POSTED: Saturday December 5th 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final
The ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continued Saturday in Tokyo, Japan, with the Pairs, Men’s and Ladies Free Skating, the Junior Original Dance and the Junior Ladies Short Program.
World Champion Kim (KOR) recaptures Grand Prix Final title
Reigning World Champion Yu-Na Kim (KOR) skated to the gold in the Ladies event and recaptured the title she had lost last year to Mao Asada (JPN). Miki Ando (JPN) earned the silver, her first medal in what was her fifth appearance in the Grand Prix Final. Akiko Suzuki (JPN) captured the bronze medal. Kim landed four clean triples and three double Axels in her expressive routine to George Gershwin’s “Concerto in F” to score 123.22 points. The Korean overtook overnight leader Ando to win her third gold medal in the Grand Prix Final with a total of 188.86 points. “Today in the practice my blades hit each other and got flat. I fixed it but it’s still a little bit not too comfortable to skate with. So I tried to forget about it, but even though my performance was not perfect, it was okay”, Kim said. “I didn’t give up and that led to this wonderful result. I think it was a good fight for the Olympics. And as could keep up my strength, I found some self-confidence again”, she continued. Ando nailed also four good triple jumps in her exotic “Cleopatra”-themed routine. The 2007 World Champion posted a new seasons best of 119.74 points but slipped to second overall at 185.94. “I’m happy about medaling and automatically qualifying for the Olympic Games (for team Japan)”, Ando commented. “I didn’t make any major mistakes and I skated better that I did at NHK. But I was tired and I know I didn’t skate with enough speed. Suzuki turned in a strong performance to “Westside Story” that included seven triple jumps and moved up from fifth to third with a score of 174.00 points in the first Grand Prix Final of her career. “Before I started, my coach didn’t tell me anything about my jumps. He told me to dance and just be Maria! And that’s just what I did. I wasn’t thinking about ranking or points while I was skating. The happiest moment was when the audience gave me a standing ovation”, the 24-year-old offered. Ashley Wagner (USA) moved up from sixth to fourth with a solid performance. Joannie Rochette (CAN) and Alena Leonova (RUS) came in fifth and sixth after making several errors.
World Champion Lysacek (USA) takes first Grand Prix Final crown
Reigning World Champion Evan Lysacek (USA) took his first Grand Prix Final title. The American produced a sophisticated program to “Sheherazade” and reeled off eight triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations and also showed strong spins and footwork. His only error came when he popped his second triple Axel. Nevertheless Lysacek earned a new personal best score with 159.60 points and overall accumulated 249.45 points to pull up one spot. “I feel confident now heading into the latter part of the season”, the World Champion explained. “I’m happy with it (the performance) as far as the scores go; it reflected an improvement from Skate America till now. Yes, I had that one mistake and I wasn’t happy about it, because I’ve been training this program clean every day, so to make a major error like that was disappointing, especially because I didn’t feel tired going into that Axel.” Nobunari Oda (JPN) claimed the silver medal, and the bronze went to Johnny Weir (USA), who repeated last year’s result. Like Lysacek, Oda singled a planned triple Axel, but his eight other triples were of excellent quality and he received 155.71 points for his entertaining “Charlie Chaplin” program. “I’m mad at myself for popping the Axel”, Oda told the press. “I was third yesterday, and in trying to pull up, maybe I tried to be too perfect. In practice, I can do it (the triple Axel) without any problems. I guess I just try too hard in competition and when I’m skating in front of the audience”, the athlete offered. Weir delivered a clean performance of his routine he titled “Falling Angel”, landing eight triples. He achieved a new personal best score with 152.75 points and racked up a total of 237.35 points. “It’s the best long program that I’ve done so far. I rotated all my jumps, so I’m happy with that. And a new career best score is excellent”, Weir said. “I hope this competition gives me some legitimacy, because a lot of people always write me off after I make mistakes and then I have to climb my way back up.”
Jeremy Abbott (USA) moved up from fifth to fourth with the second best Free Skating. He missed the quad toe but hit all his triples. Overnight leader Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) not only crashed on his quad toe attempt, but also made costly errors on other jumps and his spins to plummet to fifth place. Tomas Verner (CZE) remained in sixth place.
Shen/Zhao (CHN) take gold in the Pairs with new record score
Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao (CHN) continued their successful comeback with their third gold medal in as many competitions. They also took the sixth Grand Prix Final gold medal of their career. The husband-and-wife team nailed a triple toe, excellent throw jumps and showed a rare forward outside death spiral to earn not only a personal best of 138.89 points for their lyrical program to “Adagio”, but also to post a new record total score of 214.25 points. “Our program was really good today, it felt awesome. Each lift, the twist, the throws felt perfect and we felt more power”, Zhao said. “Coming back (after a break of two years) wasn’t easy, it was very hard. When we returned to practice, it was hard on our bodies, it hurt, but we are skating with our hearts.” Their teammates Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN) made it 1-2 for China by claiming the silver medal. The defending Grand Prix Champions, who were ranked fourth in the Short Program, rallied back with a dynamic performance to “The Impossible Dream”. Their program was highlighted by their big throws and difficult lifts and scored 133.82 points. The 2006 World Champions broke the magical 200 points barrier for the first time in their career with a total of 201.86 points. Reigning World Champions Aliona Savchenko/ Robin Szolkowy (GER) dropped to third at 200.38 points after she failed to complete the opening triple toe-triple toe sequence and stumbled on the throw triple flip. Their other elements were strong. “We were not completely concentrated. I don’t know exactly, what was the reason for that. Maybe it was the quick turn-around between (Skate) Canada, Germany and Japan”, Szolkowy said.
Maria Mukhortova/Maxim Trankov (RUS) delivered a strong performance but nevertheless slipped to fourth place. Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) moved up from sixth to fifth with a solid program, while Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang (CHN) struggled with some elements to finish sixth.
Polina Shelepen (RUS) leads Junior Ladies after the short program
Newcomer Polina Shelepen (RUS) took the lead in the Junior Ladies Short Program with an impressive performance to “Adagio” that featured a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. The 14-year-old from Moscow picked up a personal best of 59.54 points. “I am very pleased with my performance today. I went for the triple-triple (Lutz-toe) combination for the first time in an international event. At some point you have to start doing it in competition and a big event like this motivates me even more to do it”, Shelepen commented. Shelepen edged out Kanako Murakami (JPN) by just 0.02 points. The 15-year-old Japanese turned in a crisp Flamenco and hit a triple toe-triple toe, but the double Axel was downgraded. Murakami received 59.52 points. Ksenia Makarova (RUS) rounded up the top three with another solid program and produced a triple toe-triple toe combination as well (55.38 points).
Monko/Khaliavin (RUS) grab Junior Original Dance
Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin (RUS) upset reigning World Junior silver medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) to grab the lead in the Junior Original Dance. The Russians had opted for an Ukrainian dance while the Americans chose a Japanese theme for the Folk/Country Dance that reflected their Japanese heritage. Both couples had the same technical base value, but Monko/Khaliavin narrowly beat the brother-and-sister team with 55.70 to 55.21 points thanks to a slightly higher program component score and slightly higher grades of execution for their elements. “It was our best performance in competition this season so far, it was the cleanest one”, Khaliavin said. “It is surprising for us (to be in first place) as Shibutani/Shibutani had higher scores than we had in their Grand Prix events and they skated clean.” Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) came in third with an elegant dance to folklore from the Andes as they got only a level two for their side by side footwork (54.35 points).
For full results, please refer to www.isu.org. The ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final concludes Sunday with the Junior Free Dance, the Junior Ladies Free Skating and the Exhibition Gala.
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Keywords · ISU · ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final · Tokyo · Japan
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