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 a short while before I left home for this Grand Prix event, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it on time!! My first flight was delayed 6.5 hours for what we have to assume was an electrical fire since the fire alarm went off inside the airplane after we left the gate. I had never seen the flight attendants heading up the aisle carrying the fire extinguishers before. The smell was like a chemical metal burning smell, not paper burning smell. After sitting on the plane in the middle of the tarmac for one hour we returned to the gate and then we had to de-plane. I missed my connector by a lot!! Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, the hours ticked by as they tried to fix the issue and then of course, the pilot and crew timed out!!! Due to union and safety rules, they were beyond the hours in their shift due to the delay and a new crew needed to be assigned. Well, the new crew had to be flown in from Vancouver, so there was yet another 1.5 hour delay. Since our flight was the last departure of the evening from the terminal that night all the food places had already closed down. Our 6:55pm flight finally left at 1:30am. Tired and hungry was not the way I wanted to start this journey.
Well, they finally fixed the issue, we got a new flight crew and we left on the same plane. I didn’t want to think about it. I had a mad dash to make in Frankfurt and still had to figure out what connector I was re-rooted on but they wouldn’t tell us until closer to landing. Trying to get to the gate on time in Frankfurt was not fun either. I had to sweet talk my way through to the front of the massive security lineup not to miss my new connector, the last flight for the evening. A special shout out to the guard who let me jump the line. Thankfully I made it and the rest is history.
Onto the competition!!
Looking through my camera lens, before Yuzu took off his jacket, I sensed there was some kind of costume change. I had hoped for a big change. The end of the costume sleeves peaking through the jacket sleeves appeared to be darker somehow. I was kind of disappointed when Yuzu revealed the same costume but happy that at least he listened to me when I said in my ACI recap post that the colour was not vibrant enough. His designers added some richer colour to the outfit to make it stand out more, and now he has coloured gloves to complete the costume. I still don’t like how short the bodice is in the front but I guess this is it.
During the warm up, Yuzu popped a jump in front of me and smiled ever so beautifully afterwards in spite of himself. It was good that he was relaxed and confident enough to just shrug it off. This photo was taken right after the pop. I thought about posting the pop photo as well, but well, he was too close and in the photo, Yuzu’s head is cut off, and you just see his legs in a familiar popped position in the air. So, we get “laughing at himself” Yuzu instead!
I was very sad to see the change in choreography that took out the straight line spread eagle that had the sharp turn on the piano note and replacing it with a curved one. It wasn’t as iconic as Yuzu’s backwards step sequence in Seimei, but it was one of the elements that I loved at Autumn Classic.
While the short program wasn’t technically perfect it was a great step forward. The landing on the triple axel was kind of a mess and when I looked at the protocol sheets afterwards, my basic thought was that it doesn’t matter a single iota what the rules are for skating, the judging is always going to be the main problem in this sport.
Special moments I enjoyed from the SP press conference: SP Press Conference
With all the camera snapping pictures of him when he arrived in the media lounge, Yuzu said he felt like a tourist attraction. Quote confirmed and translated for me by spacepooh (thanks!)
“(I am/This is) Kind of… like a tourist spot” Source (link): Tourist Spot Comment
Best quote from Boyang: “I felt like I even wowed myself with how cool I am”. Translation by axelsandwich.
Yuzu being consistent with his “bears going back to the forrest” comment is pretty adorable.
I hope all of the grand prix events take a queue from Finland and stream all press conferences. The media gets to attend and they usually only print one or two single quotes when there is just so much great content that fans would love and hearing it directly from the skaters is best.
Yuzu’s Results: World Record #1 under the new scoring system!!
With a hefty lead after the short, the only pressure Yuzu felt was from his own desire to skate perfectly. The save on his opening quad loop was something that Yuzu fought hard for. That determination cannot be taught.
The crowd went crazy with a huge roar when he landed the quad toe/triple axel sequence. Too bad the landing on the triple axel wasn’t perfect like the ones in practice but it was fully rotated so it counted! Of course since Yuzu only considers a jump successful when it achieves a positive GOE, we know it’s just a matter of time before we see it executed perfectly. You really had to be there in the arena to feel how incredible the atmosphere was once Yuzu landed that sequence.
When the music was done, Yuzu stayed crouched in his final position, and I have frame by frame of Yuzu doing three punches to the ice with his right fist.
Once he got up, Yuzu took a moment and didn’t do anything. He just stood at center ice and took a moment for himself to let it all soak in before he started his bowing. It was a cool moment for both him and us. The program wasn’t even perfect, it didn’t need to be.
While Yuzu was waiting for his marks in the Kiss and Cry, poor Brezina had to cover his ears in order to muffle out the giant score.
After his marks were announced and Yuzu left the Kiss and Cry area, he stayed out to watch a bit of Brezina’s program. Here is Yuzu’s reaction to Brezina’s first quad. Pooh never got to see it though.
Free Program Press Conference: FP Press Conference
Yuzu’s Result: World Record #2 and #3 under the new scoring system!!
The medal podium was facing the judges side as per usual but I had an ok angle on it, at least it was at our end of the ice. Staring at the backside of Yuzu is not that big of a hardship.
I was happy that Yuzu got to “jump” onto the podium this time although him nearly tripping on the rug on the way there almost gave me a heart attack.
I don’t know why I decided to take a shot of Yuzu’s boots but when I reviewed my photos, I saw the wings on Yuzus blades, super cool!!
When it was time for the 3 medalists to climb onto the top of the podium, I again was a bit nervous that Yuzu was gonna fall off as almost half his blades were hanging off the back of the podium.
The Czech flag incident was hilarious! When the skaters were given flags for photo opps and Brezina didn’t have a flag, he just snuggled up to Yuzu and the Japanese flag but once Yuzu asked the audience for a Czech flag, voila, one made it’s way down to the ice. When Brezina opened it up it was a tad bit smaller than the Japanese and Korean flag so that made for a hilarious moment enjoyed by all.
I am not normally a huge gala fan but there were some pretty good numbers this event. It was the best I had ever seen Keiji skate and relate to the audience. Kolyada brought Metallica which works for me anytime. Boyang had great footwork in his number.
Shirtless Rocky (underwear model Matteo Gaurise) was impressive. Gratuitous shirtless photo here.
Yuzu bopping his head and body to beat of the upbeat music proves that I am right that Yuzu would be a blast to watch if he skated to a real rock program with a heavy beat or even something dramatic with a heavy beat. I sure hope it’s on his to do list or, hopefully Brezina convinced him to use some metal music for a fun gala number. We all know Yuzu can emote feeling, now lets let him loose! Let’s Go Crazy was just a warm up!!
So I guess the lifting of Yuzu for the group photo has now become a thing. It makes you realize how small Yuzu is in relation to the pairs/dance guys! Matteo offering to throw Yuzu afterwards and Yuzu frantically shaking his head “no”!! was priceless!!
Good on Zagitova for trying to tempt Yuzu into getting into a jump off at the end of Gala. Unfortunately, Yuzu was too busy getting photos taken with other skaters to join in. Let’s get that jump off going at Grand Prix Final!!!
The audience went crazy and roared when Yuzu wiped ice off his blades and threw it into the air as he left and did the ultimate rock star pose as he left. That’s a wrap folks!!
Go Yuzu Go!!! Doki Doki!!