Posted by Sari
Can I again say that sekrit judging sucks? If ordinals fluctuate sometimes over ten placements it means that judges are either incompetent or pulling heavily for or against some skaters.
Also lipping. I really and honestly can't be certain with some of the guys if they were trying to do flips or lutzes. Lots of guys had as the triple out of steps a jump that could be called flip if you look at the entry (a three-turn) or a lutz if you look at the take-off edge (back outside), so don't take my word for what they were trying to do...
Anyway, an excellent competition from the top four guys who all skated excellent world-class programs. Hurray for Kristoffer Berntsson for making history for Sweden. And aww for Lindemann and Lambiel, the two skaters who have the talent to challenge the French and the Russians but did not deliver.
As for results, it was very, very close. Dambier's fourth place was IMO least contestable. He had 4s+2t combination, a low but clean 3A and a nice 3f(?). His flying sitspin was good, the rest of the spins OK, and the steps nice but his upper body was so busy that it detracted from the whole. The program was nice enough, but Händel's suite in D minor nro 4 is getting a bit too popular with skaters, and Dambier's interpretation did not have the drama or intensity of Smalun or Denkova/Stavinsky.
If I was Klimkin, I might grumble a bit. Easy 3A+3t, 4t and 2A, excellent spins and his camel to camel spin was a thing of beauty even if it travelled a little. Steps were good and used edges instead of yagudinesque staccato running with toepicks. I also always like skaters who do things a bit differently and Klimkin skated to a selection from Swan lake, but had chosen a theme associated by the swan and not the prince. Good job. In the end his jump content was just that tiny bit easier than the top two so I can live with his being third.
It gets even more difficult with Joubert. He defenitely had the best jumps of the evening. 4t+3t clean and beautiful running edges out of both jumps, a bit tight but OK 3A and 3l straight out of steps. Where he might be criticised is spins, his change of foot sitspin was merely adequate, I think his free-leg might have brushed the ice on the flying spin and his combination spin did not have as many positions as Kimkin's or Plushys. As for his steps, I am biased. The annoying toe-pick running without actually doing any steps popularized by Morozov's steps for Yags annoys me, and though Joubert's steps excite the audience I just gritted my teeth. The program concept is a thing of beauty and Joubert does his Yags-clone thing well enough. So yes, I can see a case for him being anywhere from first to third.
Plushenko is Plushenko even when skating with a busted knee. Not one of his most commanding performances and the fact that others stole ordinals from him was justified. The landing on 4t was really wonky and I still marvel that he could put the 2t at the end of it. 3A was really beautiful and 3l was fine. His circular steps are best in the business and even the stopmping in the straight-line sequence had real steps in it. His change of foot sit spin was OK though not very low, flying camel was slow but had the doughnut variation and his combospin had more positions than anyone else and it included the Bielmann.
So I think the judges did fine with four performances that had very little to separate them. I can live with the result and don't really think anyone can say they were robbed, but if I had had to decide I would have them in order of Klimkin, Plush and then Joubert. Now lets just hope long program delivers skating of this quality and I am a happy camper. Except for the sekrit judging thing...