It’s finally come to an end. This weekend we said goodbye to the 2015/2016 figure skating season. I’m sure this is the first of many season wrap up posts.
I’ll talk more about the Team Challenge Cup later but the main thing I want to discus today is Nam Nguyen. I have been Nam’s biggest cheerleader this season. I was outraged at his treatment at Skate Canada and then frustrated when Skate Canada dropped him at Nationals only to remember he had better scoring potential than Liam only a few weeks later. I then cheered for Nam live at Worlds only to see him crumble.
This has been a rough season for this youngster. There’s no denying that. He was 5th at Worlds in 2015 and then didn’t make the FS this season. That’s rough. This continued when we saw him skate abysmally this weekend (but that prom proposal was adorable!).
Now we have official confirmation that Nam is leaving Brian Orser and the Cricket Club and is moving to San Jose to train alongside Polina.
What went wrong and where does Nam go from here??
There’s 3 things different for Nam between this season and last:
- Nam has grown a ton. I don’t know how much but this boy keeps getting taller and taller. In the Cricket Club picture before Worlds he was as tall as, if not taller than Dylan Moscovitch. That’s not mentioning how he towered over Yuzu and Javi. Naturally, this has affected his jumps and consistency. This is the most difficult obstacle to overcome for many young skaters.
- As a result, we haven’t seen spicy Nam. Last year Nam was confident and cocky. There was no hesitation when he took to the ice. He knew he could do it and he almost always did. This led him to his National title and fabulous Worlds placement. This has been missing all season. The confidence is gone.
- Last season Nam came across almost cocky because that was the character he was playing in both his programs. La Strada and Sinnerman were perfect programs for him. This season his programs were too serious and too dramatic. They were more classical in nature. These programs failed to hide some of Nam’s weaknesses, which the previous years programs had done so well.
After failing to make the podium at Nationals and failing to qualify for the FS at Worlds Nam must have been frustrated. Really, he had two options:
- Stick it out at the Cricket Club
- Make a coaching change
We now have confirmation that Nam has chosen the second option. I can’t say I’m thrilled by this decision; I love the Cricket Club and rather dislike Polina, but I don’t want to give up on Nam quite yet.
Now the nature of this decision leaves me with a few questions: How long has this move been brewing? Was it Nam’s choice? Did Brian dump him? Had something happened at the Cricket Club? Is he simply in love with Polina?
Let’s talk through this: does Nam think his struggles have been a growth issue or a coaching issue?
I’m a big fan of the Cricket Club and Brian Orser. I fell in love with Nam when he joined the Cricket Club team. The Cricket Club brothers are everything. However, I think I always knew this was too good to be true. Regarding Yuzu and Javi; as adorable as they can be together, I can’t imagine Worlds has made their training situation any easier. There was a lot of talk after Worlds that Yuzu should leave Brian because it seems his focus is more on Javi. But, irrelevant of Javi, I think the Cricket Club is the best training facility for Yuzu and has the best coaches and choreographers and support for him right now. This would not be available to the same extent in Japan. But back to Nam, all of this is everything that brought Nam to the Cricket Club, it seemed a perfect fit. Except for one thing: Nam is not a World Medalist. How many people now train in Toronto? So many! It’s crowded. Brian, Yuzu and Javi have attracted skaters from around the world as well as the majority of the Canadian team. And no matter who you are or what you do, you’ll always be in the shadow of Yuzu and Javi. While that has to be inspiring to be on the same ice as the World and Olympic Champion, it must also be difficult to get noticed. Now imagine all of this for Nam. He was riding a high after last season but then he grew. Suddenly he was struggling and while I think his coaching team would have been very helpful through this it must have been difficult for Nam to stay motivated and work to overcome this. It must have been frustrating to struggle while everyone around you was landing jumps. Instead of motivating I could see the situation being extremely hard. Getting out of this environment going somewhere with a little less intensity might seem like a good choice. Finding somewhere you can be the star is completely reasonable. Nam was Skate Canada’s star last season, but this season he was overshadowed, both in Canada and at the Cricket Club.
There’s one option here that I haven’t discussed. What if, amidst all this Nam’s frustration led to lack of training and he became difficult. What if there was a clash between him and his coaches? What if he developed an attitude amidst all this and his coaching situation no longer worked. What if his training and work ethic changed and he no longer fit in? What if someone in Toronto no longer wanted to work with him? I’ve read rumours online that something of this nature happened, but as that’s just a rumour I don’t want to dwell on it.
I think Nam needs a summer of good solid training. I think he needs time to learn to accept and adjust to his new body. I do think the majority of his problems this season were a result of this and I think he will get his jumps and consistency back but I don’t know if Nam sees it that way. I think he might be blaming his coaching situation more than he should for his season. I think the Cricket Club would have turned him into the best skater he could be if he had given it more time. But sometimes things just don’t work out. Sometime you do need a change of scenery to spark something in you. Sometimes a change can be the best motivator.
I don’t know a lot about David Glyn. To me this seems like a bit of a step down after training with world class coaches in Toronto. But for some reason Nam has made this decision. The one positive I can see is that both him and Polina are long and lanky, so perhaps he can make Nam look less awkward on the ice. I hope this isn’t just because Nam is in love with Polina, because even though I love a good love story, I don’t love this one enough for it to break up the Cricket Club brothers. I’m heartbroken this is the end of the Cricket Club trio. Their competition antics and numerous photos together are everything
So Nam, I don’t fully know why you’ve made this choice. I’m still saddened by it. I’m going to miss you being a member of #TeamCricketClub. I’m going to miss you telling me through Instagram that Yuzu is in Toronto. But I haven’t given up hope. Please show me this change was for the best. I want to see spicy Nam next season. I want to see you be competitive with Shoma and Boyang next season. I wish you all the best.
I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.
Till next time!
– Justine Alyssa