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KatjaThera

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  1. To say Brian stopped Yuzu from getting new quads when he went to Toronto is over simplifying things. Also, Yuzu did add the 4S to his FS after moving to Toronto, even though it was more miss than hit in competitions and it continued being unstable for another season. Back to the first thing, Brian stopped him because he believe that getting the best possible skating skills was more essential. Not just because Brian is obsessed with skating skills, but because high skating skills give the skater better control and make it possible to execute elements more effortlessly. So, the skating skills improvement wasn't just to up Yuzu's PCS, but also to aid his jumping and generally make things as easy for him as possible, stamina-wise (since we were talking about stamina and asthma not long ago, too). It took time, of course, but Yuzu recognized the merit in it. It also proved right to do skating skills first, and work on jumps second, because while improving his skating skills, Yuzu initially lost his jumps, because he had much higher speed going into jumps, because of the better skating technique, and would lose control on the landing and had to re-learn how to time things. If he'd worked on getting more quads first, well, first of all, he probably wouldn't have been able to do them because of stamina. Then he probably would have ended up in a situation like Boyang's. Who first went for the jumps and then started on the skating skills and as we can see, he's still struggling with both. Ok, maybe Yuzu's natural talent and the fact that he already had a pretty good base, would have prevented things from being that bad, but it still shows that the proper order of doing things is the one Brian recommended. On top of that, Yuzu has always been prone to injury. We talk about NHK '17 and COR'18, but when Yuzu sprained his ankle at worlds 2012, he mentioned having a long-term injury with that right ankle (I forgot the exact term, sorry). And we know of at least 3 or 4 other instances when he sprained it (Worlds 13, COC'14 and again in practice while rushing to recover from another issue in 2015 or 2016, forgot which). I don't blame Brian for thinking adding quads is not worth the risk if they're unnecessary. I agree that Yuzu was right about 4Lo and 4Lz and that he foresaw the quad battle when few people ever did only goes to further show how amazing he is. And Brian did relent on the 4Lo, after he understood Yuzu's reasoning: wanting to stabilize it ahead of the Olympic season., and wanting to get it stabilized before re-focusing on the whole package, because jumps are part of the whole package. I think it was after that that Brian handed the reigns to Yuzu, because he realized Yuzu had his own ideas, views, goals and plans to achieve them, while he became support. I'm sure Brian tells Yuzu whenever he thinks something is a bad idea and I'm sure Yuzu listens to his views, even if he might not agree with them. The way they work is very admirable, but by now, Yuzu is in charge and Brian has made it clear that Yuzu makes all the decisions himself. I'm sure Brian - and Tracy and Ghislain - advises him, but at the end of the day, the decision is Yuzu's. So I really don't think we need to add any concerns of Brian holding Yuzu back technically on top of everything else. Yuzu still won Sochi at least in part due to his higher technical level at the time. He was hated by Patrick and Dai fans then, for being all about jumps and technique and not having high artistry and PCS. He also still won Pyeongchang with only 4S and 4T - as both Brian and Plush said he could; although it's likely he would have needed the 4Lo, if Nathan had been clean. He is still adding 4Lz and working on 4A and 4F at 25, improving more than all his peers technically, too. And his jumps actually have proper technique, too. The main reason Yuzu didn't have 4Lz and 4Lo as an advantage was his tumultuous career. He was jumping clean 4Lo after Sochi. But the post-Olympic season was riddled with injury and illness, there was no way he could work on incorporating the 4Lo. The following season was the foot injury, from beginning to the end, plus the pressure. Not much chance for 4Lo either. Then he did add the 4Lo, but it was the pre-Olympic season already and others were doing 4Lz and 4F already. He recognized the threat and pushed for 4Lz in Oly season as well. Brian was not happy, but let him make the decision. We all know what happened - though I still don't blame that on the 4Lz. That injury and then the one on the 4Lo set him back again, so he couldn't go after the 4Lz and 4A after Olys either. But he is doing it now. And also, his technical advantage WAS the quality of his jumps and skating in general. Remember, the overall SP+FS record of 330 was set with nothing but squeaky clean, super high quality 4T, 4S and 3A only, and only 2 quads in the SP and 3 in the FS. And it stood the barrage of 4Lo, 4Lz, 4F. And the only reason it fell now is because of the unfair scoring. BUT even so, it took 5 quads, 2 3As, 4Lz and 4F and unfair scoring with undeservedly high GOE and PCS to beat it. That should tell you just how high Yuzu's quality advantage was. Even Javi, who got high PCS and pretty high GOE as well, training at the same rink, never really got close to that score. I do think Brian never thought the scoring discrepancy would ever become this ridiculous, which is, admittedly, naive. In a normal world, Yuzu's quality advantage would trump others' technical advantage. But it's sadly not a normal world anymore, so Yuzu's working on Nessie - out of necessity, too, not just to make his childhood dreams come true.
  2. There were some rumors among fans about Yuzu and FaOI, but honestly, I'd be very surprised, since he is the star of the show. If he stops doing FaOI, it'll crash and burn, as there is no one to fill in. I think it's been said that one of the regulars will stop attending FaOI, but if that's Yuzu, they might as well put an end to it. Tessa and Scott won't be going, either and Plushenko does multiple shows anyway. Johnny I think is retiring next year as well, and many are saying Jeff might be retiring soon, too. On top of that, I'm not sure Yuzu will be doing much for the Olympics? Even the rumor that he might be the final torch bearer is for now just a rumor and while he might do it for Sendai at least, that's not much. I doubt he'll get too involved otherwise, partly because he won't want to take away the spotlight from the actual athletes and such. And also, the Summer is an important time for him to train. He can still train while doing ice shows, but not so much if he gets involved in the Olympics. Of course, unless he decides to retire after Worlds, but I'd still be surprised if he did.
  3. If Doug is a TCC member - no idea if he is, just saying - then I'm not sure there's much Brian can do to prevent him from going there and speaking. As long as he doesn't reveal actual, strategic info - which he doesn't seem to have access to - I think he's fairly harmless. All fans know better than to take that stuff too seriously anyway. As for Phil, Brian refusing to speak to him would likely only make things worse and Phil would be able to make a bigger story of it, saying Brian won't talk because there really IS trouble in paradise. Brian can't really win here. Maybe he hoped that fans would know to read between the lines of Phil's article and ignore the crap. IMO, the way Brian handled the Denis Ten issue was a mistake, but I think his heart was still in a good place. I think it was the same kind of reaction a parent has towards a child who falls but doesn't actually get hurt, just scared, by saying "Come on, it's not that big a deal, get up." (And no, I'm not saying Brian is treating Yuzu like he's a child. It's just an attitude people sometimes take to things like this, in an attempt to lower the tension, and the parent-child example is the one that comes to mind quickest). Trying to make the issue seem less like a big deal in order to diffuse the moment, precisely to take away the attention from Yuzu and put the whole thing behind. Giving the example of Max and Javi as a way to handle the issue and that entire attitude were wrong and I'm sure Yuzu did not appreciate it, which perhaps made him shut himself inside himself even more, which only made the whole Boston mess worse. I hope they eventually spoke about it and Yuzu was able to explain why the incident upset him so much. From what I remember reading, Brian did understand Yuzu was upset, but was trying to force him to move on, rather than dwell on it, because there wasn't really time for that, hence pretending to have a more flippant attitude. It backfired, possibly, but the intention was good. And I'd like to think he learned from it. I think Yuzu didn't handle that season very well either, because it seems he didn't communicate much with his coaches - I'm sure his struggles with English were part of it, too, and maybe that's part of why he's been making an extra effort to improve his English - around then. And perhaps even before. There's footage - in the first DVD, I think - of Yuzu practicing in 2013, ahead of Worlds and asking Tracy for a break, but, at least in that footage, he failed to tell her that the reason why he needed a break was because his leg was hurting, although you can see from her expression that she knows something is not right (we all know he competed at Worlds with a bad knee and then sprained his ankle on top of it, too). Also, ahead of Boston, Brian was saying in interviews that Yuzu had been injured, but was all healed by then. Which I always wondered if he was just playing Yuzu's game - we know Yuzu insisted he was fine ahead of Olys, too, only to later reveal he wasn't at all - or if he was really kept in the dark until right before the event (because I think he did know during the competition, at least). So I think there are communication issues on Yuzu's side, too, whether they come from him, his team, or his fed. But at the end of the day, everyone makes mistakes and, especially when those who make them pay for them simply through the immediate consequences, I think learning from them and doing everything possible for those mistakes not to happen again is more important than pointing fingers and throwing blame. If Yuzu ever says otherwise, I'll re-analyze my take, too, but until then... I'm not sure if it's an official stance on the planet, but aside from the occasional marveling, I think we try to avoid focusing too much on Yuzu's physical attributes, as good and pleasant to admire as they are. In my case at least, it's because I want to make it clear that the reason why I admire is Yuzu is for his skating and personality, and his looks are just a bonus. Especially since many non-fans are quick to dismiss Yuzu fans as fangirls who are only into him because of his looks. This is still a public forum, for Yuzu fans, and if we focus too much on his looks, antis will find yet another reason to attack and dismiss us. Even media often tries to make it look like we mostly love him for his looks - it's happened to many fans who have been interviewed, I think, to have the reporters try to turn the conversation to how good looking he is and many of us having to say: but that's not the point. But that's just IMO. (Actually, this reminds me, when I was in Helsinki, a Japanese lady behind me actually talked to me in English a bit - her English was very good - and at one point she asked me if I think Yuzu is handsome and I told her that sure, he is, but that's just a bonus etc. what I said earlier, and she looked at me and said something like: "as a Japanese fan, I want to thank you for saying this." Which made me think that Japanese fans are probably sick of that approach, too.)
  4. I think a lot of people are reacting in a too emotional way to this TCC thing. What could Brian have said that Yuzu hadn't already said? That Ghislain had encountered some trouble and was being delayed? If people had just left it at that instead of trying to look for further, deeper reasons, everything would have been fine. We don't know if Brian could talk about the stolen passport - if there's a police investigation, depending on the jurisdiction, the information they can reveal could be limited. And if he had acknowledged the problem on Tuesday, he would have been assaulted by "So why aren't you going to Yuzu then?? Why didn't you go in the first place??" and that wasn't something he could properly address. Revealing any issues - even just communication ones - with Yuzu, his team and/or JSF would only create more discussion that Yuzu seriously didn't need. I still don't get why people couldn't just take his words, accept them and do what he did: wait and make the best of it in the meantime. Instead, everyone started freaking out all over the place and looking for additional information everywhere. We really need to calm down sometimes. Yes, we worry, but we need to trust Yuzu a bit more, tbh. He knows what he's doing, even when he's going crazy. Also, like others have said, it's JSF who obviously have the last word on Yuzu. They are the ones who submit information to ISU. They are the ones who release statements on him. I'm sure if TCC ever dared do that, there would be a huge mess because I'm pretty sure they are not allowed to. Japan is very strict on stuff on like that. It would be either JSF or ANA as Yuzu's main sponsor/technical employer who should speak up. I'm not sure even ANA can do it as long as Yuzu is an active skater under JSF jurisdiction. JSF should have come out and explained the situation, that only one coach was allowed, Yuzu's pick was Ghislain, but unfortunately due to unforeseen problems, he was delayed in arrival. Brian said that any attempt at changing coaching accreditation should come from JSF, too. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kobayashi asked Yuzu and Yuzu said no, not to create more of a fuss and that he'd just wait for Ghislain. Truth is, I doubt anyone knew how long it would take. Ghislain could arrive ahead of Brian, but probably wouldn't have accreditation anymore and what a mess would that be. Either way, all JSF could have said was stuff Yuzu said anyway, but that wasn't enough for people. This age's obsession with knowing everything is quite annoying to be honest. If Yuzu says it's fine, can't we just believe him it's fine? At least until we know more? As for Yuzu being closer to Ghislain, I think it's true, and partly because Brian has to be impartial, while Ghislain can dedicate himself mostly to Yuzu. Another big part is that apparently Yuzu and Ghislain are soulmates when it comes to jumps. When Ghislain mentioned his interest in biomechanics of jumps, it was like BINGO. I'm not sure how much Yuzu can discuss his studies in English, but they obviously share a common interest and probably have very similar attitudes towards jumps. I think putting them in contact was really great of Brian - though whether or not he saw this coming is questionable, as I'm not sure Brian knew Yuzu's interest in jumps was so detail oriented in 2014. That said, Yuzu has always made it clear that he understood Brian's focus on skating skills and all the other stuff aside from jumps and that he has adopted that as his philosophy. He wants the jumps, but he doesn't want jumping competitions. He focuses and obsesses over jumps, but only to perfect them to a level where he can include them in his intricate choreography without having to sacrifice anything. And I think Brian knows that, but it must still be hard to watch over Yuzu when he does these things and just let him do it and try to advise him so he won't get injured in the process. He knows Yuzu has to make his own choices, and I'm sure it's not always easy for him to watch Yuzu following through on these choices. At the end of the day, Brian is only human, too, he's not going to be perfect or react perfectly at all times. But I wonder how many coaches would hand off as much power to their skater as Brian does? How many coaches would say: "ok, you're the boss, I'm just here to support you"? TCC respects Yuzu and his decisions and they treat him like a responsible adult. Why must we make a mountain out of every molehill when TCC is literally the best training place in FS? Maybe some people don't know how much and how viciously Brian was attacked after Yuzu moved there. How people were accusing him of mistreating Yuzu, worsening his asthma, destroying his style, trying to sexualize a teen and even some conspiracy theories that Brian was trying to ruin Yuzu to make the path clear for Patrick and Javi. Of course, these were a few crazies, but it's the same type of people who overreact on everything and create a fuss. And then there was the post-Boston mess when so many fans went after Brian, blaming him for focusing on Javi too much and how it was his fault Yuzu fell apart in the free. The comments then were really vicious and many called for Yuzu to leave TCC. Good thing Yuzu is more mature than that and he talked it out with his team. My point is Brian and TCC aren't perfect, but from every problem that has ever arisen, they have learned and made sure it didn't happen again. Yuzu obviously cares for them and appreciates them and on this, I trust him to know better whether they are good for him or not. Also, I'm pretty sure that face to face and towards them, Yuzu isn't really the type to keep quiet if he's unhappy with something, so I'm quite sure the issue will be discussed, solved and settled and measures will be taken to prevent this from happening again. But instead of just moving on, we're letting Phil Hersh revive the whole issue. When we know he loves to stir up things and especially enjoys upsetting Yuzu fans and then insulting them. Do you honestly think if Brian had said: "JSF submitted Ghislain's name and I was surprised as I only found out about it later. But then I spoke to Yuzu and he told me he knew I was busy and wanted to give me a break, which was very nice of him, especially as I'll be away for the holidays again, with the double whammy of Japanese Nationals and Russian Nationals. On top of that, he was aiming to bring back 4Lz and for that, having the jump specialist Ghislain made more sense, so as usual - and as I had suspected - Yuzu had solid reasons for his choice and I fully agreed with it, once I knew the whole story." Phil would actually publish it like that? It wouldn't fit his narrative. Nevermind that his title is "Trouble in paradise?" but the very first statement Brian makes, that is quoted is that no, there is no trouble in paradise. Although, of course, Phil made full use of Brian adding an 'I think' or so there, that still throws a shadow of doubt, while Brian probably just didn't want to speak for Yuzu before speaking with Yuzu. Brian has gone through many painful moments with his skaters, Yuna leaving did serious damage, to the point he once said he promised himself not to get emotionally attached to skaters anymore. Obviously he's failed in that, and thankfully so, but that will also mean that every bump is likely to hurt him more than any of us. The time spent before he and Yuzu finally clicked must have been hard. Yuzu's CoC accident must have been hard, as well as the rest of that season. Shanghai must have been hard, trying to balance his reactions. Boston was probably a nightmare. Yuzu's injury then probably adding to it. The Loop madness was probably hard. Then the Lutz madness. Then his emergency surgery, framed by his top two skaters, OGM candidates falling apart. Javi going silent, Yuzu injured. Having to balance between them again, when Javi had to continue his training, but Yuzu frustratingly couldn't even jump. Making it work somehow, only to then spend months not knowing if either of them was coming back and having to be ready to support whatever decision they made. Losing other skaters he spent much time, effort and emotion on (Stephen, Lilbet, Gabby, though maybe her a bit less, as Lee was always her main coach) Yes, even seeing that Yuzu clicked so much more quickly with Ghislain and growing closer after the NHK injury, must have caused mixed feelings, because that's a normal human reaction. Having to watch over Yuzu through another injury. I'm sure even witnessing the scoring mess and trying to find a strategy to fight it. And I'm sure he wasn't smiling and shrugging while watching Yuzu sitting alone in the KnC either. But when what one does or doesn't do on SNS matters more than what they're probably feeling and thinking - and that based on years of actions, rather than just words - well, no comment on that I guess. And just for the record, I'm not saying Brian was correct in his actions, but what he did/didn't do, IMO, does not, in any way, justify all the outrage, and I'm not just talking about the comments on his instagram (which I also haven't read and have no intention of reading). It was all just amplified by people's negative emotional stage, but I hope we can all step back and just let it go already.
  5. I'm actually kind of disappointed by how quick people are to start accusing Brian everytime something doesn't go quite right. He's been the target of fans anger so many times, from the first time Yuzu moved to TCC. Maybe he's not PR savvy, but that's not really his job. His job is to coach and he's a damned good coach. TCC is probably the best coaching environment in FS. But fans are so quick to start attacking them if ever something is not perfect. Until Yuzu comes out and talks crap about TCC and says he was disappointed in his coaches - which, let's face it, it's unlikely he ever will - maybe we shouldn't attack people close to him? It's natural to feel and express concern, but IMO, it's gone too far. Brian didn't steal Ghislain's passport and he didn't murder anyone. I'm almost surprised nobody went after Joseph and the other TCC kids because they dared have fun and post on instagram instead of sitting there lighting up candles and praying for their sempai. Yes, it wasn't ideal, but whether you like it or not, Yuzu is an adult and it was a difficult situation that I'm sure he learned a lot from and, IMO, it should have increased his confidence, because he did so well on his own. I can't imagine how Brian must have felt being attacked like that and how Yuzu will feel having to face his coach and maybe apologize for the whole mess - because he's Japanese. Brian posted a picture with another student smiling. What a terrible crime... But we don't know that he didn't and Phil just didn't feel it was worth mentioning. Sadly, journalists do that all the time. I spent at least 15 minutes talking to the guy who wrote that New York Times article on Yuzu in 2017. All he wrote was that I was anxiously waiting for news after his injury. I spoke about how I liked Yuzu for his skating and his flow on the ice to a guy from Nikkan Sports. He asked me how Yuzu compares to famous men in Romania. My brain blanked, because I care for none, so I said I like him better. All he wrote was that I think Yuzu is much better than the famous men in Romania. My point is, journalists select statements that fit their agenda and ignore the rest. So while I can believe Brian said all Phil wrote, I don't believe that's all he said. (Even in TV interviews with Yuzu, you can see sometimes they cut his answers short and that annoys me so much, because maybe what they cut off was actually super interesting)
  6. I don't remember the exact context, but wasn't there another instance where Phil wrote an interview of sorts and it kind of became clean he was selecting comments and arranging things only to further his agenda? Or was it just our assumption because it sounded off then, too? I don't remember, really. Yuzu was in Toronto before GPF, I think we settled that already. SO, even if Brian heard that Ghislain's name had been submitted a few days after NHK, Yuzu would have still been there and I can't imagine he's sit on it and let it fester and not go "Hey, Yuzu, you chose Ghislain, huh?" And then Yuzu would explain why, they'd smile and carry on. Brian seems like a very straightforward guy, I'm sure he'd confront anything that could be an issue. However, in the Team Brian books and some other interviews, it does sometimes feel a bit like there are communication lapses between Yuzu's team - whoever exactly they are - and Brian. That Brian would only get the occasional updates during Yuzu's recover after NHK and neither he nor Ghislain for that matter were much involved, up to the point where Yuzu tried coming back to on ice training, to me that's not quite right. I know Yuzu has his own ANA support team, and I think Brian has mentioned that there are usually JSF people around, too, but his coaches are still essential. And sometimes it feels like his team doesn't feel any need to involve the coaches in the process of Yuzu's preparation, which is weird to me. Brian seems really out of the loop sometimes. I'm not sure it's Brian's fault or Yuzu's, for that matter. Yuzu probably has the team in place precisely so he wouldn't have to think about things like that and so he can just focus on skating, strictly. I wish we knew more about this team of Yuzu's, to be honest, because some things are unclear and due to previous experience of being a fan of musicians - admittedly, a different breed altogether - manipulated and used by managers they trusted, a part of me worries a bit. Even that post Boston talk they had, I had imagined it as something just with Yuzu and his coaches, but it seems Yuzu's team was there, too, IIRC. All that being said, there is no doubt in my mind that Yuzu cares about all three of his coaches very much and they are very important to him, not just for his skating, but also his mental wellbeing. So I'm sure if there are any issues, they have nothing to do with Yuzu being unhappy there. But I could imagine some communication issues, between Yuzu's team and the TCC team. Or it could simply be a case of "Oh, we thought you had told Brian!" "I thought you had told Brian!" "Oh, shhhh nobody told Brian! " It happens...
  7. When opening that on twitter, it gave me the "Potentially sensitive content" warning... fitting
  8. From what I've read, as asthma can affect one's ability to breathe properly, it obviously leads to stamina issues. When Yuzu moved to Toronto, many fans were upset that they couldn't immediately see the improvement in stamina - in fact, it seemed to be getting worse, though it was only natural as his programs also became more difficult. But TCC did focus on finding ways to improve his stamina and minimize the effort required of him when skating - which was part of why Brian kept emphasizing skating skills. Having a more controlled way of skating makes it possible for the skater to not have to muscle through and pace themselves more. Of course, it took time, but Yuzu's stamina has improved greatly and I think directly proportional with his improvement in skating skills and so on as well. I'm guessing exercise is generally considered good for people with asthma, because it's essentially training their lungs to work better. (There were also mentions about how after moving to Toronto, he once got a bad attack that left him unable to train for 10 days or so, apparently partly because he hadn't gotten used to the environment change.) This time, he was as tired as he was because he did a five quad layout he hadn't trained properly for. He hadn't done proper work to increase his stamina so he could do a clean program with five quads. I think generally, Yuzu's stamina gets better as the season progresses, as he gets more and more training for that particular program - I'm guessing breathing patterns depend on the layout, too, I can't imagine you breathe the same during steps, spins and quads, so when the layout changes, so do the demands on his lungs, and more conditioning of his entire body, lungs included, help increase his stamina. In 2017, for 24H TV, Yuzu spoke for the first time more about his asthma. They didn't say how bad it is, but they said he's managing it by wearing masks, to protect his airways and taking medicine, which to me sounds like he really has to manage it constantly, and it's not generally normal, and only now and then it gets bad. They also mentioned he had an attack two weeks before 2017 Worlds, which is when he described that it hurts and it feels like he can't get any air into his lungs and that he wasn't able to do proper runthroughs then. In the same video, he also talked about how at 15 he met speet skating Olympic champion Hiroyasu Shimizu, who won an OGM despite also having asthma and Yuzu apparently told him he wanted to be an Olympic Champion, but he had asthma (implied that he didn't think he'd be able to win, because of that), and Shimizu told him it's ok, he can still win, he just has to work harder than anyone else. Which as we know, he did. Another thing that has been making me wonder was the stuff Yuzu said this Summer, about how he gets really tired during ice shows and he basically sleeps between the opening number and his own performance. I know he gives it his all, but I can't help but wonder if this tiredness is also related to his asthma, because it's not that normal, for a 24-25 year old to be so tired, he needs to sleep between performances. And he's still totally wiped out at the end. (At FaOI, I admit I didn't really like Liza's skating, but I had to admire her stamina. Her program with the violonist - the name escapes me now - was more energetic and demanding than most stuff all other skaters do even in competition, as it was really fast and she was in constant motion.) All this makes me wonder just how severe his asthma is. He rarely talks about it and even when he does, he tries to gloss over it, because he doesn't want it to be an excuse. Anyway, all in all, it all goes to further prove how incredible he is as an athlete, IMO. And I'm sure he will work on his stamina. I doubt anyone watching him gasping and blue at World 2012, ever thought he would one day do a clean 4 quad program - Worlds 2017, and he didn't even look THAT exhausted then, and we now know this was not long after an attack - or that he would ever land 5 quads in 4 minutes - or rather less than that. A clean 5 quads and 2 3As layout is not impossible to achieve. Even a 6 quads program, maybe, some day. He will will them into existence. The bigger concern is still his ankle, IMO. The asthma he has already proven that he can fight against and win. (ETA: And this reminds me of all the things one learns as a Yuzu/FS fan... how many of us haven't googled/researched asthma, swimming for asthma patients, urachal remnant syndrome, lisfranc injuries, ankle injuries, jump mechanics and so on... plus everyone learning Japanese (even just some choice words, like Yuzu's #1 fav. kuyashii). Personally, the other day I was explaining Russian nicknames to someone and had to laugh at myself, because I know no Russian, but some things you just learn as an FS fan. And yesterday I made an effort with my very bad French - despite learning it in school for 10 years >_< - to read the Ghislain article, and amazingly managed to understand most of it. And some time back, I also read Javi's book in Spanish, though I never in my life thought the Spanish I learned from listening to music and watching soap operas as a kid would ever be put to such use. It's amazing how much figure skating gives us, beyond just the joy of watching beautiful and incredible skating...)
  9. I think one of the reasons given for why Yuzu can't swim is the very low body fat percentage he has. But asthma might also play a part. I'm not sure, but I guess there are different types of asthma and probably different degrees of how bad it is. Given how out of breath Yuzu used to be from skating, it's possible swimming could also be exhausting and I don't think panting in water is recommended. On top of that, the chlorine could be bad. But no real idea... I actually can't swim either lol I do remember he said he can't swim, though, but I don't remember the context (maybe it was that Ghana event, with him and the three actresses?) Am now randomly wondering if watching Yowamushi pedal might have made him want to start learning how to ride a bike lol If so, maybe someone should recommend Free to him, so he'd get into wanting to swim, too lol (I've never watched Free, though, so I have no idea if it has a similar feel to Yowamushi... which I did start watching, out of pure curiosity and it has so far only made me wonder about Yuzu's taste in characters LOL)
  10. To further add to this, because I forgot to mention it, another thing is, IIRC, that Yuzu asked Shae-Lynn for guidance on doing more feminine movements for Hope & Legacy. And I think he pretty much interpreted female characters in programs, too, at least somewhat. I love the fact that he seems to think in such a genderless way. Good skaters are an inspiration, who cares what their gender is? If there's something to learn, and there almost always is, he will learn. I agree it shouldn't be an issue of gender, but I admit one of the reasons I didn't get into men's skating before Yuzu was because I saw it as a weird mix of athletics and some very awkward attempts at being graceful, but they seemed so reluctant. Like those stiff arms some men have, which seem to be a sort of attempt at... something, but it just looks awkward as hell. Javi used to have that as well and it's the one thing I hated about his skating. Luckily, towards the end of his competitive career, he seemed to focus more on flowy movements. On the other hand, Yuzu has such grace and all of his movements have a very pleasant and natural flow to them, I had a "THIS is what I wanted to see in men's figure skating!" To be honest, as a Yuzu fan, not even ladies seem as graceful to me, now. He's on a different level from most of them. (Of course, there are exceptions. Shizuka for example, is stunning. Having had the chance to see her at FaOI was an honor.) In men, I have to say I like Roman and Camden quite a lot. I like them more than Kevin, tbh. If both of them were to get consistency in their jumps, and manage to upgrade their technical content, I think they could be worthy descendants of Yuzu lol Roman has gorgeous spins and I like the way he flows on ice, too. And when his jumps work, like they did at NHK, it's very nice to watch. Camden I didn't think or know much of, but at ACI he really caught my eye, precisely because he has a grace and flow that reminds me of Yuzu, because he seems to fully embrace it - despite being an American male who could easily do the macho thing, because he's also really good looking, and not so much in the pretty boy way, like Roman; most guys his age, especially in figure skating, and with his looks, would probably avoid being graceful, but he seems comfortable with it and I really liked that. I know there was another boy or two at Worlds or Euros last year that caught my eye, but I forgot who... I'd like to think Yuzu is to thank for more boys becoming comfortable with such an approach. (And as both Roman and Camden seem to be fans, I think he is lol Was it pointed out that Roman has Irene gloves, btw? lol I had to freeze his pre-NHK vlog to double check lol)
  11. I think Yuzu used to do more on ice training, I think it was maybe 14 hours a week last season? I remember we were all surprised when we saw 10 hours . I think now they put more emphasis on quality rather than quantity. On top of it, Yuzu needs to be careful, because even if his ankle is now blissfully pain free - from what he's said at NHK, IIRC - I think he will always be more prone to injury than others. So it makes sense to emphasize quality over quantity and spend more time doing off-ice training, especially now working on training his leg muscles - to further protect his ankle - and all the other muscles he needs for the 4A. What exactly this off-ice training is, we don't know. I do remember seeing footage of him jumping while holding dumbbells, but I'm sure he has off-ice stuff now... Although I admit I can't quite imagine Yuzu lifting weights and such... As for dancing, aside from natural talent, I think he has also spent a lot of time polishing his gestures to the point that they are now naturally graceful. We know he watches himself a lot and I'm sure he micromanages every gesture and angle and position of every limb. But I think something else that perhaps sets Yuzu apart from other male skaters is that he has never hesitated in following female role models, too. He started skating because of his sister, and IIRC, he really liked what she looked like when skating and wanted to look like that, too, so he would do whatever she did. That's how he developed his flexibility as well, because, imitating his sister, he would do many of the things girls were doing, including Biellman and I guess Ina Bauers, too. That he then would do them as part of his programs as tributes to Plushenko and Shizuka is true, but IIRC, he started doing them because of his sister. Then, of course, looking up to Shizuka, I'm sure she was a model in some ways, too. And he also said way back when that he learned 3A while watching Mao. And looking up to Johnny, too, because Johnny has always been graceful, too (though IMO, Yuzu looks more naturally graceful than Johnny now lol Although I also found Johnny much more pleasant to watch in real life than on video, he has a special Johnny charm when skating.) Yuzu was never able to skate as much as peers because of his asthma - which I'm still quite convinced is the more severe kind; my father has asthma, too, but it only bothers him at times, while we know Yuzu always has to be extra careful, just in case. This competition was a reminder, yet again, that he still needs to work harder on stamina than others. But his life seems to be 90% skating anyway, everything he does is related to skating in one way or another, he spends a lot of time studying, researching, analyzing, so I think it is possible he, overall, spends more time on skating than most other skaters, even if only a small part of that time is spent ACTUALLY skating.
  12. I think all the people fearing retirement are forgetting something. Yuzu loves competing. He's been competing for most of his life now and he LOVES it. Yes, scoring sucks and I'm sure it hurts him a million times more than it hurts us - although it is not new; he's talked about scores not matching performances, results not matching efforts years ago, too, if you remember the "effort may lie, but it is not in vain" comment (paraphrased from memory). But I don't think retiring would be that easy for him. He's not the type to just go: "Oh, yeah? Eff you, I'm out of here!" He's the type to think and analyze and I think thinking about his life post competitive skating might make him more lost than he was after Olys. Because I'm not sure he ever seriously thought about it, what he'll do then. He lives and breathes competitive figure skating. When you take competition away from him... It will be hard. And, if I were in his shoes, retirement would be scary. Scarier than trying to still become even better. So, while I agree that he'll probably do a lot of thinking over the next period, a retirement decision will not be easy to make, whenever he decides to make it. Also, we know Yuzu's programs are so hard to do clean. But I'm not sure he'd allow himself to retire without having skated clean again, an insanely difficult layout. Maybe even with 6 quads. I'm glad he's allowing himself more freedom to be human nowadays, but his ideals are still his ideals. And if he doesn't get to do that, he will not be satisfied at all. Theoretically, winning is not impossible. I still think that if Nathan falters, for whatever reason, ISU won't try as hard to prop him up. Especially not over a clean Yuzu. There's even a teeny tiny chance that, depending on the panel, a clean Yuzu might still go over a clean Nathan, but only if squeaky clean, flawless and effortless. Like Oly Chopin perfection. They held back his GOE and PCS at Worlds '17, too, but he was so perfect, he still got a WR, despite that. Admittedly, the closest rival who could get similar scores at that point - who I believe was Javi - was not clean, so in a way it was easier. Nathan's consistency is amazing, but I agree he has a mental advantage, because he knows, any mistake Yuzu makes gives him the win. Yuzu knows it, too, so the pressure on him is to always be perfect and that's not fair, especially when the difficulty of their programs is as it is. But it can't be helped. To be fair, when Yuzu fought against Javi, Javi also knew that a clean Yuzu was impossible to beat. Not exactly the same, but it happens. Mental strength is also part of being a good athlete. An athlete with poor mental strength will not succeed, no matter how talented, because they won't be able to withstand the pressure. IMO, there is no one as strong as Yuzu, given everything this Universe has thrown at him throughout his short 25 years of life. But, back to my point, theoretically, Yuzu can improve. He is evolving, and there might come again a time when the judges will simply be unable to deny it. The chances of that happening? The judges part I mean. Very small, to be honest. BUT, not impossible. Nathan might actually grow bored with his own lack of evolution - he already seems bored at times. Will that lead to an attempt to evolve? One could hope so, but I'm not sure Raf will let him do it in any way that might affect his consistency. Nathan is kind of stuck in a way, he's in a place where he gets high scores and performs highly technical programs without serious problems in consistency and where he knows he holds an advantage over his rival. But if he tried evolving too much from here, he risks his consistency. He risks his scores. If he were to ever have a disaster like Olys again, it would probably take a while for his PCS and GOE to reach the current level again. But a disaster like that is unlikely to happen again - although ice is slippery. But for an athlete, being stuck in a place like that can't be fun, so he might get bored and try other things himself. If Yuzu gets the 4A, he'll probably have to bring back 4Lo, for example. If Yuzu somehow gets 4F, too, then it's trickier. The difference isn't actually that huge now and while the scales are very much not in Yuzu's favor, nothing is impossible. Oh and for the GPF free, no, he wasn't confident and naturally so, if he only RTed this 5 quads layout once... But I'm not surprised if that's true. He hinted that he'd done RTs with 4Lz, but he didn't say they were 5 quads RTs. And after the free he said a 5 quads layout with 4Lz was unusual for him. So... yeah, he's crazy. But he still almost made it work and how incredible is that? He can still do so much more than people expect! As for injury, he risks injury every time he steps out onto the ice. He's training the 4A and doing quints. That's risky already and he'd be doing that regardless of what Nathan is doing.
  13. There aren't many places one can fly to directly, surprisingly, so layovers aren't uncommon. He flew with layovers to/from Helsinki last year, too. And we know he even flew low cost once (for GPF Barcelona, but forgot which one, he flew ANA to Dusseldorf and then EuroWings to Barcelona). Probably more than once. I'm not sure how involved ANA is, but he does usually fly airlines in the same family as ANA: Lufthansa, Air Canada and yes, even EuroWings. Maybe Austrian if every necessary and so on. But probably mostly ANA and Air Canada. I'm a fan of Lufthansa myself (despite always hearing about their strikes, I have never been affected by one, unlike with Air France who virtually left me stranded in Japan, by announcing me with 24 hours before take off that my flight was canceled and getting another one was a bit of a mess. Overall, an experience that made swear off of Air France for good. KLM is cool, though) and my flight with ANA, to Japan this Summer was perfect. I will probably stick to ANA whenever I can, though, for obvious reasons lol As for Yuzu, I'm sure he's going back to Toronto, he still has time to practice and I'm sure Brian and Tracy want to see him after this adventure. He does seem to prefer staying in Canada nowadays, which is sad, but very understandable. Even after Worlds, he went back right away, when a lot of people believed he would go home for a while. In fact, the only time he actually stayed home this year was after FaOI, when he was in Sendai for maybe a week or so and managed to stay under the radar. (He was also there for the new monument design, but I don't think he got to stay long then). That he only gets to spend about two weeks a year at home, is just sad at this point in time... But I guess that's one of the things he's sacrificing for the sake of continuing his career...
  14. Hmm, but he also had the dark blue for Sochi, too (although admittedly only one yellow ball)... these four were the only streamers he picked. And he was apparently looking at the Olympic rings, with that soft and sad look on his face... But I guess only he knows... (maybe the Oly medals color matches were a coincidence or he picked them subconsciously, and he was actually aiming for GPF medal)
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