ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: HomeSense Skate Canada International
HomeSense Skate Canada International continued Saturday in Kitchener with the Original Dance, the Pairs, Ladies and Men’s Free Skating. The skaters compete for a global prize money of US $ 180, 000 per individual event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and receive points according to their placements. The top six skaters/couples of the series will proceed to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan. HomeSense Skate Canada International is the sixth and last event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and thus the last opportunity for skaters to qualify for the Final.
Ice Dance, Original Dance
The Original Dance for the 2009/10 season is the Folk/Country Dance. The couples at HomeSense Skate Canada International chose Spanish Flamencos, American Country, Russian, Ukrainian and French dances.
Canada’s Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir defended their overnight lead. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat of France came in second and Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) remained in third place.
Virtue/Moir had picked a sultry Spanish Flamenco and produced fast paced footwork and a curve lift with her upside down. They were awarded a level four for the lift and the twizzles and a level three for the circular footwork, while the side by side footwork was a level two. However, the performance was marred by two uncharacteristic slip- ups by Virtue during transition moves. Moir caught his partner twice and prevented her from falling. The reigning World bronze medalists got 60.57 points (29.50 element score/31.07 program component score) which added up to 101.26 points so far. “It was a little bit of a tricky skate for Tessa and I today”, Moir said. “We are a little bit disappointed. We’ve trained that program so hard in the last four weeks and it was a lot better than it was today”, he continued. “It’s kind of a fluke thing”, offered Virtue. “It’s disappointing because we’ve been training this program so well and that particular connection that we sort of stumbled on is one of our favourites and it really takes away from the overall performance.”
Pechalat/Bourzat turned in an entertaining American Country Dance to “Thanks God, I’m a Country Boy” and “It’s Not Over Now”. They completed a difficult straight line lift with changes of position and smooth steps, picking up a level three for both the circular and the side by side step sequences. The French Champions scored 56.05 points (27.90/28.15) and now have accumulated 91.60 points overall.
Weaver/Poje danced to a Flamenco like Virtue/Moir and effectively used a fan in the routine. The couple, that had gone to Spain to study the Flamenco, was awarded a level four for the straight line lift and a level three for the footwork, but the twizzles were a level two. The Canadians earned 51.18 points (26.10/25.08), a new seasons best. They were ranked fourth in the Original Dance but held on to third place at 83.36 points.
Pairs, Free Skating
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy skated to victory in the Pairs event and set a new record score. Russia’s Maria Mukhortova/Maxim Trankov claimed the silver medal and the bronze went to Canadians Jessica Dubé/Bryce Davison.
Overnight leaders Savchenko/Szolkowy skated last and put out a breathtakingly beautiful program to “Outside of Africa”. They reeled off a triple toe-triple toe sequence, a throw triple flip, a triple twist, difficult lifts and a throw triple Salchow in the last seconds of the routine. The only glitch came when they both singled the Axel. Their spins were graded a level four as well as the lifts and the spiral sequence while the death spiral was a level three. Savchenko/Szolkowy earned 132.55 points (66.55 element score/66.00 program component score) and overall racked up a total 206.71 points, which set a new record and surpassed the 206.54 points of Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao (CHN), set in 2005. “It felt really nice to skate our new free program the way we did it today and we felt good in the program. There was just one mistake, but everything else went well and as we have practiced it”, Savchenko commented. “It was a good decision to change our free program. Now we have a new program, new skates and new costumes”, grinned Szolkowy. The Germans had dumped their previous program right after a disappointing performance at the Trophée Bompard where they had finished third.
Mukhortova/Trankov started with a high triple twist, a solid triple toe-double toe combination and a double Axel into their romantic routine to “Love Story”, but Trankov’s bootstrap had come loose and referee Patrick Ibens stopped the performance. After the brief interruption the Russians continued as if nothing had happened, nailing the throw triple loop and Salchow, producing strong lifts and a level-four pair combination spin, just the side by side spin was out of sync and garnered only a level two. The European bronze medalists got a deduction of two points for the interruption and scored 119.91 points (63.11/58.80) for their Free Skating. They totaled 185.71 points.
Skating to “The Way We Were”, Dubé/Davison opened with a triple twist but then he singled the second jump in the double Axel-double Axel sequence while she stumbled on the triple Salchow. The 2008 World bronze medalists recovered to produce lifts with many variations and a throw triple Lutz, but Dubé touched down with her hand on the throw triple loop and the pair combination spin received no credit as she put her foot down. The Canadians collected 109.03 points (52.95/56.08) and overall had 166.93 points.
Both Savchenko/Szolkowy and Mukhortova/Trankov qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Men, Free Skating
Jeremy Abbott (USA) claimed the gold in the Men’s event ahead of Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi. France’s Alban Préaubert captured the bronze medal.
Abbott hit a solid quadruple toeloop right out of the gate of his program to “Symphony No. 3” by Camille Saint-Saens. He went on to complete a triple Lutz-triple toe-double loop combination, a triple Lutz, loop and triple Salchow-double toe as well as difficult spins two of which were graded a level four. However, the reigning Grand Prix Final Champion was off balance on the triple flip and stepped out of the triple Axel. Abbott earned a seasons best of 153.99 points (74.59/79.40) and was ranked second in the Free Skating, but overall edged out Takahashi to take the gold at 232.99 points. “I just wanted to focus through my program, and really to take one thing at a time. I knew I had the Grand Prix Final on the line, but for me it wasn’t really the goal tonight. It (the goal) was just to stay focused and make it all the way through the program and I felt that I did that very well”, Abbott told the press.
Takahashi delivered an entertaining program to “La Strada”. He tripled his opening toeloop that was planned as a quadruple but hit two triple Axels (one in combination with a double toe), a triple Lutz-double toe, a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop and a triple flip. However, the Japanese had to fight for the landing of a triple loop and two-footed a triple Salchow. Takahashi picked up a level three for his spins and for the straight line step sequence to score 155.01 points (74.01/81.00), which was a new seasons best and won the Free Skating portion. Overall the 2008 Four Continents Champion remained in second place at 231.31 points, less than two points behind Abbott.
Préaubert stood in fourth place following the Short Program and moved up with a Rolling Stones medley that featured eight triple jumps including two Axels and a triple flip-triple toe combination. He received a level two for two spins and the footwork and a level three for the change foot sit spin. Préaubert collected 139.98 points (70.18/69.80), improving his seasons best, and totaled 212.28 points.
Abbott and Takahashi qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Ladies, Free Skating
Joannie Rochette of Canada took the Ladies title. Alissa Czisny (USA) earned the silver medal and Finland’s Laura Lepistö clinched the bronze.
Skating last to “Samson and Delilah”, Rochette took the ice to a loud cheer of the 4450 spectators at The Aud. She landed her opening triple Lutz-double toe-double loop combination but then stepped out of the triple flip. The reigning World silver medalist also was off-balance on the triple loop and doubled the second Lutz, but then she rallied back to hit a triple toe-triple Salchow sequence and a double Axel-double toeloop combination. Rochette was awarded a level three for the spiral and the step sequence, but all three spins were a level two. The Canadian earned 112.90 points (50.02 element score/62.88 program component score) for her sophisticated routine, setting a new seasons best for herself and accumulated a total of 182.90 points. “There were a few wobbles, and when I saw that triple loop on the replay, I was kind of proud of myself for hanging on to it. It was one of those programs where you need to fight from the beginning to the end. I’m proud I did. I will go home and work to make sure that every element, every transition is right on and that I get all my levels”, Rochette commented.
Czisny’s elegant program to “Doctor Zhivago” contained a triple Lutz-double toe, a triple flip, a triple toe as well as excellent spins and spirals, but she crashed on a Lutz and loop jump that both were downgraded. A triple loop was also cheated and downgraded. The U.S. Champion was ranked fourth in the Free Skating at 100.01 points (46.57/55.44) but remained in second place with 163.53 points total.
Lepistö produced a triple Lutz, a triple loop-double toe and difficult spins and footwork, earning a level four for two spins and a level three for the spiral, the circular steps and the combination spin. However, the European Champion reduced her planned triple toe-triple toe combination to a double toe-double toe and doubled a Salchow. She scored 102.78 points (48.62/54.16) and moved up from fourth to second with 158.52 points.
Rochette qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final as well as Akiko Suzuki (JPN), who was ranked fifth.
For full results please refer to www.isu.org. HomeSense Skate Canada International concludes Sunday with the Free Dance and the Exhibition Gala. An extended version of this report will be available later today on the website.
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Name: Devra Pitt-getaz
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