2020-21 U.S. Men's Figure Skating

BlissfulSynergy

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Thanks @skylark for expanding on what happened with Ilia. I was not aware that he had frustrations with competitive skating, but it's not surprising to find that out. I'm sure it was quite difficult for him trying to develop in the Russian system at that time with some other big names. After he achieved Olympic champion status, there was nothing further for him to achieve in competitive figure skating, apparently, in his mind.

Ilia went on to win a role in the ensemble cast of the famous dance film, Center Stage, which recently celebrated an anniversary by speaking with four of the principals in the cast: Ethan Stiefel, Amanda Schull, Sascha Radetsky, and Zoe Saldana. Stiefel, Schull, & Radetsky had notable careers with major ballet companies, while Saldana was trained in ballet, but she didn't see opportunities for making a career in ballet back then. She has certainly gone on to enjoy huge success in acting. As well, Amanda (after dancing for a period with SF Ballet) eventually ventured back into acting, mainly in television and streaming platforms.

I wish they had gotten Ilia to join in the anniversary conversation, but he was more of a minor character in the cast, plus he's not as widely known as the others in his later show skating and coaching careers. Those who are interested can find the Center Stage conversation on YouTube. Sorry for the off-topic in this thread.
 

bonita

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There is a strange new school vs. old school train of thought in skating that I think leads to a lot of these disagreements. There is a desire to go back to the "good old days" of skating and Nathan has explicitly said that isn't his style. For a skater, he is more plugged in with what's going on in the real world and in pop culture and I think his skating reflects that. I may prefer one over the other, but they both have merits. At the end of the day, they are both world class skaters, they just bring different perspectives to the ice.
Second this “new school vs old school train of thoughts”. On CBC's That Figure Skating Show, Dylan Moscovitch said Nathan is very millennial, Kurt commented Nathan brought “cool, hip factor to figure skating”.

For Kurt, Nathan would be remembered by his versatility rather than his jumps. He reiterated that in his Facebook live with his fans this past July, which Mamamiia posted earlier.

Speaking of propaganda machine, there are much much more media coverage about Nathan in Japan than in US. There were special report/segments about him during GPF and worlds, unfortunately worlds was cancelled this year, so the segment was aired in April.

And Nathan and ballet first showed up in press as early as 2011, not by USFSA propaganda machine.


and ABC News
 
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Ic3Rabbit

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My word! You are truly over-analyzing Nathan's skating in a nit-picky and a very prejudicial, judgmental way. I have certain critiques about Hanyu's skating, but I wouldn't be so OTT critical about Hanyu looking down (which he does do), or the fact that Hanyu gets a great deal of credit for artistry when its mostly based on his amazing fluidity rather than on any superb expressive interpretive skills. Hanyu's skating is very technically based as well. In fact, all skaters are athletes first and foremost. There are a few precocious skaters who combine artistry and athleticism at an early age. But for the most part, skaters generally grow in interpretive skills and maturity over the course of their careers. Plus, some skaters are more musically inclined than others. Many skate over the music rather than hearing and interpreting the music.

Nathan is a skater who hears his music and he interprets musical nuances whether or not you are able to pick up on that aspect of his skating. He chose to focus on perfecting his jumping talent because that's what the judging rewards per the ISU's emphasis and decisionmaking. Still, Nathan has not neglected his artistic side. If you can't appreciate his artistic qualities and his on-ice personality and carriage, so be it.

The fact that men's skating is more athletically and technically rewarded is not something new, but it has intensified over the past 10 years with the extra emphasis the sport's leadership randomly placed on quads without any real strategic thinking or long-term planning.

Ilia Kulik had a unique style of skating that was both raw and elegant. I personally would not cite Ilia as the go-to model of balletic excellence in figure skating. I don't think it's necessary to cite any one male skater as the definitive model of balletic excellence. But if it was a question on an exam, I would have to pick John Curry. And Toller Cranston totally influenced men's figure skating with his unforgettable passion and unique movement style. It never gets old looking back at Curry and Cranston. I also still enjoy watching Ilia's performances. I think he retired too soon, but that was his choice. I respect Ilia's skating and his life choices.

It's important to remember too that Ilia Kulik, John Curry, Toller Cranston, and other famous skating greats like Brian Boitano, Robin Cousins, Kurt Browning, Jan Hoffmann, Christopher Bowman, Scott Hamilton, and Brian Orser all skated in different eras when the politics and the judging were very different.
:clap: You are my new favorite poster, someone that "gets it!"

Happy Posting!
 

Flying Feijoa

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It's not Carol Lane but the other commentator had facts confused and said Nathan just started dance training in 2017 rostelecom cup.

This video shows their impression on Nathan in 2015 junior worlds. Browning acknowledged Nathan's dance training right away at the very beginning of the program.

Actually when Kurt Browning was asked who he would like to skate with, the answer was Nathan.

Andi Petrillo, IIRC. Hockey commentator usually.
My bad! That makes much more sense now, Carol Lane of all people would not have made such a factual error 😅
It would have been nice if someone had corrected Petrillo, but I guess it's awkward for commentators to contradict each other on air.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Kurt seemed to have already assumed beforehand that someone with that sort of planned content would be a mere jumping bean. But to his credit, he was frank about what he saw

If that was the case in 2017, then Kurt must have forgotten a bit about his high praise for Nathan at Junior Worlds in 2015. I guess Kurt can be forgiven though for not remembering every single young skater he spoke about at different Junior Worlds championships. Still, Kurt noticed right away in 2015 that Nathan possesses rare musicality and artistic talent. Granted that by 2017, Nathan was focused on making a name for himself with his jumps chiefly, because he saw as a junior the previous season how the sport would outsize reward a newbie skater to seniors with a World bronze medal for being a jump phenom, without notable artistry or presentation skills (e.g., Boyang Jin).

I'm not ragging on Boyang, because he bore down after his first senior season and he made every attempt to improve his skating skills and presentation, and he has, even though he's still not at a high level musically or artistically. Boyang is a great jumper and he learns well from good choreographers, and he's competitive.
 

Lamente Ariane

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On a positive and on topic note, I’d like to say that though I don’t consider myself Nathan’s fan I’m excited to see how his new programs progress. He’s challenging himself by trying new styles of music and movement and I respect that immensely.

I’m also hoping to see Camden and Andrew T participate in the next round of virtual competition!
 

BlissfulSynergy

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I am very much an introvert so I comprehend Nathan's cool energy. I may just more personally drawn toward dynamism and over the board commitment when watching men's skating. Either is fine, and most people can appreciate both even if they only love one.

I love your post overall, which came earlier in this thread. I get your point of view and I can understand where you're coming from. This might boil down to semantics and phrasing, but I have to point out that Nathan is dynamic and he's giving everything in every fiber of his being to his competitive performances. He's beyond committed. He couldn't skate and compete the way he does, while attending Yale too, without being completely devoted, disciplined, determined and beyond committed to his goals and to his performances. Do you notice the sheer exhaustion and relief on his face whenever he completes great performances?

I think the difference comes back to Nathan's more interior personality. He's giving everything he's got 'beyond the boards' in his performances, but his energy and emotions are very contained and focused. That's probably what enables him to execute multiple quads brilliantly while also paying attention to musical phrases, the choreography and his unique style of interpretation. Nathan makes it look easy to rap off multiple quads, when it's the hardest most nearly impossible feat in the world. I think we forget that what he's been doing on a regular basis is practically unheard of, because it's so mentally and physically draining. It takes a strong, talented coach, superb, near perfect technique, consistency, physical prowess, strategic training, dedication, and unbelievable mental focus as well as courage, passion and self-belief to have achieved what Nathan has wrought in such a short time as a senior competitor. And he has done this after so many physical struggles to overcome as a junior skater, due to growth plate injuries.

At the same time, Nathan is very modest about his abilities and accomplishments. It's all quite normal for him because he's used to excelling and taking care of business. He's also very kind to his fans, just like Jason always is, with such great cheerfulness.

It takes a lot of strategy and planning throughout the season to build up to major competitive performances. I really can't fully comprehend how these great figure skating athletes manage to do what they do.
 

readernick

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I love your post overall, which came earlier in this thread. I get your point of view and I can understand where you're coming from. This might boil down to semantics and phrasing, but I have to point out that Nathan is dynamic and he's giving everything in every fiber of his being to his competitive performances. He's beyond committed. He couldn't skate and compete the way he does, while attending Yale too, without being completely devoted, disciplined, determined and beyond committed to his goals and to his performances. Do you notice the sheer exhaustion and relief on his face whenever he completes great performances?

I think the difference comes back to Nathan's more interior personality. He's giving everything he's got 'beyond the boards' in his performances, but his energy and emotions are very contained and focused. That's probably what enables him to execute multiple quads brilliantly while also paying attention to musical phrases, the choreography and his unique style of interpretation. Nathan makes it look easy to rap off multiple quads, when it's the hardest most nearly impossible feat in the world. I think we forget that what he's been doing on a regular basis is practically unheard of, because it's so mentally and physically draining. It takes a strong, talented coach, superb, near perfect technique, consistency, physical prowess, strategic training, dedication, and unbelievable mental focus as well as courage, passion and self-belief to have achieved what Nathan has wrought in such a short time as a senior competitor. And he has done this after so many physical struggles to overcome as a junior skater, due to growth plate injuries.

At the same time, Nathan is very modest about his abilities and accomplishments. It's all quite normal for him because he's used to excelling and taking care of business. He's also very kind to his fans, just like Jason always is, with such great cheerfulness.

It takes a lot of strategy and planning throughout the season to build up to major competitive performances. I really can't fully comprehend how these great figure skating athletes manage to do what they do.
I think your definition of dynamic and mine are different. It is normal to have differences of opinion when it comes to the connotation of words. I , personally, don't find Nathan's artistry dynamic. To me, he is cool and hip. 100% committed definitely, hardworking and determined without a doubt, but not dynamic imho. If you see something different, that's ok! I would note that most of your post is about his technical skills. I don't think there are many people who question the difficultly of what Nathan does. His consistency is unparalleled. No one has that level of consistency, skills, and performance quality without a superhuman work ethic. I also don't think there is any doubt that Raf and Nathan plan well for the season. But, again, to me none of this equals dynamism. It is, however, incredible and something to be respected.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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^^ Thanks for your response @readernick. That's why I emphasized semantics and phrasing which can be understood and interpreted differently.

In fact, your post simply sparked new insights for me about Nathan's skating, so thanks. I didn't post my comments so much to be in disagreement with you as much as to highlight something that your comments made me realize more fully about how Nathan is able to do what he does. And that's the main point truly: Nathan and Raf are very strategic, disciplined and focused on their goals and objectives. It takes a lot of planning and hard work, which as fans we don't really get to see.

In my post I was talking about the mental and physical energy required to do what Nathan does, both technically and artistically. He's not just going out there jumping. He's combining the jumps with creative choreography and musical interpretation. That's why it's so hard to execute multiple quads. Ask Hanyu, ask Javi, ask Patrick, et al. If it was just a jumping contest, it would surely be less exhausting, because that's a different focus which requires a different measure of endurance and energy depletion. I'm sure if we were to ask any of the current and former guys of skating who have landed multiple quads in major fs competitive performances, they would tell us that the mental energy required is probably even greater or certainly as great as the physical strength, and training preparation that has to be expended.

And once again, we come back to what many of us agreed earlier, about not everyone preferring Nathan's more contained, controlled style of skating, and/ or not fully perceiving his artistic skills. Still, the fact that he's contained and controlled truly does not make Nathan's skating any less dynamic either artistically or technically. Nathan is a well-rounded skater with a unique style that doesn't 'speak' to or move every skating fan. Because he makes it look so easy, the incredible fact of what he's been accomplishing seems to often be taken for granted and/or too easily dismissed or downplayed.

I get that the way Nathan moves is not everyone's cup of tea. What I'm trying to express is that his controlled, contained focus which some people dislike is probably why Nathan is able to be so technically consistent and precise when he's fully fit and in top competitive form. Being technically consistent, while also expressing creative movement and musical interpretation is not easy. Part of this involves Nathan's cool personality. He's very friendly and charming in person, but he doesn't over-emote. He tends to be matter-of-fact and modest. But still waters run deep. Whenever I see the expression on his face at the end of his performances, I realize just how much emotional and physical energy he has expended, even though some people aren't touched by his contained, yet elegant, edgy, new-age style of expressiveness.

I'm thinking now of Alexei Krasnozohn's amazing FS performance in the virtual competition. It probably helped that this is a program he brought back from last season, so he's comfortable with the choreography. Still, it's a difficult program chock full of technical elements and non-stop choreographic moves. Alexei was probably upset coming in last in the sp, so a fire was lit underneath him. His style is kind of sloppy and all over the place, but this is a very good program for him to rein in his energetic abandon, while at the same time giving expression to his frenetic quality due to the odd yet eerily dramatic music theme which suits Alexei very well. He surely was focused and determined to be able to land everything with more tightness and precision than he often has been able to accomplish. Being precise and focused probably helped him conserve the necessary energy to complete the program cleanly and commandingly.

Alexei is not elegant nor especially artistic, but he is energetic, entertaining and expressive. His jumps aren't particularly pretty or technically consistent, and his artistic maturation is still a work-in-progress. But this was a great, very watchable program. It was easy to root for, especially since Alexei was coming back so strongly from a poor sp effort.

BTW, the dictionary definition of dynamic: "characterized by constant change, activity or progress... a person positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas... a force that stimulates change or progress..."

This definition fits both Nathan and Jason, in my opinion (in terms of both their personalities and their skating). Granted that Nathan is not as expansive and effusive as Jason. Still, their personality differences and unique ways of expressing themselves doesn't make either more or less dynamic than the other.
 
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lariko

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Yup, the sure, competent, perfect style of Chen’s moving across the ice is what gets me. There is always this sort of distinction between the skaters who seem (to my amateur eye) fight against the ice, and the ones that just use it as a springboard to free themselves, and Chen’s like that. He’s an energizing skater, and I am into the sport for the energizing athletes that give me a boost in daily life, not drain me.

anyways, is there a recording of Krasnojon’s performance? I was just watching Ted’s talk for his 2018 juniors, and now I am curious to see his this year’s programs.

though I guess, most of them, if not all, will be in the Skate America? Fingers crossed!
 

el henry

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Since the thread has taken a more general turn;

I think what I have always loved about the skaters I love most, and. not just American men, but since that is the thread;)
is inviting me to experience the joy, drama and passion that they feel on the ice.:clap:

Jason excels at this for me. It doesn't matter if the program is happy, or sad, or dramatic, or fun, he compels you to follow him for the journey and to feel his love of skating. Even if the program is not equal to his skills (and yes I'm looking at you, Simon and Garfunkel), he is never boring, never phoning it in, always inviting, always exciting. Others may find other skaters who do that for them, for me, Jason is the master.

Andrew T. of course is the master of the uber-dramatic. Ever since I first saw a video of 14 year old taking bows like a seasoned master ( a silly point, but the self possession of one so young struck me then and stays with me now) I've been following his career. And Andrew is one of those, at least for me, who is best understood live. What comes across as a little "extra" on the screen is compelling in person. He loves to be on the ice, and I love being there with him.

And my wild jumper Alex K. He is nothing if not passionate. Again, he likes being on the ice, he wants us to like him being on the ice, and, you know what? I do:biggrin:

It made me feel happy just to write this. :)
 

Jeanie19

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Since the thread has taken a more general turn;

I think what I have always loved about the skaters I love most, and. not just American men, but since that is the thread;)
is inviting me to experience the joy, drama and passion that they feel on the ice.:clap:

Jason excels at this for me. It doesn't matter if the program is happy, or sad, or dramatic, or fun, he compels you to follow him for the journey and to feel his love of skating. Even if the program is not equal to his skills (and yes I'm looking at you, Simon and Garfunkel), he is never boring, never phoning it in, always inviting, always exciting. Others may find other skaters who do that for them, for me, Jason is the master.

Andrew T. of course is the master of the uber-dramatic. Ever since I first saw a video of 14 year old taking bows like a seasoned master ( a silly point, but the self possession of one so young struck me then and stays with me now) I've been following his career. And Andrew is one of those, at least for me, who is best understood live. What comes across as a little "extra" on the screen is compelling in person. He loves to be on the ice, and I love being there with him.

And my wild jumper Alex K. He is nothing if not passionate. Again, he likes being on the ice, he wants us to like him being on the ice, and, you know what? I do:biggrin:

It made me feel happy just to write this. :)
I feel exactly the same. Totally agree with this post.:bsplit:
 

skylark

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I think what I have always loved about the skaters I love most, and. not just American men, but since that is the thread;)
is inviting me to experience the joy, drama and passion that they feel on the ice.:clap:
Yes! :dance3: It's all about what we get to experience :drama::love::bsplit::dbana:... all the emotions.:hap10:
 

TontoK

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Even if the program is not equal to his skills (and yes I'm looking at you, Simon and Garfunkel), he is never boring, never phoning it in, always inviting, always exciting.

Dear friend, I will never understand you completely. I really liked the S&G program. It was thoughtful and mature. Reflective. Not skated to its potential, I agree, but that's not the program's fault.

I'd take it over a thousand Jukes or Hamiltons.

Here are a few random emojis for you as a gift, since I'm becoming a fan of them. Duck, Saturn, and TWO circus tents.

🦆🪐🎪🎪
 

el henry

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Dear friend, I will never understand you completely. I really liked the S&G program. It was thoughtful and mature. Reflective. Not skated to its potential, I agree, but that's not the program's fault.

I'd take it over a thousand Jukes or Hamiltons.

Here are a few random emojis for you as a gift, since I'm becoming a fan of them. Duck, Saturn, and TWO circus tents.

🦆🪐🎪🎪

I do love the emojis, my friend, I will need to find a way to use the duck😂

And life would be boring if we all liked the same thing all the time. I'm glad someone appreciates S&G(y)
 

readernick

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I noticed Torgashev isn't on the list of competitors for Skate America. Given that skaters with lower world ranking and scores from last season were invited, I found this surprising. Is he injured?
 
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