ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 - Day 3: Men's Short Program

 

April 28, 2011
By Vicky Azhoychik, Reut Golinsky, Mireille Geurts
Photos © Vicky Azhoychik

Today was the first day of the main competitions and it was quite eventful. The Opening ceremony was attended by Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, followed by the Men’s short program as well as the Pairs’ short at the Megasport Arena. Aside from the temperature, the arena has a very warm atmosphere; the audience is sincerely supportive of each skater. Many fans from many different countries also add colours to this wonderful sport festival.

Patrick Chan took the lead with a phenomenal score. He received 93.02 points, which is the highest in the history of figure skating. The previous world record holder for the short was in attendance. Evgeni Plushenko accomplished the same feat with a score of 91.30 at the 2010 European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. I believe it is well deserved because his program resembled lace without any “empty spots” and his elements were executed perfectly. Patrick received two 10s for Program Components.

Smaller silver and bronze medals [smaller medals (than the medals received at the end of the event) are the handed out to the top finishers after the short program – ed] were received by two out of the three competing Japanese skaters. Even though Nobunari Oda stumbled on his quad toe loop, he passed reigning world champion Daisuke Takahashi, skating to a beautiful arrangement of Storm by Yoshida Brothers . “I wanted to finish this season with a very good performance; that’s what I concentrated on, so I put out all of my very best there today,” Oda said. Daisuke performed an impressive program with a beautiful step sequence and choreography, which was very well received by the enthusiastic audience, but he lacked the technical marks of the quad toe loop. He also received a wrong-edge deduction on his flip in combination and he finished the short in third position.

Not every participant showed his personal best and it is curious to know how much the altered training patterns due to the postponement of Worlds played a part. On the other hand, how did the extra preparation time help? There were surprises—good and bad—and experience gained by some of the 27 other skaters that took to the ice.

Misha Ge of Uzbekistan, who successfully qualified for today's competition, was last with 49.61 points and we unfortunately won't see him tomorrow. "The experience was wonderful. I was really glad to
perform here, especially because I'm partly Russian. I really loved this rink and the warm reception from the crowd.”

Alexander Majorov surprised us twice. The first time was during the qualification round when he surpassed Michal Brezina and finished second with 136.64 points, and the second time was during the Short. Unfortunately this surprise was negative because the Junior World medalist missed his triple Axel and his combination consisted of only two single jumps. "This year my son showed that he knows how to handle himself during the competitions," said his father and coach in the interview after the disastrous skate. "That's why I can't understand what happened to him in the short program after a great skate in the qualification. Maybe it happened because of [the] qualification round; not because it took much effort, but because the competition started differently [which is] not how he is used to starting them. We will think, analyze and look for reasons. We are still newcomers at Worlds."
Alexander himself simply stated to SkateSweden, I was unlucky today. I know I can do so much better. Now I am looking forward to next season and then I will do my best ever.”

Jorik Hendrickx from Belgium is the only skater who qualified for the free program without a triple Axel, which is quite a feat considering this is also his first World Championships. With 60.74 points, he is in 22nd place. “I was more focused than during the preliminaries and more bent on the landing of my triple-triple combination. I had much fun during the program. Too bad I made one mistake, but I really fought for the rest.”

Was it a wise decision from US federation to send to Moscow such a young and inexperienced team? The competitors include two newcomers, Richard Dornbush and Ross Miner , and this year’s National Champion, Ryan Bradley, whose best result at Worlds was 15th place. Though anything can happen and ice is slippery, we can almost predict that next year there will be only two American men at Worlds. On the other hand, the young American generation did quite well and gained some crucial experience. "Proud of our boys :) Ricky and Ross are legit. Glad we could all put it down tonight,” Ryan "tweeted" right after the short program was finished. The American team takes sequential spots from 11th to 13 th after the Short.

Denis Ten, who closes the top ten, wasn't particularly lucky with the draw as he skated in the first group. If he had skated later, he probably could have placed higher. Even with the new scoring system, the number of the group one skates in matters. "I think I skated pretty well," he said to the press, "Especially considering the fact that the dates of this championships were postponed  and, like all the other skaters, I had to change the plan of my preparations. We all are very sorry about what happened. I can say that I skated with Japan in my heart. I'm glad about my short program; now I need to prepare myself mentally for the long".

Brian Joubert wasn't at his best. He failed to perform the combination with the quad jump he announced in the planned content and didn't try to fix the situation later during the program like some other skaters did, such as Nobunari Oda, for example. The failed combination and other mistakes, such as the wrong edge called on his flip, dropped him to ninth place. Even though he showed his amazing “champion’s” ability to rise after hard falls, we probably have to conclude that his five year old tradition of always claiming a medal at Worlds will not continue this year. "I didn't count on getting a medal; I didn't think about it at all," he mentioned. "I just wanted to skate two clean programs. Today wasn't good, so I build on tomorrow. I have nothing to lose. It will be more like practice for me. I just want to do two quads, [which is] also a part of my preparation for the next season.”

When he surprised himself in the beginning of the season by winning Cup of Russia, this very ice became very lucky for Tomas Verner. Thanks to that event, he made it to the Grand Prix Final. Before this competition began, he was very optimistic and his main goal was to skate two clean programs with quads "because the Russian audience loves quadruple jumps.” Unfortunately, he couldn't fulfill this mission and perform the quad for the public in his short program. He currently sits in eighth place. "Of course I'm upset with how I performed the quad," he admitted. "This jump could bring me lots of points, but I'm glad with the rest. The only goal I have for tomorrow is to entertain the public. I skate to Michael Jackson and I hope my performance will be good.”







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