Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 US Figure Skating Championships: Mens Recap

I was less excited about the Senior men than any other event in this competition. Did you feel me? However, after so many relatively clean shorts, I was actually looking forward to this free! Though the judging left us asking questions, the competitors were at their best! 
  1. Without Jason Brown or even Joshua Farris in the competition, any win almost seems…..less than. Nevertheless:
    1. Boy was I wrong! Adam won this event, but he had heavy competition, from his training mate Nathan Chen in particular.
  2. Can Max Aaron, the clear favorite, land his jumps and win outright?
    1. He landed the jumps and had some semblance of performance quality, but with so much two-foot skating his program didn't hold a candle to Adam. Adam leads in artistry and Chen leads in athleticism, which leaves Max Aaron just hanging out in the middle. 
  3. Will Nathan Chen, the once novice and junior phenom, improve upon last year’s 8th place finish in his Senior debut and threaten for the podium?
    1. Did he ever! In my opinion, he should have won. I am a dance teacher and theatre nerd, so I of all people appreciate performance quality, but this is in fact a sport and athleticism should prevail.
  4. Can dark horse candidate and twitter-verse favorite Grant Hochstein make a statement after his impressive 4th place finishes at Cup of China and NHK Trophy?
    1. Johnny and Tara would not agree, but Grant pulled at the heart strings in his free and earned the fabulous pewter. With Chen's health uncertain, he has a strong shot at the world team.
  5. If Hochstein skates cleanly, will he have a moment with his Les Miz free skate and bring the crowd to its feet?
    1. He did indeed! Dell Pelligrini also had a moment when he skated over to her after the skate. Again, Johnny and Tara threw shade, but the real skating fans know better and appreciate a true "Nationals moment" when we see one.
  6. Is Ross Miner still relevant?
    1. He was indeed relevant in the short program, but without the quad or the unmatched artistry of Rippon, he will have difficulty making a world team. 
  7. Will Adam Rippon’s jumps fail him yet again, but wow us with his artistry?
    1. Yes and yes!
  8. Who will be the surprise member of the final group in the free?
    1. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tim Dolensky! I hated how Tara called him a "practice skater" just because he doesn't train at a big fancy rink. This kid has talent and I don't think this showing was a fluke. 
  9. Who will make the biggest jump from the short to the free?
    1. He only jumped from 7th to 6th, but Alexander Johnson gave the free performance of the event for me after forgettable short. He is a true artist. His edge work is stellar and he makes this incredibly difficult sport look effortless.
  10. And finally, the question is not if, but who, will the selection committee screw out of an International assignment?
    1. The answer as of now is "nobody".  However, if Chen cannot attend Worlds, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if USFS reconsiders Brown's petition over 1st alternate Hochstein. 

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