The most upsetting thing about watching the ISU Figure Skating World Championships is that the Olympics were about five minutes ago and most people are skating the same programs with the same costumes– and let’s face it: discussing sartorial choices is a major highlight of figure skating commentary in my mind.
On that note, I tip my hat to Kevin Van Der Perren of Belgium for changing up his free skate program. You may remember him as the skeletor man from the Olympic short program. For his free skate at the World Championships in Torino, Van Der Perren chose to mix things us and perform a program to “Reflections of Earth” (of Disney World fame) which appears to be a piece that he originally skated in the 2000/2001 season.
Inexplicably this is the only image Universal Sports has to offer of his performances in Torino– but know that it was dramatic and spangled. And the music started out just as terrifyingly as his “Night on Bald Mountain” skeletor skate. Van Der Perren is one scary intense dude; he executed a magnificent quad-triple-triple combination worth 19 points out of his 144.88 season’s best score. Johnny Weir, who has been commentating the competition on Universal Sports, described Van Der Perren’s execution of the combination “like shooting an arrow,” after stating that the Belgian skater is not a a fan of choreography, rather for him the sport is all about the jumps, which– for the record– are pretty epic. This was apparently the last competition of his career.
So with Evan Lysacek and Evgeny Plushenko both absent from the Worlds (Plushenko is apparently injured, but I think he is too busy polishing his fake gold medal), who else was there?
Jeremy Abbott skated as the highest ranked American man, putting in a redeeming short program after a disappointing Olympic performance. Afterwards he said, “I was very pleased with how I skated today… it wasn’t easy– I wasn’t in the zone,” but managed to lay it down anyways. He has repeated said that a misdirected mindset in Vancouver seriously handicapped his performance and that in Torino, “I made the goal about performance outcome instead of trying to win, and I think it really worked out for the best… I can’t control placement, all I can do is skate.”
Abbott took a few spills after a nice start to his long program the next day, but really at the ISU Worlds placing fifth is no mean feat. Plus Abbott’s high placement assures the US the right to a full team of three men to compete next year. Here is looking forward to seeing more of Jeremy Abbott and maybe some more Beatles choreography. Plus, you can always depend on Abbott for a tasteful costume and let’s face it– we all appreciate that!
Meanwhile, Brian Joubert of France took the bronze with performances of redemption after his own disappointing Olympic showing. In case you missed: Joubert’s free skate program begins with a full body heart beat interpretation.
Patrick Chan took the silver for the second year in a row (and someone should tell him that when you wear all black without much texture the details on your costume do not read well at all). This another redemptive moment after a fifth place finish Olympic games in front of the home crowd in Canada.
Olympic bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi skated for the gold, becoming the male first world champion from Japan. Unfortunately, this means that he again stood on the podium wearing the fringed, check and cowl-necked, peasant vested sartorial situation. Not OK. Sorry.
Regarding Takahashi’s skate, Johnny Weir said, “He was crisp and clean and perfect… to the end.”
I hope that Weir keeps commentating, because it is amazing and the best is yet to come once we recap his own recap of his Olympic performance and the totality of his World Champion commenting.