Q: Should Yuzuru put quad lutz in for next season?
So much overthinking as the person I am, with the lack of news during off-season, thoughts about technical aspects of next season have been wandering around inside my head for quite a while.
Anh the big question for me as a Yuzuru’s fan is what should he do with his layout for next season?Should he add a new quad in or not?
In a TV show and a magazine interview after WTT, Yuzuru said that he has no intention to put quad lutz in his program for Pyeongchang (though that quad was so beautiful, no pre-rotation and his toepick for inward, wtf). Also, I recalled from his FaOI talk with Nobunari and Shoma, he wrote for his goals that he want to consolidate what he learned so far into the program for Olympics 2018. All these made me have a very strong feeling that he is actually serious about not putting quad lutz in.
That’s fine, “no quad lutz is fine”, I thought. But what’s he gonna do with next season program and how will it be better from this year’s? Turned out, his layout already maxed out its value for a program with 3 kinds of quads he got (mostly for the LP):
He’s only allowed to repeat 2 kinds of jumps, one of which is undoubtedly 3A given how much he loves it and how comfortable he is with it
He got 2 quad salchow this season, and the biggest change can only be from 4S to 4L or doing a hard combination for 4S-2T.
As for the situation we’re in and also for context, I find it very helpful to look back at the 13-14 Olympic season. The 2 main skaters that I’m gonna discuss in that season are Patrick and Yuzuru (for obvious reason). After taking the silver at Skate Canada and Trophee Bompard, Yuzuru got gold at GPF 2013 and then at Sochi, overthrowing Patrick’s throne that had been going on for the past 3 years. And the reason Yuzuru was able to do so were:
He got a really good SP that he could skate well and skate consistently, which creates a lead for him after SP
By doing more difficult elements and placing them in the second half of the free program, he got an advantage in BV comparing to Patrick, which also allows him to win with a not very clean program (as I saw him struggle to skate clean his LP that season)
For 13-14 season free program, the difference in BV of Yuzuru and Patrick was around 8 points, the total GOE for Yuzuru was 8-14 and Patrick was 17-18. So with a quite similar TES and a lead in SP, Yuzuru was able to win Patrick who was deemed unbeatable.
For this season, this is some averages (just estimation, not exact) I got for the three skaters I think have the most potential for gold in Pyeongchang (this is only for the free, as to me their SP are around the same score):
Yuzu BV 103, GOE 20-23, PCS 94-97
Shoma BV 104, GOE 7.5-15, PCS 91-94
Nathan BV 104, GOE 9-12, PCS 84-88
Boyang BV 103, GOE 9-15 , PCS 83-86
My guess are that Nathan’s gonna add another 4Lz (layout like the one for Worlds this season), Shoma’s gonna add 4F, and Boyang’s gonna add another quad too (not sure about him, 4Lz/4L). This will up their BV by 8-10 points alone, assumed they don’t add any other changes and they have the same level of skating.
However, things never stay constant. The three younger skaters still have a lot to improve on their PCS and how many GOEs they can take, so those number will definitely increase next season.
I don’t underestimate Yuzuru’s ability to evolve, it’s just that he’s much closer to the point of “perfection”, according to CoP. In recent years, the maximum GOE he got was around 70-80% of max GOE for the whole free skate. And even if he got 10% more on GOE, which I think is “wow”, that’s an increase of only 3 points. His PCS is already around 97-98 points and I doubt that it can go any much higher.
So assumed that he does as I said, keeping the quad lutz out of the equation, then Yuzuru might fall into the seat of Patrick in 2013. He’s an awesome skater, and it’s clear that no one can beat him if he can skate clean both programs. But from my short time as a fan, as much a believer I am of him doing the best come back from behind ever, I seriously won’t bet my money on him skating 2 programs clean under such pressure every time. The stress that he put on himself to skate clean SP in WTT 2017 and its result is a good evidence for this, I think. I think he knows much better about his hot-and-cold moments and as someone who used the BV card just a few seasons ago, he shouldn’t put the Olympic gold medal on such a risky bet like that in my opinion.
Of course, all my worries will be for nothing if he got an amazing SP from Jeff and leads the way with a few points in the SP. But those things, you never know until the season starts a while. I’m kinda worried because he seems to struggle a little bit with his first season for an SP, but me in my wishful thinking mode will hope that Jeff and Yuzu will go back to programs that Yuzuru can rock it CLEAN (they wanted LGC to be a challenge and it definitely was XD). I don’t really worry about Shae, so mehh… the choreography should be fine, it’s just about the jumps.
Again, so much uncertainty, and the ability of younger skaters to compensate the gap in quality with the BV of their quads as mentioned above put me into panick mode cause I really think he should put quad lutz in but there is no sign he would do so. Yuzu, I know you’re a smart ass, I just don’t know what’s in your mind right now =.=
Yes, that was all those clogged in my head *relieved*. But whatever happens, I’ll still be happy I think. Either seeing that beautiful quad lutz in competition or witnessing a smooth and complex skate by Yuzu, so come fast next season!
* this started out as some thoughts I have after Yuzu mentioned he wouldn’t include 4Lz in his program, then I kinda asked around tumblr a bit, only to realize I couldn’t include all my arguments and confusion in such small spaces. In the end, after 2 long weeks, I’m just like “Whatever, I’ll write this down and let them butcher my opinion.” So come join the discussion and enlighten me, guys! (that is if you’re still here at the end of this long ass post) *