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!
For four years I have been attending the Autumn Classic event. Each year it gets a bit more insane and seriously Skate Canada needs to change their strategy and use assigned seating to prevent the madness that was this year. Having said that, this year’s event did not disappoint!! The photos in this blog were shot through plexiglass so some are not as crispy as I would have liked (frustrated).
Practices were once again, a real treat and a highlight!! On Thursday, Yuzu’s first practice, you could feel the tension in the air, the excitement building up as time slowly ticked by and we eventually got to the men’s groups. As soon as Yuzu stepped onto the ice, it was the most surreal 45 minutes of my day.
Yuzu opened the practice with a triple loop, then a triple flip and then the highest, largest triple axel anyone has ever witnessed!!! What was once large and beautiful has become cosmic!! Simply out of this world! Yuzu now has a bit more hang time in his triple axel, most assuredly from practicing the quad axel. Having seen a thousand of Yuzu’s triple axels before, this one truly made my jaw drop. Later on in the practice he did another HUGE triple axel again and it was just as stunning as the first. There are simply no words to describe the size of Yuzu’s triple axel now.
During the off season I think I got a little complacent about Yuzu (if that’s possible) and went into Autumn Classic just relaxed and chill, but when Yuzu hit the ice I had a serious renewed sense of WOW, OMG!! All throughout the practice, Yuzu appeared very happy to be on the ice again in front of the crowd. He joked with his team a lot (Brian, Tracy, Ghislain) and was very relaxed. Yuzu did a run through of Origin and we saw the first glimpse of his new free program. There were some new interesting choreographic moves which were super cool (ie: more Kodak moments). When the first practice was done, my heart beating million beats per minute. It was simply thrilling!
The photo above is so adorable, I had to crop it some more. (sorry it is a bit grainy due to lighting and shooting through dirty plexi-glass)
On Friday’s practice before the short program, we saw Yuzu do a lot of gliding and thinking through his program elements and his jump entries, basically his normal practice habits. He skated this practice with a lot of confidence. There is a brilliance in Yuzu’s body movements that I struggle to find the words to describe. You have to see the way his lower body sways and how quiet his upper body is when he moves. It’s just WOW! It was hard to distinguish whether my shaking was from being ice cold in the rink (I was frozen) or if it was due to being in Yuzu’s presence. During cool down, Yuzu did a beautiful spiral sequence that was so breath taking! Can we make this a mandatory element in the short program??
So, the most anticipated moment of this year was the costume reveal! Initially I mouthed the words “whoa”. My eyes were drawn to the sparkly design and I love the detailed design of the crystal bling down the front and back center. After staring at the costume for a bit, something started to bug me. I finally figured out that it was the length of the front that bugged me. It seemed like it was a bit too short for his upper body by an inch or two. For me personally, I think the costume would look nicer with a different edge cut on the front (not a huge fan of the ruffle cut top and bottom). I do like the bling design though, it’s very nice. Another thing that struck me was the colour. The center areas down the front and back are a nicer dark blue but the dusty blue didn’t pop out and wow me. I like the gradiant idea in the colour but I would have liked to see it transition into a more brilliant blue (not dusty) for the wow factor. But, as history shows us, this may not be the final version, who knows.
The short program itself was ok. I was hoping for something other than more piano music from Yuzu but I can appreciate that he wanted to perform this piece. Yuzu’s skating in the short program was beautiful, but I just sort of tuned out the music in my head as the music didn’t grab me. However, I must say that the straight edge spread eagle down the side of the ice, and the turn of direction on the single piano note was a beautiful piece of choreography!
The reveal of Yuzu’s Origin costume was crazy, the screaming and pure pandamonium (hanyu-monium) that took place was crazy loud. I love Yuzu’s look for Origin! First off, the slicked back hair is a super cool look for Yuzu. I like this music better and the costume is stunning. The total black outfit is powerful and the design and bling is quintessential Yuzu. It is elegant and I love that Yuzu went with the angled design front as he has in many of his previous outfits. Even with a couple mistakes, Yuzu’s performance was powerful. I can’t wait until this program is fully developed. In my mind, this will not eclipse Seimei but it will be a memorable program in its own right.
I did not shoot any photos this day, so I do not have any photos with the new Origin costume (sad about that). So, here are a couple of the Kodak moments from Day 1 practice where he did his Origin run-through.
During the awards ceremony, it struck me that while there was an obvious height difference for all the winners, Yuzu for the first time, finally “looked” older that the other skaters on podium. One thing about the ceremony – I hate the reverse order change that was implemented!!! I believe that the winner should be announced first. This changes Yuzu’s tradition of jumping on the podium as well!! He did jump but a very small hop this time as Jun and Roman were already there.
The BEST moment of the ceremony was the announcer!! “IN FIRST PLACE, FROM CANADA…………… YUZURU HANYU” We finally adopted Yuzu!!!! Fantastic!!!! I gave a double high five to my other Canadian friend sitting close to me. Ha ha…..apparently someone has a video of the announcer laughing at herself for making the mistake but I haven’t seen it yet. And of course there were the screen shots of Yuzu on the stream with a Canadian flag by his name. Love it!!!
Not a great event for Yuzu in terms of skating his programs clean, and his marks were in ranges we have not seen for a very long time for Yuzu, but the fact it re-lit the fire inside of him to compete again bodes well for us fans. Such a privilege to see him skate in person!!! Thanks for a brilliant weekend Yuzu!!!
Go Yuzu Go!!! Doki Doki!!