Two Olympic Champions: Two Comebacks?

So, the Olympic season is upon us and of note this season, two Olympic champions are coming back. Sort of. And the “sort of”s mean different things in the two situations.

Yuna Kim 13 SP

Yuna Kim is the first Olympic champion is coming back to compete for a full season. Well, actually, a slightly less truncated season. It was announced recently that Yuna will be off the ice for 6 weeks due to a foot injury and as a result, will miss Skate Canada International. (Article here.) Sad, but with her result at Worlds this year, Yuna has shown us that she can come back and win it all without a shadow of a doubt. If Yuna can show the judges that she can skate two clean programs after her foot injury, I think she’ll have a good shot for gold. And yes, she will have to skate clean at the Olympics. Her jumps are fantastic, as always, but her extension still needs work and she really needs to push herself a little more in expressing the music. Her rivals will bring their all (or at least I hope they will) and I’m sure Yuna will want nothing but perfection in all her performances anyways.

I expect Carolina Kostner to be nipping at Yuna’s heels with her improved consistency, lovely flow and wonderful expressiveness – those who aren’t totally blinded by their fandom will have to admit, it was hard to keep your eyes off of Carolina last season. (Especially during her Bolero LP.) As for Mao, well… she’s been brave and she’s been trying and I hope to see her in tip-top shape. I’d love to have a season that harks back to the golden days of the Yuna/Mao rivalry (without the nasty racist comments) just for the sake of being able to watch purely beautiful skating. Rivalries are wonderful when they push two competitors to be at their best all the time.

evan lysacek windmill

Windmill Guy Seizures on ice Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek is supposed to be coming back this season but all in all, I highly doubt that Evan will either 1) be able to compete seriously and 2) be able to defend his title if he somehow makes it to the Olympics.

Exhibit A: Evan is only assigned to one Grand Prix event.

Grand Prix events are a season starter and a way to establish yourself in the game. Grand Prix wins may not lead to medals at Four Continents/Euros or Worlds but it helps the judges and fans figure out who the A and B and under-list skaters are. Many of those who come out on top during the GP series will be frontrunners at Worlds or in other events in future seasons. However, coming back and doing two GP events show that 1) you are serious about your comeback and 2) you think you can win with or without the home ice advantage that skaters like Lysacek get. Lysacek is assigned to Skate America and the roster is often compiled to give the home favourites an easy win so I’m guessing he may get on the podium at the very least at Skate America just to prove he still “has it” OR he’ll conveniently get an injury and not compete at all

Exhibit B: Lysacek won without the quad in Vancouver

Sorry, Windmill dude, but the quad is securely back in the men’s arsenal. As much as I resent Chan’s inflated scores and performances, I will give him credit for helping to put the quad back on the map in men’s programs. You can’t beat Chan without a quad nowadays and Chan is the one to beat. I will also admit the Chan is definitely the lesser of two evils between him and Lysacek because Chan can skate… without looking like a windmill. (For more information, check out Morozombie’s awesome post.) In any case, Lysacek faces tougher competition this season in Sochi than in Vancouver and he can’t sweep the rest of the competition away like Yuna can.

Wildcard: Lysacek’s legendary work ethic

Unlike some of Frank Carroll’s students, Lysacek does not suffer from a poor work ethic. Commendable, yes, but why Frank hasn’t made him work on not looking like a windmill skating to overused music is confusing to me. In any case, Lysacek can prove me totally wrong. Usually, I’d encourage skaters to do it but my dislike of his skating style makes me think that I may have to drink myself into oblivion if he wins another Olympic gold. And I don’t even drink. Often, that is.

What do you think of these two comebacks?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Predictions: Skate America 2013 | The Rinkside Cafe

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