Friday, December 7

Junior Grand Prix Final - Mens Free Skate

Mens Free Skate

Boyang Jin of China started off his Chaplin-themed free skate with a quadruple toe-triple toe combination, but then fell on a second attempt. He managed two triple Axels (one with a step-out and the other in combination) and four other triples. I was really impressed with his technical level for being 15 years old, and he ended up with the second highest total element score today. While his basic skating level still suffers in comparison to the other five men in this field, he has nice pacing and I think his presentation will grow nicely in the coming years.

Keiji Tanaka of Japan can be added to the list of Japanese skaters with solid, gorgeous basics. Unfortunately today he suffered the Nobunari Oda syndrome and attempted too many jump combinations, completely voiding his final triple toe-double toe. Troubles with some other jumps caused him to fall to sixth place.

Teammate Ryuju Hino, in my opinion, pales in comparison to Tanaka in terms of skating quality; however, the judges didn't agree. He was able to land two triple Axels (including one late in the program) and five other triples, pulling up to the bronze medal position. His costume and music gave me flashes of Kevin Van der Perren's program from the 2004 season.

American Jason Brown had an off-day today. He was the champion of this event last year, but slipped off the edge of a triple Axel attempt early in the program and didn't ever seem to recover. He fell out of a triple Lutz attempt later in the program and lost more points and a possible combination/sequence because he had already done a Lutz not in combo prior. With the sloppy skate, he fell to fourth place.

Maksim Kovtun of Russia came out firing and much like in the short program, it was all business here. He landed all of his jumps, including beautiful quadruple toe-triple toe and triple Axel-triple toe combinations to start the program. Even with the great skate, I still feel a total lack of connection to the music and he seems to be lost in thought throughout the performance. I also would rank his skating skills most certainly behind those of Farris, Brown, and Tanaka, but the judges thought the opposite today and gave him the highest mark. I also thought his transitions, choreography, and interpretation marks were quite generous even with his solid skate.

Joshua Farris of the United States also had a mini meltdown. He started his program with a gorgeous triple Axel-triple toe, but then fell hard on a quadruple toe attempt and had troubles with the next jump, a triple Lutz. Later in the program, he fell again on a triple flip and all of the jumps following the quad seemed to be just barely squeaked out. While I don't think his interpretation level is anywhere near his choreography or skating skills, it really seemed to suffer today following the mistakes. He still managed second place in the free skate and finished with the silver medal.

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