I think I am finally at a loss for words. Holy freakin’ Hanyu! I still can’t believe it.
After NHK I compiled a list of achievements Yuzu accomplished at that event. Here’s the list for what Yuzu did this weekend at GPF:
- Yuzu broke his own WR SP score by 4.62 points
- Yuzu broke his own WR FS score by 3.41 points
- Yuzu broke his own WR total score by 8.03 points
- Yuzu set the record in the number of world records achieved (10)
- Yuzu set the record in the number of SELF world records broken (7)
- Yuzu set the record in the number of consecutive GPFs won (3)
- Yuzu has won the GPF (3) more times than he’s won individual GP events (2)
- 4/5 quads here had a perfect +3 GOE
- With his current layout, Yuzu can improve his SP WR by only 2.70 points
- With his current layout, Yuzu can improve his FS WR by 6.31 points
- Both WR skates here were achieved with only a Level 3 step sequence
After NHK everyone thought that the FS WR would last for quite a while. The situation in Japan that week was just too perfect – skating on home ice, first clean program in years – of course the judges were going to go with it. When he took to the ice for the FS here in Barcelona I was expecting it to be good, but definitely not THAT good!
As he was skating I was shaking. I was nervous at the start but then when he landed quad after quad I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to type and text during and my fingers couldn’t form words. I remember yelling at my computer screen a few times. First in excitement, then I believe I said, ‘now land the f**king lutz! and then excitement again. After these two competitions I’m not even sure what jump I’m most nervous for. Last season it was the stupid 3Lz, before that the choreographed 4S fall. This years he’s nailing them all. Holy consistent Hanyu!
Looking back on the fabulous programs we’ve now seen at NHK and GPF, I think I do prefer NHK more. Largely because it was the first. There was a crazy excitement in the air during the final 3rd of the program and Yuzu got excited after the 3Lz. Plus his reaction at the end was so endearing. That’s what he’s wanted to feel for years now. The FS at GPF this week was different. The jumps were just as good as in Japan but this time there was a calm decisiveness to his skate. Everything was deliberate. He hit every beat, was sharper and even added some new exits to a couple of the jumps (the landing of the 3Lz is my favourite!). This time he ended and it was like, yeah guys of course I’m going to do it again, why’d you ever doubt me. There was none of the excitement from NHK, here he was just calm, cool and collected. Though the #1 hand gesture as he left the ice was classic dramatic Hanyu.
After NHK I was in awe of Yuzuru Hanyu and what he had just done. Finally there was that clean FS. This weekend I find myself amazed. That actually happened. He didn’t just skate as good as NHK, he skated better. Was there anyone out there who thought this was a possibility? Congrats Yuzuru Hanyu. Within two weeks you’ve given us 4 skates that will go down in the history books as being some of the absolute best ever.
For the first time since Cup of Disaster in China last season Yuzu got emotional in the Kiss n’Cry. He mentioned how exhausted he’s been and how much pressure he’s been under. I can’t even imagine what it’s been like to be Yuzuru Hanyu right now. I think this makes these two performances even more special. Even with all of that going on he did not put a foot wrong. This new mental strength is insane. A consistent and strong Hanyu is scary.
And of course in true Team Orser fashion, the Cricket Club brothers just killed me with their cuteness. Them bowing down to each other while Yuzu was waiting for his marks was so cute.
The two of them on the podium was just the sweetest. Such actually good friends and so supportive of each other. With such a friendly rivalry, these two will only continue to get better.
There’s a couple other cute moments I have to mention. First PJ Kwong got a short little interview with Yuzu have the SP and FS. After the FS we got these adorable answers:
There was also this adorable laugh during the same interview (I think he’s laughing about breaking the WR again within two weeks):
Another cute moment was when he fist bumped his mom upon entering the arena before the FS:
And of course, in typical Yuzu fashion he jumped onto the top of the podium:
And then this happened during the exhibition, for some weird reason (he was apparently doing parts of Tatsuki Machida’s exhibition to the same music).
I’ve read a few people discuss, what next? Where does he go from here? With his current jump layout he can only improve that score by another 6.31 points (and a lot of that is his level 3 step sequence!). When asked what he can still improve, Yuzu after both the SP and FS said it’s the step sequence that needs work. After the FS he also said he needs to improve his English because he’s not good enough at it, because when you’re skating that good there’s nothing else for you to improve!
After the FS Patrick said that he thinks Yuzu’s “pretty much maxed out. What we see today, what we saw at NHK, that’s the best he can do”. I completely disagree (I also have more thoughts on Patrick but I’ll save that for the GPF recap post). Here’s where I think we go from here:
1. Don’t change anything and maintain this consistency. I think this is the biggest challenge and what will solidify him as one of the best ever. These two competitions have been amazing. But now show us this at Worlds. I do think this will be the game plan for the remainder of the season. Now that Yuzu’s tasted what this feels like he’s going to want it every time. The only thing I can see changing is moving the 4T-3T from the SP into the second half. Plus of course, getting level 4 step sequences.
2. Brian said after that the 4Lo will be the next challenge for Yuzu moving forward. We’re not going to see this before next season but it’ll come. Yuzu landed a beauty during a jump-off at the end of the exhibition. Everyone knows he can do it already. With a 4Lo, that’ll be 4 quads in the FS. Plus with those 3A combos – let’s break 400 before 2018!
Yuzu’s heading back to Japan now for Nationals. I can’t imagine we’ll see skates like this again, but I’ve been surprised by Hanyu so many times this season already that it just wouldn’t surprise me. ****Japanese friends, I’m almost certain there will not be a live feed of Nationals for us outside of Japan so updates and videos would be greatly appreciated***.
After that Yuzu has a show in Japan and then I’m guessing he’ll be back in Canada until Worlds. A lot of people are assuming he’s not going to 4CC, I would be very surprised if he did. My 3 wishes for Yuzu for the remainder of the season include:
- Relax and take a few days off in the New Year. Worlds is a long ways away and I think the excitement of NHK and GPF have really drained him. Just get through Nationals and then relax a little.
- Please stay healthy. Reading online people are just waiting for the injuries, because there has never been a season without one but others respond to this by saying this good season is a result of the hardships from last season. Just some good karma at work.
- Stay motivated. Brian Orser said that one reason for Yuzu’s success this year is that he loves both of his programs and loves to skate them. Remember that and remember the feeling of skating them clean, because I think there are A LOT of people who have bought Worlds tickets in the past two weeks specifically to see Hanyu.
I’ll be back with more thoughts on GPF in the next week. I actually watched all of the senior events! But I still will probably talk about the Men’s event the most 😊.
Again, thanks for reading!
– Justine Alyssa