World Championships 2015: The Men

2015 worlds men podiumNow that I have had a little time to digest the events of Worlds this year, I somehow just realized that this field is the one with the most veterans staying behind right after the Olympics. As a result, the competition itself didn’t seem to mediocre this season and I was also able to predict the podium with a good degree of accuracy.

For Javier Fernandez, this season represented a major milestone for the history of Spanish figure skating and I hope that the sport will flourish, bringing a more diverse and interesting group of competitors for the future. Overall, Fernandez brought two solid skates to Worlds, which in the end, triumphed over his Yuzuru’s less than stellar LP. Nonetheless, as we go into the next season, I still think that Javi needs to be in a “chase” mindset where he should seek constant improvement on many aspects of his skating.

In both programs, his footwork was a tad sloppy and at times skated carelessly as if he were randomly flinging his free leg around. Some of his spins in his SP were questionable and despite skating well in the LP, it looked as if he didn’t care very much for the program. This is somewhat understandable – we don’t always relate to a role – but as a performer who is expected to interpret different kinds of music, he should also learn to sell programs that may not be up his alley, as skaters like Meryl Davis & Charlie White have done in the past.

In contrast, Javi’s training mate and friend, Yuzuru Hanyu had a bit of a rough time at this competition. Despite skating perhaps the best iteration of his SP, Yuzuru fell at the beginning of his LP and doubled a few jumps here and there, which cost him a lot of points. His saving grace at this competition was likely his PCS but compared to Javi, Yuzuru fought hard to salvage his program and committed to his performance. It also helps that his choreography, although unfortunately set to the Phantom of the Opera, aided him in showing off his skating skills and polish. All in all, I think Yuzuru performed admirably in light of all the health issues he’s had this season.

On a side note, I absolutely adore Yuzuru and Javi’s relationship with each other as friends as well as rivals. Even after a tough performance, it was really adorable that Yuzuru cheered loudly for Javi in the kiss and cry.

While Fernandez is writing the start of figure skating at the elite level for Spain, I think Denis Ten is doing the same for Kazakhstan. Yes, Ten did win bronze at the Olympics but I think that it could be very possible that we see Denis at the top of the World podium one day. In the past, I have admittedly written off Ten in my predictions despite being talented purely on the basis of his inconsistency. This season, however, Denis has shown us that he can muster up solid or even clean skates when the need arises. Lori Nichol is also crafting some very lovely programs for Denis – some in the style of Patrick Chan, though his LP this year packages Denis really well with all of the intricate footwork and choreography which we now know he is capable of, and with a touch of Denis’ heritage and culture. If this is what Denis Ten will be like in the future, I look forward to seeing more of his skating.

Now for a few random highlights and notes on the men’s competition:

  • The Russian windmills (Voronov and Kovtun) imploded in different segments of the competition, thereby assuring my sanity for this season at least. Friend and reader Ay-sa were contemplating the horrific possibility of them winning Worlds this year and did not have anything pleasant to say about it.
  • My heart goes out to Han Yan who positively buckled under the pressure in his LP. His nerves were already showing in his SP where he skated tentatively (the skate itself was decent though with a few minor bobbles) but he completely imploded in the LP. I feel terrible because he reminds me a bit of Takahiko Kozuka – shy, talented and with tons of potential but he will need a lot of work.
  • Speaking of Kozuka, he is not even on my radar these days. Poor chap, finishing in 12th.
  • Misha Ge. I’m not sure what to make of this guy. Firstly, does anyone have any idea about the reasoning behind his costume for his LP? Secondly, I want to like his smooth, graceful style though by the end, his windmill arm step sequence elicited a visceral anger from my unconscious brain.
  • I’ve learned to like Jason Brown a bit more after this competition but I really hope that his choreographer gives him less kitschier programs next season.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good competition. What did you think of the podium and the performances? I’d love to hear from you!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Quyen Thuy Tran
    Apr 04, 2015 @ 14:23:57

    I agree with Javi’s win, but I am still confused at how the judges gave Javi the highest PCS in the free skate. Because he landed 2 quads? I don’t take that. But congrats to the medalists.

    Reply

  2. Hbelle
    Apr 05, 2015 @ 08:10:59

    I couldn’t agree more that Jason Brown was looking good but needs more sophisticated programs, his considerable performance skills are not being maximized just yet are they? Loved that you made mention of Yuzu and Javi’s cute support of one another in spite of being rivals. Yuzuru is always such a good sport in general. It’s wonderful to see from such a talented and accomplished athlete. This was an exciting Men’s event!

    Reply

  3. xibsuarz
    Apr 10, 2015 @ 08:53:38

    The men’s event was my favorite in this competition! It was really exciting to watch, specially Yuzuru and Javier skating back to back (again). The results were quite fair, Yuzuru deserved to win the SP regardless of the step out in the 4T because everything else was on a whole different level -though I still think Javi deserved at least a SB-. And Denis rocked his FS -though I can’t get into it that much-, but he was too far behind to catch up on Yuzuru and Javier. I’ve read people complaining that Denis got the silver stolen from him, and I can’t agree with that, he was almost 7 points behind Javier and rightfully so, he crashed against the boards and stepped out of the combination, he fully deserved to win the FS but not the silver, the placements were right. Javi was very consistent on both days and rightfully earned his gold medal. I know many questioned the PCS but the difference in the second mark among the top 3 was minimal, transitions seemed ok, his program is ridiculously packed. And I do think the components were affected by the quads, take the Russians, they got (I think), higher PCS than Joshua Farris’ effortless skating, but he didn’t land a quad.
    Going back to Javier, this is something that happens a lot, raise you technicals, execute them well, and your components will more than likely raise with them. I believe this is because, well landing a quad -specially how Javier does, he is among the most consistent on the 4S and doesn’t telegraph them as much as others- show certain skills that should be reflected in the PCS. We’ve seen it a lot, look at the champions this year, Liza and Duhamel/Radford are also technical skaters that got the highest PCS. Yuzuru himself last year was like that, he didn’t have the skills Patrick had, but his PCS rose with the technicals (not over Patrick’s but enough for him to win with TES).
    Besides, if Javi have had lower PCS, Yuzuru would have most likely won, and can you imagine the scandal that it would have been? Yuzuru attempted 2 quads (the 2S doesn’t count, it was a 2S), with a huge stepout on one and a fall+UR on the other. Javier attempted 4 quads and landed 3 cleanly, Denis attempted 3 and landed 2 cleanly. And the falls were fully rotated for both of them. If Yuzuru had won with PCS, after what happened in CoC, it would have had the potential to be remembered like Worlds 2013. His IN was the best of them in my opinion -he really pours his soul into his programs-, but Javier was the most consistent skater on both days and also has the technicals. When someone performs like that, is hard not to hand him the gold, even if his SS as not as good as Denis’ or Yuzuru’s. The 3 of them put up a good fight and made the competition quite exciting.
    Javier is such a good sportsman and friend, and so is Yuzuru, they were really supportive with each other. Yuzuru cheered for Javier even when he knew he could take the title away from him and Javier comforted Yuzuru when he was crying afterwards. It’s really nice to see such support among direct competitors.
    The winner of the day was Brian Orser, having Javier, Yuzuru and Nam in 1st, 2nd and 5th? I take my hat off for you and your incredible students, Mr. Orser.
    The competition had pleasant surprises like Misha and Nam, but some regretful performances like Joshua, Kozuka and Mura. It must be a tough blow for JSF to lose their 3 spots, Japanese Nats it’s going to be fierce this year. The disparity in spots is really something, Spain has 3 spots but Javier Rara didn’t even reached the minimum TES, and I don’t know if there will be anyone else beside him (and Fernandez obviously). While Japan, who has a deeper field, will only have 2 (you could even say 1 since the 1st probably has Hanyu’s name written on it already), but Spain’s earned it. Congrats to Javier for making history in FS for his country.

    Reply

  4. Quyen Thuy Tran
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 00:26:08

    I still don’t agree with Javi’s PCS being highest. That is the only absurd for me.

    Reply

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