Friday, December 24

Japan Needs Six Mens World Championship Entries

I think the title of this post is enough said. My favorite Takahiko Kozuka has quite a lead after the short program at the Japanese National Championships, while reigning World Champion Daisuke Takahashi is in fourth place after stepping out of two jump elements. World Junior Champion Yuzuru Hanyu is a surprise second, and Nobunari Oda once again went for the quad in the short here, but he was unsuccessful and finds himself in third.









Here's sixth-place Takahito Mura. I raved about him during the Grand Prix, and he's another skater that I could watch all day for the quality of his skating. I really like him!

Thursday, December 23

Catching Up on the Last Week

National Championships Galore

Finnish Nationals
Kiira Korpi continued her successful season, winning the ladies competition by nearly fifty.. yes, fifty points over Beata Papp. Cecilia Torn won the bronze medal. Laura Lepisto is still out with injury. Long-time mens champion and Olympic participant Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari fell to third this year, behind Bela Papp and Valtter Virtanen.

I'm loving Korpi once again this year. Here's her winning free skate:



French Nationals
Brian Joubert finally pulled it together and won the title over Florent Amodio, who had extreme troubles in his short program. Alban Preaubert was third. All three men will go to Europeans, and the top two will likely go to Worlds. There was a tight battle between the top three in the ladies competition, with Yretha Silete winning gold over Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry by just over a point. Right behind was Mae-Bernice Meite. Meite will go to Europeans, and Silete is the likely entry for Junior Worlds. I really liked Gilleron-Gorry at the JGP Courchevel that began the season, so I'm thrilled with her result.

Here is Joubert's free skate (Yagudin 2001 short program costume resemblance, anyone?):



Italian Nationals
No surprises here as Carolina Kostner and Valentina Marchei went 1-2 in the ladies competition, both will go to Europeans and surely Worlds. Italy has a third spot for Europeans, which will likely? go to bronze medalist Amelia Schwienbacher. Samuel Contesti and Paolo Bacchini were the top two in mens, while both Faiella/Scali and Cappellini/Lanotte withdrew from the ice dance competition.

Spanish Nationals
With Sonia Lafuente withdrawn from the ladies event, you'd think this would be a pretty boring competition as a whole, right? However, Javier Raya was able to best Javier Fernandez for the title by just over a point. Fernandez is still recovering from injury, but Raya is still a very decent skater. Spain has two spots for Europeans and just one spot for Worlds. Here is Raya's winning free skate:



Grand Prix 2011/2012

Back to 'normal' next season, with the order being USA, Canada, China, Japan, France, and Russia. This year, things were switched up (I assume) to give skaters chances to compete in events closest to home without having to compete two weeks in a row. I felt bad for coaches like Tom Zakrajsek, who was at all six events.

Alexander Majorov Apologizes for Facebook Tirade

In case you missed it, Swedish National bronze medalist Alexander Majorov went on a bit of a rampage against his Federation after not being named to the European Championship team. Majorov, up until Nationals, had been the most successful Swede internationally this season; however, a poor short program left him in too much of a deficit behind champion Kristoffer Berntsson and runner-up Adrian Schultheiss.

The tirade occurred as a Facebook wall post, and he used several expletives in English to vent his frustrations. I had the chance to talk to him about the situation, and here are his own words:
I was mad the second that I got the call from my Federation about the team for Europeans, and I had my laptop in front of me-- even worse, no one else was home. I hit the keys with such frustration as I wrote the wall post, and the sad thing is that I didn't care what I wrote, or if it was or was not correct.. it was all what just came to me in that second.
When I calmed down, I read what I had written and I saw that it was not good, even if some friends had expressed a sadness to me. I removed it not long after I wrote it, and I just hoped that no one from my Federation had seen me in that stupid moment. 
The next day, I woke up and my mother yelled to me, "What have you done?" I knew right away what it was. I thought the Federation had seen everything and that I was in big trouble. When she told me that I was in one of the biggest gossip newspapers in Sweden, I began to shake and cry, because my post was just full of words I hit on my laptop. I really didn't mean any of it, and I hope people believe that. I have friends from all over the world and from all walks of life, and I don't have a problem with anyone.
 I have learned my lesson from all of this, and the obvious advice I can give from this is no matter how upset you are about something, writing about it on something like Facebook for the whole world to see is never a good idea. You become completely responsible the second anyone else sees it, and again I am really sorry that this happened.
The Swedish Federation has issued Majorov a warning, telling him that no other behavior of this nature will be accepted. I've spoken with several of his competitors from earlier events this season, and all of them have great things to say about Alexander. He made an obvious error in judgement even if it was at the heat of the moment, but hopefully this will pass and we will again be able to focus just on his skating ability.