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Friday, February 14, 2014

Sochi 2014 - Men Singles Short Program

Much to my surprise, especially after Plushy's WD, the Men's short turned out to be quite enjoyable. It had drama, melodrama, good performances, surprisingly good performances, good judging, bad judging. Overall, it could have been much worse. Let's look at 5 short programmes, which are, in my opinion, among the most interesting and/or best performances of today.

Jeremy Abbott:
Shortly after Plushenko's withdrawal, it was Jeremy Abbott's turn. Never before, have we seen him fall on his quad and crash into the boards as hard as today. After some good 10 seconds, and me anticipating that the music would stop any moment now and people would hurry onto the ice and put him on a stretcher, he got up and, quite astonishingly, managed to cram all his elements into the remaining time and execute them more or less flawlessly. That's one hell of a way to give a memorable performance.

A stunning come back. Despite two deductions, that short netted him a very decent 72.58 points. Lots more than he had received in the team event and only six points below his international seasons best. With that score he currently sits in 15th position.  Jeremy, you never cease to amaze!

Jason Brown:
He had appeared a bit tense, when he skated his free programme in the team event. Not so today! He earned every point of his components, showing us fluid skating, good spins and his signature good feel for the music. Quadless, but with lots of quality on all his other elements, he currently sits in 6th place, looking forward to skate in the final group tomorrow. Very nicely done!

Brian Joubert:

Bibi, we'll always be your fans!
On this list for delivering his first really clean 4+3 combo short programme since, I'm not quite sure actually,Worlds 2012? What a way to end a season, and at the same time, a career. The jumps were a bit tight and the programme is not one of his best ever shorts, but who's gonna complain, at this point.

Given his injuries, the missed GP appearances, the federation quarrels, the rink situation, the program changes, and the other stuff, he once again put it down, when we least expected it. 

I'm not sure as to the extent of gratitude we should feel towards Mr. Morozov, but apparently, he has helped making this possible and proved to be a positive factor in Brian's coaching team. 

With a decent 85.84, Brian only narrowly missed the last group and is currently in 7th place. I hope he can stay there, moving up will be quite a difficult task.

Yuzuru Hanyu:
Ok, the music helps too.
Delivered a skate of stunning perfection, today. That earned him a record breaking 101.45 points which put him into first easily, and made him the first skater ever to score over a 100 points in a short programme. He seems to be in absolutely stunning shape. Hopefully, he can continue his series of great performances tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Peter Liebers:
On this list for his great personal achievement and for making the final flight despite being such a longshot. I'm aware of the weaknesses Peter has a skater and also as a performer. His spins are sometimes lacking. He is not totally immersed in his choreography, and it's noticeable at times. He's not radiating charisma, like some other better performers, who have a natural presence on the ice. Such things don't come easy to him. And yet, for that very reason he also doesn't overemote, he doesn't present us with lots of faked feeling for the music, you see what you get and vice versa. All that ties in with his blade to ice simplicity, a certain purism, and he has good skating skills, and executed all his jumps very well today, including one of the few 4+3s.

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