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: Seimei is Back!

The moment after Yuzu finished skating to Seimei at Worlds in Boston, I starting wishing that he would bring Seimei back for the Olympics.  To me, Seimei was that special.  So when the news broke yesterday, I could not have been more excited!!  This is my dream come true for Yuzu, Seimei and the Olympics.

Of course, the pressure of bringing back such an iconic program is huge but this is an Olympic season and every skater is doing what they need to do to in order to achieve their goals.  With Yuzu, his goals are to deliver 2 clean performances that he is proud of (no regrets), and to repeat as Olympic champion.  Olympic records are just a bonus (*wink).

IMG_3157

 

Why would a skater choose to repeat programs?  Yuzu is not the first, nor will he be the last skater, to use this strategy.

Comfort Level: So after the 2015/2016 season which featured the World Record Chopin and World Record Seimei programs, we saw Yuzu come out with 2 new programs (LGC and H&L).  These programs gave Yuzu new experiences/challenges, new learnings, and showed us his growth as a skater.  It was an experimental season.  With Let’s Go Crazy, what we saw was a program that was exciting and fun but if/when there were mistakes, it really seemed to disrupt the timing of the rest of the program.  While I am not a huge fan of the idea of Chopin 3.0, this is a program where Yuzu is comfortable with the pacing of the music.  Mentally, Yuzu knows he can perform this program cleanly.  At the Olympics, mental strength and confidence is a program is a huge asset.

With Hope and Legacy, it was a nice program and I am happy to have witnessed a perfect version of it.  Yuzu was finally able to get closure on that program at Worlds, but aside from that magnificent comeback in Helsinki with H&L, the program just did not have that WOW factor for me.  In that sense, I’m glad Yuzu is not using H&L for the Olympics.

At the last Olympics in Sochi, R&J 2.0 was not clean, so speaking from a perfectionists point of view, I get that Yuzu would want to make his long program perfect at the next Olympics in Pyeongchang.  So, in going back to Seimei, it is a program where Yuzu can throw himself into the character and can draw from the experience and memories of skating it perfectly.  You cannot discount what type of mental edge that the comfort level with Seimei will bring him when the pressure of the world is upon him.

Something Left to Prove: In Sochi, the only thing Yuzu didn’t do was to skate a clean long program.  We know that Yuzu wants to do this and have that perfect Olympic moment (like he had with the Olympic record Parisian Walkways).  I don’t think Yuzu has anything left to prove to the skating world, he might just have something he wants to prove to himself.  Something he wants badly.  Aside from striving to become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion in 66 years (Dick Button), the only thing Yuzu needs to complete an already legendary career is a clean Olympic long program.  I really want this for him.  This, and maybe a Skate Canada gold too. (haha).

The natural question people will ask: is Yuzu just playing it safe?  And if so, is this a good strategy?  First of all, I don’t think that upping the technical content of a program, any program, to 5 quads is playing it safe.  Secondly, even if somehow you convince yourself that this is “playing it safe”, does it matter?  If I was in Yuzu’s position, and I wanted to repeat as Olympic champion, I would give myself every opportunity to achieve that success.  

Strategy:  I’m not saying that Yuzu is playing any mental games, but imagine how intimidating it might be for other skaters to know that Yuzu is coming back with not one but two programs that he is very comfortable with and has killed before.  Aside from the strategy to do a technical upgrade to 5 quads, the other skaters know that Yuzu can probably do a 5 quad program cleanly while garnering excellent PCS scores.  So if they want to challenge Yuzu for the gold medal, the pressure is really put on them to up their ante as well.  It forces other skaters to examine what they need to do in order to stay in contention.  Does this mean other skaters need a 6 quad program or does it mean they have equal or fewer quads but added pressure to try skate cleanly and hope that Yuzu makes mistakes?

Each skater will be concentrating on their own performances but at the end of the day, all contenders want to win!!  Yuzu needs to continue concentrating on what he can control and that is his own programs.  From the sounds of the most recent media day interviews, Yuzu is very focused and clear on how to achieve his end goal.  Whether or not he will add a quad lutz, only Yuzu knows that answer, but personally, I don’t think he needs to add that element of risk this season.  He has been very methodical about his approach over the last few seasons, and it has served him well.  I can’t imagine that Yuzu would become reactionary now.

Number one

 

While I would love to see new programs from Yuzu every year, I remind myself this is a very special season.  Since Sochi, the amount of planning, analysis and training that has been going on behind the scenes to try and peak at the next Olympics is incredible so you know this decision was not taken lightly.  Other than skating when injured (which I will attribute to stubbornness) Yuzu’s hasn’t really made any major errors in judgement in his competitive career.  From technical advancements, to music selections, he’s been bang on with his choices for himself.

The official media day at the cricket club that triggered this blog entry is getting a bit over the top.  Here are some quick stats on the media themselves.

  • Last year:  35 media (5 camera, 30 reporters)

Source: http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/winter/20160914-OHT1T50093.html

  • This year, the numbers are a bit insane: One article says 80 media members from Japan, and another says about 100 reporters.

Source: http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/170809/spo1708090011-n1.html

Source:  http://www.bbm-japan.com/_ct/17108103

If it wasn’t Yuzu (or Mao), I think any other skater would crumble under this type of media scrutiny.  The pure volume of media adds additional pressure.  The 100 media types travelled half way around the world, all just for a non-competition home rink practice and a few sound bites on the naming of his long program.  It is very hard for a casual skating fan to understand this type of hype for one guy when it’s not leading into the “finals” or a “championship game”.  This is still pre-season, so dare I say it’s a bit overkill?  Nonetheless, the information is super cool and I was super happy to receive it.

 

The Costume!

Talking about Seimei’s return is not complete without commenting on the costume. When I saw the first version, the ice show version, I loved it!!  It was sleek and unique. Yuzu then commented during the ice shows that it was not the final version as they had to change it for competitive lighting.

 

 

 

I saw costume version 2 for the first time in person at Autumn Classic.  I was a bit disappointed, not with the design which I still loved, but with the colour of the white mesh.  Compared to the original, it wasn’t pure and stunning white, it had a bit of a grey or yellow tinge to it.  It grew on me over the season and now I like both.  The competitive costume was a bit looser which probably allowed Yuzu to move more freely and if it was made lighter to prevent Yuzu from overheating, then great, that’s what counted the most!

AC Gold medal

So, what will we see next month in Montreal?

  • For Chopin, I am hoping for Yuzu’s classic black pants and the Yuzu waistband.  I would love for him to continue to have a blue top since it’s his lucky Olympic colour but I’m hoping for the top to be a very different style from the last 2 versions of Chopin.
  • For Seimei, I can’t even imagine what Yuzu will come up with but again, I’m hoping for classic black bottoms to start.  Knowing Yuzu it will have plenty of bling and be truly unique.  One thing for sure, Yuzu will be the most photographed person at the Olympics so I’m sure it will be special.

 

Layout:

I generally do not do a lot of speculation about jump layouts.  Even if one is announced, things can change.  Whether Yuzu does 5 or 6 quads, whether 3 of them or 4 of them are unique, I am ok to wait until the Autumn Classic to see for myself with my own eyes what Yuzu does.

Having said that, Yuzu did comment on his layout so I thought I would include that bit here.

“What I currently have in mind is to jump the 4Lo and the 4S in the very beginning, followed by the 3F in the first half. Spins and steps. The first jump in the second half will be 4S3T combo. After that, 4T1Lo3S combination, and then 4T from a little steps. At the end of the second half, I’ll enter and exit a 3A combination with spread eagle, and in the very end, it’s okay if I do 3A for recovery, or 3Lz normally,” Hanyu explained as if reciting an incantation. 

The big change from last season would be to reduce the number of 3A down to one, and increase the number of 4T up to two. Hanyu’s 3A has even been said to be the world’s most beautiful, and is a strong weapon that Hanyu himself has said he has deep sentiments towards.  Because Hanyu’s 3A garners many GOE points, even if he messes a quad up, he can make up and “recover” with this “quad-equivalent” jump.  

News Source: https://www.daily.co.jp/general/2017/08/09/0010447571.shtml

Translation Source: https://wherespacepooh.tumblr.com

 

If you take Yuzu’s quote at face value, it’s sad to see the second 3A go, but to have it as a “just in case” jump is funny.   A lot of skaters would kill to have a great 3A, let alone an extra one to have as a back up plan.  Talk about have a few tricks up your sleeve in case you need them.  All this means is that we are going to have a fabulous season!!  Hang on to your seats Yuzu fans!!

IMG_2332

Thanks Yuzu – you made my day, my week, my month!!

 

Go Yuzu Go!!!  Doki Doki!!

Doki doki

 

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19 comments on “Yuzuru Hanyu: Seimei is Back!

  1. Tara Diane
    August 9, 2017

    Was totally waiting for this post LOL! I’m happy with Seimei – it’s my 2nd fave….H&L is my #1, that never fails to bring me to tears, I love it so much, but I’m really happy with Seimei.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      August 9, 2017

      I am so excited for this season now!!! This made it real…!! ❤️

      Like

  2. Alethea89
    August 10, 2017

    I am so so excited! And lowkey but actively doing things so I can see it live somewhere. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      August 10, 2017

      Hope you can see Yuzu live. Its really special. ❤️

      Like

  3. Kwan Yow
    August 10, 2017

    I am so glad that Yuzu chosen Chopin and Seimei for the Olympics! They are my favourite programs and Yuzu is definitely in his element. So excited to see the final version! Go Yuzu!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yuzurist-Japan
    August 10, 2017

    Great News! In my last fan letter that I gave him at World Team Trophy in April, I asked Yuzu to perform “Seimei” for Peong Chang and this wish came true!!! I think Yuzu has special mental power like an onmyoji (profession of Seimei) and he can be himself in this program. Also, Peong Chang is in Asia, it is exciting to see him performing this Asian program in Asian-taste costume.
    By the way, I am in Toronto now and went to Cricket Club Tuesday afternoon, but did not dare to enter inside. (I didn’t want to disturb him.) Now I feel like writing to Yuzu to say “Good decision and good luck!.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      August 10, 2017

      Cricket Club has security desk the front door since it is a private members only club. Great news on your letter! 👍

      Like

  5. Yasz
    August 10, 2017

    Thanks for the article! Now I’m also very excited about seimei 2.0 when initially I wanted at least 1 new program from yuzu. So on to olympics!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Haleyww
    August 11, 2017

    I recall that after the free skate at NHK 2015 Yuzu pointed at the Olympic five rings still hanging in the Nagano arena. Now I feel Seimei 2.0 is ‘meant to be’ and soooo happy. Thanks for the post and I completely agree with your comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      August 11, 2017

      ❤️❤️ Yes the Nagano Olympic rings moment…..good one! I remember that now!!

      Like

  7. micaelis
    August 20, 2017

    I have just gotten into figure skating and that was only by chance. I was looking for something interesting to watch on YT and stumbled on Yuzu’s victory performance at World’s this year, the British Eurosport version. That caught my attention and began deliberately exploring. By the time I went to bed that night I was hooked on Yuzu. Here was for me an athlete who seemed to be the quintessence of his sport. I was strongly reminded of John Curry decades ago, the last figure skater I had really paid attention to. With that in mind, some comments.

    I can understand Yuzu recycling (with embellishments) his programs of old, despite the fact that Seimei is not my favorite LP (Phantom occupies that position although it was never able to get a real chance from Yuzu). Parisian is my favorite of his short programs, although I can understand he would not want to reuse a program he had performed at Sochi. We should remember though that Yuzu set four world records with Parisian, two involving his breaking his own record mark. Not bad. Another thing to note as far as Yuzu’s records go, only once has a record Yuzu set been broken by someone other than Yuzu, and that is when Patrick Chan set a record against Yuzu’s second record to Parisian. Yuzu reclaimed the record two weeks later and then upped it at Sochi. For Patrick the writing should have been on the wall. Yuzu, off a win at the Grand Prix Final, was establishing himself as the one to beat in Sochi.

    Back to the coming season. Is Yuzu going to add another type of quad to his repertoire? He has four right now – toe, toe-loop, loop, and salchow. Many might be figuring if he expands, it’ll be a lutz. Yuzu is not always predictable though. He might go for the Holy Grail of quads – an achsel. That would really raise the bar. Another weapon he might decide on could be a quad-quad combination. I think he’s capable of either of those moves.

    All this is only speculation. The season has yet to begin. An ideal season would have Yuzu taking the ice with an undefeated season at Pyeongchang. That would be totally unnerving to most of his challengers. His major threats would seem to be Boyang Jin, Nathan Chen and Shoma Uno. Of those three, I think Shoma is the most-to-be feared. Shoma has risen to the elite levels of senior competition far more rapidly than Yuzu did when he started competing on the senior level. Moreover, unlike the other two, Shoma is quite consistent in his performances and has a musicality that is almost as good as Yuzu’s. In watching clips of Shoma performing on YT any number of commentators have said of Shoma the same they’ve said of Yuzu, Shoma is a ‘complete’ skater. You watch his performances the last couple years and you can see why.

    I’ll have to wind things up now, as I’ve done as I usually do, turn a comment into an essay. One last thing, though, is my sense that no figure skater in the history of the sport has acquired the cultlike status that Yuzu has, which leads to one final question – What do they do with all the Pooh bears tossed onto the ice when Yuzu finishes performing?

    Like

    • sportymags
      August 20, 2017

      The Pooh bears usually get donated to charity.

      Like

      • micaelis
        August 20, 2017

        That was my guess. I imagine the flowers go to hospitals and such, also.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Kwan Yow
    August 31, 2017

    I am really glad with Yuzu’s decision on Seimei and Chopin for the Olympics! He needs to be totally comfortable in these programs so that he can concentrate on all the difficult elements he has introduced to the programs and to skate clean. These programs are so in his character and they are also the 2 programs that I never get tired of watching even after a thousand times!!

    I hope he will still choose a flowy top for Chopin
    because when he glides across the ice, the wind just picks up the light material, his sleeves flapping softly to the tingle of the piano! For Seimei, I hope there will be intricate blink on his top, royal colours of purple, green and gold. But most importantly, he should be comfortable in them!! Can’t wait to see his first performance this season!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Henni147
    September 4, 2017

    I really like his Chopin costume! I think he will change the light blue to a noble gold touch and leave the rest as it is.

    In terms of Seimei I have found a possible new version.

    The design of the 2015/16 season is based in this artwork:
    http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/dynastywarriors/images/e/ec/WO3S-Seimei_Abe.png/revision/latest?cb=20121031000001

    An alternative blue style can be found here:

    I tried to fix the problem with the flowing material and drew this sketch for Seimei 2.0:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/Henni147/status/904386439496032256/photo/1

    The arm sleeves are not ideal in terms of aerodynamics, but if you take some light foam or silk and sew it on the shirt, it should go. What so you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      September 4, 2017

      Oh that Seimei 2.0 drawing is very interesting!! I would put more of a straight solid waistband instead but its a cool idea!!!

      Like

  10. Henni147
    September 9, 2017

    Recently I dived into Let’s Go Crazy and tried to figure out the problems with it. I completely agree with you that a single mistake could ruin the whole flow and atmosphere of the programme. We have seen it trice in a row (4CC, Worlds, WTT)

    BUT there is something else that really bothered me: The music – somehow – didn’t point out the real greatness of Yuzuru’s step sequence.
    Just for fun I overlayed his GPF SP with “Hit the road Jack” from Ray Charles (didn’t change anything of the original skating speed) and the result gave me goosebumps!

    It’s unbelievable how much faster and dynamic the step sequence appears. LGC is a great piece of music, but it never gave me the same impression – I don’t know why.

    What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      September 9, 2017

      This music overlap is brilliant!!! The steps dont seem rushed, and yet they fit the beats perfectly!

      Like

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