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2013 World Championships

Davis & White are Golden, while Virtue & Moir are Dazzling but Disappointed

 by Alexandra Stevenson


 

(17 March 2013)

Russians Place Fourth in Free, but win Bronze

Results from this event determined how many entries each nation is allowed for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The United States, Canada and Russia gained the maximum three slots for ice dance.

Marina Zoueva, who trains the top two couples, was asked if she had already decided what music they would use next season. She smiled enigmatically, and said, “Yes, it is in my head.” But she declined to reveal any clues as to what her first choices are. Scott Moir said, “We’re not going back into the classic (ethereal) Virtue-Moir everybody wants, because we’re older and more mature.”

What do the Canadians have to do to stand a chance of getting back on top? Moir smiled and said, “Well, we’ve got almost a year to figure that out. Meryl and Charlie are great skaters. We take our hats off to them. I know I get a bit fired up about our battles, but the sport is something we’re all passionate about and have been all our lives. That in no way is to discredit them. We know what we’re up against. We see them in practice practically every day so their abilities are no secret to us! They push us and we push them.”

How does the coach cope with training the adversaries on a daily basis? Zoueva claims the daily grind and close contact motivates them both. “I’m always happy for both teams. They are unbelievable skaters. No matter what they do, it is with all their soul and energy. Does second place matter when you are moving people, when you are getting people emotionally involved in discussing the creativity and strong points of what both couples are doing? They each make the other stronger. This is a very demanding sport. One slip is incredibly costly. Both couples put their whole life on the line in competition. A battle is always so much more interesting than a runaway, taken for granted win.”

1.Overall 189.56; 1.FD 112.44 (53.65+58.79) Meryl Davis & Charlie White, USA

Davis & White are the United States’ most successful and longest lasting ice dance couple in international competition. They teamed up in 1997, when she was 9 and he 8, and, in 2011, became the first ever Americans to win the world ice dance title. Although they lost to their long-time rivals in 2012 in a controversial but not close decision in Nice, they dominated this go-around in their main rivals’ home area, earning gold by a substantial margin of 4.52 points.

With all the interest in this highly successful duo, who won the Olympic silver medals in Vancouver, you would think there is nothing more that can be revealed about them. But the personable duo is a part of an inspirational program known as “Classroom Champions”, which also includes Ashley Wagner.

In their video presentation, Davis reveals that she is dyslexic. She lacks depth perception and has trouble seeing with her right eye. That puts an extra burden on her partner, who must constantly watch out that she notices how close other skaters are to her in practice and in warm-ups. It’s a little easier for her when there are hockey lines painted into the ice, but top class competition eliminates these markings, so White must be particular alert in practice and warm-ups at these events.

Davis & White have already had positive feedback from youngsters helped by this program, including a boy who wrote that seeing them speak about the condition he has, made a huge, positive change to his life.

White explained that, after all this time, by now, watching out for Davis is an automatic reaction and he doesn’t even think consciously about that important chore. Davis’ mother, Cheryl, explains White has done this throughout their career. He is an expert at reading and reacting to Davis’ actions. It is just part of their partnership. Davis didn’t talk about this handicap, before making the Classroom Champions’ Presentation because she felt it might influence the judges’ decisions.

The local press also unearthed a lovely story about Davis’ grandfather, who is Canadian. He met and courted the 16-year-old who would become his wife on a beach very near London. Now 85, he was unable to travel to the event but watched his grand-daughter’s win on television.

The duo’s families live close to each other in the Detroit area, the Davis’ in West Bloomfield and the Whites in Bloomfield Hills, not far from the Detroit FSC, where Davis & White learned to skate. They had a big problem initially because they were both so shy, they wouldn’t look at each other, a major problem in ice dance, in which the inter-reaction of a couple is a part of the sport. Finally, their coach, Seth Chavetz, drew a smile on a sticky and stuck it on Davis’s forehead and told Charlie to look at that!

Davis & White lost their world title in Nice last March in a controversial but not close decision. This year, it was their Canadian rivals who stood on the second stage. Virtue had messed up a twizzle in the SD, possibly because of the momentum of her swinging knee-length under-skirt of many frills. Just a couple of ounces can generate a lot of torque if the momentum is strong enough. That gave them a deficit of 3.25 going into the Free.

The two couples were much closer in the Free Dance with only 1.27 separating them, but Davis & White were the clear winners. They reclaimed the world title with a scintillating assembly of nine elements intricately woven into their dramatic “Notre Dame de Paris” four minute presentation.

Amazingly both couples have trained together in Canton, Michigan, with Marina Zoueva, for many years so they are VERY aware of each other’s capabilities. (Until last April, their training was supervised by both Zoueva and Igor Shpilband at the Arctic Edge facility, but, in a messy situation, he was blocked from teaching there. He immediately transferred to the Novi rink which also has twin rinks, and is not far away. There he trains a collection of European skaters and the highly promising Madi Chock & Evan Bates, who finished seventh here in their debut at this level.)

Davis & White have not put a blade wrong all season. Their Giselle Short Dance was one of the best routines they have ever done, and was an incredibly difficult creation executed in a clearly superior manner. Davis said, in her soft voice, "We're absolutely thrilled, not only at winning, but at putting out two performances we're really proud of. We're well aware this is Scott and Tessa’s territory and the level of respect and enthusiasm we got from the audience was really thrilling, so we're very appreciative.

“The season was great and we approached it in and of itself and that has been an asset to our career. We have worked really hard and have a very good work ethic. We are very happy.” Her partner added, “The Canadian crowds have been supportive and we offer our heartfelt thanks for their support. We train to do our job and the crowds have no big effect on us. We are exhausted but it is a good feeling, because we left it all on the rink and we are happy about that.”

No couple received Level 4 (the maximum) for their Diagonal or Circular steps. However, Davis & White received the next highest level, 3, for those two elements, and they were rewarded with Level 4 for everything else except for the very short choreographed lift which has only Level 1.

Their Diagonal and Circular Steps earned the maximum +3 Grade of Execution, respectively from two and three of the nine judges. Their top rating came for their straight line and second rotational lifts, for which seven of nine judges awarded them +3. (The first rotational lift received six +3s, the same as for their opening element, their spin.) In total they received 43 of these ultimate accolades out of a possible 81. One judge punched in +3 for all the nine elements but another punched in only one.

No judge gave 10 for the second category “Linking Footwork/Movement”. All nine judges gave at least one 10.00 for their mark for one of the five separate components, while one judge pushed in 10 for four of the five categories. (He/She was the only judge to give a 10 for the first category which is for “skating skills”).

Davis & White drew to skate 18th of the 20 couples allowed into the Free Dance, while their main opposition drew to perform 16th, an unpopular spot immediately after the warm-up which means that couple must be careful not to exhaust themselves because they have no time to recover.

The men’s (White and Moir) rivalry pre-dated their figure skating battles. Both were hockey brats and are the same age, 25. (Moir is older - he was born on September 2, 1987. White was born on October 24, 1987). They actually played against each other in a state-province match-up, but, after White broke a leg which cost him & Davis most of a season, during which the Canadians surged ahead, he was urged to give up that part of his life.

He explains, “I was such a good player because of my figure skating skills. The other members of the team really respected that - what figure skating was able to do to improve my basic speed and control on the ice. I think that led them to respect figure skating. Through the years, I’ve been in contact with the guys and they continue to be very supportive of my figure skating. They were very understanding when I decided to step away from hockey.”

2. Overall 185.04; 2.FD 111.17 (52.85+58.32) Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Canada

Virtue, who is 23, & Moir were teamed up by his aunt, who is a skating coach. After winning the Canadian novice title, they moved to the Canton rink, which had just opened in 2003, and where both couples still train side-by-side. For all their rivalry, such close proximity has worked. In their first World Seniors, 2007, in Tokyo, the Canadians finished 6th and the Americans 7th. Many said that, under the previous, simpler system, the youngsters would never have got into the top ten at their first entry.

But, while the Canadians soared to second in the World in 2008, the U.S. couple just advanced to 6th. However, in Los Angeles, in 2009, when the Canadians got bronze, Davis & White were a very close 4th. White said, “That was a frustrating time because we were so close to getting a medal.”

The Canadians remained ahead in the following Olympics, but Virtue’s compartmental stress in her shins slowed them down and they hardly competed in next season 2011 season, except to lose their world crown to Davis & White.

At a minor league early season event in Finland in the fall of 2010, local journalists asked Moir, why the Olympic champions had come to such a low key event. It was, of course, to get judges’ feedback and ferret out possible low levels and the intricacies of the new rules. They did not want to expose themselves at home, where any flaws would immediately have been publicized on the internet. 

So Moir, who is a joker, cracked that he had come to Finland to see the (top level) hockey game and didn’t even know there was a figure skating event taking place. But, when they realized that, of course, they agreed to take part! 

In London, despite their loss in both sections, Moir said, “We are very happy with our skates this week. We were strong. We had the right approaches and we feel these are performances to build on for next year. It was neat for Tess and I to see our community really pull together. Everybody was telling us it was the best Worlds they had been to.

“Of course, we are competitive. We like to win. Losing is tough to take. We held nothing back in both performances. We had strong, innovative material. This will help us for next year.”

On the stage there have been many updated versions of the basic Carmen tragedy. Producers are always looking for a new angle to show a story to Bizet’s wonderfully stirring music. Virtue & Moir have contributed to a new feminist version in which it is Don Jose who is devastated at the end while Carmen, attired in a very sexy one-shoulder, backless black dress, stands over him disdainful, and ready to move on with her new love, the famous toreador.

They received the same Levels as Davis & White, but two of their elements, the circular and diagonal steps, failed to get a single maximum Grade of Execution of +3 from the panel of nine judges. Their total of +3s for all their elements was “only” 29, although that is a little misleadingly lower because they combined two short lifts into a long lift! The long lift has a base Level of eight points (twice the alternative of two short lifts). However, the judges give just one GoE for the long lift.

(There are mathematics going on and factors involved that take account of this situation, although an error in this process was discovered – and subsequently corrected - after the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City.) Their long lift was a very complicated, spectacular version in which she sort of did a variation on an Axel into his arms and he swung her around his neck multiple times. Only one judge failed to award +3 for this element. Although they did receive four 9.75s for Skating Skills and two 9.75s for the Linking Footwork/Movement, there were no tens for these two categories. However, they received seven (out of a possible nine) 10s for Performance, four 10s for Choreography, and another four for Interpretation/Timing.

All though the season, as their Carmen routine developed, the piece stretched their acting abilities, and some said it was a bit too racy and some of the moves were too smoldering and adult. “We’d be lying if we said we came here to get the silver,” Virtue admitted. “After the Short Dance we were in a bit of a hole. But we came out here and battled.”

It was certainly a sultry presentation, and Virtue’s facial expression at the end showed off her great acting potential. “First of all, we are really proud of our skate. We had a lot of fun out there. We have to celebrate these moments. There are not an infinite amount of them, and you have to do your job. But we had a special moment. We accomplished all of our goals in this competition. We are looking forward to the challenge of next year and making the most of it. We would like to win the Olympic gold medal so you know it’s just back to work now and that’s fun and exciting and something to look forward to really pleased.”

Moir added, “We wanted to do something different, wanted to be innovative. We did this for ourselves. This community has been support of us from day one. We feel we gave our fans today a bit of a show. We had a speed bump at Four Continents, and were able to come back strong from that. We are competitive. We like to win. Defeat is tough to take. But we held nothing back in both performances. We had strong, innovative material and this will help us for next year.”

Virtue said, “It’s the best we skated this year. We are so happy to end the season on a high note. Sochi is coming up quick. We are looking forward to next season, an Olympic year. This is a great building block.”

Moir said they loved the support and were thrilled to compete in front of people who’ve been supporting them from before they got into their teens. But, he admitted the week was, “exhausting. You walk in the door and sometimes it felt like we couldn't get away from it. You walk into the arena and you know every single volunteer. You know every single bellman at the hotel. Everyone knows who you are.”

Their presentation was totally different to their ethereal Free presented in the Vancouver Games, which was set to music by Gustav Mahler, in which they appeared other worldly and floated around the rink like swallows.

Moir admitted that people have told him, their Carmen was too worldly. “I think there's a lot of figure skating people who weren't really on our level, and didn't agree with our choice at all. We'll see what we can make next year. We're not going to go back into the classic Virtue and Moir that everyone wants, because we’re older and more mature. I think we’ll have something special for you next year.

“We really pushed ourselves this year with some tricky elements and tough stuff. Everything that we did was new. I think we know what we have to do. We have to do ‘us’ a little bit more, show off the kids we are, that people have grown to love.

“Charlie & Meryl are great skaters and we take our hats off to them. We respect them and know they are strong. They are amazing. We're both pushing the sport, and each other.”

3. Overall 169.19; 4.FD 99.14 (45.31+53.83) Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, Russia,

The new European champions, who drew to skate immediately following Davis & White’s sensational showing, gained only Level 2 on both step sequences. They finished 4.85 points behind the Canadians overall. Fourth place behind the Italians in the Free did not eject them out of the third spot they had gained in the Short Dance.

They portrayed a tragic story of a kind-hearted young woman who sets out to rescue a drug addict but ends up getting involved herself. That pushes him into action and he gets “clean” to rescue her. But their terrible times have scarred both of them and, at the end, they part. They used music from “Man With A Harmonica” and “Tosca”. They received a total of six +3s, two for their initial rotational lift, two more for their last lift which was also a rotational version, plus one for their curve lift and one for their choreographed lift. Their component score was third best, but the element score was rated only seventh.

They were only 1.15 ahead of the Italians. Soloviev, who is 23, said, “This (medal win) is an incredible, indescribable feeling. Europeans and Worlds are completely different competitions. This is a different level and there are different competitors. We have worked very hard for this and we want to thank everybody who supported us and believed in us that we can achieve high placements at World Championships.” They declined to comment on how it was that their perceived strong rivalry with their own country’s skaters failed to materialize.

Bobrova, who is 22, said, “At Europeans we were first after the short dance and the difference in points to the other couples behind us was also very small. So we are already used to it. Here, as well, everybody was ranked closely together. I decided not to look at the scores at all. You have to concentrate fully on yourself. We focused on skating clean and giving our best performance. I was more nervous than in the Short Dance, but, emotionally, the Free Dance was strong and, for me, our best Free Dance of the season.”

4. Overall 168.04; 3.FD 100.11 (48.29+51.82) Anna Cappelini & Luca Lanotte, Italy

They were very unfortunate to draw to skate their Carmen routine right after the Canadians’ standing ovation. It was a more traditional interpretation, and it is to their credit and good skating, that even with music from the same opera, they still managed to get third place in the Free. Both their step sequences were Level 3, and the other elements got Level 4 (except for the set Level 1 for the choreographed lift). However, they received only one +3 Grade of Execution, which was given for their long lift which elicited +2s from the other eight judges.

Cappellini, 26, said, “It has been a great night. It was a big challenge going on after Tessa and Scott with the same music. We didn’t want to look weak compared to them so we had to work even harder. We are honored to be here and appreciate this experience. We are taking no vacation. On Monday we are back on the ice to get ready for next season. We want to go to the Olympics extremely prepared. Hopefully next season will be our best season yet.”

Lanotte, 27, added, “This is our best season so far. We are very happy and we worked very hard. Overall with tonight, we are really happy with how we performed.”

5. Overall 166.20; 5.FD 98.66 (47.14+51.52) Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, Canada,

Weaver, 23, & Poje, 26, skated last in the pen-ultimate warm-up group, to “Humanity in Motion” by Nathan Lanier. She is a Texan who left the United States in her mid-teens to skate with Poje and they made their debut in the world championships back in 2007, finishing a promising 20th in Tokyo. They improved to 17th the following year but then spent two seasons watching Worlds on television.

Trained by Pasquale Camerlengo & Angelika Krylova, with Shae-Lynn Bourne doing their choreography, the duo persevered, working hard, and got back on the Canadian team, finishing fifth and fourth in the past two worlds. They were so excited about this Worlds in their own country but then, on December 14, Weaver smacked into the boards at the Detroit FSC, feet first, while practicing a change in their Free Dance.

She initially thought she had just “tweaked something” in her ankle, but consulted a doctor on the advice of others just to make sure. However, it was a broken fibula and she needed surgery. It seemed obvious that was the end of this year’s season. They even cancelled an order for new outfits. Poje explained, “I kept practicing by myself, but I believed this season was over.”

Weaver did get back on the ice but they were only able to resume full training a couple of weeks prior to this event. She had been avidly pursuing post-surgery exercises. “Getting back on the ice was exhilarating. I was so sad to be off the ice. It’s what we do. It’s our job and to be sidelined was really a tragic thing for me beyond any competition or result.”

They did have to change the music a little. At the start of the season, their goal was a medal at the world championships. But this result is one they will treasure. She said, “I wish we could just freeze this moment in time. All our hard work, me being in the physio and Andrew skating by himself for two months, came together with an incredible result, finishing out the season skating before a home crowd.”

Their circular steps were Level 3, and the diagonal only Level 2 but fifth in the Free Dance pulled them up a place to fifth overall, and was a very acceptable result. Poje said, “This season was a true test for the strength of our character and for us as a team. It showed us that no matter the circumstances, we were able to finish out our season with worlds in Canada. It’s like a dream.” They earned three +3s for both of their curve lifts. Their element score was 5th best, but their components, which ranged from nine 8.25s up to a 9.25, were 7th best.

Weaver added, “I had been told there was only about a 10% chance of me rebounding enough to compete in London. I ended up doing about six hours a day physiotherapy. I was very determined.” Surgery has left her with a plate and five screws holding the fibula together. She came back on the ice on February 6.

6. Overall 165.60; 7.FD 95.95 (43.35+53.60 -1 for an extended lift) Natalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, France

Their Free, to a Rolling Stones medley (“Miss You”, “Angie”, “Symphony for the Devil” and “Start Me Up”) was clearly a struggle for him. They dropped two places from fourth, with an 8th element score and a 4th in the components. He suffered a bad thigh injury in January, which kept him off the ice for many weeks. They were unable to defend the European title they had held for the previous two years.

Bourzat, 32, explained, “Our skating wasn’t too bad. We got lower Levels than we’d hoped for. The competition was just too early for us after my injury. It just wasn’t possible to do better. Now we have to look forward to next season, recover and then start training, training, training!”

Both step sequences were only Level 2, and the twizzles and combination spin were Level 3. The four lifts, however, did earn the maximum Level 4. No judge gave them a negative Grade of Execution, and they earned two +3s for both their rotational and straight line lifts, and another +3 for their second curve lift. Their components range from five 8.50s up to two 9.50.

7. Overall 163.93; 6.FD 97.19 (47.35+49.84) Madison Chock & Evan Bates, USA

Chock, 20, & Bates, 24, who are trained by Igor Shpilband, teamed up in April 2011. After earning silver in this season’s U.S. championship, this was their first Worlds appearance, and they were delighted with their rookie showing. They presented their Dr. Zhivago Free 14th, immediately following their teammates, the Shibutanis. The smooth-flowing routine was rated sixth best with the 4th highest element score and the 8th highest components, but they stayed 7th overall. The two sets of footwork and their twizzles were Level 3. Both their serpentine lift and their choreographed lift received three +3 GoEs.

Chock said, “We tried not to put too much pressure on ourselves for this long program. We feel we got better and better as the season progressed. We are now going to take some time off from training. The tall Bates added, “We achieved the goals we set for ourselves for worlds. Next we learn the Finnstep, pick our music and prepare for training camp. Our goal for next year is the Olympics.”

8. Overall 157.71; 9.FD 91.57 (43.12+48.45) Maia & Alex Shibutani, USA

Deductions for extended lifts in both Short & Free Dance sections at nationals cost them what would have been their third straight silver, so they were particularly focused on not repeating that aspect and, in this, they achieved their goal. Their Free Dance, set to “Memoirs of a Geisha”, was given one +3 for their twizzles. Both step sequences were Level 2, but the other Levels were all 4s. They held onto their Short Dance standing.
Alex Shibutani, 21, said, “We are happy. It was a great way to end the season. We were really looking forward to performing our long one last time. We took our time and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we didn´t get the levels we wanted in the footwork. It was a strong performance, and this was a great way to end this year. We feel we accomplished much. Going forward, we have a plan with our coach for next season. Of course, we want to make the Olympic team. It will be an exciting next season. We want to find music we really love and then work our butts off.”

His sister, 18, said, “I was really proud of how we skated and of the reaction of the crowd.” They train in Canton with the top medalists and Marina Zoueva.

9. Overall 157.52; 10.FD 91.45 (39.65+51.80) Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov, Russia

Ilinykh, 18, and Katsalapov, 21, who are trained by Nikolai Morosov, were VERY upset at their placement. The 2010 world junior champions were runners-up in this season’s European championship and third the year before. They skated just before the Shibutanis, to music from the movie “Ghost” and stayed 9th, although their Free was rated only 10th best. They were the only couple in the top 14 to get a negative overall Grade of Execution, which was -0.29 taken off their Level 2 combination spin. Their Diagonal steps were also Level 2 and the Circular steps Level 3. Their final rotational lift was only Level 1.

Ilinykh said, “We were very disappointed after the Short Dance. We felt we skated quite well and then we were shocked about our placement. The day off was tough, but we were determined to skate well in the free dance. Unfortunately, the mistakes added up, first the spin and then the lift. It is a big disappointment. Maybe we need to change our mental and physical approach. But it was very exciting and energizing to compete in this group. The competition is unbelievable strong now and it is not a shame to lose to such great couples as Kaitlyn (Weaver) and Andrew (Poje) and also Madison (Chock) who skated very well with her new partner (Evan Bates). We can feed off this kind of strong competition.”

10. Overall 154.27; 8.FD 93.68 (45.64+48.04) Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi, Germany

The four times German champions, Zhiganshina, 25, who was originally Russian, and Gazsi, 28, presented their very amusing and well-received Zombie number to earn 8th in Free Dance but that was only able to pull them up one place. They earned the same Levels as Davis & White and they even received two +3s, for their closing choreographed lift. Their music was “Tore my Heart” by Oona; “Et Maintenant?” by Jean Marc Zelwer; and “Rama Lama” by Roisin Murphy.

Zhiganshina said, “It was tough to skate today, but the audience was great and helped us a lot. This was our best performance and a lot of fun. It was great that the routine’s last outing should be its best. It’s also a bit sad that we are done with this free program now. We hope everyone like it. After being eleventh in the Short Dance we were very motivated for the free, we really want to be top ten because we really wanted to get a second spot for Germany for the next year. Now we have to wait and see.”

11. Overall 149.78; 11.FD 90.26 (42.64+47.62) Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko, Russia

Riazanova, 21, & Tkachenko, 26, presented a routine to music from “The Godfather” which had one +3 GoE for the concluding choreographed lift. In addition to Level 4s, their diagonal steps were only Level 2, the circular steps were Level 3 but their rotational lift was only Level 1.

Tkachenko said, “It was a very easy skate. It was very free. We are very happy about the skate. Our coaches said it was good. We did our best. It is a happy ending to our season. We are going to Detroit to prepare our next two programs, before our May vacation. We’re hoping to get to Hawaii!”

12. Overall 145.98; 12.FD 85.40 (42.19+44.21 -1 for an extended lift) Pernelle Carron & Lloyd Jones, France

Carron, 26, & Jones, 24, skated to Jacques Brel’s “La Chanson des Vieux Amants”. They are now being trained in Wales, which is his home country by Britain’s by Marika Humphreys and they have been spending time with Igor Shpilband. Like Coomes & Buckland, they chose to do Midline instead of Diagonal Steps but received only Level 2 with +0.14. Their circular steps were Level 3 but only with the base value. And like Gilles & Poirier, they presented a Stationary lift. None of their moves received a negative.

Carron, who is French, said, “We are very happy that we could show a beautiful performance. We worked with Igor Shpilband before Europeans already and now again for two weeks before coming to Worlds. This really helped us a lot and of course to train alongside the other great couples that are with him. We tried to prove that we can be different, more artistic. Even as a skater you might get ‘bored’ with doing the same lifts and moves all the time, so for next season, we will try and be even more creative.”

13. Overall 145.71; 17.FD 82.05 (36.83+45.22) Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland, Great Britain

The British champions, who are both 23, skated tenth, just before the ice resurfacing. They performed to “Red Alert” & “Do Ur Thing” by Basement Jaxx vs Metropol Orkest. They did not have a good showing. They were 10th after the Short Dance and dropped three places after getting no points at all for their spin. They also gained a mere Level 1 for the rotational lift which came next, and only the base value for the short choreographed lift. But, that was still one place up from last year.

They had begun well with their +0.64 Level 4 twizzles and +1.71 long lift which received Level 4s for both parts. They chose to do Midline steps instead of the Diagonal and that got Level 3 with +0.14. The curve lift was Level 4 with +0.71, and the Level 3 circular steps received +0.43. When she came off the ice, her coach, twice Olympic champion Evgeni Platov explained, “She went straight to the medical room. Penny was hyperventilating. She couldn’t breathe. She was over excited. This happened to her before, in Vancouver (2010 Olympic Games) and in practice yesterday. They should have stopped, taken a medical break, but they carried on.”

14. Overall 141.88; 16. FD 82.88 (39.04+43.64) Siobhan Heekin-Canedy & Dmitri Dun, Ukraine

Heekin-Canedy, 21, & Dun, 23, train in Hackensack, NJ, performed to “Oroboy, Tango Serenato & Gypsy”. Both step sequences were Level 2. They stayed 14th despite their Free placing two slots lower. Both step sequences were Level 2 and the Diagonal steps got a full point removed from the move’s base value of five points.

Heekin-Canedy admitted, “This was not our best performance. We are really happy with the short - that was our best. Unfortunately, we were under a lot of pressure today and didn’t perform as well as we would have liked. This is a big improvement from Europeans and we feel that this is a good way to end the season. We are really looking forward to improving for next season.”

15. Overall 141.64; 13. FD 84.25 (41.11+43.14) Isabella Tobias & Deividas Stagniunas, Lithuania

Tobias, 21, & Stagniunas, 26, who train with Igor Shpilband at the Novi rink, finished 14th in the 2011 world championships. They earned positive Grades of Execution for all of their elements. They rose three places from their 18th for the Short Dance. However, their Diagonal and Circular steps were only Level 2. They performed to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2.

16. Overall 141.44; 14. FD 83.64 (39.96+43.68) Julia Zlobina & Alexei Sitnikov, Azerbaijan

Zlobina, 23, & Sitnikov, 26, are trained in Moscow by Alexander Zhulin. They were 12th in the 2012 Worlds. They performed to music by Goran Bregovic, Mahalageasca & Ausencia, getting Level 2s on both steps and a negative -0.36 on their Level 4 twizzles, their only mistake. They were only able to climb one place from their standing after the Short Dance.

17. Overall 140.95; 15.FD 83.06 (42.22+41.84 -1 for an extended lift) Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabri

Guignart, 23, & Fabri, 25, from Italy, are trained by Barbara Fusar-Poli & Igor Shpilband. They were unlucky in that they were 16th in the Short Dance and 15th in the Free but finished up 17th. They were 19th in their debut in 2011. They skated to music from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. They received a Level 2 on their Diagonal Steps but with a +0.57; and a Level 3 on the Circular Steps with -0.14, which was their only negative.

18. Overall 140.02; 18.FD 81.41 (38.55+43.86 -1 for a fall) Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier

Gilles & Poirier, who are both 21, dropped three places from 15th after their Short Dance. They teamed up in July 2011. He had been Canadian champion with his former partner, Vanessa Crone, finishing 12th, 7th & 10th in the 2009, 2010 & 2011 world championships and 14th in the Olympic Games.

Skating to unusual music, “The Gulag Orchestra” by Zach Condon; and “I Don’t Think About You Anymore but I Don’t Think About You Any Less”, by the Hungary Ghosts. They earned five Level 4s including for their stationary lift, a move their coach invented. But, on their Level 2 twizzles, he jackknifed forward and had to put both hands on the ice to keep from falling. This was penalized as a fall. They also lost a full point from the base value of this Level, which is 4 points. Their opening circular steps and the midline steps were Level 2.

It was Gilles’ first Worlds, and her enthusiasm was reflected in her statement, “It was amazing. We will never forget it. We are pretty excited and want to thank the Canadian audience. They have been great. We had a few small babbles but had to put them behind us and finish. We feel we did a good job. We are proud of ourselves and proud of our first worlds.” Her maternal grandmother is Canadian, and her mother was born north of the border.

Poirier, who is studying linguistics at the University of Toronto, was a little more circumspect, declaring, “It was essential that we put out our maximum performance. We take our small mistakes as a learning experience and keep going. It is so nice to compete in our home country. There is so much support. The volunteers have been amazing and looked after every aspect of our competition. Our coach, Carol Lane, said to approach it like an interclub event. It is just that, at worlds, the stakes are higher and the crowd is bigger.”

19. Overall 131.28; 19.FD 78.16 (40.88+38.28 -1 for an extended lift) Sara Hurtado & Adria Diaz

Hurtado, 20, & Diaz, 22, are the Spanish champions. She was born in Barcelona and he in Madrid, but they now train in Montreal with Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon. Their routine was set to music by Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Little Wing” & “Pride and Joy”. This was their third World championship. They were also 19th last year, and 23rd the year before. They earned six Level 4s. Their element score was 15th best, but they ranked only 20th for their components. They had been 20th after the Short Dance.

20. Overall 129.94; 20.FD 75.99 (37.01+38.98) Cathy & Chris Reed, Japan

Cathy, 25, & Chris, 23, had been lying 19th but dropped a place. The siblings have been ice dancing since 2001. Cathy & Chris were both born in Kalamazoo, and won the U.S. Novice championship but decided to compete for Japan because that is the nationality of their mother. They train in Hackensack, NJ. In London, they opened the Free Dance, performing to a Beatles medley. Five of their moves were Level 4. But their twizzles were Level 3 with -0.50 GoE removed from the base value of five points. Their diagonal steps were Level 2 with -0.43 taken off the base value for that Level, which is also five points. They were awarded the base value for their Level 2 circular steps, which is also five points.

Cathy said, “We wanted to show confidence in our program, and wanted to feel happy, relax, and show more feeling in the presentation. Our coach (Galit Chait) told us to relax. The pressure’s there, but we can´t worry. We need to do the best we can. It’s been four years since we were in Canada. Everyone has been extremely nice.” This was their sixth Worlds, with a best placing of 13th in 2011. (Their younger sister, Alison, represented Israel in this event with her partner, Vasili Rogov, but were 23rd in the Short Dance and 21-29 were not allowed to progress to the Free.)

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