Event Recaps

2021 World Championships: Day 2 Recap

The second day of the World Championships saw the first medals given out in the pairs event and the beginning of the hyper-competitive men’s competition. Here’s a quick run-down of the ups, downs, and twists from day two in Stockholm.

Men’s Short Program

The Top Three

#1 Yuzuru Hanyu – Japan: 4S, 4T+3T, 3A / 106.98 (TES: 59.02, PCS: 47.96)

Hanyu was in top form today, skating a squeaky-clean short program and asserting himself as the clear winner of the event. He received positive GOE on every element with most marks in the three to five range and was the only man to receive any 10s in the components. Although it’s clear this “Let Me Entertain You” program can’t be skated to its full potential without an audience, Hanyu did his best to skate with the same energy he would give to a full arena and fans at home were certainly entertained.

#2 Yuma Kagiyama – Japan: 4S+3T, 4T, 3A / 100.96 (TES: 57.86, PCS: 43.10)

In his World Championships debut, the World Junior silver medalist proved that his bronze medal at last year’s Four Continents wasn’t a fluke and that he’s now a definite threat in the top senior ranks. Kagiyama had a very strong technical skate–just over a point off Hanyu in TES–and while his more unrefined, junior-ish qualities were reflected in the PCS mark, he becomes only the eighth man to ever break the 100-point barrier in the short program.

#3 Nathan Chen – USA: 4Lzq(fall), 3A, 4F+3T / 98.85 (TES: 53.42, PCS: 46.43)

The usually rock-solid Nathan Chen came out more hesitant today and opened up with a shock fall on an underrotated quad Lutz. Although he recovered well for the rest of the program (minus a level 2 on his flying camel spin), Chen will start the free skate with an eight-point gap to the leader. Both he and Hanyu are capable of putting up some seriously high marks in the free skate, but Chen’s technical content has historically won out with judges when they go head-to-head, so it will be a very interesting race for the gold on Saturday.

Biggest Surprise – Yuma Kagiyama

Without a doubt, Kagiyama’s explosive short program and small silver medal was the most welcome surprise. In such a packed field, his name was often mentioned as an afterthought, but Kagiyama is the strongest third man we’ve seen from Japan in quite a while and gives them the most competitive lineup in the event. We often hear Kagiyama referred to as the “next generation,” but his skate today said, “nope, I’m here to take on this generation.”

Biggest Flop – Vincent Zhou

In the biggest shock of the event by far, Vincent Zhou, the reigning World bronze medalist, failed to qualify for the free skate. His program got off to a disastrous start with a fall on a downgraded quad Lutz and continued to go downhill with underrotations on both parts of his combo and a fall on an underrotated triple Axel. He becomes the first American man since 1997 to fail to qualify for the free skate at Worlds.

Who Had a Good Day?

Donovan Carrillo

Carrillo, who famously missed last year’s Worlds technical minimum by less than half a point, skated brilliantly and qualified for the free skate for the second time in his career. He’s here trying to qualify Mexico for the Olympics for the first time since 1992, and with his performance today, we think he may have done it. (The rules for Olympic qualification have changed a bit this year and the ISU documentation is a bit confusing, so we’ll wait for official confirmation to say for sure.)

The Russian Team

With the inexperienced Evgeni Semenenko filling their second spot, the Figure Skating Federation of Russia only needs to make up one position to have a shot at sending three men to the Olympics. It’s a packed field and anything can happen in the free skate, but all things considered, that’s a great first day for the Russian team given how inconsistent their men’s field has been over the past few years.

Keegan Messing / Skate Canada

Keegan Messing needs to finish in the top ten to have a chance at regaining Canada’s second men’s spot and he ends the day in fifth place with a ten-point buffer to the tenth ranked man, so seems well positioned to do so. That will be a relief for the Canadian skating federation who had the tough decision of whether to send Messing or reigning national champion Roman Sadovsky.

Who Had a Bad Day?

Team USA’s Olympic Hopes

With Vincent Zhou missing the free skate, the US team may very well lose their third spot for the 2022 Olympics. In order to keep the possibility open, Chen and Brown will need to achieve placements that add up to 13 or less, which is very possible but by no means certain. Even then, due to changes in the qualification system, the US will need to send someone other than Chen or Brown to Nebelhorn Trophy to score their third quota spot. For a team that placed first and third at last Worlds, Olympic spots at risk will have seemed inconceivable and the federation will have a lot of thinking to do over the coming months.

Team China’s Olympic Hopes

With Boyang Jin struggling mightily and Han Yan having some slipups of his own, the Chinese skaters ended the day in 12th and 19th, positions which, if they hold, would knock China down to one men’s spot for their home Olympics next year. Jin in particular has crazy technical content that should move him past a fair few skaters in the free, but it’s men’s skating so anything can happen.

PCS Judging: Round 2

Much like the women’s event yesterday, there was some questionable PCS scoring, such as Jason Brown being marked lower in program components than Nathan Chen despite Brown skating perfectly and Chen falling on his opening jump. Even outside of the top-scorers, Donovan Carrillo received debatably low scores in the early stages which almost kept him out fo the free skate despite skating a near personal best. While it remains to be seen how this will impact the final standings, the fact that we’re seeing such a trend replicated so egregiously across multiple disciplines is quite worrying.

The men’s free skate will kick off Saturday, March 27th at 11am local time (GMT+1) / 6am ET.

Pairs Free Skate

Pairs Final Podium

  1. Mishina/Galliamov – FSR: 227.59
  2. Sui/Han – China: 225.71
  3. Boikova/Kozlovskii – FSR: 217.63

Free Skate Standings

#1 Mishina/Galliamov – FSR: 151.80 (TES: 78.96, PCS: 72.84)

Skating to a Queen medley which appropriately ended on the song “We Are the Champions,” Mishina and Galliamov were the only team in the event to go completely clean on their way to a gold medal in the Worlds debut. Although their PCS were questionably high for a rookie team who still need some refinement, the judges were clearly ready to reward the first team that skated without errors and Mishina/Galliamov were the team to benefit.  

#2 Sui/Han – China: 148.09 (TES: 74.10, PCS: 73.99)

Sui and Han reprised their “Rain in Your Black Eyes” free skate with which they set (and still hold) the pairs free skating world record. Unfortunately they had trouble on both of their side-by-side jumps, receiving a q and underrotation on the combo and another underrotation on the triple Salchows, which also negatively impacted their PCS enough to drop them behind Mishina/Galliamov.

#3 Tarasova/Morosov – FSR: 141.30 (TES: 69.18, PCS: 72.12)

Serious issues on the opening side-by-side jumps which lost them a combo and about five points in base value hampered a skate that was decent, but not up to the same standard we saw from Tarasova and Morozov at Russian nationals earlier in the season. Still, they looked to have regained some of the consistency that left them over the past few seasons.

#4 Boikova/Kozlovskii – FSR: 137.47 (TES: 67.32, PCS: 71.15)

Skating last with the pressure of beating their rivals and training-mates Mishina/Galliamov, Boikova and Kozlovskii, like many teams, faltered on their opening side-by-side jumps with a fall and lost combo. After that, they continued to look off form throughout the program, which also included a near fall on their throw triple flip. Their almost nine point lead over Tarasova and Morozov allowed them to stay on the podium, but bronze will be a bitter disappointment after their stellar performance yesterday and the potential they’ve shown over the past two seasons.

Who Had a Good Day?

Moore-Towers/Marinaro

After a terrible showing in the short program, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro recovered from tenth to sixth in the standings with a strong, if not technically perfect free skate. Their twist again looked iffy and there were a few sketchy moments in the lifts, both of which cost them levels and technical score, but they ensure that Canada safely holds on to two Olympic spots.  

Team Japan

Although they didn’t replicate the same form as their breakout short program yesterday, Japanese pair Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara had a decent skate which kept them in the top ten. That placement would be good enough to give Japan the potential to qualify a second team for the Olympics…if they had a second pairs team.

Who Had a Bad Day?

Team USA

Though not terrible, both American teams struggled in the free skate, with Knierim/Frazier holding on to seventh and Cain-Gribble/LeDuc dropping from sixth to ninth. Those placements mean that the US does not qualify a third Olympic spot that looked like a possibility yesterday.

Side-by-side Jumps

Side-by-side jumps are often the make-or-break element for pairs programs, but the number of side-by-side jump errors in the free skate today was just appalling. Of the 20 jumping passes from the top ten teams, only eight were landed cleanly, and half of the teams missed their combos. Surely lack of training and ice time will have had a negative impact on a number of teams, but for many, hitting their side-by-sides would have made the difference in placements or even medals, so hopefully everyone will go home and drill their jumps so we can enjoy a cleaner pairs event come Olympic season.

Coming Up Next – Friday, March 26th Schedule

Rhythm Dance – 10:50am local time (GMT+1) / 5:50am ET

The ice dance event finally kicks off tomorrow as teams enter a free-for-all to be crowned world champion in the absence of four-time title holders Papadakis and Cizeron.

Women’s Free Skate – 6pm local time (GMT+1) / 1pm ET

The women’s event concludes in the afternoon with triple Axels, quads, and Olympic spots on the line. Catch up on what happened in the short program in the Day 1 Recap.

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