So I didn't live blog the mens free skate. Sorry. I rather watched it on my big screen television and wrote some quick notes about all of the skaters.. I think this is a much better format for everyone, as most of you are also watching the events and can differentiate between the elements!
Viktor Pfeifer (12th)- Again, a comedic type routine here that doesn't really showcase his skating skills. Still no sign of a triple Axel, and I feel like his jumps have regressed since he first burst onto the scene in the short program at the 2006 Olympics. Seriously, if you find a copy of that program, watch how difficult the entry and air position were in the Lutz. I want that Viktor back. Alright program.. but PLEASE, if you're crazy and reading this, ditch that upright spin where you hold the leg up and grab the blade with your other hand. Thanks.
Shawn Sawyer (8th)- The first of two who can't count. How quickly we forget he was the silver medalist at this event just one year ago! The triple Axel was an excellent effort, even if it was two-footed. He had distance and really went into it (and all the other jumps in the first half) with a real attack. However, as I mentioned-- the jump issue. He did a 2flip/.5loop/3loop and then a 2Axel/2toe/2loop at the end. The sequences are now scored as a three-jump combo (with the .5loop received 1loop credit), so his last combination shouldn't have counted at all. [EDIT: I interpreted the rules wrong and his content was perfectly allowed. Sorry.] Anyways, he seems to have stayed in more for the fans than the results and I'm glad he did-- I love this program and his skating.
Stephen Carriere (9th)- I wanted to really like him here, but I felt like he was too focused and the program ended up really flat. I did admire that the choreography was far off from the typical pattern of elements that we see, and even though 9th place seems pretty poor, he really wasn't that bad.
Nan Song (10th)- I want to like him, too, but this performance seems like it went on for days. I thought it was a better vehicle for him than his Requiem short, but I still couldn't get over his weak posture, overall slow skating, and traveling spins. A lot of his jumps seem to stand still on the landings, too. He's not terrible, but I think skating after two really decent skaters just magnified his weaknesses even more.
Van der Perren (6th)- As always a solid jumping effort besides a doubled Lutz. He again does a lot of his spins right up against the boards, and they are poor at best. Footwork is minimalistic and the choreographed second step was almost a joke-- there was really nothing there. As typical of his career, he lost even more speed towards the end and really looked to run out of energy. The program didn't really leave any impressions.
Schultheiss (7th)- surprise beauty of a quad toe-- I didn't know he had gotten that back. After the first triple Axel, everything seemed to die out. He fell out of a donut attempt at the end of a camel, and the rest of his jumps were all a bit rough. Speed just still isn't there, either. I know he had a crazy past 24 hours so I'm not going to keep harping on the negatives. I thought it was really sweet of his coach to thank the doctors and American people for helping him through last night.
Second group will be edited in.
Okay, keeping it going since I'm flying with my words tonight.
Ten (11th)- I mean, seriously what else is there to say besides complete disaster? However, on top of the FIVE falls, he still never gave up on the performance and had much more energy than the three guys who skated directly prior, even at the very end. But, that's about it.
Murakami (5th)- I wrote in my notes that the triple toe on the end of the first combo should have been called a toe Axel and then Kwiatkowski brought it up on replay. The technical panel was EXTREMELY generous there, not even calling an under-rotation, let alone the downgrade he probably should have gotten. The 2toe on the end of the 3Axel also looked to be toe-Axeled, but he got straight +GOE's from the judges. Hmph. Only jumping mistake was both hands down on the triple loop, but what a great effort. He really ran out of energy towards the end, too, and I felt like the program still had a junior vibe to it. But seriously... the depth in Japan is sickening. Just when you think you've seen them all, he comes out and throws himself back into the mix after a bad Nationals last season.
Armin (3rd)- I wanted him to get the Skate America assignment right away after seeing his Liberty Open short, and I'm so glad he took advantage. If you're reading Armin, thank you for saving the night. Interesting choreography and solid jumps with a lot of difficult entries right up until the end when he had the silly pop on the Lutz, but I'm glad the judges went for it. I don't get excited about a lot of skating anymore (grumpy in my old age.. :-)), but I really loved this performance.
Rippon (4th)- The Axel wasn't there in warm-up so I wasn't surprised he singled the first one. I just didn't expect the whole program to fall SO flat. Most of the jumps were stiff, his footwork looked heavier than usual, and his spins didn't stand out like usual. Now, I had him winning Skate Canada so I think it's clear that I DO like his skating, but.... here's the difference between Patrick Chan and Adam. Patrick still kept his skating skills and performance level more-or-less decent after the rocky Skate Canada short. Adam, on the other hand, was a completely different skater tonight and I would have really dropped his components.
Takahashi (1st)- Well, I picked him for my fantasy game and I was so mad when he had the skate that he did, but it somehow ended up being the winner by default. Several jump mistakes including a big fall on a nowhere-near rotated triple Axel, but I felt like all of the other elements of the program had a much freer and captivating quality than the first two times he competed it. Weird how that works, huh? A win is a win, but he obviously has a long way to go if he wants to keep his World title.
Oda (2nd)- Oh Nobu, you just can't count jumps in your head.. I know it's a difficult and complicated set of rules, but you have had four years since your first blunder kept you off the World podium. And just like at Skate Canada, a nice 4toe/3toe/3loop in the warm-up only to eff up the quad when it counts. So frustrating. And he lost by less than a point, so he obviously would have won by a few points had anything counted in his final 3Sal/2toe/2loop. Oh yeah, the Salchow by itself would have given him the win. Sometimes this can be such a cruel sport.
The top three (after the short) drove me insane seriously. So I'm ending this by saying thank you to Armin once again!