Rostelecom Cup 2017: The Judges

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The first event of the all-important 2017-2018 Grand Prix is here! Welcome back to The Judges’ Table. The ISU season is already well underway: Yuzuru Hanyu has already won a silver medal in Canada, Nathan Chen debuted a new quad without really warning anyone, we’ve watched approximately 397 different athletes skate to Moulin Rouge (and Carmen – don’t worry, it’s still an Olympic year), and Evgenia Medvedeva is still winning things. The start of the Grand Prix brings even more pressure as skaters look to establish themselves as medal contenders before the sport is under its biggest international spotlight in just a few months.

Thanks to these six judges for sitting at The Judges’ Table to kick off the 2017-2018 season!

Arlisse L. (@aethanie)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I grew up skating, but stopped after I learned how to do cross overs. Once, Mirai Nagasu retweeted my reaction to her triple axel and I actually cried a little bit.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years?  Tatsuki Machida at 2014 Worlds.

Camden R. (@camdenrider) | YouTube Channel
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I have skated for the last 11 years! Currently at the intermediate level. One time Ashley and Adam called me their son and that was my peak.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Satoko Miyahara’s free skate at 2017 Skate Canada.

Erin C. (@Erinsk8) | On Stage and Screen
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I was a competitive skater for 10 years and also did some coaching. I fell in love with the sport while watching the drama of the 94 Olympics and have never looked back.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Belbin & Agosto at the 2010 Olympics.

Hannah C. (@hannahskates96) | A Skater’s Perspective
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I have been competing for 14 years. I am also a skating coach and hope to make that my career!
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Almost anything from Ashley Wagner.

Meghan B. (@meghanbartels)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I can’t tell loops from axels but I have strong feelings about costumes.

Patrick D. (@Team_PDD) | Patrick Commentates Skating
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I lead figure skating prayer circles on twitter, make silly commentary videos, and spend way too much time tweeting about skating. Yay?
Favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years: Mirai Nagasu’s SP at 2015 NHK Trophy.

To keep up with those who have Twitter during the competitions, subscribe to our list and follow The Judges’ TableAnd check out the updated Judges’ Page to quickly find all of our judges online.

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Remember that? The Best Performances of the 2016-2017 Season

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Welcome back to The Judges’ Table! The 2017-2018 season is nearly here. If you don’t normally follow skating, HAPPY OLYMPICS! And if you do…crap, the Olympics.

Unfortunately, this was a quiet summer for The Judges’ Table. While I would have loved to do some new throwback events, my schedule just didn’t allow it. 

Between the Junior Grand Prix, test skates, and a slew of senior Bs, figure skating is slowly dialing up towards what should be a bloodbath of a Grand Prix and nationals season. What better way to prepare than to look back at the best performances of last season? As a bonus, reading through the judges’ thoughts gives you a pretty good idea of what happened throughout the entirety of last season, instead of  justthe things we all remember from the end. Before you declare 2016-2017 clinically dead, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Included in this list are the skates that the judges decided were the “best performances” at each event. Since some judges listed more than one skate as the “best performance,” I usually took the first or most convenient one listed. Sometimes, a skater’s free and short were both listed; I generally picked one or the other. Some of the descriptions are lightly edited from their original post.
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The Judges’ Table Does World Team Trophy 2017

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Congratulations on surviving the 2016-2017 season! It’s officially over. We’ve come a long way. Remember watching So Youn Park and Pogrebinsky/Benoit at Skate America? Since then, we’ve had another Yuzuru Hanyu world record, multiple WRs from Evgenia Medvedeva and between Virtue/Moir and Papadakis/Cizeron in Dance, a shakeup among the top pairs, and a decent number of retirements, including Kanako Murakami, who retired during this event’s exhibition.

Before getting to World Team Trophy, I want to thank all of this year’s judges and readers for a successful second season at The Judges’ Table. Over the last two years, The Judges’ Table has seated 75 unique judgesSeventy-five. It’s been incredibly exciting to be able to share so many different perspectives with all of you. And if you’re reading and haven’t judged yet – what are you waiting for?! After I review everyone’s bold predictions for this season, we’ll do a few throwback events to rejudge some figure skating events from the last 20-30 years (last summer we covered the 2002 Olympics pairs event and the 1994 Olympics ladies free skate). Sign up so you can judge, too!

This is especially relevant if you’re not seeing your perspective represented here. We’ve had participation from fans of nearly every competing skater/team (except somehow two-time US champion Gracie Gold??). So if you’re a Gracie fan, or there’s another perspective that’s missing – maybe you’re a competitor, commentator, Team USA gymnastics coordinator, or just another sleep-deprived fan with new ideas – we want you here!

Alright, enough of that. Let’s meet the judges who sat at The Judges’ Table for World Team Trophy!

Banana W. (@quadsal)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan, if any. I went to GPF 2015 and kind of cried the entire time. Also, a lady from the JSF laughed really, really hard at me once.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Akiko Suzuki’s career??

Grace W. | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Although I have no personal skating experience, my first live experience was watching the Men’s FS and Free Dance of the 1998 Worlds in Minneapolis, MN when I was 5 years old. I am going to 2017 Worlds in Finland!
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I would have to go with Ashley Wagner’s short program at the Olympics. I totally agree with her reaction and thought that should have been scored higher.

Meghan D. (@DadeMeghan) | Figuratively Speaking
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Michelle Kwan was my first skating obsession. Like, I literally had a replica of her necklace that I bought with her book at the book fair. And I wore it. Proudly.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years?  Justice for #TinyQueen!

Noelle D. (@madforskating)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I watched the 2014 Olympics not knowing an axel from a salchow but just got so obsessed with it that I needed to know everything about figure skating. I’ve actually never gone skating before – I leave that up to the pros! I’ve been to one skating event in person (Skate America 2015). 
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje’s free dance at 2015 Worlds (and every other event). Four Seasons of pure heaven.
Roshni B. (@RoshniBhudia)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I watched the last group of men at 2014 US Nats and was instantly hooked. I then watched the Olympics, Junior Worlds, and Worlds and finally found a sport I enjoyed watching. I hope to one day go to a competition, but that probably won’t happen until after I graduate college.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? There’s way too many to pick just one, but I boiled it down to 3: Weaver/Poje’s 2015 Worlds FD and Satoko Miyahara’s SP and FS at 2016 Worlds.
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 WTT, 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!

World Team Trophy 2017: The Judges

WTT Elena Radionova

It’s time for Scott Moir’s favorite competition of the year – World Team Trophy! After a full season where the stress of the pre-Olympics season inevitably took a toll on the athletes, your favorite skate- uh, the substitutes for your favorite skaters are competing yet again instead of take a short break and maybe getting some rest. Thanks, ISU! On the plus side, we can expect crazy Kiss and Cry antics and a chance for several skaters to redeem themselves from rough seasons – assuming you live in Asia or you plan to stay up all night. Good practice for the Olympics, Western hemisphere!

Thanks to the judges sitting at The Judges’ Table for World Team Trophy this week! This list will be updated as one or two more are added.

Meghan D. (@DadeMeghan) | Figuratively Speaking
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Michelle Kwan was my first skating obsession. Like, I literally had a replica of her necklace that I bought with her book at the book fair. And I wore it. Proudly.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years?  Justice for #TinyQueen!

Noelle D. (@madforskating)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I watched the 2014 Olympics not knowing an axel from a salchow but just got so obsessed with it that I needed to know everything about figure skating. I’ve actually never gone skating before – I leave that up to the pros! I’ve been to one skating event in person (Skate America 2015). 
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Weaver/Poje’s free dance at 2015 Worlds (and every other event). Four Seasons of pure heaven.
Events judged: World Team Trophy 2017

Grace W. | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Although I have no personal skating experience, my first live experience was watching the Men’s FS and Free Dance of the 1998 Worlds in Minneapolis, MN when I was 5 years old. I am going to 2017 Worlds in Finland!
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? I would have to go with Ashley Wagner’s short program at the Olympics. I totally agree with her reaction and thought that should have been scored higher.

Roshni B. (@RoshniBhudia)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I watched the last group of men at 2014 US Nats and was instantly hooked. I then watched the Olympics, Junior Worlds, and Worlds and finally found a sport I enjoyed watching. I hope to one day go to a competition, but that probably won’t happen until after I graduate college.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? There’s way too many to pick just one, but I boiled it down to 3: Weaver/Poje’s 2015 Worlds FD and Satoko Miyahara’s SP and FS at 2016 Worlds.

To keep up with those who have Twitter during the competitions, subscribe to our list and follow The Judges’ TableAnd check out the updated Judges’ Page to quickly find all of our judges online.

 

The Judges’ Table Does the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships

Shoma Worlds 2017

The season is over (with the exception of everyone’s favorite event, of course), and it’s onto the Olympics! Lots of skaters have already told us how completely over 2016-2017 they are by immediately distracting us with new music. So far, it looks like we’re getting two American La La Land programs, a reprise of Hip Hip Chin Chin, at least one Carmina Burana, possibly some Hamilton, Swan Lake and Phantom, and, I’m just going to say this even though I haven’t seen it yet, I assume someone’s going to do Turandot.

It’s a good thing we’re already looking towards next year, because some of our judges thought this was a pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ worlds. But several skaters did break scoring records, making for several very exciting skates. Of course, that needs to be balanced out by whatever happened in the last group of the free dance. I’ll let our judges talk about that. 🙂

Thanks to these six judges for sitting at The Judges’ Table for Worlds!

Amanda P. (@storyologist_ap) | The Storyologist
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Wanted to learn to skate for years, but didn’t have the time, money, and courage all at the same time til a couple years ago; now I sloooowly work my way through the skills in between multiple jobs, grad school, and, you know, life. I’ve watching skating all my life, and in recent years have particularly gravitated towards ice dance.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Everyone keeps saying Mao’s Olympic FS, so I’m going to go for the lower ranks and say Hawayek/Baker’s 2015 US Nationals FD.

Erin (@Erinsk8On Stage and Screen
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I skated competitively for 10 years, worked as a coach, and now I continue to follow the sport obsessively. I attended Worlds 2016 in Boston this year and it was pretty much the best experience ever.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? The one that immediately comes to mind is Belbin and Agosto at the 2010 Olympics. They should have been third.

Margaret D. (@elysiondream)| Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan, if any. Like a lot of people, I became a figure skating fan during the whole Nancy/Tanya saga before the 1994 Olympics. Never been on the ice myself — ha, I would fall right on my butt the second I stepped on it! — but I just absolutely fell in love with the combination of art and athleticism and knew I would be a lifelong fan.
Favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years: When it comes to the whole Sochi thing, I have no real opinion of who should have won ladies’ gold and thought a case could be made for all the medalists, but I do think that Mao Asada should have at least won the free skate. 

Sam S. (@szabothebaby)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. Been a fan of the sport since 1997 and have taken some basic skating classes (I have a mean forward swizzle lol). Also I’m a professional dancer in New York which definitely informs the way I watch skating.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Mirai’s short at 2014 Nationals.

Sean Z. (@enderstar)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I have been a figure skating fan for over 10 years and also a part-time sports writer specializing in figure skating from China. Though not a skater myself, I am very interested in the technical side of the sport. I have also covered several ISU events including GP China, GPF and FCC. Ice dance is my favorite category and probably the most fabulous thing on this planet.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Yuna Kim’s free skate at Sochi. Though given over 140 points, in my opinion, this routine is the Mount Everest of ladies’ single skating in terms of artistry, choreography, transitions, interpretation and the overall concept. Its hidden difficulty is unbelievable. So its PCS given at Sochi should have been so much higher, especially comparing to the PCS some other skaters received that night.

Tiffany (@TiffLangston) | Tiffany Langston
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I met Paul Wylie at #Worlds2016. Really, my life is complete at this moment. Everything else is bonus. Seriously, I’ve been a skating fan since I watched his Olympic long program in 1992 (I feel so old). Took a bit of a break for a couple of years, came back strong around 2008 (the Evan/Johnny drama was everything) and have enjoyed every minute of being able to communicate with other figure skating fans through social media. (My IRL friends just don’t seem to get it.)
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Mao Asada’s 2014 Olympic LP.

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The Judges’ Table Does World Junior Championships 2017

FSKATE-TPE

Junior Worlds 2017 broke records – Vincent Zhou’s quad lutz and Australia’s first ISU championship gold medal come to mind – while still crowning a few expected champions, including Alina Zagitova and Parsons/Parsons. Junior Worlds opened with a 45-person, 35-country, 7-hour long men’s short program event in which a huge number of skaters went clean, inspiring confidence about the future of figure skating through 2022 and 2026. Less inspiring was the 16-team, 13-country pairs event, which echoes concerns whispered among fans of the senior ranks that pairs skating could be in trouble. Somewhat encouragingly, the top three teams were very competitive with each other.

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to track down several videos I was hoping to find for this post. If you find a video that’s missing, please send it this way!

Thanks to these five judges for sitting at The Judges’ Table to close out the junior figure skating season:

Bea (@tweenershots) | You Only Lutz Once
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I co-founded and blog in You Only Lutz Once. I also co-founded Tropical Frost, a fan site dedicated to Michael Christian Martinez (PHI). Outside streaming, I’ve watched Four Continents in Taipei last season. (I was probably on TV too many times because of the many banners we had, especially that “The CHANpion is Back” banner. This season, I got to watch Asian Open Trophy and got to meet and cheer for many of my favorite skaters.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Tatsuki Machida’s 2014 Worlds free skate

J.j. (@RealDetective) | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. One time Meryl Davis told me happy birthday and another time a security guard told me he took a picture of me and Zach Donohue but he unknowingly never actually pressed the button and I didn’t want to ask Zach for another picture. It was all very sad. Except for the Meryl part. Which made being old worth it.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Davis/White 2014 US Nationals Free Dance and let me tell you why, you see one judge (specifically Mary Karen Henderson OF THEIR VERY OWN HOME STATE OF MICHIGAN) thought that they were worthy of only +2 GOE on two elements and had the gall, THE GALL, to give them a 9.75 in one (1) PCS category WHICH IS A FULL STEP LESS THAN WHAT IS SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE. Sure, these scores are thrown out and Meryl Elizabeth Davis and Chuck White scored the maximum amount of points possible BUT THE PRINCIPLE. The principle. (Don’t @ me.)

Mara B. (@missmaraskate)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan, if any. I started out as purely an ice dance fan, after watching D/W on DWTS. Gradually, I was introduced to the other disciplines, and I’ve found myself enjoying all of them. I’ve never been to a live event…hopefully that will change eventually (hi Skate America 2017!).

Ryan P. (@jetsfan_85)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I used to compete from ages 15-17 and casually skated for years later. Just got back into it this year (31y.o now). I watch every GP competition of the year as well as Canadian and American Nationals etc.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Bourne/Kraatz River Dance 1998 Worlds…they should have won gold.

TJ C. (@Tsk8c)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I am a current competitor in ice dancing (and a first-time national qualifier!). I’m a huge fan of the sport, but it’s not like I have a problem or anything (hehehe…).
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje’s FD at the 2014 GP Final.

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World Junior Championships 2017: The Judges

marin honda world juniors 2016

We’re finally back! It’s been a long several weeks since Four Continents, but the World Junior Championships are here and we’re returning to Taipei – the site of the 2016 Four Continents Championships. Three of last year’s champions are returning this event, and all will likely encounter great difficulty in defending their titles. I imagine Daniel Samohin’s skates will actually arrive this time, but that’s not going to be enough to stop his competitors. McNamara and Carpenter will have to get past their uncharacteristic mistakes this season to beat their undefeated teammates, Parsons and Parsons. And Marin Honda, who has had a good season compared to her fellow reigning champions, is facing a team of seemingly unstoppable Russian women, two of whom are coached by Eteri Tutberidze – the same coach as Evgenia Medvedeva, who is nearly undefeated over the last three years.

Thanks to these judges for sitting at The Judges’ Table for Junior Worlds!

Bea (@tweenershots) | You Only Lutz Once
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I co-founded and blog in You Only Lutz Once. I also co-founded Tropical Frost, a fan site dedicated to Michael Christian Martinez (PHI). Outside streaming, I’ve watched Four Continents in Taipei last season. (I was probably on TV too many times because of the many banners we had, especially that “The CHANpion is Back” banner. This season, I got to watch Asian Open Trophy and got to meet and cheer for many of my favorite skaters.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Tatsuki Machida’s 2014 Worlds free skate

J.j. (@RealDetective) | Tumblr
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. One time Meryl Davis told me happy birthday and another time a security guard told me he took a picture of me and Zach Donohue but he unknowingly never actually pressed the button and I didn’t want to ask Zach for another picture. It was all very sad. Except for the Meryl part. Which made being old worth it.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Davis/White 2014 US Nationals Free Dance and let me tell you why, you see one judge (specifically Mary Karen Henderson OF THEIR VERY OWN HOME STATE OF MICHIGAN) thought that they were worthy of only +2 GOE on two elements and had the gall, THE GALL, to give them a 9.75 in one (1) PCS category WHICH IS A FULL STEP LESS THAN WHAT IS SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE. Sure, these scores are thrown out and Meryl Elizabeth Davis and Chuck White scored the maximum amount of points possible BUT THE PRINCIPLE. The principle. (Don’t @ me.)

Mara B. (@missmaraskate)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan, if any. I started out as purely an ice dance fan, after watching D/W on DWTS. Gradually, I was introduced to the other disciplines, and I’ve found myself enjoying all of them. I’ve never been to a live event…hopefully that will change eventually (hi Skate America 2017!).

Ryan P. (@jetsfan_85)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I used to compete from ages 15-17 and casually skated for years later. Just got back into it this year (31y.o now). I watch every GP competition of the year as well as Canadian and American Nationals etc.
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Bourne/Kraatz River Dance 1998 Worlds…they should have won gold.

TJ C. (@Tsk8c)
Tell us a little about your experiences with figure skating or as a fan. I am a current competitor in ice dancing (and a first-time national qualifier!). I’m a huge fan of the sport, but it’s not like I have a problem or anything (hehehe…).
What’s your favorite grossly underscored skate of the last five years? Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje’s FD at the 2014 GP Final.

To keep up with those who have Twitter during the competitions, subscribe to our list and follow The Judges’ Table. And check out the updated Judges’ Page to quickly find all of our judges online.