To the enthusiasm of the audience gathered in Chongqing arena, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series had everything: the passion in Madison Chock and Evan Bates’ skate to “Too Darn Hot”, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov singing and dancing in the rain, the butterflies, the firebird that Anna Shcherbakova embodies this season, the royal crown Satoko Miyahara wears every time she’s on the ice, the tens of plushy hearts following Boyang Jin’s way, the dark red subtlety in Matteo Rizzo’s flamenco, our eyes glued to Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, whatever they’ll be skating to.
But, mostly, it had us and our emotions while witnessing Han Yan’s comeback to skating, to major competitions after a full year hiatus.
It had his emotions as well – at the end of both his programs in Chongqing, you could sense the joy, the relief, the beautiful energy from him to us, from us to him.
by Florentina Tone
“That girl has something, nothing scares her…”, the song says, while Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen embrace the roles of Bonnie and Clyde in their second Grand Prix event. And you agree: Laurence is such a star, and they both take you with them in their journey this season. And this rhythm dance is such a highlight – we love to watch it again, and again.
Not to mention Romain Haguenauer is a brilliant choreographer – he took advantage of absolutely every nuance of the chosen pieces of music. The details in the dance are just fantastic.
Ice Academy of Montreal’s resources of creativity seem unlimited, really. It’s so very obvious if you watch Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu’s Charlie Chaplin rhythm dance right after Laurence and Nikolaj’s skate. So very different, yet both so full of details, so beautifully performed. Plus: highly entertaining.
…and the TV camera shows us a butterfly right before Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov take the ice for their rhythm dance. Quite fitting, we’d say: in her blue dress, sparkles in the middle, Victoria resembles a butterfly. And they skate, and dance, and fly to “Singin’ in the Rain”. And they are so beautiful while dancing to it, and maybe even too enthusiast in parts; quite understandably – this is their first Grand Prix event this season.
To tell you the truth, we share their enthusiasm: we wanted to finally see them skate, find out their music choice, see how they manage to make it theirs – and, frankly, we were not disappointed. Victoria and Nikita have became a top ice dance team, fighting for the podium, aspiring even to the top of it, like any other redoubtable competitors would do.
We’ll say it loud and clear, to make sure everyone hears it, people in the back as well: Madison Chock and Evan Bates’ rhythm dance this season is a masterpiece, so smartly choreographed to the music (to every single line) and so wonderfully performed.
It’s like a painting, if you may – so many details, layers, strokes of brush, so many different nuances; and every time we watch it, we discover something new. And, really, embodying the music to the fullest, to each and every word should be awarded too, and check even the non-existing boxes in a scoring sheet.
We’ll tell you this: we’re impressed every time with how they manage to bring this program to life and, in Chongqing, they did one heck of a job. (and we’re not even considering they travelled 26 hours, with two lay-overs to reach the city hosting the Grand Prix event – they looked as fresh, as beautiful as if they’d had all the time in the world to prepare).
Hats off to them, and to the team making them look like that – they shined while skating to “Too Darn Hot” and, choreography-wise, performance-wise, that was, by far, our favorite rhythm dance in Chongqing.
Another thing we want to share with you: we’re absolutely in love with some of this season’s music choices. And Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker skating to The Bee Gees is definitely one of them – and they did so much justice to the music while performing to it in Cup of China. Their enthusiasm, their commitment to the music is highly contagious – and they need to be proud of what they put out in their second GP event.
They seem to struggle a bit with this season’s programs if we look at the scores, but they don’t really seem to struggle at all while on the ice: they embraced the theme, they made it theirs. And they just need to continue to stay true to themselves – good things will arise eventually, we’re sure.
Emotion-wise, that was a fantastic performance from Amber Glenn at Cup of China, to the exact meaning of the words she skated to. And, technically, that was equally great – she flied on the ice of Chongqing, tore her heart open, let everyone enter her world, understand the message and be moved by it. And so we were impressed with Amber’s pink pale presence in her first Grand Prix event – and her performance was anything but pale.
What an amazing second group of ladies in terms of talent – we are spoiled. And we admire all six of them, now on the ice for their warm-up, but we’re most excited to see Queen Satoko. And Satoko looks royal, costume, make-up and all. And judging by the reaction, the audience loves Anna Shcherbakova as well, the slender girl, the youngest one.
This “Romeo and Juliet” program, by the music, the composition of it, the courageous jumping passes in it, starting with the triple Axel, can either make you, or break you. And this time, in Chongqing, at Cup of China, it really broke Young You’s hopes to the Grand Prix Final in Torino.
Recovering from the fall on the triple Axel, Young literally ran to keep up with the program, the hectic rhythm of if, and found herself on the ice again on her last jumping pass, the triple Flip. And so this time the triple Axel was not her ally, and the program itself wasn’t a good friend – she wasn’t ready for it.
And she’ll have to try to make up for the SP errors in the free.
Anna Shcherbakova takes so very seriously the music of her program, the overall mood, the theme of it – we all know the dark, tense air of Patrick Süskind’s novel and of the movie that followed (“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”). And so Anna doesn’t even smile for the whole 2 minutes and 40 seconds of the program – and she does that fully respecting the story.
And we are completely caught in it – she’s there, and we are there as well, following Anna all the way, in the entangled threads of the “Perfume”. And her speed is just fantastic when going for the Flip, and then she seems to struggle a bit with the triple Lutz-triple Loop combo, but she makes it hers eventually. And she only breathes in relief, and smiles, when everything had ended.
The truth is we like Anna a lot. And she seems to be exactly as Alena, her teammate, portrayed her: so smart, so intellectual, so serious. Plus: she breathes the music, she does, and she is a marvelous story teller.
Always a joy to watch Marin Honda, even when she falters, like she did on the triple Flip in her short program in Cup of China. But she seems changed, she does – and, from the stories about her, we know she entered the season with a different mindset – she’s on the Attack-mood. And she receives many Pikachu-s in Chongqing. And she smiles collecting them.
Satoko Miyahara, placing an imaginary crown on her head at the end of her short program in Chongqing – that’s how we see and understand the final pose, and we fully agree with the image.
Because that’s the thing with Satoko Miyahara, that’s how versatile she is – the sparrow, Sayuri, Madame Butterfly from her previous lyrical programs skates now to “Egyptian Disco” and, guess what, she makes it hers. And wearing a body suit, sparkles around her neck, she still looks royal – and shows an array of intricate, innovative movements.
Actually, you can put Satoko in a sack – and she’ll wear it like the royalty that she is, and skate accordingly. And we like this new Satoko, and we embrace her, and praise her for travelling to different areas, taking different paths, in order to become even better than she is.
And that final spin should (always) get a + 5 from every judge.
You know what, this program makes Elizaveta Tuktamysheva shine even when she makes mistakes on the jumps – she fell on the triple Axel, only connected the triple Flip with a double Toe; yet, she put herself in the music, that haunting music that Shae-Lynn Bourne chose for her this season, and did that brilliantly.
Elizaveta skates to “Drumming Song”, to the voice of Florence + The Machine, and we love this program of hers, more than any other program she had. And even though technically this was not what she wanted, performance-wise she is on the right track.
Sofia Samodurova chose a music that makes her feel comfortable while skating to it – “Bamboleo” by Gipsy Kings – and her jumps were definitely solid, but she looked a bit cautious at times, her movements still looked they needed to develop throughout the season. And this is quite understandable: this was Sofia’s first Grand Prix event this season and she mostly wanted not to make any mistakes, and so she left the performance-aspect on the second place.
Still, that was a clean, correct program, from whatever angle you might look at it. Additional layers of performance, additional refinement of movements will hopefully add themselves along the way.
He Zhang: stunning triple Axel to start with, and lots of attitude. And the whole program has a jazzy feel, piano and all. We think a great future lies in this young man.
And there’s the man we wanted to see ever since he suddenly vanished from competitive skating, a while ago. We are so in love with Han Yan’s skating qualities that we just didn’t want to let him go. And so we are thrilled he makes a comeback.
And Han Yan skates a marvelous short program to “A Thousand Years” in Chongqing, as if he were skating through butter. His gliding is amazing, breathtaking even – and then there’s that speed that goes into everything he does on the ice.
No doubt about it: Han Yan is an incredible blend of power, smoothness and speed, and the camera barely keeps up with him.
At the end, he stays like that, eyes in the air for a couple of seconds, almost like he can’t believe it: he breathes the air of major competitions again, and we are so happy. And always by his side.
And this is a miraculous short program, almost with healing qualities.
First time we see Conrad Orzel in a senior Grand Prix event, and we definitely like what we see – watching him skate, it’s so very obvious he comes from TCC: wonderful skating skills, transitions, a beautiful air of freedom flowing throughout the program.
He’s a bit cautious while attacking the jumps, but the jumps he attacks are big: a quad Toe with a double Toe, a quad Salchow, and he almost leaves the impression he wants to jump more than a triple Axel.
A young, tall skater, irregular blue shirt and all, skating to Shawn Mendes’ voice – now that’s a nice surprise, a nice discovery overall.
“Good job, Conrad”, Brian Orser awaits him at the boards. And Conrad is definitely in good hands.
From his last Grand Prix event, Keiji Tanaka really worked on the performance aspect of his “Hip Hip Chin Chin” short program – that was easy to see in Chongqing. Too bad the combination got sacrificed in the process – Keiji showed only a triple Toe-double Toe, and almost tripped afterwards.
Camden Pulkinen was the revelation of this year’s Skate Canada – and he only continues to amaze us, in his second GP event, Cup of China. He might have missed the quad Toe in Chongqing, but you couldn’t tell that from the way he continued, his heart on his palms, while skating to “Caruso”, a program choreographed by Joshua Farris.
Because Camden is really a joy to the eyes – that much he puts himself out there, that much he projects. And we are thrilled with his senior debut, and with the fact that we’ll see him, surely, for many years to come, and enjoy the tremendous qualities of his skating.
All-black Matteo Rizzo is starting a new story with his short program this season – he dropped the too enthusiast yellow of his shirt.
And he just needed some time to settle with his quad Toe in the short program – the one he landed in Chongqing seemed easy as a Sunday morning. And that Axel, right in the character of the music. So good. So good. Until that “reckless” triple Lutz comes his way, and Matteo is left without a combination.
And he almost wants to punch himself at the end – this could have been so great; instead, it’s perfectible. He is mad at himself – but he let us all understand what a masterpiece this program would be with all components in it.
Franca Bianconi summarizes it: “Ma un triplo Lutz? Cavolo!”
And again coach Bianconi, after seeing the scores: “Va bene. Sei in gioco ancora”.
Quite a different look, a sunnier, relaxed look for Keegan Messing skating to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran – and this one will be definitely dedicated to his wife. And though this was not perfect – down on the quad Toe, he jumps on his feet quickly, but only produces a double Axel –, the program still looked beautiful.
The camera doesn’t show Boyang Jin entering the ice, but you hear the screams – and you know he’s there.
And you expect nothing but the best from him – instead, he’s down on the quad Lutz, though he had landed a beautiful quad Lutz-triple Toe in the warm-up. He changes the plan along the way, and lands a quad Toe-double Toe, and then a beautiful triple Axel. And offers a flying performance overall – a light on skates, a sun on (golden) skates.
All in all, that was a good skate from Boyang, in spite of the Lutz really messing with his mind every once in a while. And people love him here in Chongqing. He has become such a beautiful performer.
And Boyang spends a lot of time collecting the toys he just received.
It seems so unusual to love a pair already when the pair is so young, so freshly put together, but that’s exactly the case with Liubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau in their first season together. We are conquered with their ability to portray the music, but mostly with their ability to look so glued, so new, so dancy in so little time.
Oh my, that throw triple Flip was amazing or what? As if Wenjing landed it while coming from the sky. And the truth is they look better than ever, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, more glued than ever, more relaxed than ever – especially when skating to this “Blues Deluxe”, to the guitar of Joe Bonamassa.
With this music, they dive into unknown territory (if we consider “Blues for Klook” to be smoother and different than this) – and the costumes to that are different as well, and Cong looks really handsome, you see him more now with the jacket, the bling and the pants. And they make the unknown territory theirs: Veni, vidi, vici.
And we haven’t seen them in a while, but, boy, oh, boy, they look ready for this season.
Nicole della Monica and Matteo Guarise are beautiful while skating to “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce. And they both miss the side-by-side triple Salchow-s, but all the rest is great; and you can hardly believe they just put their skates back on, and quite recently started to work on the elements – Nicole was sidelined by an injury, and they entered directly in the middle of the season, with the little preparation they had.
Still, they offered a lovely performance in Chongqing, and they should be really proud of it.
“Alegria” seems a good program for Cheng Peng and Yang Jin and there are so many beautiful details here and there. But, somehow, it lacks the spark, the character some other short programs of theirs had – it doesn’t really put them under spotlight. Their forte is to embody characters, and they do that here as well, but the story remains rather generic, lacking the connection, the chemistry that was so cleverly used during previous seasons.
Hopefully, they’ll work their magic and somehow make the program theirs by the second half of the season.
Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto in their beautiful shades of green – no wonder, they skate to “Lord of the Dance”. And they carefully emphasize every movement – the free dance has a beautiful soft part, sometimes forgotten in the rush of the green dance – and they do that with cautiousness as well: Misato only recently came back to the ice, recovering after a concussion.
But they keep the green dance alive, and the program has the explosion that everyone awaits from an Irish dance.
And she even has little queues. And pink flowers on her dress, and butterfly earrings.
“It’s not easy what we just did, I’m proud of you, don’t forget that”, Tim tells Misato at the end.
It’s been a while since we watched a “Black Swan” free dance to impress us – remember Elena and Nikita in Sochi? That’s a serious reference point – but Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu manage to do just that, impress, especially in the powerful second part of their free dance, where they use music that seems fresh (and it’s difficult to create the impression of freshness with an iconic music such as this) and the twizzles to that music are just fantastic.
Truthfully, this free dance is a collection of highlights, and thought it may seem like a work in progress in some little parts towards the end, the program is already great. And they tried to integrate so much.
And their costumes to that? Brilliant. Plus, so much attention to details: hair, make-up, facial expressions. And they are so bold, and she lives in this program, it’s so easy to see.
Their progress since they started training in Canada is undeniable.
Marie Antoinette and the Spaniard, embodied by Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, are getting better and better, and convincing, in their flirtatious dance. And they keep you glued as well – you want to know how this love story ends.
Still, the program is not about highlights that take your breath away – lifts and fireworks and acrobatics; it’s about the two strong characters they want to portray (see their facial expressions all along the dance), it’s about their strong, beautiful edges (pay attention to their feet as well).
And because it is a different kind of dance, a mood-dance, if you like, with a story that’s not visible by itself (see the “Black Swan” above), they need to work more in keeping the attention of the audience, in projecting the story with the right amount of energy. So, this season, they’re trying something different, something they wanted to try – and we’ll see how that works. Judging by the scores, they’re not getting (yet) what they wish for.
In Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov’s pink pale free dance this season there’s no obvious story – but what is obvious is the team they became, their unison, two arms of the same body, and the beauty of their movements.
This dance is very plastic, more like a wave, like a feather twirling in the air before reaching the earth. One could compare it with a painting also, an impressionist painting.
It is, if you like, a moment in time – and, as last season, they might have just found the type of dance that works for them.
With these two, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen, you have the impression that every time they’re on the ice they leave everything they have out there: they’re one with the story, one with the dance, they live it, they breathe it, they’re not holding back for a second. They are the story.
And they left exactly that impression in Chongqing, in their second Grand Prix event, their fourth competition of the season. And this free dance, which had the potential to grow, interpretation-wise, into something really spectacular, it became just that: spectacular. We love the music, the crescendo, the lows, the highs – Laurence and Nikolaj are so good in projecting the story they choose.
And this dance is almost like her dress: a drape that covers you, surrounds you, a mantle even – yet, so smooth, so flowing, and so sparkling; a dark-blue subtle spark, keeping you glued.
Madison Chock is definitely a snake – because only a snake will have the guts to do all those opening poses, on Evan’s knee, on Evan’s neck and arms. And making it look so smooth, so easy. And the dance is so wonderfully detailed, so intricate, so full and so rewarding.
In short – as short as a snake can be – Madison Chock and Evan Bates’ free dance this season is an experience, and we love to dive in, over and over again, we like to savor it. On the short list of favorite free dances this season, this one is towards the very top.
Madison and Evan took a theme, and made it theirs – with their trademark boldness and attack. And we love the team they became since they moved to Canada. And, if you were a team looking for progress, the snake dance would make you go straight to Ice Academy of Montreal and embark on a journey to become the best version of yourself.
This dance is the best PR an Ice Academy could wish for.
And Madison received a neon-green snake at the end of the dance. And one thing is sure: the audience in China makes the best gifts ever to the skaters, the most suited, personalized ones.
2019 Cup of China is not a good event for Young You’s triple Axel – still, skating to music from “Evita”, she is a gorgeous skater to watch. And one of our favorites for such a long time already – we’re eager to see Young grow.
In Chongqing, other than the Axel, her “Evita” free skate was a beauty. And that Ina Bauer from one side of the rink to the other, eyes closed? So impressive.
This has definitely been a season of changes for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: two months ago she had a different set of programs in Lombardia Trophy, then she returned to her short program as it was originally choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne and now, in China, one GP event in between, she returned to last season’s free skate. The updated version of it, two triple Axel-s, one in combination, but with the same joy, enthusiasm, flirtations – and the same glorious impact on the audience.
Because Elizaveta really loves this long program, it’s so easy to see, and the audience loves it back – it’s like a stunning dress (hers, by the way) that you know it’s going be a hit at the wedding you’ll be attending soon. You wore it before with the same effect. And she seems happy with the change(s).
Marin Honda is a sunbeam. And we hate the fact she doesn’t receive the components marks she deserves, separated (as they should be) from the jumps. She is really a marvelous skater when it comes to Program Components, Tracy Wilson was right.
In Chongqing, Marin didn’t trust her jumps – but that was still a flowing skate to “La La Land”.
Whereas Jason Brown’s Schindler List seems dense, and dark, and heavy, heartbreaking even, and the embodiment of sadness (see his final pose: the defeat), Satoko Miyahara’s Schindler List seems to be about hope, about finding the light in a sea of clouds, about that little thread of humanity that lies even in the thickest darkness.
You see her opening imaginary windows to let in the light, you see her facing the sky. And you are grateful for such a magnificent skater, such a magnificent story teller.
We are, since forever, under her arms, under her feathery wings.
And this is not – nor will be – about scores. This is about putting Satoko Miyahara in a box of treasures.
Watching Anna Shcherbakova over and over again this season, since Lombardia Trophy until now at Cup of China, we are convinced: she is a fairy. A fairy, in a beautiful garden, full of flowers, full of butterflies – full of fire birds even.
And her free skate is probably our favorite from everything Daniil Gleikhengauz choreographed for all the ladies in Eteri’s school din season.
Starting with “Gnossiennes”, the quiet, beautiful part that allows her to jump not one, but two quad Lutz jumps, the first in combination, and then the joyful second part, where Anna’s facial expression changes – she turns into this fidgety fay and, when she jumps, she’s like a colourful spinning top in the air. Most definitely, as her layout show, her favorite jump is the Lutz – in its four versions in the program.
At the end, Anna heads to the boards, arms full of plushy toys. And with this very satisfying sense of accomplishment: she knows what she did, she understands what she did.
And the giant bear she received? She barely fits in the Kiss and Cry now. But, again, the Chinese fans are just fantastic, and really knowledgeable: the gifted bear is the much bigger version of the one that Anna carries with her all the time.
Junhwan Cha has grown into a wonderful skater – he was already, but now he’s even more.
Still, we find his free skate music too generic, too uniform – “The Fire Within” by Jennifer Thomas – and, at the same time, too demanding: he has to keep a constant rhythm, you have the feeling there are no breathing points in it.
But Junhwan definitely made it work while skating in Chongqing. And for those coming from TCC, you can really see the beauty of movement within. The quality of gliding.
And Brian Orser has good things to say, encouraging even: “That was better, right? A couple messy moments, but that was beautiful”.
Keegan Messing skating to “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses is such a beautiful, heartwarming encounter: the music, the character of it suits Keegan’s wild skating, difficult to tame – and whoever came with this idea needs a good round of praises, really.
He was magnificent on Charlie Chaplin in previous years, but this rock ballad embraces him so well, and he can fly, he can go wild, he can run under the cold November rain.
Always a joy to see him skate the way he skates.
Raining red hearts, to go along with the program, and raining Spidermen, to go along with a previous short program, at the end of Boyang Jin’s free skate in Chongqing.
A performance in which Boyang really gave everything he had – he put himself out there, heart on his hands – a redemptory skate in Cup of China, in his second Grand Prix event.
And what a skate that was, starting with a magnificent quad Lutz, followed by a quad Toe-double Toe. There were a couple glitches here and there as well, but, overall, that was Boyang-the two-time World medalist, Boyang-4th place at the Olympics.
And he needed a skate like this like he needed the air – and so he attacked everything, full power ahead, found resources to punctuate an amazing step sequence, as imagined by the beautiful mind of Benoît Richaud – but didn’t have enough strength to hold his ending position.
Who cared, anyway? People started screaming before the program ended – and Boyang, arms in the air, thanked the audience, while receiving all those red hearts – to replace the one that went flying at the start of the program.
We’ll say it again: the audience in China is fantastic – we have never seen so many appropriately chosen plushy toys.
Did Justin Hurwitz compose the music from “La La Land” especially for Han Yan? Because it sure seems so. And watching him skate is always an emotional experience.
It’s like skating, the sport itself, found in Han Yan one of the best “vehicles”, if you’ll allow us.
We’ll write it here, to come back to it once in a while: he is a natural born talent. And when he’s on, he is fantastic. And he was just that, fantastic, on the ice of Chongqing, and we are incredibly thrilled to have him do what he enjoys: skate. And give us joy as well.
And we’ve been following Han Yan every since he was a teenager, debuting on the world stage – and so many years have passed, he lost the way, he found it again, and we are happy, proud and happy, that he skated like that in Cup of China.
With him, every movement seems to have a meaning, nothing just flutters in the air. And a special kind of energy flows through his body – and then from him to us, from us to him.
We have rarely seen someone like him.
And he laughs joyously, relieved, while heading to the boards.
You know what? Matteo Rizzo’s flamenco long program this season, choreographed by Massimo Scali, is a jewel. A dark ruby, one that has such a sober and distinctive spark.
It’s not the fiery flamenco, extrovert from top to finish, but a blend of longing, love, nostalgia, skated with the right amount of energy and tension, no more, no less.
At the end, you are left longing for more, and that’s the whole point, really. Massimo envisioned it like that, and Matteo skated it like that.
And Matteo himself is left longing for a perfect program, with a quad Loop in it (he opted for the triple now), with the second triple Axel in it (he missed it, and he didn’t see that coming). But he can definitely check the boxes on his working plan for the season – apart from Skate Canada, he did win a medal in every competition he entered so far: Lombardia Trophy, Ondrej Nepela, Shanghai Trophy and here, again in China, in Chongqing.
When the music stops, you see – he is upset with the mistake. But the program was enough to secure him the bronze medal, as Franca Bianconi exudes: “Si que basta! Si que basta!”
Cheng Peng and Yang Jin’s free skate this season is a journey. Literally. The song’s name is “Cloud Atlas”. And we’ll go anywhere with them.
And that free skate had everything – including emotions during the side-by-side jumps. But they flied, they ran, they took us with them – and, at the end, we’re as happy as they are.
At the boards, Hongbo Zhao applauds, and you can also see Boyang Jin, and Lori Nichol, hands in the air, happy for the two.
And can I say something about the dress as well? It’s just sensational, full of what I imagine to be glittering clouds.
And the music? So different, so airy, yet so engaging. Like a journey.
This blue skate right here – Liubov Ilyshechkina and Charlie Bilodeau’s “Je voudrais voir la mer” – is one of our favorite programs in the pairs event this season. But though things didn’t work out as they wished them in Chongqing – they had problems with both their side-by-side jumps, Liubov felt insecure in both the landings of the throws – they kept the program going, and we still saw the waves moving.
We’ve seen them skate better than that, we know they’re capable – most likely, the idea of a potential medal here in Chongqing messed with their mind a bit. The medal happened eventually – they were in second place after the short program – and this is a lesson they need to learn: a potential podium needs to make them fly high, not cut their wings.
We really hope this music grew on Wenjing Sui – she wasn’t exactly a fan of it last season – because we think this is the best free program they ever had.
The crescendo this music has is absolutely insane – and it creates expectations, it raises anticipation and tension, until they reach the climax, the very end.
Plus: it’s so skillfully cut, so beautifully choreographed – and they are so incredibly good at portraying it.
And we thank all Gods of skating – there must be a God of pair skating somewhere in the sky – for the inspired decision of Wenjing Sui and Cong Han to keep Ezio Bosso’s music, and the program altogether, for this season as well.
They only changed the costumes – and Wenjing’s dress looks like a summer rain into a green, luscious garden. And Cong Han is the sky, of course.
In short, that was a brilliant skate, a brilliant start of the season, on home ground, for Wenjing and Cong – the highlight of the pairs event in Chongqing – followed by a definitely well deserved gold medal (the sun that shines joyously after the rain).
Too many metaphors? They deserve them all.
[Homepage photo: © International Skating Union]