SportyMags

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!

Yuzuru Hanyu: 4 Continents Championship: My Personal Recap

So I did not travel to Korea for the 4 Continents Championships (4CC).  I was super happy when I found out that CBC sports was going to stream the entire event (including gala). Special shout to CBC!!  Way to go guys!!  I love the “Road to the Olympics” special programming.  I hope CBC will continue to stream full events in the future, even in non pre-Olympic seasons.

I’m not sure who hired the camera men for the ISU, but the guys running the cameras and the producer were absolutely horrible!!!  Blurry close ups that cut off skaters heads, shots where half the pair or half the dance team wasn’t on the screen together, half body shots during twizzles, c’mon, this is an International level event!!  The producer didn’t seem to know how to “produce” a live skating event at all.  I sure hope this gets fixed before the Olympics!  Usually the quality of the shots is top-notch but something sure went awry here at 4CC.

Speaking of things gone awry, first things first.  Congratulations to Tessa and Scott!! However, I feel so bad for them.  This season, they finally win the Grand Prix Final, and they get plastic medals and no real flag was raised.   Then, they come to 4CC and they win the event, and this happens!!

4cc-flag

This is more embarrassing for the 4CC organizing committee than not having a flag at all in my opinion.  Maybe I’m a bit touchy since it’s my flag but I think any country would not be impressed if it happened to them on an international stage.  The “moment” was lost. The honour guard guy in the middle had one job to do, and all I could do was shake my head.  Sigh…

Onto the men’s event.  Short Program:

I think the men’s short program at 4CC was one of the most anticipated events of the season.  Everyone finally got to see what the Olympic arena was going to look and feel like! During the week, Yuzu’s practices seem solid and he appeared healthy and in good spirits. Yuzu’s more relaxed mood made him seem confident and ready to take on all competitors. As much as I love watching practices, personally, I don’t put much stock into what a skater does in the practices.  A skater can be perfect in all practices, and still not skate well when it counts.  And, the converse can happen too.  What’s important is what happens in the moment.  The skater’s confidence, the atmosphere, the nerves, the routine, the overall health of the body; so many factors come into play for a performance.  You know, the ice is slippery.

So, the short program started at 1:45 am my time, and it was 5:20 am by the time Yuzu skated. I stayed awake the entire night fearing that if I went to sleep I would miss it.  I nearly nodded off a couple times during the first 2 groups of skaters, and by the time the last group was up, I was shaking my head constantly to prevent nodding off.  Well I didn’t need that strategy for long.  There’s nothing like a popped quad salchow into double salchow, triple toe to wake you up!!  From then on, I was wide awake!!  Initially, in my sleep deprived state, I thought the pop was a single, and my heart sunk.  When I saw the replay, I thanked my lucky stars and hoped for the best with the marks.

After the pop on the quad combo, not only did the air deflate in the building (I could hear it all the way here in Canada), but Yuzu’s energy and speed took a sharp hit as well. I was willing him to skate faster, and then it was like he said to himself, “get going, it’s not over yet”!!!  He turned on the jets, and while the energy was still not 100%, Yuzu showed some true grit and determination to finish the rest of the program successfully.

Short Program Kiss and Cry Adorable Moments:

I love the little sidebar conversations between Brian and Yuzu in the Kiss and Cry:

  • Brian: We have a little bit of work to do on Sunday.
  • Yuzu: Yup…….but the double-triple was clean!

Another moment which was kinda hilarious as if Yuzu expected not to make the cut. Really Yuzu?  The innocence in his comment is too cute to ignore.

  • Yuzu:”I skate the free!”
  • Brian: “Yes, you qualified.”

4cc-kc

In the post SP press conference, Hanyu replied to a question about Nathan’s score: “I didn’t know his score. I think Brian was trying to block it from me.”  I don’t know why Brian wouldn’t want Yuzu to see Nathan’s score, because as history has shown, Yuzu is not one to get psyched out about other skaters scores, it actually serves as a motivator for him.       Source of quote: Ice network tweet

So, on this night, Yuzu wasn’t his best.  It wasn’t a disaster, it was still technically clean. It just wasn’t what every single Yuzu fan was expecting time in and time out, perfection. Does Yuzu think we expect him to be perfect all of the time?  Probably.  Are his feeling that he “owes” his fans great performances too heavy for his slender but muscular shoulders? Maybe??  Is the extra pressure self inflicted?  Some of it.  I am not a psychologist but I think Yuzu just has to start believing in the power of his own words, that he can do it!

I think Yuzu’s battle is with himself, not Nathan or Shoma or anyone else.  A clean Yuzu is a Golden Yuzu.  The difference for between a clean Nathan and a clean Yuzu is that for Nathan, after the program is over, I will only remember the quads.  I do not remember anything else in between, not even a spin.  With Yuzu’s programs, every step is very special, and as you follow Yuzu for awhile, you get accustomed to his style of skating, and every step has a specific purpose.  It is all memorable.  (Disclaimer: I also watch Yuzu’s programs over and over, so I guess I have learned them over time however, I don’t have the same need to watch Nathan’s programs over and over, even with 5 quads).

After Yuzu popped quad salchow but finished the combo in the SP, he pointed to his head. He knew that jump was missed because he let the warm up get to him.  Yuzu was landing these combos brilliantly in practice, yet a couple mis-fires in warm up and he couldn’t shake it off.  Maybe Yuzu can start listening to Taylor Swift?  Once Yuzu gets over this mental hurdle, we will see some more records set.  I’m saying this like it’s an easy thing to do.  I’m sure it’s not but I trust in Yuzu, so I’m sure it will happen.  He’s done perfection before so he just needs to get back to that level of confidence in himself, stop overthinking, and let his body do the work.  His body is a perfectly built, optimized machine!

4cc-sp

The amount of dismay on social media is quite shocking and I am thankful that Yuzu does not engage there.  Fans are fans but they sure can be fickle!!  Yuzu knows what his issues are, and works to fix each issue as they arise. There is no other skater in the world that undergoes this type of scrutiny.

Granted, I never made it anywhere near the level these skaters are at, but I am happy to have experience in training and competing to understand how normal his experiences are in the course of competitive life.

As of the 4CC, 4 skaters are now in the 100 club (based on this seasons’ scores alone), amazing:

  1. Yuzu       106.53
  2. Javi          104.25
  3. Nathan  103.12
  4. Shoma   100.28

Thank goodness there was 1.5 days between the short and long programs.  I was able to get some sleep and I must say that having an free program event during primetime in your time zone is much easier!!  I didn’t have to fight to stay awake, and it was such a nice feeling!  Thanks to NBC for making this happen for the Olympics (referring to the millions they spent to get the event moved to primetime for US networks).

Long Program:

The current quad race feels like we’ve entered a new arms race.  You hear what someone is building in their arsenal, so you add more to yours.  Or, it can also be compared to having a very strategic game of poker!  You have a new quad??  Well, I will see your new quad, and raise you with another new quad, or I will raise you a quad combo!!  It gives new meaning to the term “All in”.

First off, I must say that Shoma’s new quad loop was WOW.  I had forgotten that he was going to attempt one and it was stunning.  Good for Shoma!!  I’m happy for him!

With all of the rules with technical limitations (Zayak rule), skaters still have times where they break the rules and are penalized for it.   With the new quad race, you would think that just adding extra content on a whim would happen less frequency based on the difficulty of the quads, but both Nathan and Yuzu have proved me wrong on that thought!! I guess this will stop after the Olympics when the new rules are in place and the men are limited to the number of jumping passes they can execute.  Thanks ISU for ruining our fun!

Fun, this brings me to my experience watching Hope and Legacy.

I had my ISU “WAIT, WHAT?”moment while watching Yuzu last night.  While expecting Yuzu’s normal second 3A, the “Hail Mary” 4T2T combination Yuzu threw in caught me so off guard that I almost didn’t believe my eyes!!  After my “wait, what?” moment, a few more colourful words came out of my mouth.  Then just for kicks and to maximize the points, Yuzu finished off with a second 2nd triple axel.  With disbelief in what I had just seen, I was speechless.

yuzu-lp

The challenge for me with this new quad race is that I found myself watching Yuzu’s program for the jumps and spins, and totally missing the little intricacy’s of the program. It wasn’t until this morning I had a chance to re-watch H&L and actually “see” the choreography.

While I watched Nathan intently, I had no idea if his program was any good as a whole because while he skated, one eye was fixed on the TES score counter on the top left of my screen, watching his numbers go up and up as he reeled off jump after jump.

Nathan’s planned content was 4 quads, but we’ve seen his 5 quad program twice now. With Yuzu, he was only planning 4 quads and he attempted 5 out of the blue.  Granted Yuzu’s 5th quad attempt was a Hail Mary quad toe combination that worked, I felt like I was watching the Superbowl all over again!  Can we keep the quad toe combo at the end?  It was kinda cool!!

Planned Content vs Actual Content:

plannedactual

In the end, I think Yuzu proved to himself that he is capable of beating Nathan even though his starting base value is lower than Nathans’.  He has reinforced to himself and the rest of the world that he’s tough and never count him out.  Since Yuzu actually won the free program portion, had he not had the slip up in the short, the gold would have been his.  Yuzu’s desire to win has always been present, but it never been shown to this extent before. The grit and determination Yuzu displayed all weekend was truly inspiring.  We have not seen this from Yuzu before because truthfully, before Nathan showed up, Yuzu was just fighting himself to get back to being perfect.  Now, Yuzu will be at his best, because he is better when there is someone to push him technically.  I think he has a new kind of motivation that is going to spur him onto new heights, and we haven’t even seen the best of him yet.

Yuzuru: “Before I stood on the podium, I looked at Chen and I felt jealous about his performance”.

Yuzuru:  “You never know which skater will come up with new jumps, so I will work harder”.

Source for quotes:  hanyuyuzurufeed twitter

A special shout out to Patrick – such a classy move by Patrick after sitting in the green room.  Once Nathan’s score were announced, the move to congratulate Yuzu and Shoma as he left was true sportsmanship.

patrick

Just as an aside, this is a really good blog entry to read by Beverley Smith:

https://bevsmithwrites.wordpress.com/tag/four-continents/

The one thing that Yuzu has done that not many others have (aside from maybe Plushenko) is to really stand the test of time.  I’m saying this and Yuzu is only 22!!!  Great skaters come and go, but Yuzu’s career thus far has stood up through many changes to the skating world.  It used to be Yuzu vs Patrick, then it was Yuzu vs Javi, and now it appears to be Yuzu vs Nathan.  One constant is that he continues to amaze everyone in the skating world.

We now move forward to Worlds!  It is going to be truly epic!  I hope for all skaters to skate their best and let the world see how incredible this sport is (aside from some of the judging).  I can’t wait to land in Helsinki!!!  See you there Yuzu!!!  Let’s grab the World title back!!

Go Yuzu Go!!!  Doki Doki!!

Doki doki

Advertisements

18 comments on “Yuzuru Hanyu: 4 Continents Championship: My Personal Recap

  1. Ewa
    February 19, 2017

    HI! I’m your new followers. I come from Poland. Thank You for this article.Your posts perfectly represent what I think. Thank you for writing about new things for me. You explain what I don’t know. I admire a Yuzuru, so thank you for this blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      February 19, 2017

      Thank you so much Ewa!! Please continue to enjoy!

      Like

  2. smal58
    February 19, 2017

    Hi.. you don’t know how much I was waiting for your report. I don’t know too much about skate (about english language either 🙂 and I had read about the change in quads. Thanks for your explanation about this.
    Love your vision about Yuzu’s thoughts… I have heard and read some comments from many people (even commentators) talk about “Yuzuru was…he looks tired or cold…you can’t feel the same emotions”.. it seems like just because he didn’t win SP now Yuzu is over. For me, a bored program full of quads can’t erase Yuzu’s art.
    Like you, I trust him. I know olympic way is on his head, he will not defraud me because as Yuzu fan, I don’t care if he wins gold or silver or nothing… I look for more than quads. I look for sensitivity, delicacy, beauty and humanity on a skater.. and I feel all these things when Yuzu is on ice.. Thanks for your report¡¡¡…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      February 19, 2017

      Thank you so much for your comments!! 😊❤️ Go Yuzu Go!!

      Like

  3. gee
    February 20, 2017

    love your article… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol
    February 20, 2017

    It was great reading all this … Recently I started watching videos of figure skating, and then I saw Yuzuru Hanyu and it just got me addicted. I still don’t understand much about the sport, but I can see that he is sooooo good, everything he does is so amazing for me. I loved it <333

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      February 20, 2017

      Thanks Carol!! Hopefully you can read some more of my blog entries if you want to know more bout Yuzu!! 😊

      Like

  5. pachaa25
    February 20, 2017

    Gracias por tu reportaje ! Yo veía el patinaje artísticosolo en las Olimpiadas de Invierno. Pero desde hace unos años veo los vídeos en YouTube y Sky Aporte . Debo decir que es un sueño echo realidad ver a Yuzuru patinar , el resumen que hiciste hace que entienda mejor este mundo de hielo fantástico. Gracias

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anita
    February 23, 2017

    Another insightful analysis of 4CC and Yuzuru!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I totally agree with you – with the newly energized and confident Yuzuru, the best is yet to come!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Haleyww
    February 23, 2017

    I think 4s seems to be bitter and jealous of 4lo becoming so beautiful so it ran away and gave Yuzu a hard time at the competition. Surely Yuzu will catch it back in no time. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yuzurist-Japan
    March 1, 2017

    Thank you always for the blog. I always want to give some comments, but the time flies when we work 5 days a week!
    First of all, I am very happy that Yuzu is not injured or sick at this time of the season. I think his performance at 4CC was not bad, although he got only silver. It was inspiring to see that he changed some jumps on the spot successfully, and the score was better than GPF. I think you know this, but some people may not know, but what Yuzu and Orsor are trying to do this season is to break Yuzu’s unfortunate cycle: having peak at GPF, but getting injured after and cannot practice enough for World (he was both ill & injured in 2013 and 2015, and injured in 2016). He may not be as good as some people expected at the last GPF and 4CC, but if he can go to the coming World without any physical problems and perform better than 4CC, their target of this season is mostly achieved. Although Yuzu does not complain about his setbacks very much, he looked so exhausted and sad at some Japanese interviews after World 2016. I think he felt sorry for not having taken appropriate measures against the injury in the early stage, although he noticed something was wrong with his left foot already during the Grand Prix Series 2015.
    I am not very interested in quad race and I hope Yuzu and Shoma will pursue their own ways and will not end up with chasing jumpers like Nathan or Boyang. They have their own qualities and I expect their original and beautiful performances.
    For the coming World, they have very important mission: getting 3 Olympic berths for Japanese boys. I know Yuzu feels very serious about it.
    By the way, what is “Hail Mary”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      March 1, 2017

      Hi!! Happy to read your comments!! A “Hail Mary” comes from American football. It’s like a last ditch effort to make a risky play that is a game changer. So, instead of throwing the football short distances that are lower risk, the quarterback will throw a “Hail Mary” pass which is a long throw all the way down the field…and he hopes that his teammate will catch it….the risk is very high. When Yuzu suddenly changed his program and added the extra quad, it was like a last effort to boost his scores since he knew he lost so much on the missed combination. It was high risk…so you do it and pray for the best, hence the term “Hail Mary”. 😊 Hope this makes sense?

      Like

  9. Yuzurist-Japan
    March 2, 2017

    Thank you very much for your explanation! Football is not very popular sport here, so I did not know…..
    Do you know that GPF 2017 will be held in Nagoya, Japan? I will try to get a ticket. Are you coming over? Last year, I was overjoyed at getting a ticket for Japanese Championships, but Yuzu was absent,,,,. I wish him good health always!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      March 2, 2017

      Hi. I will try my hardest to get tickets to GPF but it will be so difficult….I would love to come to Japan again!!

      Like

  10. Yuzurist-Japan
    March 5, 2017

    Do you need to join an expensive organized tour?

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      March 5, 2017

      No I usually buy my own tickets and make my own arrangements. Its much more cost efficient. 😊 There arent any tours that I am aware of for Japan based events…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on February 19, 2017 by in Figure Skating and tagged .
Follow SportyMags on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 194 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 631,088 hits
%d bloggers like this: