Two Grand Prix events down. There was some great skating at Skate Canada this past weekend, and a few surprises and comebacks to speak of as well. As expected, Shoma Uno, Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue, and Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres won men, dance, and pairs in Laval. But the winner in the ladies event was perhaps a bit surprising - Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who hasn’t won Grand Prix gold since 2014, hit a triple axel in the short on her way to her second Skate Canada title.
2018 Skate Canada videos / play-by-play
Short: MEN | LADIES | PAIRS | DANCE
Free: MEN | LADIES | PAIRS | DANCE
Yamashita makes a splash
If you didn’t know who Mako Yamashita was last week, you know her now. The World junior bronze medalist was the big surprise of the competition - almost winning the free skate and almost winning the title altogether, finishing just a fraction behind Tuktamysheva after two great skates. It wasn’t just her jumps that were spectacular - it was her entire all-around packaging. She showed the maturity of a skater who has been on the senior circuit for years, and it was her third international competition as a senior.
Pretty great stuff. Yamashita has Rostelecom Cup in a couple of weeks. We will see if she can repeat that there.
Adjustments and comebacks
Nobody ever said picking up your life and moving to another city, let alone country, would be a seamless, easy process. And Evgenia Medvedeva and Jason Brown knew exactly what they were in for when they decided to make that switch this past off-season. Both of them felt the growing pains of the transition this season so far - and they definitely felt it at Skate Canada.
Both of them had subpar short programs that left them in the first group of free skates, a position that neither of them have been all that used to. But both of them showed their resilience in their comeback. They took decidedly different approaches to their free skates - whereas Medvedeva looked like she was all business and focused on executing her technical elements, Brown made a concerted effort to not be “checklist-y,” in his words, in his free skate. They both were able to move up - Medvedeva from 7th to bronze, Brown from 11th to 6th - and they both most certainly gained some invaluable experience from Skate Canada that will only help them be stronger the rest of this season.
A few words on Aymoz
A couple weeks ago, Kevin Aymoz made his season debut at Autumn Classic, and many, including me, were struck by how choreographically rich his free skate was. When I saw him again at Skate Canada last weekend, I was convinced that he has the potential to be one of the great artists of this generation of skaters.
His style of skating is decidedly modern, from his music choices to his movement to the shapes he creates. Judges - I don’t know what you were watching, but those programs were not 7-point component programs.
At their best and better than ever
Finally, one more shoutout before we move on to Grand Prix of Helsinki this week. Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres not only won Skate Canada this past weekend, but they also did it with the best pairs program of the season so far - and perhaps the very best program of their career so far.
Take a moment to savor this brilliant free skate, choreography by Charlie White. It was powerful, emotional, and just insanely good.