Summer Competitions: Recap
By Kitty Xie
For every Olympic hopeful, the off-season is the golden period to improve, announce music selections, and — perhaps most importantly — to give competitors a preliminary eyeful of what to expect in the coming year.
In this respect, several US skaters have already hit every bullet point. With just one month left before the start of the Junior Grand Prix circuit, and a little over three months until the first Grand Prix event, a handful of summer competitions have provided an early hint of who’s already on track to challenge for medals and Olympic spots at the 2014 US Championships.
At the 2013 Broadmoor Open in Colorado Springs, two of last season’s top juniors made their much-anticipated debuts. Polina Edmunds, the 2013 US junior champion and the 2013 Gardena Spring Trophy junior champion, performed to a Latin-inspired short, as well as a free skate to the Peer Gynt suite, to win the senior ladies’ event with a total score of 168.27. Edmunds is expected to receive at least one Junior Grand Prix assignment in the upcoming season, and has already stated her intention to compete in 2014 Nationals as a senior.
Meanwhile, the highlight of the men’s division was 2013 Junior World silver medalist Jason Brown‘s “Riverdance” long program, which showcased ambitious footwork, solid jumps (including a strong hint at a quad), and magnificent energy. Combined with his short program to “The Question of U” by Prince, carried over from last season, Brown easily took home the gold medal with 224.44 points. He will make his senior international debut at the Trophee Eric Bompard in a field that contains World medalists Yuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan.
Halfway across the country, Gracie Gold also started her season modestly at 2013 Skate Milwaukee. Despite her last-minute decision to drop out of the short program (set to “Three Preludes” by George Gershwin, choreographed by Marina Zoueva), her score of 113.96 from the free skate alone (Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty,” also put together by Zoueva) trumped the combined total of the highest overall finisher.
Gold landed four triples — a triple Lutz-triple toe, a triple salchow, and a triple loop — and intentionally doubled all of the jumps in the second half of the program to focus on her presentation. Her international season will begin at Skate Canada, followed by the NHK Trophy.
Courtney Hicks, who’s hoping to improve on her fourth-place finish at last season’s US Nationals, competed only in the short program segment of the 2013 LA Open. Skating to the “Soul Surfer” soundtrack, she fell on a double Axel but still managed to win that portion of the event with 58.00 points. She then withdrew from the free skate for unannounced reasons. Hicks, like Edmunds, will most likely skate internationally as a junior and nationally as a senior during the Olympic season.
The 2013 Liberty competition, the next major summer event, is currently being held in Aston, Pennsylvania. Olympic contenders competing include Georgia’s Elene Gedevanishvili, Yasmin Siraj and Samantha Cesario from the US, and Amelie Lacoste from Canada.