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micaelis

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About micaelis

  • Rank
    Let's Go Crazy!

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  • Country
    United_States
  • Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Interests
    classical music, art, literature
  • Occupation
    retired after a life spent as record store clerk, university instructor, supermarket employee and bed and breakfast employee

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  1. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    So Yuzu is out of Nationals. Will he skip 4CC? He might just do so in order to be in absolute good form for Worlds. I have a feeling he does not want to skate Worlds on painkillers. He wants a drug-free skate to win and if passing up 4CC to take gold at Worlds is necessary, he'll do it. Admittedly 4CC is business that needs to be concluded, as also Japanese nationals, but he can save it for the next season. A 3rd World Championship right now is what I have a feeling is his primary mission and what greater stage than that can there be for bringing Nessie out of the water and onto the ice? Retiring after that? I have a feeling that's not in the cards. Actually, while he's never said anything about it publicly I can't help but feel he'd like a season like his last in Juniors, where he got gold in every competition. For him the best exit from competition would be a perfect season. The ultimate dream season for him would be the 2021/22 season, winning everything including a 3rd Olympic gold and a 4th World Championship.
  2. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    I have a suspicion that Ice Rink Sendai may be the biggest tourist attraction in Sendai. If not, it's almost certainly up there. Yuzu has put it on the map, not just for Japan but at least as far as skating fans go, on the world map. I would not be surprised if Sendai in general has found itself on the tourist agenda of many simply because it is Yuzu's hometown.
  3. If you compare Stephen's performances this season to last season's there's a world of difference. Stephen's starting to realize that to be consistently successful you have to have more than aerobatics. I'm sure that the close proximity of Yuzu to him during training has enabled Brian and the others of the TCC crew to use Yuzu as an example of a skater whose wins are based on the completeness of the package. Particularly the narrative of how Yuzu skated a somewhat dumbed-down version of his FS but still took the gold, primarily on the strength of his GOEs and PCS points, that was a means by which Stephen was made to realize that the surest path to gold is to have a program packed with things that get points even when one is not in the air. Looking at Stephen this year, and remembering that in last season's Canadian nationals and skating in the senior competition Stephen still managed to come in tenth. I really do think there's a chance he could medal this time around. Another thing to think about and that is that Stephen, on the basis of what he's done this season and also what we know he can do, he does have a very good chance to snag the Junior World Championship this year. He is clearly amongst those who are seen as having podium potential. One final note on Stephen. I really think that, while Stephen's skating personality as it seems to be developing is very different from Patrick Chan, Stephen is already being seen as Patrick's heir and as Canada's best hope for gold in Beijing in 2022.
  4. The junior men can do 3As in the short and they can also do quads in the long. If you are remembering Stephen in last season's Canada nationals doing quads, remember, because he had won national titles in all the lower grades Stephen was skating senior level which meant that just like the senior men he could put quads in his short program.
  5. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    I know some might get on me since this is a thread about Yuzu but I think I'm justified in bringing this up. A simple statement - Stephen Gogolev is the youngest person to win the JGPF. The previous record-holder - Yuzuru Hanyu. Yuzu is still the skater whom I most closely follow and whom I feel is much more than a skater and an athlete. Yuzu is a very great human being. I don't think Stephen or any other skater I know of will ever be able to achieve that, and Yuzu has done so by simply being himself.
  6. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    GPF is behind us, Yuzu's absence well-noted, but Junhwan at the senior GPF and Stephen at the JGPF kept the spotlight on TCC. Upcoming late this month are Japanese Nationals. Yuzu hasn't formally withdrawn from that competition so there is for us a glimmer of hope he might compete there. Nationals in Japan are the primary means by which Japan's entries to Worlds at season's end are decided. Yuzu doesn't have to participate, however. As the current and two-time Olympic champion and with two World champion gold and two silver plus four GPF final golds, Yuzu is the number one men's skater in Japan. I think someone from the JSF has already indicated that Yuzu's spot on the Japanese team is guaranteed. If not there will be official word soon. I think Yuzu might be feeling frustrated, though. This would be his third straight Japanese championships that he's missed, the first from the flu, the second the injury that almost derailed Yuzu's Olympic gold and now this year's lesser but still disabling injury. Yuzu must feel frustrated. Also Shoma has to feel frustrated. This is the third year in a row where a showdown between Yuzu and himself will not be taking place. Then there's 4CC. Yuzu has not gone every season but he's missed the gold on more than one occasion, making it just to the silver podium. That is clearly unfinished business. Might he go there? As far as I know nobody speaking for TCC has said that Yuzu won't make it to either Japanese Nationals or 4CC. There is hope for all of us facing the long run up to Worlds. However, remembering last season's experience we can handle the long wait if that's how things will transpire. We can all say about this wait - Been there, done that.
  7. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    Things have to be merry at TCC this day. Christmas has come early and, given how Yuzu celebrates the successes of his fellow skaters at TCC, two of them have given him two remarkable birthday presents. Junhwan continues making this his breakout season by nailing the bronze at the GPF. He's medaled at every event he's been in this season (though no golds) making this a season this Korean seventeen-year-old can look to with pride. His successes plus his genuine cuteness must be making him an object of fascination in his home country. Then there's Stephen Gogolev (I know, I have a thing for him but I also have high expectations for him as I see him becoming the next Yuzu - though he doesn't have Yuzu's charisma). Stephen was the first alternate and with the withdrawal of one of the JGPF six he moved up into the competition. Second in the short, he dominated in the free-skate and became the the youngest ever to win the men's JGPF. His score was such that had he been skating in the Senior GPF he would have placed fifth. Not bad for a thirteen-(about to be fourteen)year-old. Right now I'm sure he's being regarded in Canada as the next Patrick Chan. Now for Yuzu. I originally thought it would be nice if Yuzu had traveled with the others to Vancouver and watched things from the stands but then I realized that if he were he'd bring a lot of the attention to him rather than to the skaters. So Yuzu almost certainly watched the proceedings at home. I'm certain he was as happy seeing his training-mate's successes as he was when he saw Javi succeed. Just as with Javi, I think Yuzu is being inspired by the successes of his two training-mates to harden his resolve for Worlds coming up next year. As for HIS season he's probably still looking at perhaps doing Japanese nationals and/or Four Continents, doctors and ankle willing. The temptation would be to finally bring about a confrontation between him and Shoma for the Japanese title. Shoma's taken the title the past two years but both come with an unofficial asterisk (meaning Yuzu wasn't there). As to Four Continents, gold has eluded Yuzu over the years with the best he's done there being silver. The temptation must be to accomplish a bit of business that must be on his figure-skating bucket list. Worlds, however, is almost certainly his highest priority. While he's not looking at this year's championship with the intensity he was looking when he approached PC it's more than likely he's still very determined and what better place could there be to unveil a Nessie for the world to marvel at? In any case Yuzu is now sharing the training ice with three other members of the figure-skating elite - Evgenia who came to TCC already a solid member of the Lady's elite, and Junhwan, who now is automatically being regarded as a podium contender in any competition he's in, and Stephen, who has become one of the credible contenders for the Junior World Championship this season. All in all TCC has to be a happy place these days, although it would have been happier had Yuzu been skating in Vancouver, but fate, the gods and Yuzu's right ankle decided otherwise. In any case Yuzu would have gone to bed last night with happy thoughts about Junhwan's and Stephen's successes and little thought of how great it would have been to be there himself. He's just not the sort of person to focus on the negative. Two medals, even if not his, coming to TCC are the stuff to make for happy dreams for Yuzu. That's the sort of thing anyone needs when going to bed on his birthday.
  8. micaelis

    Junior Skaters of 2018/19 season

    I am primarily a Yuzu fan but I do watch the other skaters at TCC and tonight we see that Brian has a potential legend to follow Yuzu and that is Stephen Gogolev who took the Junior Grand Prix Final gold with a healthy margin. At age 13 he has got to be the youngest Junior GPF champion ever. Congratulations to Stephen and to the coaching staff of TCC. They've got another winner. Now I hope that Junhwan can move himself from that fourth position he has (a very close-to-third fourth) and make the medal podium for the Senior men. It would be nice if the TCC contingent can return to Toronto and to a grand and well-deserved celebration.
  9. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    With the results of both the Junior and Senior men's GPF short programs TCC has to be celebrating. Stephen is solidly in 2nd after the Junior short program and Junhwan is fourth only a small fraction of a point behind 3rd place. Both have a very good chance of medaling. Hats off to Brian and his team.
  10. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    As I write this if Yuzu were in Japan he'd already be 24, but he's in Toronto so he has to wait a few hours. It's a technicality which I don't think Yuzu's concerned with. In Toronto I'm sure Mama Hanyu has made him a cake or whatever is a Japanese birthday treat. There's probably a much larger cake at TCC but there's a lot more people to feed there. What has me thinking, though, is the Planet's new banner. That stream of images going all the way back to that very earnest 9-year-old doing his program at a Novice B championship (he did win it, by the way), leading through his increasing wins as he advances in levels, onto Junior level where in the 2009/2010 season he wins, as one commentator said, 'everything in sight', then launching into Senior level skating and, well, the rest, as they say, is history. This young man has come a long way, although you wouldn't know it if you looked at him. Physically he's still in late adolescence (at least facially). Spiritually is where there is such a great difference. The smiley urchin who around age 11 or so confidently stated he would win the gold at Sochi in 2014 was given a forced maturing in early March 2011 when his world was shaken to bits and then washed away. Well, it was not quite so bad as that but it was still pretty awful. His rink still stood but was in heed of extensive repairs. Only(?) a thousand or so people in Sendai died (out of a bit over 1 million, so just 1%), but that's an awful lot considering there are few of those who survived in Sendai who did not know at least one of those who perished. In either direction up and down the northeast coast of Japan there were cities that fared much worse, in some cases deaths being in the double-digit percentages of population. Yuzu spent three nights in a shelter with his family before they were permitted to go back to their house. Those three nights made Yuzu really start thinking because he knew there were many in that shelter who had no house to return to, who were looking at a long period of trying to get their lives back to normal, if ever. It was those memories that really made Yuzu feel guilty when he was back to training at his local rink in Sendai. From that horrifying experience a new Yuzu was born. The smiling urchin became ancient history as Yuzu worked through his psychological baggage and dedicated his career to those less fortunate from the quake. Unlike so many other athletes Yuzu was willing to put out time to meet with those who had lived through that same nightmare, visiting schools and senior centers and many other places to reach out to other survivors. In so doing he put himself in a place few athletes ever achieve, ever even desire to achieve. Yuzu became a national hero, a disaster survivor whom the quake did not derail, a symbol of Japan's determination to put the quake behind it. This was underlined in the 2013/2014 season, where Yuzu picked up his first GPF gold, his first World gold and, most significantly, his first Olympic gold. That Olympic achievement was underlined when one realizes that Yuzu's gold was the only gold in any sport the Japanese won that year. It was as if fate was making sure that the Japanese would not overlook his achievement. In the summer of 2012 Yuzu moved his training base to Toronto so he could be trained under Brian Orser and his team. Brian put first things first when Yuzu came and put Yuzu back into figure-skating kindergarten to relearn basic skating skills. That decision shows the quality of coach Brian is. He started Yuzu on the course of being the 'complete' skater he is now universally recognized as being. For Yuzu after that there would be days of glory and days of disaster. Injuries became Yuzu's greatest threat, from the collision in Shanghai to the operation he required for abdominal problems to the fall seen around the world that almost derailed his dream of a second Olympic gold to the most recent injury keeping him away from the ice for the second year in a row and forcing him now to concentrate on achieving gold in this season's World Championships. Yet those setbacks actually focused Yuzu's resolve more completely. His iron will was measured by the challenges he faced and the successes he had. Missing again a good portion of the season Yuzu remains unsubdued. He's more than ready to take his doctor's advice and pace his healing and rehabilitation but he is not to be deterred from achieving the goals he's set forth, a 4A and another World gold. Despite the successes that people like Shoma and Nathan and Boyang have, the fact is that come World Championships next year Yuzu will still be the favorite. The reason? The sheer quality of the programs he's skating, choreography on a level rarely achieved in figure-skating. Yuzu's programs are masterpiece novels. The others are comic books. If Yuzu skates those programs not simply cleanly, but more important, perfectly, realizing all the PCS points he can marshal, it doesn't matter if he doesn't have the variety of quads the others have. Even without a 4A, the elusive jump of this season, Yuzu can still take the gold. He has the skills, he has the choreography, he has the desire but most of all, he has the determination. Last season in achieving his second Olympic gold we saw how deep his determination can be. The narrative of his working through a disastrous injury to a towering success has all the makings of a good movie. Put behind it all that has come before him in his life from smiling urchin to haunted survivor to living legend, Yuzu's life is one that just begs to become a movie. His birthday is today (or tomorrow to those of us in the Western Hemisphere). How will Yuzu celebrate it? Well, the three weeks off the ice ordered by his doctor have passed. The best celebration for him would be to put his skates back on and get back to business.
  11. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    That giant fish makes me think of other non-Pooh toys that have rained down on the ice after a Yuzu performance. The one that most sticks in my mind was at the GPF final in 2014 where one sees briefly just after Yuzu has returned to embrace Brian after his performance this huge brown bear dropping down. The bear is almost as large as the boy who retrieves it. It would be interesting to see just what kind of menagerie might have accumulated over the years following Yuzu's performances. I remember also, though at which competition escapes me, where this one girl retrieved a fairly large green frog. The thing to keep in mind is that the Poohvalanches have become now almost a ritual after Yuzu skates. The ice will seem empty once Yuzu retires, not simply because of his absence, but also because of the absence of that silly golden bear.
  12. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    Well, he's out and and as much as we hate to see it we know it was necessary. So let's get positive. We have a big event coming up, Birthday Number Twenty-Four on 7 December. All of us should be thankful because remembering back to when Yuzu was approaching number 23 we didn't know whether there was any skating at all in his future. Now we know he's just had a setback and he's ready to deal with it. The fact that he didn't wait until time was nearly out to withdraw is indicative that he's accepted the verdict of his ankle and his doctors. With the great length between now and Worlds (I'm assuming he'll also not be in Japanese Nationals) he has quite a bit of time to prepare himself and maybe nurse Nessie through a long and difficult pregnancy. If at Worlds he nails a 4A with bells and whistles (maximum GOEs) and nails a clear victory for the gold then he'll at least have another half season that was well worth the wait for us all out here. He might even decide to participate in the World Team event. I do see one possible blessing coming out of all this, and that is that Yuzu is being forced to accept the fact that he will not be able to keep a full arsenal of various quads to keep himself competitive, not if he values that right ankle of his. So now I think he will possibly look into how to max his PCS numbers. If anyone is capable of approaching the impossible dream of 10s across the board on PCS it is Yuzu. With the long wait before Worlds Yuzu has the time to get back to his choreographers and fine-tune every detail of his programs to really work for those PCS points. The thing is that as far as PCS elements go none of the elite skaters have the basic talent to pursue those elusive 10s without worrying overly about TES points. Jason Brown is not quite elite level but in PCS capability he is up there though even he is not in the same league as Yuzu at his best is. Misha Ge is now retired and he's the only skater I felt could match Yuzu in PCS although Misha does not have the stylistic versatility Yuzu has. I doubt Misha could have pulled off PW and LGC, not to mention also Hello, I Love You, like Yuzu did. Yuzu's as much at home skating to hard rock as he is in interpreting Chopin. The one thing I'm hoping is that there will not be the news blackout from TCC as there was last season. All of us need to know how Yuzu is progressing and facing three months of no news is something we do not need for the second year in a row. Until then, though, we can console ourselves by watching Yuzu on ice and off in the uncounted hundreds of videos there are of him. I doubt all the other Japanese men together have as much video on them to be found on YouTube and other locations as Yuzu does. He has to be one of the most video'd athletes of all time.
  13. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    In looking at vids from those early years with Brian (2012-15) I'm wondering if Brian had any inkling of the sheer phenomenon Yuzu would become. Obviously he saw that Yuzu had talent but I have a feeling he was seeing the potential of Yuzu and Javi as roughly equal. Javi would go on to win two world championship as well as six straight European championships. Yuzu would go on to take the world of skating by storm becoming a living legend and prompting talk of Yuzu as the Greatest Of All Time. I think NHK and GPF were the events that must have most shaken Brian for he must be realizing that Yuzu was far more than the highly talented young skater he took on back in the summer of 2012. With that realization must have come an awareness of the enormous responsibility that came with training such an athlete. I think that was probably the time when Yuzu's and Brian's relationship began to alter toward what I think it is today, where Team TCC exist essentially as advisers for Yuzu as he sets for the direction and goals he's seeking. Gone definitely are those early days when Yuzu, when first arriving in Toronto, was taken back to figure skating kindergarten and learning basic skills. That strategy paid off, I'm sure, because I think that was when Yuzu truly began to see how all the various elements of skating had to work and it was not just a matter of mastering some quads. As for the current situation I think the only person who can tell Yuzu what he can do is his medical team. His receiving that Rostelecom medal while on crutches for me was an indication that with two significant injuries to his right ankle in the period of these last two seasons Yuzu is realizing that his body is not made of steel and that what he does on the ice can have long term consequences. So he's following the doctor's advice. Good!!! He needs to realize that with age comes increasing vulnerability to the erosion time takes of us all physically through the years. Which brings me to a question all of us are asking about Yuzu. What next? On one hand I can see him holding back from competition and preparing himself for Worlds at the end of this season. If he should go gold there I have a feeling at that point the temptation to retire would be extremely great, particularly because of the injuries of these last two seasons. On the other hand there is the example of Daisuke Takahashi, who came out of retirement this year, feeling acutely what leaving competition had removed from his life. He wants back in the game. Yuzu must be viewing that as an indication that he should soldier on. Which should he do, particularly as he also has probably quite vividly the memory of how his hero, Evgeny Plushenko had to withdraw from competition literally just minutes before the commencement of the short program competition at Sochi. It's somewhat ironic that Takahashi is reentering competition at roughly the same age as Plushy was when he withdrew and retired. There is a great deal contingent on the decisions Yuzu is now being forced to make because so much has been invested in him, not simply by the fans who have purchased all that is needed to get them to his competitions but also to the advertisers with whom he's involved and the publishing industry in Japan that is not a small portion of Yuzu Incorporated. His retirement from competition would not remove his value for his sponsors but it would bring about a rearrangement of his relationship to them and to his fans he would feel almost honor bound, I think, to find some way to continue his relationship with them. That's why I have a feeling ice shows loom big in Yuzu's post-retirement scenarios, more than likely shows he produces himself and where he can exert artistic control. All in all I feel strongly for Yuzu because circumstances right now seemed to have conspired to necessitate decisions he probably felt he wouldn't need to make any time soon. Life has its ways of outflanking even the best-planned strategies but then Yuzu has also his memory of the earthquake and how things can be a lot worse than the conundrum he nows finds himself faced with. That experience above all we must not forget is one Yuzu will not forget and however great the obstructions he faces now are in his mind minuscile when compared with the horrendous challenges not only he but all of Japan faced after that huge disaster. It's that experience that has generated in Yuzu a sense of scale that has kept him humble despite the greatness of his achievements and has made him so willing to give of himself for the needs of others. If Yuzu should retire I think all of us can be thankful that he would be putting an end to a career few can equal in the annals of sport in general, not simply for the athletic achievement but also for the greatness of that person the world knows as Yuzuru Hanyu. The only other athlete I can think of who compares with Yuzu in both athletic achievement and greatness as a person is Wayne Gretzky. Both of them never forgot their roots and viewed their success as requiring also a giving back to the public who so admired them. And for all of us there would still be the anticipation of the ice shows Yuzu might create. Looking at how Continues was structured I would not be surprised to see Yuzu bring to that format the same imagination and integrity with which he pursued his victories. Just some thoughts on my part. I just hope he decides to continue to compete after this season but we've got to be ready to face the inevitability that retirement will have to come some time. At least by then Yuzu will have given us some indication of what he intends afterward. We have to remember this - Yuzu does not like to think small.
  14. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    I think it is quite amazing how well Yuzu handles the adulation he receives although, as has been pointed out, he doesn't really like it. When the adulation comes right after he has skated and the Poohs are raining down onto the ice, that is one thing. For him that is something he appreciates because it is coming at a time and situation that is appropriate. On the other hand I wouldn't be surprised that he is thankful for residing in Toronto where he can move about with relative anonymity. In Japan his face is one of the very best known and it is quite impossible for him to remain anonymous. As far as the kowtowing, I have to agree that the way it is framed does not seem to indicate it is meant humorously and I can understand how it can be easily misinterpreted. Contrast that to that time in the 2015 GPF when Yuzu is awaiting yet another world record score and he sees Javi on the monitor and starts waving to him. Javi responds by kowtowing but the grin he sports while doing it shows it is obviously meant to be funny and, indeed, it is.
  15. micaelis

    General Yuzuru Chat

    I have felt that all along and indeed it was Yuzu as a dancer not a skater that initially attracted me to him. There is a novel I've been working on in which the lead character is a young ballet dancer in his mid-teens. He is already considered one of the top dancers in the world and when he is talking to someone about his dancing, he states, "I want to make my body sing!" I think that might be close to Yuzu's approach to his skating. He wants to give his skating the strength and delicacy which the best male dancers embody. One sees it also in the sense when Yuzu is skating that we are not seeing a series of separate moves, but a movement where all the elements are linked and part of an unbroken unified phrase. We also have to realize, though, that Yuzu is blessed with a pair of choreographers who realize what Yuzu is capable of doing artistically and work with him to make his artistry shine. Yuzu, Jeffrey and Shae-Lynn are a team who work diligently together to make Yuzu's skating sing.
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