2012 World Championships, Nice, France


Planned Program Content

Championships Preview

Miki Ando, One Year Later - Reflections on Worlds a year later

Nice Revisited 

Day 6, Saturday, 31 March 2012

Chan Successfully Defends Men's Title, Audience does not Agree

Chan Wins Despite Mistakes.  Audience loudly boos results after his skate, and again during awards ceremony.  Japanese fans go wild for two Japanese men making the World podium for first time.  Americans Jeremy Abbott and Adam Rippon place 8th, and 13th, qualify the US for two spots at Worlds in London, Ontario next year.  Newcomer Yuzuru Hunyu steals the show with dramatic Romeo & Juliet program.

Could bronze medallist Yuzuru Hunyu be any more adorable?

We think not.

17-year old skater placed third in first Worlds appearance.

Hunyu and coach react to his marks after his free skate performance.

Temporarily in first place, Hunyu ultimately placed second in the Free Skate and third overall.

Tenth Time's a Charm as Kostner Wins Ladies Title

Carolina Kostner made history by winning the first Ladies world title for Italy. Alena Leonova of Russia earned the silver medal and Japan's Akiko Suzuki took the bronze. It was the first World medal for Leonova and Suzuki.

Kostner turned in a extraordinary performance to Mozart's Concerto No. 23 for Piano and Orchestra that featured a triple loop, triple flip, double Axel-triple toe loop as well as two triple Salchows and three level-four spins. The four-time European Champion scored a new seasons best of 128.94 points to move up from third in the Short Program to first overall at 189.94 points overall. “I am very, very happy. I was quite nervous going out on the ice. I knew I had skated some really good programs in practice, but it was so overwhelming to go out there and have so many people cheering for you, it was hard for me to stay focused. It reminded me so much of Torino (2006), but I thought this time I can change it and have a different experience. I just wanted to skate my best, straight from my heart, now I can sit back and enjoy”, Kostner said.

Short program leader Leonova skated first in the final group and put out a solid program to “Adagio for Strings” and “Requiem for a Dream”, completing a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and four triples, but stepped out of a triple Lutz. The Russian picked up 119.67 points and was ranked fourth in the Free Skating. Overall she accumulated 184.28 points. “I am very happy. I did my best the day before yesterday and today. There was one small mistake on my Lutz, but I am glad, I could pull myself together. I had really bad warm up, made single jumps, so about three minutes before my skating I started to think about the performance so I could concentrate on it. During the warm up I was nervous, but then, before the music played I was absolutely calm. Now I am relieved”, the 21-year-old commented.

Suzuki's routine to “Die Fledermaus” (The Bat) was highlighted by a triple Lutz, double Axel-triple toe, four more triples and a level-four step sequence. However, she singled her second Lutz. She earned 121.30 points and totalled 180.68 to win her first medal at the World Championships, three days after her 27th birthday. “I am very, very happy to have won a medal. But I wanted to give a clean performance and get a medal with it. So I have a few regrets about that”, Suzuki explained. “I think I missing last year's World team gave a lot of motivation to train harder. This is my first World medal and I am 27 years old. Others win their first medal at 17 years old, like Yuzuru (Hanyu)”, she continued.

Ashley Wagner (USA) came fourth with a strong performance that featured six triples (176.77 points). She was ranked third in the Free Skating. Kanako Murakami (JPN) slipped from second to fifth at 175.41 points and Mao Asada (JPN) came sixth at 164.52 points.

“The free skate was incredible, said Wagner.  "I’m so happy with it. The crowd was on its feet clapping as loud as it could while I was in my spin. It took all of my effort not to come out of my spin and hit my final pose because I was so excited. Today couldn’t have been any better for me.”  She added, “I’m through the roof right now. I was so nervous going into it. I think I managed my nerves very well. I approached everything one step at a time. I cut out a few pieces of choreography because I was focusing on the technical elements. I did what I needed to do and it’s huge for me.”

Alissa Czisny, the second American lady competing here crashed and burned with five falls.  "I’m not sure what happened today or this week," she said.  "I came here not feeling as prepared as I wanted to be. But I knew I could do everything in the program. I couldn’t find my feet this week. ...  Part of it was being injured at the end of the Grand Prix season. At nationals, I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be but I did what I had to do to make it to Worlds. I’m feeling healthy and good. I’m confused as to what has happened here.”

Estimated attendance for Men's' Free Skate: 5500 building to 6400.

Estimated Attendance for Ladies Free Skate: 4400 building to 7100.


by Alexandra Stevenson

On Sunday, American fans were still reeling from the shock the day before of witnessing the very graceful 2009 and 2011 US champion Alissa Czisy’s meltdown in the Free Skate in Nice. In this glamorous Mediterranean sunny city, she sprawled embarrassingly on the ice on five jumps (triple Lutz, triple loop, triple flip, second triple Lutz and second triple loop) in her four minute performance. She also doubled a planned triple toe loop. The situation was made more devastating because her spins are well recognized as the world’s best.

It was reminiscent of Laetitia Hubert’s disaster in her first of four Olympic appearances, in 1992 in her home country. Lying fifth in Albertville, where she is now a coach, she drew to skate last in the top group of competitors. While Kristi Yamaguchi shone and Midori Ito took second, Hubert swept the ice and dropped to 12th overall. (Hubert had nearly taken Ito out of action in the 1991 world championship when the two had an extremely rough collision in the warm-up for the Short Program.)

Czisny, 24, should take some consolation in the fact that the French woman went on to do well in her subsequent appearances, even beating Tara Lipinski in one event. Hubert recovered and is now able to smile self-depreciatingly when that awful showing is mentioned. She went on to a long competitive career. Last year she appeared in Atlantic City in the Caesar’s Tribute show.

World Team Standings and Qualification for the ISU World Team Trophy 2012 in Tokyo, Japan, April 18 to 22, 2012.

The Teams ranked 1 to 6 are qualified for the ISU World Team Trophy 2012 in Tokyo, Japan, April 18 to 22, 2012.














United States of America








Day 5, Friday, 30 March 2012

Chan Takes Men's Short Program

Patrick Chan took the lead in the Short Program, despite small errors in his quad toe loop landing and in the straight line step sequence. Michal Brezina skated clean with the highest element scores, but was only fifth in component marks.  Third place is held by Daisuke Takahashi who had a downgraded triple toe loop which cost him at least one place, if not the lead.  Brian Joubert had one of his best skates in recent memory and lies in fourth place.  He is a serious contender for a medal it would seem.

Jeremy Abbott lies in 9th place, falling on a triple toe loop and doubling his Lutz.  His component scores, however, were third best of  the group.  “I’ve never been more prepared for a competition," he said. "I was mentally, physically, emotionally ready to go out there and bring it and win. I’ll have to go back and talk with my coaches. I know I’ve had performances like this before but I’ve never been more prepared for a competition. I really believed in my heart of hearts that this was my moment.”  On his combination he said, "I felt great when I went out there. I was shaky going into the flip but I pulled in. It was off but I tried to get the combo in anyway. I never miss that combo, I haven’t missed it this season. It was not my day, I guess.”

Adam Rippon trails his teammate in tenth place.  He was marked down on the landings of his triple Axel and triple Lutz. “I have been having a little bit of problem with the Axel this week, he said"  "I know I’ve trained it really hard and I’ve trained well getting ready for this competition. The thing I can take away from this program is that I feel it’s the best I’ve performed it all season. Of course I made some silly mistakes stepping out of the Axel and the Lutz, but I have to be happy that I did the spins. I’m upset about the jumps but it is what it is.” 

Chan holds on for dear life in his Short Program step sequence.  He recovered by putting his foot down and lost one level (the one-foot-sequence feature) as a consequence.  But at least he didn't fall.

Brian Joubert, places fourth with a nearly clean skate, landing quad toe loop - triple toe loop.  And he's still so damn cute.

And speaking of hanging on ...

German Team Hangs on to Gold Medal as Russians Triumph in Pairs Free Skate

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov battled back in the Pairs Free Skate, winning the segment to place second overall.  Their clean commanding performance left the German couple eight points behind in the long.  Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy were outperformed in both total element score and program components.  Their lead from the Short Program, however, was enough to win the gold medal by a 0.11 margin.  Given all the uncertainties in the scoring method, 0.11 points is nothing!

Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran placed third in the Free Skate to win the first senior pairs medal for Japan at a World Championships.  Tran will have to decide in the near future whether to give up his Canadian citizenship in order to skate for Japan in the Olympics.  He said an announcement on his plans will be made at the end of this season (which still has a month or two to go).

Qing Pang & Jian Tong dropped from second in the short to sixth in the long to finish in fourth place.  A broken lift which received no points was the deciding factor here in depriving them a place on the podium.  Tong also struggled with his jumps in both the short an the long.

Caydee Denney & John Coughlin placed eighth in the long and eighth overall while their fellow U.S. team members Mary Beth Marley & Rockne Brubaker placed tenth in the long and tenth overall.

Following thier free skate, Coughlin said, “This is by far the best field we have ever been in. We were in a warm-up with people that, on any given day, could be World medallists. The people skating after us are World silver medallists, the people before us, Sui and Han, are three-time World Junior champions and Four Continents champions. We just overtook them which is huge for us. We answered the bell when they had brought the crowd to its feet right before us. The program felt easy, our training at home was awesome. What a great first Worlds together. I’m so excited.”  Added Denney, "Denney – “I always have a great time when I perform in front of a big crowd. With me and John, we learn from each competition we go to and try to build on that especially looking forward to the future. I had one mistake on the Axel but overall, it was fun.”

This is the first Worlds for Denney & Coughlin, who said, "You only get one first Worlds and we’re going to leave this one with a good feeling. It’s something big to build on and give us that recharge we need to tackle new and harder choreography and grander tricks.”  And in facing the future he added, “We are looking forward to having more time together. We haven’t quite hit the one-year mark of being a team. This season, we had to put together programs that were achievable in such a short amount of time. For the next season, we are going to push ourselves.”

This is also the first Worlds for Marley & Brubaker, though Brubaker has been to Worlds before with his former partner.  “It went pretty good," he said.  I think everything was OK. From where we’ve come and what we did this year, it’s been a big year all around and I think it’s a solid way to end.”

“I know I messed up on the double Axel," said Marley, "but overall to come out and do a well done skate and keep the excitement and nerves under control, is something I’m proud of.”  On her Worlds experience she added, “It was amazing. We did a well-skated program. To think, when you’re in your opening spot, that you’re where you’ve been dreaming of and training for your entire life, then to keep focused and do what you train to do every day is amazing.”

For next season the team's focus, said Brubaker, was on quality,  "We’re doing some pretty hard stuff," he explained.  "Making sure, not just at competitions, we’re increasing our quality on a day-to-day basis. We were prepared for Worlds but you can always go back and do more. There are always things to work on.”

Fashionably Late

Continuing the trend of the local audience being fashionably late, attendance started off low at the beginning of today's' events and grew during the events.  People continued to filter in up though the second warm-up groups, and in the pairs final, there were still stragglers coming in for only the last warm-up group.  (The way the arena is configured a full house is 8200.)

Estimated attendance for the Men's Short Program: 2400 building to 3800.

Estimated attendance for Pairs Free Skate: 5800 building to 7200.

Day 4  -- Alena Leonova takes lead in Ladies Short Program.  Tessa Virtue & Scot Moir reclaim World Dance title.

Day 1 - 3 -- World Championships begin with qualifying rounds.  Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy win Pairs Short Program.  Tessa Virtue & Scot Moir take Short Dance.

Copyright 2012 by George S. Rossano.  All rights reserved.
E-mail us at: editor2008@iceskatingintnl.com