As the 2015-2016 season approaches, some of us are feeling like we need a trip down memory lane, and others of us are feeling a little antsy for skating competition. In the next couple of weeks, I'm bringing you some of my favorites from last season (in no particular order).
What were your favorites of last season? Sound off in the comments section below!
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva RUS
2015 World Team Trophy free skate
There was one skater who single-handedly (or single-jumpedly) changed the landscape of ladies skating last season - that was Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. What was so incredible about her last season was not just her resilience, which brought her back from a terribly disappointing Olympic season to win the World title, but also the fact that she reignited the triple axel race in ladies skating.
Since the days of Midori Ito and Tonya Harding (two decades ago, if you can believe it), only one female skater has had a consistent triple axel in competition, and that, of course, is Mao Asada. Tuktamysheva brought her own triple axel into the mix late last season, and with Asada returning this season, that means that there could potentially be two skaters with consistent axels competing that element now. And perhaps the fact that there are two skaters tipped the scales, and we have been seeing skaters posting videos of themselves training triple axels during the past few months (Gracie Gold, Courtney Hicks, Mirai Nagasu, and most recently, Joshi Helgesson). It's marked quite the revolution.
The World Team Trophy version of this free skate wasn't the best that Tuktamysheva skated this program, but it was the first time she put in the triple axel in her free skate (and it was landed impeccably). She's got perhaps the smoothest triple axel we have ever seen in ladies skating - the ease of Asada's and the power of Ito's are both present. You don't really see much effort in the jump and you don't ever question whether or not it's fully rotated. It's an incredible element for her.
And besides that, this free skate was also quite transformative for Tuktamysheva. It's fun, it's musical, it's jam-packed with difficulty.