Who’s Who of the 2017 Grand Prix Series, Part 3: Men
The third part of our Grand Prix previews will cover the talent-packed discipline of men’s singles! Remember to check out our previews of the ice dance and pairs disciplines as well, and our playlist of program recommendations for currently-competing singles skaters.
The last two seasons have brought about a technical revolution in men’s skating the likes of which have never been seen since the advent of triple jumps. Although the men have been attempting quadruple jumps for many years, up until the 2015-16 season, most skaters included 1 quad in the short program and 1 or 2 in the free program, and most attempts were limited to the toeloop and salchow jumps. Everything changed when Chinese teenager Boyang Jin brought a catalytic spark to men’s skating in his senior debut season, making waves with his consistent quad lutz and 6 quad attempts across two programs. Reigning Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan then increased his own base value, smashing world records into the ground, and it was all history from there.
The last two seasons have seen the successful completion of the world’s first quad flip, quad loop, and quad lutz and quad flip combinations. The top men of the field now include 2 quads in the short program and 3-6 quads in the free program. The ripple effect has spread throughout the entire men’s field, with more and more skaters attempting the harder quad loop, flip, and lutz, and continually increasing the quantity of quad jumps in their programs. While there are very real concerns about the direction men’s skating is taking and the long-term effects of so many quad jumps on skaters’ health, there is no doubt right now that men’s skating is in a uniquely exciting position. With at least 6 skaters vying for the Olympic podium and potential dark horses waiting in the wings, every competition this season promises to be a thrillingly unpredictable battle.