In the final day of competition in Stockholm we finished up the men’s event, crowned some new dance champions, and saw some unexpected medal placements. There’s certainly still a lot to unpack from these World Championships, but let’s briefly go over what went down on Day 4.
Men’s Free Skate
- Nathan Chen – USA: 320.88
- Yuma Kagiyama – Japan: 291.77
- Yuzuru Hanyu – Japan: 289.18
Free Skate Standings
#1 Nathan Chen – USA: 4Lz, 4F+3T, 3Lz, 4S, 4T+1Eu+3F, 4T+3T, 3A / 222.03 (TES: 125.89, PCS: 96.14)
Nathan Chen was no doubt the star of the show, landing five clean quads and receiving big positive GOE on every element. Skating from an eight-point deficit after the short, his Phillip Glass program looked the best it ever has and he didn’t let setbacks from the short get in the way of winning his third consecutive world title.
#2 Yuma Kagiyama – Japan: 4S, 4T+3T, 3F, 4T, 3A+1Eu+3S, 3Lz+3Lo, 3A/ 190.81 (TES: 102.39, PCS: 88.42)
The surprise star of the short program, Yuma Kagiyama continued his form in the free skate, landing three clean quads and only losing a little bit of steam on the last few jumping passes of the program. His reaction in the kiss and cry after finding out that he would medal in his Worlds debut was heart-warming to see, made even better by the fact that he is coached by his father, who got to share in that special moment.
#3 Shoma Uno – Japan: 4Sq, 4F, 4Tq, 3A, 4T+2T, 3S+3T, 3A+1Eu+3F / 184.82 (TES: 94.90, PCS: 89.92)
Shoma Uno had a few issues in the opening jumps of his program–with his most difficult element, the quad flip, actually being the cleanest–but came back strong and landed all of his combos in the second half of the program. Coach Stephane Lambiel looked absolutely thrilled at the end of the skate, which was good enough to earn Uno a small bronze medal.
#4 Yuzuru Hanyu – Japan: 4Lo, 4Sq, 3A, 3Lo, 4T+3T, 4T+1Eu+3S, 3A+REP / 182.20 (TES: 89.78, PCS: 92.42)
Skating last and knowing what Nathan Chen had already delivered, Yuzuru Hanyu will have known that he needed to skate clean to have a shot at the gold. Unfortunately, the jumps started off with a hand down on the opening quad loop and never got fully back on track, with four of the seven jumping passes receiving negative grades of execution. Although he stayed on his feet, the plethora of small mistakes added up enough to drop Hanyu from first after the short program to third overall. The bronze medal here marks the first time he’s finished lower than second since 2014 NHK Trophy.
#5 Mikhail Kolyada – FSR: 4T+3T, 4T, 3A+2T, 3Lz+1Eu+3S, 3A(fall), 3Fe, 3Lo / 178.52 (TES: 88.82, PCS: 90.70)
Mikhail Kolyada showcased his brilliant White Crow program, and while there were some jump issues, including a fall on the second triple Axel, the program was still just as stunning as it has been all year. Clearly the switch this season to coach Alexei Mishin has worked very well for him, as finally skating two clean programs at Worlds without a meltdown or any popped jumps is a big accomplishment for Kolyada.
#6 Keegan Messing – Canada: 4T+2T, 4T, 3A+1Eu+3S, 3Lo, 3Lz+3T, 3A, 2Fe / 176.75 (TES: 87.15, PCS: 89.60)
Keegan Messing got off to a very strong start in his free skate, only losing steam in the final two jumping passes with a step out of a triple Axel and popping his last triple flip into a double. His sixth place finish here means that Canada will have the opportunity to qualify a second spot for the Olympics next year, which was Keegan and Skate Canada’s target for the competition, so he can leave very satisfied with his performance.
#7 Evgeni Semenenko – FSR: 4T, 4S, 3A+3T, 3Lo, 3A, 3F+1Eu+3S, 3Lo+2A+SEQ / 171.59 (TES: 90.51, PCS: 81.08)
Seventeen-year-old Semenenko, who was making his Worlds debut after other Russian skaters faltered at the end of the season, skated a perfectly clean free skate to move up from tenth in the short program to eighth place overall. His finishing position coupled with Kolyada’s fifth place means that the Russian team will have the chance to qualify a third man for the Olympics, giving them the potential to send a full contingent of three entries in each discipline, whichever flag they will be competing under.
#8 Jason Brown – USA: 4S<, 3A+2T, 3A, 3F, 3F+2T, 3Lo, 3Lz+1Eu+3S / 170.92 (TES: 80.12, PCS: 90.80)
Although it was underrotated, Jason Brown conquered his biggest hurdle by jumping the quad Salchow and landing it on one foot. Other than a two-footed lading of his second triple Axel, that was the only mistake in the program, which received the characteristically big GOE and PCS we’ve come to expect from Jason, and his seventh place overall finish keeps the US on track for three Olympic spots, though they will need to qualify the final one in the fall.
Who Had a Good Day?
Countries Earning Olympic Spots
In addition to the American, Russian, and Canadian men doing what they needed for spots, team Japan of course held onto their three spots and the Italian contingent held onto their two spots. Kevin Aymoz and Junhwan Cha also gave France and Korea respectively the chance to qualify a second man in the fall with their top ten finishes. We’re still waiting on a rule clarification on whether quota spots that need to be “confirmed” at Nebelhorn count against the spots available at Worlds or not, but single Olympic spots were definitely qualified for Georgia, Switzerland, Estonia, Belarus, Latvia, and the Czech Republic.
Who Had a Bad Day?
Boyang Jin/China’s Olympic Hopes
The one really bad day in terms of Olympic spots came from team China, whose finishes here knock them down to just one entry for their home Olympics in Beijing next year. Boyang Jin, who was in 19th place after the short program, had a nightmare free skate with a number of falls and underrotations, which moved him back to 22nd place. Han Yan had a better outing with only one fall in the free, but his tech content was not enough to compete with the top men and he also slid back from 12th to 14th overall. That will be a massive and unexpected result for a team with two such talented skates who on a good day could qualify three spots, not struggle to keep two.
Injuries and Conditioning
A strange trend we saw in the earlier groups was a large number of skaters suffering apparent injuries on the ice or having serious conditioning issues. Swedish skater Nikolaj Majorov took a hard fall early in his program and popped or fell on every following jump, looking visibly in pain as he left the ice. Seven skaters later, Mikhail Brezina had a similar experience, falling on his opening qual Salchow attempt and struggling through the rest of the program, only to limp off the rink and immediately begin applying ice to an apparent hip injury. More than usual, we saw skaters collapsing in the second half of their programs and coming off of the ice completely exhausted. These kinds of things can happen at any event, but the issue seems to have been exacerbated in this strange season where skaters’ training has been interrupted (to varying degrees) and competition experience limited. And of course, those issues disproportionally affect skaters from smaller federations or lesser means that haven’t been able to travel across the world to seek out alternative training arrangements.
Ice Dance Free Dance
- Sinitsina/Katsalapov – FSR: 221.17
- Hubbell/Donohue – USA: 214.71
- Gilles/Poirier – Canada: 214.35
Free Dance Standings
#1 Sinitsina/Katsalapov – FSR: 133.02 (TES: 74.57, PCS: 58.45)
Sinitsina and Katsalapov had the highest levels and components of the event and ended up winning by a good six and a half points. They returned to their free dance from last season for this event, and skating to a well rehearsed piece of music certainly served them well. They also beat their own score from last year’s Europeans by about a point and a half, so are set up well to challenge Papadakis and Cizeron next season.
#2 Gilles/Poirier – Canada: 130.98 (TES: 73.54, PCS: 57.44)
The most pleasantly surprising, and pleasant overall, skate of the night came from the Canadian team Gilles and Poirier. Skating under a massive Canadian flag waved by Keegan Messing, they put up a personal best of more than four points in the free skate to grab their first Worlds medal.
#3 Hubbell/Donohue – USA: 128.66 (TES: 71.28, PCS: 57.38)
Hubbell and Donohue gave probably the best performance of their “Hallelujah” free dance in terms of character and projection, but lost levels in a few key places, which knocked them down to third in the free dance and very nearly down to the bronze medal position.
#4 Chock/Bates – USA: 127.54 (TES: 70.58, PCS: 56.68)
In the final outing of their snake charmer free skate, Chock and Bates suffered the same twizzle issue that plagued them at US Nationals, but were also scored lower in GOE and PCS compared to Hubbell and Donohue, which placed them squarely in fourth place.
Who Had a Good Day?
Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson had a sensational outing with their Madonna free dance to pick up their first top-ten finish at a World Championships and a potential second Olympic spot for Great Britain. Depending on how the qualifying rule interpretation impacts ladies, it’s possible that Fear and Gibson were the only Brits to qualify an Olympic spot at all, and the fact that the second one could be taken by Fear’s younger sister Sasha will make it all that much sweeter.
Canada’s Olympic Hopes
Gilles and Poirier’s bronze coupled with a strong eighth place finish from Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikloaj Sorensen means that Canada will keep their three spots for the 2022 Olympics, with the third likely again going to the youngsters Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha.
Who Had a Bad Day?
Sarah Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin were tasked with finishing in the top ten to secure a second Olympic spot for Spain, who have another equally strong dance team in Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz. Tragically, they finished in eleventh, just two points shy of what they needed to pick up that extra spot, and a deduction for an extended lift in their free dance made up a big part of the difference. Once again, Spain will have a very hard time deciding who to send in their one spot, as they did with this event.
It’s been a crazy, sleepless four days of compentition from these World Championships, full of plenty of excellent performances, fascinating stories, and shocking twists. But most importantly, we hope that all of the athletes are able to get home or back to their training bases safely. With three positive coronavirus cases announced over the span of the competition, we won’t fully know the efficacy of the safety measures taken for this event until several weeks after everyone has departed.
Strangely, and probaby unnecessarily, there is still an exhibition gala tomorrow, which will be at 2:30pm local time / 8:30am ET.