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!