Stars and Shooting Stars
Let’s start with three shooting stars who have stolen each and every heart this year: Kevin Aymoz (FRA), Junhwan Cha (KOR) and Matteo Rizzo (ITA—he even won Bronze at the Europeans!!!). These three skaters are entirely different and still they have one thing in common: the crowd loves you guys! When looking up “creative” in the dictionary you should find a pic of Kevin Aymoz next to the definition. His never-seen-before-movements are out of this world. He gave everything, blood, sweat and tears. No joke, he cut his hand in one of his astonishing slides over the ice, just before the end. The tears you could see a little after the Short, but these were tears of joy ;) I cannot wait to see what he will come up with next year. It might be that Junhwan Cha gets compared with Yuzuru Hanyu when he was that age. Brian Orser got both of them and we all know what happened to Yuzuru. So just continue what you are doing, Junwhan, and the future will certainly hold a lot for you! Matteo Rizzo came 7th and I am sure he is more than proud, and he truly can be! With his enchanting performance to a Queen medley (aren’t we all again in love with the music after “Bohemian Rhapsody”) he not only got his personal best with 93.37 but also a standing and cheering crowd! Plus! He keeps ghosts away, as we all saw at the gala.
Shoma Uno (JAP) is a routinier supreme and with the championships in his home country he strived to succeed! Coming in 6th after the short, he wanted to show everyone that he could do it. His programme components for his Free Skate to the Moonlight Sonata were enormous, however, the quad Salchow and the quad Flip were both under-rotated, the landings were a bit shaky here and there and that all led to him loosing valuable points in the fight for a medal. You could see his disappointment, but Shoma, don’t worry—the next season will come and you will be in it!
Jason, oh Jason: you are so wonderful! I want to see one person who does not like Jason Brown from the United States (and punch him). On social media so many have celebrated him after his vavavavoom Short Programme and also Brian said “That was a great show”. What I love most about him? He shows the world that one does not need a Quad to get an amazing score. 96.81 this year—100 next year! I know it! His Simon & Garfunkel Medley was a perfect ending to these Words and actually calmed me down a bit after the drama about gold between Nathan and Yuzuru. Both his music choices and his skating are pure art!
Do you know that feeling when you do something and you know exactly what you are doing? That is what Vincent Zhou (USA) must have felt like in both his staggering programmes. You could really feel his confidence. The 18-year-old trained by Tammy Gambill, Tom Zakrajsek and Christine Krall perfectly demonstrated the quintessence of this sport by blending pure strength with artistic elements. He looked so relaxed and his jumps, btw two Quads in the Short and three Quads in the Free, were pitch perfect (okay, the second Axel landing was a tiny bit shaky, but come on!). So it did not come as a surprise that he exceeded his personal best by say-whaaaat 14 points to 186.99 and won Bronze. Vincent, I think I can speak for everyone: we cannot wait to be enchanted by your extraordinary talent again next year.
So who is it going to be? Yuzuru or Nathan? We all know how this ended, but still—a question never hurts in an article, am I not right? ;)
Yuzuru, you are a star! Not just in Japan (of course the crowd got coo-coo in Saitama), but all over the Figure Skating world. All eyes were on Yuzuru Hanyu (JAP) after not having been at the Four Continents and the Grand Prix Final. Even though he only jumped the Salchow double in the short, his whole performance was just as mesmerizing as always, with his step sequence being jaw-dropping. This was pure beauty, just as the Free Skate: sublime and unique. Not to mention the Quad Toe, Triple Axel combination—I still can’t believe he pulled that off. Without an insecure landing, without shaking, without falling. How is this possible? Everyone could feel the sheer force of will which pushed him over the 300 point edge and into a shower of bears.
Charmy. Cheeky. Chen. This is what I thought when I saw Nathan Chen (USA) skating to Caravan by Duke Ellington. You could see that he enjoyed every second of his skate. And not just him: also me, the crowd and Rafael Arutunian who said “That was fun buddy”. Skating the Free after what Yuzuru did and keeping the nerves calm is a master stroke! Nathan came. Nathan skated. Nathan won. With a pitch perfect performance, three quads and outstanding programme components. Oh and yes: almost forgot. A world record. Actually, he broke two world records that day: the Free and Overall!
What should I say? This Men’s competition took my breath away. Literally. I could not breathe when Nathan skated. The last time that I was that nervous was when Javier Fernández skated after Yuzuru in the 2016 World Championships. Guys, please—you will give me a heart attack at some point! I already know that I will keep watching some of these performances over and over again on Youtube throughout the year, until it is finally skating season again.