by Klaus Reinhold-Kany
Men's Free Skate
The Men’s Free Program at Skate Canada 2019 in Kelowna had a mixed level. The medalists and one more skater were very good, but the skaters in the second half made many mistakes, as is lately often the case in men‘s events.
No question that Yuzuru Hanyu had a run-away victory, this time with 322.59 points, which was only one point less than gold medal winner Nathan Chen had at the World Championship 2019. But at the end of the season the points are always higher, so you cannot compare this. Hanyu skated his free program to "Art on Ice“ by Edvin Marton, the same music as last season. In Kelowna, he began with a quad loop which was not clean, but this remained his only mistake. The quad Salchow was excellent, the two quad toe loops, one of them in a sequence with a Euler and a triple flip, were absolutely outstanding. Two triple Axels and a triple Lutz were good, the spins and steps excellent as usual. His components had an average of 9.6, with two perfect 10.0. He said: “In this competition I was able to win within myself. I skated well in the short and free program which I didn’t manage before. I put a lot of pressure on myself before this competition because I wanted to exceed 300 points and I wanted to win Skate Canada.”
Silver medalist Nam Nguyen from Canada collected 262.77 overall points, the highest score he has ever had, and got a huge standing ovation. His first element in his almost clean free program to a Beatles medley was an excellent combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop, followed by another quad Salchow of the same quality. His six other triple jumps were mainly good or very good. His components were around 8.6. “It was a great experience overall. To be able to put out that kind of performance after Yuzu’s god-like performance is a big step up in my career,” he commented.
The second Japanese skater Keiji Tanaka won the bronze medal with 250.02 points. Competing to the soundtrack of Sherlock Holmes, he opened with an impressive quad Salchow, followed by another quad Salchow with a shaky single toe loop, but in the free program this combination is allowed without deductions. His combination of triple Axel and triple toe loop was excellent and his triple flip as well. Later the toe loop which was planned quadruple was only triple and he did a sequence of triple loop, single Euler and double Salchow plus a triple Lutz near the end. His components were around 8.5. He did compete in spite of having a car accident in Kelowna on Tuesday before the competition. Together with female skater Marin Honda, he was coming back from an unofficial practice in a taxi which bumped into another car and was hit by a third car from behind. Tanaka had pain in his knee, went to a hospital, but no real injury was found. After his competition he said: “Compared to the short program, the free skating was good. I was able to switch my mindset. However, my jumps were not perfect, I didn’t do the quad toe and there is room for improvement.”
19-year-old Camden Pulkinen of Colorado Springs, eighth at Junior Worlds 2019, gave an excellent Senior Grand Prix Debut and finished fourth, winning 244.78 points, 21 more than his personal best had been before. After an almost sensational second place in the short program, he dropped to fourth place, but nevertheless gave a very good impression. Like in the short, the student of Tammy Gambill landed a quad toe loop, which was under-rotated a bit. His triple Axel was excellent, four other triple jumps good, he only stepped out of a triple loop and a triple flip. His style and skating skills are remarkable, therefore he had high components of around 8.3.
Denis Vasiljevs from Latvia finished on fifth position with 227.40 points. After a good combination of triple Axel and triple toe loop, he tried a quad toe loop, but it was landed on two feet and downgraded. Later he singled an Axel and a Lutz, but four triple were good. Matteo Rizzo from Italy, third at Europeans 2019, finished only sixth with 223.78 points. After a good triple loop his quad toe loop was very shaky. Four triple jumps were good, but two others not clean.
Nicolas Nadeau from Canada sits seventh with 222.33 points. Six triple jumps, including two Axels, were good, but the flip was a bit under-rotated and he fell on a linking step and did not try any quad. Andrei Lazukin from Russia ended up on eighth place with 212.07 after making many mistakes. He had been in bad shape all season after being ill in the summer. Malaysian Julian Zhi Jie Yee finished on ninth position with 211.63 points. Six triple jumps were claen, two were not.
Roman Sadovsky from Canada placed tenth with 204.35 points after five mistakes on jumps in the free program. Paul Fentz from Germany is 11th with 202.24 points. He landed one excellent and one good triple Axel, but later four triple jumps were not clean. Brendan Kerry from Australia stepped out of a quad toe loop and had four good triple jumps, butthe lowest components of all skaters.
Men's Short Program
Japanese superstar Yuzuru Hanyu had no problems to win the men’s short program at Skate Canada 2019 in Kelowna. He had 109.60 points, 20 more than the rest of the field. Like last season, the two time Olympic gold medalist skated to “Otonal“ by Raul di Blasio. He had said he dedicated this program to Johnny Weir, one of his two idols, who had used this music as well. Hanyu began his program with an outstanding quad Salchow which got five GOEs of +5 and four of +4. The triple Axel even had eight GOEs of +5. His combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop was a bit shaky. His spins and steps were outstanding as well. His components had an average of 9.7, with six perfect 10.0, two for performance and four for interpretation. He said: “It was not so great, but I felt I did my best today. I felt calm today, but I am not sure if my calmness led to me being more focused.”
U.S. skater Camden Pulkinen of Colorado Springs, eighth at Junior Worlds 2019, landed in his very first Grand Prix on a surprising second place, winning 89.05 points, which is by far his personal best. Skating to “Caruso“ by Josh Groban, he landed a clean quad toe loop in competition for the first time in his career. His triple Axel was very good, his combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop as well. His steps and transitions are outstanding and his style reminds a bit of Patrick Chan. Therefore his components were high, around 8.2. He explained: “This is my senior Grand Prix debut, so I think I surprised myself with scoring 89 points. I never really knew I could do that until I actually did it. I was just happy that I could hold together a complete program, hold my spins and nail my jumps.”
Canadian Nam Nguyen is currently third with 84.08 points and skated to „Blues for Klook“. He began with a good combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop, followed by a soso triple Axel and a very good triple flip. His components were around 8.1. He said: “Everything fell into place today. The crowd was great, the energy was insane. The program overall felt great. It was a big step up from Nebelhorn Trophy, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done.”
Deniss Vasilievy from Latvia, who trains with Stéphane Lambiel in Switzerland, sits on fourth place, earning 84.01 points. In his combination of triple flip and triple toe loop, he came too close to the barrier, therefore it was shaky. His triple Axel was good, but he stepped out a bit on the triple Lutz. The second Japanese skater Keiji Tanaka came fifth with 80.11 points and skated to the music „Hip Hip Chin Chin“. His triple Axel was very good, but he performed a triple Salchow instead of a quadruple one and in his combination he added only a double toe loop to the triple Lutz.
Andrei Lazukin from St. Petersburg in Russia, boyfriend of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and student of Alexei Mishin, is on sixth position, earning 78.99 points. He skated a bit better than at his first two competitions of this season and began with a shaky quad Lutz, followed by a triple Axel with a touch down of his hand. His combination of triple flip and triple toe loop was not perfectly clean either.
Julian Zhi Jie Yee from Malaysia trains in Barrie, Ontario with Michael Hopfes and was invited in September as an alternate for Russian skater Mikhail Kolyada who has to undergo a sinus surgery. He is on seventh position with 75.64 points after a clean short program with a good triple Axel, a convincing triple Lutz and a very good combination of triple flip and triple toe loop. Nicolas Nadeau from Canada sits eighth, earning 75.22 points after a short program with an excellent triple Axel, a good combination of triple Salchow and triple toe loop as well as a deeply landed triple loop.
Matteo Rizzo from Italy, third at Europeans 2019, did not have a good day and is only ninth with 70.12 points. Skating to „Start a Fire“ by John Legend, he stepped out of the quad toe loop and almost fell. His triple Axel was very good, but later he fell on the triple Lutz which was planned his combination. Paul Fentz from Germany sits on tenth place with 66.32 points. His triple loop was under-rotated and his triple Axel a bit shaky. He stepped out of the triple toe loop after the triple Lutz and two spins were shaky.
Roman Sadovsky from Canada is currently 11th after performing an under-rotated quad Salchow and popping the triple Axel. Brendan Kerry from Australia was coached in Kelowna by Torontonian Lee Barkell because his main coach Nikolai Morozov had no time to come from Russia. He fell on the second triple toe loop of his combination. Then he popped the toe loop which was planned quadruple and stepped out of the triple Axel.