From December 8 – 11, this year’s Grand Prix Final took place in Marseille, France. This was the final event in the International Skating Union’s 2016 – 2017 Grand Prix Series. Japan sent 3 skaters to this competition and each one won a medal, each a different color.
Yuzuru Hanyu won the men’s portion of the Grand Prix Final for the fourth year in a row with a total score of 293.90. He is the first skater to win the Grand Prix Final four years in a row. Yuzuru’s short program was given a score of 106.53, the best of the night, 6.77 points ahead of Canada’s Patrick Chan. This is also Yuzuru’s best short program score of the season. Although he had to slightly correct a landing on his opening quad loop, he was clean on his quad salchow and triple toe loop. Even coach Brian Orser was dancing along to the routine beside the rink as the crowd got increasingly louder. “This program can’t be completed without the audience,” Yuzuru said through a translator afterwards. “When I got out on the ice this morning I felt really comfortable. I feel like my body was well rested.” Yuzuru was probably the only one not totally impressed. “My skating skill can still be improved and I can improve my jumps,” he said.
Two days later, Yuzuru had the third best score of the free skate with a score of 187.37, 8.32 points behind teammate Shoma Uno. Yuzuru failed to land the second jump in a combination after a successful quadruple salchow and also had one under-rotated jump in another combination later on. “I’m really pleased with the result. (But) I’m not quite satisfied with the performance,” he later said. “Being third in the free skate is really frustrating. I’ve got so many things to look back on, and will try to pick myself up again for the Nationals.”
Shoma Uno came in third place for the second year in a row with a total score of 282.51, 0.34 points behind American Nathan Chen. His short program received a score of 86.82, putting him in fourth place, 4.94 points behind Spain’s Javier Fernandez. Shoma fell on his quad toe loop. His free skate was the second best of the night, receiving a score of 195.69, 1.86 points behind Nathan. Shoma was satisfied that he nailed all his jumps in the free skate to recover from the fourth place position he was in after the short program. “I went back to basics to be attack-minded, with no holdbacks,” he said. “There are some issues to work on but I managed to jump with my heart. I feel I could compete more than last year.”
Satoko Miyahara came in second place in the ladies’ portion for the second consecutive year with a total score of 218.33, again behind Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, this time by 9.33 points. Satoko’s total score is her new personal best. Her short program received a score of 74.64, a new personal best. Satoko’s free skate was the third best of the night, and 0.9 points behind Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond. “I am not fully satisfied so I want to do my best tomorrow,” she was quoted as saying by the ISU website. “My short program’s aim is to skate with more speed and not do confusing steps but simple steps with more speed. Tomorrow I need to be more confident than today. I think I can skate better than today and I think I need more speed and to skate clean.”
Satoko’s free skate was the second best of the night, receiving a score of 143.69, 4.76 points behind Evgenia. This too was a new personal best for Satoko. “It wasn’t perfect but I somehow came through. I could tell the triple-triple combination clicked and that was good,” said Satoko, whose only mistakes in jumps came in an early triple flip which she under-rotated. “Getting above the 140 mark was really pleasing.”
The next competition is the Japanese National Championships, which will take place in Osaka on December 22 – 25. This event will decide who goes to the Four Continents Championships in Gangneung, South Korea in February and the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland the following month.
Team Japan – PPAP