You can read a full report from today’s action here:
And follow the remainder of the day’s action in Pyeongchang here:
But let’s be clear about one thing. You can break out all the spreadsheets you want. (I finally closed mine.) You may hear some grumbling that the Russian skaters gamed the system.
Here’s the bottom line: The Russian skaters executed. So did Osmond, and so did the Japanese skaters.
The Americans did not. Each of the three skaters made significant errors.
Tennell and Chen will surely be back. They’ll have some work to do. And maybe there’s an 11-year-old American out there ready to be a 15-year-old gold medalist like Alina Zagitova.
This time belongs to Zagitova, Medvedeva and Osmond. And they deserve it.
So is that it? We’re done? Awww. Thanks to everyone for reading and for the email and Twitter encouragement. This has been a great ride. Follow me at @duresport, where you’ll see entirely too much nonsense about soccer but also an alert when I’ll be back in the Guardian live-blogging seat again.
Good night, all.
My favorite email comment comes from one Jean Wan, who suggests a cap on jump bonuses: “Cause what I’m watching now ain’t skating. It’s ice hurdles.”
And yes, if you were to show Zagitova’s program and Medvedeva’s program to a group of people without explaining the math, I think 90 percent of people would say Medvedeva’s was better.
The ISU will need to tweak some things.
- Zagitova (OAR), 239.57
- Medvedeva (OAR), 238.26
- Osmond (Canada), 231.02
Medvedeva actually tied Zagitova in the free skate, each with 156.65. The short program makes the difference.
The veteran Kostner (Italy), in her fourth Olympics, takes fifth.
The Americans are ninth (Tennell), 10th (Nagasu) and 11th (Chen).
The required change of pace in the music works for her. It switches to some piano chords with a distinctive rhythm, and she plays to it well.
She lands a couple of flawless combos and a dazzling sequence of spins. Artistically, she’s light years ahead of Zagitova. (Yes, I realize I’m saying that after not liking the music in the first half of the program. That’s how good the second half was.)
It’s going to be 1-2 for Olympic Athletes of Russia. We’ll see about the order.
Evgenia Medvedeva is up
She’s only 18. She’s the two-time defending world champion. She’s battling a fellow Russian who’s even younger, and we’re hearing stories from the broadcast crew of upcoming juniors who sound like the next Nuke Laloosh. (Watch Bull Durham, even if you don’t like baseball.)
She lands an early unplanned combo. The music from Anna Karenina frankly seems distracting to me.
Osmond takes second with one skater to go
That previous personal best again: 142.34. The new personal best: 152.15.
With Evgenia Medvedeva the last skater left, the podium places are:
Zagitova (OAR), 239.57
Osmond (Canada), 231.02
Miyahara (Japan), 222.38
Osmond will get a medal.
Osmond’s triple flip draws an ovation. Then she hits a triple-double-double. Then the double axel. This is going to be close.
She’s skating to Swan Lake and it works. Riveting program. Huge roar from the crowd. This has to be ahead of Miyahara, right?
Osmond also lands the double axel-triple toe. But she steps out of the landing on a triple lutz. Is that too much of a mistake to overcome?
By the way, I do see all the email flying in, and thanks very much. I’ll answer some a bit later.
Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond is up
She needs 160.71 for the lead and 143.52 to move into second and clinch a medal. Her personal best is 142.34.
Bang. Triple flip-triple toe. Game on.
Podium with two skaters to go
Zagitova’s technical score smashes the 80-point mark. This isn’t even the same sport as what we saw in the first group here.
Free skate score: 156.65, just shy of her personal best of 158.08.
Zagitova (OAR), 239.57
Miyahara (Japan), 222.38
Kostner (Italy), 212.44
Double axel-triple toeloop, check.
Triple flip-double toe-double loop, check.
Triple lutz, check, and she adds the triple loop she abandoned earlier. So she’s on course.
There’s apparently music playing and choreography to consider, but that hardly seems to matter.
Zagitova is just 15. She’s the European champion and the Grand Prix Final champion. She won the World Junior Championship last year.
Into the jumps we go ...
Triple lutz-triple loop ... no! Just the triple lutz.
Russia's Alina Zagitova is up
And she won’t be jumping for a while because she’s putting all the jumps she can into the second half of the program for the bonus. So just enjoy Don Quixote and a few spins.
Podium with three skaters to go
Miyahara (Japan), 222.38
Kostner (Italy), 212.44
Sakamoto (Japan), 209.71
I don’t know how Sakamoto only got 136.53 on the free skate, barely ahead of Sotskova, but there you go.
The Americans are now 6-7-8.
And here we go ...
Sakamoto doesn’t have the artistry in my stubbornly subjective opinion. But she makes every jump looks easy -- until a triple loop with an awkward landing.
She has a personal best of 142.87. She won’t get that, but she’ll probably bump past Kostner into second with the big three to go.
Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto is skating to ... a bunch of glockenspiels. She lands a triple flip-triple toe with little difficulty. (I know -- easy for me to say.)
She may improve on her sixth-place finish at the Winter Youth Olympics in 2016. She was third in the World Junior Championships in 2017.
Kostner gets a 139.29 in the free skate, 212.44 overall.
Podium with four skaters to go:
Miyahara (Japan), 222.38
Kostner (Italy), 212.44
Choi (South Korea), 199.26
Italy’s Carolina Kostner isn’t just the second skater to skate to Debussy today. She’s a four-time Olympian with a bronze medal from Sochi and a world championship in 2012.
But she doesn’t have the leaping ability to match the Russian skaters (or the Japanese or the Americans). So a stumble on the landing of a triple loop, causing her to cancel the second part of the combo, will be costly.
She’s simply not landing very well. She fights her way through a combination, and she’s only going to land two combos while others land three.
But it’s all very pretty. And you have to be impressed that she has managed to hang on with all these young spring-loaded skaters bouncing onto the scene.
Miyahara takes the lead
And it’s a new personal best of 146.44. The total is 222.38. Tons of pressure on Canada’s Osmond now and maybe even on the OAR skaters.
Japan’s Satoko Miyahara shouldn’t be overlooked. She came in her in fourth place. Her personal best in the free skate is higher than Osmond’s. And she simply came out and did everything she planned to do with very little in question. Her technical score is by far the best we’ve seen, and it’s a good-looking program.
She punches the air when she finishes. And the judges aren’t finding anything to downgrade.
We have a contender.
I’ve added up the base value of the planned jumps for the top three in the standings and the three Americans:
I haven’t figured in the 10 percent bonus for jumps in the second half of the program. Assume that’ll add 3-5 points to Zagitova’s total.
So it’s not as if what the Russians are doing is simply unbeatable. Nagasu could certainly match their jumps. It just didn’t happen tonight, and it hasn’t happened for U.S. skaters in quite a while.
Top skaters after Group 3
I did miscalculate about the top 10. With Daleman falling down the standings (currently ninth, likely to finish 15th), the USA will get two and possible three skaters in the top 10. But it’ll take some major mistakes by the last group to get anyone higher than ninth.
Current standings with six skaters to go:
- Choi (South Korea), 131.49 / 199.26, up from 8th
- Sotskova (OAR), 134.24 / 198.10, up from 12th
- Tennell (USA), 128.34 / 192.35, up from 11th
- Nagasu (USA), 119.61 / 186.54, had been ninth
- Chen (USA), 119.75 / 185.65, had been 10th
Then it’s a long way back to Tursynbaeva (Kazakhstan), who’s likely to finish 12th. Then Kim (South Korea), Rajicova (Slovakia) and the unfortunate Daleman (Canada) just ahead of Hendrickx (Belgium) and Craine (Australia).
The good news: Nagasu was terrific in the team event. She landed the triple axel and racked up 137.53 points in that free skate.
The bad news: After finishing fourth in the Olympics as a 16-year-old in 2010, her return to the women’s event has not gone well.
This is a 119.61. Total of 186.54, taking the place between Tennell and Chen.
The commentary crew speculates about the possibility of turning a double axel, the lead jump of a combination of three, into a triple axel. She does not. Her technical score has a big 0.00 by the first element.
Then a triple lutz-triple toe combination becomes a single lutz.
This is officially a wipeout for the USA. Might not get a skater in the top 10.
Mirai Nagasu skates ...
The triple axel is up first. She’s 1-for-2, and ...
She’s 1-for-3. Didn’t even come close. She did a half-revolution instead of three and a half. That’s 8.5 points gone.
Choi moves into first place with a personal-best 131.49 in the free skate and a total of 199.26. Weir thinks he spotted an underrotation the judges missed.
Choi makes up for the missing half of the combination late in the program, and it’s very good. She was eighth coming into the free skate. You don’t suppose she could sneak up on the podium, do you? It would still take some mistakes by those ahead of her, but this is a pretty good effort. Her triple lutz-triple toe-double toe is checking in at 13.16 points, which is the highest element score I can recall so far today.
South Korea’s Dabin Choi gets the expected home-ice roar. But she only does half of her opening triple-triple. Nails the double axel-triple toe, though, and it’s a stirring program to music from Doctor Zhivago.
The crowd is clapping along. Not quite in rhythm. That’s not going to help.
Daleman breaks out in tears at the finish. Let’s not even mention her score until the end of Group 3.
You don’t get a World Championship medal on a fluke. She’s terrific. This wasn’t her day.
The crowd is groaning now, then cheering her on. She’s fallen twice more. The 2017 World Championship bronze medalist is having a nightmare skate.
The rest of this will be for pride.
Gabrielle Daleman (Canada) skates ...
And it’s Rhapsody in Blue. Nice.
She opens with a triple toe-triple toe. She adds a rotation after she lands, which is probably a mistake, even though she made it look cool.
Then she falls on the triple lutz. And stumbles a bit on a triple flip. The music seems to be mocking her.
Tennell’s personal best would put her in first place. She probably won’t get that, given the stumble on the combo. That jump and the next one get marked down as underrotated. A triple lutz has a base value of 6.0, and she gets marked down to 2.72. Might as well have fallen.
Oops ... 2.62. These judges are probably still finding ways to mark down Michelle Kwan’s free skate from 2002.
Scores are: 128.34 for the free skate, 192.35 total. Behind Sotskova, ahead of Chen.
The choreography to music from Cinderella simply works.
She stumbles a bit on the second half of a double axel-triple toe combination but remains upright. Then she puts a hand down on her next jump but rallies with a strong three-jump combo. The rest of them are pretty good as well, and the spins are world-class.
Bradie Tennell skates ...
She was brilliant in the national championships. She never ever falls, except in the short program.
Bang. That’s how you do a triple-triple, folks.
She never quite managed to add in that remaining combination jump, which basically means she did one fewer jump than planned. By my figuring, the jumps she wound up doing are worth about five points fewer than what she had planned, and the execution wasn’t great. The fall is a mandatory point off.
Incidentally, I’m getting some email in response to my Weir and Lipinski “greatest cultural export” comments. One person agrees wholeheartedly. Another is aggressively ... well, rude.
Chen gets a 119.75 in the free skate. She falls behind Sotskova overall.
Chen looks a bit like she’s doing semaphore in her spin. But those are solid Level 4s.
The jumps, though, just aren’t cutting it. They’re getting yellow boxes for “review this.” And then she outright falls.
Karen Chen skates
She’s 10th after the short program. She was supposed to start with a triple/triple, but her landing on the first doesn’t inspire confidence to do the second.
Still, missing the back half of a combination isn’t that bad -- it can be added in. Much more difficult when a triple becomes a double. So she’s OK so far.
Sotskova: 134.24, total of 198.10.
Chen needs a personal best just to beat that.
It’s a beautiful program. She has green dots across the board, though her step sequence is only Level 3 and she popped one jump (double instead of triple).
You’d hate to be the one to follow that. Oh, hello, Karen Chen!
OAR’s Maria Sotskova looks terrified as she takes the ice. But the triple lutz-triple toe lands, the latter with her arm over her head for added difficulty. Showoff.
Then a triple flip looks flawless.
And she’s skating to Debussy, so this is an improvement all around from most of our previous skaters.
Everyone ready for the final 12?
There should be a big split in scores between the top 12 and bottom 12. But you never know.
If you’re in the United States, switch from NBCSN to NBC now to watch. If you’re not in the United States, our apologies that you can’t hear Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. They’re probably our best cultural exports right now.
Group 2 scores
With Group 1 skaters mixed in if they moved up. Actually, they all did -- Williams dropped all the way from 17th after the short program to the end of the line and a presumptive 24th.
I’m also adding their places after the short program to show the movement here. Big shakeup here. Tursynbaeva will finish at least 13th.
- Tursynbaeva (Kazakhstan), 118.30 / 177.12, 15th
- Kim (South Korea), Group 1 / 175.71, 21st
- Rajicova (Slovakia), 114.60 / 175.19, 13th
- Hendrickx (Belgium), Group 1 / 171.88, 20th
- Craine (Australia), 111.84 / 168.61, 16th
- Schott (Germany), 109.26 / 168.46, 14th
- Meite (France), Group 1 / 159.92, 22nd
- Peltonen (Finland), 101.86 / 157.14, 18th
- Paganini (Switzerland), Group 1 / 156.26, 19th
- Li (China), Group 1 / 154.43, 24th
- Toth (Hungary), Group 1 / 150.43, 23rd
- Williams (Brazil), 88.44 / 144.18, 17th
(No, this will not be restated later. Bookmark it now.)
Brazil’s Isadora Williams, like me, is from Georgia. The one in the United States. She trains in New Jersey. Her personal best in the free skate is only 100.77, lowest among the 24 skaters here.
But it’s a fun program for the first half. Now a bunch of jumps in the second half. A triple lutz is all out of sorts, and she tumbles to the ice. Then a triple salchow turns into a single. She tries to tack on a combination on her next jump, and it’s awkward. Her technical box is a sea of red. That’s a pity.
She’s the last of Group 2, so we’ll check the scores ...
Slovakia’s Nicole Rajicova went to Fordham and trains in Hackensack-ack-ack-ack-ack. You oughta know by now.
Weir spots a mistake on her spin, and she has a lot of yellow boxes for elements under review. But it’s clean, and this one ... please make sure you’re sitting down ... actually fits the music. Not bad at all.
Her personal best would put her in first place right now. The technical panel is throwing darts at her scores, though, and she gets a 114.60 and a total of 175.19. She mutters something in Slovak. Third place for now, finally breaking up the Kim-Hendrickx duo in the standings.
Germany’s Nicole Schott shares a coach with Carolina Kostner, who is skating later and has been skating as long as I can remember. I think she finished between Nancy and Tonya. OK, not that long ago, but a while.
She gets through her first three jumps but with some issues. She seemed off balance at her first jump. Then she put a hand down on a triple flip and didn’t do the double toe that was supposed to follow.
Her personal best would put her in second place for now. Those early errors will probably rule that out. She does add a combination toward the end.
It’s not working for me. The music is a weepy violin from the Schindler’s List soundtrack, and it’s awfully hard to put that together with some shaky jumps and exuberant spins.
Scores: 109.26, 168.46.
So if you remember Group 1 -- Kim and Hendrickx are surging up the standings. Which is funny, because I was once in a musical ensemble with a woman named Kim Hendrix. She was a talented flute and piccolo player. I stood at the back and hit things.
She underrotates a triple lutz, but everything else here looks pretty good. Level 4s on all her spins. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski don’t think the music suits her. I’ve seen worse. Waaaaay worse. Weir and Lipinski are geniuses, but we’re going to have a chat about music at some point.
Whoa ... her technical scores just plummeted under review. Still Level 4 on spins, but she’s getting dinged on a lot of her jumps.
Still, it’s a seasonal best 111.84 and a total of 168.61. Fourth place for now.
Australian Keilani Craine looks pumped. It’s Moulin Rouge time.
Finland’s Emmi Peltonen is also 18. She was born in Nashville. Does anyone ever skate to country music? I’d love to hear some bluegrass now.
She starts with a triple-triple and almost falls on the second part. Then she does fall on a triple lutz. That’s two red boxes on the technical score. Her personal best of 107.05 wouldn’t get her into the top three so far, and neither will this. She turns a triple flip into a single, which gets a desultory 0.51 points on the running technical score.
More egregious: This is entirely too much Barbra Streisand. It’s Papa Can You Hear Me from Yentl.
On the bright side, she’s a third-generation Finnish Olympian. Her father and grandfather were ice hockey players.
Score is 101.86. Total is 157.14, dropping her well down the standings.
Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva is one of many current Olympians coached by the great Brian Orser. Tara Lipinski tells us she has a hip injury. Her triple loop is fine, but her triple lutz deposits her on her backside.
She rallies with a nice triple-triple, then a double axel-triple toe. Then a double axel-double toe-double toe. That’s a lot of takeoffs and landings. They should just call that a Hartsfield or Heathrow.
Her spins getting Level 3 marks until she finishes with a nice Level 4. She’s in the 60s for technical marks, and it’s really hard not to root for her.
Amusing glitch in the feed. I’m getting the audio of an ad for That 70s Show but the video for an Advil ad. I always thought it was a pretty good show.
Anyway, Tursynbaeva makes Orser laugh in the kiss and cry. She gets a 118.30 in the free skate, 177.12 overall. Her mom spins and waves to the crowd. Johnny Weir calls her one of his favorite skate moms.
That was fun.
Just learned something from the expanded broadcast feed ...
Jumps in ascending order of point value: Toe loop, salchow, loop, flip, lutz, axel.
Group 1 scores
- Kim (South Korea), 121.38 / 175.71
- Hendrickx (Belgium), 116.72 / 171.88
- Meite (France), 106.25 / 159.92
- Paganini (Switzerland), 101.00 / 156.26
- Li (China), 101.97 / 154.43
- Toth (Hungary) 97.21 / 150.43
Toth did not look pleased after swapping places with Li.
Paganini dropped three whole places. Kim moved up two.
Quick break for Group 2 warmups. More math ahead.
Hungary’s Ivett Toth skated to AC/DC in the short program. Here, it’s Carmen, and she has a flashy red dress and some sultry moves.
She’s no Elizabeth Swaney, that’s for sure. That would be an interesting program. No triple jumps. A bunch of Level 1 spins.
Unfortunately, Toth hits the ice twice. She does land a triple-single-triple combo. Then a triple salchow-double axel, which seems like it should have a much higher base value than it does. She gives a bit of a grimace when she finishes.
That’s the end of Group 1, so it’s time for a scoreboard check ...
China’s Li Xiangning is 17 years old, so you could call this a good chance to impress the national federation before Beijing hosts in four years. The spins look nice, though one is only Level 3. The jumps aren’t as fluid as the others, and her technical score is trending about 10 points off the lead.
101.97 in the free skate, 154.43 overall. She was 24th coming into the free skate and will most likely stay there unless Hungary’s Ivett Toth, who’s next, struggles.
Leslie Jones enjoyed Kim’s program:
South Korea’s Kim Hanul skates to Mamma Mia just after we saw an ad for the same. Synergy.
She planned to start with a triple lutz, then a double axel. Just for fun, she added a triple toeloop on each one. That’s good, because she has rough landing on a the first of a planned triple-double-double combo. So it all evens out, sort of.
And she messes with us again at the end, turning a double axel-triple toeloop into a double axel-double toeloop-double loop combo. Her technical score is close to Hendrickx’s, but that program just didn’t seem all that interesting.
She smashes her personal best by nearly 10 points to vault ahead of Hendrickx. OK, then.
France’s Mae Berenice Meite skated to Beyonce in the short program. Here, it’s Chopin. She skips the second half of a triple-triple combo, but a spin that slows down with the music is a beautiful effect.
She’s one of the skaters with a “costume change,” peeling back part of her skirt to reveal some bedazzled stuff underneath. That’s after the Chopin ends, of course. Bedazzling and Chopin would just seem weird.
It’s bouncy music, but she clatters to the ice on a triple lutz attempt. Fun program, but she’s not going to catch Hendrickx.
It’s a 106.25, 159.92 overall, ahead of Paganini (who was one place ahead of her after the short program).
Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx probably expected to be higher than 20th after the short program. She starts with four jumping elements, including a triple-double combo, and lands everything cleanly. Her spins are far more refined that Paganini’s, getting Level 4 grading (the top) across the board.
She’ll be higher than 20th by the end of the night, certainly.
She gets 116.72, actually a few points shy of her personal best. These judges seem tough. Maybe I’ll do some math to figure out why. She did step out awkwardly after one jump, but still. 171.88 total, easily ahead of Paganini.
Switzerland’s Alexia Paganini is skating to a selection from Phantom of the Opera. She’s a 16-year-old from Connecticut who just switched her nationality to her father’s country.
She lands her triple lutz-triple toe combination to start, but she singles a double axel to start her next element. Then she lands a triple-double. That’s a lot of jumping in the first minute of the program. She has another big clump of jumps just after the halfway point for the scoring bonus (jumps in the second half of the program are bumped up 10 percent, which is why the OAR skaters will do very little until then).
It’s clean. Her technical score is in the low 50s. Total for the free skate is 101.00, close to her personal best. Total total is 156.26. She’s in first place. Only 23 skaters to go!
Everyone ready? Here we go ...
We’ll start in about 10 minutes, which will be 8:08 p.m. ET. The rest of these times are also ET. (Phone home.)
9:18 p.m.: Kailani Crane, Australia
9:50-10:05 p.m.: Ice resurfacing / fridge run
10:20 p.m.: Karen Chen, USA
10:28 p.m.: Bradie Tennell, USA
10:52 p.m.: Mirai Nagasu, USA
11:08 p.m.: Satoko Miyahara, Japan (fourth after short program)
11:16 p.m.: Carolina Kostner, Italy (sixth; veteran of the field)
11:24 p.m.: Kaori Sakamoto, Japan (fifth)
11:32 p.m.: Alina Zagitova, OAR (first)
11:40 p.m.: Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada (third)
11:48 p.m.: Evgenia Medvedeva, OAR (second)
Midnight: Cinderella. (Go to bed.)
But first, the music ...
Best selections and their place in the start order:
4. Kim Hanul, South Korea -- soundtrack from Mamma Mia
16. Gabrielle Daleman, Canada -- Rhapsody in Blue
Skating to Moulin Rouge
9. Kailani Crane, Australia
(That’s it? Just one this time?)
Skating to Debussy
13. Maria Sotskova, OAR -- Clair de Lune
20. Carolina Kostner, Italy -- L’apres-midi d’un faune
There is NO, repeat, NO Coldplay in this free skate.
Watching NBC’s “pregame” show with Scott Hamilton and Tanith White (formerly Tanith Belbin). White is going over base values for the planned elements and explaining the math behind the OAR skaters’ advantages. I’ve seen economic professors who provide much less clarity to much less complex topics. NBC’s crew is really good.
But I never want to see any of these ads ever again. Ever.
Memory lane ...
Barenaked Ladies teaching Canadian skater Jamie Sale (2002 Winter Olympics judging controversy) how to play guitar.
Good evening/morning/afternoon everybody.
Yes, I’m feeling a little sad already. This is the last session of competitive figure skating in these Olympics and therefore our last live figure skating blog for a while. We’ll have the World Championships next month in Milan, but that’s not quite the same.
So let’s enjoy these four hours or so of figure skating. Let’s not worry so much about the fact that the top two are virtually untouchable unless they fall like me on a ski slope. Just enjoy. I’ll be here to talk you through it.
Skating starts in about an hour.