Saturday, December 3, 2011

Brandon Mroz's 2009 Bach Freeskate

At the 2009 U.S. National Championships in Cleveland, OH, Brandon Mroz threw down the gauntlet in his senior debut. My sister and I were in attendance for this competition and it was a thrilling display of controlled technical brilliance and fresh artistic sensibility. I re-watched this program last night on VHS and was again wowed by Brandon's calm and control. What a terrific moment for the then-18-year-old skater!

Since this stunning Nationals debut, Brandon has not been able to reach that level of excellence again. I hate to say it, but I don't even remember his programs from the 2010 Nationals because I don't think they were broadcast on TV. Last season, Brandon's Grand Prix competitions were impressive--he finished on the podium in both--skating to Leonard Bernstein's "On the Water Front," but by the time he reached Nationals, couldn't quite pull it together. He was close, but with the incredible depth of the field at Nationals, good enough only lands a skater outside the top 5.

This season, Brandon has been making waves by landing the first official Quadruple Lutz in
skating history.

My sister and I were communicating via text message last evening as I told her how much I enjoyed re-watching Brandon's 2009 Nationals Freeskate. She asked me what has happened to him in the subsequent years. I mentioned that he's recently made history with his Quad Lutz. She replied: "He can achieve more than that!" And she's absolutely right. Brandon should and could be about more than technical feats.

I felt sad watching Brandon's freeskate to Carmen this season at the recent NHK Trophy competition that was broadcast on TV. As terrific of the music of Carmen is, it is incredibly over-used and Brandon can do better than to resort to using Carmen. The music didn't seem to fit him or accentuate his skating in any way, shape, or form. The performance was flat. Brandon needs to stretch the boundaries and try something different, fresh, and inspiring. Watching Brandon, I did NOT feel that he was inspired. He needs better material. Something that challenges him, reflects him as a person, and brings out the best in him. Brandon is a very talented skater who is capable of great things. Here's hoping that Brandon finds a vehicle that suits him and showcases him as the strong skater that we all know he is.

But in any case, let's celebrate the fabulous effort of Brandon from the 2009 U.S. Nationals that earned him the silver medal.


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