NHK Trophy – A few words on Pairs and the Men’s SP

I apologize for the long delay in covering the Pairs competition. I also realize that I lack coverage on the men’s SP but time constraints and my horrendous workload has forced me to these brief statements before I do my predictions for Skate Canada and then basically become a hermit for undisclosed reasons.

Men’s SP

It seemed to be a fabulous night all around. Daisuke Takahashi’s shirt was pretty distracting but the tango SP suited him very well. I do worry at the fact that he’s using Latin music for both programs this year since you want to show the judges that you aren’t a one trick pony but I think they can forgive Daisuke. He’s awesome after all.

Thankfully enough, Jeremy Abbott toned down his Lysacek-esque frantic/epileptic arm waving in his flamenco SP. I still prefer the marriage between him and Shae-Lynn Bourne choreography but I guess he wanted a fresh start after his disastrous showings at the Olympics and Worlds last year.

I will have some snark or comments on Florent Amodio who won bronze and Shawn Sawyer who was 3rd in the SP once I have time to watch them.

Pairs

Pang and Tong obviously won with a 16 points lead despite their mistake-laden LP. However, with the silver medal going to the Russians, they’re showing that the Russian Figure Skating Federation is not wasting time in trying to put up a strong team for Sochi 2014. Even now, I can see clear contenders for the ladies, pairs and ice dance competitions.

A development that is both interesting and sad is the fact that Narumi Takahashi and Melvin Tran winning bronze. I say that it’s sad because it reflects the sad, sad state of pairs skating today. Now that Shen and Zhao are back in retirement, we have only the Germans and a few Chinese teams at the top and the rest are still way, way, way, way, wayyyyyyyyyyy below them.

Also, these two have a HUGE problem if they want to compete at Sochi 2014. Tran is a Canadian citizen and if he wants to compete for Japan, he’ll have to get Japanese citizenship. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Japan doesn’t allow dual citizenship so if he wants to seriously compete, he’ll have to renounce his Canadian citizenship. To many fans, that seems like a small price to pay to compete in something as epic as the Olympics but in all seriousness, a Canadian passport is probably one of the best to have in the entire world and I’m not saying that out of nationalism. Although I’m not too familiar with Japanese diplomatic relations but if I were Tran, I would be wary of losing that precious passport and the rights and protections that come with it..

Other than that, Takahashi and Tran have a lot of technique issues to work on. For example, they only did a double twist in their LP while their main rivals from the junior ranks, 2010 World Champions Sui Wenjin and Han Cong of China have been attempting – with some success – quad twists and throw salchows. (!) In any case, the fact that the junior world champions have been able to beat a few veterans and Olympians is a bit sad and I hope to see some changes soon.

Now, onto Skate Canada predictions!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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