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Friday, January 29, 2016

That's entertainment: Deniss Vasiljevs, definitely!

Sometimes, watching Junior Worlds leads to excellent discoveries. Such was the case for me in 2014; never mind the medalists, I was was intrigued by the fourteen-year-old from Latvia. With creative spins and and a wonderfully engaging personality, Deniss Vasiljevs was a skater to watch.

Vasiljevs, 2014 edition 

Latvia does not have much in the way of skating tradition or high-level facilities, and Vasiljevs's talent outstripped what he can get in his home country, so he now splits his time between Latvia, France and Russia. Training away from the spotlight (and doing loads of shows and local tours) seems to have allowed Vasiljevs to go at his own rate, do what he likes, and create some truly original moves (did I mentioned those spins?). His 2015-16 programs are a great showcase for his abilities as a performer: a charming take on Puttin' on the Ritz to go along with the more serious Adagio from Tron (a repeat from last season). While Javier Fernandez, Patrick Chan and Daisuke Takahashi are his stated inspirations, there seems to be something rather Lambiel-like in his skating - definitely a welcome sight.

I'll even accept the voiceover

The judges aren't as suitably impressed as they should be, but surely it's just a matter of time, right?

It had better be.