by Klaus Reinhold-Kany
(30 October 2017) The men at Skate Canada 2017 in Regina made many mistakes again, like in many other competitions in the last few years. Shoma Uno from Japan was the clear winner with 301.10 points, but he was not as brilliant as at the Lombardia Trophy in September where he had won 319 points.
In Regina, he began his free program to Giacomo Puccini‘s opera music "Turandot“ with a good quad loop, a jump which nobody in the world had landed until a year ago. Next was a triple loop which was touched down with his hand. After a good triple Axel, his quad flip was landed with two feet and he stepped out of his first quad toe-loop. His second quad toe-loop in combination with a double toe-loop was clean again as well as a sequence of triple Axel, single loop and triple flip. His last combination of triple Salchow and triple toe-loop was very good again, like two of his spins and his step sequences. “The overall performance in the free skating, like yesterday in the short program, is satisfactory at this point of the season,” he said. “But I really need to improve my stamina. The mistakes on the quad toe and flip happened because I lacked stamina.”
Jason Brown from Monument, Colorado, won the silver medal, earning 261.14 points. He skated to "Inner Love“, specially composed for him by Maxime Rodriguez and had contacted the French composer by phone several times to ask him to compose exactly according to his wishes.
He began his free program with a quad toe loop, but as in the past he fell on this jump. His first triple Axel was under-rotated, but the next elements were outstanding. For his camel combination spin with level 4 he received seven times GOEs of +3. His triple flip and his step sequence (level 4) were superb as well. The second triple Axel in a combination with a triple toe loop was clean, his flying spin excellent and he added a very good sequence of triple Lutz, single loop and triple Salchow. Then he popped a loop, but the rest of the program which included a combination of triple Lutz and double toe-loop and a final double Axel was very good again. His components reached an average of 9.1, with some 9.75 as highest ones. He commented: "As of a whole this week, I’m really proud of the performances that I put out here. I definitely had a couple of hiccups here and there but I kept the integrity of the programs and it’s nice to continue getting them out early on in this Grand Prix season.”
The bronze medal for the 19-year-old Alexander Samarin from Moscow, winning 250.06 points was a big surprise. He had been third at the Junior World Championships 2017, was injured in the summer and at his first competition in September, at the Ondrej-Nepela-Trophy, he was not yet in very good shape. Even in Regina his inelegant hockey style and his skating skills did not make a very positive impression and he did not have much choreography between his elements at all. But like in the short program he performed a huge quad Lutz which impressed the judges so much that he got higher components than merited. The average was 7.8, but there were even some 8.5 and 8.75 which were way too high. After the quad Lutz he also landed a high quad toe oop, then an impressive triple Axel. Four good triple jumps followed and he only under-rotated the second triple Axel and landed a double Axel on two feet. He skated to ‘House of the Rising Sun’. “I am very happy with the result,” he said. “Honestly, I did not expect to end up on the podium in my debut at the Grand Prix. I am very pleased to have landed the quad Lutz in both programs because not so long ago I felt uncomfortable with it. I need to work on my components especially. Luckily, I don’t have problems with the technical part.”
This bronze medal was only possible because Patrick Chan’s free program was a disaster. He fell on his opening quad toe oop which was planned in combination with a triple toe loop. After a shaky triple Lutz his program fell apart and at each of his next five jumps he made one rotation less than planned. Only at the end he landed a triple Lutz with one hand on the ice and a clean triple flip. His spins and steps were as excellent as usual and he finished fourth with 245.70 points. “I was suddenly so tired and could not feel my legs on the ice”, he commented later.
The Nebelhorn Trophy winner Jorix Hendrickx from Belgium finished fifth with 237.31 points and without any quad attempt. His first triple Axel in combination with a double toe loop was good, but he stepped out of his second triple Axel. Then he performed five more clean triple jumps and excellent spins and step sequences. His interpretation of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo in a vocal version was superb, he really sank into the music and had components of 8.0 and even some 8.5 and 8.75 for interpretation.
Czech skater Michal Brezina, who trains with Rafael Arutunian, gave his best performance in three years and finished sixth, winning 237.04 points. For the first time in a long period, he landed an almost clean quad Salchow (in both programs), followed by two triple Axels and five other triple jumps. “I had good practices in the last couple of weeks and this was very helpful for my mind and my self-confidence,” he commented.
Nicolas Nadeau had a showy free program in which he used a medley of Elvis Presley songs and was dressed like this singer. A very good combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop plus four good other triple jumps, and a step-out at the second quad toe-loop helped him to collect enough points for the seventh place and 229.43 points.
The third Canadian Keegan Messing was not as good as in the short program. He fell on this two quad attempts which were downgraded and stepped out of his second quad toe loop attempt which was also downgraded. Only three triple jumps were clean and he dropped from fifth to eight place, earning 217.75 points. Jun Hwan Cha from South Korea also had problems with several jumps and finished ninth with 210.32 points. Paul Fentz from Germany is tenth with 201.60 points after performing a good triple Axel and a so-so quad toe loop at the beginning of his free program to "Game of Thrones“. But later he missed two jumps.