Within the old official website, Kiira was writing some personal thoughts monthly: impressions, feelings about her mood, physical shape, future programs… though we’re talking about few lines only, that was a simply and nice way to keep in touch with fans all over the world.
So… why don’t try to restore these good and old habits?
Time shouldn’t be hard master anymore, now… well, we’d wanna call upon Kiira with this plea, we could create her an appropriate own account, so she could write here every now and then, everything she wants, whenever she wants, like did in the past. Something with real time effect, like shows she was (or she’ll be) part of, travels, unexpected events, future plans… less cold and impersonal than the official website (automatically and poorly updated with some pic, and that’s all…), while we always poured out all of considerations, thoughts, ideas, opinions here, throughout the years, with no other aim but our passion for the skater… and the person.
Would be nice.
After a few bigger mistakes and many minor flaws in the ladies’ free skate, the last three ladies offered extraordinary programs. It started with the reigning champion Evgenia Medvedeva. “Miss Perfection” has shone once again: her routine to the soundtrack of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” touched even the hearts of those whove never been particular fans. It was uplifting to witness this program live and see how Evgenia herself got taken by the emotions of this story. She once again broke her own world record, for the free skating and also for the total score. The crowd was still screaming and clapping for Medvedeva, when Gabrielle Daleman took the ice, but the Canadian, full of energy, didnt let it affect her in any way. She delivered a fierce program and she earned a bronze medal. “It was very easy skating after such a brilliant skater, because she is the best in the world and a brilliant skater, and I know I’m a brilliant skater, too,” Gabriella said still in euphoria.
The silver went to her compatriot Kaetlyn Osmond, who skated last, but dealt with the pressure incredibly well. Or, to be more precise, it may not have been a pressure for her at all. “I could never have been able to imagine closing the world championships competition for the ladies. I love skating last, it’s my most favorite position, and I’m so glad that I was able to deal with it,” Osmond commented on her performance.
“I have a goal and I keep it to myself,” Anna Pogorilaya said after the ladies’ short program. Fourth in the short, she had a great shot at the podium. However, all her dreams were washed away by a total meltdown in the free skate. It started with a popped Lutz, continued with a fall on the flip, there was a flawed landing on the triple Lutz – triple toe combination, and a nasty fall on the second triple loop. After this jump it seemed Anna was totally exhausted and would never get up from the ice. In the end she finished her program, but she was sobbing heartrendingly. It seemed she was also in physical pain, although she tried to smile a little in the kiss and cry. Fans expressed their sympathy with applause you never want a skater to finish a season like this. This will hurt for a long time.
Helsinki last hosted the World Figure Skating Championships in 1999, when Russian veteran Maria Butyrskaya became her country’s first surprise gold medallist, outskating American icon Michelle Kwan. This year, the surprise will come if a Russian woman is not on the podium.
The unshakeable world champion Evgenia Medvedeva looks poised to defend her title coming off a world-record-scoring free skate finish at the European Championships (150.79). Her title defense in Ostrava, Czech Republic was Medvedeva’s eighth consecutive victory. Though criticized by some that her mature programs are not age appropriate (her free skate music, for example, is “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” which depicts the events of September 11), the 17 y.o. rarely sets a foot wrong, putting judges at ease to award positive Grades of Execution (GOE) scores and high program components. While her choreography has been questioned by some this season, there’s no denying her musicality and ability to deliver clean performances under pressure.
The battle for silver and bronze in Helsinki appears less certain, but expect a scramble at the top as the ladies strive to win a medal and gain momentum heading into the Olympic season. Medvedeva’s once inconsistent teammate, Anna Pogorilaya, has harnessed the glory of her 2016 World Championship bronze medal win in Boston by delivering consistent performances this season with panache and drama. Once known for spectacular crashes, the 18 y.o. leverages her long lines to draw exceptional performance and interpretation scores. With improved packaging and newfound consistency this season, she’s a force to be reckoned with in Helsinki.
American Ashley Wagner has had an unusual season, making her a dark horse despite her silver medal win in Boston. A golden, but conservative, opening at Skate America was followed by a disastrous 6th place finish at the Cup of China for the 26 y.o. She missed qualifying for the Grand Prix Final, but redeemed herself with a gritty silver-medal-winning showing at her national championships. Wagner is usually at her best when counted out or coming into a big competition as the underdog. The veteran may still contend, and has the performance quality to finish on the podium for the second year in a row.
This season, Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond made certain that while Wagner and her teammates struggled, Russia and Japan would not dominate the ladies field unchallenged. Rebounding from a broken leg which had left her sidelined since the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, this season, the 21 y.o. has mustered pure magic with a dependable and sassy short program set to “Sous le ciel de Paris” performed by Edith Piaf. Her bugbear has been her free skate with pesky errors, but if the Grand Prix Final qualifier manages to complete her soaring triples in both programs, a podium finish is likely.
Making her return to competition, 2012 World Champion and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner from Italy could spoil everyone’s well-laid plans. Her majestic presence on the ice was on full display at the European Championships, where the 30 y.o. prevented a Russian sweep, won the bronze medal, and even outperformed Pogorilaya in the free skate. Training now with Alexei Mishin, her once-inconsistent triple jumps appear unfaltering. Since the European Championships, she’s re-added the triple Lutz and triple flip-triple toe combination to her repertoire. With clean performances in Helsinki, high program component scores could make her the biggest threat to Medvedeva for the title.
Fresh off a win at the recent 2017 Four Continents Championships, Mai Mihara from Japan is coming into Helsinki with lots of momentum. Often overlooked in favor of her younger teammates, Mihara flew under the radar this season by capturing the bronze medal at Skate America in her Grand Prix debut. Equipped with strong skating skills, knee bend, and jump technique, Mai will be a darkhorse for the podium here in Helsinki. With Satoko Miyahara out of the competition due to a stress fracture in her hip, Mai will have immense pressure on her shoulders to repeat her Four Continents performances to help Japan retain 3 spots for the 2018 Olympics.
Other ladies to watch include Canada’s Gabby Daleman, Russia’s Maria Sotskova, American newcomers Karen Chen and Mariah Bell, South Korea’s Dabin Choi, Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi and Rika Hongo, as well as Elizabet Tursynbayeva from Kazakhstan.
This year, Kiira will be among four judges of the Finnish TV’s program on MTV3 channel: this task will last next spring. Some teasers about the program can be seen here:
Here’s a Kiira’s performance at Ice Theatre of New York, Chelsea Piers, last October 28th.
Here below, two performances by Kiira in Madrid, at “RevolutiOn ice” event:
Before, she performed at a gala in Vaujany, French Alps, on 20th of December (wearing same dress used in Madrid):
(Damn guys, chasing Kiira’s events it’s harder than her competitions…)
Last 25th of December, here in Italy a TV channel broadcast the event “Intimissimi on Ice 2016”:
here below, some shots (with Kiira) from the show.
“Un bel di’ vedremo”
Next weekend, from 16th to 18th of December, Hakametsä I in Tampere will host Finnish Nationals Championships, which scores are gonna be valid for next Worlds in Helsinki: a chance for Kiira to come home, waiting for her next date in Madrid, Spain – Palacio Vistalegre on 29th of this month, at the event called “RevolutiOn Ice“, with World Champion Javier Fernandez and athletes like Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, Miki Ando, Evgenia Medvedeva, Duhamel & Radford and so on. Choreographed by David Wilson, the show will be a mix of music and skating, presented by David Moreno.
For the second time, Kiira’s been host of a fundraising event organized by Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation: after a show in Cleveland, Ohio, last weekend she performed at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, homeland of the creator of this Charity Foundation.
Other important skaters taking part on this show, were Meryl Davis & Charlie White, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Brian Boitano, Jeffrey Buttle, Javier Fernández, Jeremy Abbott, Alissa Czisny, Ryan Bradley, Steven Cousins and Sinead Kerr & John Kerr.