by Alexandra Stevenson
|1||Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV||RUS||187.99||1||2|
|2||Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD||CAN||186.71||2||1|
|3||Stefania BERTON / Ondrej HOTAREK||ITA||169.49||4||5|
|4||Cheng PENG / Hao ZHANG||CHN||167.76||3||6|
|5||Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV||RUS||166.73||5||3|
|6||Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES||FRA||163.65||7||4|
|7||Daria POPOVA / Bruno MASSOT||FRA||151.34||6||7|
|1||Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT||FRA||168.90||1||1|
|2||Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE||ITA||153.26||2||4|
|3||Ekaterina RIAZANOVA / Ilia TKACHENKO||RUS||146.03||3||3|
|4||Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE||USA||145.23||4||2|
|5||Julia ZLOBINA / Alexei SITNIKOV||AZE||140.30||5||5|
|6||Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER||CAN||135.86||6||6|
|7||Ekaterina PUSHKASH / Jonathan GUERREIRO||RUS||128.26||7||7|
|8||Pernelle CARRON / Lloyd JONES||FRA||120.23||8||8|
(17 November 2012) Paris, France
1. Overall 190.63; 1. FS 127.54 (62.91+64.63); 2. SP 63.09 (32.52+30.57); Ashley Wagner, USA, won in glorious fashion. From the moment she stepped on the ice in her yellow-ey, orangey-golden, sleeveless creation and started moving to the stirring "Samson & Delilah" music by Saint-Saens, she was glorious, a fresh young adult, who can outshine the precocious rubber-band Russian adolescents.
The 21-year-old Wagner, a former self-described “Army brat” who was born in Germany and travelled constantly in her childhood living across the United States from Alaska to Washington, DC, now is based in California, where she is taught by John Nicks. Asked whether it is fair for the Russians to get such high scores for their gymnastic prowess when that has nothing to do with skating skills, Nicks pointed out that one of his former pupils – Sasha Cohen, who started out as a gymnast, also got credit in that area for her matchless split spirals.
In the Short Program, the competitors skate in the order of their ISU standing, which comes from results in certain internationals in the past two seasons, so Wagner was awarded the position of honor of skating last. For the Free Skate, competitors skate in reverse order to their standing from the Short Program.
Wagner gave a smooth showing of her Short Program set to John Corigliano’s music for the poignant story of the "Red Violin." She began with a triple flip to double toe loop with the second jump executed with both arms over her head, which was rewarded with an extra +1.10. The following layback spin was Level 4 with +0.93 and the change foot combination spin earned Level 3 with +0.57. Her double Axel was worth and extra 0.71 and her triple loop an extra 0.70. Both these jumps were set in the second half of the routine to take advantage of the ten percent bonus marks. Her final moves, the step sequence and her flying sit spin were both Level 3. The components ranged from a low of three 7.0 up to three 8.50s. She lay only 0.46 behind the leader. The advantage which Lipnikskaia had over Wagner came purely because of the +3 Grades of Execution, the judges had given the Russian because of her gymnastic ability in her over-the-top flexibility positions in the layback.
Wagner said, “Going into this event I definitely felt pressure. I was very nervous before I went out to skate, but I felt that I really improved from Skate America with my short program. The score that I received with a triple-double and triple loop, I'm really pleased with that. Hopefully as the season goes on I'll add a triple-triple.”
After the Free Skate, Wagner admitted she had felt a little under the weather, but that certainly wasn’t noticeable. She opened with a triple flip to two double toe loops, with the last jump executed with both arms in the air, which makes a very pleasant variation. She earned 1.30 over the base value of 7.90. That was followed with a double Axel to double toe which gained an extra +0.57. The subsequent triple Salchow earned its base value. Next up were two Level 3 spins, the flying sit received +0.57 over the base value and the Layback was rewarded with an additional +0.86.
At the point when the bonus marks click in, she presented a +1.10 triple loop, and a triple Lutz which was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off and lost -0.60 from its base value. The triple loop to double Axel sequence got an extra +0.80; the Level 3 straight line steps, an additional 0.64; and her final jump, a triple loop, earned a full point over its base value. After the choreographed section, she concluded with a Level 2 combination spin which had an additional +0.64 added to its base.
The component marks ranked from two 7.25s for Transitions up to four 8.75s for Interpretation. Wagner won by a huge margin, 11.01. She said, “My goal was to get into the Grand Prix Final and now I’ve done that.” The Final is in December in the south of Russia, and is the try-out event for the figure skating for the Winter Olympics in 2014. Asked whether she will be taking language classes to learn some Russian, she said that was not in the cards. “I’m sad to say, I just don’t have a facility for learning languages.”
2. Overall 179.62; 2. FS 121.36 (63.88+57.48); 3. SP 58.26 (31.29+26.97); Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who trains with Alexei Mishin in St. Petersburg, skated her Short Program in red with one sleeve to a Tango by Astor Piazzola. It was her routine from last season. She had been given a new program, but it had not gone down well in the Skate Canada Grand Prix, so they decided it would be better to throw it out, and go back to what was known to work.
She opened her routine with a combination of two triple toe loops which had -0.70 taken off the base value because the landing of the second jump was not smooth. That was followed by a nice triple Lutz. Her layback spin was only Level 2 but the following flying sit spin and her steps received Level 3, while her combination spin, after the double Axel, was Level 4.
For her long, Tuktamysheva, who turns 16 on December 16, wore a black, sleeved outfit including cuffs, gloves and trimmings of red. She performed her Free Skate to the Russian classic "Dark Eyes," opening with a triple Lutz to triple toe which earned +1.30 over its base value of 10.10. All her elements received positives except for her ninth element, a triple loop which was given an arrow for slight under-rotation. After the point where the bonus marks click in, she executed a double Axel to triple toe, which earned a total of 8.64 and a triple Salchow to double toe to double loop which garnered 8.63. Two of her spins were Level 4.
She was over the moon with her performance. “I was relieved that almost everything had gone so well.”
3. Overall 179.31; 3. FS 115.76 (58.72+57.04); 1. SP 63.55 (35.70+27.85); Julia Lipnitskaya, who is the current World Junior and Russian Junior champion, was born in Ekaterinburg, but now lives in Moscow, and has become known for her flexibility. The 14-year-old, wih the bushy ponytail, who will not be eligible for this coming World Championship, but will have reached the required age by the Olympics, had been in tears after she arrived because she hurt her ankle while warming up off ice, and was afraid she would have to withdraw, but she toughed it out.
She skated her Short Program to Aram Khatchayurian’s frenetic "Sabre Dance," presenting a triple Lutz to triple toe loop and a triple flip but her double Axel is very low. Her famous flexibility, which includes a spin where she has her legs in a 180 degree stretch with one on the ice, and one pointing at the ceiling, while her back almost seems to be part of the upbound leg. Surely she will end up with many back problems when she ages. The judges, however, love this move and her spin is showered with a storm of the maximum+3 Grades of Execution.
Her Free Skate was set to Tchaikovsky’s music for the ballet, "The Nutcracker." Both Lipnitskaya’s triple Lutzes were saddled with “e”s for wrong edge take-off. On her second move, she singled her triple toe loop which was meant to be a double Axel- triple toe-double toe combination, and she had to leave off the third jump. She is trained by Eteri Tutberidze and her choreography devised by Nikolai Morozov
4. Overall 164.71; 4. FS 112.16 (57.25+54.91); 7. SP 52.55 (26.48+26.07) Christina Gao, who has been the fifth ranked American for the past three years. The 18-year-old from Cincinnati, who is in her first year at Harvard, interpreted "Close Without Touching" in a purple outfit, for her Short Program. But she stepped out of the first jump in her combination of two triple toe loops, and couldn’t do the second one. She made sure she added a double toe loop to her triple loop to ensure she got credit for a combination, and the other elements were completed. She earned Level 4 for her flying sit spin. The layback and straight line step sequence were both Level 3 although the final change foot combination spin was only Level 2. At the end of this section she lay seventh of the maximum ten women from six countries.
The long, however, gave her a little more opportunity to shine. Her sole fault in the four minute routine was getting an “e” for wrong edge take-off for her triple Lutz jump, but she did get full credit for five other triples. However, although three of the four elements which get Levels, received 3, her change foot combination spin was only 1.
5. Overall ; 5. FS 102.75 (53.76+49.99 -1); 4. SP 54.83 (29.80+25.03); Mae Berenice Meite, 18, from Paris, thrilled the French fans when she took fourth in the Short Program, landing a combination of two triple toe loops while interpreting Michael Buble’s "Feeling Good" dressed in fuschia. However, in her Free Skate, which was set to "1001 Nights" and for which she wore a gold outfit, she survived a bad fall on her opening element, a triple flip, in which she had a very heavy lean and which was penalize with two arrows for clear under-rotation. She dropped a place overall.
6. Overall 144.82; 7. FS 90.32 (39.11+52.21); 5. SP 54.50 (27.33+27.17); Polina Korobeynikova, a 16-year-old from Moscow, had an unfortunate Free Skate. Skating to "Swan Lake," she doubled her opening jump, had arrows saddled for slight under-rotation on two of her triples and fell.
In the Short Program Korobeynikova used Tchaikovsky’s "Romeo & Juliet," taken from the Nino Rota movie. Wearing a white outfit with a little light blue, She began with a combination of two triple toe loops. However, the following triple loop was saddled with an arrow for slight under-rotation. Her flying camel and layback spins were Level 4, but her change foot combination spin was only Level 1 and the steps Level 2.
7. Overall 140.86; 9. FS 88.25 (40.42+47.83); 6. SP 52.61 (28.93+23.68); Elena Glebova, Estonia, had an unfortunate start to her Free Skate, which she skated to "Black Magic Woman" by Carlos Santana, singling her first two elements, a planned triple Lutz and triple loop, and cutting down the difficult of her planned combination of two triple toe loops to triple-double.
In the Short Program, Glebova dressed in a dark skirt with a red sleeveless top, interpreted "Tales and Legends" by R. Tambin. She opened with a triple Lutz followed by a combination of two triple toe loops but her double Axel was low.
8. Overall 135.40; 6. FS 92.25 (43.39+48.86); 10. SP 43.15 (19.41+23.74) Jenna McCorkell, GBR, performed her Free Skate to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" dressed in white. She learned she was coming to this event in October as a replacement for Kexin Zhang of China. Recently, she has won her first international golds, the first in Bratislava, and then in Graz. But in the Short Program, on Saturday, performing to "Imagined Oceans" by Karl Jenkins, she had a disaster, singling her opening jump, meant to be her triple flip combination and lost major points. She completed the second element, a triple toe loop. Her layback spin was Level 3 and the double Axel was good and high. Her combination spin was Level 4, the steps Level 2 and the final element, a flying sit spin was Level 3.
9. Overall 133.77; 8. FS 88.58 (39.39+49.19); 9. SP 45.19 (21.31+23.88) Joshi Helgesson, the younger of the two Swedish sisters, performed to "Burlesque, Express and Blues in the Night" for her Free Skate and music from Cirque du Soleil’s "Mystere" and "Taiko" for her Short Program.
In the Free Skate, she landed a triple Lutz to double toe but had arrows for slight under-rotation on three of her jumps and she also doubled her planned triple toe. In the Short Program, although she opened with a triple Lutz with her arm over her head, that was given an arrow for slight under-rotation. She also put her hand down on her triple Salchow which was combined with a single instead of double toe loop.
10. Overall 132.44; 10. FS 83.58 (38.67+46.91 -2); 8.SP 48.84 (25.68+23.18) Lena Marroco, performed her Short Program first up to "No Hay Problema" by Pink Martini, and got the event off to a great start, with the audience really supporting her. Unfortunately, her Free Skate had multiple mistakes and she fell twice, which dropped her to last.
Kavaguti & Smirnov withdraw from Exhibition after holding on to win Pairs event, despite being eclipsed in Free Skate by the Canadians.
Their withdrawal caused a flurry of activity, changing around the order of the Exhibition numbers. Canadian ice dancers, Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, were commandeered to give a second Exhibition number, and performed in both halves. “We hadn’t prepared for that so it was fun but a bit rushed and challenging,” said Gilles, who now has both U.S. and Canadian citizenship. They choose to do last season’s Free Skate set to “Imagination in Dreams”. For their second performance, they put a comedy slant on their music, “I’m Sexy and I Know It!”
Coach Carol Lane said they just happened to have the music for the earlier piece with them and decided to use it since the piece hadn’t been seen by that many people because last year the couple was not allowed to compete internationally. The ISU requires this break for skaters changing countries. Gilles was going from the U.S. to Canada, which is the nationality of her mother’s mother.
1. Overall 187.99; 2. FS 121.21 (56.81+64.00 -1); 1. Short Program Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov, Russia, skating their Free Skate to music for a Russian movie, “February”, by Leonard Levashevich, won but gave a flawed Free Skate performance. They tried to practice Sunday morning, but subsequently withdrew from that afternoon’s Exhibition, citing his knee injury. He had surgery on it in May.
The Russian pair’s Free Skate reflected uncertainty right from their opening move planned as a sequence of two triple toe loops. They were penalized with an arrow indicating under-rotation on the first jump, on which she put her hand on the ice and wasn’t able to try the second one.
They recovered for their next move, a throw triple Salchow, and their triple twist was Level 3 which they also received for their back outside death spiral. The flying change foot combination spin received the maximum Level 4, and their Group 5, Back entry Level 4 Lasso lift earned 8.35 points.
But, then they executed double Axels which were not in synch and were given an arrow for slight under-rotation. They followed that with a throw triple loop, which elicited an extra +0.70. Two Level 4 lifts followed and they concluded with a Level 2 pair combination spin. Relieved to have finished, he then grabbed her in a very dramatic ending clutch.
She said, “We are happy with our performance and got the ticket to the Grand Prix Final. That was the most important.” They were outshone by the Canadians in the Free Skate and their margin of victory over the Canadians, who teamed together in the spring of 2010, was only 1.28.
This was Kavaguti & Smirnov’s fifth Grand Prix victory. They won Skate Canada in 2008, Cup of Russia in 2010, and Cup of China & Japan’s NHK in 2011. Last season they won their only Grand Prix Final medal, the bronze.
2. Overall 186.71; 1.FS 124.43 (66.01+59.42 -1); 2. SP Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, Canada; skating to “Angel” by Phillippe Rombi, began with a Level 3 triple twist with +1.20 Grade of Execution, which gave them a total of 7 points. They got the full base value of 6 points for their side-by-side triple Lutzes. She had fallen on this jump in the Short Program. After their graceful choreographic step section with his spread eagle and her spiral, they sped through their first lift, which was a back entry from Group 5, and earned Level 3. The following three moves were awesome: A Level 4 combination spin which got an extra +0.64; an Axel Lasso lift both earned both Level 4 with 10% bonus and a full point Grade of Execution; and a jump sequence of triple Salchow to two double toe loops.
Duhamel smiles when asked how difficult was it to perform these jumps with any symmetry in the second half of the routine. She smiled and said, “It definitely is a question of fitness. We work out very hard to build up the stamina because we know we have to go for every tenth of a point. That’s the only way you are going to win and that keeps us fresh and pushing ourselves every day. We want to win and we want every day to make progress.” Some seconds later, they executed their second through, the triple Lutz on which she had fallen in the Short Program, but this time she sailed through the difficult move, earning a total of 6.95 points for it.
They concluded with a Level 3 Group 4 lift and a forward inside Level 4 death spiral. He said, “We’re delighted to make the Grand Prix Final. Last season we won bronze medals in our two Grand Prix events, now two silvers. We give warning we’ll be going for two golds next season.”
Duhamel, who will turn 27 on December 8, and Radford, who turned 27 last January, explained they are both totally devoted to their sport. She explained, “Eric moved away from home when he was 13. I moved away when I was 14. Our sole purpose was the goal of winning a national title. It took 12 years, and a change of partners. That is a long time but we never lost hope through all the ups and downs, in singles and with other partners. It’s a dream we never gave up. My next dream is to skate on the Olympic team.”
3. Overall 169.49; 5.FS 112.19 (58.14+54.05); 4. SP Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek, Italy, were somewhat surprised, but delighted, to end up with the bronze medals after taking fourth and fifth places in the two divisions of the competition. They had been fourth, 2.62 points behind the then third placed Chinese pair after the Short Program. In the Free Skate , Stolbova & Klimov were third with 113.09 while James & Cipres were fourth, marginally ahead of the Italians with 112.21. Overall, they gained third place by a margin of 1.73 over the Chinese, proving that every decimal point does indeed count. It is an example of how unfair the old “proportional” system could, at times, be. It did not give a true reflection of close decisions. The space between – say – third and fourth in each section – was always the same as between say sixth and seventh, which, obviously, was almost never the case.
Berton & Hotarek's Flamenco routine, set to Vincente Amigo’s “Poet in the Wind” began with a three-jump combination of triple toe loop to two double toe loops, which earned the element’s base value. But then she doubled their planned triple Salchows. Their Level 2 triple twist also made its base value. Then came four Level 4 elements (the maximum), a Group 4 reverse lift, a forward inside death spiral, a pair combination spin, and an Axel Lasso lift, all of which got positive GoEs.
A late throw triple loop and Group 4 Level 3 lift both earned their base value while their throw triple Salchow received an extra +0.40 over base. They concluded with a Level 3 flying change foot combo spin. He readily admitted, “Today was a surprise for us. Everything was pretty close. We did the maximum in our Free Skate program. We skated well in both programs and we are happy with our place.”
4. Overall 167.76; 6.FS 107.84 (56.35+552.49 -1); 3. SP Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang, China; skating to the same music as the Italian pair used for their Free Skate , began sensationally, with a jaw-droppingly high lateral quad twist, which earned 2.29 points over its base value for Level 1 of 7.10. (Three of the nine judges punched in their maximum Grade of Execution of +3, five awarded +2 and one “meanie” judge gave +1.
That was followed by a three-jump combo of triple toe to two double toes. The last jump was given an arrow for slight under-rotation and they had -0.30 removed from the element’s base value of 6.30. Then came a back entry Group 5 lift which was awarded the maximum Level of 4 from the Technical Panel and +0.60 from the judges.
But they things went downhill. She fell on their throw triple loop and she singled her double Axel. Their flying change foot combo spin earned Level 4 but had a slight deduction of -0.17. She stepped out of their throw triple Salchow. Their remaining five elements all earned the base value or better, including two Level 4 lifts, and a Level 4 back outside death spiral. Their sixth place in this section only pulled them down one place to fourth.
5. Overall 166.73; 3. FS 113.09 (56.96+56.13); 5. SP Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov, who are from St. Petersburg, performed to music from the television show The Addams Family. They were disappointed not to qualify for the Grand Prix Final, especially after earning silver in their national championship and placing third in last season’s European championship. But they are a relatively new duo, having teamed up in the spring of 2009 and, at 20 & 22, have time.
6. Overall 163.65; 4. FS 112.21 (59.86+52.35); 7. SP Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres, who skated to the “Pearl Harbour” soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, were competing in their training location, although James grew up in the United States. Though they did not skate anything like as well as they did in Kent where they finished fourth in the HHilton Honors Skate America, they were pleased to finish well above their teammates, Popova & Massot, who are the French champions. James & Cipres were sixth in the European championship and Popova & Massot were eighth, so they are each pushing the other for national assignments.
7. Overall 151.34; 7. FS 98.38 (52.21+48.17 -2); 6. SP Daria Popova & Bruno Massot, France, gave a rather strange exhibition to Fred Astaire’s “I Won’t Dance”. Popova, 19, was born in Moscow, and they train in Chemnitz with from time to time with Ingo Steuer, but he was not here because his star pupils four-time World Champions, Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, pulled out due to her illness which first surfaced when they won Skate Canada.