The Future is Here! All Hail Yuzuru Hanyu – Olympic Champion!

Yuzuru Hanyu 2014 OWG LP

The men’s competition in Sochi was packed full of surprises for better and worse. The result is still a little bit of a shock but somewhere deep down, I think I was expecting it. Or maybe, a lot of us just managed to see what a talent this guy was back at the beginning of the Olympic cycle and he certainly proved us right. Thanks, Yuzuru!

Also, the men’s figure skating Olympic curse seems to be in full effect after taking a small break in Vancouver. (For those of you who don’t know, the “curse” is that the man who was World Champion from the previous year/season will not win Olympic gold. All the figure skating “curses” were broken in Vancouver but so far, they seems to be in full effect.) Anyway, let’s start this brief recap of the men’s figure skating competition with one of the biggest game changers… More

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GPF 2013: What just happened?

I’m still catching up with the GPF performances but I just have to comment on this:

isu gpf2013 mens lp

I woke up to this and I wondered if I was reading this right.

Yuzuru’s had asthma since childhood and it’s not unusual to see Yuzuru hunched over or lying on the ice after his long program, in which he is weaker at. I expected Yuzuru to not only make mistakes to not win the short program and I thought than Chanflation with a good skate would be enough to push Chan back into gold medal position – because we all know that Chan’s been given ridiculous scores for mediocre performances in the past. However, all of my assumptions proved to be wrong. Chan skated well and his score is deserved but then, it seems that Yuzuru delivered as well…

He had a fall on his quad salchow and possibly a slightly clumsy spin at the very end but there was Yuzuru in attack mode again, expressing the music well and throwing down the gauntlet with every element. I especially loved that spread eagle into the triple axel-double tano double-toe.

I think we all thought that Patrick Chan was unbeatable this season and I’m so happy that Yuzuru managed to prove us wrong. Ganbare, Yuzuru-kun~! おめでとうございます! Congratulations on a well-deserved gold medal!

What a great way to celebrate one’s 19th birthday! Happy birthday, Yuzuru! お誕生日おめでとう!

gpf 13 mens podium

Were you as surprised as I was? Let me know what you thought of the men’s competition in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Yuzuru Hanyu leads after the SP in the GPF + Yuna News

My morning started with great news: I checked my facebook and lo and behold, I saw this:

PJ tweet dec 5 2013

In my half-awake daze, my brain could barely process this news.

yuzuru hanyu 13 gpf sp

Yuzuru Hanyu is leading?

As in, he beat the unbeatable Patrick Chan in the short program?

AND Yuzu beat Chan’s world record score that was set two weeks ago at TEB?

Tell me I’m not dreaming…

Image taken from the ISU GPF page

isu gpf2013 mens sp

NOPE! I WASN’T DREAMING!?!?!?!

Not only was it a world record but Yuzu’s got a 12-point lead??? What on earth happened???

Well, first this happened:

Chan did a clean quad toe-triple toe (slightly awkward landing on the former), a severely two-footed triple axel with a hand down and a… double lutz with a shaky landing? He hasn’t skated like this so far this season. This competition should’ve been a piece of cake for him seeing the crazy high scores he’s been getting this season but I guess he cracked a bit in the SP.

Anyways, enough about Chan, here’s the real star of the night:

Flawless except for a slight bobble on his final jump but Yuzuru skated that program with ATTACK. Maybe that sense of attack added to the edginess of the program or maybe he decided that he’s just going to go for it and try to beat Chan but wow. I’m not sure what prompted this decision but it paid off. I don’t expect him to skate that well in the long given Yuzuru’s record of tiring easily in the second half of his long program but I wish him the best and I hope he proves me wrong. I have never regretted my decision to peg him as the future of figure skating at the beginning of this Olympic cycle. Ganbare, Yuzuru-kun!

In other news, the Korean media seems to have recorded Yuna skating run-throughs of her SP and LP for the Golden Spin of Zagreb:

As anyone can see, Yuna still has great jumps. The only thing I feel somewhat iffy about is what I feel to be the lack of growth. Sure, Yuna is great and all but no skater is perfect just as no artist will ever achieve perfection. Before I start receiving a torrent of hatred for saying this, let me iterate that perfection is an endpoint you steer towards but never reach because if you ever reach perfection, you stop because there’s no goal anymore. I think anyone who does any art for fun or for job-related matters can understand.

In any case, it’s been an entire Olympic cycle and yet, I still feel as if I’m watching Yuna circa 2010. She still doesn’t turn out her feet and her posture and lines still need polish. You can say they’re small things but they add up and really make a program shine so much more. I mean, remember Michelle Kwan when her hands reached out to you when she did her iconic arabesque spiral? I still tear up occasionally. Or when Midori Ito did those huge jumps with a giant smile on her face? I smiled with her? Or those absolutely gorgeous spirals and layback spins in the most exquisite position from Sasha Cohen? Shivers.

At her ability now, Yuna’s good enough to win the Olympics but she’s already won that. I think she needs to think along the lines of the top two ice dance teams of the moment: to push the sport to a level where it’s never been before. Try doing something interesting with the choreography, push yourself to express a song/theme/story that you’ve never skated before. Yuna’s done a tango before as well as a program to flowing music and as a figure skating fan, I want more.

Anyways, I’m off! I may put up a comments post after the GPF is over and I’m thinking about the Skating 101 series for fans that have recently joined us for the Olympic season.

As always, thanks for reading!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Highlights of Four Continents 2013

It’s the Lunar New Year and I don’t think it’s the time to dwell on the negatives even though there were huge negatives in this competition. In any case, here are a few highlights and we’ll think about the good things.

Mao Asada’s I’ve Got Rhythm

I’m so excited to see her triple axel back! She also did a triple-triple in the long program which was surprising. Mao is getting ready to face her biggest rival at Worlds.

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir – The Waltz Goes On

I feel like I’m watching a fairy tale unfold here.

Kanako Murakami, Tango

I’m happy to see Kanako’s improved a ton. I hope she keeps this up.

Zijun Li

I saw glimpses of Yuna and Mao at their peak in her in this performance. I hope that puberty sits well with her because this girl has a lot of potential.

Han Yan

Despite the mistakes, this guy’s jumps are HUGE. I hope he improves fast. China may have a fleet of single skaters. I can smell the future nationalism already.

 

What were your favourite bits of the Four Continents competition?

Also, HAPPY YEAR OF THE SNAKE!

snake

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Four Continents 2013

Oh you aio;sfjsdifjadsl;kjf;asjfs. WordPress or my computer or the gremlins deleted the stuff I wrote just now. $%#@. Here we go again. Attempt #2 at writing this.

Also, this will be post #300 for the Rinkside Cafe! Woo!

Yuzuru Hanyu sp 2012

Yuzuru beckons you in… More

Skate America 2012: Predictions

THE GRAND PRIX SERIES HAS BEGUN! HURRAH!

Meryl and Charlie beckons you to read on… More

Beginning of the Season Predictions for Worlds 2013

I’m working on Skate America predictions, I swear but I figured it would be fun to make predictions for the World Champion at the beginning of the season and see how close or how far my predictions are many months down the road. I won’t make any silver or bronze predictions just because I’m so short on time (so many chores and other things to do!) and I need to write the Skate America predictions before the competition starts on Friday.

Let’s begin!

So just to remind you, Worlds will be in London, Ontario, Chanada Canada this year. The above picture is there for foreshadowing… More

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