Men's Short Program

by Alexandra Stevenson

Forty eight men from 39 countries were reduced by one as Joffrey Burton who was to represent Montenegro dropped out. That is a substantial amount of skating by anyoneís standards! The event ran from 9:30am to 17:16pm. Former twice world champion Jan Hoffmann was the referee. The Technical Specialist was Ravi Walla and his assistant was Ricardo Olavarrieta. Artem Bordodulin of Russia had bad luck and had to withdraw. He said, "My right blade broke in two pieces. I felt already that there was something wrong going into my triple Axel on the entrance but I thought it is not something serious but, on the landing, the problem came out. You can not do anything with this and, as they say, it was good that I survived. It is very disappointing as we were prepared really well for this competition and had big plans after the Olympics, but it is as it is." Sergei Sviridov, the Russian Team Leader, said, "The blade just broke in two pieces, right in the middle. You cannot do anything in two minutes with a problem like that.

1.SP 89.30 (47.40+41.90); Daisuke "Daiskate" Takahashi, skating 42nd which was last in the penultimate group of six, gave an energetic showing in an elaborate outfit of black and gold, set to Eye by Coba. He opened with a smooth +1.0 GoE triple flip to triple toe loop, a soaring +1.60 triple Axel and excellent +1.0 triple Lutz. Two of his three spins were Level 4 as were his circular steps. The flying sit and the straight line steps were Level 3. One judge punched in the maximum GoE of +3 for his triple Axel and for his circular steps. Takahashi said, "I did a good performance even if I skated not as fast as I could. I know that I can do better. My life has not changed since the Games. I have decided I will try a quad flip tomorrow. I am feeling very confident in myself and hope to do my best in the Free. Iím happy to have won a small gold medal at Worlds for the first time. Iím very pleased to be in the lead. Iím very pleased to have achieved a high score in the Short Program without a quad but I will try a quad tomorrow. I love not only this Tango music but all Latin music and the character. I can not judge how good Iím at interpreting it, but I enjoy performing it and maybe my joy is in the translating."

Takahashi, who turned 24 on March 16, was the first Japanese man ever to win a medal in figure skating in the Games, taking third in the SP and holding onto that position despite falling on his quad toe loop and placing only fifth in the FS in Vancouver. That bronze, along with Mao Asadaís silver, helped Japan earn its biggest medal total - 3 silvers and 2 bronzes - in the Olympic Games since 1992 in Albertville. (In Vancouver, their speed skaters won two silvers and a bronze.) In Torino in 2006, the Japanese won only one medal, but it was gold claimed by Shizuka Arikawa. Takahashi was also the first Japanese man to win a silver at Worlds, which he did in 2007. But then he tore ligaments in his right knee in October 2008 and was not able to start practicing jumps again until June 2009. He has indicated he is thinking of retiring after next yearís Worlds which are in Tokyo. He has been four times Japanese champion. He trains with Utaki Nagamitisu in Japan.

2.SP 87.80 (47.40+40.40); Patrick Chan skated right before Takahashi, to Tango de los Exilados by Walter Taieb, performed by Vanessa Mae. He began with his triple Axel followed by his triple flip to triple toe loop, and triple Lutz. He got Level 4 for the circular steps and two of his three spins. The straight line steps and the final change foot combination spin was only Level 3. His overall GoEs ranged from two +1.20s down to two +0.50s. He got one +3 for his combination. Chan said, "I feel really excited. I felt comfortable from the beginning on the warm-up and I showed a nice performance. I didnít make any changes in my Free Skate. The only change is that I intend to make no mistakes this time. Of course you canít compare the crowd in Vancouver with the one here. I think people are tired after the Olympics. I think they are resting in their homes. Not many people are watching sports as they had two weeks of it. It was a great moment for me here because I was able to concentrate well. I can control my excitement better. I wish Lysacek and Plushenko were here. It would make the competition more exciting, but I think we shall see at least one of them back next year. Iím glad that doing this Short Program for the last time, I did it well. Itís a kind of redemption after the Olympicsí disappointing short. I felt good at the Olympics, but it was just my mental training which I have to work on. The Olympics was definitely a learning experience. It gave me confidence. If you can handle the Olympics, you can handle anything. It is different, but it was a great moment, because I was able to concentrate well and really focus on what I have to do. I can control my excitement better. It is disappointing that Plushenko and Lysacek arenít here. I wish they were because it would make the competition even more exciting. But I expect I shall see at least one of them next year at Worlds."

Chan freely admits, "It was hard to come down from the Olympics. It was like, ĎWow! Itís really over. The experience that I've been looking forward to for most of my life is over. Now what do I do?'' Of course, the answer, of course, is why Iím here. Iím chasing gold. Definitely Iím after gold after winning silver last year in Los Angeles. My time is going to come. It didn't come in Vancouver but it will come in the next four years. I'm ready to dominate and my confidence has come so far up." The 19-year-old does reveal that, he had a lot of apprehension leading up to the Games. "Because of the injury and the less than perfect season, I think I still had a bit of a doubt that I could be on the podium. What was really inspirational was to see Evan (Lysacek) win without a quad and talk about he had been shattered in 2006 when he did badly in the SP and failed to win a medal. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of persistence. But you canít tell the future. Who knows who will appear from out of nowhere." Chan now trains in Colorado Springs, where is going through harness training with Christy Krall to help with the quad. "It isnít ready yet for the program but I hope to have it next season. It was disappointing finishing fifth in Vancouver, and with that stupid fall. It's amazing what the Olympics does to you. It really numbs you. It numbs your excitement for the rest of the year. I really haven't dwelled on going to worlds but itís definitely a lot less stressful."

3. SP 87.70 (47.90+39.80); Brian Joubert, skating 44th, second in the last group of six, to Rise from the Album Leave me Alone by Safri Duo, for the second season running, began with a quad toe loop to triple toe loop (+0.20 GoE), followed by a triple Axel and triple Lutz which both received +1.40 GoE. Two of his three spins were Level 4 but the other spin was Level 3 as were his straight line steps. The circular steps were only Level 2. Yesterday, after practice, he said, "Normally I am very tense but this wasnít the case today. I have regained my skill and I am attacking. But, of course, I have to wait for the competition to see how I will react." The French Association has criticized him for refusing to go abroad and train. He prefers to stay in his hometown of Poitiers where he trains with Laurent Depouilly. But here he seems refreshed. He won six French championships in a row but has not entered the event for the past two seasons. He said, "I went out to attack the program. After the Olympic Games I realized that I have to change, that I need to be the way I was before. It worked, but I am still not as confident as I used to be. I felt good in practice and Iím confident for tomorrow. I could have had a better score. I need to analyze it. Maybe I lost some points on the spins or the footwork. The others skated well, but they donít take the risk of doing the quad, which is a shame. It was a surprise that he would still want to continue after his disastrous performance in Vancouver where he was 18th in the SP and 16th overall. His association required him to do a test skate for the one place alongside Florent Amodio, who is the French champion and who finished 12th in Vancouver. The 25-year-old Joubert admits, "My problems come from outside the ice rink, from my personal life. I lost a lot of energy outside the ice rink. But I have made some changes in my attitude. The last two years, my attitude hasn't been the way it should be. I'm not the same person any more. I'm not myself. I knew that things weren't the way they should be at the Olympics but I didn't react accordingly. I know what I have to do but it is not easy. It wasn't a good moment to realize what was wrong." He has competed in the European championships since 2002 and medaled in all of them, taking gold in 2004, 2007 and 2009. He said he was reconsidering his future. "Figure skating is, alongside my family, obviously, the most important thing in my life," he said. "I've committed myself to 2012 world championships in Nice (in the south of France). I want to win the Cup of China so that I've won all of the Grand Prix. I want to end my career on a high note, with another world championship title and a European title." The three-time Olympian added, "It was another disappointment at the Olympic Games. These Games have beat me." He was 14th in the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, after winning bronze in Europeans, and then placed 6th in Torino although a few weeks later, he would win his second World silver. He has only one kidney. He was a sickly child and had the other one removed.

4.SP 84.20 (46.60+37.60); Takahiko Kozuka, Japan, who skated 39th to Bold as Love by Jimmy Hendrix, began with a +1.80 triple Lutz to triple toe, and a +1.40 triple Axel. All three spins were Level 4. His straight line and serpentine steps were Level 3. He said, "I am very satisfied with my performance and I hope I will do the same tomorrow. Also, I have to say that I was very excited and I did not have as much speed as I could have. I hope to do better tomorrow. I had a hard training after the Olympic Games in order to get ready for this important competition." The 21-year-old Kozuka finished eighth in the Olympics and was sixth in last yearís Worlds. He is trained by Nobuo Sato.

5.SP 81.75 (45.40+36.35); Michal Brezina, Czech Republic, who began with a +1.60 triple Axel, a +1.20 triple Lutz and a +1.80 triple flip to triple toe loop, said, "I am very satisfied because this is my 6th clean short program of the year and with each competition I got better and better. I was hoping to have this result. I hope to get at least into the last group, but I have many rivals, like Jeremy Abbott and Takahiko Kozuka. I am very sad for my friend Tomas Verner. I really hope he will come back next season. I hope to earn enough spots for my team so we can both compete next year. He received only two Level 4s. The other spin and the two sets of footwork were Level 3.

6.SP 81.05 (44.20+36.85); Jeremy Abbott, US, skated 37th, first on after an ice resurface. He said, "I felt very good. The last competition was quite obviously not so good so I wanted to come here and take a different approach than I did on the Olympics." This is his third Worlds. He finished 11th in 2008 and 2009 and was ninth at the Olympics despite winning the 2009 Grand Prix Final. "I really focused on the program, and I didnít get ahead of myself and wasnít focusing on the placement. The goal is to take each element at a time. When I passed through the jumps I really started to enjoy myself and have fun with the rest of the program. After the relatively poor Olympic performance, I just kind of evaluated how I was training. I was able to do that on this competition. I trained much better and I showed that today -- so far!" He performed to A Day in the Life by The Beatles. He is coached by Yuka Sato in Detroit. He began with a +0.60 triple flip to triple toe loop, followed by his triple Axel, which earned merely the base value. The triple Lutz got +0.60 over its base value. One of his step sequences and two of his spins got Level 4. The other spin and the straight line steps earned Level 3. "I was really pleased with how I skated today. I really had to work my performance to get in the zone. I really had to work for everything. I wasnít feeling perfect, but I was able to get the job done."

7.SP 80.11 (43.76+36.35) Adam Rippon, winner of the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships, replaced Johnny Weir. He heard about the situation on March 8. Rippon, who is trained by Brian Orser, skated to Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Neil Diamond. He said, "I was fortunate that I kept training. Today, it was not my best, but I had my personal satisfaction. I am happy. I think that tomorrow I will do my best. It was exhausting for me and stressful, as for everybody, to skate at the World Championship. But the score of today is a nice kind of present for me at the end of this season." He did a +1.0 triple flip to triple toe loop, a triple Axel which had 0.84 removed from the base value, and a +1.60 GoE triple Lutz. All three spins were Level 4 and the step sequences Level 3. "Itís a really big step for me," said Rippon. "Iíve been skating at the senior level for two years, and this is the first year Iíll be skating at the Senior Worlds. So I think Iíll get a lot of experience here. I think Iím ready to do really well, and hopefully, itíll set me up for the 2014 (Olympic) games." Rippon started skating at 10. "It was just something to do in winter. I didnít know it would change my life. I kept bugging my mom to bring me to the rink and, finally, as a birthday present they gave me group lessons."

8.SP 78.40 (42.60+35.80); Skating 43rd, which was second on of the last group of six, the 27-year-old Samuel Contesti of Italy looked absolutely delighted at the end of his routine, although he did get -0.40 removed from the base value of his triple flip. The triple Lutz to triple toe loop had +0.40 added and his triple Axel earned an extra +1.0. He earned four Level 4s. His circular steps were Level 3. His routine was set to Wish Me Well by Willi Dixon and Memphis Slim and Whammer Jammer by Geils Band. He did not come to the mixed zone after his performance to talk to reporters. Coach Peter Gruetter explained, "It is always difficult to perform at home. He was tense. He did not feel good. The tension was big. He was happy with his performance, that he could do his best, coming from Olympics Games. He did better than at the Olympics. The public was great, very, very nice. Samuel now does not feel well as he is having a nervous reaction because of the stress."

9.SP 77.40 (41.90+35.50); The 16-year-old Denis Ten, Kazahkstan, skated last of the 48 skaters, performing to Sing Sing Sing by Louis Prima. He said, "Today a lot of skaters did well. I didnít watch them, but I heard their scores and when I was in the dressing room a lot of skaters came in and were happy, so I wanted to join the good mood." Although he placed 11th in the Olympics, he was a disappointed 9th in the recent World Juniors. "Here everything was different from Junior Worlds. The tiredness came through at Junior Worlds. Now I donít think about the placement, I just want to do give good performances. Right now I have no coach, but Iím focusing on the competition and I will decide later about what Iím going to do."

10.SP 73.55 (39.80+34.75-1.0); Kevin van der Perren of Belgium skated 45th to Mussorgskiís Night on Bald Mountain. He began with a quad toe loop to triple toe loop combination earning 14.60 points for this one move, so, despite a fall on his triple Axel, he was able to make the top ten. He said, "I am having a really bad time, because at home my grandfather is dying, so itís hard to stay focused on what I have to do, but Iím really happy, because this is the first time I tried the quad this season, and it worked. The Olympics were over. I came home, and the quad came. So I said to my coach, you know, Iím gonna to do the quad, because itís not certain anyway. This is my last Worlds, so I need to try the hardest I can."

11.SP 73.42 (39.32+34.10); Sergei Voronov, Russia, skated 38th to Skriabinís Revolution Etude. He used sheer muscle power to hold onto his landings and got negative GoEs for all of his jumps, quad toe loop to double toe loop (-0.64); triple Axel (-0.84); and triple flip (-0.80). He was the last minute replacement for Evgeni Plushenko. He said, "This is a difficult time in my career. Apparently I have to change a lot. It was good that I was able to pull myself together, even though the jumps werenít the best. I did only a quad-double instead of a quad-triple, and I lost a lot of points there. I felt obliged to skate well for my parents and my girlfriend who supported me after the European Championships. I feel so sorry for my teammate Artem Borodulin. He is my rival, but I donít wish something like that to happen to anyone." Borodulinís blade broke.

12.SP 72.35 (41.70+30.65) Adrian Schultheiss, Sweden, skating 32nd to My Way and A Christmas Fantasy, opened with a triple Lutz to triple toe loop, a triple Axel and a triple flip. He said, "I am very happy with my performance even if I think I could do it better. During the warm up I saw that there were some holes in the ice, so I was cautious while skating. That is the reason why I thought that doing the quad toe loop was too risky, but I plan to do try it tomorrow."

13.SP 71.69 (41.50+30.15) Skating 25th, first of the "later" group, to music from the Matrix movies, Javier Fernandez, from Spain, gave a good showing with three Level 4 on his spins and Level 3 on the footwork sequences. The 18-year-old said, "I think it was great; I showed a good level. I think that my triple Axel, combination of two triple toeloops and triple flip were good. I got positive GoEs for everything. I am so glad! I trained a lot, also in Milan for the last week, and I am tired actually. My coach decided to change my music after the Olympics, where he finished 14th. The program is the same as the Olympics but my coach, Nikolai Morosov, said this music was better for me, that my performance level would go up."

14.SP 71.20 (37.90+33.30) Skating 28th to Moaniní from the Thunder Drum Suite by A Blakley, Kevin Reynolds of Canada, was the only competitor to bring off a quad Salchow to triple toe loop but then the 19-year-old singled his Axel earning only 0.30 for this element. He gained all Level 4s for his spins. The straight line steps were Level 3 but the circular steps only Level 2. He said, "I found out, that Iím going to the Worlds about two and a half weeks ago. I was told that Vaughn (Chipeur) was injured and I was going, so I got extremely excited. Immediately I got stuck into the training on a 100 percent going into that, and it went good, so I am happy." He is taking part in his first Senior Worlds. "It is interesting. The atmosphere is completely different from the Junior World Championships and the Grand Prix series. And the fans here were amazing."

He is the national championship bronze medalist. Chipeur, who was 23rd in Vancouver, has a torn foot ligament. He had been coping with the nagging injury for most of the season. After the Games, he underwent an MRI, which revealed the severity of the injury. The ligament on the outside of the foot is torn away from the bone and may require surgery. Chipeur said, "My Olympic experience has really re-energized my love of skating and competing. I'm interested in continuing to skate, and to progress in the sport, and I look forward to coming back next season even stronger." He has taken part in four World Junior championships but, despite landing quads, he never got higher than fifth.

15. SP 68.31 (37.16+31.15) Skating 26th, the 19-year-old Florent Amodio, France, who was 12th in the Olympics, skated to the soundtrack of Munich and Papa, Can You Hear Me? both by John Williams. He did a double three after his triple Axel and got -1.96 removed from its base value. He received only one Level 4. He said, "It is the last competition of the season and it was hard. I was really tired after the Olympic Games and I needed to remotivate myself for this competition. This is my first World Championships and I'm benefitting from this experience. I made a mistake on the Axel and one in the spin. I don't really know what the problem with the Axel was. I lost my balance in the spin. I'm not disappointed. I'm well positioned for the long program and I will be focused. I'm not doing the quad. I'm hoping to end the season on a high note."

16. SP 67.60 (37.60+30.00) Anton Kovalevski, Ukraine.

17. SP 59.95 (35.00+24.95) Viktor Pfeifer, 22, who was 21st in the Olympics, was the top scorer from the "Earlier" Group. The five-time Austrian champion trains in the US with Prill Hill. Skating 12th, in black, immediately before the first resurfacing, to Beethovenís Moonlight Sonata, he began with an arm-over-head triple Lutz. Unfortunately, the triple toe loop with which it was combined had a bad landing.

18. SP 59.80 (35.70+24.10) Min-Seok Kim, Korea.

19. SP 59.45 (30.60+28.85) Jinlin Guan, China.

20. SP 57.35 (29.80+28.55 -1.0) Jamal Othman, Switzerland, fell on his triple flip and presented only a double Axel although he did get through a triple Lutz to triple flip with a -0.40 GoE.

21. SP 56.10 (26.30+30.80-1.0); Lysacekís replacement, 26-year-old Ryan Bradley, skated 33rd to Dark Eyes. He began with what was intended to be a quad toe loop to triple toe loop but he fell on the first jump which was downgraded and received only one point for this element. "It was a bit of a disaster. I guess itís kind of what Iíve been doing in the short all season, really. I was hoping to put out the program that Iíve been training at home, and I really didnít do that today. I just went out and didnít set my mind right and didnít do the program that I know I am capable of doing. I do not know why. I trained a lot and my injury has nothing to do with my fall. This is not an excuse. I did my best. Now I feel really frustrated and disappointed. I cannot believe what happened." He was 15th in his only other appearance at Worlds in 2007. "Iím very disappointed. I was ready to do so much better. I had an unfortunate incident in an off-ice practice. I was in dance class and I came down quickly and rolled my foot. It was kind of a heart breaker at a time when it happened. It was three weeks ago yesterday that it happened. But, Iíve got some good training under my belt and have done some good run-throughs, so I really donít think it affected me today Ė I just made mistakes." But it wasnít just Bradley who was making mistakes.

28. SP 50.25 (16.90+33.35); Skating 40th to a modern arrangement of Franz Lisztís Totentanz performed by Maksim Mrvica, Nobunari Oda, Japan, who was seventh in the Olympics, had a disastrous showing singling all his jumps which were meant to be triples, his Axel, his Lutz meant to be the combination and his flip. He did, however, get Level 4 for all his spins. His circular steps were Level 3 and the straight line steps Level 2. He said, "I was very shaky. My body was very rigid and I was not in perfect conditions. I was frightened because I was very tight also during the training. I hope I will be better tomorrow in the free. I will try to do my best. I was not ill or injured, I was only very rigid." Oda, who turns 23 tomorrow on the day of his FS, March 25, was the 2005 World Junior champion and then fourth in the 2006 Worlds. However, he was then seventh in both 2007 and 2009 Worlds, and in the Olympics. He sat out the 2008 season. This season he lost his national title to Takahashi. Oda is the 17th descendant of a famous Japanese war lord, Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) during an age of civil war. However, in the fall of 2007, he was ticketed by the authorities for being in possession of a scooter along with a beer. His Association, very strictly, banned him from competition for three months.

34. SP 45.09 (26.84+19.25 -1.0); Skating 2nd, to Cumana by Barclay Allen, Andrew Huertas, a 19-year old from California, who trains with Burt Lancon in El Segundo became the first man to represent Puerto Rico at an ISU World Championship last year in Los Angeles where he finished 47th. He had previously competed in the US and was the 2002 US Juvenile Boys bronze medalist.

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