by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
The men’s competition at the Cup of China had a relatively good level, two of the six skaters were really excellent.
Boyang Jin won the gold medal with 290.89 points. He had been 8th at the Olympic Games of 2018 and 5th at Worlds in 2019 after even having won two bronze medals at Worlds in 2016 and 2017. And he is the first skater to perform a combination of quad Lutz and triple toe loop in an ISU competition (Cup of China 2015). All seven elements in his short program to “Trio 1 in D“ and to “Mechanisms“, both by Kirill Richter, were excellent. The 23-year-old skater started with a quad Lutz, followed by a combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop, and later a triple Axel. The three spins all had a level 4, as well as the step sequence. Shae-Lynn Bourne choreographed the program with him in September. His components were around 9.0. He won 103.94 points only for his short program.
“I’m pretty satisfied with today’s performance. I was confident with the quad Lutz as well. I did not have so much time to prepare for this competition and this is a new choreography,” he said. “I got the program and new skating boots at the end of September. Two weeks ago I performed this program for the first time at a test skate and today was only the second time. I like the style of my short program, it fits my skating style well. I like the modern style with the piano, and I hope to skate this program more confidently in the future.“
His first element in the free program to “House of the Rising Sun“ by The House of Cliff was an outstanding quad Lutz, followed by a very good combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop. The sequence of triple Axel, Euler and triple Salchow was excellent as well, but he touched down his hand on the second quad toe loop. The second triple Axel was very good again, but he fell on a triple toe loop in a combination with the triple Lutz. A triple flip got almost an edge deduction, but the three spins and the step sequence, all level 4, were good again, the choreographic sequence even excellent.
“I am really pleased considering that I had only really prepared my program for two weeks and I had only one run-through before,” Jin explained. “I did like 70 percent of the program. Before I used the music with quick tempo in a short program, and this is the first time I use such music in a long program. It’s is quite demanding physically and I think there’s still room for improvement.”
24-year-old Han Yan from Beijing won the silver medal with 264.81 points. He had been 7th at the Olympic Games of 2014 and only 23rd at the Games of 2018. After this disaster he took a break of one year before coming back in the fall of 2019 with the second place at the Cup of China 2019 and a tenth place at Four Continents 2020. In his short program to “A Thousand Years“ by Christine Perry, he had no quad (like in the free), but seven excellent and easy-looking elements. He opened with a stellar triple Axel which got three GOEs of +5 by the five judges. His combination of triple flip and triple toe loop had five GOEs of +4, his triple Lutz was very good as well as the three level 4 spins and the step sequence. Lori Nichol did the choreography with him and his components had an average of 8.9.
He said, “I can’t say I did everything perfect today, but it shows my effort all these months. For me, not being able to train that much during this pandemic also helps me to realize that I truly love figure skating and gives me time to be with my family. I was able to do what I can do in practice and I did not do anything too difficult technically. It went smoothly. I do not set too high goals for this competition. I just want to put out two good programs for the audience to enjoy.”
In the free program to two soundtrack pieces of “La La Land“ his first element was an outstanding combination of triple Axel and triple toe loop, followed by an excellent triple Lutz. Three more triples were very good, but the two triple flip near an edge call. Yuka Sato choreographed the program, which got components of around 9.0. He said, ”The program is technically not very difficult. But I just enjoyed skating here and wanted to bring out a performance that the audience would enjoy as well. Maybe in the future I will add quads in my program, and to prove myself and show the audience that I still can do those jumps. I aimed for a calm, steady performance.“
Yudong Chen had been 25th at Junior Worlds 2019 and took bronze with 226.21 points at the Cup of China. In the short to “Canned Heat“ by the British band Jamiroquai, he stepped out and touched down on the triple Axel, but added a good combination of triple flip and triple toe loop, and also a good triple Lutz. He explained: “Competing for the first time at the senior level and at the Cup of China, I was a little nervous. I feel like I skated 65% of my capability. I could do better in the spins and also need to work on the quads.“
In the free program, the
16-year-ols athlete skated a bit to “The Big Sleep“ by Max
Steiner, but mainly to the funny French soundtrack of “Micmacs a
tire-larigot“ by Raphael Beau. He began with a very good triple
Axel, followed by six other good triples, an under-rotated
triple toe loop in a combination and a step-out on a double Axel
near the end. ”I feel pretty satisfied with my first time
competing here in my first senior year. I want to get my
quad Salchow and quad toe consistent, and then show the
audiences what I can do. I really like both of my programs. This
was my first senior competition and I have learnt a lot here.”
In the free program, his opening combination of triple Axel and triple toe loop was excellent. But then he singled the second Axel and landed the triple loop on two feet. A combination of double Axel, Euler and triple Salchow was clean, but three more triple jumps not. He stated, ”I still feel regretful about my performance today as I made a few mistakes. I already made this program less difficult than before, so that’s why I feel regretful. Maybe it’s because I’m not in the competitive mode yet.”
17-year-old Zhiming Peng sits fifth with 196.28 points. His only international competition up to now was an 11th place at the Asian Open Trophy in 2019. After a solid triple Axel in the short, his combination of quad Salchow and double toe loop was good, but he fell on the quad toe loop. He said, “I’m not very satisfied, but overall I feel okay with today’s performance except for the quad toe.“
He began his free program to the soundtrack of “The Matrix Reloaded“ with a successful combination of triple Axel and double toe loop and another combination of quad Salchow and double toe loop, but doubled the toe loop which was planned quadruple and got no points because he had shown two double toe loops before. Three more triple jumps were good, but he singled the second Axel. He commented, ”Today I feel more relaxed than yesterday and think I did better. I feel a little regretful for my second triple Axel and felt a little nervous today.”
Juwen Xu from Harbin in Northeastern China is only 16 years old. The Cup of China was his first international competition in which he ended up 6th with 178.00 points. In the short program to ”Bon voyage” and to the soundtrack of ”Conquest of Paradise,” both music pieces by Vangelis, he delivered a faultless and solid, but relatively easy short program, It contained a combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, a good triple flip and a double Axel. In the free program to ”En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor” by Il Divo, six triples (he had no Axel) were solid, but near the end he fell on a double Axel.