20 of the Best Skating Programs from the Fall of 2016

11 of 21

10. Elena Radionova (RUS): Short Program

Elena Radionova first showed her new short, set to “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess and choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, at the Russian test skates. She wasn’t completely healthy at the time, and likely, as a result, her jumps were a mess. But even then, the potential of this short program was clear. When she was in better shape in time for the Grand Prix, she was also ready to shine while skating it.

One problem Radionova had last year was her programs not having much personality in them. It was probably at least part of the reason two good skates didn’t get her onto the World podium last spring. This short goes a long way towards rectifying that. No longer trying to play the cute little girl she was during her first breakthrough season, she now has a much more mature style and attitude. Quick and flirtatious, it allows Radionova to draw the audience in as she weaves her way around the ice. This is a version of Elena Radionova we really haven’t seen before, and it’s a welcome one. Granted, the skirt could use improvement. But it’s hardly something that ruins what she’s doing on the ice when she’s in it.

Sadly, Radionova’s season seems to be heading to an earlier end than expected, after disappointment at Russian Nationals. But it was great while it was happening.