I probably should have blogged about NHK Trophy on the weekend, seeing as a lot can be said about Yuzu…instead I got distracted. But alas, a couple days late, here it is!
I can’t take credit for the title of this post, that goes to allezfred over at FSU. On that Phantom of the Opera note, there were 4 POTO programs in singles! And 3 of them were Japanese! I think we all know what the music of the night will be at Japanese Nationals this year.
Congrats to Meagan and Eric on their second Grand Prix win! It’s still hard to believe they never won one before this season. They weren’t at their best in the FS but I think that’s ok early in the season. Even slightly off they’re still quite good. I just can’t wait to see that throw 4S landed cleanly. I really hope this is their season. Also, exciting news today, Eric officially came out as gay. While it wasn’t a big shock to me, I am so happy for him! Makes me love this team even more.
This was the first time I watched Kavaguti and Smirnov this season. I’m a fan of their dark and intense FS. It’s fun and exciting! It wasn’t their best in Japan, as well, but again I think that’s ok. I’m glad they are healthy and trained and ready for this season. I’m still waiting for that throw 4S showdown between these top two pairs. It might be the only way they can top Stolbova and Klimov.
I think the GPF will be really telling. Stolbova and Klimov are bound to make a mistake at some point (though I did keep saying that about Davis and White…). I’m still betting on two Russian teams and a Canadian on that podium and at Worlds. But with three Chinese teams at the GPF and Worlds in Shanghai, it could be interesting.
Gah! Gracie Gold still makes me want to punch something. Gah! I guess she did skate quite well here. But I’m still not a fan of her FS. The music doesn’t seem POTO to me, which might actually be good during the year of Phantom of the Opera music! I’ll be rooting for an all Russian podium in Barcelona (sorry Ashley!). (And it seems I’ve already slightly got my way, Gracie withdrew from the GPF today)
I’m a fan of little Satoko Miyahara. She reminds me of a little firecracker. It was lovely to watch her at Skate Canada. I wish her the best. Disappointing FS here for Kanako Murakami. I probably wouldn’t have even mentioned her except she skate to Phantom.
And this was a pretty good outing for Gabby Daleman. She’s showing some consistency this season. I think Nationals is going to be very exciting this year. With Kaetlyn’s injury, Alaine’s success and Gabby’s determination I think it’s going to be a mega fight for those two spots to Worlds.
Congrats to Kaitlyn and Andrew on their second Grand Prix title! I see their FD growing on me this season. I do love Four Seasons. I also enjoy their new costumes. The brighter colours are far more flattering and generally more exciting.
Again, the GPF will be very telling. We’ll see how they stack up against Chock and Bates. Will be exciting for sure!
And I felt so bad for Coomes and Buckland here. They were so close to making it to the GPF. But that FD was quite a disaster. But, on the brightside, it was not as much of a disaster as Sinitsina and Katsalapov. Yikes! I think Elena and Ruslan are definitely winning this battle of Russian new dance teams thus far.
And how cute is this podium selfie!?!
First, I’m choosing to believe Yuzu was recovered when he decided to skate here. I know Brian’s initial plan was not to. However, as previously discussed, Yuzu is stubborn and determined. He wanted to skate here because he wanted to go to the GPF. He believed he was recovered enough to do so.
The Yuzu we saw was definitely not at his best. In practice and warmup I’ve heard he landed 4S and 4T and was solid. But a competitive program is a little different. I’m also not sure he was ready to head back to the competitive environment.
On multiple occasions during practice you could see Yuzu against the boards or jumping out of the way to escape close encounters with his competitors. He was always smiling afterwards, but I imagine there are some lingering effects plaguing him from that collision. I also read a quote where Yuzu talked about how paranoid he was and always looking over his shoulder during the 6 minute warmup. I recall Han Yan saying similar things last week. Yuzu may be physically recovered but I think some mental training is needed now to get him back in top form.
Yuzu just squeezed into that GPF and I’ve read he’s not planning on returning to Canada between now and then (flights and time zones and Brian is away at Skate Canada Challenge all week). I just hope Yuzu gets some actual quality training time in. Yuzu is a rockstar in Japan. The media follows him wherever he goes. In the past few years we’ve seen both Mao and Daisuke struggle with this pressure. I just hope this doesn’t get to Yuzu. Here’s an article that came out this week talking about pretty much everything I’ve already mentioned and looking forward to Barcelona. I’ll be cheering for you Yuzu!
Yuzu did adjust his programs here, which was nice to see in his state. He rearranged the order of his elements in the SP. The gorgeous 3A with spread eagles before and after was gone. But I have my fingers crossed we’ll see this in Spain.
It’s interesting to note that Yuzu scored lower here than in China for that disastrous FS. This simply shows you how important it is to rotate your jumps. Yuzu lost at least 20 points simply on rotations! Again, interestingly, I’ve read that Yuzu could have possibly singled that 2nd 3 axel to avoid repeated another jump (two 3T and two 3Lz already). Was Yuzu clever enough to put this together, or did he simply pop that axel?
Just one more thing on Yuzu: he changed his FS costume since Cup of China because he couldn’t get the blood completely off. I don’t mind this one, but I really liked the red and gold one.
What a delight to see someone new rise to the occasion and win! Congrats Daisuke Murakami! It was very refreshing (and reminiscent of Takahashi) to watch him skate. I was never this biggest fan of Dai but I think I could like Murakami. Just what Japan needs, another man with quads competing for limited Worlds spots. Japanese Nationals are already stressing me out!! It’s interesting that Murakami decided to switch and skate for Japan. Did he think he had a better chance in Japan? Has he seen the American men lately?? Sorry, Jeremy, but if you can’t beat 3 pop Yuzu with a decent skate then you’re never gonna make it to the top. And I don’t think Chanflation had anything to do with it (apparently that’s what people are calling Yuzu’s marks, why not Yuzuflation??)
And too bad for Takahito Mura. That FS was a bit of a disaster. Luckily he’ll get to redeem himself at the GPF. I want him and Yuzu to skate one after the other at some point. Phantom on repeat!
And very respectful skates for the Canadian Men! Elladj skated quite well, when he is on he can nail those jumps. Congrats to Jeremy Ten on his first 4T in competition! What an accomplishment.
Two final things:
1. Frank Carroll won both Men and Ladies. And both were first time winners.
2. And isn’t Yuzu just the cutest!
See you in a couple weeks 🙂
Or maybe before, someone has an important birthday coming up!