Grand Prix Series - Rostelecom Cup 2017 - Men's Short Program

Freitag, 20. Oktober 2017

   Welcome to the start (technically the Challenger Series started the season but shhhh) of the figure skating season kicking off the Grand Prix Series with the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia. If you've been following me on twitter and Instagram since last year, or just the last month even, you know that I love figure skating, both the viewer aspect as well as the skater side. I've been skating myself for almost a year now, so of course I am no expert at all. So, since I am the type of nerd who keeps track of all of her favorite skaters to the point that I have an actual list with all their scores from the Grand Prix events etc, I thought I might as well share my thoughts and opinions and thoughts on my favorite skater's performances with you guys.
   Before we get into it, once again, I am not an expert so don't expect this to be some kind of super smartly worded and technical analysis of their programs and scores post, there are other people that are way better qualified for that than I am, this is just my ramblings. But, despite that I hope you'll enjoy this little addiction to my usual posts.

Group One

   Denis Ten - Kazakstan - Denis skated third and I am quite excited to see his short program. He was the only one from my list of favorites whose programs for this season I hadn't seen yet. Right off the bat I really liked his costume choice of black pants and a loose white shirt, classy and elegant. But, unfortunately, his program certainly left a lot of room for improvement. His jumps were shaky, and he even fell twice, which was truly a shame. I hope he will improve the more he performs his short program but, if his jumps stay as inconsistent I really don't see him getting any medals, and certainly not landing a spot in the Grand Prix Final. His choreography itself was very nice and promising though.
   For his short program Denis received a total of 69.00 points. He is currently in 10th place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Nam Nguyen - Canada - Nam skated right after Denis and I was basically holding my breath throughout his entire program. Nam caught my eye during his previous competition, being the Autumn Classic International 2017 in Montreal (Challenger Series) where he came in 5th. His costume is quite simple yet elegant with his shirt being a light shade of blue and black pants. It very much complements his more artistic skating style, which I personally very much prefer over the more athletic throw-in-as-many-quads-as-possible style tbh. Unfortunately Nam lost points by flubbing a jump landing on the ice with a painfully looking fall that made me gasp out loud. But besides that his choreography was very nice to look at and I have very high hopes that he will improve as the season continues and maybe, with a little luck, he will make Team Canada for the Olympics, I certainly would be very happy.
   For his short program Nam received a total of 80.74 points. He is currently in 7th place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Misha Ge - Uzbekistan - I like Misha a lot but what is that costume, and why? His choreography is emotional and beautiful to look at, but I certainly struggle to see the connection between that and the costume. Now that I have that rant out of my system, let's move on to everything else. I was quite surprised when I heard that Misha would be competing this season, since I though he'd announced he's retiring after Worlds earlier this year, but if I understood the Russian commentators correctly, his family urged him to continue so here we are. I certainly don't mind. Misha works as choreographer and I'd say it definitely shows. He puts a lot of thought and emotions into his skating making it wonderful to look at, artistic in the best way. His performance was definitely solid but I hope he will improve some more as the season continues and wish him luck for his free skate.
   For his short program Misha received a total of 85.02 points. He is currently in 5th place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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Group Two

   Deniss Vasiljevs - Latvia - Deniss has a special place in my mind. His talent captured me (as well as Russian commentator Tatiana Tarasova, I mean did you listen to her comments last season, she was so excited every time he performed) last season with his boyish young looks and artistic skating. Deniss is coached by Stephane Lambiel, former Swiss figure skating champion whom I adore. They are a very fun duo and you can see how well they get along and how much of an effect Stephane had on Deniss. But, as much as I love these two, I unfortunately really don't like Deniss short program for this season. The Aria, as well as his costume, seem much too mature and stoic for a young boy like him, seem to lock him down and that means his performance lacks this certain spark that his short program from last season had. Whereas last season you could see I-am-having-so-much-fun-performaing-this written across his face every time, I don't see it this season and that is truly a shame. It also seemed like Ms. Tarasova also wasn't too fond of the program either and that certainly means something (for those of you who might now know it, Tatiana Tarasova is a big number in the figure skating world as commentator and former Russian coach, possibly the most successful one ever coaching more world and Olympic champions than any other coaches, so her opinion certainly weighs a lot). Also that costume, just no.
   For his short program Deniss received 82.44 points (solid as for the fact that he doesn't have any quads in his program). He is currently in 6th place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here
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   Nathan Chen - USA - Remember those skaters I mentioned before that have more of a athletic throw-in-as-many-quads-as-possible style? Nathan is one of them and, unfortunately, I am not a fan. I know people love Nathan and he is basically the US standard every US skaters aspires after right now, but the one thing that his programs for this season lack for me is artistry and a proper choreography. All I see is some arm flapping here-jump-a spin here-more jumps-arm flapping-jump combo, you get the point. I can see how Nathan is something like a sensation in the figure skating world right now as the first skater who is able to jump five out of six quads, and that's awesome, especially considering how young he is, but to be completely honest, he is what I think is wrong with figure skating right now. When I think of figure skating, I think of beautiful choreographies, artistry, a few jumps, gorgeous spins and all of that perfectly matching the music. Nathan lacks most of that for me, except for the nice jumps, those he certainly can do. Last year his programs were nice, okay, but this year, well, it's easy to see his plan is basically to quite literally jump gold for himself hoping his high TES (technical scores) alone will do the trick. Hm.
   For his short program Nathan received 100.54 points. He is currently in 1st place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Mikhail Kolyada - Russia - Out of all the Russian male skaters, and there is quite the number of them, Mikhail is the only one I like to be completely honest. He is a really good skater with solid programs, his style is artistic and emotional, very nice to look at, but somehow this season hasn't been quite kind to him. During the Finlandia Trophy he crashed and burned during his free skate, the ending of his program being quite painful to watch as though he held on quite literally by only sheer power of will while his body just wanted everything to end. Today his short program was solid but again his jumps weren't quite there. When it comes to his program in general, my question would be who chose that music for him? If I understood Tatiana Tarasova correctly, she wondered the same thing, why this particular piece? I like the piece by itself, but somehow I would've wished for Mikhail to skate to something a little different, maybe something a little more positive or just...different. Compared to his tragic costumes from last season, this one is definitely a bit of an improvement. Not quite something I would call nice or pretty, but also not bad. I dearly hope Mikhail will calm down and improve some more as the season continues so he'll be able to perform his short program at its fullest potential during his next competition, being the Cup of China in two weeks.
   For his short program Mikhail received 85.79 points. He is currently in 4th place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Yuzuru Hanyu - Japan - Yuzuru was called the 'Japanese God' by the Russian commentators and honestly I can only agree. He gets on the ice, everything turns still and quiet as though everyone is holding their breath and trying not to move or even blink, and he performs magic right in front of our very eyes. Yuzuru and his style are the perfect mix between artistic and athletic, his choreographies beautiful (quite evident also by the high PCS (presentation scores) he receives every time) and mesmerizing, his jumps high and consistent, his costumes gorgeous and fitting. I love watching his programs and personally he more than deserves to be the reigning King of the figure skating world when it comes to the male senior division. I love his short program for this season. His costume fits it marvelously, as well as his music. It all just works, easy as that. So imagine my surprise and loud protest when he sat in the Kiss & Cry (the area where skaters wait with their coaches for their scores) and somehow he only got second place with way less points than Nathan. Sure, Yuzuru struggled with two of his jumps, but overall his program is way better than Nathan's, in my humble opinion. Well, at least the whole Nathan vs. Yuzuru thing makes for quite the show and it is just such a delight to see those two perform during the same competition and wondering which one will end up in first place. Yuzuru is a tremendous inspiration to me, as well as so many other skaters around the world, and he definitely deserves all the love he receives. I mean did you see all the gifts and Winnie's that the audience threw onto the ice after he finished his program?! None of the other skaters got that much!
   For his short program Yuzuru received 94.85 points. He is currently in 2nd place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   And that's it, all my thoughts and opinions on my faves from the men's short program. Next up later tonight the ladies short program featuring, among others, world champion Evgenia Medvedeva. I certainly hope you enjoyed this post. If you did let me know in the comments below, or via twitter (@Alice_Reeds).

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