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Archive for January 29th, 2012

2012 US Women’s Figure Skating Championships — Wagner Wins, Czisny Second

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Folks, last year I wrote a blog about Alissa Czisny (link is here), and that blog goes double for her performance this year in the 2012 United States Women’s Figure Skating National Championships even though she came in second to Ashley Wagner.

Watching Czisny skate last evening, I was struck again by her elegance across the ice, the perfection of her positioning, her excellent spins, and her gritty determination.  Though Czisny fell on her first triple Lutz (her most difficult jump) and turned out of another attempt at the same jump, she otherwise made no obvious mistakes; this is quite difficult to do, because once something goes wrong in a performance, it can be difficult to hold it together.

I applaud her determination and persistence; coming in second to Ashley Wagner (who skated by far the best program of the night, with six clean triple jumps) is not a defeat.  And as Czisny said herself to NBC Sports reporter Andrea Joyce, sometimes you can learn more from your imperfect programs than your perfect ones, which shows how strong Czisny’s mental perspective is overall.

Czisny should be named to the World Team as she came in fifth last year.  Had she come in third at the US Nationals, she’d have had a harder time to get onto the World Team, though it might’ve happened anyway as the US has to know Czisny is their strongest competitor overall, and is by far the US’s best chance to medal at Worlds.**

But keep your eyes on Wagner; she’s a very strong skater with good jumps, good spins, and some nice artistry to her.  (She’s friendly with my favorite figure skater, Johnny Weir, too, so that doesn’t hurt her in my eyes, either.)  She, too, has an excellent chance to get a medal, providing she hangs on to her composure.

More thoughts about the women’s championships: it was nice to see Caroline Zhang do well and come in fourth, as it’s been years since she skated a clean and effective performance.  Zhang skates a bit too slowly for my taste but the way she moves is impeccable and her spins, while slower and less precise than Czisny’s, are probably the best of all the American women aside from Czisny.

Agnes Zawadski, first after the short program, fell into third place.  Zawadski is only seventeen years old, so she has plenty of time to compete among the best in the United States, and eventually, the world.  I really enjoyed her short program and see big things ahead for her if she can only get a handle on her nerves.

Otherwise, I felt sorry for Mirai Nagasu; she came in seventh, and had a wildly inconsistent performance.  I think Nagasu needs to speak with Czisny once this season is over, because Czisny is the skater who’s most likely to understand what Nagasu has been going through. 

See, once upon a time, Czisny was not a model of consistency, either, partly due to a lack of good jump techniques with the triple jumps.  But she’s worked through that and has come out more confident, more dedicated and with everything you could ever want in a figure skater on the other side.  Maybe Nagasu can do the same thing down the road if she just learns to trust herself and her ability.

Here’s hoping.


** UPDATE:  Czisny was indeed named to the World Team along with Wagner.  Congratulations!

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm