Monday, December 20, 2010
Grand Prix Final: Men's Freeskate
Tomas Verner (Czech Republic): Started the program with his first quad toe attempt of the season - unfortunately, it was popped into a triple. He got it back together with a good triple axel-double toe combination shortly thereafter though, and a good triple loop. His first footwork sequence was alright, but as noted before by myself and others, while Tomas does the footwork well, his skating skills aren't as polished as the other men competing at the GPF; maybe not even as polished as Florent's. Flying sit spin was okay I guess, followed by a good triple axel. Lovely triple lutz after that; he got a full point extra on GOE. Great triple salchow and a triple flip that was on the wrong edge, but otherwise good. Stepped out on his triple lutz-double toe combo, but he did get credit for it as a combination and not a sequence. Slowish sit change sit spin, another footwork sequence that was fine, if unremarkable, and an okay combo spin to finish up. I don't think that Tomas had his usual energy and spark artistically that he sometimes has, but it was pretty good technically. Like Florent, he also messed around in the kiss and cry, haha. 74.35 TE 73.92 PCS ; 148.27 FS = 213.64 Total (5th)
Takahiko Kozuka (Japan): The choreography at the beginning of the program always seems to highlight how beautifully he moves his body while skating. Opened up with a quad toe attempt that was two-footed and called underrotated; I do think I agree with that call.Triple axel was a little bit tight looking to me, but still good. Triple lutz-double toe was fine, followed by an alright combo spin that was clearly the best up to that point. First footwork sequence was gorgeous; I was really captivated this time around. Triple axel-double toe was managed, but he decided against using it as his three jump combination like he did in Paris. Triple flip was alright, if tentative. Triple lutz-triple toe was again tough at the ending. After that, a triple loop that was fine and a triple salchow that was kinda scratchy looking to me, but it actually garnered positive GOE... maybe I saw wrong? Nice death drop and very nice footwork, followed by an alright combo spin, which had a pretty nice and well center scratch spin at the end. Not as good as Paris, but still a good skate. His main problem was just having landings that didn't have a whole lot of flow coming out of them. One has to wonder if Takahiko was affected by his crash with Daisuke a couple of days prior; everywhere I've read has said that he has apologized multiple times and really feels bad about the incident, so I wouldn't rule it out. 82.25 TE 77.64 PCS ; 159.89 FS = 237.79 Total (3rd)
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan): Surprisingly, he started with a quad flip attempt, which was two-footed, severely underrotated and consequently downgraded by the technical specialists (By the way, anyone wondering why Daisuke would attempt this while not feeling his best: when his quad toe isn't reliable, he feels like it is a safer bet to go for the quad flip, because even if he doesn't rotate it, it's worth more than a downgraded quad toe and he falls on it less.). Really good triple axel, which received two points extra on GOE! After that was a triple loop that was okay, maybe a bit rough. Flying sit spin combo was fine, and the first footwork sequence was good, but not as great as usual. Stepped out of a triple flip-triple toe combo, the latter of which was downgraded and a bad fall on his second triple axel attempt, looked underrotated. Flying layback spin was alright, and then a good triple lutz.Triple salchow, maybe underrotated a bit. Fall on the second triple lutz, also underrotated, but I had a bad feeling about that one from the preparation; he really didn't have much speed going into it. Second footwork sequence was definitely slower that usual, but okay as far as the normal standard goes, and the final combo spin was just okay.For some reason two spins were only level 1; he's probably going to want to work on that.
Poor Daisuke. He seemed really tired in the second half and I'm sure he's extremely dissatisfied with his performance. Even the artistic quality to his skating didn't shine through as well as usual. I still think it an admirable effort though; here he was considering withdrawing and then he goes for a quad flip, haha. But, ah well, there'll be other competitions and really, I think the biggest hit to his technical score was that he only could complete one combination; his two falls were on his second attempts on the triple lutz and triple axel, rendering them sequences and causing him to be unable to add any more combos and salvage more points. It seems he's learned from Nobunari's past mistakes; thank God someone has. Here's to hoping that he recovers well from whatever injury he received in the crash and will be ready for Nationals and Worlds.
58.20 TE 81.00 PCS -2.00 Deductions ; 137.20 FS = 219.77 Total (4th)
Patrick Chan (Canada): Opened with an okay quad toe and an alright triple axel-double toe combination. Nice triple lutz and good footwork too, as well as a pretty good death drop. Fallout on the second triple axel, as well as the second triple lutz-half loop-double toe. Good sit change sit spin and he held onto a triple flip-triple toe combo. Nice triple loop and a good double axel. Finished up with good footwork and a good combo spin. Loads better than his other freeskates this season and if he had to win, I'm glad it was pretty clean , but I don't really have much else to say besides ,"Oh, now you don't fall" :P. Oh, and huge scores... too huge, in my opinion. 86.94 TE 87.22 PCS ; 174.16 FS = 259.75 Total (1st)
Nobunari Oda (Japan): He started off by dashing my hopes with a fall on his quad toe (deemed underrotated, though I disagree with that one). He came back soon after with a very nice triple axel-triple toe and a gorgeous triple flip-triple toe. His first footwork sequence was alright, and the flying camel combo spin was nice too. Great triple lutz (though, alas, edge called), followed by a lovely triple axel. The followed triple loop was alright and then a triple salchow-double toe-double loop that lost speed, but was okay. Good double axel, but much to my chagrin, he fell on the landing edge (I think he said he hit a rough spot?) and then missed part of his footwork sequence after. He finished off with a pair of pretty good spins. Ugh. He's an extremely maddening skater. First the combo counting issues, and now this fluke fall on a double axel.79.58 TE 78.64 PCS -2.00 Deductions ; 156.22 FS = 242.81 Total (2nd)