Paris Slalom World Cup 2011 (part 1)
End of puberty for the PSWC ?
Weather forecast loves suspense...
The schedule was on three days, a concept which has been adopted for 2 editions already, from Friday to Sunday: Classic on Friday with slides during the night, Speed slalom and first Battle rounds on Saturday, and final Battle rounds on Sunday.
This year, the weather was the opposite as last year’s: Friday was far from being promising, with pendulous clouds throwing mocking rain drops at us, and a blowing wind messing up with the cone lines.
Fortunately the weather forecast must have known that when it comes to jokes, the shortest the funniest, and stopped its nonsense to offer us a magnificent summer sun (one season early, which is quite generous!) and free sunburns as bonuses.
PSWC ’11 Edit by SebaSkates
The cream of the ranking
• In the Women’s category, 10 skaters from the Top-20 were there, including 5 from the Top-10. And the three-thirds of the 33 registered for the Battle were in the Top-50.
• In the Men’s category, there were 70 skaters registered for the Battle, with 11 skaters from the Top-20, including 5 from the Top-10... and 36 out of the 50 best skaters in the world were there!
In Speed Slalom...
• In the Men’s category, the upper crust was there: they were 9 belonging to the Top-10! And 5 others were still in the Top-20... useless to say that the qualification places were very, very expansive. Especially when, moreover, there are 56 skaters for only 16 places...
• In the Women’s category it’s not much fun either. 7 are in the Top-10: the female leaders are also in da place. The rest of the 21 competitors is ranked further. But here too, with only 8 places for the KO Systems, everybody cannot afford to qualify.
The represented countries
This year, 16 countries were represented at the PSWC... a nice melting pot which enabled to gather eclectic styles.
• 11 nations in the Freestyle Women’s category. Italy was the best represented with 8 skaters. Ukraine and Poland were behind with 5 skaters each; France had tied for 3rd place with Russia and Spain, with only 3 skaters; Germany had two skaters, and the USA, Great Britain, Ireland and Australia had soloists.
• For Men, still in Freestyle, there were 12 different nations: French men have more guts that women as they were 20 registered; they were followed by a big dozen of Italians, a good half-dozen of Spanish and Russians, 5 Germans, 4 Polish and 4 Koreans, 2 Ukrainians, 2 Argentineans and the two brothers from Saudi Arabia, 1 Belgian and 1 Swiss.
Friday 27th Classic Freestyle
Men’s Classic Freestyle
The competition started on Friday afternoon, in-between the drops and the gusts, with the Men’s Classic Freestyle. They were 49 to take part to this category, and the competitors showed their runs, one after another, from the worst to the best ranked at the world ranking.
As soon as this first category, the clash of cultures strikes everybody full-force: each country has a very specific vision of the discipline, which is reflected in the skating of their representatives.
On the whole, runs were not wonderful... Let’s say it is because the ground of the Trocadéro requires some time to adapt: holes and slope... that’s a lot for one skater.
Classic Judges – Credit : SebaSkates
Remedial lesson in Judging
The skaters who get out while the going is good are the most creative ones: technique is just like a base to which you add elements. If a run is a pizza, technique is dough and elements are ingredients: there isn’t that many ways to make pizza dough and come to a good result, it is relatively neuter and objective; as for ingredients... you have too much to choose from.
Thus, a basic level of technique (level of tricks) is required to get the possibility to be “well” marked. Speed, variety and continuity (technical add-ons), as well as body performance, musical expression and tricks localization both in the line and in the music (artistic add-ons) are criteria to pay attention to, if you want to improve your technical base.
** See Naomi Grigg’s Classic Judging explanation. **
The best pizza makers this weekend were the Koreans, the four rank in the 6 first places: Lee Choong Goon 1st, Kim Sung Jin 3rd, Kim Tae Bin 4th and Yu Jin Seong 6th. They have an expressiveness advantage over their opponents. Warning: there’s a thin line between “originality” and “off the subject” – they tend to venture too much out of the lines.
Lee Choong Goon (Kor) – Credit: Jérémy Brunier >
• Lee Choong Goon (#9) deserves his win with a run as varied as original, technique, outrageously to the music and a touch provocative. Kim Sung Jin (#1) ends up 3rd with a very (too much?) dancing run, but lacking technical peaks to reach a higher place, and with a choreography on the 50s – or should I say out of the 50s... which turned to be a bit long. This is the very moment when you can debate on “Originality Vs. Off the Subject”. Kim Tae Bin (#10) shows a good run, though I’d say a bit overplayed, from which I’ll remember his déboulé to toe seven. He ends up at the foot of the podium. Yu Jin Seong (#14), true to himself, shows a fantastic choreography, but except for his shift managing 8 cones at the very beginning, he misses all his tricks. He still manages to hit the 6th place.
The Europeans knew how to make their presence felt too. Confirmations for some, revelations for others...
• The 2nd place goes to Jon Larrucea (Spa, #12) who really deserves it: a very clean run, a reflective style, a particularly subtle technique, and a good listening of the music. Martin Sloboda (Ger, #2) takes the 5th place. He is probably the only one who is able to reach that high in Classic with the slightest preparation, thanks to his technical level, his smoothness and his ease.
• Romain Lebois (#24) causes a stir ending up first French of the category, two places in front of his “daddy” Igor Cheremetieff: he gets the 7th place. When, above, I mentioned that there were revelations, I was mainly thinking of him: he shows up with a matured and better contained style, and his technique is improving from one competition to the other – sometimes you still can intercept relapses of wandering arms, but very soon they will be only memories. Igor Cheremetieff (#5) manages a varied run with a good technical level and managed tricks. A few cones down disrupt the landscape, and though his run construction is a bit stale, the composition remains optimum. Let’s also note that Kyan Sanchez (#50) reached the 12th place with a smooth and fast run. Antoine Colange (#17) and Alexandre Claris (#20) end up just behind, respectively 15th and 16th.
Romain Lebois (Fra) – Credit : Jérémy Brunier >
• Antonio Zamora (Spa, #104), manages a great feat finishing in-between Romain Lebois and Igor Cheremetieff, at the 8th place. Tiziano Ferrari (#21) gets off rather well with the 10th place, just in front of Adrian Almazan (#23): he is one of the rare Europeans who can feel the music and make it swing. His run is far from being perfect but it’s groovy. Kirill ‘ReKiL’ Ryazantsev (#49) doesn’t get off as well as the Italian, getting only the 19th place – he is still in front of Denis ‘Disa’ Islamov (#59) and Tim Schraepen (#61) – but him too lets go, with hip-hop style sticking to the music... a shame for the strikes and the non-finalized tricks.
• Yuri Torlopov (#26) and Viktor ‘Generator’ Meleshkevich (#42), the two Russians, show studious runs perfectly matching with the instructions, no more and no less: Choreographies set to the music and technical peaks. However, these kinds of constructions preclude any touch of ingenuity that could transcend their runs. Andrey Shitov (#16), the Russian favorite, concentrates mostly on technique, with an audacious music, but his performance lacks a bit of conviction. He ends up 18th just behind his compatriot Roman Gordin (#22), whose flow is as stoned as his music – it’s a shame that he doesn’t manage to finalize his technical combos (which we will have the opportunity to see during the battle). Let’s note his attempt at Christie wheeling as his last trick, which is going to be stunning once he masters it. Because, knowing the guy, it’s just a matter of time.
Roman Gordin (Rus)... Soon: Christie Wheeling ! – Credit : Jérémy Brunier >
Results of the Men’s Classic Freestyle
1) Lee Choong Goon (Kor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd6eM7wSXsM
2) Jon Larrucea (Spa) https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1392993521465
3) Kim Sung Jin (Kor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rje2v1n-lPM
4) Kim Tae Bin (Kor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peqW50ygMKA
5) Martin Sloboda (Ger) https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1393016522040
6) Yu Jin Seong (Kor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDxWw6eU-w8
7) Romain Lebois (Fra)
8) Antonio Zamora (Spa)
9) Igor Cheremetieff (Fra) https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1393008601842
10) Tiziano Ferrari (Ita) https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1392980441138
Best 10 by ReKiL http://vimeo.com/24510447
Best Russians by ReKiL http://vimeo.com/24375235
Women’s Classic Freestyle
The Women’s category took place just after the Men’s. But the skaters soon found themselves in the dark. By chance, there were spotlights for the competition area, but it was not enough for video shooting. As a consequence, videos of this category are rare... same comment for pictures!
Just like the Men’s, the runs of the 28 women were far from being brilliantly clean – and I’ll give the same excuse, the competitors needing time to adapt to the ground.
• The most surprising performance is that of Kristina Lysenko (Rus, #31), who causes a stir managing a well constructed and complete run! Her turn to go was in the middle of the category and she clings to the provisory first place, until Marina Boyko’s turn (the last to go): she is thrown out of the first place... 1min30 from success! Marina Boyko (Ukr, #1) seizes it pitilessly: far from having managed all her tricks, she remains the competitor showing the choreography matching the best to the music – let’s note that her compatriot Ksenja Komarchuk (#12) shows an inventive choreography with a ‘cabaret’ performance to the soundtrack of Chicago. However, her interpretation is a bit fickle as it is too much concentrated out of the lines and is easily swept away in the lines, she ends up 8th. Anya Ziertman (Ger, #7) takes the 3rd and last place on the podium: not very original but efficient. Polina Semenova (Rus, 4) gets out of it pretty well despite a magnificent fall, which she cannot even explain herself, ending up 4th.
• I would like to give a special award to Megan McIntosh (#14) who managed to plunge the whole Trocadéro into a religious silence during a 1min30 trip-hop poetry piece, and for whom the public cried as much as when Bambi’s mother got shot when she fell. Her two unfortunate falls cost her the podium. There was a similar kind of poetry in Natalie Ujuk’s (Aus, #28) skating, who ends up 12th, liking better “good-looking’ tricks than “point-tricks”.
• Sara Barlocco (#19), who most of the time shines better with her speed-slalom performances, signs up a run which propels her to the 6th place, far in front of her compatriots Sara Masi (#25), Chiara Lualdi (#8) and Barbara Bossi (#6) – who respectively end up 10th, 11th and 14th.
• The young Klaudia Hartmanis (Pol, #63) is probably the female revelation of this Classic competition. She ends up 7th with a dynamic run – a bit muddled but it’s because she still lets her enthusiasm and impatience do all the talking, and a karaoke performance to Christina Aguilera’s Fighter as a bonus. The three Czapla sisters, Ewelina (#81), Paulina (#80) and Justynia (#108) are also Polish. Less enthusiastic, they are still also promising given their already-interesting technical panel.
• The two French, Zoé Granjon (#52) and Eva Cochey (#46) are stuck together in the second half of the final ranking, at the 16th and 17th places; the first lacking music coordination, the second getting very close from injuring her ankle at the very beginning of her run – destabilizing!
Results of the Women’s Classic Freestyle
1)Marina Boyko (Ukr)
2) Kristina Lysenko (Rus)
3) Anya Ziertmann (Ger)
4) Polina Semenova (Rus)
5) Megan McIntosh (Usa)
6) Sara Barlocco (Ita)
7) Klaudia Hartmanis (Pol)
8) Ksenja Komarchuk (Ukr)
9) Yulia Kulagina (Rus)
10) Sara Masi (Ita)
The slides competition unfolded long after the sun went down, in the middle of the night.
Miraculously, there are videos!
For the Men’s category, they were 17, and only 8 were allowed to take part in the semi-finals. ReKiL (Rus, #1) wins the 1st place, as usual, followed by Hervé Guilloux (Fra, #13) who thus supplants the two other Russians of the final, Vladimir Demidov (#52) and Andrey Shitov (#6). Boris Rozbroj (Fra, #8) is a whisker away from the qualification in final, and gets his revenge during the consolation final in getting the first place (5th), in front of Denis Lamtsov (Rus, #54), Adrian Lopez Pelayo (Spa, #NC) and Léo Lotard (Fra, #NC).
Men’s Slides Final
Natalia Krykova (Rus) wins the Women’s category, in front of her team-mate Olga Fokina and Chiara Lualdi (Ita).
Women’s Slides Final
Next: Speed Slalom and Battle!
Worldslalomseries Website: www.worldslalomseries.com
PSWC 2011 WebPage: http://www.worldslalomseries.com/events/pswc-2011-fra/
Pictures by SebaSkates : http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebaskates/sets/72157626868928698/
Pictures by Jérémy Brunier (sur Facebook) : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2156515832819.132504.1244176295
Photos : droits réservés