My thoughts on the men's free skate at today's national championships as the competition unfolded.
Adam Rippon: Argh,, tripped up by the triple axel yet again. I really feel like Adam feels the music, unlike others who are just doing choreography by muscle memory. Beautiful Rippon lutz here...that's one of the best he's done all season. The second triple axel is just lovely, as are several of the other jumps coming here in the end. He seems to almost hit the boards in one of his combinations but who can tell with the camera angles. It will be hard to make up the five points behind Mroz if Mroz is landing quads, but I just love his expression in the footwork and all of the moves. That was actually a great skate after the triple axel and I'm so happy for him. He's so happy, yay. 153.78 for the segment, 220.04 overall.
Richard Dornbush: Love his vest and pocketwatch costume. Excited for his Sherlock HOlmes. Amazing skate by Dornbush - he landed everything including a triple axel/triple toe combination. Very cute program that engages the audience. As Sandra Bezic said, it emphasizes his casual nature but that works with this program. I really enjoyed it! I wonder if he will overtake Rippon? I would give it to Dornbush. As do the judges! 157.85 for the segment, 225.56 overall.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh: These jumps just have gorgeous flow. He's so on. Hamilton points out his gorgeous edges. Sometimes when Armin's on like this, I forget he's competing. He's just so smooth and natural. His spins have some unique Avatar-esque positions. Wow he isjust not running out of gas at all with his very fast footwork at the end. That was absolutely glorious! I think I might put him over Dornbush...but Dornbush had some amazing jumps as well...this is awesome, so glad the men are skating so well. 148.28 for the segment, total 215.05. Ok I missed something...or my appreciation for Armin's skating is clouding my view. They were both awesome but I assume there were technical differences that I just wasn't keeping track of in types of jumps thrown down, because I am very surprised at the gap in there. I would at least have though Armin would be ahead of Adam. UPDATE: So Armin started with about three base points below Dornbush, mainly on spins...Dornbush's were more difficult. And he appears to have earned fewer GOE points and much lower components. Kind of surprised he got nearly five points less than Dornbush on components...but then, he did skate to Avatar. And there should be repercussions for that. Oh, well. Hopefully he can figure out what he needs to do to pull those components up. A Rachael Flatt-esque arm-flailing step sequence, perhaps?
Keegan Messing: Oh gosh. Why do all of Keegan's costumes look like a plant threw up on them? I think he is a superhero or something here. Flash Gordon? One can only hope. Oh...it's the hulk. Oh, I wish he had done the ripped shirt with green skin underneath instead. Anyway, shhh, he's skating! Hamilton says he would never describe Keegan as lyrical, haa..but he would call him aggressive, and he is! He lands his triple axel but puts a hand down on the quad toe. I love that he's using the tv theme song in this...was that part of the movie soundtrack music? No idea. He's landing a lot of jumps. He holds onto the second triple axel. Nice fast footwork. This guy really does have power..I think he needs to polish his style. Good spins though! Don't like the slow footwork section at all. Not really feeling the hulkian angst. Yes I just wrote that. Sandra Bezic loooves his "wildness," oh la la! She says the power is refreshing. Lots of jumps at the end. Oh, yay, he's so excited. Very well done. 143.50 for the segment, 213.29 overall.
Douglas Razzano: I thought Razzano was a bit robbed when he was behind Messing after the short program. But we'll see how he lays it down in the free skate. Turns out of quad..underrotated. Argh and he falls on the second triple axel. This is a sad start. Seems to still have his composure. He does a great job with the rest of the program. There's nothing terribly interesting about this program, but it's fine. But the other programs have really stood out so far, for wahtever reason. But overall it was a good job, it seems like he's working on his performance. 137.15 for the segment, 206.76 overall. Razzano is happy to break 200 which is wonderful.
Ross Miner: Casablanca. Love his circular footwork at the start. I love that he takes his time. Also love his ginormous triple axel. He is skating powefully. I think some of the choreography could use some work, but I've felt that way about everyone in the final group so far..and Miner is much better at performing than they were. Nice spread eagles and Bezic talks about how he uses the music to push and pull. That's an interesting observation and it's definitely true. Wow, his jumps are not quitting. I can't believe how great these guys are doing. Loving this. Great skate for Ross Miner. He will not be falling in the standings, I think. And someone tell me how, in a nation where I can only assume female skaters outnumber male skaters by like five to one, the men are this much better than the ladies were? Sighh. I am probably letting last night's horrific ladies free skate (with the exception of Alissa Czisny and a very few others) color my perception. 156.36, oops I spoke too soon. 224.36 puts him behind Richard Dornbush. These judges loved them some Sherlock Holmes!
Jeremy Abbott: I was starting to think maybe I kind of don't want him to win because I want him to PEAK at worlds, but hopefully he's paced his season out well, that's all. No quad attempt today for Abbott, by the way. Only does a double toe on the triple axel. Puts a hand down on the second triple axel. I just feel like he's skating not to lose but he's not even in first place so he really needed to come out on the attack. And a fall. My GOD, Abbott! ARGH. This is becoming a debacle, he is like...flopping out of jumps. Nice triple salchow. This is a very good program, really beautiful. The errors don't take away from how beautiful a skater he is, but my gosh, he just seems to have meltdowns! So sad, sad sad sad. HEY maybe he'll win worlds now! But I don't know if he's even gonna make the team after that performance. 145.77 for the segment, 224.16 overall. wow. He's in third for now. I don't know if they'll have a discussion and send him to worlds if he doesn't make the top three but they do not tend to do that. They usually give it to the top three. Disaster.
Brandon Mroz: Oh, he's a tough guys with this costume. On the Waterfront. Fudges up that quad toe landing. Only does a double toe off the triple axel. I think Mroz realizes he needs to really take charge in the program. Starting to land some jumps better. Trying to tell a bit of a story which is an improvement for Mroz. Gorgeous second triple axel. HOlds onto the next combo. Music is swelling. Good job for Mroz, not great. I have no idea where he'll wind up. The judges really loved Richard Dornbush. As did I, but I am obviously surprised he is still in the lead. I am still trying to process how badly Abbott imploded..I mean, yikes. Not to keep harping on this, but how does Armin Mahbanoozadeh only score three points more than Abbott in the free skate? I don't get it. ANYWAY. Scores for Mroz are 141.88 for the segment, 213.49 overall. He apparently lost points on underrotated spins, etc. LOVING watching Richard Dornbush's reactions. He's so excited.
Ryan Bradley: This is Bradley's chance! I hope he can take advantage of it, what a wonderful short program for him and such a great outlook. He's doing his free skate from last season. I wonder if he'll still do all the quads? Why not, he is great at them. This program is fun. Darn, steps out of his first quad. COME ON RYAN!!! And he falls out of it but doesn't hit the ground. This stinks. Let's go Bradley! Pull it together. I think he may have lost the competition on those but he had a wide lead on Dornbush coming in so maybe it'll cushion. And he has a whole program left to go. Just hangs onto the triple axel, thank goodness. Finally a good landing on the next jump. Four more jumping passes. Throws a TRIPLE toe on the triple axel, not sure how the rotation was but that is great. Triple loop. These are very typical Ryan Bradley landings, if you know what I mean, heh. Hopefully they will be enough. Holds on for a three jump combo. Nice triple flip. OH GOSH I DUNNO. It was nothing like the short but I wonder if he could scrape enough points out of that for the gold. 151.51 for the segment. 231.90 overall. YAY!!! Ryan Bradley has won his first U.S. Championship. And look at that podium! I really missed the boat in my dark horses by not further highlighting Ross Miner and Richard Dornbush.
1) Ryan Bradley
2) Richard Dornbush
3) Ross Miner