by Klaus Reinhold-Kany
(30 October 2017) In the Men’s Short Pprogram at Skate Canada 2017 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the favorite are in the lead.
World silver medalist Shoma Uno from Japan won the short program with 103.62 points and got a standing ovation. The 19-year-old skater from Nagoya skated to "Winter“ from the "Four Seasons“ by Antonio Vivaldi very smoothly, exactly to the beat of the rhythm and in an elegant style. He began with a very good quad flip out of steps which was rewarded with three GOEs of +3 and six GOEs of +2. His combination of quad toe-loop and double toe-loop was good and got mainly +1. The triple Axel and his step sequence were excellent. His spins were fast and well-centered and had mainly GOEs of +2. His components reached an average of 9.3 and the Korean judge even gave him for three of the five components a 10.0.
Several Japanese TV crews and many photographer from Japan had come mainly because of him, because he is almost a big star as Yuzuru Hanyu is. He was filmed while he was leaving the hotel, while walking to the the shuttle bus, leaving the shuttle bus and walking into the rink and while he was warming up. There was a real media hype around him. The only place he could go without camera were the washrooms. Later he said: “I am quite satisfied with how I skated today. Ever since the six minutes warm up I was able to move very well, but at the same time I was able to control it and that led to my skate.”
Canadian Patrick Chan sits second with 94.43 points. He skated to "Dust in the Wind“ by Kansas in his unique manner, with huge steps and transitions. His first element was a good combination of quad toe-loop and triple toe-loop, followed by an excellent triple Lutz. He touched down his hand on the landing of the triple Axel, which therefore got GOEs of -1 and -2. His three level 4 spins were excellent again and his step sequence stellar. Originally he had planned to include a quad Salchow into his program instead of the triple Lutz, but it was not consistent enough. His components were around 9.3, with a 9.75 as highest one.
He had bad luck with his journey from Detroit via Toronto to Regina because of the strict security controls his plane from Toronto arrived late in Detroit and left late from Detroit. Therefore the 26-year-old skater and his coach Marina Zoueva missed his connection to Regina and had to stay overnight in a Toronto airport hotel. Therefore he missed his first practice on Thursday morning. His suitcase with his costumes got lost on the flight and arrived only a few hours before his competition. But he had been allowed to take his skates into his hand baggage (which is not allowed in Europe and Asia), so he could train properly since Thursday evening. “This week has been a little crazy with trying to get organized and settled,” he later explained. “I actually didn’t really feel comfortable until the six minutes warm up today. I’m really happy with the performance, with the situation I’ve been given, first event of the year. I actually enjoyed it and it was nice to stay on my feet.”
Jason Brown from Colorado is on third position, earning 90.71 points. He began with a triple Axel which was overturned. His triple Lutz and his combination of triple flip and triple toe-loop were excellent, his three spins and his step sequence even outstanding. The 22-year-old skater had several +3 for these elements. But as his quad toe loop is never been clean in competition, he did not include it into his program. He skated to "The Room Where it Happens“ from the musical "Hamilton“ by Lin Manuel Miranda very rhythmically. His coach Kori Ade and his choreographer Rohene Ward could point out his strengths really well. His components had an average of 9.0 with one 9.75 as highest one. “It was a lot of fun tonight,” Brown said. “My goal was definitely to get out there and to be as clean and precise as possible. A few things weren’t as clean as I would have liked them to be, but I’m super excited with the performance and to take this experience for the rest of the season.”
Alexander Samarin from Russia, who had been third at Junior Worlds 2017, finished fourth with 84.02 points. He landed the quad Lutz for the first time in a major competition, was successful and could add a triple toe loop in his combination. His quad toeloop was not clean and his triple Axel was a bit under-rotated and came out of steps. The rest of his progam to a modern and vocal version of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was o.k., but he not a great artist. His components were around 7.5. The second Canadian Keegan Messing of Alaska, who had skated for the USA until 2014, is currently fifth with 82.17 points. His combination of quad toe-loop and triple toe-loop was excellent, his triple Axel a bit shaky and his spins outstandingly quick. He fell on a linking step, but this caused only one point of deduction.
Jorik Hendrickx from Belgium, who had won an Olympic spot for himself at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September, sits on sixth position, earning 82.08 points. He has no quad in his repertoire. His triple Axel and his triple loop were safe, but in his combination his triple toe-loop after the clean triple Lutz was landed on two feet. He skated to "Je suis Malade“ sung by Francesco di Cello and had components with an average of 8.0.
Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic, who trains in California with Rafael Arutunian, is on seventh position with 80.34 points. Skating to "Kodo drums“ and dressed properly even with a special hairstyle, he landed a combination of quad Salchow and double toe-loop, which he often missed in the last few years. His triple Axel was clean, but he stepped out of his triple Lutz.
The second Japanese skater here, Takahito Mura, finished his short program on eighth place with 74.82 points.
He stepped out of his under-rotated quad toe-loop, but his other elements were clean. Nicolas Nadeau from Canada is ninth, earning 74.23 points. He fell on his under-rotated quad toe loop.
Paul Fentz from Germany had come as an alternate for the French skater Chafik Besseghier who had to go to hospital in the last week of September with a severe lung illness (pneumothorexia). Fentz won 68.48 points after a fall on the quad toe-loop and two mistakes on spins.
The Korean skater Jun Hwan Cha is currently eleventh with 68.46 points after having problems with several under-rotated jumps. His main coach Brian Orser had come with him to Regina, but had sudden gall-bladder problems and had to undergo an urgent surgery in a Regina hospital. The other Toronto coach Lee Barkell then took care of Cha during the competition.
The Australian skater Brendan Kerry is twelfth with 63.19 points after making three mistakes on his jumps.