A lot of hearts were broken today, during the men’s free skating at the Japanese Nationals – and Daisuke Takahashi himself couldn’t help but crying after his routine; he cried with sorrow, with frustration, not being able to perform as he would have wanted. In his own words, “When I thought this could have been my last performance, I wanted to say thank you so much…”, adding also, between tears, that he’ll accept the consequences of this fifth place at the Japanese Nationals. He was obviously referring at the fact that he could miss the Olympics in Sochi next year, due to his poor performance at the National Championships. Actually, according to the complex algorithm announced by the Japan Skating Federation in June, Daisuke Takahashi might still have a good shot at earning an Olympic berth, alongside Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida. Let’s have a closer look at the selection criteria.
by Florentina Tone
The Japan Skating Federation will announce tomorrow, at the end of the National Championships, which skaters are going to Sochi – but here is where we stand right now when it comes to the Japanese men.
1. The first berth will go to the winner of the Japanese Nationals – in this case, Yuzuru Hanyu.
2. The second berth will be chosen among the 2nd place at the Japanese Nationals, the 3rd place at the Japanese Nationals and the skater highest ranked at the Grand Prix Final. In other words, the skaters to choose from are: Tatsuki Machida, Takahiko Kozuka and Yuzuru Hanyu – the winner of the GPF. With Yuzuru already being given an Olympic berth, the second one will most likely go to Tatsuki Machida (second place at the Japanese Nationals).
3. For the third berth, the selection will take into consideration the remaining skaters from the previous selection, the upper three Japanese in the world standings at the end of the Japanese Nationals and the upper three Japanese skaters with ISU season best score.
Here are the skaters to choose from:
• Takahiko Kozuka – third place at the Japanese Nationals.
• Yuzuru Hanyu – first place in ISU World Standings.
• Daisuke Takahashi – third place in ISU World Standings.
• Tatsuki Machida – sixth place in ISU World Standings.
• Yuzuru Hanyu – the second ISU Season Best score.
• Daisuke Takahashi – the third ISU Season Best score.
• Tatsuki Machida – the fourth ISU Season Best score.
With Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida already having earned an Olympic berth, JSF will have to choose between Takahiko Kozuka and Daisuke Takahashi. And given his previous performances during the season – the third Season Best score (268.31 points at the 2013 NHK Trophy); the fact that he managed to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka etc. – I assume the third Olympic berth will be given to Daisuke Takahashi.
According to this particular algorithm of the Japan Skating Federation, most likely, the Japanese team for Sochi will consist of Yuzuru Hanyu, Tatsuki Machida and Daisuke Takahashi.
With this in mind, let’s all wait for the official announcement tomorrow.