The men closed the competition today. While they were good, I wouldn't say it was as exciting as the Ladies.
Brandon Mroz wasn't able to back up his strong short with a solid free. After some jump mistakes he found himself in 8th place. The first two Canadian men to skate were fantastic. Jeremy Ten just took off (the speed he skates with!) in his program and went on a jumping spree! His teammate Vaughn Chipeur took Jeremey's energy and used it to turn in a near perfect skate of his own. His triple axel is one of the best ever. The crowd just wowed when he did it. These two finished 7th and 6th respectively. Jeremy Abbott was fifth. He doubled his opening quad and fell on a late triple lutz. He looked under the weather to me at this competition. Despite the mistakes, his program is still pulling good component scores and I think he still has to be considered a contender in L.A. Nobunari Oda was 4th. He fell on his opening quad and had some little jump issues here and there. He, like Ten, skates with tremendous speed and almost made it to the bronze medal. That medal went to his teammate Takahiko Kozuka. Takahiko also crashed and burned on his opening quad but managed a decent program after that point. Evan Lysacek, however, did not crash and burn on his opening quad...he nailed it. His only mistake came when he had to put a hand down on a triple axel, however, he hit his second in combination in the back half of the program. Like the short, it would seem the old Evan is back. He looked great in the free skate and seemed very confident. This is an Evan that can compete with the best and I hope he shows up in L.A. However, the day went to Patrick Chan. The only error he had came when he popped his second axel. That didn't stop him though...his footwork, spins, and transitions more than made up the difference and he easily won the free skate. He will be tough for anyone to beat if he skates this well in L.A.
One thing to note, the jump police were asleep on the job here. On the jumbo-tron when they showed the replays, some of those jumps the men were doing were clearly under rotated but they were given full credit. Wonder if they've backed off the nitpicking?
Tomorrow is the exhibition and then I fly back to the States so no posts tomorrow. I did make some great observations here that will be the topic of my next Op-Ed. Until then...