The look on the faces of the skaters says it all.
It's a total satisfaction look to have unexpectedly won the short program at a major competition such as the Four Continents event. In all but one of the disciplines (except ice dancing), there was someone other than the favorite at the top of the free program in Anaheim, California, over the weekend.
The American Vincent Zhou was dominant in the short program with a combination of Lutz quad and a nuanced presentation that can go hand in hand with the best of them. Zhou's performance was made to the detriment of Shoma Uno, silver medalist at the World Olympics and Four Continents, who scored nine points in fourth position.
Canadian pair champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were perfect in their short program, taking a 0.47 point lead over Olympic silver medalists and world champions 2017 Wenjing Sui and Cong Han.
Former US champion Bradie Tennell kept the promise she made at the start of the season by canceling it in her opening program. Tennell took the lead in front of the ice darling of this year, the seemingly unbeatable Rika Kihira, who scored five points in fifth position.
For a brief moment, I imagine that there were visions of "that's my time," dancing in the skaters' heads. And then the reality: the free program.
That's what makes figure skating so appealing. It's not what you did yesterday, but it's what you and everyone on the ground do in the long program that propels you – or not – to a podium spot.
Back in the day, a skater going from 17th to fifth was unheard of, but that's exactly what happened with American Nathan Chen at the Winter Olympics. 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This is exactly the kind of possibility that puts me on the edge of my seat every time.
WATCH | The free skateboard of Moore-Towers and Marinaro:
For women and men, the favorites should not be outdone for their respective crowns, with Kihira remaining undefeated in her senior international competitions this season and Uno winning her first title of the Four Continents.
The pair event took place under the sign of the technical points of the free program, but was beaten by the Chinese team of Sui and Han.
WATCH | The Chinese Sui and Han skate to the gold:
As overwhelming as losing gold by a margin of .06 should be, I wondered if there was any benefit to the disappointment. In my mind, it should be a good omen to be virtually a tie with such a ranked team as Sui and Han, who won their fifth title of the Four Continents championship in Anaheim.
"It's a reinforcement of self-confidence so close to being so close to the title here, but it will not affect our training, we will continue day after day to do the same thing for the same purpose and hope we We'll do better next time, "said Moore-Towers.
For Marinaro, it is essential to be practical before the next world championships.
"With the markup so tight, we will have to grab every point in Japan, so we will work to maximize each element to the maximum of our ability, because we know it will happen, very tight in Japan," he said.
I'm counting the days.