U.S. Men 2018-19 season (cont.) - news & updates

Spun Silver

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I wouldn't read too much into it. Vincent has a very ... florid? ... writing style and sometimes I'm not sure he realizes how it comes across. The UR definition changed and he is adjusting.
 

Sylvia

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^^^ Vincent's quotes are all from the media teleconference call with journalists yesterday.

Jason and Nathan had their pre-Nationals media calls today.

3 tweets by Lynn Rutherford re. Jason:
He is healthy, focused on the day-to-day training. There have been no big changes to his programs for #USChamps19 except "some of the patterns, a little bit of steps...they are evolving."
He & his coaching team recognize the move to Toronto meant an "18 month process and I was open to that...Change takes time." He thinks his event in France was a "turning point" & things are now "clicking, I'm understanding the technique."
He continues to train quad salchow & toe daily with his coaches, and quad salchow is planned for the FS in Detroit, but "We're not in any rush. It's about getting the technique, understanding it."
Tweeted by FigureSkatersOnline:
Tracy Wilson, Jason's day-to-day coach, will be with Jason at #USChamps19. He is planning a quad salchow in his free skate at Nationals.
ETA link to IFS' article based on the call: https://www.ifsmagazine.com/jason-brown-hard-work-paying-off/

FigureSkatersOnline re. Nathan:
[email protected] has been in Calif. for 2 weeks working w/Rafael Arutunian. He will head back to Yale before heading to #USChamps19 as his spring term starts next week. Nathan says he will likely stay full-term at Yale for least one more year and that he did get A's & B's last term.
Lynn Rutherford:
#USChamps19 call @nathanwchen After a good fall at Yale he's happy to be back training w/R. Arutunian. Re: quads, they're "Playing around w/different layouts. I want to bring back the lutz in the (FS) but it will probably be similar (to Grand Prix Final)...I want a clean program"
Phil Hersh:
Nathan Chen has been fortunate that Yale’s academic schedule has had breaks during three of his four competitions so far this season, but that won’t be the case for #USChamps19 or Four Continents. He wouldn’t commit to Four Continents if selected for it.
 
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aftershocks

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"Vincent is re-thinking past strategy of doing 4-5 quads in FS, because 'They (judges) are rewarding cleaner, well-executed programs as opposed to (technically) ambitious programs that are not executed as well.'"

That message has taken this long to sink in? Well, good luck to Vincent. He seems unflappable, albeit intense.

Phil Hersh:
"Nathan Chen has been fortunate that Yale’s academic schedule has had breaks during three of his four competitions so far this season, but that won’t be the case for #USChamps19 or Four Continents. He wouldn’t commit to Four Continents if selected for it."

If Yale doesn't have a scheduled academic break during U.S. Nationals, has Nathan made absentee arrangements with his professors? E.g., is he working on turning in some anticipated assignments in advance, or working out his schedule to get in all of the necessary reading?
 
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Willin

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@Dobre I think @aftershocks is talking more about the fact that he didn't scale back the difficulty until Tallinn Trophy despite having issues with URs since he moved up to Senior last year (and maybe beforehand?). If you can't land your more difficult jumps cleanly on a consistent basis you should scale back your difficulty. While it's a much bigger problem under the new rules, it still should've been common sense in the old rules.
 

Dobre

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@Dobre I think @aftershocks is talking more about the fact that he didn't scale back the difficulty until Tallinn Trophy despite having issues with URs since he moved up to Senior last year (and maybe beforehand?). If you can't land your more difficult jumps cleanly on a consistent basis you should scale back your difficulty. While it's a much bigger problem under the new rules, it still should've been common sense in the old rules.
I disagree. He made the Olympic team, which was clearly the goal last season. He finished sixth at the Olympics which was higher than all but 5 men in the World, during his debut season. Sixth, above Chan and Kolyada. I'd say at least one spot higher than most people expected Vincent to finish after his great skate at Junior Worlds the year before.

The system has changed, and Vincent's team has changed the plan. Between the GP and Nationals. Do I think this is going to be an easy fix? No way. Changing technique strikes me as very, very difficult. But as far as the decision to change the current jump layout, it seems like a logical choice based on the results he has earned this season. And the timing--between the GP and Nationals, while using a Challenger as a test run--doesn't seem bad. I'm still not sure what may work best for Vincent. (Feel the same way about Aliev). But I appreciate that he's facing the challenge. To me, both Medvedeva and Vincent seem like ambitious, hard-working athletes. Dealing with the challenge of growing up. It's a very real mountain they both face ahead of them, but they are good competitors and tackling this challenge head-on. I'd guess their odds are better than most with time.
 

concorde

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It's good to hear he's rethinking his jump strategy. That's sorely needed in his case.

But this:

:wall::wall::wall:
Why the **** would you need to "redefine" your standard of jump rotation? How is consistently not rotating your jumps "acceptable jump rotation" even under the old rule? Was his team never focusing on fully rotating his jumps or something? Did they just not care as long as it was within the old rules?
I know this seems strange to non-skaters but many skaters think an under-rotated jump is still a triple/ quad since they are getting credit for it (the USFS bonus system supports this comment since < jumps qualify). To them, a down graded jumps of VERY different from a under rotated jump.

I think his used of "define" is what is throwing fans off. I think if he had said "acceptance" it would have made most sense.
 

misskarne

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But this:

:wall::wall::wall:
Why the **** would you need to "redefine" your standard of jump rotation? How is consistently not rotating your jumps "acceptable jump rotation" even under the old rule? Was his team never focusing on fully rotating his jumps or something? Did they just not care as long as it was within the old rules?
Almost word for word my thoughts as soon as I read that quote. Vincent and his team still pushing the blame onto the tech panels rather than his technique.

Frankly I don't understand how anyone could possibly be satisfied landing such UR jumps and not be working to fix them. Knowing that my technique was bad would drive me crazy and motivate me to fix it. I'm perplexed that anyone could feel such obvious URs and not be driven to fix them by perfectionism alone.
 

Willin

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@concorde Idk I'm a skater and I have a lot of friends that are skaters and we all care that a jump is fully rotated. It's nice when the judges ignore or miss a UR or borderline UR, but it's still UR and we all know it and work on it. Admittedly, we all learned jumps under 6.0 when it wasn't a points issue but rather a technique/aesthetic issue, so maybe that's the difference. I do agree that USFS needs to stop rewarding URs if they want their skaters to stop doing it.

@Dobre I think it's a matter of what his goals were. If his goal was to make it to the 2018 Olympics and do well there, his strategy paid off well. If his goal was to have a skating career that would last through 2022 it was a bad strategy.
While I hadn't heard as much about the UR rule change as, say, the program length change, it was something that I'm sure had been talked about for years. We knew the +5 to -5 has been on the horizon for years and that would affect skaters who UR'd or had snow fly up on landings like Vincent tends to. We knew the quad BV change was coming, affecting skaters like Vincent who relied on quads and GOE or PCS.
These are all things that his camp could've worked on or prevented. As far as we know they haven't had enough of a sense of urgency to fix the URs when it would have been most fixable: when he was learning the quads in the first place. He's surely working on his landings by now, but again it might be too late. Landings are a hard habit to change. Yes, they started working hard on artistry, but not until recently enough that it can't prop him up. If he wanted all of these things that would help him meet long term goals it would've been better to work on them from the beginning rather than waiting until judges hammered him on those problems this season.

I think keeping the layout he used for Tallin is the best path for him going forward in this quad, but I don't know how far he can go given the bad habits he's built up and how long it takes to fix things like a UR problem.
 

Bonjour Sherry

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I say Vincent should go for the quads, don't scale back too much. There doesn't seem to be much competition in terms of skaters taking his spot on the World team, unless Alex Krasnozhon manages to get his quad working in time.
 

concorde

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@concorde Idk I'm a skater and I have a lot of friends that are skaters and we all care that a jump is fully rotated. It's nice when the judges ignore or miss a UR or borderline UR, but it's still UR and we all know it and work on it. Admittedly, we all learned jumps under 6.0 when it wasn't a points issue but rather a technique/aesthetic issue, so maybe that's the difference. I do agree that USFS needs to stop rewarding URs if they want their skaters to stop doing it.
Yes - IJS skaters recognize that there are three types of jumps << (very bad) < (mmmm ... ) and full rotation (yeah!). While a < is not the best, a skater still get 70% for it. As a result, many are willing to go it because they get a lot more points then going for a jump with 1 less rotation. Yeah - skaters work on it but that jump may or may not happen consistently. So a skater must ask themselves if they should hold themselves back or go for it and hope of the best. At Skate America last year, for the men <1 points separated 3rd from 5th. With points so tight, it makes sense for a skater to go for it.
 

Tavi

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Yes - IJS skaters recognize that there are three types of jumps << (very bad) < (mmmm ... ) and full rotation (yeah!). While a < is not the best, a skater still get 70% for it. As a result, many are willing to go it because they get a lot more points then going for a jump with 1 less rotation. Yeah - skaters work on it but that jump may or may not happen consistently. So a skater must ask themselves if they should hold themselves back or go for it and hope of the best. At Skate America last year, for the men <1 points separated 3rd from 5th. With points so tight, it makes sense for a skater to go for it.
That makes sense. I wonder how tight scoring is likely to be at Nats, though. SB scores are fairly spread out this year, so maybe guys like Jason and Vincent feel they have a bit more room to experiment? Jason says he will try the 4S. If he falls and/or < it he will lose quite a few points, but given it will replace a 2A it won’t have a huge impact on total score. The real problem for him will be if he lets the rest of the program get away.
 

aftershocks

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No, he scaled back his difficulty prior to Tallinn Trophy.

His score there, with fewer quads, was 234.25.
His scores on the GP were 225.75 and 223.42.
Doesn't negate that the message took awhile to sink in @Dobre, for Vincent and his coaching staff. :)
 

aftershocks

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I disagree. He made the Olympic team, which was clearly the goal last season. He finished sixth at the Olympics which was higher than all but 5 men in the World, during his debut season. Sixth, above Chan and Kolyada. I'd say at least one spot higher than most people expected Vincent to finish after his great skate at Junior Worlds the year before.
The point @Dobre is that the plan for this season, under the new rules, did not change for Vincent until Talinn Trophy. I think this is because of Tom Z's emphasis on tech, and Vincent's admirable ambition in wanting to match and rival Nathan Chen.

IMO, it would have worked more favorably for Vincent had he scaled back at U.S. Nationals last year* and paid more attention to ensuring his rotations aren't ripe for UR calls. But I will give Vincent and his team a pass for sticking to their quad strategy through Nationals, Olympics and Worlds last season. What's less understandable is that they did not prepare wisely for the new season. Knowing there were rules changes, and taking into account the fact that Vincent had received a lot of UR calls at Nationals and Worlds, why didn't they reassess and come out with a different strategy right off the bat? Most tellingly, Vincent dropped from 4th to 14th at Worlds 2018, which should have served as the final wake-up call. But nope, they opened this season with a slew of UR calls on multiple quads at Skate America under the new system, which hampered Vincent throughout the fall.

I stand by my support for Tom Z speaking out on behalf of Vincent and against the harsh UR calls post-SA, although the video Tom Z posted on Facebook was not helpful to Vincent's cause. And the fact remains that their overall strategy for the new season was miscalculated.

* It's rather easy to say, oh well, Vincent made the 2018 Olympic team. In fact, that may be what encouraged Vincent's team to ill-advisedly not scale back on the multiple quad game. If you look closer, Vincent got a lot of UR calls at 2018 Nationals and yet he was still scored very highly. But with Ross Miner at the end of his career and skating lights out, the judges rewarded Ross for his more mature, complete and clean performance which had lit up the arena. What the judges didn't expect is for the competitively reliable Adam Rippon and Jason Brown to run into trouble in their fps.

IOW, the status quo odds were clearly in favor of Nathan, Adam, and Jason making the Olympic team, with Jason perhaps being vulnerable to a well-skated challenge by Vincent. Since Vincent had troubling URs, if Adam and Jason had skated their best, there is every likelihood that they both would have placed in front of Vincent, and possibly in front of Ross too (even with Ross' scintillating performance). There's also a debatable scenario where Adam actually should have been in front of Vincent in third (and Adam would have been had he salvaged the final jump. The preceding popped jump had been a fluke slip off Adam's edge or a rut in the ice that caught his blade on takeoff. The final popped jump was just rattled nerves -- not enough time for Adam to gather his wits).

In any case, Adam earned his trip to the Olympics via his talent, sheer determination, and a resoundingly superior body of work. Jason uncharacteristically faltered skating last, while likely feeling vulnerable. Proof that skate order can and often does impact the outcome of competitions. Vincent is a well-respected talent, but he lucked out a bit overall to make his first Olympics. The selection should have been made between Adam and Vincent, not Ross and Adam. But USFS simply didn't wish to send Ross, so they made it be a choice between Adam and Ross.
 
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Tavi

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Vincent has < 1-2 jumps in pretty much every ISU event he’s ever competed in since at least 2015, when he was a junior. Prior to 2017, he was only attempting a 4S and the problem was mostly in the FS; I’m not sure if his team didn’t attempt to fix it back then because his results were decent or if they were unable to. Since the problem got a lot worse when he increased his tech content, backing off on it now to may well help with the < and focusing on improving PCS/GOE is a smart strategy under the new scoring system. I wish him the best.
 

Lizziebeth

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That makes sense. I wonder how tight scoring is likely to be at Nats, though. SB scores are fairly spread out this year, so maybe guys like Jason and Vincent feel they have a bit more room to experiment? Jason says he will try the 4S. If he falls and/or < it he will lose quite a few points, but given it will replace a 2A it won’t have a huge impact on total score. The real problem for him will be if he lets the rest of the program get away.
Jason has had a splat on a first jump pass a few times and managed to do the rest of his planned content. It would be nice if he landed his quad and gets the monkey off his back.
 

Tavi

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Jason has had a splat on a first jump pass a few times and managed to do the rest of his planned content. It would be nice if he landed his quad and gets the monkey off his back.
Agreed! He did great with that in the FS at Worlds 2017, for example. On the other hand, he had a melt down at Nats last year. Fingers crossed Worlds 2017 is the model. I’m inclined to be optimistic bc he’s been gaining in confidence and comfort with his technique and coaching team this season, in contrast to last season where he was off in almost his competitions. But only time - two weeks! - will tell.
 

Sylvia

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Hard to believe Kevin Shum is a senior at M.I.T. already! :eek: https://studentlife.mit.edu/news/hobby-landing-spot-us-figure-skating-team
Excerpt:
Recently, Shum worked on a project for the class Engineering Interactive Technologies (6.810). He and a partner applied concepts related to adaptive sports to the process of learning to ride a skateboard. Shum’s skateboard detects a rider’s skill level by monitoring how often the board wobbles, and it shrinks or expands in length to fit the rider’s abilities.
Each semester, Shum trains at the Cronin Skating Rink in Revere, Massachusetts, up to six days a week for two hours a day. Training includes both on- and off-ice preparation: practicing jumps and footwork on the ice, body conditioning and strengthening at the gym, physical therapy, and a lot of stretching. During IAP, Shum will compete in the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Michigan, skating to Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Luck Be a Lady” from the musical Guys and Dolls.
2-minute video feature on Kevin uploaded by MIT Student Life (embedded in the article): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysu1IriyIvY
 

aftershocks

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Cross-posting this comment from U.S. ladies thread:
I ... don't disagree with not picking Jeremy over Ross in 2011 or Ashley over Karen in 2018. The latter outcomes were sooo predictable.
Jeremy Abbott being left at home in 2011 behind the up-and-coming Ross Miner was a mistake which came back to haunt U.S. fed and the U.S. men's discipline. The only good thing that came out of that decision was Jeremy having time to reflect and to create his stunning and iconic Muse program with Yuka Sato. At that time, Jeremy was the U.S.'s best male skater, and he'd won medals on the GP that season. Body of work and all that. :COP: To boot, Jeremy was well known, admired and respected by his peers and by international judges. That .17 kicker of a decision by U.S. fed confounded the skating community.

Even 2011 U.S. men's champion and U.S. fed fave, Ryan Bradley, spoke out about the bonehead decision. Bradley knew that he needed a more experienced and accomplished compadre to help him shoulder the burden, because Bradley was not well known, and he hadn't placed highly at Worlds in his previous two appearances (15th and 18th). To make matters worse, Bradley had been anticipating competing in Japan, where he possessed fans and name recognition. But the earthquake happened, and the aftershock impact was Worlds being delayed and held in Russia, which threw Bradley completely off his game. U.S. fed was so rattled by the eventual outcome (9th, 11th, and 13th, and loss of a third spot) that they began to start reconsidering their overall team selection process. U.S. fed's politicking and p.r. positioning on behalf of Ryan Bradley in the run-up to 2011 Worlds was in a nutshell, pathetic.

It's interesting that although Ross Miner and Richard Dornbush both performed well at 2011 Worlds and deserved to hold their heads high, they were both newbies to the senior international scene skating in a tough venue. Sure it was nice for Ross to be given that opportunity after coming back from injury the previous season. However, looking back, Ross would probably trade being deservedly given the Olympic team spot in 2018 over the .17 victory that sent him to Worlds in 2011, where the U.S. men's discipline experienced a setback (largely due to negative perceptions and judging bias). From that point on, there was a significant loss of momentum for U.S. men (partly caused by the quad revolution). In 2011, even the international judges knew the U.S. had left their best male skater sitting at home for not very great reasons.
 

aftershocks

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Please keep giving us the breakdown and the up-to-date build-up @Sylvia with 2019 U.S. nationals just around the corner, and thanks. :watch: #Anticipation
 

Carolla5501

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If Yale doesn't have a scheduled academic break during U.S. Nationals, has Nathan made absentee arrangements with his professors? E.g., is he working on turning in some anticipated assignments in advance, or working out his schedule to get in all of the necessary reading?

No, he's just going to skip classes for a few days and hope no one notices.

(Did you seriously ask this question? )
 

mtnskater

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I just discovered Joseph Klein...my new Uber in men’s skating. So musical. Such quality skating at barely 14. Lots to like overall in the Novice men, including Malinin. But Joseph is a wonderful discovery for me. His short program to “Dream On” was something. I hope he gets the harder jumps as he matures. I don’t know anything about his coaches or his competitive background. Does anyone know more about him?
 

Sylvia

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I just discovered Joseph Klein...my new Uber in men’s skating. So musical. Such quality skating at barely 14. Lots to like overall in the Novice men, including Malinin. But Joseph is a wonderful discovery for me. His short program to “Dream On” was something.
Klein's expressive SP performance definitely was a highlight for me yesterday! :)
I don’t know anything about his coaches or his competitive background. Does anyone know more about him?
Thumbnail profiles of the Novice Men: https://unseenskaters.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/2019-u-s-nationals-novice-men/

It was oh-so-close for the top 3 places on the podium with the Novice gold medal going to William Annis, who landed another 3A today skating to the Jaws soundtrack, edging out Matthew Nielsen (silver) and Ilia Malinin (bronze) and Klein hanging on to 4th (pewter medal) on the strength of his SP. Kudos to Liam Kapeikis (4th in FS) who skated #3 and ended up 5th overall.
 

Willin

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Watching Junior Men, there's a lot of skaters I like. David Shapiro in particular struck me as a gorgeous skater because of his lines.
 

ross_hy

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The US men are going to be very interesting to watch over this next quad. To me, there's a definite parallel to dance in that there's 3 established podium favorites (Nathan, Jason, Vincent) and then 4 up and comers fighting for pewter and hoping to knock off some of the favorites (Alex, Tomoki, Camden, Andrew). Hopefully, all the up and comers have high enough SB scores to get plenty of exposure on the Grand Prix next season.
 

Sylvia

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NBC's video of Nathan's Nationals FS (eta that it's geoblocked in Asia, not sure where else): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q9GFtiSrYc

Final men's standings & link to protocols: https://www.usfigureskating.org/leaderboard/results/2019/27958/CAT018SEG040.html

Top 7:

GOLD Nathan Chen, Salt Lake Figure Skating 113.42 (SP 1) 228.80 (FS 1) 342.22
SILVER Vincent Zhou, SC of San Francisco 100.25 (3) 183.76 (2) 284.01
BRONZE Jason Brown, Skokie Valley SC 100.52 (2) 172.56 (3) 273.08
PEWTER Tomoki Hiwatashi, DuPage FSC 84.05 (4) 169.23 (4) 253.28
5 Aleksei Krasnozhon, Dallas FSC 82.53 (5) 151.99 (5) 234.52
6 Timothy Dolensky, Atlanta FSC 81.10 (6) 147.84 (7) 228.94
7 Andrew Torgashev, Broadmoor SC 76.95 (9) 149.02 (6) 225.97
 
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Sylvia

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*Team selections, with exception of alternates, are listed in alphabetical order

2019 World Championships
Jason Brown
Nathan Chen
Vincent Zhou

Alternate 1 – Tomoki Hiwatashi
Alternate 2 – Alex Krasnozhon
Alternate 3 – Timothy Dolensky


2019 Four Continents Championships
Jason Brown
Tomoki Hiwatashi
Vincent Zhou

Alternate 1 – Alex Krasnozhon
Alternate 2 – Timothy Dolensky
Alternate 3 –Andrew Torgashev


2019 U.S. World Junior Team Camp (6 skaters, 3 spots)
Ryan Dunk [J1]
Tomoki Hiwatashi [S4, JGPF-6]
Alex Krasnozhon [S5]
Camden Pulkinen [S12, JGPF-5]
Andrew Torgashev [S7, JGPF-wd]
Dinh Tran [J2]

"Selections for the ISU Word Junior Figure Skating Championships 2019 will be announced at the conclusion of the camp."

Link to USFS' press release: https://www.usfsa.org/story?id=92108&type=media
 
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Marco

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Nathan now sits on those jump landings nicely which is great to see. His short program is free and glorious. Would like to see some more transitions or choreography in the first half of the free skate which is very jump-jump-jump-jump TBH. I am sure he knows his ability best but I am slightly nervous that he is leaving all 3 high-scoring combos in the second half and as the final 3 passes (i.e. no room for errors).

I don't know if Vincent's skate somewhat vindicated himself or the international caller's calls from earlier in the season. Still so much work to be done on those quads.

Who doesn't adore Jason, but I am slightly disappointed that the quad did not materialize here. Maybe at 4CCs! With the heavier penalty on sloppy quads and looking at how messy Euros was for men, he definitely contend for top 5 at Worlds if he has just 1 4sal (and go clean).

Starting to get excited for Tomoki, Alexei and Campden... Has Tim announced anything regarding his career?

Quad or no quad, I am so glad for the likes of Jason and Alex Johnson (good luck!) placing well at Nationals.
 

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