If you haven't followed my coverage of the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships in the past few days, 1) it means you haven't been inundated with tweets and Instagram posts, and 2) it means you haven't seen some of the opening happenings from the two days of practice sessions.
With competition starting tomorrow (!!), I'll run through my 20 thoughts from the practice sessions so far. And I'll preface this with the following: practice sessions may be correlated to actual performance, but there's been more than a few times where they are completely wrong indicators. So take these observations with as many grains of salt as you wish.
- Watching the U.S. and Japanese ladies practice in the same group multiple times just reinforces the fact that they are some of the best. Jump after jump after jump, they just nailed these practice sessions. And they are engaging skaters to boot.
- Yuzuru Hanyu is human. We saw him nail a clean FS the first time out, then a clean SP the second time out on the first day of practices, but he was brought down to earth just a tad bit today. Still, based on what we saw, he should still very much be considered the favorite.
- There was a lot of ado about Nam Nguyen coming in replacing Liam Firus for the second Canadian spot. He started off practices yesterday looking a bit lost but found some of his old spark again today. Hope the trajectory continues to be up.
- It's interesting to see the difference in focus and joy between skaters. The Shoma Unos of the world always look determined and all business, whereas the Adam Rippons of the world are all smiles even outside of programs. That said, the ones who look to be enjoying themselves the most are the pairs - and probably because they are able to feed off each other's energy.
- I love slo-mo.
- Quad lutzes are cool. Boyang Jin and Adam Rippon both hit quad lutzes this week in practice. It would definitely be great to see a couple of those landed in competition.
- Crowds at practices are great - the energy is up for the spectators and the skaters feed off it. And the Boston crowds have been pretty solid size so far.
- International competitions means jetlag and varied training - many of the international skaters have either been training elsewhere nearby or just got in. We still have yet to see the Russian women practice on official ice.
- This may be one of the most competitive and deep set of competitors we have ever seen at a World Championships. In a lot of cases, just getting into the top 15 will be a feat.
- The Worlds 2016 committee, US Figure Skating, and the ISU have been doing an incredible job already, and we haven't even started the competition yet. But speaking of which, WE START TOMORROW!! Get a good night's sleep and get excited!!