2016 Four Continents Championships

This probably has nothing to do with anything… but I haven’t been feeling that great. Since Wednesday afternoon, I’d been dealing with a sore throat (yet I am still singing in my car) and now dealing with a stuffy/runny nose with occasional sneezing.
Watching figure skating last night took me away from that. Watching Yuzuru in his first senior Worlds [wow!- if he had a better SP, he could have won]. Even Alexei Yagudin- I rewatched his Olympic gold medal winning free skate. But what I found with him: when he’s at his best, he’s one of the best ever. It’s hard not to be impressed. At his not as good, I don’t connect at all. Say him do Tosca at a Worlds. He was off his game. And the reason he won- Plushenko had his meltdown at Nice. No one else could compete technically.
And of course it’s hard for me to not reply to all the YouTube comments saying Plushenko will never be as good as him. One said “I hate that he won so many medals at Olympics”… people are real jerks. I can at least acknowledge Alexei is brilliant and Plushenko may not have been *there* yet when they were both competing.
But favorite all-time is still Plushenko for me- simply because I’ve seen so much of him and many different sides of his personality. [And yes, part of me is afraid that if I watch too much of Alexei Yagudin, my loyalty will change. And the way he

Now here we go.

Han Yan is first.
A really great start. He did the opening quad like it was nothing. Other than holding onto the landing of his triple toe at the ending of a lutz-toe combination, he was technically sound. He played around to the music, which was nice. Johnny was talking about how he’s a fun guy to be around and is a great performer, but something is missing when he competes. Something that’ll come with experience.
He really is good when he’s on his game, but I’ve seen him be inconsistent too.
Just remembering now that I read last week from the Sochi Olympics how people were saying he was one of the best men in the field. He has that potential. It’s just finding that confidence.
Got a season’s best of 89.57… that’s a really great score, although nowadays, might not be enough.

Shoma Uno is next πŸ˜€ can’t wait
To me, he didn’t seem quite as good this time as I’ve seen him before. He got a season’s best over 92 points. But the landings of his jumps are a little off, at least the opening quad. Han Yan had the better quad, but Shoma had the better presentation.
I like the music, unlike Johnny, but that’s just me. It sounds like something out of a video game.
Love how they said that they show shades of Daisuke Takahashi in him. I’ve only seen Daisuke a handful of times, including Vancouver (when I watched through the whole competition on YouTube). And the guy’s definitely a rock star. I see shades of that in Shoma also, but he has a youthful quality to him also. Some are juniorish and he also looks like he’s having trouble staying in control of his skating. At least on this occasion.

Max Aaron
😦 this was hard to watch. Max was off his game, definitely, and there was nothing really from this program that I could take away from it. Nothing positive to remember. Just a bunch of mistakes and him just being dejected, as if he had a lot on his mind beside the music and getting another medal.
Hopefully they’ll interview him afterwards and get to the bottom of it.
They said he had a 69 for his score… pretty much says he has no shot to win this one.

Boyang Jin
I was googling to find the scheduling for this competition… and found out that he’s leading πŸ™„
I mean, it’s not surprising to hear that, but I also hate spoilers.

WOW!

My biggest issue with him initially… his music is iconic to Plushenko. It was composed/arranged specifically for him. And I didn’t think this kid played to the music enough.
He’s improved so much. First he upped the ante of his jumps. He nailed a quad lutz-triple combination. And put a quad toe in the second half and made it look easy. He put a lot of flourishes and nuances to his presentation. At one point, he had his hands positioned like he was doing a tango.
Now it’s just a matter of committing to the other elements [the final sit spin was throw-away, kinda meh] and maintaining character all the way through.
98.45! Wow, I thought he could gotten 100 points, but the presentation mark is only 40… if he works on that, he could easily be one of the best in the world πŸ˜‰

Now for Patrick Chan…
there’s been this “history” of the judging overscoring him or commentators overpraising him… a lot of naysayers out there, particularly Yuzuru’s fanbase πŸ˜‰

It’s interesting to see Johnny and Tara be hard on him and give him tough love when it’s deserved.
There wasn’t much that was memorable about this performance. At least Max Aaron I can remember for being bad.
Johnny’s comments were that Patrick’s better than this “vehicle” of doing the classic music, hamming it up and “BublΓ©ing it” and such. It doesn’t quite fit him. And I agree.
Not to mention he technically doesn’t match up. His quad toe, he put a hand down on the landing. The landing was scratchy on his triple axel (they kept talking about him not checking his left arm). His presentation score was 5 points higher than everyone else, but that’s just not enough.
One thing I did notice- he did all his jumps in the first half of the program- no 10% bonus. And they noted he only got a double in combination with a triple.
86 is really good for anybody, but at this point, not enough. It could be that this is a throwaway competition for him and his real focus is Worlds. There’s the matter of him coming back after a year off and maybe he’ll be ready by then… I don’t know. The biggest criticism from Johnny and Tara was that it looks like it takes effort for him to do the jumps where it looks so easy for the younger competitors.

Shoma is behind Boyang Jin by nearly 6 points. So there is still a chance Shoma could win, but I’d also like Boyang Jin to win too. Especially since this is in Taipei.

I’m annoyed that they’re airing the men’s free skates at a time I can’t wait- midnight Sunday going into Monday… when I have to work [cold or no cold, I’m going unless I’m dizzy or get the stomach flu, which I doubt] the next day.
But I don’t mind that they made time to show some ice dancing.
Especially from the Shibutanis πŸ˜‰ Love them. They’re my favorite to win Gold at Worlds in Ice Dance.

For the women, I know Satoko is leading. They mentioned Gracie Gold had a disastrous short program, which sucks after she killed it at Nationals [I mean, NBC showed her winning free skate at least 3 times, as if trying to make America care about figure skating at a non-Olympic year or popularity has just been down].
But Mirai Nagasu has a chance to win since she’s at 3rd currently.

Gracie did all right. Johnny and Tara talked about how she seems sluggish after Nationals and maybe she should have taken this competition off. She got through it, but it wasn’t as special as it was at Nationals.

Mirai Nagasu did really well and is currently in the lead. The only thing I can nitpick- her music jumps around way too much and it’s hard to stay invested.

Kanako Murakami, I checked out during her skate, honestly. I love her costume and her music, but there was no fire and she made a lot of mistakes.

It looks like this is Satoko’s to win.
Nobody’s really close to her in the scoring.
Most of the names, I don’t think I even recognize.

Then Rika Hongo comes out and I’m like “oh, I know her!”
I must be REALLY out of it with my cold here.

I saw her kill this “Riverdance” program at one competition- and the only reason she lost was because Mao Asada had a triple axel and skated perfectly.
Rika fell on her first jump and I don’t think she fully recovered. All her elements were solid and she smiled and played to the judges, but I didn’t feel that same spark. Like she wasn’t completely feeling it and just performing to get as many points as she can. Even started doing the jumps with the hand over the head to get extra points to make up for the fall.
Johnny commented that when she gets tired she wears her shoulders as earrings πŸ˜› he said it twice, so it’s like “I’m always going to remember that”

She’s in 2nd now and Gracie will probably get knocked off the podium when Satoko takes the ice.

Very strong skate and it’s hard not to root for her. Such a sweet young skater that’s great all around.
She had such a lead that there was virtually no chance she’d lose.

Golden Skate spoiled the results for me, but I kinda saw it coming anyway.

After all that, there’s one skater left. So Youn Park. She fell once, but didn’t remember a lot from it.
The commentators kinda agree and they actually paid attention. I’ve got too much going on that I just didn’t have time to really watch.

Great all around.
Mirai Nagasu did really great and got second place.

And I’m still annoyed they’re not airing the men’s free skates at a time I can watch, now that they mention it again.

I guess I’ll go on YouTube tomorrow and find out there who won.

Golden Skate got the results for me…
and Patrick Chan won somehow…

I REALLY hope that he was legitimately the best in the free skate… and Boyang Jin and Shoma made some major mistakes.
Patrick Chan has a way of coming from behind. I mean, he’s gone from 5th to 2nd or 1st a few times mainly because other skaters have made mistakes. But I’m also nervous about whether or not the scoring was fair.
I don’t want there to be controversies and conspiracies in this sport. I want to ENJOY it.

Since they only showed maybe 4 of the guys, Shoma, Boyang Jin, Han Yan and Patrick Chan, I should stick with them so I can compare the two performances of each.

Max Aaron probably just gave up because he didn’t crack the top 5.
If Nathan Chen hadn’t injured himself, he could have gotten a medal easily… very disappointing for Team USA.
I’d gotten so used to underestimating us and not getting my hopes up too high, it really hurts that my expectations have been risen, only for it to be for nothing.

This is maybe the best I’ve seen Han Yan skate. Skated to “Romeo and Juliet” with beautiful interpretation, although he could have gone even further with it.
Season’s best- 271.55
A really impressive score, definitely.
96 on technical and 85 on presentation.
I think I only saw one quad and it was good. The landings on his jumps varied from good to a little scratchy. Snow flying in the air and maybe moments when he worked to maintain balance, but no major mistakes.
The difference between his SP and Patrick Chan’s scores were maybe 3 points. So I can understand how Patrick could beat him.

But everyone else… we’ll see, I guess.

At the moment, Shoma’s free skate isn’t on YouTube. There was only a small difference between his and Han Yan’s scores, but Shoma probably didn’t do as well in the free skate because there was a 3 point difference between them also going into the free skate.

Boyang Jin, there was nothing wrong with his free skate πŸ˜€ he did really well. His jumps looked effortless. The only thing kinda missing is just the presentation. He’s getting better, though. His short program was proof of that.
The crowd was on its feet.
WOW! Technical score was over 110 points. But his presentation was only 80.
Patrick Chan won by a 1 point, so presentation obviously made an impact. All I can say now… he better have skated PERFECTLY and had two quads. With a difference in their SP scores being 12 point, there has to be a good explanation of how he went from 5th to 1st.

…okay, that was really good.
He had two quads in the first half of the program, but they were solid.
He made this big issue about quads and how the preparation of going into them takes away from the artistry. But I didn’t see any issue going into them at all. It was a very smooth entry into them and good landing on all the jumps. His passion doesn’t reach to the top of the rafters like many other skaters I enjoy watching, but he really gave his all like he wanted to win this one.
Whereas his SP, I felt like he was just going through the motions and he really didn’t care about this as much as Worlds.

106 for technical and 97 for presentation… taking Boyang Jin’s presentation mark into consideration, that’s the only reason he lost. But that’s something that’ll come with experience and he’s improved in that so much already.
Maybe he had his quad lutz in combination, he would have still won. Every point counts and those extra 3-4 points would have given him the win.

The level of skating in this free skate was really impressive, so I can’t be upset about the results.
I hope everyone brings this same level to Worlds.
But I also hope Yuzuru adds another gold medal to his collection. He doesn’t need to break his own record… again… but I’d love to see him and Javi fight for the finish.
I also hope Adam Rippon and Max Aaron can at least challenge for the podium.

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