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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 Yuzuru Hanyu. 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 Russia. 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 another discussion. 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! )