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!
At Worlds in Helsinki, we got to see 3 of the mens practices in the main rink. I wish there were more opportunities to watch the mens practices. Why must the secondary practice rinks they select always have absolutely no seating? The ISU is about making money so why not select a practice rink with stands so fans can purchase tickets to the secondary rinks as well? While “the cave” within Hartwell Arena was a very unique location in of itself below the main rink carved into the bedrock, the pairs teams couldn’t even practice there because the roof was too low. Oh well, don’t worry about what we cannot control.
Even though I was focusing on primarily on Yuzu, I saw the occasional quad landed by Shoma while Yuzu was standing at the boards. Or, sometimes while I was shooting Yuzu, I saw out of the corner of my viewfinder, Shoma going splat on the ice. It’s kinda humorous since I knew it was Shoma without seeing the whole jump attempt and I knew the fall meant it was a standard practice for Shoma. Or, in another instant, I would divert my eyes off of Yuzu for a single second and see a quad lutz landed by Nathan or Boyang. This is what mens practice is like looking through my eyes.
Through my camera viewfinder I got to see Yuzu this close. This photo has NOT been cropped, this is the actual photo, and Yuzu is this size in the original photo. This is what makes taking photos of him so much fun!
Yuzu is stunning!
Let’s get this party started! First is a cute funny face from Yuzu!
It sure seemed like the mens practices were short at this years Worlds. A half hour for the SP practice and 40 minutes for the LP practice went by too quickly. I could have sworn the practices at Boston were longer.
Every Worlds, I seem to only get shots of Patrick spinning. So. here is my annual Patrick spin shot.
And a couple of spins by Yuzu..
Quads, quads, and more quads. I finally figured out what it was about Kevin’s jumps that looks strange to me. I have watched him for years but never really put any thought as to why his technique looked so different. This Worlds, it struck me. Kevin does not have deep knee bend on his landings! I never noticed or looked that close before. When he lands, his lower body is very stiff. But, whatever helps him get the job done, go for it Kevin!
In practice we got to see Yuzu land one beautiful quad after another beautiful quad. However, some quads just don’t work out the way they are expected to. Oops, there goes Yuzu. I love how Yuzu makes falling even look fun.
Ok, here is one for Javi fans.
A practice is just that. Practice. I never expect a skater to go out and be absolutely perfect in a practice. This is not a realistic expectation. On that note, I never panic if a skater misses a number of jump attempts at practice either. It’s all about delivering in that moment, when it counts and practice is where you can safely make mistakes. During his 3 practices, Yuzu looked confident and determined. Yuzu had a number of pops, a few total misses, and the odd fall here and there but those moments were part of the overall amazing package.
To watch Yuzu work is so hard to describe in words. There is no one word to describe the feeling of it. Words like “amazing, beautiful, magical”, just don’t seem to encompass what it is for me. They just don’t seem to do Yuzu justice, the words don’t feel strong enough. I cannot come up with the right word. So, the only way I can say what it is like to watch Yuzu in practice is that I feel extremely privileged to have seen him train in real life in front of me. I am just in awe of his movements. There is nothing else I can say to describe it.
Guess who?? You can tell by the Adidas training pants. This is Nathan.
Let’s Go Crazy from another angle.
Here’s Boing Boing doing normal edge work, not airborne.
I tried to capture Boyang doing his Spiderman thing but I didn’t know his short program well enough by heart to know where those Spidey “moments” were, so here’s what I got. His right leg looks so buckled, it’s insane.
When I watch Yuzu skate along the sides in practice, I am struck by the quietness of his upper body. I don’t have a photo to show this but when he is simply moving in a straight line down the side of the boards, his upper body is silent, and his movement is all from the waist/hips down. There is a very cool sway to it, and it’s such a natural movement, and unique.
Pooh, Pooh, and more Pooh!
I met a Japanese fan who was a huge Keiji fan. I hope she sees this photo!
No practice is complete without a shot of Yuzu’s Biellmann.
This is literally the only practice photo I have of Shoma since he was on the ice at the same time as Yuzu. But for any Shoma fans reading this, I have some nice ones of his LP coming up soon.
One thing I know for sure, on the first 2 days of mens practice, Yuzu’s spiral sequence during his cool down was absolutely magnificent. While Yuzu could probably do a Michelle Kwan quality spiral sequence, the body control Yuzu exhibits as he moves through his cool down is simply breath taking. It is so stunning and gorgeous! I hope this becomes a standard part of his cool down because it is such a treat to witness. A Yuzu spiral is one of my favorite Yuzu moves!
This was taken during the last public practice for Mischa. If Mischa truly does officially retire after this season is done, we will sure miss his sense of humour and fun that he brings to the skating world!
Yuzu was skating by so fast in this photo, rounding the corner. Trying to capture those perfect images of Yuzu has become a fun challenge for me and I am enjoying it a ton!
Nathan in full Adidas gear. The week at Worlds is long, and the hours at the rink are ridiculously long. I find myself not remembering Nathan’s first day of practice (the only practice he was not on the ice with Yuzu) but I know I watched it, and him. Sorry, Nathan!
It’s as if Yuzu is saying “just wait, have I got something special for you!”.
This is one of my favorite photos since the spotlight from the Japanese television station behind him was being tested and they had 2 very bright lights pointed out at the ice but the 1st one in the middle made it look like Yuzu had a little halo highlighted on his head, like an Angel!!
This photo is a small “shout out” to someone very close to me, and they will understand when I say “Eye Contact”!!!
So there is my quick photo summary of Worlds practices for the men. I hope everyone can enjoy the photos as much as I do, and I only ask that if you re-post any of the images, please do NOT remove or crop out my watermark. If you can quote the original source (this page), it would be greatly appreciated.
I will try to get my photos from the Worlds SP, LP, and Gala out soon, but NHL Playoffs Round 1 have started, so bear with me as it is a SUPER busy time!! Go Flames Go, and Go Caps Go!! And, as always….
Go Yuzu Go!!! Doki Doki!!