Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
So the highly anticipated Yuzuru Hanyu media day at the Toronto Cricket Club finally happened! In the sport of figure skating, I have never seen so much anticipation, excitement, and social media buzz about the practice session of a single skater. Such is the life of Yuzuru Hanyu these days.
So far, as of the time of writing of this blog, only small snipets of the practice have been released on the news, and some photos have been posted online. Yet, I have just spent the last few of hours to catch up on the sudden flood of news, pictures and updates fans have been posting. *Thanks* to those fans!! I can only imagine what social media will be like over the next few days when more news footage is released, and this is just a practice session!!
Where is the media buzz for other skaters (aside from Mao Asada)? Patrick who?? Nam who?? I think the Canadian media should take a page out of the Japanese media, and learn how to promote their skaters as well!! We have a returning world champion in Patrick Chan…but we are not hearing anything about him, and we have a young rising star in Nam Nguyen…and most Canadians non skating fans would say “Nam who”?
So the first of the two big announcements today was that Yuzu would be keeping his Chopin short program from last season. Yuzu wants to go back to the tougher layout that was originally planned before his accident at the Cup of China. Can this program, when skated perfectly, beat 101.45? Yuzu did keep Parisian Walkways for two seasons, and look what happened to it!! So, maybe this program just needs that extra time to develop into another masterpiece like PW was. Personally, I wish Yuzu would have chosen a different program for his short but he has very specific goals in mind that he wants to achieve with this program.
The second announcement was that Yuzu would not be attending Finlandia Trophy but rather, he would participate in the Skate Canada Autumn Classic in Barrie, Ontario. What I find most amusing about this is that as I read my Twitter feed, Barrie is now trending!! Most of Japan now knows about little Barrie, Ontario. Good for Barrie!! I don’t think the city of Barrie knows what is going to hit them yet. Tickets to the event are going to be sold at the door only. I can only imagine what that will be like for the mens event. I am happy that Yuzu is not attending Finlandia Trophy. It looks like he truly learned some lessons from last season. I think its a wise choice to elect to skate in an event that is closer to his second home, Toronto, and be close to Brian who will be there in Barrie with Nam as well. It will also minimize the wear and tear on Yuzu from a travel perspective, and hopefully this reduced travel will benefit him the most…at Worlds!! While the season goes by quickly, it is a long season when you are skating every day and practicing everyday. That little bit of saved energy not have to cross the ocean twice might serve him well in Boston!
So after catching up on all the new information, and my “doki doki” heart beat has settled down to a normal pace, I realize that I am super excited, super happy and disappointed and sad all at the same time! What crazy mixed emotions!
Super excited to see any news about Yuzu!! Of course, there is the new Under Amour gear with the nice Tiffany Blue accent, but that is an entirely different post altogether! I can’t wait to see more training footage! They only showed a couple of practice jumps in the initial footage which were decent, but they were not up to full Yuzu standard yet. You can tell it is early in the season.
Super happy about the Skate Canada Autumn Classic!! Do I make a quick trip out to Toronto and drive to Barrie a couple weeks before Skate Canada? I’m definitely thinking about it!!
Disappointment comes from hearing about the re-release of Chopin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful program but I was hoping for a change. Both Chopin and POTO remind me of the last season of drama. Oh well, this season I will suck it up, because at least I will see him live this year a couple of times! Perhaps a simple change in costume might breathe some new life into this program.
Sad…very sad to hear Yuzu’s conviction that he will retire after the 2018 Peongchang Olympics. He is saying it repeately, so there is really no doubt about this. I do love that he is confident and determined to win Gold again in 2018!! Yuzu has already shown us that when he puts his mind to something, he goes out an does it!!! I totally understand Yuzu’s reasons for wanting to retire on top of his game (unlike Plushy), and be able to skate as a professional while he is still in peak form. Of course, we all just want to see Yuzu happy and healthy, and to be able to compete like he wants to.
EDIT 08/14/15: Since the posting of this entry, Yuzu has clarified his statements about retirement. He is just focusing on winning gold in 2018 and claiming his place in history by defending his Olympic title. If he does not achieve all of his goals in 2018 or is not satisfied with his performances, he may continue to skate competitively after 2018. It is too soon to be certain at this point, he will decide when the time comes. He was very surprised and confused that the media took his forward looking statement about his future and reported it the way they did. Go Yuzu!!
My sadness comes from my preference to see Yuzu skate in competitions rather than shows. This preference is based on the shows I have seen in North America where we never see things like “quad jump-offs” and a lot of skaters skate more “entertaining” programs rather than technically challenging ones. Maybe if I ever get to see a show in Japan, my opinion would be different. Yuzu makes ice shows “different”, he takes them to a whole different level. My guess is that Yuzu still wants the opportunity to land that quad axel cleanly in a “quad jump off”!!! I sure would love to see it!!! *smiles*
I sincerely hope there would be some professional competitions in the future, like they had many years ago (when Brian Orser skated professionally), and that some would be hosted outside of Japan. The rest of the world would love to see the sport in real life too with all of the top headliner skaters. But, until then, there are already countdowns to 2018 on social media, primarily based on the fact that it is exactly one year before the start of 2016 in Rio, but also that there are only 2 years and 154 days until 2018 Peongchang. The timeline or should I say countdown, has suddenly become very real for me.
By the time many of you read this, the additional training footage will have been released and the craziness of Yuzu-mania will be overwhelming. Then we start the cycle of “stealth-Yuzu”, with no news until the lead up to the Autumn Classic. People are already clamouring for details of streaming footage for the Autumn Classic, so here is the link to the Skate Canada Dailymotion site where you can follow. Last year they streamed the entire Autumn Classic event.
I can’t wait until October!!!
Go Yuzu Go!, Doki doki!!!