Alright, it’s been a couple of days since the Men took to the ice at Canadian Nationals and I think I’ve calmed down enough to share my thoughts. After the event I was rather mad at the results, but in the days since I guess I’ve not only accepted them but I’ve thought a lot about it and have come to a sort of understanding.
I shared some of my thoughts on the topic already with The Judges Table. Check it out, it’s always a fun read!
I had planned to discus the Men’s event as a whole, but ultimately all I want to discuss is Nam and Liam, because I don’t know if I’ll ever not be bitter about this.
First, some of the judging here was completely ridiculous. Liam scored 15 points higher in PCS in the FS than he’s ever scored internationally! This still bugs me. Skate Canada wants Liam to be the next Patrick Chan. I get it, I love Liam’s skating. He is gorgeous and has gorgeous skating BUT he’s never had the jumps. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him land a clean 3A and while I’m glad he’s trying 4T now, the success rate on it isn’t the greatest. Liam has also yet to deliver internationally whereas both Kevin and Nam have been 5th at Worlds.
I’ll probably be bitter about Skate Canada’s Worlds decision until next season. I would have had Liam, Kevin and Nam do a skate-off at 4CC (which reminds me, I’m surprised Patrick is even going to 4CC). If Liam placed higher there then I would no longer be complaining. I would have thought it was fair and lived with the decision. But no, instead Skate Canada is sending Liam straight to Worlds. Liam Firus who’s season’s best would have just placed him 18th in the SP at Euros. Ugh.
Now I want to talk about Nam. I jumped on the Nam bandwagon earlier this season. He’s definitely one of my favourites and I 100% think it has something to do with him being a part of Team Orser. After Skate Canada this past fall I was also mad with Nam’s treatment by Skate Canada. I even wrote a blog post about it. Because now that Patrick Chan is back all of the focus seems to be on him and everyone else has been forgotten.
I’ve watched Nam all season and he’s struggled. His jumps aren’t solid, he lacks the confidence we saw last season and his programs are doing nothing to help him. I understand that some of these struggles are because he grew another few inches since the spring. I think Nam will get the jumps back easily, he just needs some time. As for the programs, come on Brian Orser, let Nam have some fun out there.
Another thing I’ve really noticed this season is that Nam is not the strongest when it comes to basic skating skills. He’s often slow, doesn’t have the same power as others and he’s lacking overall flow across the ice. These are skills people like Patrick Chan and Liam Firus naturally have and, like we saw this past weekend, are skills the nationals judges love. While a lot of this came naturally to his two competitors, this can be taught and improved upon. Both Javi and Yuzu are prime examples. Before the Cricket Club these two had average skating skills and now they are arguably some of, if not the best in the World. Where Nam struggles is also a result of him being ridiculously tall and super thin. On the ice this gives him a long, lanky and kinda awkward look. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Nam needs to work on his posture and I think some basic dance training would go a long way. He needs some time to get used to and feel comfortable in his new body. The jumps are super important, but so is the rest of it. And I think Nam is just figuring this out. I think Nam has become aware of a lot of this recently.
I also keep forgetting how young Nam is. He’s only 17! Nam is younger than Nicolas Nadeau who we’re sending to Jr Worlds and just a year older than Roman Sadovsky. Nam is so young and really still has so much time.
Last season Nam was Canada’s #1. In the absence of Patrick Chan all of Skate Canada’s focus was on Nam and I think this helped his international scores and placements. We have now seen that with Patrick back Nam has been cast aside. But what if Skate Canada is doing this on purpose? What if this is Skate Canada’s way of telling Nam that he needs to work on these things if he wants to be back on top. What if they’re just giving him some extra time and motivation? Nam might not see it in this way. Instead, all of those things that Nam has to work on are no longer being rewarded just because he’s Canada’s #1. So what does Nam do? He works his butt off in his extra long off-season and comes back fighting stronger than ever. He shows Skate Canada next season that they made a mistake and he is worthy of getting high scores and going to the big events. I think this is what Skate Canada wants.
So Liam you get a trip to Worlds. I get to watch you live instead of Nam. I get to wave my Canadian flag for you instead. Skate Canada is giving you another chance, Skate Canada has a lot of faith in you finally landing these jumps. Perhaps you’ll surprise me. I wish you all the best. But honestly I have very little faith in it right now. I do think Nam probably would have made the top 10, whereas I don’t know if you’ll make the cutoff to the FS. BUT this isn’t the year before the Olympics, Olympic numbers aren’t relying on this years’ Worlds. Patrick and a new-and-improved Nam can get 3 spots next year (I better start planning that trip to Finland!). I’m choosing to be positive here. I’m choosing to believe Skate Canada has long-term plans for Nam.
Also, did you know Jeff Buttle didn’t make the World team in 2004 BUT won a World silver medal in 2005? Or did you know Evan Lysacek did not make the World team in 2008 BUT won Worlds in 2009? Sometimes not making the World team is a blessing in disguise.
Come back and wow us next season Nam! I’ve become a big fan and I can’t wait!
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts!
Thanks for reading!
– Justine Alyssa