Apr 28, 2011
OMG WTF: Men's event at 2011 Worlds (Part Two)
I hate life sometimes.
(Part two of the recap under the cut. Part one is here).
Michal Brezina. Michal Brezina surprised by reclaiming fourth place after sitting out most of the season with injuries. Mr. Brezina's first three jumping passes were nothing short of absolutely mindblowing--3A, 4T and 4S, all of them huge and airy and clearly whipping the judges into a sort of shocked frenzy as the rest of his marks were fairly generous for a program that ran out of steam by the end and had two falls à la Tomas Verner in the bad old days. I am in two minds about Mr. Brezina during this LP--on one hand, his jumps were magnificent and a delight to watch when he wasn't falling--many of them look like they can easily fit in another rotation--but on the other hand, his Gershwin program is entirely juvenile and has clearly seen better days. His skating skills have appeared to improve somewhat--there's a smoothness and flow to his skating that wasn't quite there last season--but he definitely needs better programs next year that show off this fact. Like Mr. Gachinski, it's not entirely clear if Mr. Brezina's position is entirely merited but the more bizarre happenings at this event certainly worked in his favour.
Daisuke Takahashi. It's clear that the skategods are cruel and capricious little beasts. They refused to give Michelle Kwan the gold medal at the 1998 and 2002 Olympics. Instead, the title of Olympic Champion belongs to the likes of Sarah Hughes and Evan Lysacek. They also gave Stephane Lambiel wonky knees and groin injuries. And at 2011 Worlds, they decided for apparently no reason to give Daisuke Takahashi an entirely unfortunate and unnecessary equipment malfunction that completely blew his chances at a medal. Although Mr. Takahashi managed to escape disqualification by getting his blade screwed in within three minutes, the entire flow of his program was disrupted and the pop on the 4T cost him dearly as he was not permitted to begin from the start of the program. I also cannot help but wonder if the equipment malfunction also affected his jump landings somewhat--his landings did not seem quite as smooth as they could be and of course there was that fall on the salchow. And of course, his PCS also took a hit as well from the malfunction as well--seeing those low PE scores, especially that 6.75(!) is entirely heartbreaking, considering the fact that Mr. Takahashi is miles ahead of the field when it comes to PE. All in all, it was an extremely valiant effort on Mr. Takahashi's part and I for one respect him for being able to smile and handle the situation with grace and good humor despite the awful circumstances. Please Daisuke don't retire come back and win another world title!
Nobunari Oda. Like sequins, falls and Ottavio Cinquanta doing/saying something stupid, it appears that Nobunari Oda being screwed over by the Zayak rule and CoP has by now become an inevitable occurrence in figure skating competitions. Technically, Oda skated very well, enough to win a world medal but the extra 3T he had on the 3A-3T combination cost him over ten points and put him far out of contention. Frankly, it was entirely ridiculous. After Mr. Oda landed his first 3T-3T jumping pass, I half-expected him to Zayak himself out but I thought that Lee Barkell would've beaten the Zayak rule into him at this point, especially given what happened earlier this season--but of course Mr. Oda proceeded to prove me wrong and land a 3A-3T combo right after that thought process. The saddest thing is that this LP at Worlds is the sharpest Mr. Oda has looked in his LP all season and was otherwise a good clean skate.
In my opinion, this certain incident also demonstrates how unnecessarily harsh the punishment for violating the Zayak rule is under the current rules. It seems rather nonsensical that Mr. Oda's 3A-3T would be entirely discounted--surely the rules would make more sense if he was given at least partial credit for successfully landing the jumping pass, or if the extra triple was downgraded into a double or something.
Florent Amodio. In classic, defiantly Surya Bonaly-esque fashion, Mr. Amodio gave the rulebook the proverbial finger and openly used sung vocals in his long program. Realistically, Mr. Amodio was out of medal contention given his lack of a quad and 3-3, but it was definitely a bizarre decision to use vocals as figure skating medals have been won and lost on basis of a single point. Strangely, Mr. Amodio did not incur a deduction for his moment of rebellion. Perhaps the judges are tired of hearing bland muzak versions of popular songs in figure skating programs and are appreciating the fact that Mr. Amodio is using real music?
Brian Joubert. Brian Joubert gave a decent skate but there was no way he was going to resurrect a medal without a major splatfest from the other men after his disastrous SP. As such, Mr. Joubert's five-year streak of making the podium at Worlds has ended with this 8th-place finish. To be honest, the most notable thing about Mr. Joubert's LP at this event is his new tight and glittery lavender costume. It certainly gave the viewing public something to look at, especially since the camerapeople decided that some Joubert crotchshots were entirely necessary in their coverage of the men's event.
Richard Dornbush. This kid has potential, finishing a solid 9th at Worlds despite being literally straight out of juniors. To nobody's surprise, he was the top-placing American at this year's Worlds, ahead of Ross Miner (11th) and Ryan Bradley (13th). I wonder how different the results would've been if Jeremy Abbott was sent instead. Even in his most headcase-y moments, I doubt he would've finished lower than Mr. Bradley's 13th place.
To conclude, the men's event at Worlds this year was the most bizarre I've seen in a long time, composed of equal parts frustration and amusement with a good dose of the surreal. A bizarre way to end a bizarre season--it's only fitting, I suppose.