The cutting edge by Emma Pritchett


The road to the Grand Prix Final was exciting, but in my opinion somewhat predictable. Here are the ladies that qualified for the final.

Russian newcomer Anna Shcherbakova had a fantastic senior debut at Skate America. Shcherbakova won the event with her record-breaking free skate. She landed two quad lutz, one of them in combination. While she was far off the lead after the short program, her monster tech score in the free skate allowed her to run away from the competition.

At the Cup of China, Shcherbakova gave about the same performances as she did at Skate America. The only difference was her lutz edge was called unclear for all her lutz jump which cost her a lot of points. The lutz is a toe pick jump where the skater takes off on the outside edge of the blade.

Shcherbakova takes off with an almost and inside edge. Even with the edge calls, Shcherbakova still won the competition becoming the first to qualify for the final.

American Bradie Tennell gave two wonderful performances at Skate America to land her second. While she doesn’t have the technical content to match the Russians, she has the maturity and artistry that they lack. A week after Skate America, Bradie competed at Skate Canada where she ended up in fourth. She qualified for the final because the sum of the total number of points she gathered from each competition was just high enough to get her in the sixth spot.

The Japanese teenager Rika Kihira earned her spot with two-second place finishes at Skate Canada and NHK Trophy in Japan. Kihira’s technical content was not what it could have been because she is not jumping any lutz jumps due to an injury (lutz have the highest base value of all the jumps). Her triple axels were no match for Trusova’s quads at Skate Canada, and Kostornaia out axled her in Japan. Two-second place finishes were enough to secure her a spot in Torino, Italy.

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova had two very rough competitions at the Internationaux de France and NHK Trophy. Her jumps were unstable and inconsistent, but she managed to scrape by and qualify for the final.

Newcomer Alexandra Trusova blew away the crowd at Skate Canada when she landed three of four quads in her free program, setting a world record of 166 points. She won the competition in a landslide.

At the Rostelecom Cup in Russia, Trusova again landed three of four planned quads in her free program. She fell on the same quad both times, the quad Salchow. Her insane technical content again allowed her to take the win and qualify for the final.

The last newcomer Alena Kostornaia, charmed everyone with her amazing triple axels and beautiful artistry.