With only two of the top six finishers from last month’s Olympics competing at the world championships in Torino, Italy, the door was left wide open for a new era of men to move up the food chain heading towards 2014.
The short program belonged to 24-year-old Daisuke Takahashi from Japan. Coming off a high from winning the bronze medal at the Olympics, he skated into first place with a Cuban theme short that has boasted high scores all season long. I’m thinking that Takahashi will be retiring after this season, seeing as he stated before the Vancouver games that this would be his last Olympics.
Two skaters who were looking for redemption after rather poor skates at last month’s Olympics got that.
Canada’s Patrick Chan has had anything but the season a reigning world medalist would have wanted going into an Olympics in his home country. After stumbling into what he considered a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Olympics, Chan skated a flawless routine in Torino, that showed his trademark power and speed. But going into his triple lutz, he had a little stumble, and while most would’ve missed the jump, he adjusted and put it in. He trails Takahashi by just 1.5 points and is in the hunt for gold.
France’s Brian Joubert came to these championships with something to prove. After placing a disastrous 16th at the Olympics, Joubert had to do a test skate with his federation a few weeks back. He passed, and was sent to the world championships. In Vancouver, the French Federation had no problems saying publicly how embarrassed and disappointed they were with Joubert’s unraveling at the Games. But in Torino, the old Joubert showed up. The only skater in the top six who tried a quad/triple combination, he nailed that, his triple axel, and his triple lutz. Joubert known for his jumping skills, had a lack of speed in his spins, and his footwork. However, third place isn’t such a bad place to be sitting.
U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott came to the worlds looking to improve on his Olympic’s. He did that, but with caution. This was reflected in his marks. All his jumps were landed, but lacked his soft knee landings, and speed. The landing on his triple axel was shaky, and reflected in the marks. Still, he is in the hunt to move up the standings with a good skate in the freeskate. He currently sits in sixth place.