Skating skills(steps, spins, foot work, transitions...), jumps, artistry, musicality and nice choreography are the factors to distinguish top skaters but most of all the ability to perform their best under pressure might be the deciding factor to be the winner.
I was looking forward to see the Men's competition in NHK cup since I haven't seen this much of a deep competition in men's field for a while. That makes each competition so much more interesting to me in this season.
My favorates are Abbott, Kozka and Oda this year. I love their programs this year except Oda's short. So far only Oda managed to stay on top. I'm so disappointed to see Abbott and Kozka chocked in free. Abbott and Kozka both have great skating skills, artisty, musicality and jumps other than solid quads. Why, why did they chock?
Looking at Joubert and Johnny, I think handling pressure might be the biggest factor to be the winner.
No one soars under pressure like Plush. Although I admire his quards, his all other elements are far behind from Abbott and Koza. But in the end, he will always be on the podium.
If Jubert does perform like today, he will manage to be on the podium. No matter how uninspiring his program is in line with Plush's.
I think Johnny isn't top tier in current crop of men's. With his jumping lay out, he only gets on the podium in a mercy of other skaters' falls. But his safe stratagy paid off at least in nhk.
So I wonder why Abbott had to push for quads today after performing other guys disasters falls. He had so much better chance to grab at least silver medal today without it.
That goes with the same line with Mao pushing for 3 ax. Is silver medal no worthy to pursue? If you play safe, you get at least silver. If you are dare, you have a slim chance to grab a gold but most of the time, you might even reach the podium. I wonder why coaches don't even do the math. Am I lacking to understand the hunger for being the best in sports? I don't know. I think if you don't have the nerves settling for the second spot won't be all that of a terrible idea. I'm just lamenting for Abbott after watching yesterday's inspiring and spirit lifting performence.... sigh.....