A Look Back at the Mens Skate in the 2014 Winter Olympics
by Katherine Ruch
They began the broadcast with lots of drama. Evgeni Plushenko hurt his back in the warm up and then for a solid 5-10 minutes they talked of nothing else! They replayed the triple axel where he tweaked his back about ten times, and when he was first to skate, they showed a dramatic moment where he skated over to the referee and they announced that he was withdrawing for “medical reasons.” He has been in an amazing four Olympics and he has had so many back surgeries over the years that I had a hard time trying to count them all. At first he said he was retiring after this Olympics only to announce later that he wasn’t ruling out trying to go to the Olympics in 2018! Doesn’t exactly seem like the smartest thing to do, health wise, if you ask me. I mean, it would be nice to be able to continue walking after one’s figure skating career is over…
Jeremy Abbott was seeking redemption for not performing as well as he had hoped in the Vancouver games He had a very technical and artistic program planned, choreographed by Olympic Gold medalist Robin Cousins. He fell on the first jump, a Quad Toe and slammed into the boards. He stayed on the ice for several seconds after that really hard fall and then somehow managed to finish the rest of the program. After he finished skating, he said “that really hurt” to his coaches. His recovery after a fall like that was truly incredible!
Jason Brown had a great skate in his Prince program. His participation in these games came after a very impressive showing at Nationals that blew the minds of many including myself! Now he has quite a YouTube following and I believe his ponytail has its own twitter account. He skated really well, managing to finish high enough in the standings after the short to be able to skate in the final flight in the free skate. Even though he doesn’t have the Quad yet, he overall skating quality is quite amazing. Totally unaffected by the pressure, he seemed quite at home on the Olympic ice even.
Hanyu of Japan had a short program that was nothing short of phenomenal. I don’t remember him making any mistakes whatsoever and his program was both highly technical as well as artistic. He even broke 100 with his short program score and managed to receive the highest score ever recorded for a short program.
Javier Fernandez of Spain was the 2013 World Bronze medalist and was considered to be a legitimate contender for a medal. He had some crazy landings on some of his jumps and frankly I’m surprised that he managed to land them. He still finished in medal contention however!
Patrick Chan of Canada went in as the favorite to win a gold medal being such an amazing technical and artistic skater. He has even finished in first place at the last three World Championships! He had a few mistakes so he was in 2nd place heading into the free skate.
Daisuke Takahashi of Japan was participating in his 3rd Olympics! He had an overall good program with the only rough landing being on the Quadruple Toe. As an expressive skater with a fair amount of difficult technical elements, he also finished the short program within medal contention.
With the unfortunate fall in his short, Abbott went into the long program in 15th place. Jeremy is such an artist on the ice and I loved this program which was actually choreographed by Jeremy and his coach Yuka Sato. Even though he had a personal best with this program, it simply wasn’t enough to earn Jeremy a medal. While I was disappointed for Jeremy, I was amused by what he said to the media after they accused him of choking in international competition. He’s right, you know, stating that none but the people who have been in that position know what it is like to try to demonstrate an entire career in several minutes! The pressure must be unimaginable!!!
Peter Liebers was 6th at last months Europeans and was happy to be in the final flight of men going into the free skate. His Dad even competed against Scott Hamilton back in the day. Talk about keeping skating in the family.
Jason Brown was also thrilled to be in the final group. He skated a fairly good program but made a few little mistakes like two footing the landing on his triple toe. His program didn’t seem to have the same magic that it did at Nationals and you could tell that he was fighting for every single element. I know that he was probably overjoyed to make it into the top ten.
Javier Fernandez and Daisuke Takahashi were in medal contention coming out of the short but it simply wasn’t their time. Denis Ten who represents Kazakhstan and won Silver at least year’s Worlds seemed to come out of nowhere between the short and the long. He skated so well in the long that he jumped up in the rankings and won the Bronze medal. Coincidentally, his Bronze medal marks the only time anyone has medaled from his country in skating and happens to be the only medal won at these Sochi games!!
Going into these games, Patrick Chan seemed like an obvious choice as to who would win Gold seeing as he has won Worlds so many times since Vancouver. While Chan and Hanyu both made mistakes in the free, Hanyu had such a score built up in the short that he simply couldn’t be beat! I think Patrick might have jinxed himself by thinking that the event was going to be won or lost by what happened in the long. Regardless, it was definitely an exciting event and I hope all the athletes go home knowing they did the best they could. The Gold went to Hanyu, the Silver went to Chan and the Bronze to Dennis Ten. Why can’t we have the Olympics every year?!?