The figure skating season is drawing to a conclusion this week with the WTT in Tokyo and I’m a bit in awe of what’s happening over there.
Tokyo is so beautiful at this time of the year. Different sorts of trees were planted after the war so that they would bloom harmonically over the weeks, unfolding a narrative. When full bloom is reached and blossoms start to fade of course they cover the grass, but also they cover the water, even concrete, and it’s overwhelming how beautiful it is.
The WTT is supposed to be a minor competition, meant to close the season on a cheerful note, but this year it will be about reaching full bloom, since Hanyu-senshuu is determined to overcome all the regret and frustration that came to him because of what he calls “failing” at the Worlds (silver, actually). He is determined to deliver two clean skates.
This is almost scary. Hanyu-senshuu already possessed a stunning technical arsenal but this year he has reached a level of execution and interpretation that, even with an unfinished choreography and two disastrous quads in the FS, he lost to Fernandez by a mere 2 points.
I hope you realize a clean Hanyu-senshuu currently has a potential margin of 20 points over basically everyone else on the planet. As much as we’ve loved the boyish Romeo and the playfulness of Parisian Walkways, adult Hanyu will be going supernova very soon, and it will be violently amazing.
Of course the guys on British Eurosport know that. “He is almost a god” they said before the SP, then after a long pause they added “in Japan”, trying to disguise the sense of apocalypse we all feel in front of Hanyu’s programs, because we know very well he is changing the sport right in front of our eyes.
I hear Japanese fans call him Asura Wears Frills, like in the Buddist demigod obsessed with passions and fighting, but in figure skating attire.
So what happened at the Worlds. Hanyu-senshuu arrived in Shanghai determined to win despite the abdominal surgery, the ankle injury and the unlucky rink. The first thing he did was to run from arrivals to the taxi, to reassure us about the ankle. Then he told a journalist the rink affects him but not “the way we think”, which was meant to reassure us further I believe. After that, he proceeded to smiling a lot during very-good and not-so-good practice sessions. SP was nearly perfect (hand down on the 4T), FS opened with a 2Sal instead of a 4Sal, a fall on the 4T and then all the rest was just fantastic.
Turns out surgery was laparotomy after all (instead of laparoscopy), ankle injury was problematic enough to keep him away from Toronto, stitches have not healed properly yet, there is still a gap in the fascia that prevents him from jumping perfect quads and he peaked form one week earlier than Shanghai, likely a consequence of practicing alone without a coach.
But he still could have jumped those two quads, technically, so he feels regretful, frustrated, a fail and he is also worried about his skin in the photos because he’s suffering from some kind of allergic rush (sic). He will likely need minor surgery to fix the problem with the stitches, but he’s postponing that after the WTT because he wants to close the season with the aforementioned two clean skates.
Well. Generally I consider myself an exceptionally good fan, but it’s becoming obvious that I’m totally inadequate to the task here.
After the SP I was so happy and relieved to see him healthy and competitive that I though if Javier wins this, I will be alright with it, he deserves to win anyway and it’s a good time for that. It sounds like a reasonable thing to say, after a collision, surgery, injury, lack of coaching on Hanyu’s part with Fernandez being in top form after having suffered a staggering flop in Sochi.
But when the narrative of competition turned into the emotional bromance, followed by Hanyu-senshuu declaring he was mostly feeling regretful I was disappointed with myself. Such an intense experience and I was sitting there, being “reasonable”.
Changing a sport is not something you can do by being reasonable. Definitely not.
WTT is coming, see you there.