Finally, it’s been over a week now, I am ready to discuss Yuzu and everything that happened during the Men’s event in Boston. I’ve briefly touched on this topic in my other two Worlds wrap up posts: My Top 10 Performances and My Emotions at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships.
After last week, Javier Fernandez’s FS has surpassed Patrick Chan’s FS from 2011 Nationals as the best FS I’ve ever seen live. But it’s not the best FS that’s ever been. I still award that title to Yuzuru Hanyu at the GPF, perhaps even Yuzu at NHK. I will be watching these programs for years to come. Because of the emotions I felt during Javi’s FS in Boston, I don’t know when I’ll be able to make myself watch that one again.
Javi was amazing last week. His World title was well deserved. He has caught up to Yuzu and Patrick in terms of skating skills and transitions, plus his programs this year were his best yet. But, if both Yuzu and Javi are clean the titles will go to Yuzu, I’m almost positive. All I want is an event where both these boys skate their programs like we know they can.
Yes I am heartbroken for Yuzu. We all know how much he wanted this title. I think that is the fact that made me most upset. It’s taken me a few days to try and understand why I felt like this, beyond of course the fact that I’m just overly emotional. He wanted this title and it was his for the taking. He simply couldn’t grab it. This is what breaks my heart. Yuzu seemed happy and smiling the couple times we saw him afterwards. He put on a smile but we know he was hurting inside, at least initially.
My week in Boston was the third event where I’ve seen Yuzu skate live. Each time I find something new to be amazed by. I could watch Yuzu practice every day. This was a great privilege, from the first day to the last. His basic stroking is beautiful as is every single one of his jumps. His 3A is everything 😍😍. His quads in practice looked so solid. It’s amazing to see live. TV is impressive, but being there live and almost at ice level is everything. It makes you appreciate things a little bit more. That first practice Yuzu did a clean FS run through. At that time he looked unbeatable. I will always have that – even with the turn of events later in the week.
I ran out of words to describe Chopin Ballade No 1 months ago. This program is exquisite. I saw it live at Skate Canada (which was a disaster) and was thrilled to be able to see it again here. This time skated to its potential. This program is a masterpiece from beginning to end. The spread eagles on either side of the 4S 😍😍. The leaps and toe steps at the beginning of the footwork 😍😍. The spins, the 3A out of no where 😍😍. I love everything so much and am so happy I got to see it performed at this level. The footwork brought tears to my eyes. And his intensity as soon as he finished is everything I expect and more of Yuzu. The moment he finished was one of my biggest highs of the week.
But then came the FS. It seems I witnessed live the 2 worst performances this season of both Yuzu’s programs. Ugh. I was so excited to see Seimei skated like we all knew it could be. The audience was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. But four and a half minutes later I think a large percentage of the audience was devastated. What had just happened? Where was the Yuzu we saw just the other day?? I remember putting my head in my hands after the second 3A, so many missed points. I remember, already knowing it was over, yelling at him to not fall on his 3Lz at the end. I remember others in my group looking at me during the performance to see how I was reacting. I remember seeing the scores come up and even though his technical score was so low, it was the 92 in PCS that hurt the most. What had happened? I was heartbroken. I have almost no memory of Boyang’s FS that followed. I was too shocked to care. And then came Javi. When Javi landed that first 4T, right in front of where I was sitting I knew. I knew Javi was going to win. I knew that Yuzu would be second yet again and I started to cry. The tears started and I did nothing to try and stop them. I am thrilled for Javi. He skated so well. But more than remembering that flawless performance I remember my heartbreak and the tears streaming down my face.
The main positive I can take from that night is how the Yuzuru Hanyu fandom banded together. I had messages from friends in Japan and multiple conversations with other fans online through discussion boards and twitter. We all felt the same way, all had the same reaction and I’m glad we were able to be there for each other. Thank you to all those people ❤️.
The next day was hard. I was sad. My emotions shifted when Duhamel & Radford skated the program of their lives to defend their World title. I remember saying, ‘please, I need this after last night’ when they began. This moment and the Men’s small medal ceremony I was able to see a few hours later worked wonders. But I was still sad when the exhibition began the next day. Yuzu took to the ice and the tears started again. He skated Requiem freely with so much emotion. It was brilliant. This is my final memory of Yuzu that week, and it was everything I could have asked for.
I jumped off the Patrick Chan bandwagon a while back but I can appreciate what Patrick has done for the sport. Yuzu won the Olympics in Sochi because of Patrick. And this week I feel Javi won because of Yuzu. However, unlike Patrick at the Olympics – I don’t think we’ve yet seen everything Yuzu has to offer.
I don’t want to discuss what went wrong with Yuzu this week. The internet is filled with ideas and theories. Yuzu is young. Yuzu is strong. Yuzu is a fighter. Let’s not forget what he gave us this season. Already that’s more than I could have ever asked for.
I wish these next 6 months is for Yuzu to take the time he needs to heal properly. No more injuries please. I wish him to come back with stellar new programs for next season. I wish him to reevaluate how he trains and train smarter moving forward. I want him to channel his Worlds frustration into becoming stronger; both physically and mentally. But mostly, I wish him all the best. I want to see a happy Yuzu when I see him next.
My trip to Boston was filled with so many ups and downs, just in regards to Yuzu. Even through it all I am so happy I was able to make the trip. I want to see Yuzu skate live as many times as I can in the next couple years. While in Boston there was definitely talk of Finland 2017, will I see any of you there?
Thanks everyone for readying. I was very thankful to talk to some of you during my time in Boston.
– Justine Alyssa