Yuri and Yurio’s path to the GPF!!
November 24, 2016 5 Comments
Another week, another Yuri!!! episode! And we got a mention of Pyeongchang, so this has to be set between 2012 and 2018! Chances are that it’s 2016, though, since we’d have heard much more about Pyeongchang if it were Olympic season.
In any case, with the last GP qualifying competition, the NHK Trophy, on this weekend, Jackie Wong of Rocker Stating has taken a look at the skaters that remain in the race in the real world. Let’s do the same and have a look at Yuri and Yurio’s chances!
Yuri!!! on ICE’s Rostelecom Cup: the lowdown
Out of the entire field of skaters that appears in the Grand Prix series, only the top 6 qualify for the GPF. It’s actually a pretty tall ask, as around 30 elite skaters/couples in each discipline are usually given berths in two of the six qualifying events, which is necessary to even be in the running.
The top eight skaters at each qualifying event get points that count towards appearing in the final (15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 4, 3). 30 points (two 1st places) is the maximum, and 28 (a 1st and a 2nd; 26 points works if it’s a 1st and 3rd) is the minimum to guarantee a spot, though it also depends on how one performs relative to everyone else. Generally speaking, skaters need at least 22-24 points to stand a chance of qualifying. Typically, this means at least one strong podium finish (gold, silver) and no less than 4th or 5th in the other competition to qualify.
This is why Leo (15 + 3 = 18 points) and Guang Hong (11 + 4 = 15 points) are out of the running, despite podium finishes at Skate America. Same with Giorgi (9 + 11 = 20 points), even though he got a bronze in France. As revealed in the show, the point distribution amongst skaters still in the running was:
Yuri needs at a 3rd place finish (13 + 11 = 24 points) to be certain of qualification.1 The only possible spoiler here would be if JJ gets 4th place, and Yurio and Seung Gil take gold and silver, giving them 28 and 26 points. In such a scenario, Yuri, JJ and Phichit would all have 24 points, but Yuri would lose out because the other two have each won one of their events.
Given the short program scores, however (JJ: 113.56, Yuri: 109.97, Yurio: 98.09, Seung Gil: 91.83 Michele: 89.65, Emil: 82.43), Yuri and Yurio stand a good chance of qualifying, as long as they don’t completely bomb their free programs. In practical terms, Yuri can probably take around 3 poor jumps (with a fall or two) with one less each for Yurio, provided those behind them skate as well as they can. And there are a few different factors that might play a part here.
On skating orders and whatnot
First, of course, is the pressure that Yurio probably feels skating at home. With Victor’s future as a skater unknown, and the media still clamouring for his return, Yurio is probably feeling all kinds of inadequate despite his fantastic results in the junior competition. There are advantages to skating at home, mostly to do with not having to travel too far; however, the pressure to get results in front of one’s home crowd, with all the expectations they have, has seen many elite skaters let medals slip through their fingers.
On top of that, another consideration is skate order. In (elite) competitions, singles skaters are generally split into groups of six, which warm up together and then take to the ice to perform in a random order determined by lottery. In the short program, skaters/couples are usually grouped with people of similar level, with the better groups taking the ice last. For example, Hanyu, Chan, Uno, and Fernandez would probably all be put in the last group at the Olympics—they’ve ‘earned’ that privilege, so-to-speak. The groups for the FS are determined by SP scores.2 Skaters and coaches usually work out plans for what to do with their waiting time based on which lot is drawn. Some also have particular lots that they like and others that they don’t; going first, especially in the first group, is probably one of the least desirable places in the order. On the other hand, going last, especially in every second group of six, has its own problems, such as the quality of the ice, which would already have seen 11 other people skating and kicking up the ice all over it.3
The sole exception I have seen to these order issues is in the Grand Prix Final, where the six qualifiers skate in reverse order of results for both short and long. In other words, the top qualifier goes last in the short, and the top scorer in the SP goes last in the free. Given that the GP series changed the rule about grouping competitors according to how good they are this year, I’m not sure if this was also changed. To be honest, I prefer the tradition—it gave us that fantastic men’s competition in the final last year!
That said, at the very top of the list of challenges that our beloved little characters face is Victor being idiotic and asking Yakov to take his place as Yuri’s coach for one day. For Yuri, the suggestion that Victor has got no faith in him has got to hurt, even if that’s not the message he wanted to convey. As for Yurio, I seriously cannot believe that, after so many signals that he sees more potential in Yuri than in his own countryman and rink mate, Victor would actually try to take Yurio’s coach away as well. Yes, Victor is stressed out and probably panicking, but I seriously wanted to slap him to get him to think about their feelings as well!
So, what will happen next week?
Based on ability—and to be frank, on the programs we’ve seen animated in the show so far—my prediction is that JJ, Yuri, Yurio and Phichit will be the four making it to the final. I expect that JJ will take the gold…and that what Victor did will mess with Yurio more than with Yuri (though I’m sure that Yuri would also be incredibly worried about Victor and Makkachin)…so, Yurio, I’m barracking for you this time!!
And looking beyond that…I feel that the show is setting up for Victor to return to competition, so that he’ll be able to skate against Yuri in the Olympic season. To be frank, that’s the ending that makes the most sense to me, given that one of the earliest wishes that Yuri voiced, back in episode 1 when he returned to Hasetsu, was to be able to skate against Victor again one day. But we shall see!
- (2016-12-01) Haha. I originally felt that the subtitle translation was incorrect, partly because there were too many possible spoilers for Yuri getting to the GPF if he came 4th (basically, I didn’t think any commentator would say “he need’s at least 4th place to qualify.” “3rd or better or 4th with help” is the kind of thing I’d have expected to hear.). But LOL, of course they went for the most complicated calculation. I hadn’t expected that Yuri would do that badly in the free, but yes, it’s true that if he came fourth, he’d have qualified as long as the podium went a certain way (basically, as long as Seung Gil, Emil or Michele didn’t get certain placements, thus scoring more than him in terms of point totals). I did briefly consider it last week, and my original post started going into it, but I switched to this because it got really, really messy… Oh well. ↩
- I’m not sure what’s happened in the show, but in real life, the Grand Prix series actually changed this rule this year. As a consequence, the Shibsibs have had the misfortune of skating first in both of their GP outings this year. They placed first both times, but their scores thus far aren’t as high as the other top contenders in dance this season. ↩
- The rink is usually resurfaced after two groups have skated. ↩
- I kinda wish there was a Spanish skater, so that Javi (and Yuzu) fans could yell “Vamos!” at our screens (^^; ↩