It was great to see Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu back on the ice last weekend for the Autumn Classic International in Barrie, Ontario. Hanyu won the event handily over a field of relatively unknown skaters.
The location was convenient for Hanyu, as it is close to his Toronto training base.
After last season’s various calamities, Hanyu flashed his old form on the way to victory. He landed his opening quad salchow in his free skate, but touched down on his first quad toe loop and fell on his second.
Hanyu was far from perfect, but as a warmup for the Grand Prix season this competition served its purpose for him. The most important factor is that he did not appear to show any lingering effects from last season’s collision and unrelated bladder surgery.
The Sendai native skated to Chopin’s “Ballad No. 1” for his short program and “Seimei” from the film “Onmyoji” for his free skate at the small Allandale Recreation Centre arena that was filled with many Japanese fans.
Three-time world champion Elvis Stojko, who took the silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, stopped in to see Hanyu skate, according to icenetwork.com.
“(Hanyu’s free skate is) not overly dramatic,” Stojko told the website. “There is a certain humble quality to it that I like. The style of the program and the music builds. It’s not in your face. I hate it when it’s overly done. It’s just nice and clean skating. It speaks for itself.
“And he’s filled out, so his body is a little stronger,” Stojko added. “There is a maturity to his skating. He’s not as flingy as he was before. Now he’s more controlled with his movements.”
Hanyu will begin his GP campaign at Skate Canada in Lethbridge, Alberta, later this month where he will face three-time world champion Patrick Chan, who took last season off.
Meanwhile, world silver medalist Satoko Miyahara and Haruka Imai, who finished second at the Autumn Classic International, are set for this week’s season-opening GP at Skate America in Milwaukee.
Shoma Uno and Takahito Mura will represent Japan in the men’s field at Skate America. Uno, the reigning world junior champion, will be looking to build on a highly successful season in which he also won the Junior GP Final and took second at the Japan nationals behind Hanyu.
Unfortunate: Takahiko Kozuka revealed on his website last Friday that he will miss the Cup of China in Beijing due to a left ankle injury. He is expected to be out of action for two weeks with tendinitis, which was aggravated during practice recently.
Kozuka is still planning to compete at the Cup of Russia next month in Moscow.
Worth checking out: Ice Time came across an interesting interview on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2nmVpajZRE) that reigning world champion Javier Fernandez did with girlfriend and former two-time world champion Miki Ando a few months back.
The pair spoke together in English via Skype for a video podcast with The Skating Lesson’s Jenny Kirk and Dave Lease. TSL is a joint venture between Kirk and Lease aimed at promoting figure skating.
Fernandez and Ando discussed many things, including how they first met, when they began dating, and how they find time to see each other, during the nearly hour-long session. Ando also discussed her early rivalry with three-time world champion Mao Asada and her work with coach Nikolai Morozov.
Ando didn’t pull any punches when asked why she did not post more pictures of her daughter Himawari’s face on social media.
“Japanese social media is not really nice, some of them,” Ando said.
Fernandez and Ando came across as a genuinely happy couple in the interview, which was filled with a great deal of laughter and reciprocal joking.
It’s official: Former skater Yukari Nakano, who works for Fuji TV now, held her wedding ceremony last weekend. Nakano announced the registration of her marriage in a message to the media several months back. She is now known as Yukari Yokoyama.
Several members of the skating community, including former Olympians Nobunari Oda and Kozuka, were in attendance. Nakano looked absolutely stunning on her special day in a photo that Oda posted on his website.
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