*Before I get started, I should note that as many of you may have heard. Takahiko Kozuka and Daisuke Takahashi collided in practice the day before the short program, during Daisuke's freeskate runthrough. Both have said that they are okay and Takahiko was apologetic about the incident. Daisuke seemed rather good natured about the ordeal, appearing to laugh moments after hitting the ice.
Nobunari Oda (Japan): Really nice speed almost instantly. Nobunari shocked me by going for a quad, and surprised me again by landing it beautifully AND adding a very nice triple toe to the end. I had no idea that he had that planned, but I guess he thought he needed it to be competitive. Solid triple axel after that and a good flying camel with a rather graceful catchfoot position, especially for a man. A little bit much speed and looseness going into the triple lutz - it ended up being pretty good, but it was a little wild (he was understandably very excited). Good combo spin, aside from that hated A-Frame position. He's actually emoting today; this performance was full of energy and excitement, though it calmed down towards the end with an alright footwork sequence and good sit change sit. Nobunari was absolutely thrilled with how he did and who can blame him? That was awesome! I wish that he skated with that kind of life all the time... it really does make a difference. 48.06 TE 38.53 PCS = 86.59 Total (1st)
Tomas Verner (Czech Republic): I'd hate to have to follow a performance like Oda's, so I don't envy Tomas right now at all. Good triple lutz-triple toe to start off, and then he proceed to pop the axel into a single. Ugh. Good triple flip after that at least. Flying camel wasn't very good, but the footwork was alright, maybe a little stumble in there somewhere though. Combo spin was fine and the sit change sit was kinda good. 28.76 TE 36.61 PCS = 65.37 Total (5th)
Patrick Chan (Canada): Lots of speed, as usual. Held onto the quad, maybe a bit underrotated? (It was indeed marked for it. Okay triple axel - I'm kind of surprised that he landed both that and the quad. Good combo spin and pretty good triple flip-triple toe. Flying sit and camel change camel were also good. Finished up with a nice footwork sequence. Cleanish short for Patrick this time.43.77 TE 41.82 PCS = 85.59 Total (2nd) Probably raked in postive Grade of Execution marks on the spins, etc.
Daisuke Takahashi (Japan): Triple flip-triple toe to open, pretty good. Big triple axel, good! Flying layback was pretty good, though a bit of a delay between landing and hitting the position. He's really selling this program today, the crowd is going nuts. Good triple lutz to finish off the jumps. Sit change sit slowed, and he tripped on the footwork a bit, but kept it going pretty well after that. It looks like he is literally dancing out there. Final combo spin was okayish... he's done better. Pretty good overall, not exactly his best but the elements were there and Daisuke had great facial expression in between the elements - he makes it look fun.
40.57 TE 42.06 PCS = 82.57 Total (3rd) Most likely lost some Grade of Execution on the steps this time, he usually gets high marks on that.Also, while I guess that I understand why Chan got higher technical marks, I think they could have had more of a gap between his components and Takahashi's. That might just be me though O-:-).
Takahiko Kozuka (Japan): Triple lutz-triple toe - both were rough, maybe an underrotation on one or both. Held onto that triple axel; it doesn't look like it's his day. Good death drop and triple flip. Camel change camel was alright, slowed down on the final rotations on either foot though. Footwork was good, but near the end of it by the boards he slipped after he stopped and bumped into the boards. Final combo spin was alright. Definitely not how Takahiko had planned on skating this program. Either he was still rattled from the practice collision the day before, or he just let nerves get the best of him. Here's to hoping that he gets it together for the freeskate. 39.43 TE 38.47 PCS = 77.90 Total (4th)
P.S. Thank you to the kind folks of Daisuke Takahashi's fan forum for providing links to the protocols.
Short Program Results
Men Protocols 1
Men Protocols 2