Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, Four Continents Silver Medalist
Yeah, and I think looking next at Yuzuru Hanyu, the silver medalist here. He has been such an emerging star for two, three, four years now since he won the junior world title. But we’ve seen Hanyu all season. He has these goods, he has beautiful jumps, great knees – some of the best knees in skating to pull out some of these landing. But there’s – at times it looked like perhaps a lack of stamina, but it looks to be like a lack of focus. You know, he switched coaches, and it almost looks like the pieces are not – they’re almost there, but they’re not all there, and it’s just the mind – and he’s now competing for gold. He wasn’t competing for gold before. And it seems like there are some problems. I know that Ilia Kulik had problems like this the 1997 season. They were growing pains, he got over them for the Olympic year, he obviously had a wonderful season that year. And I think with someone like Hanyu, I see similarities between them. One thing I will say about Hanyu is that he’s got this great flexibility, and I don’t know if his feet are really big compared to the rest of his body, he’s so slender – but I don’t know. There are certain different – not everyone wears the same brand of skates. And his skates look really boxy and really big and it cuts off his line. He almost looks like he has these club feet when he’s on the ice. It could be his brand of skate where it looks really square. And it’s cutting – it’s killing his line because he always has these club feet and nothing ever looks finished off. Earlier in the season, his coach said
that he needs to work on pointing his feet, pointing those toes. I think he does need to do that, obviously, because even when he does a great Biellmann spin with great flexibility, the line is not there. It’s like sloppy, and he might need to change the skates.
One of the things that I found really interesting in the short program – he popped his combination, he popped his triple lutz-triple toe – but it didn’t affect the flow of the program. We talked about during our nationals recap show that sometimes the program components – they don’t reflect if they have a pop or a mistake in a short program, it does affect the flow of the program. And didn’t see so much of that in the short program, which was really a positive and is difficult for skaters to do. Conversely, though, in the long program, he popped that lutz again, and this time it did affect the excitement and the energy. It seems like his long
program – he loses that wind and the momentum toward the end. There isn’t that fire and that passion. So I think for him – he has the talent. He obviously has the quads, he has the technique, it’s just about focus and really taking himself seriously to the next level particularly as we head into the Olympic season.
Yeah, he seems to really enjoy skating his short program. It really comes across – Jeff Buttle choreographed it. It looks like he really loves it – it’s a little bit different. And it looks like it’s a program he believes in. The long is a bit more generic for a long program. Notre Dame de Paris – can be great music. It looks a little Johnny Weir, but not in the same – Johnny had the polish that Hanyu almost has but doesn’t have. And it just doesn’t seem like he really believes in the long as much – I think hneeds two really special programs next year if he wants that Olympic gold medal. For him, his keys to success going into worlds:
All the way through both programs. We know he can do that lutz. We know he can do it, he can’t pop it,
he can’t be making these errors. He has three jumping passes in the short, eight to get through in the
long. He can’t be falling on spins. We’ve seen every mistake under the book from him this season
despite usually being on the medal podium.
• Two clean programs
• Time at the top
There’s time in skating. Now he’s competing for gold, I think he needs to get used to that in the men’s
field, it’s usually a big jump. These men usually don’t rise as quickly as the ladies, and for him, he just
needs a little bit more time.