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 230.68; 2. FS 154.03 (78.11+76.92 -1); 2. SP Takahito Mura, Japan, a 21-year old student at Chukyu University, who likes playing golf, darts and bowling when he’s not studying or on the ice, turned second place in both sections into gold, winning by a margin of 3.05 points. Skating routines choreographed by Tom Dickson, he overtook Short Program leader Jeremy Abbott. His Free Skate, to music from “Shogun”, opened with a quad toe loop which was so secure it earned +1.71 over its base value of 10.30. (Six judges punched in +2 and the other three gave +1 Grade of Execution.) That was followed by a +1.30 triple Lutz to triple toe loop, a +0.29 triple Axel, a +0.79 Level 3 change foot camel spin, a +1.00 triple loop, a second triple Axel with a double toe loop (+1.29) at the point where the bonus marks click in, and +0.64 Level 3 straight line steps, and a +0.70 triple Salchow.
But then he appeared to tire. His change foot combination spin earned only the base value for Level 1. After a good triple +0.80 triple Lutz, he singled a flip which got an “e” for wrong edge take-off. He then presented a Level 2 flying sit spin which earned just 0.14 extra and he concluded with his choreographed segment which earned a total of 2.93. His components ranged from a 6.75 for Transitions up to two 8.50s. He also threw away a point by not finishing with his music.
There is so much talent in Japan, that, although Mura was selected for the world championship team in 2009, and finished 15th in Los Angeles, that was his only entry in that event. He was third nationally in that season but hasn’t been able to match that standing since then. “I’m really surprised to be on the podium,” he said modestly. He won the 2011 Finlandia Trophy but this season he was only eighth in Skate Canada, so did not make the Final. In Skate Canada, he earned 199.74, over 30 points less than in Paris. ''A year ago I couldn't even imagine I could win the competition here. I'm very surprised,'' said Mura, whose parents were competitive figure skaters.
''The challenge for me is to keep the consistency and keep at a certain level. Even if I fail on the quad, I have to nail the triple Axel for sure, to keep the quality high overall.” His father, who is his coach, competed in both singles and pairs, and won silver in the 1976 world junior championship.
2. Overall 227.63; 3.FS 146.45 (63.75+82.70); 1. SP Jeremy Abbott, USA, gained silver dimming some of the ghosts of the awful performance in Skate America, but he left a lot of points on the table with his Free Skate which is set to “Bring Him Home” by Steven Jamail. He opened with a good triple Lutz (+0.60) but then two-footed the following quad toe, which was given double arrows for under-rotation and he banked only 2.20 points.
His opening spin, the change foot camel, was only Level 2. Then came a triple flip to double toe (+0.40), and a Level 4 change foot combination spin (+0.93). His first triple Axel, set at the point when the bonus marks click in, was good and he banked 11.21, but then he singled the immediate repeat of this jump which was joined with a double toe. And the next move, a flying sit spin was only Level 1. “That was really strange,” he confessed afterwards. “That was the spin I got Level 4 for in the short, so it’s puzzling why the Level was so low. But, of course, we will be studying the tape and correcting whatever problem arose.”
He then presented a triple Lutz to triple toe but the second jump was done badly. A triple loop received only +0.20 over its base value. His step sequence was Level 3, but he doubled his last jump, a Salchow. He finished the program on a high note with the choreographed sequence, which four judges gave +2. His components ranged from a low of one 7.25 up to a high of one 9.75. In fact six of the 45 component marks were in the nines. A very experienced observer in Paris admitted, “I’m finally beginning to “get” Jeremy and understand why he appeals to the fans so much. He really does bring skating to a different level so you enjoy the sheer flow over the ice and don’t just see all the ugly effort needed to do the elements.” ''I had a couple of mistakes and some issues with spin levels, and that cost me first place,'' Abbott said. ''But I love this program, and I love skating in it. I'm happy that I'm done and I'm in one piece.”
Abbott is very conscious of his less than stellar outing at Skate America. “It’s been a struggle with my back. I wasn’t perfect here but it was better than in Kent.”
3. Overall 214.25; 1.FS 154.12 (76.60+77.52); 7. SP Florent Amodio, France, recovered enough ground to claim bronze, after a disastrous showing in the Short Program, which had him buried in seventh place. He won the Free Skate, by the extremely small margin of 0.09 of a point over Mura. His routine, set to Jumping Jack and Broken Arrow, opened with a good quad Salchow which earned a total of 11.21 points. But even that was a little controversial. One judge saw something wrong with the jump and punched in -1 while another thought it was so good, it was worthy of +2. The majority, five, thought it was superior and gave +1, while two decided it was just plain OK in all aspects and punched in 0.
That was followed by a triple Lutz to double toe loop with the second jump executed with his arms over his head. That put 8.50 points in his bank. He followed that with a triple Axel, although he omitted the two double toe loops he had planned to tag onto the jump, and the jump only generated its base value of 8.50.
After a Level 2, +0.43 Flying Camel spin, he executed a Level 3 footwork sequence which received a whole point over its base value, and then a second triple Axel, which had a solid landing but was a bit scratchy. It still received an extra +0.43. His triple flip got an “e” for wrong edge takeoff but he then brought off his second triple Lutz, gaining an extra +0.60, and a double Axel, which was dammed with faint praise, +0.07.
His last jumping element was a triple Salchow to triple toe loop which got an extra +0.20. He lost a few points on his final two spins. The change foot sit was only Level 1 and the change foot combination Level 2. They earned an extra +0.36 and +0.43 over the base values respectively. His components ranged from a low of one 6.0 up to three 8.75s from one judge.
Amodio said, “I just try to bring to the ice what I love. I try to do something that I’m passionate about, to show the best of my heart and emotion, joy and pain, and share that. I don’t like to skate bad. I just fight. It’s important to me to express my personality.
4. Overall 210.16; 5.FS 134.70 (62.32+73.38 -1); 3. SP Brian Joubert, France, gave a less-than stellar, boring performance to Inception by Hans Zimmer, dropping to fourth, 4.09 points behind the bronze medalist. (His exhibition on Sunday was much more entertaining.) The 28-year-old sat down on his opening move, a quad toe which was given an arrow for slight under-rotation. His second attempt which followed immediately was a triple which only made its base value. He accomplished a triple Axel to double toe loop but received only +0.29 GoE. His first spin was a Change Foot combination which earned only Level 1, though with +0.71 added.
His straight line steps were Level 3 with +0.64 but he got an “e” for wrong edge take-off for his triple flip and had -0.70 removed from its base value. His triple Lutz earned +0.40 over its base, but the following triple loop got -0.40 removed. His triple Salchow to double Axel sequence was given +0.40. But he stumbled on his second triple flip, which was combined with a double toe loop, and it also received an “e” losing -1.70. He concluded this disappointing showing with two Level 2 spins, a change foot sit which received a marginal +0.21, and a flying upright which got even less, +0.07.
He blamed his less than satisfactory performance on illness.
5. Overall 205.48; 4.FS 139.73 (76.23+63.50); 6. SP Nan Song, the 22-year-old Chinese champion, skating last of the first group of competitors, climbed a place from his Short Program standing with a Free Skate set to music by Tchaikovsky from his “Symphony No.4” and “Romeo and Juliet Overture.”
He opened with a +0.43 quad toe loop toe but didn’t attempt the second jump in this planned combination. He tagged a double instead of triple toe loop onto his second jump, a triple Axel, and then repeated the triple Axel. This second Axel earned an extra +1.14. The steps which followed were only Level 2 but his next element, the flying camel combination spin got the maximum Level 4. At the half-way point, he added a triple toe, instead of the planned two double toes to his triple Lutz to make up for the missing jump in his initial element and received an extra +0.60. But his triple flip which followed was given an “e” for wrong edge take-off and he lost a full point on his triple loop because he was forced to put his hand down on the ice. His change foot sit spin was Level 3 with only +0.07 added. A double Axel to double toe earned an extra +0.36. His final jump was a +0.40 triple Salchow and he wrapped up the routine with a Level 2 combination spin.
6. Overall 191.99; 6.FS 126.22 (61.14+66.08 -1); 5. SP Jianlin Guan, China, skating to music from “Carmen”, dropped a place. He fell on his opening jump, a quad toe loop which was given an arrow for slight under-rotation, and then doubled a Salchow attempt. He brought off two triple flips, one after the half-way point, which was combined with a triple toe loop. Also executed in the second half and given a ten percent bonus were a double Axel to triple toe loop, and a second triple Lutz. But his final jump was a double loop and only one of his Level moves, the change foot sit spin earned the maximum Level 4.
7. Overall 183.32; 7.FS 125.04 (63.82+62.22 -1); 8. SP Chafik Besseghier, France, a 23-year-old who was 13th in his first European championship earlier this year, opened with a base value quad toe loop but fell on his first triple Axel and the second attempt, combined with a double toe loop, at the half way stage lost -1.14 from its base value. He performed to “Freestyler” by Boom Funk, “Paris” by Texas, and “Nuttin’ But Stringz”.
8. Overall 181.72; 8. FS 124.32 (52.52+72.80 -1); 9. SP Tomas Verner, Czech Republic, once one of Europe’s leading skaters, stayed in last place. He has an enjoyably choreographed Free Skate routine to “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “La Vie en Rose” but the jumps eluded him. He managed a two-foot landing on his opening quad toe loop and got credit for the rotation, but singled both triple Axel attempts, falling on the second one. He doubled his first triple Lutz and the second one was not landed well. He got an “e” for his triple flip , and got only a “B” for basic, lower than Level 1, on his change foot combination spin.
WITHDRAWN: Jorik Henedrickx of Belgium, taking part in his first Grand Prix, lay fourth after the Short Program, but twisted his ankle while warming up off the ice for Saturday morning’s practice, and withdrew before the Free Skate.
Dance Free Dance
1. Overall 168.90; 1.FD 100.42 (47.84+53.58 -1); 1. SD Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, France, who skated their Free Dance last of the eight couples from six countries, consolidating their lead after the Short Dance, are exploring new directions. This season’s routine, which uses four pieces by the Rolling Stones, “Miss You”, “Angie”, “Symphony for the Devil” and “Start Me Up”, is a far cry from their ground-breaking Egyptian number which delighted the audiences in Sheffield and Nice in last season’s European (which they won) and World (where they were third) Championships. The new routine doesn’t deal with death in its competitive form but, closing Sunday’s exhibition, Pechalat walked onto the ice and climbed onto and lay prone on an autopsy table, where she was resuscitated by the mad doctor who lurks inside Bourzat.
In its milder competitive non-lethal version on Saturday evening, they opened with a Rotational lift, which earned two of the maximum +3 Grades of Execution. The other seven judges punched in +2 for this element, and that meant 1.07 was added to the lift’s Level 4 base value of 4 points. The following Diagonal steps were Level 3 (base value 6.50) and they received +1.71 GoE. Their curve lift got Level 4 with +0.93, but their Level 3 twizzles, received only +0.36.
Their Level 4, +1.07 GoE straight line lift was followed by +1.14 GoE Level 3 circular steps. Their final elements were a Level 4 combination spin; a Level 4 curve lift which got a +3 from one judge and eight +2s; and the choreographed very short lift which has only one Level (1) which is 0.20, to which the judges voted to add 0.36. Their components ranged from one 9.5 down to three 8.25.
“Picking music is difficult,” Pechalat admitted. “We are constantly searching for potential material. It is at the back of our minds all the time.” Bourzat added, “It can be very difficult and complicated to find music that inspires us and suits us that isn’t being used by others. I’m fortunate in that I have an older brother. He’s married with three children now but he introduced me to all sorts of music and helped me get the broader picture. We have many years of experience searching for new possibilities.
Today, we skated a clean program and I think it was stronger than the one we did in Shanghai (at Cup of China where they won, earning 168.90). We changed some transitions and it was better. It was better to skate in front of the French audience, because they were clapping and really supporting us.” They train in Bloomfield Hills, in Michigan at the Detroit FSC.
2. Overall 153.26; 4.FD 87.08 (38.85+50.23 -2); 2. SD Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, Italy, stayed second but got an incredible shock when, in their opening move of their Free Dance, set to music from the popular opera “Carmen”, he slammed down onto the ice during their twizzles. Cappellini said, “I heard him fall and I had to fight to keep on going, to concentrate on what I was doing.”
Lanotte added, “Clearly not everything went as planned tonight, but I think after the big mistake at the beginning of the program we had a good reaction and everything after that was pretty smooth. I felt that without the fall it could have been a really good program. It was definitely an experience!”
In a remarkable piece of focused concentration, they performed their following element, a long lift, curve to rotational, so well, three of the judges gave them +3, with four others awarding +2 and two punching in +1. That resulted in 2.14 being added to this element’s base value of 8.0 so they banked a total of 10.14. But their next move, the circular steps was only Level 2. The following three moves were all the maximum Level 4, with the combination spin getting +0.64 and both the straight line and rotational lifts receiving a full point extra GoE. (For both lifts, one of the judges rewarded their straight line with +3, and, although seven of the others gave +2, a solitary member of the panel, punched in “only” +1. BUT the +3 and +1 were NOT from the same judges!)
The following Diagonal Steps were only Level 2 but with +1.43. One of the lifts went overtime so they were saddled with a point deduction in addition to the other point taken off for his fall. They scored 6.80 less than when they won silver in Skate Canada, three weeks previously. In Windsor they boldly faced off against the world champions, using music from the same opera. Their components ranged from two 7.50s up to four 9.25s.
3. Overall 146.03; 3.FD 87.80 (41.38+46.42); 3. SD Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko, Russia, who were ninth in the last world championship, stayed third, repeating their bronze medal win in Skate Canada but earning 2.64 more points overall than in Windsor. They use music from the movie, “The Godfather”.Compared to Skate Canada, it was harder to skate tonight, maybe because there was a long break between practice in the morning and competition in the evening. It is very hard to wait the whole day. You get tense and all the bad thoughts are coming into your head. That is difficult to manage. But we did well and we are happy with our placement today.”
4. Overall 145.23; 2.FD 88.69 (44.61+44.08); 4. SD Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, U.S.A, remained fourth despite placing second in the Free Dance. Their score overall was overall ten points higher than it had been in Skate Canada. They present a Flamenco routine to three pieces of music, “Farrucas”, “Un Amor”, and “Malaguena”. Their twizzles, curve lift, combination spin, straight line lift and rotational lift all received the maximum Level 4. Their circular steps, second curve lift and diagonal steps were Level 3. Their components ranged from one 6.25 up to one 8.50.
"I think we've created a strong partnership," said Hubbell, who formerly skated with her brother. She teamed up with Donohue in spring of 2011 and they were tenth in their first world championship last March. They are both 21. She said, "We really understand each other. The chemistry came quite naturally. Yes, you have your days when the other person is more emotional, more sensitive, when you may not mesh. But I think we are becoming a team, and I'm pretty impressed at what we've accomplished in a short time."
Like Pechalat & Bourzat, they train at the Detroit FSC. Although he was born in Connecticut, Donohue says he loves “Motor City” and is proud to speak of his latest auto, a Porsche Boxster. When he’s not charging around on skates or on a road, he rides dirt bikes. Hubbell was born in Lancing, Michigan. She said, “We were disappointed with our score in Skate Canada. This time we’re closer to the score we got at the Finlandia Trophy.”
5. Overall 140.30; 5.FD 85.54 (42.22+43.32); 5. SD Julia Zlobina & Alexei Sitnikov, Azerbaijan, who took part in their first world championship this year, placing 17th, stayed fifth performing to two pieces by Goran Bregovic, “Mahalageasca” and “Ausencia”. They earned six Level 4s. Both step sequences were Level 2.
6. Overall 135.86; 6.FD 83.87 (42.29+41.58); 6. SD Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, Canada, remained sixth. Trying to do something that hasn’t been done before has lead this couple and their coach, Carol Lane, to choose some very unusual music, “The Gulag Orchestra” by Zach Condon, “I Don’t Think About You Any More But I Don’t Think About You Any Less” and “Hungry Ghosts” by Nicoleta. This is their first season skating internationally together. She formerly skated with Zach Donohue who was taking part in this competition with his new partner. Though they placed above Hubbell & Donohue in Skate Canada, and the Canadians’ total score in Paris was only 0.88 less than they earned taking fourth in that recent Grand Prix, they were a significant amount behind them in Paris.
7. Overall 128.26; 7.FD 78.38 (38.54+39.84); 7. SD Ekaterina Pushkash & Jonathan Guerreiro, Russia, stayed seventh. They interpreted Maxime Rodriguez playing music from the opera “Tristan & Isolde”.
8. Overall 120.26; 71.88 (33.37+39.51 -1); 8. SD Pernelle Carron & Lloyd Jones, France, performed to Jacques Brel’s “La Chanson des Vieux Amants.” He was fighting an illness which forced them to pull out of Sunday’s Exhibition.