Friday, November 9

Johnny Weir's Return: My Verdict

Johnny Weir returned to competition after three years, skating at the Finlandia Trophy earlier this season. Rostelecom Cup is his second event, and he finds himself in tenth place of ten skaters after the short program.

When I blogged during and after the 2010 Olympics, I took a lot of heat for my consistent opinion that he was being marked very fairly, if not a bit on the generous side as far as the components marks went.

So, has anything changed in his time off? The short answer, for now, is no.

Things he can do:

- If he plans to keep the quad as his individual jump (rather than the combo), he needs to make sure there are some steps (preferably something intricate) leading into it, or the GOE isn't going to be great no matter what the result. He has a simple change of edge and back as of now.

-Watch from 1:50 to 2:06, which leads into his triple Axel. Maybe a simple turn here or there, but really no transitions and the Axel still remains a bit telegraphed. I'd like to see him do a spread eagle or some kind of movement, even if it isn't right into the jump.

- The music change at 2:50 is fun and gets the crowd going, but he's standing still. That's not going to help his transitions mark.

- His overall speed can still be improved. Sometimes skaters may slow down because of the content they have going on between the elements, but since he doesn't have much going on, there's no reason he can't pick up the speed a bit.

- His step sequence has some stop-and-go body movement/'choreography' moments, but the sequence as a whole looks really tight to me. He only received level 2 here. I wish there was some work on his basics and his overall ease across the ice, because it would show in things such as the steps.

- The spins. He got two level 2 spins and one level 3. He can gain back points by staying up to date with the changes in the IJS since 2010 and modifying the spins to fulfill the requirements. That part shouldn't be too difficult.

- Transitions. They still are seriously lacking. Upper body movements while gliding around on two feet aren't what the judges are looking for, and he should know this from 2010.

Here's my bottom line with Johnny. I was excited by the idea of a skater taking some time off, really working on the things that held them down previously, and coming back and blowing everyone away. As of now, unfortunately, it's like he's starting right back up where he left off in 2010. Good for him for trying the quad, yes, but he's losing points in other areas such as the spins.

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