World Skater Rankings: Making sense of men'sJapanese, Canadians rule global scene; American skaters looking up
Icenetwork.com is revealing one discipline in the initial World Skater Rankings each of the next four weeks. This week we look at the men, which are ruled by Japan and Canada.
1. Patrick Chan, Canada (3615.40) -- This was not the invincible Chan of years past, but he still accomplished enough to maintain his mastery over the men's field. Without former coach Christy Krall, Chan finished a disappointing second at Skate Canada and third at the Grand Prix Final, but he also won at Rostelecom Cup, secured his sixth straight Canadian title and became a three-time reigning world champion. Yes, he showed vulnerability, but no competitor came close to challenging his supremacy.
2. Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan (2482.70) -- The 18-year-old Japanese phenom mixed in some record-breaking performances with a few less impressive ones, but overall, it was a spectacular year. Hanyu captured gold in front of his home crowd at NHK Trophy and snagged silvers at Skate America, the Grand Prix Final and the 2013 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Finishing fourth at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships was forgettable, but Hanyu rightfully earned his spot among the elite.
3. Javier Fernández, Spain (2413.80) -- The crowning moment in the career of the greatest skater Spain has ever known came when he throttled the field at the 2013 European Figure Skating Championships. Fernández also padded his resume with a bronze at worlds and a gold at Skate Canada. His ability to land multiple quads in a program makes him many people's favorite to overcome Chan for Olympic gold.
4. Daisuke Tahahashi, Japan (2271.20) -- The 2010 world champion's season had its share of spectacular highs, namely when he grabbed the gold at the Grand Prix Final and triumphed at the Japanese championships for the fifth time in his career. The seventh-place finish at Four Continents and sixth-place finish at worlds were less than desirable, however, bumping Takahashi down to fourth overall in the world rankings, though he leads the rest of the pack by a considerable margin.
5. Kevin Reynolds, Canada (1343.20) -- When you consider that Reynolds didn't even make the top 20 in last year's rankings, his meteoric rise is all the more astonishing. Reynolds' ascent was all about quads. Sure, he was nothing special in the Grand Prix Series, but he stunned the skating world with a win at Four Continents, and his fifth-place standing at worlds solidified his position. He has the technical skills to wreak havoc in any international tournament.
6. Takahiko Kozuka, Japan (1316.70) -- The 2012-13 season was looking like a run at redemption for the once-fearsome Kozuka, but his progress was halted when he injured his right instep in December. Prior to that, he won Skate America and bagged silver at Rostelecom Cup.
7. Michal Březina, Czech Republic (1265.44) -- Březina did not quite meet the high expectations some skating aficionados had for him, but he did register bronze-medal finishes at Rostelecom Cup and, more notably, the European championships. Landing sixth at Skate America and an underwhelming 10th at worlds hurt his stock.
8. Denis Ten, Kazakhstan (1233.98) -- This descendant of a famous Korean general gave no indication he could compete with the sport's best, placing sixth at Skate Canada, ninth at Rostelecom Cup and 12th at Four Continents. Then, he showed up at the world championships and put forth two magnificent programs, earning the silver medal and nearly challenging for gold. Now, it's up to Ten to prove his sudden mastery wasn't a fluke.
9. Florent Amodio, France (1188.36) -- The 2011 European champion has slipped some since that marquee triumph, but he still managed to grab bronze at Trophée Eric Bompard and claim silver at the European championships. Now separated from coach Nikoli Morozov, Amodio is hoping to put that 12th-place result at worlds behind him.
10. Takahito Mura, Japan (1048.10) -- Japan's fourth entry in the top 10 boosted his way up courtesy of a gold-medal performance at Trophée Eric Bompard. His eighth-place finish at the world championships wasn't too shabby, either. Mura will need to be in top form this season if he is going to edge one of his aforementioned countrymen and claim one of his nation's three spots at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Next five: Jeremy Abbott (U.S.), Tatsuki Machida (Japan), Joshua Farris (U.S.), Maxim Kovtun (Russia), Nan Song (China)