Sighs of Relief: Torino Worlds Men’s FS

Noooooo-bunari Oda!

I’m still in shock that Nobunari didn’t score high enough to even compete in the LP/FS (falling to 28th with his SP). What a tragedy, and what a bad taste that must leave in his mouth. At least this wasn’t Tokyo 2011! Redemption next year, on home ice? I hope.

Tara is really relaxing into this commentating. Nice to see.

A Stellar Senior Worlds Debut

Adam Rippon: He starts with a lot of freedom. Great 3/3. What a consistent skater…whoops, a step out of his nemesis, the 3A (he has something in common with Stéphane). Not as memorable a program as his SP, but it’s fresh. YES…he lands a perfect 3A in the bonus! Beautiful Tano and Rippon lutzes. Wow, he’s really killin’ this! In his footwork he looks a little bit tired, but starts to express a bit more with his face. Good enough for bronze? We’ll see. BUT, at least this bodes well for our 3rd berth. Now it’s all up to Jeremy.

Olympic Hangover Free Skates

Adrian Schultheiss: He reminds me of Van der Perren. Straight-jacket concept, eh? CRAZY! His jumps are looking good, including his quad. I appreciate him taking some musical risks here, including Pac-Man audio samples, but he’s skating VERY slow, and not really expressing much. The program just doesn’t hold together or have any continuity.

Van der Perren: 4/3/3 (19 pts)! That was thrilling. Clean 3A. (Those were for his ailing grandfather!) This is impressive. 2F. Argh. His footwork almost throw-away. Lots of hunched over jump landings, BUT clean! This was a damn good skate for him to end his competitive career! So sweet to see him so emotional at the end. His first combo was a great reminder of just how effective they can be for wowing the audience (a nod to Plushy).

Jeremy Abbott: It’s interesting to hear Johnny’s speculation about Jeremy being “punished” here for his lower Olympic placement. That may make some sense, since his SP was so clean, and yet he’s in 6th. That won’t matter much if he lays this down. His intensity as he begins worries me a bit. He goes down on his quad. Great 3A/3T. Fall on 2A…OMG! He could have just given away our 3rd berth. Hopefully, the program components will hold him up. Boy, he sure defines “inconsistency”…like water running hot and cold. Sighs of relief at the end. FIRST PLACE? Ahead of Rippon? WTF? The good news: our 3rd berth is secured. Whew! That was a gift. And, just think what placement he’d get without these falls.

Takahiko Kozuka: He’s ALSO down on his quad. Then a 2/2 combo. At this rate, and with Oda out, maybe we’ll have two US men on the podium!? Great foundational skating skills, ala Yuka Sato. I love how incredibly calm Nobuo Sato always looks. I wonder if he ever unleashes on his skaters, or if he’s always this placid.

Brian Joubert (3rd): This could be his chance to regain his World title. I’m feeling it! 2 quads planned. CLEAN 4/2. And, another quad dished up! Down on his 3Lz. Argh. I wonder what it is about his Olympic experiences that just kill his confidence. 3Lz/2T. Turn out on 3Lo. The audience is really behind him. Eeks out 3S/2T/2T. Will he pass both US men? He does! He has been on the World podium now for 5 years in a row. Only Yagudin has a recent record like that, in the past decade.

Patrick Chan (2nd): Foot down on 3A/2Lo, but it was landed. Clean 3F/3T. He seems off-balance, and fighting. Much better 3A. Spiral into 3Lo…fall! Step out on final triple. The door is WIDE open for Daisuke! He jumps to first…overmarked yet again. These boys ALL need a good, long vacation!

Two Home Runs

Michal Březina: Gene Kelly, eat your heart out! Gorgeous 3A. He could steal the bronze if he keeps this up. His pink diagonally ribbed vest is very unique and refreshing, in the midst of all the dark/black costumes in this event. A hand down on 1 triple was his ONLY error in his Senior Worlds debut. Good jump! Such a promising future! I hope he has a strong support system, in his coach and choreographer. His marks get booed. I’m not surprised, as he was ON!

Daisuke Takahashi (1st): Let’s take home the gold baby!!! I reflect on the fact that Daisuke may have won the Olympic gold had he left out the quad in Vancouver. I’m amazed to see he was practicing a 4F in the warm-up here. Why risk it? It’s like Mao and her damn 3As. Just skate clean and you’ll win!

2-foots, but LANDS his 4F! That was ballsy. He seems so relaxed, is really entertaining, and telling the story of this La Strada music! The audience is SO behind him. Solid 3/3, second 3A, and 3Lo! Great energy all the way til the end. I’m so happy that he now has his gold, should he indeed retire. This is the moment that his knee injury in ’08 robbed him of. What a season for him...two historic firsts for a japanese man: an Olympic figure skating medal, and now Worlds’ gold. On the podium Daisuke looks so noble. He has beautifully chiseled cheekbones, like those of a samurai.

In my predictions, I got 1 and 2 right, but was WAY off in entrusting Oda with the bronze.

See complete final results here.

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