David Wilson, figure skating's choreography wizard
Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu, Javier Fernandez all use his steps
There is no doubt in my mind that the Olympic Games is when the best of the best go head to head. At this level, each of the top 10 skaters in each of the four disciplines is a medallist waiting to happen.
In the case of the men’s field in Sochi, two Toronto-area choreographers are responsible for the lion’s share of programs that we’ll be watching: Lori Nichol and David Wilson. Both are legends in their field and responsible for three of the four gold medals in Vancouver in 2010; Nichol for men’s champion Evan Lysacek and pair champions Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao; and Wilson for ladies’ champion Yuna Kim.
What fascinates me is the ability to come up with something of the highest caliber for the skaters year after year while also customizing the choreography so that it isn’t repeated in every skater’s program.
Patrick Chan is the man to beat in Sochi, on paper at least. Chan is the three-time and reigning world champion and has skating skills that will be talked about for generations to come.
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan is a young gun and a man who can jump like nobody’s business. Hanyu defeated Chan at the recent ISU Grand Prix Final in December, making him a contender.
Spain’s Javier Fernandez has maybe the biggest personality on the ice and backs it up with outstanding technical prowess. After a lukewarm Grand Prix series this fall, he took back ownership of Europe’s highest prize by winning his second consecutive European title earlier this month and regaining his status as another Olympic contender.
David Wilson works with all three.
What elevates Wilson’s work is that all you see is the best aspects of each of his skaters rather than any trademarked and identifiable moves in his choreography.