Hungary.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years?  Virtue and Moire contra Davis and White at the Olympic Games.

Keira C. (@tripletoes) | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I figure skated until I was 11, giving the sport up for horseback riding (which I regret). I got back into the sport, this time as a fan, during the 2014 US National Championships – and ever since, I’ve been obsessed!
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje’s 2015 Worlds FD. Beautifully choreographed and well skated – they should have gotten the gold.

LET’S GET JUDGING. Click “continue reading” below to continue. When you’re finished reading, leave a comment to let us know what you thought about Euros, how you think the real judges did, and how you think our judges did. If you disagree, sign up to judge an event later in the year and share your thoughts!

Be honest: how much of this event did you *actually* watch?
Aiden: All the singles, most of pairs and select few ice dance.

Carla: Almost all the SP, all the ladies and pairs FS and the last three groups of the men FS and FD.

Francy: Most of it, except for some of the earlier groups.

Heidi: Every competitive performance.

Judit: Almost everything.

Keira: All of dance and pairs (!!!) and what NBCSN broadcasted for ladies and men’s.

Who had the best performance of the event?
Aiden: James/Cipres FS. Having been at Skate America and seeing both of their programs at the beginning of the season, it was apparent the potential both of their programs had. The sheer disappointment (especially Cipres) after Skate America made the exuberance of their successful, medal-winning performance even more special. It truly felt like everyone was happy for them.

Carla: Savchenko/Massot’s FS. Their program didn’t convince me at the GP events, but they’ve nailed it at Euros and right now I think it’s one of the best pairs FS I’ve ever seen. I actually got goose bumps. Their twist is still the best in the world and their lifts are impressive. If they can include the thrown triple axel, they will be unbeatable at Worlds. Oh, and that final pose is simply gorgeous.

Francy: The mysterious caller who phoned the Tech panel to review the SD scores hours after the event. It’s no Euro ice dance without drama. Kostner’s SP because she’s the only one who could meaningfully skate to a program of percussion only. All hail Regina Carolina, 10 times on the podium at Europeans (the first time, Med was 7 and Pogo 8). Also DramatikJorik and BabyBlondeLambiel were bright lights in a messy men competition.

Heidi: Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot’s free skate was quite amazing. They’re such a quality team, the program was beautiful, and that triple twist never fails to amaze me.

Judit: Carolina Kostner’s short program, which had very difficult music. In my opinion, it is only Carolina who can skate a to this music.

Keira: Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, easily. Their free skate to “The Sound of Silence” gives me chills every time I watch it, and to see it performed as well as it was here was a real treat.

Who improved the most from the last time you watched them skate?
Aiden: Jorik Hendrickx. I’ve been a fan of Jorik for a while (and even have forgiven the dreadful Titanic FS music from last season) and he always is able to draw me into his performances. I love my quad men (Yuzu, Javi, Nathan, Shoma, Boyang…) but there’s few skaters, like Jorik, Deniss Vasiljevs and Jason Brown, who don’t have (at least consistent) quads but their spins and artistry more than make up for the lack of quads. Both of Jorik’s skates were beautiful to watch and I can’t help but always finding myself rooting for him.

Carla: I got impressed by the improvements of many skaters, but I think I’ll go with Ivett Toth. She melted down in the FS, but I enjoyed her SP so much. She looked more confident and expressive and skated with much more speed and fluency. The FS was a shame though, because I expected her to be in the top 6.

Francy: James/Cipres, they showed signs of brilliance throughout the season and lots of people were waiting for them to put it together in one competition. Lecavelier skates with renewed confidence, could it be the costume change? Thanks to a nationality switch we got to see Moris K (and his Haddaway SP) again!

Heidi: Moris Kvitelashvili. I remembered his hilarious short program from last season’s Cup of China, where he was quite the headcase, and now he does, what, a 4S+3T in the short program and three quads in his free skate? Fourth best free skate in the men’s competition? Colour me impressed.

Judit: Kovtun and Vassiljevs, James/Cipres.

Keira: I really love Nicole Rajicova for some reason, so it was great to see her skate as well as she did here after a pretty rough Grand Prix season.

Which performance was the most underscored?
Aiden: While I’m not his biggest fan, I thought that Maxim Kovtun’s score was going to be higher than it was. Maybe it is just because he has had a rough, inconsistent career that when he finally put together two clean programs (especially his FS), I expected his scores to be a little closer to Javi than they were.

Carla: I think that the judging was fair and I don’t think that any performance was severely underscored. However, I expected Vasiljevs to get higher PCS on his SP, but 37+ points is quite good.

Francy: The scoring in the dance event (surprise!) was kind of all over the place even after the top 3: Fournier-Beaudry/Sorensen and Lauriault/LeGac should have been a few placements higher, and were both lowballed in PCS. Someone explain me how they compared to the PCS scores of Sinitsina/Katsalapov, the mess of the second half of Stepanova and Bukin’s FD, the lack of polish for the Polish (even though their FD is genius), etc… Honorable mention to the lovely Daniel Albert Naurits in men, who should have made the free without the help of poor Samohin.

Heidi: I didn’t see any blatant underscoring here, but Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte receiving that -1.00 deduction hours after the short dance competition ended seems a bit sketchy.

Judit: Stepanova/Bukin tango free dance was really underscored.

Keira: Anna Duskova and Martin Bidar in the short. Even with the fluke fall, they should have earned a higher score. They’re such great performers, and they should be rewarded in PCS for that.

Which performance was the most overscored?
Aiden: World Gold Medal = Overscored at Europeans? I thought both Javi and Evgenia Medvedeva’s FS programs were overscored, but more egregiously for Javi. I have a hard time accepting any perfect 10s for any component for a skate that is not perfect. I know the performance or interpretation can be amazing even if a fall or other mistake occurs; however, I just don’t think a fall can warrant a perfect 10 as a fall disrupts the performance, interpretation, etc. I love Javi as a skater, but his exuberant component scores have always baffled me somewhat.

Carla: As I’ve said before, the judging was fair (at least to me), so I’ll go with the obvious answer: Medvedeva. In fact, she’s one of my favourite skaters, but I think she doesn’t deserve such high PCS scores. Her programs are intricate and has the most difficult technical content in the ladies event, but she lacks maturity and expression. And I’m so sad because she broke Yuna’s WR 😦

Francy: Tarasova/Morozov are excellent skaters with great elements, but their programs range from bland to cringeworthy (music was my first looooveeeee) and their performance quality is flat. Their PCS should have been a tad lower (for example compared the kickass programs of Savchenko/Massot).

Heidi: Evgenia Medvedeva’s free skate didn’t deserve a world record score, in my opinion. Sure, she’s technically a great skater and not too bad a performer, but the program was not that engaging and her mimics seem forced. She needs to polish her arm movements, stop doing invalid combos at competitions just for the heck of it, and most importantly find a choreographer and program music that will challenge her and not follow the same style she’s been doing for (at least) two seasons now. 

Judit: My opinion is Fernandez, who is really a great skater, but not this time. He was overscored in the free program

Keira: Guys, I’m not saying this just because I’m sick of her winning everything, but Evgenia in both segments of the competition. While she’s got good jumps (look, she can do an extra combo in the free just for fun! *groans*) there’s no reason she should be scored as highly as she is in PCS. Giving her scores as high is this tells her there’s no way she can improve, that she’s *flawless*, when that simply isn’t the case.

Out of those skaters and teams who finished in the bottom half of their events, who had the best performance?
Aiden: I have to choose Daniel Samohin only because I felt absolutely terrible for the situation he was in. Apparently his skates were lost by the airline and he had to borrow his brother’s skates. I never felt like Daniel acted in an unprofessional manner even though he was barely able to complete any jumping pass. Other skaters who have arrogant personas, in my opinion, would not have handle the situation as commendably as he did.

Carla: Natasha McKay was a big surprise in the first groups of the ladies event. Her programs are simple and doesn’t have much technical content, but what set her apart from the rest of the lower ranked ladies was her presence on the ice. She skated with a lot of energy and was very expressive. It was a breath of fresh air in those first groups, and I hope she can increase the level of difficulty of her programs to see her more often in international competitions.

Francy: Let’s say outside the top 5: Duskova/Bidar in pairs, what a promising debut in the Senior ranks! Fournier-Beaudry/Sorensen and Lauriault/LeGac had two solid skates in both segments.

Heidi: I found myself liking Daniel Albert Naurits’ performances a lot. He doesn’t yet have all the jumps needed to be a contender for higher placements, but already has lovely skating skills and seemed much more engaged in his programs than some of the technically more advanced skaters. There was something in his skating that reminded me of Shoma Uno, even, so I was pretty much sold.

Judit: Rajicova, both Hendrickxs, Duskova/Bidar.

Keira: The British dance team of Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson really impressed me in the free dance. Extra points for skating to Josh Groban!

Who has the most to gain at their next competition?
Aiden: James/Cipres. They have the momentum from winning their first European medal and hopefully will be able to use that to perform two clean programs, including a clean throw 4S, at Worlds.

Carla: Again, I don’t think there is an obvious answer to this question, but I’ll go with Tarasova and Morozov. Right now they are the GPF and European champions, and have a good chance of making the Worlds podium. This would definitely establish them as one of the top teams in the world, and would put them in a good position entering the Olympic season. However, they will have a hard time getting that world medal, because, even though they’ve proved that are capable of beating some of the top pairs, they still haven’t faced Sui/Han or a clean Duhamel/Radford.

Francy: Tarasova/Morozov are now Russia’s #1 and have a great shot at a medal at worlds. Other skaters who did well here (Hendricks, Lecavelier, James/Cipres, etc) will receive higher PCS in the future.

Heidi: Laurine Lecavalier didn’t even make it into the free skate at last year’s Worlds, but if she skates in Helsinki like she did here at Euros, her placement is bound to be much, much better.

Keira: Carolina Kostner proved that just because she missed two years of competition doesn’t mean she’s one to be counted out. A good showing at Worlds might give her the status as a favorite for an Olympic medal.

Who has the most to lose at their next competition?
Aiden: Maxim Kovtun. After so many mediocre performances, especially since his not making the Sochi Olympics, it seems many have written Maxim off. He has gorgeous quad jumps when he lands them and, when he in invested, can put together a great performance. The big question will be which Maxim will we see at Worlds? With several Russian junior men coming up the ranks, it is pivotal that Maxim continues to skate his best with Pyeongchang just a year away.

Carla: Sinitsina and Katsalapov. I don’t know what’s happening to them this season, but during the GP they looked less improved than the rest of the field, and these Euros have been a mess. What’s even worse is that they are losing ground to Stepanova and Bukin. They will need to demonstrate that they are still focused and capable of skating well, so they can get back their status as the second best ice dance team in Russia.

Francy: It will be tough for Javi and Papadakis/Cizeron to keep the World title.

Heidi: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron’s streak of World gold medals could very well end in Helsinki, since Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are back and already won them at the Grand Prix Final.

Judit: Javier Fernandez.

Keira: Maria Sotskova. If Russia still decides to send her to Worlds, she’ll need to prove that she’s reliable or else risk her chances of being put on the Olympic team.

What surprised you most about this event?
Aiden: A lot of skaters really made the most out of their opportunity at Europeans and really have advanced their careers and standings: James/Cipres first European medal, Jorik Hendrickx’s fourth place finish, his sister Loena Hendrickx’s seventh place debut & Laurine Lecavelier’s fifth place finish.

Carla: What surprised me the most was that the judges did their job quite well. What I also didn’t expect was to see Kovtun skate a clean SP (cheers) and that there wasn’t a Russian sweep at the ladies podium. Oh, an honorable mention to Carolina Kostner for the great comeback!

Francy: I was surprised that the pairs event was the best one, the final group in the FS was epic. The men as always were rather anticlimactic and a tragic end to an otherwise very decent Europeans. I was also surprised that Papadakis/Cizeron didn’t win by a landslide.

Heidi: There were quite a lot of surprises here, but I’m going to go with Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres finally earning their first medal at Euros with two impressive programs.

Judit: The crowd. It was quite a big arena and it was almost full for a Europeans.

Keira: The fact that Evgenia’s team hasn’t removed those offensive and possibly triggering audio clips from her free skate.

Which non-medalist from this event is likely to have the most success at Worlds?
Aiden: Maria Sotskova because I never underestimate the power of Russian ladies figure skaters. While Maria currently is not one of my favorites, her season so far shows she could be a spoiler in Helsinki if she skates her best. She beat Anna Pogorilaya in Russian Nationals so it is possible that Maria could use her underdog standing to surprise everyone at Worlds.

Carla: Jorik Hendrickx. He has had a terrific season, but a fourth place finish at Euros is the best thing that could have happened to him. Apart from raising his status, it will boost his confidence at Worlds. If he skates clean as he has been doing all season, he can make the top 10. However, he needs to be terrific because he lacks technical content, but I strongly believe that he is capable of it.

Francy: DivaKsenia will hopefully be healed for worlds and bring her fierceness for a medal.

Heidi: Competing against all the strong skaters from Asia and North America, I don’t think any of the non-medalists here have much of a chance at improving their placements at Worlds compared to Euros. Still, whacky things have happened in skating, especially this season, so who knows.

Judit: Stolbova/Klimov.

Keira: The Hendrickx siblings have proven that they are extremely capable of performing well, and I predict they both manage a top 15 finish at Worlds.

Which medalist from this event is likely to have the least success at Worlds?
Aiden: As much as I love her, I think Carolina Kostner will have the least “success” at Worlds only because I don’t think she has the technical arsenal needed to medal at Worlds. To be honest, I think the judges were a little generous with her at Europeans, and even if the Worlds judges are just as generous, her component scores probably won’t be enough to place her on the podium unless she skates cleanly and a few others falter some.

Carla: Mikhail Kolyada had a successful competition at Worlds last year, but this season he has been pretty inconsistent. He has got a medal in Ostrava because the field was not very deep, but he can’t afford these mistakes at Worlds. Now he has lost confidence after these weak performances, I don’t think he will be ready to handle the pressure at Worlds to skate clean.

Francy: I doubt that Kovtun or Kolyada will come close to the podium at Worlds.

Heidi: Maxim Kovtun has been quite inconsistent this season and I’m half-expecting him not to repeat the good performances he had here at Worlds.

Judit: It will be a hard competition for the Europeans skaters at Worlds, especially in the dance and men’s events.

Keira: It pains me to say this, but Javier Fernandez. He’ll be up against the s(QUAD), who, with clean skates, could potentially sweep the podium. Yuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan should also provide some major competition for Javi. [Editor’s note: the s(QUAD) has been showing up on Twitter as Shoma Uno, Boyang Jin, and Nathan Chen. If anyone knows who using it first, let me know and I’ll credit them here!]

The experts always get to make “bold predictions.” Make a bold prediction about something that will happen in the remainder of the season.
Aiden: None of the 2016 World Champions in any discipline win gold in Helsinki.

Carla: I will go very bold and will say that Medvedeva won’t win Worlds because she will melt down in the FS. Papadakis and Cizeron will finally beat Virtue/Moir. Shoma Uno will win 4CC and include the quad loop in his programs.

Francy: Ilinykh and Katsalapov will team up again after realizing how tragically their careers are declining (let’s take a moment to remember how Nikita went from wild twizzles to not even bother to do the element). Someone will make a mysterious phone call and the Sochi results will be modified with random deductions. Medvedeva will win every competition until the Olympics where she will add a 3t to every one of her jumping passes. Chan will get two clean programs together at Worlds, and we will need a new PCS range to separate him from the rest of the field.

Heidi: Javier Fernandez gets his third World gold medal, because his main rivals have no chill and either break themselves before the competition or bomb their free skates because of attempting 47 quads. Papadakis and Cizeron won’t get gold OR silver at Worlds. Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin will go to Worlds instead of Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, restoring the good order of things. Pairs free skate competition at Worlds is going to be so lit the organizers might as well have the fire patrol ready by the rink, just in case. Somehow I manage not to lose my mind watching all of this live.

Judit: A new world champion in Helsinki in the men’s event.

Keira: Evgenia does not win Worlds (if I say it enough, it will happen). Nathan Chen will win Worlds. Mariah Bell proves she deserves a spot on the World team and is on the podium at 4CC. Satoko Miyahara is offered a cameo role in The Last Jedi.

Bonus question! Imagine one country with competitors at this event is being given another spot at Worlds in all four disciplines (even if they already have three). The skaters in these disciplines do *not* have to met the technical minimums to compete at Worlds. Which country is getting additional spots and why?
Aiden: I would be glad to give Russia more ladies spots as I don’t think there is any country that has a stronger field in one discipline. I would love to see Evgenia, Anna, Maria, Elena, Elizaveta & Yulia comprise the six-lady Russian World team. It’s kind of sad that the only time all can complete against each other is Russian Nationals.

Carla: Russia is getting more spots because there are many Russian skaters that deserve to be at Worlds but they can’t because of the depth of the Russian field. Besides, the Russian Federation has decided who wants in the world team before Nationals start, conditioning the final classification.

Francy: Everyone will want more spots for Russia so I’ll go with Spain for dance because I love all 3 Spanish teams! Let’s throw in one more spot for Israel in men, poor Samohin and the skates problem!

Keira: France. Because I want Mae AND Laurine there.

Anything else to add about this event?
Aiden: I’ve put a lot of thought into Evgenia Medvedeva adding the invalid third triple toeloop like she did at Russian Nationals. I keep trying to decide if there is a reason for it other than to just show off. Is she trying to make it so maybe three triple toeloops are allowed in the future? Is she trying it in competition with plans on possibly changing her program’s jumps next season? Is she just trying to psyche out her competition by showing just how consistent and proficient of a jumper she is? Or is she just a 16 year old girl who just wanted to add another jump because she can?

Carla: Thanks, Viktoria Kavaliova, for changing your SP dress. I’ve missed Radionova soooo much 😦 I can’t wait 3 weeks until 4CC starts!

Francy: The crowd support looked absolutely fantastic and it was nice to see the arena relatively full in the earlier events, for a small city like Ostrava!

Heidi: The audience in Ostrava was fantastic! I could sense the enthusiasm and the heartfelt support for the skaters even though I was just watching an internet stream at home.

Keira: Ostrava hosted a GREAT event. The whole arena got behind every skater, which was so nice to see.

What did you think about this year’s European Championships? How did our judges do? Leave us a comment to let us know, then sign up to judge a future event!

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