by George Rossano
|1||Vera BAZAROVA / Yuri LARIONOV||RUS||65.61||1|
|2||Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Dylan MOSCOVITCH||CAN||65.14||2|
|3||Marissa CASTELLI / Simon SHNAPIR||USA||61.85||3|
|4||Anastasia MARTIUSHEVA / Alexei ROGONOV||RUS||57.07||4|
|5||Alexa SCIMECA / Chris KNIERIM||USA||54.41||5|
|6||Lindsay DAVIS / Mark LADWIG||USA||45.61||6|
|7||Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE||ITA||42.14||7|
|1||Meryl DAVIS / Charlie WHITE||USA||178.48||1||1|
|2||Elena ILINYKH / Nikita KATSALAPOV||RUS||156.62||3||2|
|3||Maia SHIBUTANI / Alex SHIBUTANI||USA||154.56||2||3|
|4||Nicole ORFORD / Thomas WILLIAMS||CAN||130.10||4||4|
|5||Cathy REED / Chris REED||JPN||124.46||5||5|
|6||Penny COOMES / Nicholas BUCKLAND||GBR||122.80||6||6|
|7||Xintong HUANG / Xun ZHENG||CHN||119.56||7||7|
|8||Xiaoyang YU / Chen WANG||CHN||108.28||8||8|
L to R: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov, Meryl Davis & Charlie White, Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
Ladies and Men's Medalists
|Left to right:
Akiko Suzuki, Mao Asada, Mirai Nagasu
Click to enlarge.
|Left to right:
Daisuke Takahashi, Yuzuru Hanyu, Ross Miner
Click to enlarge.
(25 November 2012)
NHK Trophy continued Saturday in Miyagi, Japan with the Pairs Short Program, the Ice Dance Free Dance, and the Ladies and Men's Free Skating. The Pairs Final will be held Sunday afternoon.
Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov, RUS, took a narrow 0.47 point lead in the Pairs Short Program. Performing to "Liebestraum,“ the team opened with a shaky side by side triple toe, which was scored negative. The remainder of the program was clean with a nice throw triple loop and triple twist as well as a level four lift, pair spin and step sequence, while their death spiral was called level two. Their component scores were the best of the group and averaged 7.74. "We are glad that everything worked out in our program, but unfortunately it wasn't completely clean. There were a few smaller mistakes in some elements such as the [side by side] jump. Today we felt a bit nervous before the competition, although our training went well,“ Larionov remarked in the post-event press conference.
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch, CAN, were close on the heels of the Russians, outscoring them in TES, but falling behind in PCS. Their program to "Motley Crew“ was clean except for their triple toe loops. Their triple twist, throw triple loop and level-four lift, footwork and side by side spin were well executed, while their death spiral was called level three and the twist level 2. Their score was their season's best. "We were both happy with our performance today. We felt like we came out with the right attitude. We had a lot of energy and attack in our program. It wasn't the cleanest skate for us, there are a few little things that we still need to clean up,“ said Moscovitch.
Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir, USA, skated a season's best program which was clean, despite two straggler negative GoEs in the scoring. They landed side by side triple Salchows, triple twist and a superb throw triple Salchow in their routine to "Stray Cat Strut“ and "Pink Panther.“ Their twist lift was only level one, but their lift, pair combination spin and step sequence were level four. "Simon and I are very happy with how we skated today. We're always striving to do more and I know we can do even better,“ Castelli said. "Maybe it was a little stiff and shaky in some spots, but overall it felt like the performance was right up there with how we have been training at home. We really wanted to go out with a bang today and I think we accomplished that,“ added Shnapir.
Anastasia Martiusheva & Alexei Rogonov, RUS placed fourth and Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim, USA, placed fifth. The Americans skated cleanly but to less difficult elements than the leaders. The third U.S. pair team, Lindsey Davis & mark Ladwig, had a difficult skate with five of seven elements scored negative, and only one element achieving level four.
Mao Asada, JPN, held off Akiko Suzuki by just 0.05 points to claim the gold medal. Asada placed second in the Free Skate after winning the Short Program, while her teammate Suzuki won the long after placing fifth in the short.
Skating to "Swan Lake,“ Asada scored highest in components, averaging 8.07, but faltered badly with her jumps and trailed Suzuki in TES by nearly 12 points. Asada lande a double Axel - triple toe loop combination, a triple flip and level-four spins and footwork, but doubled or singled four other jumps. She also had an edge call on double Lutz, and placed only two jump element in the second half of the program. "Based on the result I can go to the Grand Prix Final. That is good, but today in my programs I didn't do many things that I had worked on and I am disappointed about that,“ Asada commented. "At the Grand Prix Final, I would like to make sure not to repeat the same mistakes. There is not so much time, but I will prepare,“ she added.
Suzuki gave a technically strong performance, though not without a few minor problems. She landed a double Axel - triple toe loop as well as six additional triple jumps and achieved level four for her spins and level three in her step sequence, skating to "O“ from Cirque du Soleil. Her jumps were not perfect, though with both Lutzes given edge calls and a solo triple loop called under-rotated. Still, it was a season's best score for the World bronze medallist. "I was able to put out everything I am capable of in the free skating today. However, the short program was felt in the result. Having gone through two Grand Prix events, there was a certain pattern to be observed. I do a disappointing short program and make up for it in the long program. This is not a good trend,“ she commented.
Mirai Nagasu landed six triples (four cleanly) and achieved level four for her combination and layback spin. Her third spin was level three and her step sequence level two. Her two triple loops were both called under -rotated as where two double toe loops in jump combinations. Her components averaged 7.39. Overall it was an improvement for Nagasu, whose scores have been inching up over the season. After placing second in the Short Porgram she ended up third overall. "I was happy to take part in this competition," she said. "Compared to the Cup of China, I felt I skated better and I also got a better score. Now I have to go home and work hard for U.S. Nationals,“ she added. Nagasu originally was oit assigned two Grand Prix events and replaced Polina Shelepen when the Russian withdrew two weeks ago due to injury.
Agnes Zawadzki, the second U.S. skater here, who had a chance to qualify for the final after placing third at Rostelcom Cup, placed fifth in the long to move up to fifth overall, after placing seventh in the short. She had an inconsistent skate, landing a strong opening triple Lutz, but then falling on an under-rotated second attempt in combination. She also landed triple Salchow, but had an edge call on a doubled flip. Only her layback spin achieved level four, while the other spins were level three and one, and her step sequence level three. Her components only averaged 6.84.
The results here for Nagasu and Zawadzki changes the dynamics for U.S. Nationals, making Nagasu more of a favorite for the top three and putting Zawadzki more into an underdog status.
Japan continued it's domination of the men's events this season with Yuzuru Hanyu and Daisuke Takahashi placing first and second, and both qualifying for the final.
Performing to "Notre Dame de Paris,“ Hanyu landed a strong opening quad toe loop which was followed by a step out on a quad Salchow. He went on to land six triple jumps, with five of his jump elements (including all three combinations) in the second half of the program. He fell on a solo triple Lutz and also his combination spin, which was called level 1. His other two spins achieved level four while his step sequence was level three. It was a season's best performance, with average component scores of 7.88. "Even with the mistakes I was able to surpass a 160 points, that has given me confidence. I think that it was thank to the hard training I have been doing that I was able to win this NHK Trophy,“ he commented. His performance, however, was scored second in PCS, behind Takahashi.
Takahashi opened his routine to „Pagliacchi“ with a clean solo quad toe, but subsequently two-footed and his second quad toe loop in combinations, which was also called under-rotated. He continued to land six clean triples. A second triple Axel was badly landed and received GoEs of -2 and -3s. All three of his spins achieved level four while his step sequence was called level three. His was the strongest presentation of the group with an average component score of 8.31. Like Hanyu, five of his jump elements were executed in the second half. His point total was his season's best but not enough to overtake Hanyu. "In the free program, I was able to land one quad toe, but for the second one and the Axel, there was a mistake. I really felt bad about that. I felt what I need to work on, what my weaknesses were. In training and joining the actual competition with the younger skaters I feel that Men's figure skating is at a very high level now and it is continuing to go higher,“ he said.
Ross Miner, USA, moved up to third in the Free Skate and third overall to win the bronze medal. Skating to "Captain Blood,“ he started off with a clean quad Salchow followed by two triple Axels, the first of these in combination. He landed five other triples, though on triple flip he had an edge call, the only notable error of the program. All three of his spins achieved level four, while the step sequence was level three. His components averaged a respectable 7.52. While he did not make the final, it was a strong finish to his Grand Prix season lead up to the U.S. National Championships in January. "I had a short program I was not happy with, because I did a double Salchow. This is the first time that I had landed the quad Salchow in my program. I was happy with that and I was also very pleased with myself that I was able to keep my focus all the way through my program after having done the quad,“ he explained.
Javier Fernandez, ESP, attempted an ambitious program, but slipped from third in the short to fifth in the long, and fourth overall. Nevertheless, he held on in the Grand Prix standings to still make the final.
Fernandez had three quads scheduled for the program, two toe loops and a Salchow, but only the Salchow was landed cleanly. He also had major errors on two other jumps, and a two point deduction for falls. He salvaged a little, however, with his components, which averaged 7.53 and were third best of the group despite the many errors in his performance. His leveled elements also suffered here, with only one spin achieving level four, while the other two were called level three and level one, and his step sequence called level three. Like the majority of the men here, he executed five of his jump elements in the second half.
After placing sixth in the Short Program, Richard Dornbush, USA, placed fourth in the Free Skate to finish fifth overall. He doubled his initial quad toe loop attempt and than fell on the subsequent attempt. After that he skated cleanly, landing seven triple jumps. He achieved level four on two spins and level three on the third, and also the step sequence. His components averaged 7.02. The takeaway message for Dornbush after the Grand Prix seems to be, better land those quads if he wants to make the U.S. World Team in January.
There were Meryl Davis & Charlie White, then there were Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov and Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani, and then there were every body else. Except for the final medalists, it was an extraordinarily weak field in the dance event.
Davis & White, USA, gave a stand-out performance of their "Notre Dame de Paris“ routine. They achieved level four lifts, spins and twizzles, while the two step sequences were called levels three and two. It was a season's best performance with components that averaged 9.59, with four judges going to 10s for Interpretation / Timing. They also received one 10 each for Choreogrpahy, for Performance, and for Linking Footwork / Movement. "Charlie and I were very pleased with our performance today. It was our second competition of the year and we felt it was like a huge step up from the first competition,“ Davis said. Since Skate America, the couple has increased their competition score by 2.2 points. To whatever extent it may be meaningful, Davis & White earned a total of 354.76 points in the Grand Prix this season, vs. 343.40 for Virtue and Moir. They top the Grand Prix standings gogin into the finals.
Ilinykh & Katsalapov, RUS, moved up to second in the Free Skate and second overall, as was anticipated after the short. Like the leaders, they achieved level fours for their lifts, spins and twizzles, while the two step sequences were called levels three and two. Skating to "Ghost“ the couple scored a new season's best with component scores averaging 8.49, well below the leaders. "Today was a tough day. Lena suffered from a kind of [food] poisoning. I found out about it just shortly before we skated. It was a shock for the whole team, and everybody tried to help her, and me, too,“ Katsalapov revealed. Their second place finish moved them into fifth place in teh Grand Prix standings and qualified them for the final.
Shibutani & Shibutani, USA, dropped one place to finish third overall, 2.06 points behind the Russians. Skating to "Memoirs of a Geisha,“ the couple trailed the leaders one level, by scoring level three for their rotational lift compared to level four for the top two couples. Their result here was a new season's best, with components averagin 8.05. "We feel like we've made so much improvements since Russia. We know what we have to do when we get back home, but for today skating in front of such an amazing audience was such an honor for us. We really enjoyed ourselves,“ Maia said. Her brother continued, "Maia and I put in a lot of hard work last week in preparation for this competition and we really feel like it went well. We find ourselves on our ability to really buckle down and focus on the details. Heading into our National Championships, this is the main focus.“ Compared to Rostelcom cup, the couple improved their competition score by 14.65 points. They ended up ninth in the Grand Prix standings.