Congrats Yuzu on your 3rd national title! This past weekend was the All Star Japanese Championships. I wrote the majority of this post a couple of days ago, but Christmas festivities have kept me from posting. Since then a number of things have happened in the Japanese skating world and I’ve had to edit!
First let’s talk about the 3-time National Champion…
Yuzu skated extremely well in Nagano. I think the injury from Cup of China is officially in the past. The Yuzu we saw at Nationals was not the same carefree and happy one we saw at the Grand Prix Final. In Barcelona Yuzu was simply thrilled to be able to skate and skate so well. With those skates now behind him, the pressure was back on and he had a title to defend back home. This added pressure, I think, led to slightly hesitant skates. There were still moments of brilliance, but he seemed to work more for each element than at the GPF.
I won’t rave about Yuzu’s SP anymore, I’ve done that a number of times already! He again skated brilliantly. My only concern is that 3Lz combination, he has not landed it cleanly all season. I’m curious as to why this might be. We can all see he has no issues normally with the 3Lz, perhaps it’s something to do with it’s placement in the music/program and he can’t get the timing right. Whatever the issue, I hope he can get things sorted out.
On to the FS. It seems that gorgeous 4S from Barcelona was a fluke. That’s too bad, it was simply exquisite. But, everything else today was clean. I find I don’t get nervous watching Yuzu skate (except for that 4S), the jumps in this FS are so solid.
One other note, the judging at Japanese Nationals was extremely fair! There was little inflation of marks. In fact, Yuzu may have scored lower here than he may have internationally. He received lower levels on all elements in the SP and lower PCS in the FS than he did in Barcelona. I think this is so much better than the ridiculous scores we saw at Russian Nationals.
Prior to the official announcement, Yuzu had mentioned he didn’t plan on going to 4CC in February. I think this was the smartest decision he’s made all season (or the first time he’s fully listened to Brian or simply the JSF didn’t want to send their top tiered skaters). More than anything this boy needs to come back to Canada and rest and get some good quality training time in. The past couple of months has been a crazy whirlwind and I think some down time is much needed.
After mentioning he needs a rest, it seems Yuzu was hospitalized yesterday because of abdominal pain. If you watch his FS, he does hold this area after he’s finished. It was mentioned this started shortly after GPF but he didn’t make a big deal of it because of Nationals. Silly boy. It was also stated he lost 3kg since Barcelona – that boy is so skinny already, he can’t handle loosing any weight! Here’s hoping it’s nothing too serious, not some remnant of the CoC collision. I’ve read the JSF will make an announcement concerning Yuzu’s condition, but there’s been nothing yet. This boy needs to go home and rest. His body has taken such a beating this season. If he wants to defend his Olympic title in 2018 he needs to take care.
I hope he is healthy come Worlds. I am curious to see what Yuzu appears in Shanghai, where he’ll be skating on the same ice as the collision. I hope he’s able to mentally overcome the hurdle. I also hope he starts practicing his original jump layouts again. I can’t wait to see them at Worlds. But of course, we want him to be healthy first.
Just a couple notes on the rest of the Men’s event. Who is this Shoma Uno kid?!? I recall him skating brilliantly in Barcelona but before then I’ve never heard of him. I must do some research! I’m thrilled for Kozuka! Many had counted him out and it’s nice to see him rebound. It’s great he’s getting another chance to go to Worlds.
I’m not sure what to say regarding Machida. His performance here must have been a big disappointment – that makes three bad FS in a row. But more importantly, it seems this is the last time we’ll be seeing Tatsuki Machida competitively as he announced his retirement during the announcement of the World Team. He’s choosing to pursue graduate studies at the prestigious Waseda University. I’m disappointed in this choice because I feel Machida could have posed a real threat to Yuzu but I also applaud his decision to pursue an education when the opportunity presented itself
Yuzuru Hanyu SP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yojOhsbubKU
Yuzuru Hanyu FS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLnlfEjAFHU&feature=youtu.be
Thanks for reading!
Until next time.