colonel_green (colonel_green) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Figure Skating: 2019 Canadian Nationals

It's a brave new season for Canadian skating after a wave of post-Olympic retirements, but the national competition in Saint John ended up, with one-half of an exception, returning people to the podium who had won the title a few years (or quite a few years, in one-half case) prior.

As referenced above, the men's match that many viewed as being between Old Man Keegan and the Boy Wonder ended up seeing Nam Nguyen take his second men's title. Nguyen won for the first time in 2015, the interregnum in Patrick Chan's eleven-year reign at the top, and then basically had three bad seasons in a row as problems caused by his massive growth spurt spiraled into serial changes of coach and crises of confidence. But he's been on the comeback trail this year, and he delivered.

Also, be warned, studies show that Rod Black commentating can be harmful in high doses.

But for a doubled quad Lutz, the winner would have been the aforementioned Boy Wonder, 14-year-old Stephen Gogolev, who lead after the short program but came second in the free skate.

The bronze medal went to Keegan Messing, surely a bit disappointed at missing the title, but he was also really thrilled for Nguyen, as they're good friends and were cheering each other on throughout.

I'll also mention the fourth-place finisher, Joseph Phan, who finished fourth at last year's Junior Worlds and moved to the TCC to train under Brian Orser in the summer, looking to consolidate his position. The first half of the season was a big disappointment for him, as the move was a bigger adjustment then perhaps he had anticipated, but he delivered his best ever free skate when it counted, securing himself a ticket back to Junior Worlds one more time.

The ladies...sigh, this is the one discipline that's a bit sad to talk about. And it's not like there weren't good news stories, but discussion around this was undeniably centered on Gabby Daleman, the defending national champion, who missed pretty much all of the first half of the season due to depression and the aftereffects of a concussion that initially nobody realized she had. For a while, it seemed like she might not even compete here, but she came. And she did really well in the short program. But then she fell apart in the free skate, and finished fifth, a result that had her bursting into tears. But as I said, the short program was solid.

All the best, Gabby.

The title went to Alaine Chartrand, whose career trajectory has paralleled Nguyen's to a considerable extent. She peaked roughly in the 2014-2016 period, winning the national title in 2016, but saw her results crater soon after, and missed the Olympics when she seemed guaranteed to get the third spot that Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabby had secured for Canada. She had some decent showings on the Grand Prix to start the new season, and here she had a strong free skate (UR still a problem, but one foot in front of the other).

I'll also mention the silver medalist, Aurora Cotop, who seems to be the new project of coach Ravi Walia, now that Kaetlyn is taking the season off and may or may not come back (Skate Canada ain't too proud to beg, Kaetlyn). I think she's a promising talent -- she's not been doing the Lutz or her 3T-3T combination this season, but that's because she had a pelvic fracture and bone marrow edema.

Then there's the pairs event, which had the only new person among the six people to stand atop a senior podium this year. Kirsten Moore-Towers won the pairs gold in 2011 with former partner Dylan Moscovitch, but for the last four years has skated with Michael Marinaro, and they've never been higher than bronze. They were the favourites going in because literally everybody else either retired or broke up since the last time.

The silver medalists were Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud, fifth last year. There's like a million Romeo and Juliet programs this year for some reason, but this is one of the better ones, in my opinion.

And finally, the marquee event of the competition in terms of how many potential Worlds Top 10 teams were present: ice dance.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won two national titles in the seasons that Canada went Tessa-and-Scott-less, then dropped in the rankings when they came back, but now that Virtue and Moir seem gone for good, it was theirs for the taking, especially after winning a Worlds bronze in Milan. And then they decided it was all about the Benjamins (all about the Bordens, I guess?) and spent the fall touring across the country instead of competing. But did that slow them down? No, not all, as it turns out.

The free dance portion of the competition was actually won by the silver medalists, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, but they finished second overall, losing the gold by 1.47 points. Their free dance is a work of art, and keeps getting better.

And finally, the bronze medal went to the transplant team of Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen. She, a Quebec native, teamed up with the Danish Sørensen in 2012, and they competed for Denmark for five seasons, culminating in them qualifying an Olympics place for Pyeongchang. Except they couldn't go, because Denmark's naturalization regime isn't precisely liberal in this area, and you have to be a citizen to go to the Olympics. They decided to switch from his country to hers, where the citizenship applications go through smoothly and in timely fashion (just ask Kaitlyn and Piper).

It's a long way to Beijing, but Phase 1 of the plan, making the Canadian World team and blowing all other bronze medal contenders out of the water, has been executed.

Nguyen FS
Gogolev SP
Phan FS
Daleman SP
Chartrand FS
Cotop FS
Moore-Towers/Marinaro FS
Walsh/Michaud FS
Weaver/Poje FD
Gilles/Poirier FD
Fournier Beaudry/Sørensen RD
Fournier Beaudry/Sørensen FD
Tags: sports / athletes - ice skating

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