by Alexandra Stevenson
Hanyu Shows Two Different Quads; Russians Claim Silver & Bronze
1. Overall 265.59; 1.SP 84.66 (42.36+42.30); 1.FS 180.93 (93.91+87.02). Because of his slight build, there’s one performing sport in which Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, surely could not compete – the national passion, Sumo wrestling. But, at four, he followed his older sister to the local rink in Sendai, and discovered the love of this life. Few can challenge his ability to project, his rotational speed in the air, his flexibility and his seeming total immunity to the pain of falling hard. (A practice session at last year’s Skate Canada saw him bounce back from a number of falls on quads. A less dedicated competitor might have just given it up for the day.)
Hanyu has retained his SP from last season. The routine was set to “Parisienne Walkways” by Gary Moore, and his polish was obvious. For this section, the slightly built youngster wore a very colorful light blue-based top, with a design and added silver. The music is extremely Blues-y. His quad toe loop was so good, two judges gave it the maximum +3 GoE and the rest punched in +2. That was followed by a Level 3 flying camel which earned an extra full point. His Level 4 change foot sit spin gained an extra +0.42.
However, he then singled his Axel. But he bounced back with a good triple Lutz to triple toe loop, set in the second half, for which he banked 12.04. His straight line steps were rewarded with Level 4 by the Technical Panel, while five of the eight judges punched in the maximum Grade of Execution, +3 with two others giving +2 and one +1. His final move, a change foot combination spin was Level 4 with an added +0.75. His components ranged from two judges who entered their five awards, all in the 9s, down to three judges whose lowest award were 8.00’s.
Asked whether there was anything he didn’t like about the sport, Hanyu said, “I like everything. I even like the stress and I love practice. But I was angry with my Axel. I don’t know what happened. It’s too early in the season. My form is not right.”
Performing his FS last of the 14 men from 9 countries, he blew away the opposition with a sensational showing set to Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo & Juliet”. It wasn’t perfect, but it, absolutely, has the potential to win the Olympic gold. He now trains in Canada with Brian Orser. Orser was with his other pupils at the Japan Open, which took place at the same time. Hanyu was looked after in Espoo by his choreographer, Canadian David Wilson.
Hanyu’s Free opened with a great +1.50 GoE quad Salchow, which received four +2s. (along with three +1s and a zero.) He soared through the air and landed as lightly as a feather. He followed that superb achievement with an also very secure +1.67 quad toe loop. Coming back to the land of mere mortals, he was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off on a triple flip and lost -0.58 from its base value of 5.30.
His straight line steps were Level 3 with +0.58. After a Level 4 (the maximum) flying camel combination spin which earned an extra +0.75, the 10% bonus for jumps clicked in and he produced a slightly flawed triple Axel which lost a full point but still earned him 8.35. He immediately threw off a second triple Axel with a double toe loop attached which gained 12.61 points. Then came a triple loop to double toe loop, which earned 7.39, followed by a triple Lutz to loop to triple Salchow, which received 12.47. After a triple Lutz which lost -1.05, and, so, was worth 5.55, he executed his “choreographed section” which was so well done, he was rewarded with three of the maximum +3 Grades of Execution. Four of the other judges punched in +2, and the eighth judge gave +1. His last two moves were spins. The flying camel gained the top Level 4 with +0.92. The change foot combination was only Level 2 but with +0.67. His components ranged from one 9.50 for the last of the five categories, “Interpretation”, down to three 8.0s.
Hanyu, who earned the overall gold by a huge margin of 24.22 points, will turn 19 on December 7. In 2011, he was practicing in his home rink in Sendai when the earthquake struck. He ran out of the building at top speed, scared but not hurt. The rink was damaged and subsequently closed. He had to leave the area, and that, eventually, led him to start training in Canada with Orser at the Toronto Cricket, Curling and Skating Club. He is the current Japanese champion, and was the bronze medalist in the 2012 world championship, and fourth this year. He revealed that the elaborate top he wore for the Free Skate in Espoo, with its unique shapes made from frothy, light, white material, was created by Johnny Weir’s costume maker.
2 Overall 241.07; 2.SP 79.74 (43.11+36.36); 2.FS 161.63 (82.87+78.76); In the Short Program, Sergei Voronov drew to skate first of the 14 men in the SP, and got the event to a fine start, earning 7.85 points ahead of Doug Razzano, USA, who was third in this section. Dressed in a white jacket embroidered in green, with black trousers and gloves, Voronov skated to “Two Guitars”.
He opened his SP with a quad toe loop, but,for the second jump in the combination, he could manage only a double toe loop instead of the planned triple. However, he still banked 12.27 points. His triple loop gained seven +1s and a 0 from the eight-member panel of judges, which included American Lorrie Parker. His triple Axel, set at the halfway stage, was very good and he received a total of 10.52 for it. Two of his spins were Level 4. But the remaining spin, a change foot sit, and his step sequence were Level 3. He performed to stirring Russian music. His components went from a low of 6.25 for Transitions from two judges, up three 8.0s, a 7.75 and a 7.50 from another judge.
Voronov skated his Free to three Tangos, “A Los Amigos”; “Per Una Cabeza” and “Tanguera” in red pants and a black see-thru long-sleeved top It was a flawed showing but one with great potential. He performed with an actor’s intensity, and the crowd loved both his skating and his personality. Since Tangos, initially, came from the hovels of South America, where European immigrants went to drown their sorrows of alienation, yearning for their home lands, this correspondent asked if he had had any heartbreak or betrayal. Voronov, who turned 26 on Thursday, the day of the draw for this event, said he had, adding a cynical, “Of course! Who Hasn’t?” For a while he was training in Hackensack, NJ. He survived a long break from international competition but now he is happily settled with his girlfriend in Moscow. “But now is very good. I have a new coach and I am in a better setup.”
Not one of his 13 elements in the FS got a negative Grade of Execution from any of the judges. Although only his final spin received a Level 4 from the Technical Panel, the other two spins and the footwork earned Level 3. In addition to his wonderful opening quad toe loop, he brought off two triple Axels, the first combined with a double toe loop. Also included were a triple Lutz, triple toe loop to double toe loop, a three jump combination of triple loop to double toe loop to double loop, a triple Salchow and a triple loop. His components ranged from one 6.25 up to three 8.50s given by one judge, and two 8.50s given by another.
He has represented Russia in the world championships five times, with a best place of 7th in 2008.
3. Overall 212.90; 6.SP 67.34 (33.38+34.96 -1); 3.FS 145.56 (74.14+71.42). Artur Gachinski, is trained by Alexei Mishin in St. Petersburg. The Russian was the world bronze medalist in 2011 when that event was in Moscow. But the following year, in Nice, he was only 18th. Now 20, he has the burden of living up to his early promise. He was only 4th nationally this past season, after being runner-up for the previous two nationals.
In his “Flamenco” Short Program, for which he was dressed in black with a red belt and a deep V neckline, he had a disaster, falling on his first element, the quad toe loop, which was meant to be a combination. Thinking on his feet he added a double toe loop to his next element, a triple Lutz, to ensure he got credit for a combination, but it was a slight struggle and he was saddled with a small negative (-0.35). His triple Axel was a fine +0.50. Two of his spins were Level 4 and the change foot sit, Level 3. However, he got no marks at all for his step sequence. He was very fortunate not to be lower.
Despite a boot problem in practice, in which part of the blade tore loose from the boot, he gave a gutsy Free performance, set to “Anna Karenina”. His third place in the Free zoomed him up to the bronze medal, although he was a long way (28.47 points) behind silver. Skating in grey and black, he opened the four-and-a-half minute FS with a quad toe in which he stepped out of the landing. Then came his first triple Axel which was meant to be combined with two double toe loops but was only accompanied by one of them. The move earned a full point over its base value. The following triple flip got an “e” for wrong edge takeoff. But his second triple Axel was good enough to earn an extra +0.67. Two of his spins were the maximum Level 4. The steps got Level 3 but his change foot sit spin was deemed only Level 1.
4. Overall 206.71; 8.SP.65.82 (29.45+36.37); 4.FS 140.89 (66.73+75.16-1). Ricky Dornbush, who trains in Riverside, CA, with Tammy Gambill, executed his Short Program to “The Sons of Italy” by Henry Mancini. The 22-year old got off to a bad start by doubling his quad Salchow. But he pulled himself together and his triple Axel was a good +1.67. He was in a maroon top with yellow trim. It was very sunny Italian music, but his combination, set in the second half of the routine to take advantage of the 10% bonus, snapped back at him, with the Lutz to toe loop shrinking to doubles. That, of course, was a major disappointment for Dornbush, who was 9th in the 2011 world championship. He was rescued somewhat because his spins were all well done Level 4s and his Level 3 steps were so good, three judges gave him the maximum +3 Grade of Execution.
He interpreted four Beatles orchestral pieces for his Free. It was highly entertaining. The music was very powerful. He said, “I’m a big fan of the Beatles. I know all the songs. This is Olympic season, so there’s a lot of extra pressure. We have all these rules now about what you can’t repeat so when you don’t do a combination you have to strategize what you can, and can not repeat, and that threw me a bit. I’m sick that I rushed things. I really like the music. I can sing the words of some of the pieces. I’m sorry I didn’t skate better. I’m disappointed - VERY disappointed would be the key word here. I enjoy getting up from the downs, but I do not like falling, especially in competition!”
His Free began with a disappointment. He planned to start with two different quads, but the toe loop was tripled and the Salchow doubled. It’s not easy to swing back from two disappointments, but the third move was an excellent triple Axel, which earned one +3 and five +2s. Then the bad luck returned and his flying change foot combination spin was deemed only Level 1 by the Technical Panel. He got credit for the rotations for his second quad Salchow attempt but sat down on the landing and then singled his second triple Axel attempt which was meant to be combined with a triple toe loop.
He pulled himself together to bring off a triple Lutz-loop-triple Salchow combination which banked a total of 12.24 points. His Level 4 change foot camel spin earned an extra +0.33 but the following triple flip was saddled with an “e” from wrong edge take-off. A triple loop gained +0.47, his choreographed section was rewarded with one +3, and he closed with a Level 3 change foot combination spin. His components ranged from a high of one 8.25 down to one 7.00. His choreographer is Mark Pillay
5. Overall 199.75; 4.SP 69.18 (36.33+32.85); 6.FS 130.57 (61.05+69.52). Jorik Hendrickx, from Arendonk in Belgium, 21, is coming out from the shadow of his countryman Kevin van der Perren who dominated Belgian skating for so many years. He interpreted “Caravan” for his SP, in basic black including gloves with a bright orange adornment around his neck. His first move, a triple Axel was flawed enough that two judges punched in -3, five -2 and one -1. But he still banked 6.33 for the jump. His triple Lutz to triple toe loop got a minuscule +0.12 over its base value of 10.10. And his triple loop got an extra 0.58. Only one of his spins earned Level 4 – the change foot sit, which received +0.33. The flying camel and change foot combination were Level 3, with both earning an extra 0.50. The steps were also Level 3 with 0.67.
His FS was set to “Rhapsody in Blue”. He made three significant errors. His first element, a triple Axel, was saddled with straight -2s from the judges. His Lutz attempt, midway through, was slammed with a double arrow on what was called a double Lutz with straight -3s from the judges, even though he didn’t actually fall. He ended up with only 0.36 for this move. And his last jump, a double Axel lost -0.75 off its base, leaving the total for the move as 2.88.
Had Razzano only been able to get 0.45 more, he would have taken fifth place instead of the Belgian.
6. Overall 199.31; 3.SP 71.89 (39.02+33.87 -1); 7.FS 127.42 (59.58+68.64 -1). Douglas Razzano, who will turn 25 later this month, had a stressful start. He tweeted, “Holy boot drama! Nothing like stabbing through my boot and skating first after the warm-up!” The back of his left blade penetrated the right boot when he fell on the triple Axel in the warmup for the SP. Fortunately, although there was pressure on his big toe, it didn’t do too much damage, and Razzano was able to skate.
In his SP, for which he used the ethereal “Clair de Lune” by Debussy. Razzano drew to skate 10th, immediately after Dornbush, his teammate. He got full credit for the rotation of the triple Axel and the Quad toe loop, but the Axel got -0.83 removed from the base value, and he fell after landing the quad. Everything else gained over the element’s base values. Only one spin, the change foot sit, received the maximum Level 4. The other two spins and the steps were Level 3, all with positive GoEs.
In the FS, he interpreted Puccini’s immortal “Nessen Dorma” (None Shall Sleep) from Puccini’s opera, “Turandot” just before Hanyu, who was the 14th and last skater. He began with a good (+0.67) triple Axel but the next element, meant to be a quad toe loop, turned to a mere double. Then he fell on the triple Lutz. A second triple Axel, set at the halfway point and meant to be a combination, was landed on a very bent leg and got an arrow for slight under-rotation. That lost him -2.67 from its base value plus 10%.
His combination of two triple toe loops, was shake-y and lost -0.82 on its base value plus 10%. The following triple Salchow and triple loop received +0.58 and +0.12 over their base values plus 10%. His last jumping pass was a +0.25 double Axel to double toe loop to double loop combo. He finished with his last of three spins, all of which earned the maximum Level 4. (The first, the flying sit, earned only its base value of three points, but the camel spin got an extra 0.50 over its Level 4 base value of 2.60, and the change foot combination got an extra +0.42 on top of 3.50.)
7. Overall 197.51; 7. SP 66.86 (34.35+32.51); 5.FS 130.65 (62.45+69.29 -1); Maciej Cieplucha, who represents Poland, but whose hometown is Calgary, where he is trained by Scott Davis and Jeffrey Langdon, skated his SP to music from the Opera, “The Barber of Seville”. The choreography for this routine was done by Mark Pillay.
The 25-year-old opened the SP with a triple Lutz to triple toe loop which earned a total of 10.33. His triple loop earned an extra 0.35 on top of its base value, while the double Axel, set where the 10% clicks in, got a total of 4.13 points. His last two spins were the maximum Level 4 while the first one, the flying camel, was Level 3 as were his steps. His components ranged from a low of one 5.75 for Transitions, up to one 7.75 for Performance.
His Free, which was choreographed by Tom Dickson to Ragtime music played by William Albright, got off to a bad start. He fell on first jump, his quad toe, which got a double arrow meaning it was down-graded to a triple. He struggled with his triple Lutz to triple toe loop which lost -1.28, and he was given -1s for his triple flip by the entire judging panel. But everything else earned at least its base value.
The Level 4 change foot combination spin earned an extra 0.50; his triple loop got +0.35; and the flying sit spin was Level 3 with +0.42. His three-jump combo set at the Bonus stage, triple Lutz to double toe loop to single loop earned its base value plus 10% of 8.58; the triple Salchow got an extra +0.35, the straight line steps, which were only Level 2, were so sell-performed that they inspired two judges to punch in the maximum +3 GoE. These were the same two judges who gave Hanyu +3s for his steps. (Hanyu also got a +3 for the steps from a third judge.) His routine concluded with a +0.35 triple loop to double toe loop, the choreographed section and a Level 4 flying change foot combination spin, which not only elicited a roar of approval from the significant crowd, but an extra +0.50 from the judges. His components went from two 8.0s from one judge down to one 6.0.
8. Overall 192.83; 5.SP 67.83 (34.79+34.04 -1) 8.FS 124.70 (55.88+69.82 -1). Kento Nakamura, Japan, executed his Short Program to “Vizir”presented by Gypsy Fashion and his FS to Camille Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78. The lad from Matsudo City in Chiba will turn 22 on October 16. He’s the 2011 season Japanese Junior Champion, who is sixth in the last Senior Championship. He has been training in Toronto alongside Hanyu.
9. Overall 180.35; 10.SP 60.77 (32.90+27.87) 9.FS 119.58 (62.06+57.52). Viktor Romanenkov, 20, Estonia.
10. Overall 171.40; 9.SP 62.36 (32.93+29.43); 10.FS 109.04 (50.22+59.82 -1). Matthias Versluis, 19, who was born in Switzerland but now lives in Helsinki, came out on top of the three Finnish competitors in this event. He presented his SP to “Infiltrado” and “Gran Guignol” by Bajofondo. His FS was to a medley by “Nuttin’ But Stringz”.
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