Men's free program
The men's competition was in
my opinion quite disappointing. But Yagudin was awesome and
Restencourt was a good surprise.
The first group of skaters was so boring to me. Andre Kaden from Germany was first to go and skated an uninteresting program to classical music. He started with a triple lutz landed on two feet, then fell on the triple axel, doubled the flip, singled the loop. Later he tried the triple loop again and landed it cleanly. He was going for the triple salchow but the jump didn't go up, then he fell on the triple lutz. He landed a triple toe and a double axel at the end. I don't remember much from the program because it didn't interest me at all.
Patrick Meier was next. I find him handsome, and I love his skating. He is elegant, beautiful to watch. He performed the same program as last year which I like a lot but the jumps weren't there. He singled the axel, and later fell on it, then did a double flip/double toe combination, overrotated the triple loop, landed the triple lutz but singled both the flip and salchow.:-( Such a shame because the program has very interesting coreography and steps.
Frederic Dambier from France got a lot of support from the crowd, but personnally I found his program to be boring. He tried a quad salchow, though, but unfortunately fell. He landed a triple axel, double loop, triple salchow, triple flip and triple toe but fell on the second axel and landed the triple lutz on two feet and with a hand touch.
Noaki Shigematsu from Japan was next and was in my opinion the most boring skater. He was skating to classical music and there was no real coreography in his program. He fell on the triple axel, did a triple lutz-single toe combination, single flip, double flip, overrotated the triple loop, ended with a triple lutz-double toe combination. The most amazing thing is that he had problems with the jumps, and he didn't even try to do the "easy" jumps-triple salchow or toe loop. They are the easiest jumps but they would have counted! Everytime he missed a jump he really looked like he just wanted to stop skating and leave the ice. He has lots of things to learn.
Jan Cejvan from Slovenia was last but not least in this disappointing group. He skated to celtic music, including Elvis Stojko's 97/98 free program music. His costume was black and green, not really reflecting the music. In my opinion he was the best of this group, the judges prefered Dambier-maybe because he did the triple axel. Cejvan landed a nice triple lutz, triple toe, double loop, triple flip, a triple lutz-double toe combination, a double axel, stepped out of the salchow. Not bad, and I found his jumps beautiful to watch.
Vincent Restencourt was first to go in the second group, and he really surprised me!:-) He was skating to Zorro and was wearing black boots that I found to be very unelegant, but his jumps were fabulous! He started with a quad toe, stepped out of the triple axel and landed the triple flip. Then he did a great triple axel-triple toe combination, doubled the lutz but landed the triple loop and salchow. Of course he still needs to work on his presentation. He did a step sequence on his toe picks that wasn't very elegant- and it looked like Candeloro's "sword sequence" a lot. He did a lot of steps on his toes. He doesn't really feel the music but after all he is just 18 and has a lot of time to improve. And he knows he has to work on that , because when he received his presentation marks he found them to be "normal".
Jason Denommee from Canada was next, it was my first time seeing him. He was skating to jazz music, his program seems to be good. At the beginning he had a lot of charisma, he was really entertaining and was landing his jumps well. He landed a triple axel-double toe combination, triple flip, triple lutz-double toe. But then he fell on his second triple axel and from that point the program had nothing. No charisma, no good jumps anymore. He fell on the triple loop, doubled the lutz, stepped out of the triple salchow. Such a shame, it could easily have been a great performance.
Alexei Yagudin is my favourite male skater, and I wasn't disappointed at all.:-) It was my first time seeing his "Broken Arrow" program and I fell in love with it! The only thing is that he does most of the coreography in front of the judges- and I was at the opposite side.:-( But I still enjoyed the program a lot. His jumps were gorgeous, his only mistake was a double lutz but he landed triple axel-triple toe, quad toe, triple axel, triple flip, triple loop, triple salchow. I love this program, maybe more than Lawrence of Arabia because he seems to have fun in this program.:-) Well, you may have understood, I was thrilled!!
Michael Weiss was next, and even though I didn't think he could beat Yagudin, I was at least hoping for a kind of "battle". But Michael missed most of his jumps, and his program to "Carmen" isn't captivating at all in my opinion. I liked him when he tried to have his own style, to make original programs, like in 97. Now I find his programs to be so generic-and choosing Carmen doesn't help. He had a bad fall on the quad toe, stepped out of the triple axel, did a triple flip-double toe combination but I'm sure he was going for triple-triple. He fell on the triple axel, singled the loop. Ended well with a triple salchow and a triple lutz. Really, really disappointing.
Ivan Dinev skated quite well. His music was quite bizarre, and I think it was some techno music (although I can't remember it well). He landed a triple axel-triple toe combination, then a triple toe but I think he was going for a quad. He did the triple lutz, triple axel, triple toe, triple flip, singled the salchow. A good program, but I was not that impressed-and I don't agree with that 5.8 for presentation at all. Anyway he deserved to be third.
Laurent Tobel was last to go. Before he skated he already had the crowd laughing because of that "Austin Powers" costume.:-) It was a funny routine, but his jumps weren't that good. If only he could have landed a triple axel, maybe he would have been third. He singled his first attempt and doubled his second one. He landed a triple lutz, triple salchow (leaning forward), singled the loop, did a great triple flip-triple toe combination and then another combination, triple lutz-triple toe that time. His jumps are so impressive when he lands them. He looked disappointed. The crowd wanted him to be on the podium but he was 4th- which is quite fair.