In the for-what-it's-worth department, a few points of reference about the personal-best score reigning U.S. champion Alissa Czisny racked up in today's short program at Skate Canada in Kitchener:
1. Skate Canada is the last of the six regular-season Grand Prix events, and Czisny's short-program total, 63.52, has been topped by just two other women on the circuit this season: Yuna Kim of South Korea (76.08 in Paris, 76.28 in Lake Placid) and Joannie Rochette of Canada (70.0 today to beat Czisny.)
2. It bettered Czisny's previous personal best, which came in 2005, by a whopping 5.98 points.
3. And although Czisny's artistry is considered her strength, her technical score, 36.60, has been topped this season by just Kim (43.80 and 44), Rochette (38.40) and Mirai Nagasu of the U.S. (37.40 in China).
What does that mean?
Despite the effort to create a system that seeks to standardize scores, each judging panel looks at things differently, so comparisons are tricky.
But the good thing is the Skate Canada judging did not appear overly generous (except for Rochette, the homie), so Czisny's scores seem a fair measure of her performance.
The bad thing is Czisny previously has been unable to do back-to-back strong performances (for evidence, check the 2009 U.S. Championships), so there will be a lot of breath held during Saturday's four-minute free skate -- especially because Czisny always seems to lose it at just about the point (2 3/4 minutes) a short program would have ended.
-- Philip Hersh
Photo: Alissa Czisny reacts to her high scores in the short program at Skate Canada. Credit: Paul Chiasson / Associated Press)