Yuzuru Hanyu: Looking Forward to Next Season
As soon as Worlds were over in Boston, my focus turned to this years NHL Playoffs that were starting. Even though my home team didn’t make it into the playoffs this year, I still had Ovie and the Capitals to cheer for! Well, as history now shows, the Caps have once again bowed out in the second round and Ovie has gone over to Russia to play in the World Championships. So now, my thoughts turn to the next figure skating season already.
While it’s only been a little over a month since the figure skating season ended, the “off-season” doesn’t mean there is no skating. Many of the skaters are performing in ice shows, some are working on their new programs, and some are nursing injuries (hello Yuzu).
As a fan, off-season means planning next seasons’ travel, purchasing event tickets, and getting organized for the upcoming season. Boy, this gets expensive fast!
I saw a thread on Golden Skate about what people were looking forward to next season. Here are the things I am excited about.
- More Yuzu
Just kidding, not kidding!
Men’s Event: This is what I am most excited to see. What changes will happen during the off-season. How will the skaters evolve over the next few months? There is SO much to look forward to!
- Yuzu: Two new programs from Yuzu!!
- Short program: While Chopin is one of Yuzu’s record breaking programs, I am really looking forward to something new. I am hoping to see an up-tempo, rock star type short program from Yuzu. We all know he is very lyrical, and serious. Yuzu has said he wants to explore new types of music. Let’s have a departure from the serious, and see “fun” Yuzu!! I’m withholding judgement about the rumored “jazz” program.
- Long program: When you fall in love with a skaters program, it’s really hard to imagine that you will enjoy the next seasons offering as much. Seimei will go down in history as a record breaking program, and be forever a favorite in my heart. But, I’m confident that Yuzu will surprise me again with another masterpiece. All I can wish for is something original that no other skater has done before, like Seimei. Part of the allure to Seimei was that it was such a pleasant departure from the often overused list of music that skaters pick. Yuzu threw his whole heart, body and soul into Seimei and you could see it.
- Changes to the Cricket Club Brothers: What is Nam going to look like under a new coach, David Glynn? Will the move to the US be the right one? Will David be able to solve the challenges Nam is facing due to his growth spurt? I hope David can sort out the entries into Nam’s jumps. The deep hunched over body line is not conducive to consistency and he must expend so much energy mid-jump trying to straighten out during the rotations. It’s hard to watch at the moment. I think the change will be good for Nam, and I wish him the best!!
- Patrick Chan: Is Patrick going to be able to increase his technical difficulty in order to keep up with the big boys? Patrick is a smart skater, and as much as he can rely on his skating skills for big marks, he is very well aware that he has to catch up technically. He made a giant leap forward on his triple Axel this year (except for at Worlds), but let’s see how a quad salchow will look on Patrick. As a Canadian, I am rooting for Patrick to be on the podium (2nd or 3rd is fine, after Yuzu of course).
- Adian Pitkeev: With the emergence of Mikhail Kolyada, where is Adian going to fit into the mix? Will he be healthy enough to move up the rankings? What will happen to Maxim Kovtun? It doesn’t look like Maxims heart is in it anymore.
- Quad Loop: Will Yuzu be the first to land a quad loop in competition??? That is my hope, and my fingers are crossed! There has been so much focus and talk about it, I just hope the quad loop doesn’t overshadow the rest of Yuzu’s new programs.
- Shoma Uno: With the success of his quad flip during the Team Challenge Cup, he has gained a lot of confidence. Never count Shoma out. With more and more exposure in the senior ranks, I hope he continues to come out of his shell. He can express himself so well on the ice, yet is so very shy off the ice.
- Sota Yamamoto: Is Sota making the jump to seniors this upcoming season? Yuzu’s mini-me is recovering from a fractured ankle but is probably ready for new challenges and an introduction to the big time. Hopefully he is spending the off season improving his strength and working on his consistency.
- Boing Boing: Boyang Jin! In the off season, he has come over to North America to get some help with his choreography. What are we going to see artistically from Boyang? How much will his skating skills develop over the course of the off-season? He has recognized his weaknesses and now he’s working hard to improve those areas.
- Nathan Chen: Has he recovered from the injured that made him withdraw from Worlds? He is the next jumping bean to come out of the USA, their hope for the future.
- Costumes: what kind of crazy costumes will we see this upcoming season? Will Takahito Mura come out with something stranger than what we saw at Skate America last season?
The mens event is shaping up to be so exciting! New skaters coming in, older ones moving out. Who is going to come out and show us the most improvement?? 2016/2017 is the full last season before Olympics so the pressure will be high.
Women’s Event: The womens event will continue to be ultra competitive amongst 2 countries, Russia and Japan. Can any of the Canadian women slip onto the podium somewhere?
- Russian log jam: the talent list is incredible.
- Medvedeva (16), Radionova (17), Tuktamysheva (19), Lipnitskaia (17), Sotnikova (19), Pogorilaya (18)
- Enough skaters for 2 world podium sweeps!! It doesn’t even include any of the additional upcoming Russian females. All are young, talented, and amazing to watch! And, they are ALL under 20!!
- Medvedeva: Would love to see her REMOVE the tano off her jumps. This is way overused in her programs.
- Radionova: Has to work through her growth spurt and get her consistency back. Her love for skating is written all over her face.
- Tuktamysheva: Triple axel, don’t fail her now!! How quickly she became a darling 2 seasons ago, and how quickly she has been forgotten again this last season.
- Lipnitskaia: She doesn’t look as though she enjoys skating at all anymore. I would be very surprised if she manages to beat the other Russian women.
- Sotnikova: Is her time over, already? Didn’t see enough of her last season to get a feel of where she is at.
- Pogorilaya: She is a total wild card, great skater with the ability to have good skates, and the most disasterous programs of all time.
- Japanese log jam: not as deep as the Russian team but still very exciting and something to watch out for.
- Asada (25), Miyahara (18), Hongo (19), Higuchi (15), Murakami (21)
- Asada: Can she start landing the triple axel when it counts the most? I love watching her skate and want her to have every success possible
- Miyahara: Will Satoko and her team work on building her strength and increase the size of her jumps?
- Hongo: Rika always seem to be on the peripheral. Can she improve enough to jump ahead of the skaters above her?
- Higuchi: Excited to see how well Wakaba will do in her first year seniors.
- Murakami: Doesn’t seem to be a “go to” skater when the pressure is on.
- Canadian Womens team: needs better consistency
- Daleman (18), Chartrand (20), Osmond (20)
- All 3 of these ladies have the technical ability to keep up but can’t seem to crack the world podium. I still keep hoping but not holding my breath.
- Chartrand: Alaine is reportedly working on a triple axel of her own.
Paris Event: These are the pairs that I enjoy watching.
- Duhamel and Radford: With many of the pairs teams adding quad throws into their programs, will they continue to add complexity to their programs to stay ahead?
- Chinese pairs: Sui and Han: With off season surgery on Wenjing’s ankle, hopefully these 2 fan favorites will have a great season! The mixing up of the other pairs teams in China is going to be an interesting experiment. It’s hard to imagine what the intent is, but it will be worth the watch for sure!
- Russian pairs: I read somewhere recently (twitter) that Volosozhar and Trankov have announced that they are not participating in the Grand Prix series. This is an interesting move. Will Stolbova and Klimov finally live up to their promise and lead the Russian pairs?
- Massot and Savchenko: How much higher can Bruno throw Alijona on the split twist element?
Dance Event: I’m not a huge dance fan, but I am excited to see the comeback of Virtue and Moir.
- Virtue and Moir: Where will they fit in?? A lot has changed in the dance world since they took time off.
There has been promising news recently that Yuzu will be trying on skates in the middle of May to see if he still experiences any pain. With any luck, his ligament injury has healed well, and he can get back on the ice for some simple skating (NO QUADS YUZU!).
Go Yuzu Go!! Doki Doki!
**Cover photo credit to Ninny. She takes WONDERFUL photos of Yuzu!