The men's field at the GPF proved to be a mini Japanese nationals with four qualifying entries (with a fifth who won a GP event). Takahashi proved his mettle by leading the event with a clean short program.
The program is highlighted with flowing transitions including an incredibly difficult triple axel entrance and high flying footwork. Takahashi is looking the strongest he has all season. However, while Takahashi's program is energetic and infused with difficulty, his style is becoming one dimensional. While we admire his ability to venture out and try different styles, his own style within the music appears to be on one level throughout. His skating is like a Fourth of July fireworks finale...you need to slow it down and add some "God Bless America" for good measure. While the judges did not agree with PCS nearing the 9s, he did not surpass Chan in that department.
Chan's skating is looking the best it ever has. His programs this season are true performances where he presents a clear emotion, a consistent theme and flowing artistry. But one question--who is teaching him to jump? His overbearing mother? Obviously not his modern dance coach who probably just learned the difference between a salchow and a lutz. Maybe he snuggles up in bed with his girlfriend (his coach's daughter) and they watch dartfish together. Call it foreplay. How cute. Ironically, he lands a beautiful quad and triple axel, but falters on the triple lutz. More bed dartfish for him.
Yuzuru Hanyu is as cute as a tamagotchi and jumps like a black cat in the dusk of night. We know the Japanese frenzy is plotting a romance between Mao and Yuzuru just like they did with Mao and Buttle. This time Mao is the cougar and they can pose publicity stunts on the sidewalk like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. His short program is a great vehicle for him (an understatement considering his world record holding program), but no cigar this time around with a fall on a triple toe. Poor tamagotchi.
Javier Fernandez has all the talent in the world, but just take a good look at Tonya Harding--she exemplified that chain smoking combined with asthma actually aren't beneficial for skating. Who knew. With horrendous spins for his level of talent, Fernandez will need to up the ante from here on out if he wants a chance at a world medal. When his usually consistent quad fails him, the rest of the performance becomes flat with nothing else to lean on. More Tracy Wilson stroking drills for him, please.
Diva Vera and her tall partner exemplify Russian skating at its finest--romanticism, razor-thin female with the ability to be thrown around like a rag doll, and displaying amazing lifts and throws. With more chemistry, this team could be the first pairs team in a while to make our hearts swell again.
Pang and Tong are fantastic...for skating at ages 72 and 74 respectively. Poor Qing has not seen a bowl of rice since 2001. Let's pray to God that China will let them retire after 2014 so they can have their very own on-ice wedding like Shen & Zhao.