WORLD TEAM TROPHY 2017
Near the end~~ YEAH TEAM JAPAN 🇯🇵 🇯🇵 🇯🇵
OMG I don’t want the season to end
Photo of literally all the most popular skaters now!!
Can’t wait for the gala (that successful 4lz in the practice today tho)
COULD WE JUST TAKE A LITTLE WHILE AND APPRECIATE THE 17 YEAR OLD SOUTH EAST ASIAN’S FIRST EVER FIGURE ICE SKATER TO COMPETE IN 2014 SOCHI WINTER OLYMPICS?
We all knew that Yuzuru Hanyu has the most fans out there and the most popular representative in Asia. But could we give a little love to Michael Christian Martinez? This guy is called “the lone skater” because he’s the only one representing his own country and even with his asthma, he still wants to cope up with his dream. Damn, this kid, hardly had any gov’t support and has to mortage his own family house just to join the 2014 Sochi Olympics. HE ONLY TRAINED IN DECEMBER LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF FUNDS. BUT STILL, LOOK HOW FLAWLESS HIS PERFORMANCE IS. Because there is lack of ice skating trainers in the Philippines, he had to train in Southern California which costs his family and friends a LOT of dollars.
While he may be short on funds, Martinez is not short on prayers. He’s hoping for one more miracle on the ice that can score an Olympic medal not just for him but for the Philippines. GO MICHAEL!
Dang son, he’s an inspiration to every ice skaters out there who wants to show their talent to the whole world; whatever their current status is. Bless this guy. AND WHAT A CUTIE asdfghjkl ;A;
So, as a follow-up to my previous layman’s guide on jump identification, this time, let us try to make sense of all the different types of figure skating spins.
Now, before we start, not to discourage you or anything, but keep in mind that spin is a topic more complicated than you might think, mostly because spins can come in endless flavors and weird naming conventions and skaters constantly invent new ways to mix and match. Another note is that this post will cover spins in single skating only - I don’t watch enough pairs and ice dance to have proper knowledge on their spins.
A couple of terms you will want to understand when it comes to spins:
Position refers to the way the skater holds their body while spinning. There are 3 basic positions, each of which comes in many different variations, in other words, different movements of the skater’s body while holding to the general shape of the basic position.
Level refers to the difficulty of the spins. There are 5 levels in total: B (no level) and Level 1 to 4.
Level feature is how the spin levels are determined. One feature = one level, so a spin must have 4 features counted in order to be a Level 4. The ISU defines, in total, 13 different types of features a spin can have, any 4 of these in a spin will make it a level 4. Well, don’t sweat, this is just general information. We are most definitely not getting into all the technical details of all these features today. Layman’s guide, remember?
Incidentally, it’s worth pointing out that Level and Grade of Execution (GOE) are independent, as I’ve seen some new fans confusing the two. Level reflects how difficult the spin is, while GOE is about how well it is executed. Think of it this way, the equivalence of level for a jump is the number of rotations, whether it’s a single, double, triple, or a quad. Jump of any rotations and spins of any level can be awarded GOE ranging from -3 to +3 and this has no direct correlation with the number of rotations/number of level features.
With that, let’s move on to look at the 3 basic spin positions and some of their more popular variations.
YUZURU ON KENJI’S ROOM EPISODE 2 TRANSLATION (2015)
The full episode 2 of Yuzu’s interview at Kenji’s room was also uploaded by the kind fan so my completionist instincts kicked in and I had to translate ( :
Disclaimer: my Japanese is far from perfect so corrections are welcome. This is more of the ‘gist’ of the conversation and not always word for word (Ep 1)
Axel talk: Yuzu jumped the 2A at the end of Year 3 in Primary School when he was a Novice and doesn’t quite remember it (cutely, he was like ‘desu ka ne?? desu ka ne?’ and I assume he was searching for his mum off-camera to confirm haha)
When he was aiming for the Japanese Nationals as a Novice, his coach (Suzuki-sensei?) at the time told him the 2A was the ‘king of jumps’ and so if he didn’t master it, he couldn’t progress.
Yuzu loves Axel the most of all the jumps. It’s special because the other jumps are all backwards jumps and the method of takeoff is the same. Yuzu is the type who really places emphasis on having an image in his mind (visual learner). He jumped his first 2A just from watching his older sister jump it. He absolutely wanted to jump the jumps his sister could do. He jumped 3A after seeing Mao do it at the Japanese Nationals. Seeing how thin Mao was and how she didn’t really use a lot of muscles to jump it, he thought he should be able to do it too. He jumped the axel after 3 tries at that practice (after stepping out the first 2 times).
Kenji: That’s….weird (he’s deeply impressed and disbelieving haha). Yuzu: But afterwards, I had a long period (1yr) where I couldn’t land the axel properly in competitions.
Kenji was still in awe Yuzu got the axel after 3 tries and then the staff member asked him to talk about when he landed the 3A lol.
Kenji’s axels: Kenji was bad at flips and struggled with 2F. He was nervous about the 3A and found it difficult so actually tried jumping the 4T first. However, Kenji rotated too much and so actually jumped about 3.5 revolutions and ended up hitting the wall and slid down like a manga character. Yuzu: But you rotated 3.5 times. You could have tried the Axel. Kenji: No, I was scared of the axel.
They talked about axels at an ice show when they met. Kenji was trying to jump a single axel and Yuzu said ‘Eh? Your hands are weird’. Yuzu said their frames (bodies) are different but at the time… Kenji’s way of jumping was indeed weird.
Kenji: But after you taught me, I jump the axel properly now each time so thank you very much.
Yuzu’s jumps (again, struggled to hear words): I think he’s saying he only gets one shot to master theLutz so it’s a close-call jump (he uses ギリギリ which suggests he’s barely mastered it) and so he didn’t really practice it. Over anything, the probability of landing (?) the 3Lz-3T is the lowest so he needs to place emphasis on it. Yuzu also changes his jump timing to match the music and it affects whether he jumps straight or at a curve. Kenji mentions how your sense for the jump changes and Yuzu agrees that he can’t jump a 2A right now and the 3T is also pretty bad due to him losing his ‘sense’ for the jump by doing too many 3A and 4Ts. He had to jump a 2A at a group number during an ice show and realised he didn’t have a sense for them anymore.
Shizuka and Yamato: He didn’t have much of a chance to skate together with Arakawa Shizuka even though they were in the same rink; he mostly only watched her admiringly. He didn’t really have a chance to interact with world class skaters (eg. like skating at the same rink or being in the same club etc.) He doesn’t have many memories of talking much with Shizuka but remembers Yamato Tamura a little more. ((Yamato sought him out to talk to him a bit more than Shizuka or Honda? This was one of those situations where he mumbled a lot and I have no context sorry lol)).
Yuzu’s middle school graduation: He won the Junior World Championships in Year 9 (end of middle school) and graduated middle school alone in the principle’s office. He loved his Year 9 classmates a lot - he had a lot of close friends in that class and they all gathered to say ‘welcome back’ for him afterwards. This left a deep impression on him.
Dark stories of Junior days: Kenji was like ‘so do you have any dark stories from your Junior days?’ and Yuzu was like LET ME TELL YOU (he answered really fast and decisively like he didn’t have to think about it at all LOL).
He placed 12th in his first Junior Worlds 2009 and it was very kuyashii (he even corrected Kenji who initially said ‘a little kuyashii’). He didn’t have a lot of time to practice and he was also injured (can’t catch precise phrases even though he uses some more here, but the idea is that he wasn’t entirely prepared?).
At the time, he tended to make a lot of excuses for himself. He would tell himself he had a sprain etc. and people around him would say the same. After the experience at Worlds, he told himself he’d not give himself any excuses. He says strong athletes don’t give excuses for poor performance. It isn’t productive and won’t give you the ability to compete. He admires the people who can perform/jump under any condition, like Mao who performed with a broken bone. (THEN HE MUMBLED THE REST yuzu pls. I think he was essentially reiterating this ‘no excuses’ attitude was important to him)
Yuzu’s next World Junior comp (2010): He held on to the regretful feelings from last season and practised a lot. ((I’m really not sure about some of his phrases re: Olympics and also his last year of Juniors so I won’t bother trying to translate but I think he was saying that because the year he lost was the Olympic year, a lot of skaters debuted as seniors and so he wanted to challenge them at a senior level. Also he did very well in his last year of Juniors)). At the time, he was bad at the SP and tended to make up for it in the FS. He was 3rd in SP and won the FS. No matter how big the match was, he always approached it as though it was just another competition and that he would just have to win.
Senior debut (tn: I think Yuzu was getting tired here because he essentially…stopped enunciating the ends of his words, rolls some words into each other and trails off. This makes translating by ear super hard, as a non-native speaker who can’t guess at the words. I could only get bits and pieces so I’m sorry the next section is a bit incomplete/inaccurate):
Yuzu really realised that senior skating life was very difficult. His first senior competition was NHK in Nagoya. To put it bluntly he got carried away after that because he landed his quads, even though they weren’t regular/stable. His attitude towards practice changed after that but then he didn’t do well at the next competition and felt the difficulty of the senior level. He was grateful to have been rewarded at the end of the season at the 4CCC and told himself he has to do better next season, especially given his silver at the 4CC, he had to aim higher.
Most memorable competition he’s ever done: Of course the Olympics but also his first at the Japanese Nationals as a Novice (his time of having mushroom hair). He was so excited the point where he wasn’t even nervous and just felt like the competition was incredibly fun, and his practice at the time was great too. As a Year 4 primary student, he also had no concept of failing (missing his jumps) and was filled with the confidence that he’d definitely win. They were still using the 6.0 scoring system at the time. World level figure skaters at the GPF and Worlds were all scoring in the 5.0s and above. In one of Yuzu’s presentation scores (they laughed because it was still called presentation), he got a single 5.2 and was super happy and surprised to get it. He then had this feeling of, ‘oh, maybe I can compete on a world level!’ ( :
Yuzu’s life goal: His life goal has also not changed since primary school, from when he first watched the Salt Lake Olympics at 7yrs old and thought ‘I’m definitely getting the gold medal.’ After he won in Sochi, he kept thinking that getting a second gold at the next Olympics would definitely be legendary and so made it a goal. Kenji: As I thought….you’re weird Yuzu: It’s weird. It was also not a ‘I can or cannot get a gold medal’ feeling (tn: because that suggests he was uncertain about it) – it was ‘I will get a gold medal.’ Kenji: Well. There’s still one more (gold). Yuzu: Pyeongchang is a goal – it’s one of my biggest reasons for skating right now.
4CC Special Sports News in HEROS: (interview in Gangneung, Korea)
Translation of Yuzuru’s comments only:
1) (0’00” to 1’25”) Well, I am filled with frustrating feelings. But I think I was able to execute the FP performance relatively well, so I think I made some achievement. (As regards your earlier phrase of ‘real quads era’) Yes, both Nathan who was first and Uno who was third jumped a wide variety of quads and they both bravely challenged 3As, too. So I do feel that we have entered into a difficult era which demands difficult kinds of quads to be executed with a high quality. (It is a challenging era) but I am enjoying it :)
2) (6’40” to 7’05”) (At the K&C to Brian), yay, I managed to land 4 quads and two 3As!! (At the green room, Shoma said to Yuzuru that it was awesome and he was surprised.) Yeah, I did them for the first time; I had never done that even during practice, hee, hee!
3) (8’05” – 8’35”) (at the green room, after Nathan’s FP) Ahhh, I might not be able to beat that. Oh this makes me feel so nervous; the colour of the medal will change. I want gold, a gold medal, give me gold! (After Nathan was announced to be the winner) AAAAGGGHHHH!!!! (Walking towards backstage) it’s because of the popped salchow, popped salchow!!!
4) (8’55” – 13’26”) Yes, I do feel frustrated, but I have managed to execute two 4Ts in the second half for the first time as I attempted, which is an achievement. Also, I managed to keep my calmness at the same time of performing in line with the music, so I think that was a big achievement for me. (When did you think of changing the elements?) Well, so first, 4S (in the second half) became 2S. After doing a half-loop, I thought of challenging 4S (as a third jump of the combination) but I thought it’s a bit too difficult, so I didn’t. (The interviewer confirming what he said) Yes, indeed I did think of doing 4S (as the third jump), because I was able to do it during practice, so I was about to do it, but I didn’t. After that, I concentrated on the next 4T, then at (the next element which was) 3A+3T (though originally 2T), I was doing a practice to replace this (combination) with 4S, so it came to my mind if I should do it, but I didn’t. And after that, as for 4T+2T (which replaced the originally planned 3A+1L+3S), I found that I had some energy left, so I thought ‘oh let’s do 4T + 2T!’ and I did it. (So, you were thinking and changing right before jumping at one time) Yes, indeed, I felt several conundrum and wondered at each situation, and I had lots of reflection. I had to think of lots of things including the number of combinations or repetitions according to the rules, so it (changing so many elements during the performance) was the first trial for me, so I was skating with lots of thoughts. (At the end, you did 3A) yes, I was going to do 3Lz, but I noticed that I could jump 3A, so I did it as it seemed possible. Yes, so I was thinking one by one, while feeling the music, too, so I didn’t feel much difficulty and I think my breathing was stable during skating. (As for 4Lo), especially this time, I was able to land clean 4Lo both in SP and FP with high GOEs, so in this sense, it was such a big achievement. In addition, especially this time as well as the last time (probably GPF?), I think I was able to concentrate on every jump after executing the first 4Lo, especially in the FP. So the remaining task is for me to learn from every mistake I made during this SP and FP. (About 4S), Well, my condition for 4S is not bad; (but) this time at the competitions, I couldn’t land two 4Ss, so to be honest, I was about to lose my confidence (in 4S), and it made me wonder a bit. But I am able to execute it properly during practice, and my real ability has already mastered how to jump 4S. So, I think I should work harder towards the World while confirming (checking and working on each of his mistakes and problems) one by one. (About your PCS at 94.34), well, I think I could have done better. Because of the failure of 4S, my performance got ruptured, which I have to improve. That (4S) is one of the elements I could aim higher in terms of TES, too. (As for your rivals) Well, especially the multiplicity of quads and 3A of Nathan is a big thing. I myself have two 3As in the second half, but Nathan was not originally good at 3A, so in that sense, I am amazed with and admire his mental strength. (Finally as for the Worlds) I have already achieved a complete form of performances during practice, so I would like to increase the probability of executing such complete performances, so that I can execute perfect performances at the Worlds. (nodding :) )
5) (14’15” – 14’ 45”) (At the earlier press conference at the venue), I think I am getting better every year, and what I do has been getting harder and harder. I very much like this feeling that I am challenging my own limits. I think this silver medal is the one I have most enjoyed (as far as silver medals at 4CC are concerned). From now on, we have no idea who will challenge jumping 4Lz or 4F, and there is a possibility that someone will challenge 4A. So, I find the (current development of) the figure-skating so exciting, and I am looking forward to practicing even more.
6) (15’50” – 17’25”) (Do you have anything you have found as a pre-Olympic?) Yes, I do. It (the rink) was easy for me to jump, at a comfortable temperature, and the sound acoustic was quite good. So I feel it is a very good rink for me. (Are you even more excited?) Yes, I do have a strong desire that I would like to come back and skate here, by all means. (About yourself in 1 year’s time) I would like to become even stronger. Not only executing jumps, but also I would like to elevate the quality of 3A and quads. While doing so, I should do more performance, become more expressive, and improve the quality of each element. All these things. So, all in all, this competition has stimulated my desire to improve myself even more, in a good sense. (I feel your frustration as well as passion from you now) Yes, indeed, I am burning inside me :) (In terms of rivals) Of course, the existence of rivals counts, but I have frustrating feelings that my own performance was quite pathetic. So I would like to clear one (problem) at each time.
7) (30’55” – 31’45” ) (After his EX performance) It was such an awful exhibition performance. I did practise it, I was doing practice properly. Well, it’s a little hard (because of so many events with short intervals in a day). Now I realise that triple toeloop [he intentionally said slowly] is a difficult jump. I should have done 3F, which I did practice. OMG, this is awful, it haunts me a lot. My frustration with FP is gone. No, it’s OK; there is one more time, one more time, one more time; there is the Finale. (footage of gala: he did a 3T during gala finale)
8) (33’10” - end ) (Message to all fans) Thank you so much for all your cheers for me during this competition as well. From all of you who came to the venue, those cheering for me in front of the TV as well as those watching on internet, I received lots of lots of power. In terms of the final result, it ended up with being 2nd, but I feel that the reason why my FP was first is because of all your encouragement. I will continue to elevate my level and do my best from now on, so please keep cheering for me!
Translation by Sophie Moroi in YHIFG (thanks to Sophie for her permission to post this in my blog)
Yuzuru Hanyu FS Hope and Legacy || Skate Canada 2016
Bonus: this most adorable mistake and its equally adorable follow-up
(basically I recently discovered a hitherto hidden obsession with this version of H&L. And you know I’m not saying that even on a not-so-stellar day his second jumps in a combo are better than most people’s solos, but, well, yeah, check it out yo)