It’s midway through the season and it seems as if I have to bid another sad adieu to a skater who was growing on me. After finishing 4th at the Japanese Nationals, 2014 World silver medalist, Tatsuki Machida announced his retirement from competitive figure skating to focus on his studies. (See this article and this article for details.)
For the longest time, I couldn’t quite take Machida seriously thanks to his Firebird program. The flapping bird-like motions were perhaps part of his interpretation of the music but it was also so cheesy. And cringeworthy. I was almost suffering from secondhand embarrassment from watching it.
However, I really began to respect Machida and what he was trying to do when I fell in love with his East of Eden program. The choreography was lovely and although the interpretation was a little overwrought, at least he was trying and being true to himself. In the end, I kind of accepted Machida’s attempts at being an artiste. He was like that kid in drama class who overacted and couldn’t naturally create a character that blended seamlessly into a story but at least he tried and kept trying to improve himself. And for that, I have to give him a ton of respect for putting himself out there.
Good luck in your studies, Machida-san. I’ll miss your exuberance and artistry on ice.
~The Rinkside Cafe