Highlights of the 2016-2017 Figure Skating Season

From one junior Japanese lady making history with her jumps, to the stunning ladies free in Tokyo last weekend, the high points of the figure skating season.

The pre-Olympic season is now over. It was already kind of over after the World Championships a month ago, but now it really is. So it’s time to take a look back before we plow forward into the final nine months before everything that’s happened on ice in four years culminates in an Olympic games. It was the season the more difficult quadruple jumps went from being a relatively rare extra weapon to something a men’s skater needed to win a major title. It was a season of breakout ladies, even as the one on top made clear she’s not going anywhere. Also in pairs, with more than one team announcing themselves as arrived. In dance, it was about who came back.

Season Highlights

Sui Wenjing & Han Cong coming back from surgeries on both her feet to first warm our hearts with a Four Continents win, then claim their first World title too:

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir not only coming back, but being better than ever, and establishing themselves as favorites for a second Olympic gold.

Mai Mihara’s breakthrough season, starting with modest accomplishments in the fall, contuing with her making it to biggest competitions, culminating in her winning Four Continents and being the top Japanese finisher at Worlds, and also now arguably being the favorite to join Satoko Miyahara at the Olympics:

Evgenia Medvedeva breaking the trend of Russian breakout girls crashing and burning, instead rising to undefeatable status, and finishing the season with world record scores that exceeding 80 and even 160. Oh, and her Sailor Moon show number just went viral:

The ladies free at the World Team Trophy, from aforementioned breaking of 160 by Medvedeva to Zijun Li’s emotional triumph down in seventh:

The pairs free at the European Championships, including Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov to hold on for the surprise win, and Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot finally showing just what they’re capable of:

Two Canadian ladies with great potential finally holding it together at the World Championships to win silver and bronze:

Yuzuru Hanyu coming from over ten points behind at Worlds with a perfect long program, leading Japan’s going 1-2:

Maia & Alex Shibutani holding their position to repeat as U.S. Champions and World medalists, and also having a bit of virality with their short dance at U.S. Nationals:

Nathan Chen landing seven quadruple jumps at the U.S. Championships to win the men’s title, and that was before he also upset Yuzuru Hanyu at Four Continents:

Vincent Zhou first impressing at U.S. Nationals himself with a quad lutz, then, with its aid, setting junior records while storming to the Junior World title:

Karen Chen delivering when it counted, first winning the US ladies National title, and then saving the day at Worlds when all the other ladies, even Ashley Wagner, had faltered:

Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres going further than any French pair has in over a decade, nearly landing the throw quadruple salchow more than once, finally claiming their first completed Grand Prix event medal a year after the Paris shootings cost them a chance to do it at last year’s Trophée, and then making the European podium too:

Tarasova & Morozov first sending notice that they’re ready to compete at the very top on the Grand Prix series, including a win at the Final, and making the World podium too:

 

And Rika Kihira, at the Junior Grand Prix Slovenia, becoming the seventh lady to lady the triple axel jump in international competition, and the first to land all eight triples in one program:

Season Lowlights

Injuries taking Sotoko Miyahara and Adam Rippon out of the season’s second half, especially when it cost Japan their third Olympic ladies’ berth, the general quality of skating at Four Continents, the general everything at Cup of China, Mao Asada and Kanako Murakami failing so badly they both retired, Gracie Gold also crashing and burning hard and Ashley Wagner not having the best of seasons herself, the failure of either of the crashed and burned Russian ladies to recover and Julia Lipnitskaia suffering further from injury, the crashing of two more of them at Worlds, the general inconsistency of their men, the struggles of Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron thwarting the big ice dance battle royale we’d all wanted to see, the woes of the top two Canadian pairs, and the lack of spaces in either the Worlds free or the Olympic games for pairs exacting far too high a toll on those teams trying to make a mark.

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