What a men’s competition!

I admit, when I accidentally slept through the entire free dances for both Salt Lake and Nagoya last night I especially wondered if I’d missed the best of the latter.  Certainly the ladies’ competition, apart from the top two, had been extremely unimpressive, and the men’s field after the short looked like one those cases where the podium were too much better than everyone else.  But then it turned out…well, I was more or less right about the podium, and while Dmitri Aliev established himself as a talented skater(but in today’s crowded Russian juniors, just making the JGP establishes that about a skater already) he’ll want better frees than the one he skated today/this morning.  But those top two!  The first two skaters on the circuit this year to break 150, and Jin crazily doing it without one of his spins!(It seemed missing spins was the trend of the day, though)  Though even with his three quads, you still kind of wish the winner had instead been the silver medalist, who merely rotated one.  But even with the other underrotated, Shoma Uno’s going to be the story of this competition, rocketing his way to almost the top of the junior scene, especially once he starts doing a triple axel to go along with those quads, and doing so with all his elements and artistry along with his jumps.  He may prove the best new Japanese man to come up from the juniors this quadrennium.  Maybe even the best Japanese skater to do so period.

And even among the lower ranks, there was a bit to be impressed by today, including not one, but two skaters who made history for their countries, and not just ones their parents came from for either of them.  Although one must admit that even if he was born in Argentina, Denis Margalik really is a Canadian skater; his skating really screams it too.  Not that this was a bad thing; I loved both his programs.  So perhaps the really impressive one is Julian Yee, who according to his bio even still spends much of his time Malaysia, though he also has a training base in China.  Also was much more impressed by Nicolas Nadeau here than I was at the Quebec Summerskate; he makes the program and even its vocals work when he’s skating well.  Also have to give props to the courage of Yaroslav Paniot just for finishing his program when very obviously injured, though one wonders if that was very smart of him…

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