I’d been playing around with the idea of adding Plushenko’s Vancouver programs to my collection of videos I’d been amassing on my laptop. I figured I’d cut and paste his short program and free skate into one video, which I’ll save for my own use. Either to revisit or in case I want to use the footage for future montages.
I’d been playing around with a couple ideas, either using “Magic” or “Sky full of Stars” by Coldplay or “Miles Away” by Madonna… today I daydreamed with “Head over heels,” although the lyrics don’t quite fit.
But while browsing through the names, I saw a lot of familiar ones… so I figure I should watch them in their entirety and make comments :shrug: I need something to keep me busy until the 2015 World Championships come around.
Among these names (not including the top 3 skaters):
*Nobunari Oda (among big name in Japanese skating alongside Daisuke Takahashi who won Bronze)
*Stephane Lambiel (who won a silver medal in Torino)
*Johnny Weir (who was unjustly denied recognition in Vancouver)
*Patrick Chan (the future Sochi 2014 silver medalist… I didn’t know he was around in 2010)
*Denis Ten (the future Sochi 2014 bronze medalist)
*there’s another Russian whose name I don’t recognize- Artem Borodulin
*Javier Fernandez (also didn’t know he was competing in 2010… wow)
*Brian Joubert (even before the “Snow King” cast materialized, his name seemed familiar to me when I saw it at Sochi)
*Tomas Verner (another competitor at Sochi and “Snow King” cast member)
already that’s 10 other people I think I need to watch again, but just to get it out of the way, I’ll watch all 30 guys
Looking at Artem’s Wikipedia page, he looked like he got a raw deal in his career. It’s unfortunate because he’s only 25. Not that all skaters should aspire to keep going into their 30’s 😛 just saying that there’s a shortage of great male Russian skaters. Only three big names come to mind for me. One of which I will refuse to speak, simply because he’d said many mean-spirited things about Plushenko. Ilia Kulik was, I think, the first big name in Russian figure skating. Certainly over the past several decades. Interestingly, he too had back problems that ended his career.
And to be honest, my first ever experience with men’s figure skating was in 1998. The same year Tara won, I have a vague recollection of wanting Elvis Stojko to win really bad and him having to settle for Silver due to a nagging groin injury. He was the first male skater I really liked… and I still recollect Plushenko saying how he competed against him at his first Worlds and he and someone else “already was legend” and he only focused on skating his personal best. Ilia Kulik won Gold.
…so I’ve got a lot of skating to watch… not just Vancouver, but some of Nagano and Torino. Definitely will reacquaint myself with Elvis Stojko to see if he’s as good as I remember… which is very little 😛 a lot of my memories going that far back are vague.
North Korea- Ri Song Chol
– he was a good start to the event. did a triple axel, two lutzes, one in combination with some nice looking step sequences across the ice.
Ukraine- Anton Kovalevski
-he had “Flamenco” music so his program was more dynamic. triple axel, lutz in combination and a triple loop. he leaned forward to land some of his jumps. some strong choreography, but towards the end, it became manic and unfocused
Slovenia- Gregor Urbas
-he had some epic music “Carmina Burana”. Began with a triple lutz combination, his triple axel was a two footed landing and his triple salchow was perfect. beautiful spins! but his step sequences were a little manic in places
France- Florent Amodio
-compared to the previous skaters, he looked more like a professional. triple axel, lutz, then a loop (which looks like he didn’t fully rotate as a triple jump) in combination. Seemed to be in a hurry to get his jumps out of the way. some very strong skating.
Austria- Viktor Pfeifer
-skated to “Moonlight Sonata.” After the jumps, it was a little too repetitive with the footwork and spins. triple lutz in combination with a arm variation at the end but a little swingy on the landing, loop and triple lutz.
The 2nd warm-up group is coming out. I hear some screaming fangirls… I wonder if they’re for Plushenko or their countryman, Vaughn Chipeur… slightly more so for Vaughn Chipeur, but Plushenko got a lot of love from the crowd too. That’s nice to hear 😉
They talk about everyone’s hobbies and such when they’re introduced. With Plushenko, they simply said he was the defending Olympic champion, skating to music arranged for him by “violin virtuoso” Edvin Marton, and newlywed to Yana as of 2009. [Honestly when I hear her name mentioned, I smiled so big… I kinda forgot that she was the one who kinda talked him into coming out of retirement]
Kazakhstan- Abzal Rakimgaliev
-[in warm-up they said he trains in Moscow, and he’s only 17]. loved his smile and his music “Child in Paradise.” Fell on his triple axel [too forward on his toe pick], did a triple toe loop combination that went well, but his landing on the second jump was shaky. then a triple lutz. he had good energy throughout, but might have been a little winded towards the end.
Poland- Przemyslaw Domanski
-the first skater so far that really tried to embrace their music (a variation of “Tango”) and displayed some showmanship with it. triple lutzes, once in combination and a triple axel. loved his energy and that expression on his eyes when he finished. (he was definitely better than 7th place, but then a couple of his spins were a little too similar to each other).
Finland- Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari
-loved the energy of his music. too bad his skating couldn’t match up to it. he fell on his triple axel. on his triple lutz combination, he was too close to the boards so he barely got the 2nd jump out. then he had a two-footed landing on his stand-alone lutz. it’s too bad because he looked like he had the potential to do really well.
Canada- Vaughn Chipeur
-he looked nervous, took his time getting into starting position. He stumbled on his triple axel. did a loop in combination, then a lutz. his spins looked similar to one another and he didn’t smile or engage the crowd much. just did all the choreography. too bad because with that music he could have made this look amazing. he finally smiles in the K&C
[shortly after the Olympics, he retired]
-I caught a glimpse of him on the sidelines during the previous skate.
-he also took his time getting ready, but he had his game face on. the first man to do a QUAD! already, that’s a huge plus. did it in combination. the triple axel was the only thing not completely perfect about this performance. slowing the footage down, he landed on the outside edge of his right foot and did a balance check with his left leg. then the triple lutz was solid. he finally cracked a smile during the last 30 seconds of the program while doing his footwork. he had three solid spins, his first was my favorite because it had the most variations, but the 2nd two spins were similar. On the latter he just changed edges, but held the same position on the ice.
-so yeah, there’s definitely a huge difference between his league and those of the skaters before him. I’m hoping the rest of the skaters, the recognizable names, will give me more to be excited about. because I don’t want to come off totally biased here 😛
the gap between Plushenko and Florent Amodio in 2nd place is huge. a difference of 15.5 points
Javier Fernandez is the only name I recognize in the next warm-up group. Also Artem from Russia (a little insensitive of the commentator to mention he broke his ankle in a warm-up… isn’t that bad luck to bring that up?)
Italy- Paolo Bacchini
-he knew how to play to his music well 😀 his triple axel was rough, he popped out of it and doubled. had a lutz in a combination and a salchow (or loop, I sometimes still get them mixed up).
Romania- Zoltan Kelemen
-again, great skating to the music. his jumping had some issues. I saw snow fly on his triple axel, so it wasn’t a clean landing (also too close to the wall). his lutz for the combination may have doubled. and his triple toe loop (I had to look this up to be sure, apparently you land on the same foot, in a flip you land on the opposite), he leaned forward on the landing.
-he had a good solid program. triple axel, two lutzes, one in combination. moved well to the music, which sounds like Russian folk. not Plushenko’s level of spectacular, but he did a really good job.
Germany- Stefan Lindemann
-triple axel (not the cleanest landing), lutz, and a triple toe loop in combination. he didn’t grab me particularly. maybe because his spins all looked similar. his footwork was good overall.
Spain- Javier Fernandez
-that spark was definitely there. skated to a medley of James Bond music (which explains his costume where there appears to be a target). his triple axel was solid and powerful. with his triple toe loop combination, he put a hand down on his second jump. and his lutz was solid. his footwork could use some polishing and he could smile more, but that could be chalked up to nerves. he was fun to watch as always.
-they said during his warm-up he recently went to the U.S. to train, but Brian Orser isn’t his coach yet
a couple more big names in next warm-up group. Denis Ten and Daisuke Takahashi, I’ll be sure to keep an eye on. this was a comeback for Daisuke, who recently torn up his knee. he got some fangirl screams. already got a good feeling about him 😉 and Nobunari Oda is descended from Oda Nobunaga?! wow! and I thought Denis Ten’s lineage was impressive…
Kazakhstan- Denis Ten
-I was smiling the whole time 😀 but then he had “Sing Sing Sing” for his music. all his jumps were solid. started with the triple axel, then a lutz combination. then he did a triple toe loop (either I’d been mistaking a lot of flips for toe loops or his technique is better than so many others I’d seen). Then he did a Biellmann spin! the first time I’d seen any other guy do it. his program was great fun. [and he’s in 2nd now… I was about to say “i’ll be damned if he doesn’t get at least 2nd for that]
Japan- Daisuke Takahashi
-wow! he looked like a freaking rock star out there. a completely different character than so many of the skaters I’d seen before him. solid jumps. triple lutz combination, triple axel, then another lutz. and the fangirls are still screaming 😉 the first person since Plushenko to break 90 (and beat him almost by a point artistically)
it’ll be interesting to see the next guy. at least the other guys had a warm-up and break before having to follow Plushenko
Sweden- Adrian Schultheiss
-finally, another quadruple toe loop… not a solid landing on it, though, with just a single jump in combination with it. and he touched a hand down on his triple axel. the lutz was solid. not quite as engaging as the two skaters that’ve come before him (but then, maybe I’m a little biased)
Switzerland- Stephane Lambiel
-a lot of confidence. a triple axel right off the top, what appeared to be a quad in combination (it wasn’t perfect), then a lutz. with the “William Tell overture,” he just opened up on that ice with some strong footwork. his spins were gorgeous. I wasn’t a believer early on, but after his jumps, I was convinced…. I guess that means I gotta see him in Torino to see just how he won Silver… wonder what happened to him
[wow, he helps design his own costumes. had knee issues. 2002 was his first Olympics also. won his first worlds, a year when Plushenko withdrew due to injury. after Torino, he won at worlds. after Vancouver, he retired, but has done Kings on Ice and even helped choreograph other skaters… wow, he had a really impressive career]
Japan- Nobunari Oda
-one of those “blink and you’ll miss ’em” type of performances. it was so fast, done with reckless abandon. triple axel, lutz in combination, and a loop, I believe- all within maybe 30 seconds. I wasn’t crazy about his style, but that’s just my opinion. a little too dynamic and dramatic with not enough artistry. [yikes, I get that he had cleaner jumps, but I don’t think he should have gotten ahead of Stephane Lambiel… more fuel for that quadruple jump debate, for sure… a quad attempt like his should have been awarded more technical points]
omg, Brian Joubert and Johnny Weir in this next group 😀 and Patrick Chan too… after this, I should rewatch his skating in Sochi to see how much he’d improved. sounds like those three all have a lot of fans here. 😀 omg, cannot wait to see Johnny skate later on. [bleck, if I really applied myself, I could know French and Russian too… I hadn’t really studied French since high school and with my Russian, I’m still slacking quite a bit :P]
France- Brian Joubert
-he really had rotten luck on his jumps. the triple flip wasn’t clean in combination, his triple axel was good, but with his lutz, he flat out fell [came apart towards the end of the rotation before he hit the ground]. but his footwork was among my favorites. he really used the music to his advantage, so expressive and enjoyable. [wow, 10th place 😦 he’s definitely one of those skaters I need to watch more of]
Japan- Takahiko Kozuka
-another strong performance. lutz combination was clean, the triple axel was two-footed and the other lutz was good. I enjoyed him, but he wasn’t quite on the same level with a lot of the others skaters.
Italy- Samuel Contesti
-he’s a handsome looking guy, one that looks like he could use that to his advantage, but it’s hard to do that when he’s dressing like a hillybilly for his music. started with a solid lutz combination, a two-footed triple axel, and didn’t control the landing of his stand-alone lutz as his feet slipped out from underneath him. but he smiled the entire time, which made me have fun with it. [right now, the crowd is deafening because the hometown boy is on deck]
Canada- Patrick Chan
-he danced to the same “Tango” music as Przemyslaw Domanski from Poland. opened with a triple axel with a willy landing (too many rotations on the ice), then a triple toe loop [almost looked like it was a quad he changed his mind about before hitting the ground] combination and a lutz. his footwork was all over the place, not as focused as I’d personally like it (he slipped at one point, which is likely where the deduction came into his score), but the sparks of greatness are definitely there. another skater I enjoyed watching (definitely gotta revisit him in Sochi).
-opened with a solid lutz combination, then a gorgeous triple axel, and a loop. he really came to life on his second set of footwork when he transversed across the ice. I recognized part of his music, “I love you, I hate you,” from “Once Upon a Time in America”- one of Plushenko’s older programs. I couldn’t stop smiling from that point because that’s when he really let loose and had fun. so cute, seeing him sing to ‘Poker Face’ in the kiss & cry. [5th place with 5 skaters left… could have been a slightly better score, but I think we’re both proud of what he did here… the crowd’s booing big time, they probably thought he should have gotten higher. after the top 2, I think it should be Stephane Lambiel, Johnny, then Nobunari Oda, but that’s just my opinion]
now for the final group… wow, can’t believe I’m finally at the final skaters for this entry.
I thought I say Tomas attempt a quad in his warm-up. I’ll try to approach Evan without bias this time 😛 [the first time, I wanted him to win, the 2nd time, I was too busy comparing him to Plushenko for the whole debate] it’ll be interesting to see how much Jeremy had matured since these Olympics, I’d gotten to know his skating well these past several times I’d seen him compete.
Belgium- Kevin Van Der Perren
-props for originality with the music “Night on bald mountain” (it matched his skeleton costume). at some points, his footwork didn’t quite match up and ran behind the music. leaned forward on his triple axel, did a triple lutz combination, then a loop.
Czech Republic- Tomas Verner
-more bad luck from Team Snow King with the jumps. he was clearly attempting a quadruple toe loop, may not have gotten his toe pick in the ice just right to launch and completely singled out. [in the reply, it looks like his skate dug into the ice too much before he could prep for the placement of his toe pick]. fell on his triple axel [his feet looked like they got tangled a bit in the air and he wound up leaning too far back on his skate]. then his lutz combination was good [I suppose, if you can land any jumps, be sure to have that combination].
not as engaging as Brian Joubert was, but I’d still like to see more. what he’s like when he does well. [he made up quite a bit artistically, but technically wasn’t great- 16th place]
-wow, he’s TALL… maybe the tallest skater here. he definitely won artistically, really played to the crowd and performed. his jumps were all solid. Plushenko just had him beat by the fact he did a freaking quad combination, something . triple axel to start, a lutz combination, then one on his own.
[Comparing him and Daisuke Takahashi, he won out artistically… but part of me feels Daisuke had better “stage presence”… I still personally like his program better… geesh, Evan is so damn emotional 😛 then again, it was a new personal best]
-not bad for his first Olympics, but I’d seen him do better. his first jumping pass (a flip in combination) was solid, but then he doubled his triple axel and lutz. his artistry is really good and really has improved over the years. Interesting song choice with “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles, it works for him.
can’t believe I’m on the last skater…
Czech Republic- Michal Brezina
-another solid job. triple axel, toe loop in combination and a lutz. a strong finish to the event. I didn’t get into his program quite as much as some of the others I’d seen over these past two days. [the crowd’s not too happy with his placement]
after all that, 24 skaters advance… geesh, that’s still a lot 😛 and I can’t go through all those quite as fast as the short programs. excluding the medal ceremony, that’s almost another four hours.
only 4 guys attempted quads, 3 with some success.
I can argue my own standings for personal preference, I guess… Plushenko gets first on the fact he had a solid quad combination with no major (or even minor stumbles)
then as follows:
2. Daisuke Takahashi
3. Evan Lysachek
4. Stephane Lambiel
5. Johnny Weir
6. Nobunari Oda
7. Patrick Chan
8. Denis Ten
from there, it’d too difficult to really debate about the rest. Stephane Lambiel deserves more credit for his quad and beat out Johnny Weir artistically. Evan had more solid jumps, so I put him in 3rd.
for anyone who made it through this whole entry, thanks for reading. and if I got any of the jumps labeled incorrectly, my apologies. I’m still learning how to identify flips, salchows and loops from the other jumps (lutz and axel) that are more distinct.
I’ll have my discussion on the men’s free skate posted as soon as I finished watching and writing about it 😛 probably will take me a couple extra days, though.