Monday, April 30, 2012

Future Promises: Yuzuru Hanyu

Yuzuru Hanyu might be considered the most talented Japanese male skater ever. He stole the scene at 2012 World Championships by winning the bronze medal and scoring second in the free skate.
He is just seventeen right now and has medaled at his first trip to a world championship. During this year he had demonstrated to be very solid on technical part, but also to be kind of mature in spite of young age.
His season's highlights were first place at Cup of Russia, fourth place at Grand Prix final third place at Japanese Nationals and, of course, third place at worlds.

He has a great technique including quad toe, very solid triple axel (he had two in his free skate this season, the first one taken by the spread-eagle which is a very difficult transition indeed) and all other triples. He has a lovely flexibility that allows him to get full credit for his spins.

During Worlds 2012 free skate he earned an amazing score of 173.99 (which is the fifth best ever under cop) with a very high components score. He gave the crowd a brilliant performance including quad toe, triple axel, triple flip, triple lutz-double toe, triple axel-triple toe, triple lutz-double toe-double toe, triple loop, triple salchow. His only mistake was a fall in the middle of a step sequence. Apart from that, he skated with strenght and great connection to the music.

He used to train with Nanami Abe for so long, and seemed to have a very good relationship with her, but have recently switched to Brian Orser, according to Japanese federation, for improving his level of skating.
Actually however it goes, it is so obvious that he is alraedy an elite skater and will surely prove everybody to be someone to look at in the future.

Yuzuru at worlds 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

All that skate spring 2012

All that skate fever comes back with the 2012 spring edition. The Yuna Kim show will take place on 4th-6th May. The cast is

-Yuna Kim (to All of me by Buble and Someone like you by Adele)
-Evan Lysacek (to The climb by Hernandez and El tango de Roxanne)
-Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo (to Tian Xia Wu Shuang by Zhiang Liangying and Io ci saro' by Bocelli)
-Carolina Kostner (to Halleluja by Jeff Buckley and It's oh so quiet by Bjork)
-Patrick Chan (to Elegie in E flat Minor by Rachmaninoff and Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters)
-Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (to Who wants to live forever by Queen and Scream by Michael Jackson)
-Stephane Lambiel (to Rigoletto by Verdi and my body is a cage by Arcade Fire)
-Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov (to I will always love you by Whitney Houston and Bring me to life by Evanescence)
-Alissa Czisny (to La vie en rose and Like the way you move by Bodyrockers)
-Vladimir Besedin & Oleksiy Polishchuk (to We no speak Americano by Yolanda be cool and Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky
-Minjeong Kwak (to The truth is by Charice)
-Jinseo Kim (to Fantastic Baby by Bigbang)
-Haejin Kim (to Moonlight sonata by Beethoven

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The best performances of 2011-2012 season

Now the season is over, it's time to look back to this beautiful, sometimes controversial year. I tried to pick up my twelve best performances, three per each category, and it was a hard choice! I know that I have left some honourable programs out of my list but I had to cut down on that. Please comment and let me know what your favourite performances were!

Volosozhar Trankov worlds fs: Tatiana and Maxim were kind of upset after their short program. They were in eighth place going into the free in a competition where they were expected to challenge for gold. In the free they gave all they could in a fierce version of the black swan. Well, their performance was very near to perfection.

Takahashi Tran worlds sp: This is a very young team. I remember Narumi meeting fans just outside the arena in Nice and she really looked like a baby! Her flowers were almost bigger than her. Anyway, despite their young age, they gave a mature, elegant, sophisticated program to Imagine. Just a couple to wacht at in the future

Savchenko Szolkowy gpf fs: The great champions, fourth time world champions, they surely wanted to try something new this year. To me, their free program has one of the most glorious and original choreographies they had ever had. It is inspired by Pina Bausch and I think they delivered that style.

Daisuke Takahashi wtt sp: That is a must have in all best performances' lists. A lot of people (me included) is kind of upset that judges seem not to give Daisuke the scores he should deserve, but that didn't happen at World Team Trophy where Daisuke offered to his audience two amazing performances. This short program literally blew me away, because apart from the technical content (that was supreme) he looked like he wanted to let his soul guide him on the ice. A world record score for a stunning program.

Yuzuru Hanyu worlds fs: A younger Japanese skater took the scene at world championships. I hardly can describe what happened in Nice. I think all the crowd felt the same as I did. I knew that Yuzuru is a wonderful skater, but maybe the fact he wasn't in the last group made myself amazed by his skating.

Patrick Chan Canadian nationals fs: It sounds so funny considering that Patrick have won everything but world team trophy this year, but I think that was a sort of disappointing season for him. He had a masterpiece free program and I had a lot of expectations on it but he didn't really deliver it at worlds (and also in other occasions) with an awful fall at the end of the program that was, in my opinion, a piece of choreography that could make me cry. Anyway he performed it superbly at Canadian nationals, with no errors, beautiful expressions and a standing crowd.

Carolina Kostner worlds fs: I know, everytime I talk about her, I feel my objectivity is disappearing. I am sorry for that, but being an Italian fan who loves Carolina's skating, I was so happy about her performance in Nice. She gave Italy the first figure skating gold medal at worlds (Fusar-poli/Margaglio won one for ice dance back in 2001) with a beautiful yet not perfect program. All the Italian flags and the great cheers along with a wonderful performance made it one of the best experiences ever.

Akiko Suzuki nhk sp: Akiko is a delightful skater who at the age of 27 reached her best. She is one of that skaters who makes you smile while skating. She created two joyful programs this year. I picked the short done in front of her home audience. she performed with soul and happiness like she wanted to give her best for the Japanese crowd, and she did it amazingly

Ashley Wagner 4cc fs: The black swan program was her program. Ashley stole the scene of Us ladies skating this year by winning Nationals, Four Continents and performing so well all season long. It is so evident that under the fair hair and a gentle face there is a pure fighter and I think she will be on top for a long time. I can see her very well on every podium next year. For now I just can watch her great program and wish a successfull future.

Weaver Poje worlds fd: The whole last group at worlds caused my goosebumps, but in the case of Kaytlin and Andrew it was a matter of tears. My seat was very high and distant from the rink but I could feel their energy and emotions like I was near the boards. And then when I went back to my hotel I was thinking again about their program and I couldn't stop myself from overcome. That program was so strong, it gave me a lot.

Davis White wtt sd: I guess they were a little bit disappointed for not being world champions again, but they have demonstrated they are here for fighting! Their world team trophy short dance was fabolous. I have to admit that when I knew that latin rythms would have been chosen for short dance this year, I thought that Meryl and Charlie would have had some troubles, because that's not their style. But they did it! Maybe it was different from other sultry programs, but they have worked it out so well!

Virtue Moir worlds sd: Ok, that was the sultry program I was talking about. No doubt they have a supreme chemistry, great technique and edges. Althought I really loved the free dance from last year and I thought that was revolutionary, I felt like they had lost something about it converting it to the short dance, but maybe it's because I expect a lot from them (I think I could die for their lift taken from the spiral!). 

So that's it, a very long list but I really loved anything from it! If you can, rewatch some videos from the links above, I've just watched Yuzuru's program and I realized I Had almost forget how brilliant it was!

Omg! I now know that Yuzuru is now with Brian Orser! That is a thrilling couple!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

World Team Trophy: Ladies short

1.Carolina Kostner (ITA): triple toe-triple toe, triple loop, double axel. She had become such a strong competitor! 69.48 is a new personal best

2.Akiko Suzuki (JPN): Lovely lovely program. Triple toe-triple toe, triple lutz and double axel. She's got the crowd. 67.51

3.Kanako Murakami (JPN): triple toe-triple toe, triple flip, double axel. Anything very clean as Kanako can do 63.78

4.Gracie Gold (USA): Gracie makes her senior debut here. She had won silver medal at world junior champioships this year. She did tripe flip-triple toe, triple lutz with a very slight step out and double axel. A little bit immature still, but very good jumping and spins. 59.07

5.Ashley Wagner (USA): very nice triple flip-triple toe but fell on double axel. Good double axel. 57.52

6.Adelina Sotnikova (RUS): triple toe-triple toe, awful landing on triple flip. 56.12

7.Yretha Silete (FRA): She did a triple toe-triple toe, triple lutz, double axel. 54.83

8.Valentina Marchei (ITA): Triple lutz, triple salchow-double toe, double axel. Very funny program. 53.52

9.Alena Leonova (RUS): triple toe-triple toe (two footed), single flip, double axel. She looks tired, she was sick before leaving for Japan. 50.92 well below her best.

10.Amelie Lacoste (CAN): Double axel, triple loop-triple loop (downgraded), triple salchow with step out. 48.61

11.Mea Berenice Meite (FRA): Triple toe-triple toe, fell on triple lutz, double axel 48.57

12.Cynthia Phaneuf (CAN): triple toe-double toe, fall on triple loop, problems wih the double axel too. She is not in form yet, probably will be next year. 45.99

World Team Trophy: men's short

Daisuke Takahashi (JPN): quad toe, triple axel, triple lutz-triple toe. Wow, standing ovation from the Japanese crowd and well deserved. 94.00 Huge score! And I guess world record!

Patrick Chan (CAN): quad toe, fell on triple axel , triple lutz-triple toe is Chan's response to Takahashi.  89.81 so Patrick is beated after one year and a half of winning

Jeremy Abbott (USA): triple flip-triple toe, triple axel, triple lutz. This is an incredible short program! 86.98

Brian Joubert (FRA): Quad toe-triple toe, triple axel, triple lutz. A very well done program 84.69

Florent Amodio (FRA): quad salchow, triple lutz-triple toe, triple axel with a turn around on the landing. 81.84

World team trophy: short dance

Reed/Reed (JPN): not the strongest team, but a clean performance overall. Twizzles were not very precise but done. A good job considering Chris' foot injury 49.47

Ilinykh/Katsalapov (RUS): lovely and clean, great edges. That's not their style tough. Received a level three and negative goe for rumba sequences 60.44

Cappellini/Lanotte (ITA): great. the feed allows me to see the dance in slow motion...not the best thing actually but i could appreciate their synchro. 63.70. Funny italian cheer!

Virtue/Moir (CAN):  Wow, it seems they had a lot of fun. They received all level three except for lift level four 69.93. Where are Canadian athletes!? Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford are alone waving their flags. 

Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA): They all seem very solid and amused, kind of giving a show rather than being technically perfect. 66.57

Davis/White (USA): 72.18 Team US takes the lead! Meryl wearing the same dress she had for nationals. A lot of energy in this routine, it seemed effortless! All level four except for one rumba sequence and circulare steps (that were leve three)