Speaking of Championships, several have taken place naming top skaters around the world National Champions. In France, Brian Joubert won another National Title. Take a look:
He went back to his "Matrix" program that brought him success in the mid 2000s. I am a bigger fan of the more artistic Brian that tried to peek out over the last couple of years but he was having no luck with results so he's gone back to what works for him. Trouble is, there aren't any "component boosters" to speak of in this program so it doesn't have a hope or prayer outside of Europe. Pechalat/Bourzat also captured another French Title last week.
In Ostrava, Czech Republic, Tomas Verner bested Michal Brezina to win another Czech (and Slovak and Polish) Title:
One of the better skates from Verner in a while. Beauty of a quad off the top.
In Saransk, Plushenko did it again, I have no words.:
The ladies standings at Russian Nationals were a hot mess. Sotnikova won. Leonova (who looked to be on track this season) could only muster 3rd, Makarova was 4th, and seemingly immune to defeat Tuktamysheva was just 6th. Both Volosozhar/Trankov and Kavaguti/Smirnov skipped the event giving Bazarova/Larionov an easy win. Bobrova/Solviev took the Dance Title.
Finally to Osaka, Japan which had the most contested titles up for grabs. On the Men's Side, Takahashi held on to win after being bested in the free skate by Kozuka who finished 2nd and Hanyu who finished 3rd (Hanyu won the free skate). Nobunari Oda, whose had a terrible season after recovering from injury, did not compete. Despite the win, Takahashi's skate was marred by several errors. Here are all three performances:
On the ladies side Mao Asada, in what must have been a very difficult week after the recent passing of her mother, turned in a beautiful performance to win another Japanese Title:
While not perfect, you all but forgive her the last two jumping passes given the circumstances. Akiko won the silver and Murakami took the bronze.
Hope 2012 is great to everyone! Have a Happy and Safe New Year!