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Nov 26, 2010

Trophee Eric Bompard Day 1 Recap: Menfolk

Trophee Eric Bompard 2010, the final Grand Prix event this year, kicked off today. As the last Grand Prix event, the Grand Prix Final hopes of several men are on the chopping block, and some hopes were indeed probably thoroughly chopped to death by the SPs today.

Florent Amodio, in second place wiith 75.62 points, opened the final warm-up group for the men today. Mr. Amodio's Once Upon a Time in Mexico SP is nowhere near the guilty pleasure that is his LP this year, but it was serviceable enough to put him in the running for a podium position going into the long program tomorrow. Being a French man, Mr. Amodio was previously proud to uphold the French tradition of befuddling inconsistency, but his coaching change to The Morozov has clearly benefitted his jump quality and consistency this season. Mr. Amodio landed all his jumping passes and performed quite well but this SP is typical bland-Morozombie choreography.

Kevin ReynoldsCanada's neglected child, sits in seventh place with 66.13 points. Mr. Reynolds' jumps were nowhere near as successful as they were in Skate Canada and his program suffered for it greatly. Frankly, if I wanted to watch a Canadian botch his jumping passes, I'd rather watch Patrick Chan.

Brandon Mroz somehow has landed with 72.46 points and is in third place. One wonders what the judges see in this skater. Let's face it, Mr. Mroz bears all the hallmarks of a Tom Zakrajsek skater: slow, mediocre on-ice presence, lives and dies by the success of his jumping passes. Mr. Mroz's jumps were quite flawed in his SP today and I for one was quite surprised to see him break 70 points for skating at Caroline Zhang speeds. Mr. Mroz could definitely use much more power and speed in his skating (not to mention some presentation skills), but to be frank he's not likely to improve in these areas if he stays with Mr. Zakrajsek.

Takahiko Kozuka perches at the top in first place with a score of 77.64 points. When skating immediately after Mr. Mroz, Mr. Kozuka appears to possess the fleetness of Apolo Ohno. Mr. Kozuka has a wonderful smooth quality to his basic skating but his SP on the whole falls flat. Most horrifyingly, the excessive arm movements in Mr. Kozuka's step sequence are highly reminiscient of Evan Lysacek's epileptic arm flapping.

Brian Joubert is in fifth place with 66.95 points. I'd like to preface this blurb by stating that I've never really liked Mr. Joubert. I found his Yagudin-wannabe ways alternately amusing and annoying, and I fervently hoped rivals such as Stephane Lambiel would beat him. Yet now, in my advanced old age, I find myself much more sympathetic to Mr. Joubert's plight. I'm not sure if it was due to his Olympic meltdowns or the fact that the judges are not-so-subtly hinting at retirement, but Mr. Joubert has been a constant fixture on the senior scene and I suppose he is somewhat of a remnant of the older generation of skaters. As such, I--ever the one for nostalgia--find it difficult to watch him in his current fall from grace. Mr. Joubert is clearly trying hard--as evident from his forays into new styles of choreography and music this season--but the judges are clearly not buying it. That being said, if he lands his jumps, Mr. Joubert is still a contender. Today, especially with that unfortunate 4-1 combination, was not that sort of day.

Though not in the final group, a highlight of the men's SPs today was French skater Chafik Besseghier, in fourth place with 70.33 points. What a name, what potential--especially for an unknown.

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