Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Hanyu won the short program against Chen at the World Cup, Kolyada – one step away from the top three – RT in Russian

Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu won the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm. The second place went to the debutant of the tournament, Yuma Kagiyama. American Nathan Chen sensationally fell during the performance of the first quadruple jump and could only count on the third position. The Russians Mikhail Kolyada and Evgeny Semenenko did without serious mistakes, but this was not enough to fight for the top three. They took fourth and 10th places, respectively.

Professional biathlon coaches like to say that standing shooting determines success in their sport. Figure skating has its own litmus test – this is a short program. If you are going to live happily ever after on an ice clearing, you need to skate the short program clean. Four-time world champion Kurt Browning, during the prime of his career, formulated a fundamental principle: “You cannot win a competition with a short program. But you can easily lose! ”

In those days, figure skaters competed according to a different rating system, where the final position was deduced by the sum of places and “flying” in the short program outside the top three, the athlete was almost guaranteed to lose the chance to continue the fight for the gold medal. Now the system has become more loyal, but the importance of the short program is still high. In addition, she is the very first impression that cannot be made a second time. Failed – the label of an unpredictable and unreliable fighter can stick for a long time, as he once adhered to Mikhail Kolyada.

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At his first European Championships in 2016 in Bratislava, the skater tore two jumping elements out of three. A year later in Ostrava he made a “butterfly” instead of a triple axel, in 2018 he did not perform a quadruple lutz and a cascade, and only in the fourth year of his great international career he managed to put everything together and establish a personal achievement in the short program – 100.49, which is not has surpassed so far. At the same time, at the world championships, Mikhail managed to cope with himself in the short program much better.

With the transition to Alexei Mishin, Kolyada largely corrected technical flaws, became more stable, the permanent choreographer of the group Tatyana Prokofieva made the skater an excellent production of Let’s Get Loud, and it would seem that his personal record should finally fall. But it didn’t work: in a combination of quadruple and triple toe loop, Mikhail did not land too well after the first jump, performed the second through the “three”, spinning on one leg, and received a small, but “minus” for the element. The total amount was 93.52 – not the most solid reserve to continue the fight for medals.

The second athlete of the Russian national team, Evgeny Semenenko, coped with the program no worse than Kolyada, but received only 38.06 for the components of the program. For the debut, the result was not bad (86.86), but it was overshadowed by another debutant – the third number of the Japanese national team and the winner of last year’s Youth Olympic Games (which, fortunately, managed to play before the pandemic began) Yuma Kagiyama. The 17-year-old Japanese man almost ten points exceeded his personal record, jumped for the grandmaster “hundred” (100.96) and pushed both Russians away, questioning the likelihood of Kolyada getting into the strongest final warm-up, which at all times was considered a certain VIP in men’s singles skating -zone, the lot of the elite.

This “chosen one”, as it happened more than once at other championships, was secretly prescribed in Stockholm the role of a retinue under two kings – two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and two-time world champion Natan Chen.

Perhaps someone will consider the phrase offensive, but there is no escape from reality: since the American student of the ex-Russian trainer Rafael Harutyunyan began his victorious march in March 2018, all other rivals have ceased to exist for the Japanese.

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They continued to talk about Hanyu himself as an alien capable of hearing and interpreting music with completely unearthly, alien plasticity. His coach Brian Orser admitted that even he is not always able to understand what an athlete has in his head, while Yuzuru just wanted to be the best. When this is incorporated into an athlete at the genetic level, neither trauma nor age matters – it just becomes more painful to lose and understand that not everything depends on you.

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However, if only two years ago the world was convinced that only Javier Fernandez was able to stand on a par with Hanyu, then in the last couple of years it was just right to think that only one athlete is able to compete with Chen. And this is Hanyu.

The Japanese showed his best result in the short program (111.82) a little over a year ago at the Four Continents tournament in Seoul. Chen scored 110.38 a couple of months earlier in the December Grand Prix final in Turin. Since then, these two skaters have never crossed paths, which made the Stockholm fight even more intriguing.

Under Let Me Entertain You on Thursday, Hanyu raised the virtual hall, grandly performing all the elements, and, frankly, it became desperately sorry that the two-time Olympic champion spent several years of his performances on bringing the same productions to extraterrestrial perfection: Otonal and Chopin’s First Concerto in the short program, and the famous Seimei in the free program. From the point of view of high art, this may have been justified, but from the point of view of sports – absolutely not. The stereotype is too strong: if a skater, no matter for what reasons, returns to his previous performances, it means that he is simply not able to think of and implement anything better on the ice. Under the arches of the Globe Arena, Yuzuru rehabilitated himself for everything at once, gaining 106.98 points.

A sensation broke out where no one was expecting it: Chen, who had the penultimate starting number, fell from the very first jump – a quadruple lutz, which in the preliminary application was in a cascade with a sheepskin coat. And immediately after the triple axel, the skater almost broke the rotation, having received only the second level of difficulty for him. In a word, he burned out for all the money, rolling under Kagiyama – 98.85. Theoretically, it is quite possible to win back the gap of eight with a small points. In the meantime, it remains to place bets.

I wonder if Browning saw this?

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