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Category: Jennifer Kirk

Human Zambonis, home cooking, Zhang's agony, Nagasu's appeal, Kwan's impressive new life: A figure skating Q&A [Updated]

Czisnyfall2Questions first, answers second, now that the six regular-season Grand Prix figure skating events are over:

1.  Who would win an Ultimate Splat-Down between the two falling angels, reigning U.S. champion Alissa Czisny and 2007-08 European champion Carolina Kostner?

The Zamboni operator, for Czisny and Kostner would clean so much of the ice with their bottoms the resurfacing job would be much easier.

Czisny, no surprise, rendered meaningless her excellent short program at Skate Canada by falling twice  and getting credit for just three triple jumps (one given a negative grade of execution) in the free skate. She fell once and had credit for just three triples in her other GP free skate, at Cup of Russia.

Kostner fell once in the short program and once in the long program at Paris, once in the long program in China.  That picked up, as it where, from her dismal effort in the free skate at 2009 worlds, when Kostner fell once and did one clean triple jump.

The sad irony in this is both women are among the most elegant skaters in the world when they stay upright.

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Jennifer Kirk blog: U.S. women must hope a weak beginning turns into a strong ending

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a6214ac6970b Jennifer Kirk, who won the 2000 world junior figure skating championship, finished third at the U.S. championships in 2004 and fourth in 2005, will write a weekly blog for The Times providing insights into the skating world during the months leading into the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Since retiring from figure skating in 2005, Kirk, 25, has been working on obtaining a college degree in broadcast journalism and has spent the last few months blogging about skating at Trueslant.com/jenniferkirk.

Americans Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu came to the weekend’s Cup of China event with high hopes. Facing a relatively weak field, both had a reasonable shot at medaling. 

It was shocking, then, when the ladies’ podium was void of an American flag. After dealing with their respective struggles in Beijing, Flatt and Nagasu were left with disappointment and empty hands heading home from their first Grand Prix event of this Olympic season.

What’s most significant about the weekend’s event isn’t that Flatt and Nagasu left a relatively mid-level Grand Prix event without a medal, but rather what it means for the larger hopes for American ladies’ figure skating.

Without a clear standout star among the American women, to some degree, the hopes of an Olympic medal rests in the hands of a relatively unpredictable group of young women who have yet to establish themselves as consistent threats for international medals. 

This week’s Cup of China served as a microcosm of this predicament. That said, it’s important to note that although the Cup of China was a disappointment, Flatt and Nagasu have the ability to rebound from the weekend’s setbacks and revive American ladies’ skating. But it will take some work.

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