Olympic content – blog 6 by pj kwong
Every once in a while, you get the chance to watch a truly extraordinary event. Today was one of those days as 29 men took the ice for the Men’s Short Program. It would have been 30, but Team USA’s Vincent Zhou has tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot compete.
The skating was top notch for a slew of reasons not the least of which was the number of personal best performances. Mexico’s Donovan Carrillo became the first Mexican man to advance to the free skate final and the first Mexican man to compete in figure skating at the Olympics since 1992. At the end of his flawless performance, I said to myself that I hoped he would qualify – and he did – but there were still plenty of big names to come who could have knocked him out.
One of those men was two-time and defending Olympic champion who looked confident as he sailed into his first jump which was a planned quad Salchow. As he took off, something went wrong, and he only completed a single!!! WHAT??? The rest of the skate was masterful, but it didn’t take away from the gaping hole in the scores that his error would leave. He seemed stunned. Stunned enough that as he finished his performance and before he came to center ice for his bow, he went to the location of the failed jump and touched the ice. Rumour has it that he hit a hole in the ice which threw off his takeoff. Such bad luck that might have been avoided by serendipitously hitting his take off edge a few centimeters in any direction. Hanyu sits in eighth place about 18 points down, with the most narrow of pathways to the podium in front of him that may (or may not) include the Quad Axel we have all been hearing so much about. Stay tuned.
The top six who will skate in the final group on Thursday all posted personal best scores, with the American leader Nathan Chen posting a new world’s record score in the short program. Chen was flawless.
Also flawless were Japanese competitors Yuma Kagiyama who sits in second place and Shoma Uno. Kagiyama is the current World Silver medallist and isn’t only a stellar jumper but rather a charming performer. Regardless of result in Beijing, at 18 years old, this is a young man who will be gracing podiums for years to come.
Let us know who you think will take the crown?
#SkateOntarioProud #figureskating #Beijing2022
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