Okay... I know, I'm really behind, but I promise I will try to catch up on the men's free from Cup of China in the next couple of days (my internet keeps spazzing out during the events and I inevitably have to go back to watch at least a couple of skaters) and post about the men's free from Skate America too. However, there is no forthcoming post on Skate Canada, as I was busy that weekend and only got to see a few of the men. A couple of quick thoughts on it though, for the heck of it.
Adam Rippon had two nice, solid programs with at least some magic to them. Nobunari Oda was good overall, if a little uninspired - as others have mentioned, he really would benefit artistically from programs that draw some sort of emotion out of him, such as his Charlie Chaplin freeskate from last season. And, of course, Patrick Chan got the Canadian bonus to a ridiculous extent, considering that at that event overall, he was the Chanboni. I'm sorry, but 3 falls in the short program alone should have left him buried, even with his obviously wonderful basics. I must note though, that I'm not one who really sees much semblance of artistry in him that others think is exceptional, which isn't too surprising, skating being a very subjective sport. Short program aside, I don't even think Patrick had a freeskate worth such a high score. Most of his landings were tentative at best, scratchy at worst, and then of course that crash on the triple axel... the only jump I thought was particularly good was the opening quad ( Of course, that may just be me... haha). That went on way longer than I intended... oops ;P. Anyway, onto the actual blog topic: the men's short program from Skate America!
Daisuke Murakami (Japan): Good triple lutz-triple toe to start, as well as a good triple axel! Wow, I really wasn't expecting such a strong start from him! Triple flip was alright, and the following spin had nice enough positions, but was on the slow side. Second spin was much better though, and some nice enough footwork was okay. Okay flying camel, but lost speed on the catch foot variation. Pretty good skate overall! I'm actually kind of impressed. 36.26 TE 30.75 PCS = 68.01 Total
Armin Mahbanoozadeh (United States): Opened with a nice triple axel, but put his hand down for some reason... it wasn't necessary. Triple flip-triple toe was alright, and his donut variation in his flying spin was really nice. Good triple lutz and then a fast sit spin. His footwork was nice as well, and I really enjoy how he sells the program with his smile; it's rather charming, and somehow not cheesy. Nobunari and Takahiko should take notes from him on facial expression ;). Again, a fast spin with an interesting downward facing camel position with a bent free leg and arms in front. Very nice program, and a pleasant surprise for certain! Armin really has very nice spins - some of the best that I've seen so far this season, for sure. 37.05 TE 30.56 PCS = 67.61 Total
Viktor Pfeifer (Austria): Good double axel, and triple lutz-triple toe was nice as well. Unfortunately, after that Viktor doubled his flip, pretty much killing his score considering that he didn't even try a triple axel. Fairly nice camel spin and catch foot variation. Fun footwork, but a lot seems to just be arm waving. Okay flying spin, but a weird sit variation and a weird upright spin variation on the end of it. It looked almost like the transitional part of a biellmann, when you are starting to pull the leg up. Also, oddly, it resembled a spin from the Nintendo DS game Imagine: Ice Champions that they called the Yoga Spin (It's a guilty pleasure of a game, okay? Hahaha.). Anyway, scores were 26.82 TE 28.19 PCS = 55.01 Total
Stephen Carriere (United States): Man, he looks older than I remember. Haven't seen a whole lot of him the last year or two though, so that probably explains it. Older Stephen, but same triple axel problem that night :-/. Crash on an underrotated triple axel. He did recover well, with a good triple lutz-double toe combo, and a triple loop. Flying spin and variations were alright. Like Pfeifer, fun footwork, but I'm not used to seeing Stephen with a program quite like this, though he's done something probably not too far off a couple years ago, just a little more subdued I suppose. Very nice sit spin, but variation got slow at the end. Ending spin was fine overall too. I think this program reminds me of Rachael Flatt's short last year, which is more than likely why I'm not quite sold on it. Oh well. 27.17 TE 32.97 PCS -1.00 Deduction = 59.14 Total
Shawn Sawyer (Canada): Triple axel two footed, fallen on, and downgraded to a double by the technical specialists. Good triple flip-triple toe though, and I LOVE his cantavalier (sp?). Ugh, doubled the lutz. Great camel change camel with a catch foot variation, and a flying spin with a sit twist variation. Nice footwork too, and finished with a combination spin that included his signature split spin. Man, everything but the lutz and axel was great! Can we come up with a new discipline to allow Shawn to skate solo, but not jump? Singles ice dancing? Well... I can dream :P. Such a shame. 24.63 TE 33.51 PCS - 1.00 Deduction = 56.94 Total
Nan Song (China): Triple flip, stepped out. It was intended to be his combo. Seems like there's some attempt at expression going on, even if it's not a huge effort. Spread eagle, then a solid triple axel. Flying camel was fine, but lost speed on the variation. Very nice triple lutz, which he really should have tacked a combination onto. Sit change sit with twist variation was alright, and I liked the footwork; it seemed to have some nice dynamics, and did actually suit the music. Final spin had some traveling issues, but it wasn't horrible. Not too bad of a skate. More transitions and presentation than some of the Chinese guys, which might not be saying a whole lot, but still, it is nice to see some effort is being put forth. 31.23 TE 30.98 PCS = 62.21 Total
Denis Ten (Kazakstan): It feels like I've been hearing his name around for awhile, but he's only 17. Unfortunate crash on the triple axel attempt right off the bat. Then tries a triple lutz-triple toe, but turns out in between the two. However, Denis did manage to hold onto his triple flip at least, and he has a great camel position in his spins, and a nice cannon position as well. Nice sit twist variation also, but lost speed at the end of the spin. His footwork was kind of hyperactive, and maybe a bit too Evan Lysacek-esque for me, which isn't too shocking, given that Frank Carroll now coaches Denis. Good height on his flying spin, but lost speed on the donut position. 32.50 TE 33.00 PCS -1.00 Deduction = 64.50 Total
Adrian Schultheiss (Sweden): Somehow pulled off that triple lutz-triple toe despite an obvious lack of speed. Triple axel attempt, handdown. Flying spin was fine but the variations were kind of weird. Sit, twist variation, change sit was alright. Pretty good triple flip too, and the last spin was fine, except the loss of speed. Ended with footwork that wasn't bad, but was on the blah side. 32.21 TE 31.50 PCS = 63.71 Total
Side note: Later found out that Adrian's coach was missing and he couldn't locate him before the short program, but he skated because he thought his coach would want him to. At some point after that I believe Adrian's coach was found unconscious in his hotel room and was taken to a hospital due to heart palpatations. All things considered, with the stress of having no idea where your coach is, it's amazing what Adrian accomplished in the short. Kudos to him for holding it together.
Adam Rippon (United States): Opened with a fallout and hands down on a triple axel, but it was fully rotated. Nice triple flip-triple toe combo, followed by a lovely Rippon triple lutz, with a flourish and great expression on the ride out. Great spin* after that, and then some pretty nice footwork. I love all of the little details in this program, a head tilt here, a twist of the body there, etc. A good final spin in a sit change sit with a variation, ending the spin with a upright back crossfoot position. A pretty good performance overall, I thought. I am definitely looking forward to seeing it develop further as Adam becomes more comfortable with it. 36.83 TE 37.11 PCS = 73.94 Total
Kevin van der Perren (Belgium): Someone clearly didn't get the 'plunging neckline = mesh' memo. Yikes... how I wish he'd gotten that memo! Anyway, very, very good triple axel at the beginning, with at good triple lutz-triple toe not long after. Doubled the flip soon after that too... Silly! Death drop was okay, but the variations weren't great positions and it lacks speed. Camel spins could definitely use a lot of improvement in position and again, the speed. Uninteresting footwork with absolutely no zest to it :-/. And finally, a combo spin at the end that was ridiculously slow. I was appalled. Great jumps aside from the flip, but his spins are really poor in general. 30.12 TE 32.10 PCS = 62.22 Total
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan): Well, I think we certainly know who owns the crowd even before a single element is performed! Great triple flip-triple toe followed by a triple axel that seemed perfectly fine until he had a step out after it'd already glided back some. How very odd. It was called underrotated too... hm. Flying layback was alright, but only got a level 1 because he didn't hit the position fast enough upon landing.Fallout on the triple lutz, I think he just couldn't quite check it out properly. Sit change sit, fine, and footwork... fantastic, as anticipated. Simultaneously very fun, flirty, and difficult; the man certainly knows how to work a crowd. Okay camel, sit variation, crossfoot combo spin to finish. Obviously some problems on the jumps, but in terms of actually performing, it was very fun and alive, lots of spark. Despite the mistakes, still very enjoyable. 35.69 TE 42.43 PCS = 78.12 Total
Nobunari Oda (Japan): Good triple axel in the opening, as well as an easy triple flip-triple toe. Very nice flying camel and variations. Great triple lutz too! Sit change sit with variations and then lost speed on that dang A-Frame I love so much *eye roll*.( I HAVE wonder what possessed someone to think that that position is attractive in the slightest.) Footwork is well done and everything, but there's nothing exciting about it or significance to it aside from it being a basic requirement. Sit change sit cannonball variation, very nice, and loads of speed on basics throughout the program. Excellent technically, but nothing special on a artistic level. 39.60 TE 39.68 PCS = 79.28 Total
*My apologies for lack of detail on some spins, etc. It's hard to catch all of them when variations change so quickly, especially when you're wracked with nerves, hoping for a particular skater to do well. O-:-)
Men's short results