Apr 28, 2011
OMG WTF: Men's event at 2011 Worlds (Part One)
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later....
The men's event at the 2011 World Championships, especially the final flight of the long programs, was definitely a clusterfuck of gargantuan proportions. Normally I relish and revel in figure skating's more drama-filled moments but this event was downright surreal and veered too far into the unfortunate a bit too often for my taste. Seriously, I'm not that masochistic.
Patrick Chan. Well, after the massive lead he built up in the short program, the long program was more or less a mere formality. Patrick Chan, 2011 World Champion. But even if I am not an acolyte of the cult of Chan, Mr. Chan did skate magnificently during his SP and I cannot protest his scores there. He had the quad, the jumps were superb, the ease and speed with which he skated--and everything else, really--was frankly quite top-notch. If Mr. Plushenko could score 90+ for that hot mess of a SP he had at Europeans last year, Mr. Chan's SP deserved higher--for one, the fact that Mr. Chan actually has a real program outside of the jumps puts the points in his favor.
The LP--ah, the LP. Mr. Chan's massive, world record-smashing LP scores here were arguably more questionable, with the tight (and possibly underrotated, even if it was not called as such) opening 4T and step-out on the 3A, and most of all, the rather tense way with which he skated the entire program--his SP was much more free and better-performed--but well, Mr. Chan deserved the world title anyways so I'll save my outrage for more suspicious targets further down the rankings.
Takahiko Kozuka. After the the disasters of Mr. Oda and Mr. Takahashi, I fully expected Mr. Kozuka to suffer some unfortunate accident in the LP, like trip over a fallen sequin or get his eye poked out by those stiff acrouterments on Mr. Takahashi's costume in a Team Japan therapy hug, but his LP was in my opinion the best of the night! It was very, very good--definitely deserving of universal positive GOEs he received from the judges. Although his base value was lower than Mr. Chan's, Mr. Kozuka managed to accumulate an impressive 17 points from GOE which allowed him to beat Mr. Chan on the technical elements score. Not bad. Of course he was lowballed in skating skills as usual but, well, that's hopefully going to change soon once Mr. Kozuka gets a few more wins under his belt. However, although Mr. Kozuka's technical acumen is impressive, I wish I can fanatically love his skating the way I do for his flashier compatriot Mr. Takahashi. There's something missing and mellifluously empty about Mr. Kozuka's performance ability that I'm afraid could hold him back in the PCS department despite his excellent skating skills. Unfortunately, the only solutions I can come up with right now involve either him having some sex or wearing more glitter, none of which are likely at the moment.
Artur Gachinski. Artur Gachinski, 2011 World bronze medallist. Who would've expected that? But well, we all knew there was a cost to pay when Russia offered to host Worlds at the last minute with much of the money coming out of their own pocket. But why couldn't Mr. Piseev finagle a medal for more plausible Russian skaters instead, like Ilnykh/Katsalapov? Why must fate insist on foisting another Plushenko upon the innocent denizens of the skating world? Can't we have another Yagudin instead? My eyes, they weep.
Far be it for me to question whether gratuitous arm-waving and constantly doing O-faces merits 8s in PE, CH and IN, but Mr. Gachinki's programs this year are frankly classic Mishin--i.e. disasters that do no favors for a skater who otherwise has some real potential. One wonders how much more impressive Mr. Gachinski could look with some better packaging and real choreography--the jumps, the potential, it's there but he's unlikely to get any help in the aforementioned areas unless he leaves Mr. Mishin. That is, if he can leave Mr. Mishin at all without incurring the wrath of the FFKK.
Part Two of recap here: http://morozombie.blogspot.com/2011/04/omg-wtf-mens-event-at-2011-worlds-part.html.