Anne’s Olympic Blog #4 – Men’s TE Free Skate

After the Women’s Team Event I rewatched Kamila Valieva’s Short Program. The technical process to do that was accidentally started at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics that I had attended so many years ago. Judges asked CBS if they could review the tape of an event to see if a skier had missed a gate on the slalom . . . that gave CBS the idea for replays. 

The Men’s Free Program competition began after the resurfacing break. The roster was now whittled down to five teams: ROC, USA, JPN, CAN, CHN. The skaters were introduced at center ice. Canada and the ROC used the same skaters as in the Short Program, but China, Japan, and the U.S.substituted for their original athletes.

The star of the night was Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama. The 2021 World silver medalist completed four quads, three triple combinations and a single 3A on his way to earning a personal best 208.94 score. The base value for his elements (93.95) was more than 10 points ahead of the next competitor. Only five of the Program Component marks were below 9.00. Four of them were given by the same judge. The eighteen-year-old is coached by his father, Masakuza Kagiyama, a two-time Olympic figure skater.

Kagiyama had two negative GOEs, both in his second jump. “In the beginning I made a mistake in my quadruple loop, but after the jump all of my performance was perfect, but I need to try even harder in my individual events.”

Mark Kondratiuk added nine more points to the ROC count with a 181.65 score, followed by American Vincent Zhou’s 171.44 for eight points and China’s Jin Boyang seven points for his 155.04 score.

Roman Sadovsky (CAN) was not supposed to compete in the Team Event, let alone skate twice. Keegan Messing, the original entrant was still back in Canada after testing positive for Covid. The Canadian champion needed to produce four negative tests – two each 24 hours apart before he could depart for Beijing. 

In his Olympic debut, Sadovsky unfortunately struggled with both programs and scored well below his personal best. The 122.60 program was awarded six points for Canada.

[“My performance] was definitely very shaky. It’s not how I train in my full season. I trained to do my best here, but it didn’t work out today. I just feel I could have done better for the team.”

The next day, I was as shocked as everyone when I received the following USFS Media Alert…

February 8, 2022

Olympic silver medalist Vincent Zhou announced tonight that he will be unable to compete in the men’s individual competition at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games due to testing positive for COVID-19.

Zhou posted a very emotional message on Instagram about his Olympic dream.

After the Men’s Free Skate, the nations were in the following order: ROC (45), USA (42), JPN (39), CAN (30) and CHN (29).

Pairs competed their Free Programs next. All the countries except the ROC opted to skate a different athlete. During an earlier practice, Anastasia Mishina & Alexandr Galliamov (ROC) had a fall coming out of a lift, but the reigning World champions recovered to take first place in the Free Programs. 

They are coached by the legendary Tamara Moskvina, whose unique pair choreography has lifted numerous teams to the top of the medal podium. My favorite, however, is still the flexible moves of Natalia Mishkutionok & Artur Dmitriev’s golden performance to Liebestraum at the 1992 Albertville Olympics 30 years ago this week.

Japan’s Riku Miura & Ryuichi Khara’s threw down a personal best 139.60 program to grab the second place nine points and overtake the American team, Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier who finished fifth and earned six points.

The new order: ROC (55), JPN (48) USA (48), CAN (37) and CHN (37). America’s hopes for a silver medal would now depend on ice dancers Chock & Bates and Karen Chen in Women’s singles.

~ Anne