So, I loved writing the “Hungary for Gold” Junior Worlds series so much that I decided to use the same format to cover the World Championships, which I am going to tomorrow! But even though I’m not there yet, I have been following the action on IceNetwork-the SD and men’s SP, which concluded today-so I figure that warranted a post. 🙂
Men’s Event: I Can’t Skate, I Can’t Quad: a Tale of Headcasery, A World-Record Near Miss, and A Bunch of Shocking Free Skate Misses
The men’s short program was not as high-quality as the one at Junior Worlds, or as dramatic as the JWC FS, but it held its share of chills, thrills and spills anyway. The top 5 most unexpected and/0r notable happenings are outlined here:
- Outside Looking In: Contenders Miss FS
The first shocking splatfest of the night belonged to Canadian Nam Nguyen, whose missing of the free skate (he finished 27th) was especially controversial because teammate Liam Firus gave up his spot on the world team to allow Canada a better chance to get three spots back. But with this performance (he singled the axel and fell on his quad) the alternate failed to qualify for the free skate and left the spot-getting to teammate Patrick Chan, who would have to win the silver or gold medal to get the spots back on his own. This is doable (Chan sits in 3rd), but not particularly likely. A shocking way to go for the 5th-ranked man in the world last season.
The other contender who missed the final was China’s Han Yan, who fell on his quad, stepped out of his 3A, and singled the lutz in his intended combination to finish 26th. He left teammate Boyang Jin in a similar situation to Patrick Chan’s predicament: he must finish 2nd or higher to secure three spots for China next year. Again, he could accomplish his-Boyang is considered a podium contender and sits 5th after the short-but it would be very difficult, and is probably not going to happen unless a lot of people bomb spectacularly. This was a real shocker and a shame, too, because Han can be a joy to watch when he doesn’t fall over and die. Wah wah waaaaaaaah…
2. Ironically Fitting Lyrics
As the lyrics of Maxim Kovtun’s short program music stated over and over, “I can’t dance.”
Classify skating as a kind of dance and apparently he can’t: he is known for zayaking and this competition was no exception. His opening 4S-3T and 3A were well-done, but he turned his 4T into a 3T, which was invalidated because he had already done a 3T with his combination. He should probably change to a less zayak-prone layout, but until he does, this will probably keep happening.
Note: he finished 13th.
3. One of the Only Completely Clean Skates in the Whole Dang Thing
Adam Rippon was the only American skater to skate clean on home turf. Props for that. Although he didn’t attempt a quad, going for easier content done well was clearly a good strategy. He placed 7th, and with teammate Max Aaron, gave the US a reasonable shot at three spots if they can both move up a spot in the free.
Also, I have dubbed this outfit “sparkly mesh Batman.”
4. One of the Other Only Completely Clean Skates in the Whole Dang Thing
Skating in the first group was no problem for Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada, who placed a surprising 6th with a flawless SP. Yes, his shirt burnt my corneas beyond repair, but this was a fun program with well-executed content and you should definitely give it a watch.
5. World Record Near-Miss
Yuzuru Hanyu has always been one for breaking his own records, and I thought he had a decent shot at breaking his 110-point SP world record from the Grand Prix Final after this flawless short program. However, he missed it by .39-THIRTY NINE HUNDREDTHS OF A POINT FROM BREAKING HIS OWN SP RECORD FOR THE FOURTH TIME!
Is he even real?
I, for one, do not think he’s real.
Ice Dance: Early-Season Injury has Nothing on PapaCiz, Shibutani Siblings Throw it Back to 2011 in Event Chock-Full :p of surprises
For the short dance, I will be doing the same thing I did for the men’s SP section.
- Weird is A Side Effect of Being Awesome
Not only did Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier do extremely well in their short dance, they changed the music around to make it even weirder! Whee! *Frolics Maniacally*
2. No Grand Prix, No Problem
I was not sure how Papadakis/Cizeron would fare at the big events this season after they had to skip the Grand Prix due to a concussion sustained by Gabriella. However, they won Europeans convincingly and look poised to do the same at Worlds, with a fantastic short dance under their belts. This scored a gigantic 76 points, and it isn’t even their stronger program this season! (I prefer their SD to their FD, but most people think the FD is the better program and so, apparently, do the judges.) After suffering head trauma, this is the best comeback they could hope for and I’ve found myself liking them a lot more this season than I did last year.
3. …Cappellini/Lanotte placed what?
If you had told me before this event that Cappellini/Lanotte would be 5th after the short dance, I probably would’ve slapped some sense into you with a dumbbell.
But that would be wrong, because they actually did that. I like this program, and I like this team, and I wish they would’ve skated it better, but what can you do? Also, I love her dress and I want to try it on ASAP 😉 and my violin teacher made me play this music as a warmup in 5th grade so I am emotionally invested in this program even though I hated that piece with a burning passion.
4. The Continuing Adventures of the GPF-Peakers
Many people thought Weaver/Poje were poised to win their long-awaited first world title after a great GPF, and still others thought their underwhelming 4CC performances would motivate them to win worlds, but neither appears to be the case. They sit 4th after the SD and don’t look likely to win, with two free dances far stronger than theirs to contend with. (Of course, P/C placed 4th in the SD at Worlds last year and won, but that was with a FD that was miles better than W/P’s current one.) And I hate to be such a downer because I really do like this team, but they just plain need better programs. This one is okay, but their free dance has not been particularly well-recieved by the majority of fans. It’s kind of sad to see them skate a FD that’s such a step down from some of the fantastic free dances they’ve had in the past. This “artsy” stuff they keep trying to pull off isn’t working and they need to go back to the passionate character pieces they’ve done so well with in the past.
5. Now, a Happier Rant
I love the Shibutanis like no others (at least in ice dance…I doubt anyone I fan over can top my Gracie uberhood, but that is another story;) ), and they’re 89% of the reason I kept watching ice dance after D/W
retired “took a break from competition”. So I’ve been anxious for them to regain the results they had in their first senior season back in 2011. I remember obsessing over their paso doble short dance last year-the only paso I liked!-and wondering why their free dance wasn’t better received. (Still don’t know why-I know I liked it.) And I also remember watching them despairingly at Ondrej Nepela Trophy and thinking that I could just forget about them being a better season for them.
But at Skate Canada, Everything changed. They hit their levels, got good scores, and improved drastically on their ONT performances. At NHK, everything was even better. The GPF, where Alex had food poisoning, was a bit of a bump in the road, although they still skated very well. But Nationals put them back on their upwards trajectory. They won, we all cried, and many of us (me included) thought they might win their second world medal.
Come Worlds, they’ve set themselves up well to do it, sitting in second after the short with a comfortable two-point cushion in between them and 3rd place finishers Chock/Bates. I am thrilled for them, and this was a fantastic performance, and I have many emotions and will probably cry when I see their free dance tomorrow night. HARD. In public. And I will not care, because I have loyally ubered them through two of their worst seasons and they are finally getting the results they deserve and I am a hot, hot mess right now.
And I’m sure some of you are, too. 😉
I was feeling highly uncreative, so that is all I could come up with today. Bye, y’alls!