Japan Championships: A masterpiece art festival

Japan championships 2012, men's podium

By Vladislav Luchianov

Past weekend Japan hosted the national figure skating championships in Sapporo.

First of all, it was interesting by competitions in the men’s and ladies single skating. A whole constellation of modern talents was presented at the ice arena.

All competitions held in Japan distinguish by their special warmth and attractiveness. The national championship is a kind of culmination. Just look at the completely filled stands and it will be clear to you that there are not just sporting events. The art lives there.

The men’s competitions won Yuzuru Hanyu (285.23 points) but for me there were two winners – he and Daisuke Takahashi (280.40). Of course, the importance of winning the first national championships can not be underestimated. At the same time, I would like to note that both skaters, who belong to different generations, demonstrated the real and complete performances. Such kind of figure skating people should watch standing up.

Yuzuru Hanyu at Japan championships 2012

“I was shocked,” said Hanyu at a press conference. “This is unofficial but I’m happy I was able to break my own world record. This is a year I have to be in contention for the title. I’m not that concerned with setting world records, but I am pleased I was able to perform in this way under pressure. The pressure energizes me.” the champion added.

“I was able to steady myself despite feeling nervous. I somehow held the quad combo together on landing. It’s getting better and better for me. I had some small mistake but nothing major.” Takahashi commented.

Daisuke Takahashi at Japan Championships 2012

The case is not even in the highly technical part of their programs. The case is in the emotions that were very true, complete and strong.

Each of them, here we can also include the bronze medalist Takahito Mura (242.70), has its own unique style and very harmonious movement on the ice. In conjunction with beautiful music their performances are remembered for a very long time. Yuzuru’s romantic passion and breathtaking masterpiece of Daisuke – it’s impossible to forget!

No less exciting were competitions among ladies. Mao Asada (193.56) confirmed the champion’s title. When you look at this great artist at the warm up, then you catch yourself thinking that you are watching the same young girl that Mao was in 2005, when she won the World Junior Championships.

Mao Asada at Japan championships 2012

She is not only retained her youthful charm, but also added to it very and very much. The energy of her programs increases during the season and the audience feels it perfectly.

Yes, in Sapporo she could not avoid some of the mistakes, but when you look at Mao’s programs you don’t think about mistakes because her art works on the ice envelop and fascinate viewers.

“This (competition) has motivated me to go a level higher in my next competition. I am not totally back to form, but I’m halfway there.” said Asada.

The same can be said about Akiko Suzuki (180.03). She ended up in fourth place but her programs of this skating season can be called a masterpiece. She deservedly won the competition in the short program, but, unfortunately, not everything turned out well in free skating.

Akiko Suzuki at Japan championships 2012

The second place took Kanako Murakami (183.67). This can be called as a surprise of the event. But it’s hard not to notice how much this girls added in skills. Last season was a kind of transitional one for her and already in this skating year she begins to unfold like a flower.

“I was really excited to see a score like that for the first time in a long while,” said Murakami. “The most important thing was that my coach praised my efforts today.” she added.

Kanako Murakami at Japan championships 2012

The third place earned a 14-year-old Satoko Miyahara (180.55). Her young age and the presence of more famous rivals didn’t embarrass the skater. As a result, she got a fully deserved bronze medal.

“I am really happy,” said Miyahara. “I am satisfied because I was able to land a triple – triple combination in the free. I want to be thought of as a skater who has great jumps, spins and steps.” she noted.

Japan championships 2012, ladies podium

For me personally, the Japan championships became the perfect New Year’s gift of very positive emotions. I’d like to hope that the coming national championships of another major skating country, the Russian Federation, will be held in similar atmosphere.

Photo: Zimbio, Kyodo

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