Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cup of China Men's free skate recap

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The men's free skate of Cup of China was going on in the most regular way when the most tragic warm up of the last years happened. If you didn't happen to get involved in the drama of this competition that is what briefly happened. During the warm up of the men's second group, Han Yan and Yuzuru Hanyu collided. They were both lying on the ice, when the warm up was interrupted and the injured athlets taken off the ice to be visited. 
About 15 minutes later the athletes were allowed a supplementary warm up. Han Yan, who was hit  on the shoulder and chin wasn't present, so that according to many it was clear that he had withdrawn from competition. Yuzuru Hanyu, who had apparently passed out because of a head concussion, appeared in the warm up with a bandage on his head. He nailed some jumps during those minutes but was clearly in pain. Video of the crash

As the second group started to skate, everyone was concerned with the health conditions of the two skaters and the whole competition was shadowed by the accident.
Nam Nguyen and Richard Dornbush both pulled off a very convincing free skate, with highs and lows. In particular Nam Nguyen did a similar skate as the one of Skate America with a very solid quad salchow and a couple of triple axels. Richard Dornbush, who got his first grand prix medal today, started very well but fell on a triple lutz and popped few jumps.

Han Yan decided to compete after all, and it has to be said that he tried anything he could for his crowd, but he didn't perform at his best, as obvious. Yuzuru Hanyu followed him. He proved to be able to fight during the whole program, tried two quads (he was scheduled to do three) but fell five times. He nailed an incredible triple axel-1loop-triple salchow, but apart from that the only high base value of his program held him into the second place overall. After the free skate he was absolutely exhausted, cried his heart out when he saw the result and after that needed to be carried away the kiss and cry. We could discuss if it was appropriate that his staff and the referee allowed him to skate. Brian Orser stated that Yuzuru was very determined to skate and was allowed to skate because it showed that he was not in severe conditions. However the Japanese Olympic champion is now being checked by doctors and nothing too serious should have happened.

Maxim Kovtun was the last to skate and appeared as shocked as anyone else in his free skate. He nailed a quad salchow and a triple axel, struggled throughout but managed to get his first gold grand prix medal.

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