Takahashi to face Hanyu, Asada to meet Suzuki at Japan’s Derby
By Vladislav Luchianov
This weekend will be held the last stage of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating. The city of Miyagi, Japan will host 2012 NHK Trophy. After that there will be only the Final in Sochi, Russia.
Japanese Grand Prix stage is one of the most popular among athletes and fans. This is not surprising. It is difficult to find a more friendly and at the same time so deeply knowledgeable figure skating crowd. Ice arenas in Japan are always full and the athletes from different countries with a great pleasure perform in this country.
The upcoming event can be well called the Japanese Derby. Of course, there will compete other famous athletes but a direct competition among leaders of the modern Japan’s skating deserves special attention. Especially if taking into account the fight for Grand Prix Final spots and coming Japan Figure Skating Championships.
In the men’s single skating for the first time in this season on the same ice will meet Daisuke Takahashi and Yuzuru Hanyu.
At the 2012 Cup of China, his first Grand Prix event of the season, 2010 Olympic bronze medalist and reigning National Champion of Japan Daisuke Takahashi won the silver medal behind his teammate Tatsuki Machida. Not everything turned out well for him in China from the technical point of view but he once again showed his high level of creativity on the ice. Without doubt at the NHK Trophy he will try not only to win the first place but also demonstrate improvements of his performances.
2012 World and Japan national bronze medalist Yuzuru Hanyu began this season at the Finlandia Trophy, winning the gold medal. At Skate America, he set a new World Record in the short program with a score of 95.07. It is interesting to note that the previous record belonged to Takahashi.
At 2012 Skate America Yuzuru created a real furor in his short program, performing it not only at the highest level but also with a great inspiration. Perhaps this was the reason that his free skating was the opposite. But everything comes with experience.
Yuzuru Hanyu has a great artistic potential and tries to use 100% of its emotional component. Perhaps he is not always evenly distributes the forces on both programs and maybe this is the reason of some unstable performances. Surely he is well aware and is working on it, and most likely he will show us his improvements in Miyagi.
No less interesting will be the duel between Mao Asada and Akiko Suzuki in ladies singles skating.
Two-time World Champion Mao Asada began her Grand Prix circuit with a gold medal at the 2012 Cup of China. At this tournament Mao showed how much she added in comparison with the last season, which was very challenging in different ways for this wonderful skater.
Asada’s new free skating program to the music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake captivated audience in China. This piece of music always causes certain expectations. Mao has justified these expectations. Having one of the highest technical level, Mao coped very well with the emotional and artistic parts of her not simple program. Asada has once again proved that she is still a true master of this sport, who also has a very deep sense of musical themes and their interpretations.
2012 World bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki won the silver medal at 2012 Skate Canada, her first Grand Prix event of this season. 27-year-old skater also showed a high level of skating. Unfortunately, the evaluation of her components at Skate Canada caused some confusion. In my opinion, they were higher. But, as we all know very well, the components are very often become a kind of window into the rules, which often causes a mixed reaction.
At the 2012 NHK Trophy, both skaters will try to build on their success and to please their fans with beautiful performances.
Figure skating audience is always waiting for wonderful and at the same time strong skating programs from competitions in Japan. I am confident that this year’s performances will be no exception.
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