Sorry for the delay reporting on the competition!
I wrote a l-o-n-g review yesterday, but 'Reply' button did not work for some reason and its all gone...it's okay, that's life...besides, if my bad fortune of this time is going to be an indication of Daisuke's good fortune in the future (namely at Sochi in 2014 ), I won't complain it at all, I am perfectly fine. Did you hear me, skating god???
Here is my review on Mens LP: I will post a series of shorter ones just in case, though.
The last comp of the 2nd day of WTT, after Pairs SP and Free Dance.
Thanks to the great performances back to back, by the top ice dancers in the world, it felt like the temperature in the venue went up 5.C! Everyone was in an uplifting mood and a lot of people took off their coats and jackets.
The first group started with Russian youngsters; Zhan Bush and Maxim Kovtun, and the Italian Akio which was Paolo Bacchini. (Akio, (not Akiko, sorry for the previous mistake!) is so popular among Japanese fans for his ability to project a program and sell it to the audience, but is also known for his weakness on jumps, sadly...)
Prior to the beginning of their music, I was relieved to see their faces on the big screen. Both Zhan and Maxim appeared more relaxed and focused, compared to the day before. They looked to me scared to death to have to compete against big guns and have to perform in front of HUGE crowd...A deer in the light, you know, and I was sorry for them the day before.
It's a little OT, but the music Paolo skated to was Barber of Seville by Rossini. It reminded me of young Nobunari and missed him a lot. I think quite a number of people within the audience felt the same way...
Pops and falls here and there, unfortunately, but they never gave up on performing till the end and we loved them. They were warmly received by the audience.
What I loved the most was that, not only the audience but all the other skaters in every booths yayed for the skater if he landed a jump successfully, whistled for good spins and steps, and encouraged with clappings to go on if he fell on a jump.
I believe for these fellow skaters, if it were Tessa, Charlie, Carolina or Aolina, in spite of their being on the top of the world today, they know and remember there were times for them, too when things did not go as they wished for or anticipated, and had to go through the similar pass, more or less, at certain points of their long career.
Placements or the points were not the ones they hoped for, however, through this competition they learned something in their own way, I think.
All three greeted the audience and fellow skaters with a smiley smile on their faces. They all looked to me to be proud of themselves for not giving up performing. It lit a warm light in my heart.
Mens LP <2>
The next to skate was Samuel Contesti.
He was welcomed by huge cheers and clappings from the audience. It was as if, even before the music started, all knew to which music he was skating and how charmingly he could skate to!
A couple of falls and a bit slow on spins and steps, a hard fall on the first Lz must have affected him. But we loved him anyway. Such a good performer he is!
I loved his music La vie en rose. He picked up that chanson for this Worlds in France, which was his native country, did not he? just lovely.
Also, I fell in love, at first sight this season, with his 2A in the middle of straight line step seq to hilight the music. Am not so familiar with CoP rules, so I didn't even know a jump is allowed in the middle of step sequences. Is it only allowed during choreo steps? I love to see more of them next seasons! Did you hear me, world's top choreographers?
Btw, from the upper deck far and above, I saw him warm-uping during Zamboni time, but I did not recognise him first... He kind of went through his free on the ground in a sweat shirt. He looked so different from his usual self in the comp. Does he train ballet excercises or some sort, anyone knows? That's what I figured seeing him. He had such beautiful posture and lines. Do not get me wrong but he looked more elegant. I really want him to try a classical piece of music to showcase his elegance next season. Stephane would be a great help for Samuel for picking up the beautiful piece and doing its choreo. Anyone agrees with me?
Then came Takahiko.
A fall on 4T and popped 3A, but he looked more determined and skated much better than the day before. He got a standing ovation with a lot of cheers and screaming from young girls!
Every time I see him skate, I am in awe; he literally floats on the ice, quietly and just effortlessly, doesn't he?
This season did not turn out as Takahiko or his team planned for. It seems boots problems bothered him all season and I feel sorry for him.
I hope he comes back strong next season, with good pairs of boots, better music and better programs.
Good luck to you next season, Takahiko!
Reason for Edite:
Deleted some part, due to the nature of this thread's category '2011-12 Competitions & Events', thus concentrating more on the comp itself would be appropriate I thought. Sorry.
Mens LP <3>
Last to skate in the first group was Adam.
A lot of cheers and screamings for Adam from young girls, and US flags, too.
He was gorgeous on the ice while posing for the music to start; like a sculpture from the Greek myth. Sorry about minor mistakes on his enemy jump 3As , but he skated beautifully and decently overall.
It was first time for me to see Adam skate in a comp live.
The quality of his jumps overall was excellent, especially the Rippon Lutz! Spins great, too; faster, centered, and hitting beautiful donut-position. But, my overall impression on Adam's skating was, as I had previously suspected through TV, he does not skate big, compared to top skaters of today; Patrick, Dai, Jeremey and Brian, (I will comment later but even Florent skates bigger than him) to my eyes, watching from the upper deck far and above live.
Then skaters of the second group showed up on the ice for 6 min. warm-up. The room temperature in the arena has risen up another 3.C!
Such a feast indeed, to the eyes of all the spectators to see the worlds' top skaters altogether live!
I think the audience did not get that nervous, compared to the regular comps, due to the nature of this comp as the half cheesy team event. So did the skaters themselves, appeared to me. Screaming, hooraying, clapping, with so much expectations, enthusiasm, and less nerve-wrecking, everyone of us looked forward to the final battle of the season by our beloved big boys!
First to skate was Kevin!
I was so happy for him that he could skate his Free in the second group, thanks to his successful SP the day before. But that kind of got to him during 6 min. warm up, you know. He looked a little nervous than the daybefore, while posing for the music to start.
The arena went crazy everytime he went for a quad! Sorry about the fall on 4L, oh how I wished he could have avoided that fall, at least a step out on that jump...The rest of his skate was what you saw thru the online streaming. But the audience applauded him with standing ovation to appreciate for his effort to go all out.
The points were not as good as hoped for as usual, but I was glad to see he, on the big screen, did not apprear as disappointed as his norm self at other comps. I was relievd to see his smile in the K&C.
Kudos to Kevin for going for THREE DIFFERENT quads program, and TWO DIFFERENT 3+3 combos with 3T and 3L at the end!
He may still be lack in speed and weak in steps, but he DOES improve every season. Kevin does not look juniorsh anymore to my eyes. I really hope the judges will notice it and reward him with higher PCS next season. Btw, did anyone notice the height on his 4S has improved this season?
He got a couple of < marks, but none of his jumps got dinged for DG this time. That's at aleast a good indication for next seasons.
Mens LP <4>
Next to skate were the French boys.
Brian and Florent got so much love from the Japanese girls, regarless of their ages. Screaming and clapping got louder, All the flags changed from 'stars & stripes'+'maples' to 'tricolore' so quickly!
Great spring, height and distance on his opening 4S! A clean skate from Florent was much appreciated by the audience, after a couple of performances with pops and falls here and there by the previous skaters.
The first time I saw him skate live was at the last WTT three years ago. He still competed at Junior circuit back then, and I remember he skated like a junior, and his jumps, while rotating fast and crisp, looked smaller to the naked eyes.
This time different. What surprised me the most was he skate BIG, and he can easily accelerate speed, and his steps FLOWS on the ice which was, unlike Adam, completely the opposite of my image on him through TV viewings.
The audience loved his dance. I also prefer his free, better than last season's Michael Jackson. He at least dances WHILE skating this season. He is such a crowd pleaser.
I do not understand, nor care much, what is the concept for his free this season, to be honest. But he does have the ability to sell a program like hell. When he skates, even if the program is somewhat empty and trashy in choreo, he can make it look much better than it actually is.
I hope he will pick up better music and better choreographer other than Nikolai next season.
Another clean skate from Brian, in spite of a pop on the second quad and a couple of shaky landings. Most of the audience got to their feet for a standing ovation at the end of the program.
I loved this moment! The ovations for Brian was not to the same degree, I mean, not enthusiatically, as the day before. Rather, how can I say?, a more heartfelt appluase from all the skating fans in Japan, based on admiration, adoration, respect and appreciation to this champion who have been competing at the top level for many years.
He's got the loudest screamings, whistling, a shower of flowers and stuffed animals besides Dai, I think. Oh, did I already tell you my hubby is rooting for Brian the best among the current top male skaters? He looked so happy, too to see Brian skate so brilliantly at this comp.
For Daisuke to hear such crazy screaming from the audience, while warm-uping in the backyard and waiting for his turn, Dai must have got jealous and it surely added fuel to the fire in him.
This, along with everyone's reaction upon Dai's perfect Free performance, are probably the two best moments for me throughout the entire WTT competition.
I also loved the moment in the k&C, all the French collegues imitating that typical Matrix slow motions.
Mens LP <5>
Three more skaters to go, whom I believe are the BEST among male skaters currently competing in the world.
I can tell you, particularly during Free Dance and this Mens Free that night, everyone seemd to be enjoying every minutes and great performences by the world top skaters one after another, regardless which skater he or she was rooting for the most.
First to skate of the three was Jeremy.
First time for me to see him skate live!
I fell in love with both of Jeremy's SP and Free this year, and probably the best Free program of the season by a male skater for me.
A hard fall on 4T and a couple of pops. That nasty fall must have affected him and caused some pain, I guess, poor guy...not his best in jump-wise, sadly. But mistakes did not bother me at all in performance-wise.
It's a bit ironically to say, but for me, the mistakes on jumps stood out how superior skating skill he has, how good he is as a performer, and most of all, how special Jeremy is as a skater. Does it make sense to you??? My English is not good enough to express my feeling..sigh...I hope you will understand. Such a gorgeous skater he is and gorgeous progams he hsa this season.
I so wanted him (and Brian) to get on the podium at the Worlds this season. Sorry that he never skated them to its full potential in the international comps...Hope he gets consistency on his jumps and comes back strong next season.
A fall on 4T and pop on 3A into 2A...was not his best, either.
During 6min. warmup, I worried about him a lot. A fall on 3A, another 3A with wild landing and both hands down, popped 4T into 3T, then a hard fall on 4T at end of warmup...
But how gutsy of him to land the first jump pass, which was the best quad combo of the night, 4T+3T! and never gave up it till the end.
Please rest assured, Patrick fan, he was received very warmly by the audience with lots of respect and appreciation, and got another standing ovations.
He appreared just unfocused throughout this entire comp...I hope he can get some time off to refresh and recharge himself during the off season.
Mens LP <6>
Then came my main dish of the night, finally.
Room temperature has risen up another 3.C!
Everyone was so excited already, even before he got started. I guess Dai must have pressured out that the audience expected him to go perfect, and he kind of realized beforehand he could not miss anything.
After Dai managed to land the opening 4T somehow, he was happily flying over the ice for the rest of the program. No one doubted he would go clean.
Well 4T looked borderline even from the upper deck, yes I agree, but who cares at this comp?, why, to some fans and skaters it's a joke to begin with.
The audience, skaters, coaches, officials, medias, backyard staff...almost everyone at the arena got into their feet with thunderous applause, flowers and stuffed aminals poured into the rink from everywhere, from the upper deck where I was, it was like big fireworks exploded.
At first, I did not realize from where that big sounds, bang bang, came.
What a nice surprise for the audience to realize these bang bang were from other countries' skaters as if demanding for a good score.
I cared the least myself what score he was gonna get, after seeing Dai's such happy smiles. But, to be appluaded by fellow skaters, who themselves are the top skaters in the world, what a nicest compliment to Daisuke!, I thought to myself. I was just happy for him for that, and my eyes got watery.
That was probably the best moment for me, because of this scene.
And when the score came up finally, it was like the entire arena became one, appreciated for many great performances from the world's top pair skaters, ice dancers, and male skaters and celebrated the great feast of figure skating together.
Sorry, it is indeed a long review on Mens Free, against my original intention...
Thanks a lot for your time to read it through!
Thank you deedee1. Great report! I wish I could have been there with you to celebrate!
Bona Fide Member
Originally Posted by Mathman
I was sure I had commented and thanked you for this great report, but apparently I hadn't. Deedee1, thanks for taking the time to write everything up for us. You're a great eyewitness reporter. It's so lovely to hear that the skaters from other countries were rooting so enthusiastically for Daisuke. A lovely display of sportsmanship. Really, I envy the entire arena, both skaters and audience! The atmosphere must have been electric.
Last edited by Olympia; 05-03-2012 at 03:43 PM.
We all are deep in May...you better hurry up, deedee1!
Overall thoughts on World Team Trophy 2012:
1) Performances I loved:
-Kevin R SP, Florent A SP, Brian J SP+LP, Jeremy A SP+LP, Patrick C LP, Daisuke T SP+LP
-Nathalie/Fabian SD, Tessa/Scott SD, Anna/Luca FD, Meryl/Charlie SD+FD
-Adelina SP, Ashley W LP, Carolina K SP+LP, Akiko S SP+LP
2) Skaters who are better live than on TV/PC, or at least who looked to me better live at this particular comp:
Brian Joubert, Florent Amodio, Alena Leonova, Takahashi/Tran, Duhamel/Radford, Ilinykh/Katsalapov
3) Skaters who look better on TV/PC than live, or at least to me at this particular comp:
Adam Rippon, Cynthia Phaneaf
My apologies to their fans to say this, but they skates smaller than I thought they would at this comp. I can understand about Cynthia because she sort of looked out of shape all season, you know. For Adam, he is a beautiful skater but I always had an impression that he would skate smaller and would not have enough hight/distance on his jumps (except that Rippon Lutz, of course!). I hope Yuka will help him to re-learn skating skills during the offseason.
4) Skaters whom I 'reeeaaally' looked forward to seeing prior to this comp, and who did not disappoint me:
Jeremy Abbott, Carolina Kostner, Davis/White, Virtue/Moir, Ashley Wagner
5) Skaters whom I really looked forward to, but a bit of disappointment:
Patrick Chan, Takahiko Kozuka
They worried me. Both just appeared a bit low-spirited and less focused than their norm throughout the entire comp. I was glad they skated decently and did not get injured, thank god! They must be exhausted after the long season and I would include Artur for that matter. For them it was challenging to climb up to the top and they proved themselves last season by going 1-2-3 finish at Moscow Worlds. But my guess is they might know by now that it is more difficult to stay on top for several seasons, and have different respect for their big brothers; namely Jeff, Dai and Evgeni respectively, who had been competing at the top level so long while bearing full responsibility as the nation's top male skater, pressures from its own federation and all expectations by its fans. They are still young and very talented, no doubt. I hope all three can relax during the offseason and regain themselves next season.
6) Skaters who I thought sold the program better than it actually was (=skated better than their actual choreography) at this comp, so that I believe they deserve better programs/choreographers than this season's:
Leonova, Amodio, Ilinykh/Katsalapov, Gracie Gold (SP only)
For 2) and 6), I picked up a lot of skaters under Morozov. it's not coincidentally at all, I believe. Alena is the biggest surprise to me. She has definitely improved under Nikolai and looks much better live this season. Sorry to say but their programs are rather empty and do not showcase their abilities and strengths enough. I value Nikolai as a good strategic coach, so I am okay if they would prefer Nikolai as their coach. But I really hope they will get programs from other choreographers.
Last edited by deedee1; 05-06-2012 at 11:03 PM.
Overall thoughts on World Team Trophy
7) Patrick, Daisuke and Jeremy, Carolina and Akiko:
WTT was indeed a good comp for me to make sure how these skaters are so special to me, and are rightfully above everyone else in Mens/Ladies descipline right now.
Why? In short, for casual skating fans like myself: once it starts, it ends as if in a minute!
Their programs make the audience lose the sense of time. They can show us its choreography as their own's, so that we do not know or care who the choreographer is. And most of all, they make us forget we are watching a competition. Superior edge works, hands down! (which I already knew beforehand, but I could see it even from the upper deck where I sat.) They accelerate speed effortlessly, and hardly need simple crossovers for that. Whatever speed they want, they can gain or slow down through any steps and/or body movements as they wish. Their jumps just come out of nowhere. More importantly, they can hit their jumps right at the note of the music as if they are a part of its choreography. And their natural body movements to the music!
I am a big fan of Mens skating, so let me go further on my boys:
Patrick is the best for its edge works, and Dai is the best for upper body movements, as many of you would agree. But I would say Jeremy is the best among the three in overall body movements. While his feet are as good as Patrick's, his whole body expresses the music so well, especially in his Short program: I just could not decide myself where to watch, his feet or his upper body. His programs this season showcase how special Jeremy is as a skater. What a shame he did not get any world medals yet, which he so deserves.
In technical difficulty-wise Patrick is the best, no complain from me: 2 quads, and that cool 3Lz-half Lo-3S combo! Jeremy makes me feel a little nervous when he goes for a quad and/or 3As, and when he falls, his performance loses its sparks and enegy, unfortunately. In performance-wise, my vote goes to Daisuke who is the best in the business. He never stops performing till the end with all of his heart and soul, regardless of a fall on quad or not.
(I am not an expert in this sport, so I would not use the word TES or PCS here, because there seem so many other things I sometimes fail to notice but experts consider very important.)
8) Jeremy's (in)consistency on jumps:
When he lands cleanly, his jump is usually high, distant and HUGE; a thing of beauty. And he probably can land them nine times out of ten during practice, can't he? Why can't he just land them consistently in actual competitions?? His nerve??? But nerve is not enough of an explanation for that to me. Must be something wrong in his jump technique, I just wonder. Something to do with his takeoff, I would suspect. Is it because he spent a few seasons as a Pair skater and Ice dancer?, anybody knows? When nerve gets to him, his takeoff seems unstable, because he is just lack in numbers in practicing jumps, compared to the others who were single skaters throughout their entire career, maybe?
A little OT but Jeremy reminds me Yannick Ponsero, who also had every talents, skills and efforts to be the champion, but sadly never reached his full potential as a competitive skater. Yannick is another skater whose takeoff on jumps were so unstable when he got so nervous. he always went for jumps in full speed, sprang into the wrong directions in the air sometimes, and fell dangeously...I remember I held my berath, fearing he would end up hitting so hard on the ice.
I hope Jeremy will work with a jump specialist, such as Arutunian, during the offseason to improve his jump consistency. He has everything else worthy to be the champion.
9) Skating skills and circular step sequence:
While watching 12 world's elite male skaters in the free, back to back in reverse order, I suddenly noticed the big difference in their skating skills: it reflected in executing their circular step sequence between the first group and the second group. Skaters in the first group, except Takahiko of course, their steps did not float at all on the ice and it (looked to me) took forever to complete the circle while trying to get the decent level. That was probably the biggest discover for me throughout this entire comp (and sorry if you already knew about this...)!
I loved Brian's one foot circular step! He could skate just effortlessly and strongly on one foot. I could clearly see his superior skating skills, along with his core strength. His programs are simple and lack in transitions, yes I agree. But I would argue with those who say Brian is lacking in skating skills. Watch him LIVE first, please.
Among these 12 skaters, Daisuke, Patrick, Jeremy and Takahiko are the top tier in skating skills, but I can tell you Brian and Florent are not that far behind from them.
I am picking up my thought just randomly, I geuss...sorry for that. I will try to finish off with the next post tomorrow. Time to go back to my work! I've got loads of work in front of me after so-called Golden Week in Japan.
Last edited by deedee1; 05-07-2012 at 02:42 AM.
First of all, thank you so much, Deedee, for the reviews and for having nice words on every skater!
It's sad that the upper body movements could dominate a fan's view on a skater's entire skating!
Originally Posted by deedee1
I agree Jeremy is remarkable on every account and over all. But he is not as good as Patrick. He might be as good in the edges but he doesn't have the commanding speed and power which make huge difference in making the same upper body movements. Adding Patrick's speed into Jeremy's skating, Jeremy would not be able to do as well the upper body movements as he is doing now, and the same goes to Takahashi too. That said, Jeremy deserved more international medals than he has already gotten. It is a sad thing because it is getting harder for him next year.
In my opinion, it was solely because of his nerves. How could a shaky leg push through a hard jump and land it? I've never heard anyone say anything about his jumping technics.
Originally Posted by deedee1
Last edited by Bluebonnet; 05-07-2012 at 10:53 AM.
It's because they have a choice- to watch and like those who actually have the upper body movements and face expression.
Originally Posted by Bluebonnet
I haven't read through deedee1 your review yet, but I just want to say thank you first.