2001 Four Continents Championship
Venues, transportation, local information
Other pages about this event
Tuesday afternoon/evening men's short program practice
I didn't take notes, so here are just a few random jottings from memory.
After hearing that Todd Eldredge had taken the quad out of his short program
for this event, lo and behold, it was back in today. He even landed it
in the runthrough, although it was pretty messy. Matt Savoie was also seen
working on a quad toe at the end of the session -- many doubles, a few
that were fully rotated but that he fell on because the landing wasn't
fully checked. He looks like he's skating well otherwise.
Michael Weiss was a mess, to put it bluntly. Many, many failed
attempts at the quad toe, followed by a bunch more failed attempts at
a quad lutz, followed by a few failed attempts at a triple loop. I
didn't see him try an axel, and he gave up on his program runthrough
after missing the quad. I was wondering if he was not only still
shellshocked from his disaster in Boston, but whether he might be
injured as well -- he seemed to be rubbing his back a lot.
Emanuel Sandhu managed to show both his split personalities in the
same practice session -- he started out with a few gorgeous triple
axels (I was amazed to see that he did these from a completely clean
takeoff edge, too), had a lot of problems with the quad toe before he
finally landed a gorgeous quad/triple combination, and then had even more
problems while working on a quad salchow.
Jayson Denommee looked relaxed, and Ben Ferreira looked like his usual
self. They were both working on quad toes, too -- Ben landed a nice
quad/triple towards the end of the session.
All three of the Japanese guys were really struggling, although Takeshi
Honda finally managed to land some jumps towards the end of the practice.
I'm having a hard time remembering what the Chinese guys did since they
skated all the way back in the first group I saw. Anthony Liu looks to
be in good shape, although I don't think his short program music does
anything for him.
Wednesday morning compulsory dances
I'm feeling far too lazy to give a blow-by-blow review here, but....
I was pretty astonished that Bourne & Kraatz won the Westminster Waltz
with straight first-place ordinals, because to my eye, they were not all
that impressive. Their pattern was not as large as those of some of the
other couples, their lobes were fairly shallow, and it looked to me like
they did the rocker/counter turns on more or less complete flats. BTW,
Shae's dress for the Silver Samba looks like another Tarasova special....
red polka dots on a black dress, with ruffles all over her butt topped
by a big red flower. I guess bustles are "in" this season!
One couple that did impress me a lot (in both dances) was Dubreuil &
Lauzon. This was the first time I'd seen them in person. They're
very fast, strong dancers, in a way that doesn't necessarily come across
well on TV.
Joseph & Forsyth looked a lot sharper here than they did in the same
dances at Nationals. Very interesting that they beat Handra & Sinek by
two places in both dances, when Handra & Sinek were so obviously superior
Wednesday afternoon pairs short program
Here was the real excitement of the competition.... Langlois &
Archetto were the second team to skate, and she was wearing this dress
with a beaded fringe for a skirt. Somewhere in the middle of their
program, her dress started to shred itself all over the ice. They
managed to finish OK, but then what seemed like a dozen sweepers and
ice technicians -- not to mention Shen & Zhao, who were supposed to be
the next team to skate -- were crawling around on the ice for quite a
long time trying to pick up all the beads. Finally the referee
decided that it was going to be necessary to do an immediate ice
resurface to clean up the mess. So Shen & Zhao had to wait around
some more and then get a second 6-minute warmup. They did pretty well,
- 1. Sale & Pelletier
- Throw triple loop, triple toes cleanly landed in spite of looking
a little tentative going in, big twist, complicated lift, good
side-by-side spins, etc. From their marks, it looks like they picked
up a deduction on something, but this was clearly the first-place
- 2. Shen & Zhao
- Basically skated a clean program -- triple toes, spirals, throw,
were all fine. It just seemed a bit flat, and lacking a bit of the
extra polish that Sale & Pelletier had.
- 3. Ina & Zimmerman
- He barely hung on to landing of triple toes, twist was nice,
looked like she put a hand down on the throw triple salchow. One of
their better short programs of the season.
- 4. Wirtz & Wirtz
- Triple toes, double twist looked kind of awkward, he looked like
almost fell over on the throw. No serious errors, but they just looked
a little off throughout. Nice program, though.
- 5. Scott & Dulebohn
- She fell on the triple toe and again on the throw triple salchow,
but I thought the latter error was more his fault -- it looked to me
like he threw her very awkwardly. The international judges really seem
to appreciate this team's choreography and unison -- especially impressive
for them to have placed this high with two major errors.
- 6. Pang & Tong
- Gigantic throw triple salchow, she splatted on her triple toe, got
very far apart on their side-by-side spins. Their tango program seems
a bit too frenetic and it looked like they were having trouble keeping up
with their choreography by the end of the program.
- 7. Hartsell & Hartsell
- Both had mistakes on the triple toes -- she doubled, he kind of fell
out of it -- but I didn't spot any other problems. If this had happened
at Nationals, I'd bet the US judges would have had them ahead of
Scott & Dulebohn.
- 8. Langlois & Archetto
- They of the sequin emergency. Throw triple salchow went straight
up instead of out, she fell on triple salchow, spiral sequence was in
a small circle that did not cover the ice.
- 9. Kawaguchi & Markuntsov
- He doubled the triple toe, throw triple salchow was OK, ugly pretzel
lift with a near-disaster on the dismount, more pretzel moves in spiral
sequence and pair spin. They were very slow. I have the sense that
nobody would be talking about this team at all if it weren't for all the
contortionist stuff Moskvina has choreographed into their program; otherwise
their skating looked completely unremarkable to me.
- 10. Ponomareva & Sviridov
- Both botched triple toes, step-out on throw triple salchow, weak
side-by-side spins, pair spin slow.
- 11. Aganina & Knyazev
- Splat on throw double salchow, she did only a single axel while he
did a double. In spite of their errors, I thought this team had a
really endearing quality about them -- particularly the girl (and yes,
she really is just a girl).
Wednesday evening men short program
I haven't seen the official results yet; this is what I hastily copied
down from the arena displays.
I have notes on the rest of the field, but am too lazy to type them
all in right now.
- 1. Todd Eldredge
- Well, the quad was back out of the program today. Todd skated last,
so it may well have been that he realized a clean program without a quad
would win it, and that's what he skated. He did triple flip/triple toe
for his combination; it looked a little scary to me, buried very deep in
the corner and very close to the wall. Everything else was fine.
- 2. Chengjiang Li
- Super quad toe, triple axel/triple toe, then messed up the landing
of his double axel at the end of the program, sigh. His power and
speed and smoothness over the ice were awesome -- you could see it
even when he was just stroking around waiting for his name to be
- 3. Matt Savoie
- A clean short for Matt! Triple axel, triple flip/triple toe, triple
lutz. Fairly wide variation within his marks; he might have done better
if he'd skated later in the draw.
- 4. Takeshi Honda
- Quad toe/triple toe, popped axel out of spread eagle (this jump
was giving him fits in practice yesterday), triple flutz. Takeshi
skated even earlier than Matt, and his marks were low enough that I
didn't expect him to finish this high.
- 5 (tie). Yamato Tamura
- Surprise! Yamato pulled off a program with a quad toe/double toe,
double axel, triple lutz. His marks were all over the board -- 4.9
to 5.8 for required elements. Lack of a triple axel probably made
different judges assign him radically different base marks.
- 5 (tie). Michael Weiss
- Popped his quad into a double, triple axel/triple toe looked kind
of barely squeaked out, double axel. I'm not sure if he improvised
the combination after missing the quad (which was his combo at
Nationals), but I think he would have been better off going for a
triple lutz/triple toe and solo triple axel instead, as most of the
judges seemed to give him a fairly low base mark for this. This wasn't
the train wreck I'd been fearing, though.
- 7. Ben Ferreira
- Triple axel/double toe with a very stiff landing, triple lutz,
- 8. Anthony Liu
- Hands down on quad toe, triple lutz/triple toe, double axel.
Death drop was huge, but spin combination at the end travelled a lot
and had weak positions.
- 9. Min Zhang
- Splat on triple axel, quad toe/triple toe landed with very little
flow, triple lutz. This guy has wonderfully soft edges, but his spins
need work. Very wide spread on both marks reflect his strengths and
- 10. Roman Skorniakov
- Triple axel/triple toe, triple lutz, double axel. He hit his jumps
fine, but his placement reflects problems with his basic in-between
skating -- not a lot of power, problems with his carriage, etc.
- 11. Yunfei Li
- Quad toe overrotated with a step-out and hand down, triple lutz/triple
toe had no flow, double axel. Another guy with weak carriage and lack
of power in his basic stroking.
- 12. Jayson Denommee
- Triple axel/double loop, triple lutz out of a whole lot of footwork
double axel. Jayson had the bad luck to draw first to skate, and I think
he just got kind of buried in the standings.
- 13. Emanuel Sandhu
- Well, this was Emanuel Hyde. Landed a quad toe right off the bat,
then proceeded to waxel both the axel that was supposed to be his
combination and the one that was supposed to be the solo double axel.
Huge spread on the required elements mark, and high presentation marks
were not enough to save him.
- 14. Yosuke Takeuchi
- Triple lutz, triple axel with a step-out and hand down into a
double toe, double axel. Takeuchi deserves an honorable mention for
receiving this competition's Alexei Urmanov award -- skating to
"Night on Bald Mountain" in a costume that seems to have been inspired
by the same theme as Urmanov's "volcanic eruption" costume (black outfit
dripping with yellow and orange ruffles and sequins all over), and
similarly busy choreography. I liked it.
Thursday morning original dance
I didn't take detailed notes on this. Here are some quick comments on
the top finishers.
Bourne & Kraatz's re-worked OD looks good, as does Shae's new costume.
I think that for once they have an OD that is not a liability
Not much to say about Lang & Tchernyshev and Dubreuil & Lauzon; their
placements seemed correct to me. OTOH, I cannot for the life of me
figure out why the judges put Joseph & Forsyth in 4th place. They
were really, really slow and it looked to me like they had a pretty
obvious screw-up at one point in their dance. Other folks I talked
to also thought they ought to have been behind both Wing & Lowe and
Handra & Sinek.
Thursday afternoon pairs free skate
I'm not normally a huge fan of pairs, but this was an exceptionally
strong competition. All of the top 3 teams skated essentially clean
performances, and the 4-6 teams also did well and should be very proud
Among the remaining teams, the Wirtzes imploded with mistakes on all
of their solo jumps, only a double twist, and a failed lift
besides; the Hartsells had a sloppy skate (this time it was Steve who
couldn't land a jump to save his life); and while Kawaguchi &
Markuntsov hit a lot of elements this time, their basic skating
quality isn't quite there yet.
- 1. Sale & Pelletier
- Last to skate; they had to skate a clean program in order to win,
and they rose to the challenge. Throw triple loop, triple toes, triple
twist, lasso lift with a twist dismount, throw triple salchow, another
lift (I think this was the one with all the changes of grip),
back inside death spiral, illegible scribble into double toes, waist lift.
I remember that they did side-by-side butterfly spins and a pair spin
in there somewhere too. (Sorry, I'm still having problems taking good notes
on pairs at the same time I'm taking photos.)
- 2. Shen & Zhao
- Sequence of double axels into triple toes, another set of triple toes,
triple twist had a bad catch this time, throw triple loop, lasso lift,
throw triple salchow, star lift, wimpy side-by-side spins, even wimpier
pair spin, spirals, forward inside death spiral, straight-line steps, back
- 3. Ina & Zimmerman
- Triple toes, with him landing in a lunge but not going down, double
axels, triple twist, sequence of two double toes (I think), lasso? lift,
throw triple loop, pivot move, forward inside death spiral, side-by-side
spins, adagio lift that had the audience going "ooooh!", great throw
triple salchow, straight-line step, hip lift, pair spin.
- 4. Pang & Tong
- Triple twist, triple toes, huge throw triple salchow (even bigger than
S&Z's throws usually are), death spiral, side-by-side spins fairly weak,
star(?) lift, double axel with her stepping out, another huge throw,
pair spin, lasso lift, straight-line steps, single axels into double toes,
hip lift, pair spin.
- 5. Scott & Dulebohn
- A sequence of double axels with some hops and split leaps into triple
toes -- she fell; crashy triple twist, lasso(?) lift, throw triple salchow,
back press lift, side-by-side spins good as usual, spirals, throw double axel,
single axels, pair spin, another lift, back outside death spiral. Definitely
a stronger program than Pang & Tong, but they need the triple toes, and
their pair elements are all a lot smaller.
- 6. Langlois & Archetto
- Throw triple salchow, triple toes,
triple twist, sequence of triple salchows with her falling and then
double toes, lasso lift into a star position, back inside death
spiral, unattractive pair spin (they're trying the "Natalia spin", but
she can't get anywhere close to a complete split in it), spirals,
throw triple toe, simple back press lift, straight-line steps, double
axels, side-by-side camels, star lift, forward inside death spiral
with a swing entry.
Thursday night ladies short programs
Good grief, what an exhausting night of skating. Things got under way
a few minutes before 7pm, and didn't wind up until 11:15pm. I really
felt sorry for those poor judges. The audience kept getting smaller
and smaller as the night went on, but the judges didn't have the
choice to leave! They really should have swapped the schedule to put
this in the daytime session and the OD and pairs final at night.
As a few general observations, I am sure that the Japanese federation
must be thrilled with the performances of their skaters -- all three
of them made the final 6. OTOH, I suspect that the USFSA is not too
happy with Angela Nikodinov, who reverted to old habits, popped two
jumps, and is sitting in 7th. There was a lot of talk among the folks
sitting near me that Jenny Kirk really ought to have won the short.
She was certainly electric in her performance, while Tatyana
two-footed her double axel, Fumie fell on her flip, and Shizuka's
presentation was kind of flat.
Quick notes on a few other skaters.... Nicole Watt was not at all
impressive to me and I don't understand why Skate Canada is promoting
her so much. In the US, she would be an unremarkable junior. Dirke
Baker had a rough skate with mistakes on all three jump elements and
falling on her spin combination as well. The Mexican girl who made
the cut, Rocio Salas Visuet, is a perfectly competent skater, but the
other two were novice level at best. Marina Khalturina does not look
at all out of place as a singles skater; it sure looked to me like she
was trying triple salchow/*triple* toe as her combination. She's
being coached here by Roman Skorniakov, BTW. Shirene Human skated a
more or less clean performance but was very slow. Joanne Carter was
very fast and powerful but struggled with her jumps and is clearly not
yet back from her latest injury.
- 1. Tatyana Malinina
- Triple lutz/double toe off a strong entrance edge, a lot of steps
in an unusually curved approach to a triple flip, double axel was
two-footed. Nice flying camel, but the layback was kind of ugly.
- 2. Fumie Suguri
- Triple lutz/double toe, very fast skating into a triple flip that she
splatted on, big double axel. I think she must have picked up a spin
deduction or something in addition to the 0.4 for the fall.
- 3. Shizuka Arakawa
- Triple lutz/double toe, triple "lip", double axel. Ugly layback and
pretty minimal presentation, although maybe one of the reasons why her
program seemed so flat is that she skated at about 11pm when there were
hardly any people left in the building.
- 4. Jennifer Kirk
- Triple lutz/double toe, triple flip, double axel. She sold this program
all the way through and had a huge smile on her face by about halfway through
- 5. Yoshie Onda
- Triple flutz(?)/double toe (she went into this from such a straight
entrance that I originally thought it was intended to be a flip), triple
flip from footwork, double axel. Another ugly layback.
- 6. Annie Bellemare
- Triple lutz/double toe with no flow, triple flip, double axel with no
step up. Yet another ugly layback, but I thought her presentation otherwise
- 7. Angela Nikodinov
- Triple flutz/double toe, double flip, popped axel. Arggghhhh!
- 8. Jennifer Robinson
- Triple lutz with a step out into a double toe crammed into
the boards as usual, triple flip two-footed, double axel. One of the few
Canadian ladies with a nice layback.
- 9. Amber Corwin
- Triple toe/triple toe terribly pre-rotated on the first jump (this
one was really bad, even for her), triple lutz did not follow immediately
from steps, huge splat on a waxel. She looked miserable in the kiss&cry.
- 10. Stephanie Zhang
- Huge triple lutz/double toe, triple toe was two-footed, double axel.
Spins were quite weak and in fact she stumbled at the end of her combination.
This is the first time I've seen this skater and I can understand why
there's been such a "buzz" about her.
- 11. Bit-Na Park
- Triple flip/double toe, triple salchow out of footwork, double axel.
She could have skated with more speed, I didn't think her straight-line
steps covered the full length of the ice, and her layback was ugly, but
overall this was a solid performance from a solid skater.
- 12. Carina Chen
- Two-footed triple lutz/double toe, triple toe out of steps, double axel.
This was a nice skate for her.
Friday afternoon free dance
I took no notes during this event, and I also came in late and missed the
first group entirely.
Bourne & Kraatz may have won the judges, but Lang & Tchernyshev won
the crowd -- and not just because they're American, either, I think.
I can appreciate the difficulty in B&K's free dance (all those
twizzles, and the transitions between the tricks), but that endless
screeching music drives me nuts. And judging by what I've heard from
talking with others here, I'm not the only one who hates it, too.
I didn't see Lang & Tchernyshev's dance at Nationals, but this
performance "worked" for me a lot better than the one I saw at Skate
America, where I didn't really care for the dance at all. They skated
well and got pretty much everyone in the arena to stand for them at the
end, whereas only a few people here and there were standing for B&K, who
seemed to get more polite than enthusiastic applause from the audience.
I thought Dubreuil & Lauzon's dance was a bit heavy on lifts and light
on footwork, and their expression was so over-the-top dramatic it was
getting silly. It was obvious that they were going to finish third no
matter what they did, though, because Joseph & Forsyth had a big fall
about halfway through their program and dropped a spot. Jessica was
supposed to kick her free leg over Brandon, who was in a low crouch, but
instead she toppled over backwards, and it took them several seconds to
get back into their choreography. Wing & Lowe's dance struck me as being
fairly slow and simple. I hadn't seen it even on TV before this event; it's
in the same style that several other teams from Detroit have been using
the past year or two, with new-age music with chanting and a heavy beat.
Handra & Sinek did a good job with their dance but there was no way they
were going to move up when they didn't skate in the final group.
Friday evening men's free skate
I came in late and missed the first group again. My apologies, but
after last night I didn't think I could handle sitting through another
4 hours of skating, although it ended up not running quite that late
Tonight's big happening was that Todd Eldredge withdrew after skating
the 6-minute warmup (in his old costume for this program rather than
the "Amish Klingon" get-up from Nationals). Nobody in the arena had a
clue about what the problem was -- when they announced his withdrawal,
they said nothing about why. In the practice this morning, Todd
didn't do much of anything and I think he was the first skater off the
ice long before the end of the practice. If he is injured I suppose
he will be out of the Grand Prix Final as well. Looks like another
speed bump on the comeback trail.
Brief notes on the rest of the field: Denommee, Skorniakov, and Liu
all imploded in their free skates. Liu took a particularly nasty fall
by slipping off the entrance to a spin; he ended up doing a flying
belly-flop onto the ice instead. Lee, the Korean, actually skated quite
well, landing a triple axel and 4 other triples. He needs to skate
faster and stop looking down at the ice all the time, though (the
latter especially noticible when the seats are all 15 feet above ice
level). The skaters who finished below that were not landing much of
- 1. Chengjiang Li
- Quad toe/triple toe, quad salchow (and no two-foot take-off on
this one, either), beautiful flying camel, circular steps, death drop,
triple axel/triple toe with the second jump underrotated and a step out,
change camel, popped axel, triple loop, triple salchow, straight-line
step, spin combination, back scratch.
One unfortunate side-effect of Eldredge's withdrawal was that people
in the arena were still buzzing over it when Li started to skate, and
weren't really paying much attention to him. I don't think it was
entirely his fault that his program kind of fell flat -- even the
incredible quads he opened with got very little reaction from the
- 2. Takeshi Honda
- Triple axel/triple toe, would-be quad popped to a double, triple salchow,
butterfly spin, triple loop, spin combination, spread eagle into another
triple axel with a step out, triple flutz, MITF, triple flip, another
spin combination, walley jump landed in a spread eagle, death drop.
The list of elements conveys nothing about how breathtakingly beautiful
this program is. It's set to "Concierto de Aranjuez", and has a quiet,
contemplative feel to it, very much like Ryan Jahnke's "Asturias" program
from last season. I don't know who choreographed this program, but it
is brilliant, and Takeshi interpreted it beautifully. It was the sort of
performance that reminds me why I love this sport so much. Thank you,
- 3. Michael Weiss
- The "William Tell" program. Spirals, quad toe two-footed/triple
toe, triple axel wildly leaning in the air also probably slightly
two-footed in combination with a double toe, flying camel, another
wildly crooked triple axel, butterfly spin, edgy stuff, circular steps
in a small pattern, triple flip, triple loop barely saved, triple salchow,
straight-line step, double lutz, tuck axel.
You know there's something really wrong with Michael Weiss when he's
struggling with his lutz, which is normally his best triple. He was
having lots of problems with it in the practices I saw, too. Maybe
working on the quad has thrown off his timing on the triple? But that
wouldn't explain the trouble he's having with the loop, too. In any
case, while I have to give him credit for being able to stand up on
those jumps, he really gave the impression of struggling through the
whole program -- he was pretty slow, too -- and his presentation marks
were a bit generous.
- 4. Matt Savoie
- Back split into a triple salchow, triple axel/triple toe a bit
overrotated so that he almost fell over backwards (too much energy,
I think), intentional double axel, butterfly spin, fell on triple flip
with no height, camel, triple loop, edgy steps, spread eagles into
a triple axel with a step-out, flying camel with a layover position,
cool pivot move, straight-line steps, hydroblade into triple lutz, spin
I keep wishing that Matt would show a little more self-confidence. He
is doing incredible things on the ice, but even in practices he often
seemed to be skating with a look of acute distress on his face instead
of looking like he's enjoying himself in any way. I don't know if the
solution is a sports psychologist, or acting lessons, but I do think
that if he could lose that deer-in-the-headlights look and project
more confidence and command, it would help both his technical and
- 5. Min Zhang
- Triple axel/triple toe made to look easy, quad toe, flying camel,
triple lutz with delayed rotation, circular step, camel,
quad toe with a hand down/double toe, triple flip, basic spin combination,
triple loop, triple salchow, wimpy straight-line steps, another simple
I believe Zhang actually finished 4th in the free skate, ahead of Savoie.
The jumps were all first-rate, but the spins, footwork, and connecting
elements were really minimal in this program -- maybe novice or junior
level in difficulty. This guy has really nice soft knees and I'm sure
he's capable of better footwork, in particular. It may be just
bad choreography and program construction, rather than a technical
problem. His music was really a mishmash.
- 6. Yamato Tamura
- Quad toe/double toe completed but with a very nasty bent-over landing,
another quad toe with a similar landing, big death drop, double axel,
straight-line step, triple loop with a step-out, flying camel, MITF,
triple lutz with a step out and hand down, triple flip/double toe,
double salchow, almost fell on a double axel, butterfly spin.
Major stamina problem -- he looked ready to die at the end of the program.
In spite of the two quads, Yamato only managed to land one clean triple.
I'm sure he finished behind Sandhu in the long and perhaps Yunfei Li as
- 7. Emanuel Sandhu
- Quad toe with a hand down, triple axel with a step out into triple toe,
triple flip, triple salchow, flying sit (? not sure), triple axel,
edgy steps, butterfly spin, double loop followed immediately by a triple
loop (looked like he just threw in another attempt), dancing around,
straight-line steps, popped the lutz, triple toe also looked improvised,
spin combination, poor illusion into a headless scratch spin.
Emanuel skated very early, before the Zamboni break, because of having
bombed his short. This certainly wasn't a great performance, but I
have to give him credit for fighting through the mistakes and trying to
get as much content as possible in his program. I think he realized how
embarassing it would be if the new Canadian champion ended up finishing
last of the three Canadian men entered in this event.
- 8. Yunfei Li
- Quad toe/triple toe, big splat on waxel, flying camel, straight-line
steps, triple flip/triple toe, triple loop, sit/back sit/catch-leg spin
with the leg pulled very high, MITF including a spiral with his free leg
again pulled up into a vertical split, triple salchow, death drop (?),
reached on triple lutz, double axel, spin combination.
- 9. Ben Ferreira
- Triple toe (was supposed to be a quad), triple axel/double toe,
circular step, triple lutz, spin combination, posing, triple flip with
a stiff landing, MITF, triple loop with a step out, slow cross-foot
spin, toe steps, hops into a triple salchow, weak flying camel,
triple lutz with a bad step-out, split jump (? can't read my scribbling),
- 10. Yosuke Takeuchi
- Quad toe landed at a dead stop, triple axel/double toe, triple
flip(?)/double toe, change sit, double axel, death drop, circular step,
triple loop with no flow, fly camel, triple lutz, double
salchow, spread eagles, triple flip with a step out, straight-line step,
Saturday afternoon ladies free skate
I'm feeling majorly unenthusiastic about writing at the moment. I made
the mistake of going to the exhibition; I'm not much of a fan of show
skating anyway, and the programs here varied between boring and actively
awful. On top of that, they had the sound system in the arena turned
up way too high and my ears are still ringing. Sigh.
Anyway, back to ladies. This was a tough competition to judge among
the top 5; nobody really turned in an obviously winning performance,
and all of them had some things they did well and other things they
did not so well. I think my own rankings would have been Onda,
Suguri, Malinina, Nikodinov, Kirk.
As you can see, there was a big drop in the quality of the performances
after the top 5, and I am too tired right now to have much enthusiasm for
continuing down the list to describe everybody's mistakes.
- 1. Fumie Suguri
- Triple flutz/double toe, triple flip, double axel (I think?), triple
toe, flying camel, layback, popped loop, triple flutz, spirals, death
drop, circular step, triple salchow with turns into a double toe, spin
- 2. Angela Nikodinov
- Double axel, triple flutz/double toe, triple flip, triple loop, flying
camel, spirals, layback, triple salchow, popped lutz, double toe/double toe,
spin combination, sideways-leaning spin.
I thought Nikodinov got a major gift from the judges; she probably has
the best presentation of the skaters in the event, but she only landed
four triples, she flutzed again, and the mistakes at the end of her
program made it considerably less effective than it might have been.
The overall effect was not that this was an impressive performance, but
that she blew it yet again.
- 3. Yoshie Onda
- Triple lutz/double toe, triple flip, long set-up into a triple
loop, flying camel, posing, ugly layback, triple lutz, spirals, triple
toe (?)/double toe, triple salchow, straight-line steps, triple toe,
death drop, two double axels in a row, spin combination. Basically a
perfectly skated program with seven triples. It did not look to me
like she flutzes (I couldn't see the first one from a good angle, and
the second one from a short entrance looked like it was from a true edge),
and both her lutz and flip were very high with a noticible delay in the
rotation. Her program and choreography were not great -- she skated to
a classical mishmash -- but her presentation was quite pleasant.
- 4. Tatiana Malinina (5th in free skate)
- Triple lutz, triple flip, triple loop, flying camel that really flew,
triple toe, double axel, layback, posing, triple salchow/double toe,
spin combination, circular step, double axel, very fast scratch spin.
Her lutz is off a very strong back outside edge, she skates fast, and
layback aside, I think she did the best spins of the event. I'm guessing
she was probably hurt by not doing her lutz in combination.
- 5. Jenny Kirk (4th in free skate)
- Triple salchow, triple flutz/double toe, triple toe/triple toe looked
underrotated on the second jump, flying camel, double axel, change sit spin,
posing, triple loop, layback, spirals, triple flip, spread eagle into
a triple lutz that looked a little cheated, spin combination.
I don't think Jenny's speed is such a liability to her any more; both
here and at Nationals I was impressed by her improvement in that area
since last year. I think what's hurting her the most now are
technique problems with her elements -- the lack of height on her
jumps, the flutz, the flying camel that doesn't really fly. Jenny
skated right after Yoshie so there was an easy comparison between the
two -- while they both landed 7 triples, it was obvious that Yoshie's
were of higher quality.
- 6. Shizuka Arakawa (7th in the free skate)
- Two-foot landing and stumble out of a triple lutz, triple toe/triple toe
very good, layback, double "lip", double axel, flying camel, circular
steps, double loop, ina bauer into footwork into a triple salchow/double
loop (very impressive), spin combination, steps into a walley into a single
axel, triple salchow, unsuccessful attempt at a change-edge spiral, some
kind of spin to end.
- 7. Amber Corwin (6th in free skate)
- Triple toe/triple toe pre-rotated as badly as the one she did in
the short, triple lutz/double toe, popped loop, spin combination,
triple flip maybe "lipped" with a double three turn on the landing,
camel, steps, crawling into a double lutz, triple salchow, spin combination,
spirals, double axel, flying camel.
- 8. Jennifer Robinson
- Fell on triple loop, double lutz, triple salchow, cool spin, triple
flip two-footed, spirals, fell out of triple lutz (couldn't really see
what went wrong because it was so close to the boards in the blind area
in the Delta Center), layback, double axel, flying camel, straight-line
steps, triple toe, butterfly spin, spin combination. I liked this program
a lot and she presented it well, but she only landed two clean triples.
General comments on the event
There were generally very few paying spectators at this competition,
particularly at the early-week events. I don't think the organizers could
have sold more than a couple hundred all-event tickets. To fill up the
arena, they brought in huge groups of school children for the daytime
sessions; I'm afraid these kids were pretty noisy and not the most
appreciative of audiences for the skaters.
The poor sight lines at the Delta Center weren't such an issue at this
competition because there were so many empty seats. It was easy to
move down to the first or second row, and a lot of people ended up
sitting in the sections behind the judges that seemed to have not been
sold at all and just left as open seating for people with credentials.
I only once got hassled by the arena staff -- during the last group of
men's practice on Friday, they were rudely insisting that everyone
move to their ticketed seats even though it was over an hour until the
start of the next event and the building was practically empty
Salt Lake City doesn't seem to be much of a skating town, but from a
skate fan's perspective, it's a great place to have a competition.
Air fares are a lot more reasonable than to venues like Colorado
Springs, there are tons of reasonably-priced hotels within walking
distance of the arena and/or downtown, there's a big food court in the
downtown mall, and there's now a trolley you can ride for free between
the arena and downtown so you don't even have to walk.
Photos are Copyright (c) 2001, Sandra J. Loosemore, and are provided
for personal viewing only.
At this time, I have been uniformly turning down all requests for
republication of these photos. Part of the problem is the USFSA's
camera policy, which permits photography for "personal use" only. I
also cannot do prints or enlargements of these photos because they
were taken with a digital camera with a wimpy zoom lens, and aren't
high enough resolution to produce a good-quality print.
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