The mens short program event began today at the World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, France. Many men had problems, just like the ladies yesterday. All the skaters including world champion Patrick Chan of Canada have the same comment –the ice is very brittle. This explains some of the insecurity on the part of Alissa Czisny and Ashley Wagner yesterday.
Chan is in first with 1.73 points to spare, but by no means was it a clean skate. He had a step out on the 4T and lost balance in the footwork. The rest was vintage Chan and great quality earning 89.41.
The surprises began then. CZE’s Michal Brezina gets great height in his jumps and spins very well in the air. He has a very bad posture problem, but his back is holding up so far. Though he lacks elegance, he stayed on his feet and thus earned an 87.41 and second place after the short. Many people do not agree with the scores, however.
Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi had some difficulty as well but had such quality in his connecting moves and the elements that were completed that he is close enough to pull up in the long if he skates well.
Another surprisingly great performance was from France’s Brian Joubert who earned an 83.47 and fourth place after the short. Brian was world champion in 2007 and many had written him off as he hasn’t had great results since. This year we see a revitalized Joubert very focused on skating well in front of his countrymen. He is very much in medal contention but will have to skate extremely well.
Javier Fernandez of Spain skated relatively clean, though he turned out on a 3A and is about 1.5 behind Joubert with 81.87. He is more than capable of catching Joubert and if Takahashi doesn’t perform is well and able to pull into that spot, but he will need a great skate to do it.
Americans Jeremy Abbott 74.85 and Adam Rippon 73.55 are in 9 and 10 respectively. Abbott tweeted after the event “I enjoy the program so much that I didn’t want to let it suffer because I made mistakes. I tried to stay in the moment…”. He then went on to say “Tomorrow is a new day. I have one more program to show how prepared I am for this competition.” Adam Rippon admitted that he was having a bit of a problem with the 3A this week saying, “I’m upset about the jumps but it is what it is.” A little later he said, “Going into the free, I know I can skate a lot better and that I’m prepared for it.”
Although disappointed, team USA remains resolute to perform to the best of their abilities in the finals.
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