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Thread: Which three Japanese men will go to Sochi?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by inskate View Post

    One thing to remember, though - the selection process will NOT be based solely on the Japanese Nationals.

    Here's the link to a pdf document listing the Olympic figure skating team selection criteria (in Japanese): http://skatingjapan.or.jp/image_data...senkokijun.pdf

    Rough translation:

    The Olympic Team of Men and Ladies single will be announced at the end of Japanese Nationals.
    The team will be decided from among the Olympic qualifiers by the following selecting method:

    1. The first spot will be awarded to the winner of the Japanese Nationals.
    2. The second spot will be awarded to a skater chosen from the following pool: the winner of the silver medal at Japanese Nationals, the winner of the bronze medal at Japanese Nationals and the skater who placed the highest on the podium at the Grand Prix final.
    3. The third spot will be awarded to a skater chosen from the following pool: the skater qualified in point 2 but was not chosen, 3 skaters who will have the highest World standing at the moment of the Japanese Nationals, 3 skaters with the highest ISU season best score.

    So basically, only the winner of the Japanese Nationals is certain to get a spot (and even that might possibly be influenced by the skater's international success, as the judges are more likely to give high PCS/GoEs to a skater who proved their consistency). If the second place winner has no high international standing, his season PB is lower than 3rd best and he didn't make the GPF, he might find himself booted off the team.

    To sum up: the entire season including the Nationals will be a bloodbath. :( Every competition counts, as making the GPF (& winning a medal there), high season PB and high ISU standing will help to decide 2nd and 3rd spot. I don't envy those skaters who are slotted at the most packed GP events (Skate Canada: Hanyu, Oda, Mura + Chan & Abott; NHK Trophy: Oda, Mura, Takahashi + Fernandez, Abott & Aaron). :(
    Based on early season performance so far from Kozuka, Oda, Takahashi and Hanyu, I can see the following realistic scenario playing out :

    - Kozuka, Oda and Hanyu made GPF in which Oda won a Bronze medal = highest place Japanese from GPF (Oda has always done quite well in GP Series)

    - At Japanese Nationals, Kozuka won the Nationals for the 3rd time while Takahashi finished 4th

    - Hanyu has the highest ISU World ranking

    So, how would they justify giving Takahashi a spot based on the set criteria?

  2. #32
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallylutz View Post
    So, how would they justify giving Takahashi a spot based on the set criteria?
    The 3 highest Japanese Men in terms of both World standing and Season best score are eligible under criteria #3. Takahashi will be in the top 3 amongst the Japanese Men in terms of World standing, so even if he doesn't skate that well during the Grand Prix and Japanese Nationals, he could still be picked.

    If Takahashi doesn't make the GPF and isn't top 3 at Japanese Nationals, though, I don't think he will be chosen.

  3. #33
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    The thing, though, is that Japanese men seem often to be quite inconsistent. I don't think it's a good idea to base too much speculation on how one of them will skate at one competition simply based on how they skated at their last one. Especially Dai. He can struggle at one competition - and be brilliant the next. Or vice versa.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallylutz View Post
    Based on early season performance so far from Kozuka, Oda, Takahashi and Hanyu, I can see the following realistic scenario playing out :

    - Kozuka, Oda and Hanyu made GPF in which Oda won a Bronze medal = highest place Japanese from GPF (Oda has always done quite well in GP Series)

    - At Japanese Nationals, Kozuka won the Nationals for the 3rd time while Takahashi finished 4th

    - Hanyu has the highest ISU World ranking

    So, how would they justify giving Takahashi a spot based on the set criteria?
    To be honest, I have no idea. Until now, the selection process was much more "mechanical". For the Olympics 2006 the skaters collected points in international and national competitions and whoever collected the most got to go. For Vancouver, the spots were given to 1. the skater who placed the highest at the GPF podium (Oda), 2. the skater who won Nationals (Takahashi), 3. the skater who was on the National podium, with international standings taken into consideration (Kozuka had both the bronze medal and 3rd best World standing after Oda and Takahashi). The rules were always clearly stated and the role of the JSF was limited to reading the list of qualifiers aloud.

    Right now only the winner of the Nats is sure to go, the rest will be hand-picked. It isn't clearly stated what JSF will value more - the highest PB of the season? The highest placement at nats? The highest World standing?

    In the situation you described above, I think a lot would depend on the actual placement of the skaters at Nationals. If Kozuka won (for the 2nd time, actually, but it doesn't matter as far as the selection process is concerned), he'd get to go.
    Then, let's say, Hanyu got silver, Oda - bronze, Takahashi was 4th, Machida 5th and Mura 6th.
    According to the criteria posted above, 2nd spot would be selected between the silver medal at Japanese Nationals (Hanyu), the winner of the bronze medal at Japanese Nationals (Oda) and the skater who placed the highest on the podium at the Grand Prix final (Oda) -> Oda would have bronze at Nats and the GPF placement, so he'd get this spot.
    3rd spot would be selected between the skater qualified via point 2 but was not chosen (Hanyu), 3 skaters who will have the highest World standing at the moment of the Japanese Nationals (Takahashi, Hanyu and Machida (at the moment)), 3 skaters with the highest ISU season best score (hard to tell - their seasons PB scores could be pretty close). I think in such scenario Hanyu would get to go since he would have point 2, high season standing (even if a bit lower than Takahashi's) and possibly one of the season's best scores going for him.

    That's just my interpretation of the rules, though. Of course, I'm speculating purely about the interpretation of the rules, not on the skaters' actual placement at GP and Nats. I don't think anything can be predicted at this point.

    The most depressing thing is, those skaters have dealt with injuries recently, from minor to quite serious. They know they have to be at their /absolute best/ for the entire season to make the team - and, in result, they might end up re-injuring themselves (or acquire brand new injuries). I think the worst case scenario would be if the Japanese Olympic team consisted simply of the last 3 skaters who can remain somewhat vertical without crutches and painkillers. :(

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    I'm pretty sure Hanyu is a lock for the Olympic team. The Japanese fed would have to be crazy not to send him as he clearly has the best scoring potential of the men at this point, other than maybe Oda, but he hasn't been around much. Hanyu has had strong results at Worlds, Kozuka is recovering and Dai is hit or miss.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by inskate View Post
    Right now only the winner of the Nats is sure to go, the rest will be hand-picked. It isn't clearly stated what JSF will value more - the highest PB of the season? The highest placement at nats? The highest World standing?
    Anything other than the placements at Japanese nationals is a kind of hedge when their favorites failed to make the podium. Right now, Hanyu and Asada are such skaters, and Takahashi can expect some special treatments. Additional conditions like GPF results or world standings are only applicable when one of them fell off the podium. I think Hanyu and Asada will earn their spots as the national champions. Probably the only disturbing factor is Takahashi's placement.

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    I think Hanyu is a lock and the one with most potential for medal. On a good day, he can challenge fore gold and on a bad day, he can easily manage 3rd to 5th. Plus he is the only one that can match Fernandez technically. As much as i love Dai, i think his days are over. Most he can hope for a bronze if he is clean. He can no longer match Patrick, Jarvier or Hanyu technically and his PCS will only gives him one jump cushion at most. He can no longer do 3+3 consistently without getting < and his 4T is the least reliable of the top guys. I'm sure the federation will still sent him bc of sentimental reason and he brings in the most PR and cash.

    Oda, we will have to see until after GPF and National. He shows promise, but that guy can never carry the momentum to the world or important meet. Lets hope he pace himself and peak for the big show down, not at GP events.

    Kazuko, is getting better and hope he is fully heal after the injury. But he is still not getting the love from the judges, with Hanyu on the rise, we can pretty much expect his PCS will be low ball again and again.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderlen3000 View Post
    I think Hanyu is a lock and the one with most potential for medal. On a good day, he can challenge fore gold and on a bad day, he can easily manage 3rd to 5th. Plus he is the only one that can match Fernandez technically.
    With three quads, Reynolds is probably the only one who can match Fernandez technically on paper (after all, he's the only top man other than Fernandez to attempt/have landed 3 quads). I'm still not sold on Hanyu's ability to land two quads and two 3As in the same program, but he's getting more consistent by the day, and his 3A consistency and GOE is an excellent way for him to stay in contention.

  9. #39
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    Hanyu's BV is a little higher than Fernandez.

    Fernandez
    4T 10.30
    4S+3T 14.60
    3A 8.50
    *4S 11.55
    *3Lz+2T 8.03
    *3Lo 5.61
    *3F+1Lo+3S 11.00
    *3S 4.62
    Total 74.21

    Hanyu
    4S 10.50
    4T 10.30
    3F 5.30
    *3A+3T 13.86
    *3A+2T 10.78
    *3Lo 5.61
    *3Lz+1Lo+3S 11.77
    *3Lz 6.60
    Total 74.72

    Chan's is more than 6 points lower than Hanyu.

  10. #40
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    Right, I meant in terms of reliability in executing all their technical content, Fernandez is slightly more consistent at this point which give him an edge over Hanyu. Although Hanyu has an edge in points (note that Fernandez chooses to do a solo 3S instead of a 3Z or 3F at the end), I also consider 3 quads and a 3A to be greater than 2 quads and 2 3As, in terms of technical ability.

  11. #41
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    I am not convinced Hanyu's spot is locked either. Based on his performance at Finlandia : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EkVx3jyFUg

    I note the jumps are fairly good and solid. But other than that, the performance showed little improvement from what I saw at the 2013 Worlds in London. His issue back then was his strong start but weak finish - he did it again. Granted, I wasn't live at Finlandia so the caveat of judging via a video clip should be noted - that said, his performance did not strike as having made any significant stride in terms of his ability to deliver his performance. In fact, his style pretty much similar vs. to his past FS, you could mute the music, and think he is skating to the same program. I didn't pick up any noticeable changes in his transitions or creativity in that department.

    Finally, the costume - for me, it comes across as very distracting and somewhat inappropriate for the Olympics. With the controversy surrounding Russian gay rights in Sochi, would it be wise for the sport of figure skating, at least Men Singles, to be perceived as effeminate with costume like that? He is a handsome young man if you google many of his off ice pics, he has the qualities to carry the torch after Takahashi retires as Japan's poster boy. That said, he really could learn from Takahashi when it comes to fashion. Takahashi strikes a fine balance when it comes to fashion, which makes very endearing. Hanyu on the other hand seems to copy Johnny Weir from head to toe - not the wisest decision.

    I know look is subjective and don't claim to be any authority when it comes to style. Though with decades in this sport, I want to believe I have keen sense of what's too far and what's not. When the Shibutani were red hot a few years ago, I knew their outward projection could eventually become a burden for them and it did. Take it however you will, appearance and how you project yourself still matter a great deal in this sport, so is the perception of the outside world beyond the skating community. We don't live in bubbles. In an Olympic year, Hanyu's choice of style and lack of improvement in his delivery presents a risk should he fails to deliver his jumping content. We are already seeing some early signs - in Finlandia FS where he made 3 jumping errors, his first mark is still vastly higher than his PCS. That's in a competition where he had no close rivals. Fernandez who arguably doesn't have the same natural technical talent that he has, consistently beat Hanyu in PCS last season - again, Fernandez projects very well on ice and off, which helps him a great deal and compensate for his disadvantages. As a result, Hanyu having the highest TES at the 2013 Worlds FS but only 6th in PCS, failed to make the podium. The difference between his TES and PCS was a wooping 9 points, in favor of TES. Even Joubert had higher PCS than he did, who finished 10th in the FS.

    Simply put, JSF will need to take into account this obvious problem that Hanyu has, his inability to get high PCS scores. Having the same coach as Fernandez and outskated him technically yet still lost is a major warning sign that something is not right with his skating.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallylutz View Post
    Finally, the costume - for me, it comes across as very distracting and somewhat inappropriate for the Olympics. With the controversy surrounding Russian gay rights in Sochi, would it be wise for the sport of figure skating, at least Men Singles, to be perceived as effeminate with costume like that?
    Are you honestly cautioning a figure skater for having a costume that could be perceived as gay? Maybe Hanyu should just wear a sequin-less black jumpsuits and skate to action movie soundtracks. And he certainly shouldn't do any Biellmanns or Ina Bauers.

    Also, as much as people love their stereotypes, gay does not equal effeminate. And even if Hanyu or whoever was perceived as effeminate (which, ironically, the Russian balletic style of artistry/elegance is often perceived to be) there's nothing wrong with that.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by NMURA View Post
    Hanyu's BV is a little higher than Fernandez.

    Fernandez
    4T 10.30
    4S+3T 14.60
    3A 8.50
    *4S 11.55
    *3Lz+2T 8.03
    *3Lo 5.61
    *3F+1Lo+3S 11.00
    *3S 4.62
    Total 74.21

    Hanyu
    4S 10.50
    4T 10.30
    3F 5.30
    *3A+3T 13.86
    *3A+2T 10.78
    *3Lo 5.61
    *3Lz+1Lo+3S 11.77
    *3Lz 6.60
    Total 74.72

    Chan's is more than 6 points lower than Hanyu.
    The danger of any analysis based purely on BV is the potential to focus on the tree and miss the forrest. Hanyu and Fernandez are taking a huge amount of risks because they feel they will need it to compensate for PCS disadvantage. Such high rewards come with very high risk. Olympic is not a competition where more often than not, the winner is someone who played it safe. Lysacek was a good example. Urmanov too won with lesser content. As we saw at the 2013 Worlds, the men pushed themselves so hard such that the FS became a splashfest.

    I would be very surprised either of these men can deliver all of the above jumps cleanly at the Olympics.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallylutz View Post
    The danger of any analysis based purely on BV is the potential to focus on the tree and miss the forrest. Hanyu and Fernandez are taking a huge amount of risks because they feel they will need it to compensate for PCS disadvantage. Such high rewards come with very high risk. Olympic is not a competition where more often than not, the winner is someone who played it safe. Lysacek was a good example. Urmanov too won with lesser content. As we saw at the 2013 Worlds, the men pushed themselves so hard such that the FS became a splashfest.
    Yep, the Olympics is about clean performances, and it's not usually a skater who makes a visible error that wins. I think come Sochi, the commentators will be having to explain that the difficulty of these programs is higher than it's ever been, so even though figure skaters are supposed to be all prim and perfect in the minds of casual viewers, it's getting to a point where clean skates will become more and more rare (which is a good thing, I think because everyone skating clean isn't good if they all play it safe). The crowd will also be counting quads, so if Fernandez and Chan and Hanyu all go clean, Fernandez "should" win in the crowd's minds. Some casual viewers might even feel that Reynolds with a clean skate with 3 quads should be placed ahead of any guy who only manages 1 or 2, even if they're a better skater than Reynolds.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    Are you honestly cautioning a figure skater for having a costume that could be perceived as gay? Maybe Hanyu should just wear a sequin-less black jumpsuits and skate to action movie soundtracks. And he certainly shouldn't do any Biellmanns or Ina Bauers.
    I was in Vancouver when Johnny received his flower crown after the FS. Even in the open minded Vancouver, that pic dominated part of the media, which prompted controversy even among Radio-Canada commentators, the French version of CBC. I don't want to imagine with the heightened tension in Sochi and all the buhaha going in, how that will turn out. Know that also, Russia has a favorite son in that competition. Scapegoat is easy when things don't go certain way (read my lips: if Plushenko fails to deliever for any reason, something or someone else will be blamed, you can bet on it). It already happened once before, in case you forgot. At the Vancouver Olympics. Plushenko's scapegoat = men without quads = ladies' skating => Evan Lysacek is a girl. When wrestling will removed from the 2016 Olympics, a Russian wrestling coach immediately laid the blames on gays because supposedly, due to the perception of how wrestling is projected : for some, it's too homoerotic, for others, the effeminate people can't stand it. Of course, it can't be any more far fetched to blame wrestling's end as Olympic sports on gays but in Russia, that's nothing.

    Also, as much as people love their stereotypes, gay does not equal effeminate. And even if Hanyu or whoever was perceived as effeminate (which, ironically, the Russian balletic style of artistry/elegance is often perceived to be) there's nothing wrong with that.
    Agreed, you are preaching to the choir. Except that's now how the vast majority of people perceive it. Like it or not, stereotypes are part of our lives. Plushenko once said when he first started skating, his father was totally against it thinking it's a girl's sport. Fair or not, people's perception matter. To be a successful champion, one needs to know how to manage that on ice and off ice.

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