Full gala with CBC commentary
part 1: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Um4csfCyDrAW4FlH_AShvsPkJ_lucqi5
part 2: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1OtAgxs4UMGY3RMovy8Z8rIaeLBT5ak7c
Part 2 is still being processed but can be downloaded!
Part 4/4 of the Podcast translation is up! From 78.04 to the end.
Arguments touched on the episode:
1) Nebelhorn Trophy – The last competition for the Olympic qualification is now begun
2) Junior Grand Prix – Hints coming from a Qualification phase that exceeded expectations
3) Challenger Series – Yuzuru Hanyu improves one of his World Records right from the start of the season (translated) 4) ISU's Scoring System – How to change the rules of the game to reach the perfect balance between artistry and technique? (translated)
(Actually, I'm not sure whether you'd rather have me posting it as a comment or move it in the first post... maybe it will get too long and hard to read LOL. So I'll leave it here for now)
Alessandro: Exactly. Earlier, I wanted to tease you a little. All of these new Records are possible because, since 2002, with the various scandals that happened, like judges switching and exchanging votes and such things, with the past scoring... the new scoring system allowed the judges to influence the scores, but in a very mathematical way. We could say that currently, the sport's scores can be calculated as exactly and precisely as a metronome. It's a sport that, we need to tell the truth, is won by the Athlete, and not by the judge [the judges can't decide who wins]. We have to, once more, contradict many skeptics on this point of discussion. Therefore, Max, with this new system, during this time, with all these quadruples, if we think about the past scoring system, with the 6.0, how many 6.0 would we find in the Men's field, with this stellar level [of performance]? In the 'Torvill and Dean's Bolero' style?
Max: Yes, look, with that Clean Program, it's a concrete hypothesis. The Program that Hanyu skated thursday night, it was a 6.0 program. But an unanimous 6.0, both in Artistry and Technical score, without even comparing it to Torvill&Dean's Bolero. We are talking about Ice Dance, Sarajevo's Olympics in 1984, but - it's pointless to compare. Yes, we would see some 6.0 - but, careful, when you execute many quadruples, there's also a high risk of mistake, and this is true for everyone. Perfectly clean programs, with 3-4 quads, we haven't seen many of them... once again, we have to go and disturb "that one", Hanyu, and what he did in the last World Championships, for example. At Helsinki. The Perfect Free. In that case, with less quadruples than those which he would like to present at the Olympics - in any case, they were 4 quadruples and two 3A, a lot of stuff, let's not forget it. Yes. Well.
What you say starts an important discussion: about the current scoring system. We read a lot about it these past weeks. It seems that ISU is thinking about new rules. I think the wrong direction is being taken. I think that the right intervention to create balance between artistic score (or PCS, how it's called) and technical score, is quite simple. But I have the impression that the ISU is going the wrong way. Let's explain what's happening.
It seems that they're working on a scoring system that will lower the scores for the jumping elements. Meaning: quadruples will have a lower BV, but triples, doubles etc. too. All the jumps will lose value. This will, according to ISU, bring more balance between tech score and artistic score. But in reality, it won't. Some who are following us and saying hi, Carolina, Ilaria, Francesco etc. etc. have tried the system through simulations, applying the new criteria that some ISU officials have talked about recently, to the World Championships. The rank would have stayed exactly the same. And the best technical scores would have stayed above 110. Translated: the right intervention to do ISN'T that.
What's the real current program: that we see programs with 5 quadruples automatically obtaining 94, 92 in Program Components. This is not possible. The Program Components can't follow the number of quadruples that you're executing. This isn't written anywhere. Someone bring me the Rulebook and let me see where this is written. Do it, and I'll surrender and say 'you're right', or even better, don't give 92 and 94, give 100 and even some extra points as presents, so that we are all happy.
Shoma Uno at Lombardia Trophy receives 92. I told you this earlier on: go and see what he does before his quadruples. Go and count his crossovers, see how long the preparation for jumps is, how many parts of coreography are there. Very well. He does 5 quadruples. So pay him accordingly for those. He does them with quality. Pay him with the GOE. And here we should open a whole other chapter that maybe we will talk about in the future [spoiler alert: he totally will lol]. How is it that a skater that moves his arms pretty well gets 92? I invite you to watch what he does with his feet, a Shoma, and then compare him to others. Because then, if Shoma Uno gets 92 in PCS, Patrick Chan has to start from 120.
The problem here has to do with judgement. It's okay to reward the athlete who is brilliant in technique with a high TES score, but I don't understand why he should be overscored on the Artistic front.
And that's where the current system breaks. It's Clear that when athletes like Hanyu, Nathan Chen, Uno Shoma, present programs with Base Values around 110, Free Programs, Programs that can get to 140 in TES, you have to go and change something in the scoring system. And what's the banal intervention that anyone would make here: change the PCS factorization system. Said like this, it might seem difficult, but it's so simple. Instead of taking the judges' votes and multiplying them for 2.0, you multiply them for, I don't know, 2,2, 2,4. Consider what might be best. At that point, the Artistic score, which is not only Artistic, because it's more complex than that, has a higher value, and you reach a balance with the two.
But if you lower the value of jumps, even by 7% or 10%, nothing changes. Nothing changes in the least. Because everyone will still be encouraged to perform quadruples in any case, because they give you more points. What do I care about doing a 3Lz when I can get almost double the points with a good 4Lz? If I have the ability to do that, I will work on that. So, the ones who say "yeah, let's lower the value of jumps so everyone will give more value to artistry" have understood NOTHING. Because what matters is winning.
So athletes will still present the jumps that have the higher value. It's not like anyone will limit themselves to triples and think "but they will reward me with high PCS and I will go on the podium", no, the only way you'll see the podium that way is with a postcard, if you're lucky.
The fact that they failed to understand this concept leaves me completely baffled. Besides, you need to distinguish between the different disciplines. Men's field has some problems, Ladies' field has some other problems, Pairs have some other problems. No? And you want to go and lower the value of jumps for all three disciplines? It's wrong, it doesn't make any sense. I can prove this with numbers, although speaking about numbers in a podcast is complicated, I can prove with numbers how much ISU's line of thinking is completely useless.
Of course, in the end, they have the stick of power. I think it might be a good idea to trust in an external consultant. Experts in Mathematical systems, who can make them understand the right way to intervene. Anyone of them will say, raise the PCS. Lest we impoverish figure skating, compared to the past, by lowering jumps values. Because if you raise the PCS, you can still compare the present sport with the past, by using the same PCS factorization numbers of the past. So that you can say "yes, Hanyu in 2015 would have still gotten a higher score than Cha in 2021". Works. But by changing the value of jumps, everything blows. I'm repeating words, everything blows up [in Italian, 'blows up' can be said by using the word 'jumps'. He did a pun.]. Does that make sense? Not as I see things.
In the Ladies' field, what kind of intervention should you do? Easy. Short Program: a lot of Athletes go over 40. What is 40? The limit for the balance. Because the max score in PCS is 40, and in Pairs too. In Men's, they have 50, which should go up to 60.
In Ladies' field, you could bring that to 50. Why? Because probably you will have athletes able to do the 3A, very soon. But Medvedeva, which is the absolute leader right now, doesn't reach 50 points in TES. She's not even close. Okay? She's always above 40, but. She doesn't go to 50. But since the goal is giving value to PCS, I think it's correct to raise it to 50. It's not a big problem. I want to tell you something important though. Miss Carolina Kostner, which is one of the leaders of PCS in the last years, has an average (since Vancouver 2010 to today) of 55 TES in the Free. The big ones go over 70. Miss Kostner, with her scores, has always been on podium, except one occasion. From November 2010 to today. So what does this mean? That the scoring system, at least for Ladies' Free Programs, is not that bad. On the Short, maybe there's a small problem, but... for me, we can go beyond this. I mean, you can decide to raise PCS both for the Short and the Free, okay. But everything still depends on judging the Program Components in the right, fair way. Because if you keep giving a 9 of PCS to athletes who honestly don't deserve that, you can change all the scoring systems in the world, and you will go back to square one.
It's not a problem of Rules by themselves; the problem is how the rules are applied. And the same can be said for the GOE. Currently, the GOE has seven degrees of judgement, from -3 to +3, including 0. The fact that you want to bring that to 11 degrees of judgement, from -5 to +5, is positive, for me. But, you have to apply it in a correct way. It's not like you can give +5, +5, +5 to everything in a program. I don't believe in absolute perfection. So you have to judge fairly there as well. If the system was created in the first place, and now they want to change it, it's because, evidently, in some cases, they are disoriented, they lost the compass. With some Athletes. That have been rewarded with overscoring. And now it's hard to go back.
Also, something I can't tolerate, is that if someone gets 9,25 in Skating Skills, they will get 9 in Transitions, they will get 9.25 in Performance, 9,30 in Coreography, and 9,30 in the last PCS bullet, which initially was Coreography and became Composition. But this isn't reality. This isn't reality. Medvedeva can't get more than Kostner in Skating Skills, this is objective. Because of edges, because of speed, and more. But at the same time, if you look at Transitions, there is a 4 points difference [with Medvedeva in the lead] between them. So, in my opinion, it's fair that you can have 10 in an entry, 6 in the second one, 7.50 in another one, and so on. It's not possible that every entry is the same. Because it's not true for almost any skater. So that's where the problem lies. Before thinking about scoring system evolutions, try and judge the skaters for what they are. So, to me, everyone should do a collective conscience examination, and evaluate where we should end up.
By the way, I'm the first person to say "raise the PCS coefficent", in Men's field, the max PCS score is at 50, let's bring that to 60. By the way, Hanyu and Fernandez have already obtained more than 60 points on TES in the Short. But it's okay to have PCS to 60. In the Free, bring it to 120. It would be good! It would be good! After all, there will be athletes who will get to 130 in TES and there will be more balance! But if you don't reward the best Athlete on the Artistic items he excels in, and you give the same reward to that athlete who does 5 quadruples, what matters? What will change? Nothing. So, that 120 in PCS is worth the same as 100. Nothing changes. And by lowering the value of jumps without touching anything else, nothing changes. Because if you don't change the judging method, if you don't give Ceasar what is Ceasar's in PCS [this means 'giving someone what they're due'], you will always go back to square one.
So, what's the conclusion? We are talking about absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because before anything, you have to give a conscience examination on the application of judgements for every item of the Program Components. After that, comes everything else. And that everything else might be raising the value of PCS.
Let me quote some Pairs as well: in the season during which you can put a backwards outside Death Spiral in your Short Program, and a group 5 lift, or executing throw-3Lutz or parallel 3Lz, if you do everything and everything is +3, you can get to 50 of TES. But only if there are all these elements, because as you know, there are obligations regarding elements to be met that change from season to season. So, last year the lift was group 5, Axel-larse, reverse, what you want, but a group 5 [I have no idea what he's talking ab/ sorry if I got the names wrong lol]. Among Pairs, as with the Ladies, it's not bad to bring PCS to 50. Because a lot of Pairs have gotten more than 40 in TES, so the current system doesn't stand anymore. Raise the PCS. But, again, the results will change only when you will evaluate the Athletes for what they really execute. IF he does 5 quadruples AND he is the best at PCS, then take off your hat, he deserves to win everything, and everything's fine. But you can't tell me that Nathan Chen, an Athlete that I find amazing from different points of view, is worth 90 points on PCS, so 9. That would be 110 if you brought the PCS to a roof of 120 in the Free Program. Because objectively, he's not worth that score. You can't see Patrick Chan getting lower PCS than Shoma. Because anyone who saw both of them skating live can realize of the difference between the two. On everything. Yes, it's true, the other one jumps more. Not better. More. And so, he has more TES score. But if Shoma Uno gets 92 in PCS, I won't say Patrick has to start from 120 like I said before but, in any case, he should be around 110.
So, this is the problem. I hope I was clear, because I am reading a lot of analysis about this, some weird, some with more sense, but the magical stick is in the hands of the judges, and those who control the judges. If what's happening is okay to the ISU, so if some Athletes are worth a systematic, automatic 9 for them, there is no solution. And the winners will always be those doing 5 quadruples. Or those that do from 3 to 5 quadruples. And 2 3A. So Jason Brown, who is an extraordinary skater on many aspects, will never win anything. But if you start evaluating PCS for what they are, and you start rewarding Jason Brown for what he does, which is a lot, maybe Brown will compete with those who do 2 or 3 quadruples. He will hardly compete with those who 5 quadruples, in any case. The proof happened recently. Jason Brown did excellent performances at Lombardia Trophy. I repeat, Lombardia Trophy's scores were inflated. Max Aaron, a cult American skater, cult because he recently proposed some debatable programs, a blues that was abandoned after a while, Max Aaron with quadruple Salchow and Toeloop brought home more points than Jason Brown, which competed at Lombardia Trophy. Max Aaron competed at Salt Lake City, where the scores were less inflated. In the end, the quadruples win. It's clear that if Jason Brown got 95 PCS and Max Aaron got 60 PCS, which is what he deserves, with all due respect to the skater, maybe Jason Brown could compete against Max Aaron and his 5 quadruples in Short and Free. But only if PCS are judges in the correct way. And this goes for First rate Athletes, second rate Athletes, and Juniors. That's all. I think this is very simple. The discussion will continue, and I think it's positive that the ISU is trying to understand how to intervene. But, in my opinion, they have to let us help them. This is a quote from Jerry Mcguire. A cult movie in the sports world. Tom Cruise saying it to... I don't remember the actor [throws some random names]. A phrase to say: ISU has to let external people help them. To understand what is the right solution, to develop a software that will allow them to understand what was the real progress of scoring. How many Athletes got over certain scores. For example, currently, post-Vancouver, in the Men's Field, the Athletes who got over 100 in TES are just 7. The first class athletes. So let's evaluate if it's good to change everything only for those seven. Maybe yes, maybe no. But you have to think about it. Ladies' field, the perfection in the Free Program in PCS is 80. Do you know how many Athletes got over 80 in TES in the history? One. Medvedeva. In a competition that was half competition and half party: World Team Trophy. I don't doubt she might go over 80 in the next competitions, and with her Zagitova too, but that's it. They're two. The others are behind. In the Pairs, eight pairs have went over 75 TES. 80 was never reached. In Ice Dance as well, the highest score ever reached was 80, so this means that in those fields, in those cases, the system still works. Do you want to change it because the name of the sport is 'figure skating' and the ones who decide everything think that it's not artistic enough? [this is weird because in Italian we call the sport 'artistic skating', so he's saying it's not 'artistic' enough for some] Okay. Let's change the PCS factorization, but leave the value of jumps alone. You can't mortify the technical development. And let's add something important: many don't remember, but after the Vancouver scandal, with Lysachek beating Plushenko, also because of Plushenko's mistakes, because he could have easily won that gold, the ISU decided to encourage the quadruple jumps development, how? By raising their value. You raise it in 2010, and you did good, and in 2018 you lower it because you think that it is damaging the artistic component? It's madness. Do so that the PCS will be judged for what is brought to the ice, if you want raise its value, but leave the rest unchanged. To me it seems like such a simple solution, I don't know if anyone will realize it, maybe someone will listen to this podcast, someone will get angry, will feel hurt in their pride, and say "who the fuck is this Mister Ambesi and what does he know about these things?", but I invite the Italian executives to confront me, me alone, against 10 of them, on the numbers of the last 10 years of figure skating. Let's see who accepts the challenge, to prove what has to change in the future, with numbers at hand. Maybe they will agree with me, and we will agree that 'Italians do it better', and everything will be fine.
Alessandro: With this gauntlet thrown by Ambesi, I'd say that we can end on a high note this first episode, what do you say, Max?
Max: Yes, yes, I'd say it's okay for today.
Alessandro: We've gone over 1 hour 40 minutes for this first episode. For now, we haven't yet decided the date for the next episode, but we want to keep following these disciplines, and maybe bring some guests here to explore different points of view and different arguments, especially because the closer we get to the Grand Prix, the more there is to discuss, with all these great characters that you introduced to us, among these, of course, Hanyu, there's going to be a lot to talk about. Thank you for being here for the first episode of Kiss&Cry, see you next time, and please follow us in the groups that follow figure skating. You want to say the name of the groups, Max?
Max: Well, the main one is 'Pattinaggio - Figure Skating', managed by Emanuele, other friends who have a huge passion for figure skating, and you will find competition results live, and everything else. Then there's the page "Figure Skating - molto più di uno sport", managed by amazing girls, with a lot of passion, among them Chiara, but many more. Videos of competitions, photos, and more. To always stay updated, day after day, including tomorrow, with Nebelhorn trophy, and the Junior Grand Prix in Zagabria. [He continues mentioning official youtube channels of the ISU and others]. All the info, you will find on the main group "Pattinaggio - Figure Skating".
[They give brief goodbye to the listeners, and thanks to a series of people, among which Sergio Bersanetti who wrote the tune of the podcast!]
Good evening people! Sorry for the delay, my social life was surprisingly active the days following Max's podcast. I've seen some bits and pieces were already translated in the General Thread, so here is the full transcript with a lot of Max rambling and going from one argument to another
Arguments touched on the episode:
1) Nebelhorn Trophy – The last competition for the Olympic qualification is now begun
2) Junior Grand Prix – Hints coming from a Qualification phase that exceeded expectations 3) Challenger Series – Yuzuru Hanyu improves one of his World Records right from the start of the season (translated) 4) ISU's Scoring System – How to change the rules of the game to reach the perfect balance between artistry and technique? (translated)
Disclaimer: since the episode is 104 minutes long, and the first half is dedicated to the two first points of discussion - to post a translation of the part dedicated
to Yuzuru as soon as possible, I have translated that part first. I am pretty sure the entire episode will be translated in a further moment - if
not by me, by other Italian FS fans who have already translated a whole lot of Max's podcasts in English for the International public to follow them c: In any case, I'll post part 4 later today and part 1 & 2 in the weekend.
The Podcast speaker's name is Alessandro Genuzio.
The translation starts at minute 58:28 of the postcast, which you can find here, and finishes at 78.04. (If you want to follow the translation live c:)
Alessandro: Now we start talking about the one skater who is writing pages and pages of figure skating history, record after record; we are talking, of course, about
Besides, a character that Ambesi has particularily followed since, basically, since he was born, we could say. He always spoke very highly of him, so much that your
great enthusiasm, Max, was recognized by Fans in Canada, who put up a Banner, the Planet Hanyu, with a quote of yours. Please, repeat is so that everyone can get hype
hearing it once again.
Max: [The quote] would be: "Welcome to Planet Hanyu. Population, one: HIM."
Alessandro: Exactly. We could say that if Figure Skating, a couple of years ago, with the changes in scoring system was becoming figure skating 2.0, Hanyu is the one
skater who brought it to even further evolution, to 4.0. A quantity of Quadruples never seen before in history. And so, in Canada, first competition in a Challenger
Series, right away: world record. Where can this incredible talent further push himself?
Max: He will go on as long as they will let him [or also: he has no limits, the limits are set by something else that I wasn't able to translate exactly because of
audio]. His not-so-secret goal is succeeding in landing in Competition the 4 Axel. Careful: Yuzuru, in training, can easily land 5 different quadruples. The quadruple
he didn't develop is the 4 Flip. He lands the Axel. Maybe with 30% of success rate, but he lands it. 4Axel, I don't know if the concept is clear. Maybe we will see it
in Competitions in the next Years, if Yuzuru decides to continue competing. The news for this Season is clearly the 4 Lutz, which he didn't bring - for physical
problems as well, but not only - to the Challenger series happened last week; but in the Short Program, with a layout of jumps that isn't the one that is in his head,
he proved that he represents the perfect synthesis of technical omnipotence and artistic excellence. What else can we say. A Program that's simply perfect. He almost
reached the 100% of the possible score, which is incredible, 115,11. He stopped to 112.72. It's an All-Time record of all of Figure Skating competitions, Ice Dance
included. The previous record was set by David/White, who reached 97.4% of the possible score. Yuzuru Hanyu reached 97,92%. Here. In front of a program like that one,
what can you say? Nothing, it's the perfect program. What's the problem? He could easily win the Olympics with a simplified layout. 4Salchow as a single jump in the
SP, 4T3T in combination in the second half, 3A in the second half, I mean, simplified is an understatement, of course, but - he wouldn't be Yuzuru. If he presented
himself to the Olympics with that Salchow. In his head, that jump has to be either a Lutz or a Loop; in fact, in training, he tries two different Short Programs: one
with the Loop, and one with the Lutz. To gather even more points. The question is: does he need these scores? The answer is, probably not. But this is just how he is.
He is an athlete who is used to push himself to the limit. The challenge is with others, but especially with himself.
Also, let's judge at how he does those quadruples, how he inserts them in the program. They are so well executed, they look like triples. They are preceded by
difficult Transitioning steps. I invite you to see the quadruples that Shoma Uno did at the Lombardia Trophy. Count his crossovers and the time he takes [in
preparation for] for: Flip, Salchow, the first Toeloop. And then, after, try and watch Yuzuru Hanyu's jumps. The difference is huge. Huge.
So, here, we are in front of the skater who puts on the ice the Best, almost, of every single aspect of Skating. True, there are athletes who have maybe something else
on the spins: Jason Brown. He's the number 1 for spins. Jason Brown also has a lot of Transitions into his programs. Unfortunately, he doesn't do the four rotations,
so he can't compete with the others. But today, Hanyu is the perfect synthesis, and that's it. He would like to present a Free Skate with 7 elements who can get that
+3 GOE, +3 means +3 full points, not just +3 GOE [meaning: he wants 3's across the board who will give full 3 points more]. Which is something incredible, although
he's not the only one who will aim to that. Shoma Uno will do the same, Nathan Chen will even try to give 8 elements the +3 GOE. But it's clear that, normally, Hanyu
presents these elements with another quality. His mental layout for the Olympics should be 4Lutz opening, second jump the 4Loop, then theoretically there would be the
3Flip, which could become something else, though, for example 3Lutz. We'll see. Second half, first jump the 4S3T, combination that in the past season gave problems to
him and now he lands with an ease, after there's 4T+1lo+3S, element with huge BV, that he does with no effort, then 4T, then 3A2T and 3A to finish off. This is a crazy
layout. If I remember correctly, the Base Value would be 111 points. Which means that, with +3GOE on everything, we arrive beyond 140 in TES, which is just science
fiction [unworldly, too]. Of course, you have to complete these elements, which is not easy, and sometimes, if Yuzuru has physical problems, it's hard for him to do
that layout. In last week's competition, he wasn't in the right conditions. You could see it in training, too. Hanyu is a skater that never avoids jumps during
runthroughs/practice. On the contrary, he does as many jumps as possible because it's in his nature. During his runthroughs, he avoided the jumping elements. Which is
an anomaly, for him. This is because he had a small physical problem which prevented him from being at his 100% of potential. But: an athlete who isn't at his 100% of
potential gives you almost 113 points in the Short Program. For me, we are really in presence of a different dimension. This athlete will be remembered in 100 years as
the one who changed figure skating, and there's nothing you can do about it. Plus, he's not done writing history pages, especially since he's motivated by talented
competitors: Shoma, from Nagoya's school, has quality he can put on the field. I'd say, more quantity than quality right now, and we will further talk about this in
the next episodes. I remember a beautiful phrase by a dear friend, Silvia Fontana. She said, during Sochi's Olympics, "Figure Skating doesn't have to be 'counting
potatoes'." What she meant with 'counting potatoes' is adding triples, or quadruples, without looking at their quality, and saying 'Okay, this one wins because they
did this many jumps and the other skaters didn't'. In that specific case, the jump's quality was there for Adelina Sotnikova, but that's another discussion [He talks a
lot about Adelina in the first half of the podcast]. The difference between Yuzuru Hanyu and a Shoma, or a Nathan Chen, is? The quality with which he executes those
quadruples. And the same goes for Patrick Chan, when Chan lands his quadruples, he lands them with brilliant quality. Hanyu-like. The other's quality is inferior, and
here the trouble with GOE starts. It's clear that Hanyu's 4Loop, when it's well executed, it's a +3GOE jump, no discussion, for what he puts [footwork] before and
after the jump. Others obtain that +3 with a quality that is not comparable. And that is a judgement problem. But we will talk about the problems with the current
score system afterwards.
So, Hanyu started with a Bang. A great Short Program, huge, we can call it, a Free with issues, but the competition revolved around the Short for him, it was there
that he needed answers and he had them, and we will see how the SP will evolve at the Grand Prix, because Hanyu will participate in the first competition, the Cup of
The idea is to close a perfect season, winning the Grand Prix Final, conquering the second Olympic Gold for Men's Figure Skating, a rare occurrence, we have to go back
to ancient times and disturb skaters that Hanyu knows very well, and quotes very often, too - and we will talk about this in later episodes too - we'll see if he will
be able to participate at Worlds too. We hope it, because they will be held here, at Milano, and Worlds with Yuzuru Hanyu is a different kind of competition. There's
hope he will come.
What can be noticed in both Men's and Female's competitions during this beginning of season is an excellent physical condition for a lot of them, this can be said for
Hanyu and his Short Program, for Shoma and both his SP and FS, for the girls, because Medvedeva began with scores that almost reach the 230 total; Zagitova was there
at 220, Marin Honda, ready set go and almost 200 total, but careful here: Honda competed at Salt Lake City, if she had competed at Lombardia Trophy, she would have
reached 215 total as well. Wakaba Higuchi, Japanese, her personal best is not far from 220. Let's say that Japanese and Russian [women] started the season with
important scores. Also because these athletes don't have the certainty that they will participate in the Olympics. They will have to beat the national competition, a
very fierce competition, so it's going to be difficult months. What's the problem with this conditions? That there's the risk of burning energy already in October or
November. Physical and mental energy that you need in December, at your Nationals and the Grand Prix Final, eventually. It's there that everything's decided. After
that, if you pass the beartrap, and you participate in the Olympics, you have one month and a half to recharge yourself and restore your energies, plan a specific
preparation to be at the top condition for Olympics.
If you don't pass the beartrap, the season is basically over for you. And attention, Japan has six top athletes that want to get to Olympics, and have the ability to
do so - the spots are just two. This means that between Higuchi, Honda, Miyahara, Shiraiwa, Hongo and Mihara, and Sakamoto, too, they are seven - five of them will be
left on foot. Which is incredible. Russia's situation isn't that different. But with Russia, like we said beforehand, there is one school who is working on a whole
other level, Eteri's school, which means: Medvedeva, Zagitova and Trurskaya in the lead, and the others follow with great effort. We've seen Radionova at Nepela trophy
and she is having difficulties because her jump quality doesn't allow her to catch up with the others. On Skating Skills, she improved a lot, she is a good interpreter
and listener, but her jump level is just inferior. She jumps the same way she jumped when she was 11, and the little princess in Moscow. At the time, Medvedeva saw
Radionova's title from afar. They are both born in the same year. But now the roles are reversed. Nepela trophy was special because of this, we saw Medvedeva ruling
the competition, and Radionova behind by more than 10 points. The only athlete who ever beat Medvedeva in Senior competitions, do you know who she is? Radionova. In
Russia's Grand Prix, a couple of seasons ago. But in the current situation, this can't happen anymore. The current Radionova pays 50 points to Medvedeva. To compete
with Tutberidze's athletes, one should have Tuktamysheva's jump quality. But she would need to add 3A to her programs, otherwise the game doesn't even begin, which is
a pity because she is an amazing skater. We will see Sotskova, which is Radionova's rinkmate, both trained by Sotnikova's coach. But Sotskova historically has
something less than Medvedeva. They know each other, Sotskova was born in 2000, so they are almost from the same year - but now Medvedeva's technique is far superior.
The other Russian skater who could give Tutberidze's athletes some problems is Pogorilaya - maybe not to Medvedeva and Zagitova... but on different aspects of skating,
she still has to struggle to compete with Tutberidze's school. The spins. Less Transitions. Probably, Pogorilaya's Interpretation and Artistry is better. But you don't
win competitions with those.
So, there's a battle in Russia too, but the outcome is easier to predict than the Japanese one. In Japan, there's total uncertainty. In Russia, Medvedeva and Zagitova
have a margin. So, right away, all of these athletes proved that they are in top condition. Getting to 220 in September is an unprecedented fact in ladies' events.
Same thing goes for the Japanese skaters who get to 216, 217 like what happened with Higuchi. Higuchi had some uncertain rotations to me, Lombardia's Trophy's
Technical panel was generous, but you can't discuss her quality as a skater. You can discuss the quality of her programs and some strategical choices, but that's
We will see what will happen. Meanwhile, Carolina Kostner has to skate against these skaters. An epic challenge. Probably, the goal isn't to be in front of the best
Japanese skaters or the best Russian skaters, but showing that she can still compete at +30 years old, and skate in the last group at the Olympics, in presence of
skaters who technically perform on another level. Of course, they had a different training since junior days.
So, a lot of quality, a lot of quadruples, Alessandro, we saw Nathan Chen landing the 4Loop, becoming the first man to land 5 different quadruples. Who would have
predicted this? And yet, it happened. Shoma inserted the 4Salchow in the Free, so he did 4 different quadruples. Hanyu will get to 4 with the 4Lutz. Jin Boyang, the
other excellent 'quadruplist', who presented the 4Loop which he didn't quite land in the last season, but he has an excellent 4Lutz. So, he has 4 different quadruples
too, and he might add 5 or 6 of them into the free program. So, the era of quadruples. Who can't keep up, follows to a huge distance. These skaters are writing
history. It's another age. The age that Plushenko would have wanted to live. Plushenko that years ago said: do you see that one? That one is Hanyu. I want to compete
against him to the 2018 Olympics. Yes, but - that one will do 4 quadruples. And everyone, at the time, thought: yes, he'll do a program with 4 quadruples. But we were
wrong: what Plushenko meant was, he will go to the Olympics with 4 different quadruples. Because Plushenko saw Yuzuru train them. So, humbly so, Plushenko said "I want
to go to Pyeongchang with 2 quadruples, and I'll compete with those". But unfortunately, age and physical problems didn't allow him to do so. Him, like Carolina, do a
figure skating from another time, a skating that is gone. A skating that probably has a footwork which is not the same that the top skaters are doing right now. But in
that case, Plushenko was already behind Yagudin in 2002. The more careful will remember it well. Of course, amazing programs, he won by large margin in 2006, he's the
moral winner of 2010 - but his type of skating is gone. It's clear that he would have wanted to live in the quadruple era. Young Plushenko tried Flip, Lutz in training
- Flip isn't his jump, but he still tried - with terrible results - all of Mishin's athletes have a terrible Flip, triple, double or quadruple, it's the same. But
then, Plushenko didn't develop those jumps, because he didn't need them. His competition was Joubert, with huge limits and a huge charisma, whose skating skills were
inferior to Plushenko; and then there was Lambiel, whose Skating Skills were the best at the time, but whose 3Axel was a challenge - and without 3A, you can't go far.
No? Of course, he won Worlds and Olympics, but the best Plushenko was someplace else. So, because of his competition, Plushenko never developed those jump elements.
Now, there was this evolution in the sport that will probably end with Yuzuru Hanyu landing that 4Axel.
Clearly, all of this will bring to an evolution to the scoring system, right?
(He uses this phrase to connect to the part 4 of the podcast - which you will read about soon! )