The cutting edge by Emma Pritchett

Grand Prix season is almost upon us, so before the excitement of the next few weeks starts, let’s review some of the excitement from the past few weeks. 

The ladies’ field at the Japan Open saw a lot of action as many of the best skaters went head to head in this preseason competition. Alexandra Trusova stole the show once again with her amazing quads. Trusova skated the same difficult program from her last competition, but with one minor difference. Well, maybe not that minor. She jumped not three, but four clean quads! She kicked the program off with a 4S, 4Ltz, 4T+3T. She then went on to jump 4T+1Eu+3S in the second half! (1Eu is a half rotation). I know I probably said this last time, but Trusova is a force to be reckoned with this season. 

Alina Zagitova debuted her programs at this competition, and I have to say I was very unimpressed. First of all, I strongly dislike her short program music, Me Voy by Yasmin Levy, which is all wrong for her. The music only makes her skating look more robotic than it already is. Her Cleopatra free program is very strange, and I hated her costume. She was way over scored by the judges. Her tech score was way too close to Trusova’s tech score, Alina didn’t jump a single quad or triple axel and still got a high tech score. 

Her component score was through the roof, and it should not have been. I hope this trend of Zagitova being overscored does not continue. Overall she skated well, she skated two clean programs, so I’ll give her that. More proof that Zagitova was overscored is that Rika Kihira landed two clean 3As and scored lower than Zagitova. The judges were obviously biased at this competition. 

American Bradie Tennell also competed at the Japan Open. I absolutely adore everything about her free program. Her skating has matured so much since the Olympics. Her free program is set to music from the movie Cinema Paradiso, and she interpreted the music quite beautifully, and her costume is gorgeous. She skated well despite the fall on the last combination and popping another jump. I am excited for what this season has in store for Bradie. 

At the 2019 CS Finland Trophy, Alena Kostornaia shocked the world in her senior debut. At the start of the season, Alena was only considered a threat because of her amazing artistry. She has certainly made a point that artistry isn’t all that the other skaters should fear. In her free program— set to music from Twilight— Alena landed two clean 3As! One of them was in combination too! Her tech score skyrocketed. She scored 157.59 in the free program, just six points off Trusova’s best this season. 

Kostornaia chose to keep her short program from last season, and I’m not complaining because it was beautiful. With her artistry and newfound high tech score, Alena will blow away the competition this season, as she did at the Finland Trophy. I believe she stands as a significant threat to Trusova. 

This concludes the preseason competitions. Now the real drama can start! Skate America kicks off the Grand Prix series on October 18th, and the competition will be fierce!