Friday, 20/7/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

To Quad or Not to Quad That is the Question?

The battle has begun at Staples Center in Los Angeles and on this day in this location 2007 World Champion Brian Joubert proved victorious. The three-time European Champion (2004, 2007, and 2008) has been whining since last year’s World Championship, that the difficulty of a quad jump is underestimated. He believes that higher points should be awarded do to the complexity of the jump.

Joubert got his wish and 0,8 additional points have been added to the base value of the quad toe. That being said the Frenchmen took advantage of the system and outscored a clean skate by American Evan Lysacek — despite Joubert putting his hand down and turning out of his quad toe/triple toe combination. The rule change proved to be a double edge sword, as it awards additional points to the base value, it also adds a heftier penalty for faulty landings or falls.

In the end it was not the quad combination that won him today’s short program. In fact, the quad king earned only 10.60 points for his effort. That stacked up against Lysacek’s 11.00 points for a clean triple Lutz/ triple toe combination.

“I didn’t have enough speed going into it,” the European Champion stated. “After this mistake, I just kept going and tried to give 100 percent on every element and on the components. After the Europeans, I’ve worked very hard on my footwork and spins, so even with this big mistake on the jump combination, I still got a high technical score.”

Joubert delivered a high energy program to the music “Rise” by Safri Duo which earned 84.40 points and Lysacek’s powerful Bolero picked up 82.70 points. Joubert told the media this week that he sees Lysacek as his only possible roadblock to recapture the title here in Los Angeles. He nay-stayed any notion that Grand Prix Champion Jeremy Abbott, or Four Continents Champion Patrick Chan posed any substantial threat.

He also counted out the two Japanese men Nobunari Oda and Takihiko Kozuka both of who have quad jumps in their arsenal; as well as, fellow European Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic who also is known for his quad jump.

While Lysacek seemed unfathomed by the controversy, Chan, Canada’s golden boy rebuffed Joubert’s comments and told the media Joubert needs to focus on other things outside of the quad.

Chan’s marks caused controversy when he was placed third in Wednesday’s short program with 82.55 points. The audience was so shocked that they booed the judges.

Czech Republic’s Tomas Verner powered out a strong program as well, which included a quad toe/triple toe combination. Verner’s score of 80.36 points only garnered the fourth highest technical mark of 44.06. The 2008 European Champion turned out of a triple Axel despite exhibiting the stellar quad toe/triple toe combination.

In Joubert’s defense his other elements were first-rate. He executed a triple Axel and a triple Lutz and two level four spins. His footwork which was called level three fired up the audience and their cheering became louder and louder. While he edged Lysacek on the technical score the component marks were very close – with Joubert’s at 38.40 and Lysacek’s at 38.30.

Lysacek rocked the house with his explosive footwork, but the two-time World bronze medalist (2005, 2006) opted for a triple Lutz/triple toe combination, a solo triple Axel and a triple flip. He like Joubert managed two level four spins and two level three step sequences. The 23-year-old who currently lives and trains in Los Angeles has been on fire, since he lost his national title in January.

“It’s been a long season for me,” Evan said with confidence. “Once the hard elements were out of the way, I started celebrating as the rest of the program went on. I really like this program. I love this building. I felt a lot of good energy here.

Chan became the focus of this year’s media hype when Joubert discounted the 18-year-old as viable competition, since he did not have a quad in his arsenal. The media frenzy actually began after last year’s World Championships when Joubert complained about Canadian Jeffrey Buttle winning the World Title without a quad. The Canadian admits he has worked on the quad, however, has yet to get the jump consistent enough to add it to his programs. Chan’s strength is the quality of his skating. He has superb technique and an artistic flair well beyond his years.

The two-time Canadian Champion produced a sensational skate and the audience were so unhappy with the marks they booed the judges when the marks were read. The Four Continents Champion hit his triple Axel, a triple flip/triple toe combination and a triple Lutz. His “Tango de los Exilados” program by Walter Taieb is not only choreographed exquisitely, Chan’s musicality and interpretation is exceptional.

“I did expect a higher score, so I was surprised,” Chan said with disappointment. “But I think I had already found out because I watched Evan (Lysacek) and he did as good a program as I did. He didn’t get as high marks, either, so I think we were both surprised. I was fooled by the beginning of the season because the first half of the season I had quite high marks.”

Chan racked up 82.55 points and enters the free skate in third place.

Czech Republic’s Tomas Verner returns to the World Championships after having a disastrous showing placing fifteenth last season in Gothenburg. The 22-year-old appears more focused and prepared. The Czech delivered an energetic and fun program which featured a top-notch quad toe/triple toe combination. However, he turned out of the triple Axel that followed but recouped quickly with a solo triple Lutz and impressive footwork which captured the enthusiasm of the audience.

“I’m really upset with my triple Axel. The quad-triple combination and the Lutz were good, all the spins except for one were a level four, and the steps were level three,” Verner commented. “ It was ok for the beginning. I wasn’t nervous, just my legs were a little shaky. For me, my problem is not the width, but the length of the rink, especially for my set up of the triple Axel.”

Verner gathered 80.36 points and will enter the free skate in fourth place.

Grand Prix silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka is currently in fifth place with 79.35 points.

His smooth presentation to Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” was as clean-as-a-whistle and appeared effortless. The 20-year-old exhibited superb technique and executed a triple Lutz/triple toe combination, a triple Axel and a triple flip. His spins were low-fast-and well-centered and were awarded high levels from the technical panel as well.

“Before the program, I was feeling a little nervous because I was struggling during the practices,” Kozuka explained. “But after the first jump, I felt very confident, and it gave me the energy and the excitement to concentrate until the end. I felt so nervous after the last jump that I couldn’t tell if I was still breathing or not. My elements were good except for maybe the footwork. I wasn’t expecting high scores, but the marks I received were not as high as I thought they would be.”

Italy’s newest star Samuel Contesti is currently sixth with 78.50 points. Contesti, who skated for France in the 2005 World Championships where he placed twenty-sixth has moved to Italy and received Italian citizenship. This season Contesti splashed onto the international scene when he became the first Italian man to win a medal at the European Championships (silver) since Carlo Fassi did in 1954.

The 26-year-old performed remarkably and delivered a solid performance with high quality elements which included a triple Lutz/triple toe combination, a triple Axel and a triple loop. His straight line steps were especially well-done and earned GOE’s as high as +2 for that element.

”My aim was to stay strong until the very end of the end of program, and it did work very well, Contesti told the press. “I am happy with that. Now tomorrow is definitely another day; who knows what can happen?”

Returning to the World Championships after a one year suspension for a drunk driving charge, Japan’s Nobunari Oda is currently seventh with 76.49 points.

The Japanese crashed into the boards on his triple Lutz/triple toe combination. Despite the miscue the 22-year-old eeked out a strong triple Axel and a triple flip.

“I was very excited, and I had more confidence than at Four Continents,” the NHK Champion stated. “I think I had too much speed. But I fall in practice all the time so it is no big deal.”

Youngster Brandon Mroz from the USA took a surprising eight place in his first senior World Championship. The American skated clean but appeared slower and with less expression that the top contenders.

“I was very happy with my skate today,” the 18-year-old stated. “I had some disappointment with my performance at Four Continents. Today I did what I do in practice and tried to deliver my best. I felt great energy from this hometown crowd. I have a lot of family here, and my family, friends and coaches are a great support system.”

Jeremy Abbott of the USA tumbled to tenth place when he made two costly errors. He put a hand down on his opening triple flip/ triple toe combination and then stumbled out on an under-rotated triple Axel.

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”It’s been a long, long season. I think that training for this, I wanted to get my best points at Worlds,” the U.S. Champion stated. “I’ve been skating consistently all season, but I just allowed my mind to get to that place of trying to be too good instead of just being me and doing what I know how to do.”

He earned 72.15 points.

“I just have to get back to myself and my thoughts, and allow myself to do what I know how to do.”

Canada’s Vaughn Chipeur is currently twelfth with 70.45 points and Jeremy Ten is 21st with 60.90 points.

The men’sevent will conclude Thursday evening with the men’s free skate.

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