by Alexandra Stevenson
|1||Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV||RUS||65.56||1|
|2||Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE||ITA||64.16||2|
|3||Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE||USA||58.44||3|
|4||Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI||ITA||55.64||4|
|5||Irina SHTORK / Taavi RAND||EST||50.55||5|
|6||Ramona ELSENER / Florian ROST||SUI||44.95||6|
|7||Justyna PLUTOWSKA / Peter GERBER||POL||41.62||7|
|8||Henna LINDHOLM / Ossi KANERVO||FIN||39.98||8|
|9||Bryna OI / Taiyo MIZUTANI||JPN||39.14||9|
|10||Olesia KARMI / Max LINDHOLM||FIN||36.51||10|
|11||Lesia VOLODENKOVA / Vitaly VAKUNOV||BLR||32.19||11|
(6 October 2012) Espoo, Finland
1. 69.27 (36.87+32.40) Kiira Korpi, Finland, is a star in her own country. The drop dead gorgeous blonde’s photograph seems to be in adverts everywhere, not just in the arena but around town. She turned 24 last month and is from Tampere. Her father is a famous ice hockey coach.
Skating seventh, which was second on in the second warm-up group, she gave an absolutely delightful showing with not one mis-step. “I was nervous,” she confessed afterwards. “I haven’t competed for a long time (since last January’s European championship). I didn’t know how it would go.”
She was not entered in Worlds in Nice. The problem started with her knee and involved an imbalance before that event. Unlike ballet, where the dancers work on the steps in both directions, skaters almost always rotate only one way putting stress and building bigger muscles on one side. (A very rare exception was the U.S. skater Johnny Johns who did triples in both directions.)
Korpi’s program was set to the dulcet tones of Claude Debussy’s “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” and she performed magnificently. All seven elements were carefully executed without stress and her outfit was gorgeous, two tones of light green with a layering of silver sparkles. She said, “I have a sponsor designer, (Teemu Muurimaki). Of course, I get to say the last word but they are experts and I’m always satisfied.”
Her routine opened with a combination of two triple toe loops, so softly landed three of the judges awarded +2 for this element and the rest of the panel punched in +1. The triple loop, which followed, was equally flowing and received four +2s. Two of her spins and the footwork were awarded the maximum Level 4 with impressive Grades of Execution, +0.83 for the flying sit; +1.75 for the straight line steps in which four of the eight judges gave the maximum +3” ; and +1.17 for the combination spin which also received three +3s. (Under the new system, it is no longer necessary to have an odd number of judges on the panel.) Korpi’s double Axel received two votes of +2 and the rest +1. The Level 3 layback spin was rewarded with five +2s and the rest +1s. She could not have asked for more.
“This is a wonderful start to my season. I am so glad to be back,” Korpi said. She has been Finnish champion for three times in the past four years. Although she won this event back in 2006, and has earned a silver and bronze, that was her only gold.
2. 64.05 (35.50+28.55) Julia Lipnistkaia, Russia, was born in Ekaterinburg but moved to Moscow where she is taught by Eteri Tutberidze. She turned 14 on June 5. She is the current Russian and World Junior champion, and looked sensational in practice. She drew to skate the SP third in the first warm-up group. Skating to Sabre Dance, she was good but appeared not so relaxed in the competition as in practice. She wore a black outfit with black tights and long sleeves with a splattering of gold, which was picked by her mother.
She opened with a triple Lutz to triple toe but it was not as high as in practice and the judging panel took -1.05 off its base value by entering four -1s and four -2 Grades of Execution. The rest of her elements, triple flip, double Axel, two Level 4 spins and Level 3 straight line steps and layback earned good grades of Execution. There were unanimous +3s, which is the highest possible GoE, for her combination spin while the layback received five out of eight +3s. However, her element score was a large 5.22 points lower than Korpi’s.
3. 52.75 (26.20+27.55 -1) Mirai Nagasu, USA, is a 19-year-old Californian. She drew to skate first of the 11 women from nine countries and performed to the energetic music, “Downhill Special” by Benny Goodman. Dressed in a pretty sleeveless pink outfit with silver, she looked confident as she approached her first element but fell badly on the second jump of her combination of two triple toes, slamming down flat on her left hip.
She had initially planned to do a triple Lutz to double toe, but she and her coach, Amy Evidente, saw that the others were almost all doing a combination of two triple toes, “so we decided to try that. That’s what you seem to have to do to be competitive, but it’s not something we’ve done in competition before,” Evidente explained. But the Tech Specialists gave her a double arrow for the second jump, on which she fell.
Afterward, Nagasu revealed, in her very soft voice, “I felt a little stiff, a bit anxious, nervous. I just wasn’t into my knees. Tomorrow, I have to do that more, get more relaxed.” Asked if jetlag had anything to do with it (Finland is 10 hours ahead of California), she refused to use that as an excuse. “It was unfortunate that I had to fall but now I have nothing to lose, I have to go for it tomorrow. Everyone falls sometime. I’m just sorry it had to be in this competition.”
Nagasu recovered presenting a +0.58 triple loop and none of her other moves received a negative average GoE. Her flying camel earned the maximum Level 4 as did her layback, which was her final move and received five +3s and three +2s. Her double Axel was given all +2 and +1s. However, her steps were only Level 2 and her combination spin only Level 1.
4. 51.18 (27.49+23.69) Isabelle Olsson, Sweden, 19, is from Morrum and is trained by her mother. She followed her older sister into the sport. Although she had -0.12 removed from her triple loop and her triple Lutz to double toe lost -0.70, she performed well to the American up-beat classic, Boogie, Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. Her double Axel earned an extra +0.33. Two of her spins were Level 4. The other, the layback, and her steps were only Level 2.
5. 48.74 (25.64+23.10) Natalia Popova, Ukraine, has been training in New Jersey with Viktor Petrenko and Galina Zmievskaya. She turned 19 on September 15. She performed to Massenet’s “Why I Dream”, eighth, which was third in the second warm-up group. She stepped out of her opening triple flip and her combination was only triple toe to double toe. Her steps and layback spin were only Level 2 although the combination spin was Level 4 with +0.50 and the flying camel received +0.58.
6. 47.04 (25.23+22.81 -1) Juulia Turkkila, Finland, skated last. She will turn 18 on November 3. Her routine was set to music by Stravinsky, for the ballet “Firebird”. Dressed in orange and yellow, she opened with her combination of triple toes and received +0.58 GoE. But her second element, a triple Salchow was badly landed and lost -1.40. Two of her spins were Level 4 and the layback Level 3 but she had a bad fall on her double Axel which was saddled with an arrow for slight under-rotation. Her steps were +2 Level 2.
7. 45.71 (23.37+22.34) Sonja LaFuente, Spain, turns 21 on December 12. David Wilson choreographed her Short Program set to the French musical, “Romeo & Juliet”. She performed fourth in the first warm-up group of five in a beautiful lacey cream outfit. She explained, “It is a dress from last season. My new one isn’t ready. I was very comfortable with the skate but I was a bit hot.
“As soon as I doubled the flip (which was supposed to be a triple flip to double toe combo), I knew to add a double toe to the next move (her triple loop, which she did). You have to keep fighting. I don’t know what Levels I got yet so I don’t really know how I did. We have to study those when they come out.”
She got only one Level 4, for the combination spin. Her two other spins were Level 3 and the steps Level 2. Her coach said “I was very proud of her for her first competition of the year.”
8. 45.59 (24.82+20.77) Beata Papp, Finland, lives in Toronto and trains with twice Olympic silver medalist, Brian Orser, who lost out in the 1984 Games to Scott Hamilton, and to Brian Boitano in 1988 in the famous Battle of the Brians. Papp, who is 17, skated next to last. She performed to Richard Rodgers’ “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” in an orange skirt over a yellow sleeveless creation with black belt.
She began with a triple toe to double toe followed by a triple Salchow and double Axel, which all received positive GoEs. Her three spins were Level 3 and his steps Level 2.
9. 44.93 (23.06+21.87) Fleur Maxwell, Luxembourg, 24, skated last of the five in the first warm-up group to “With or Without You” by U2. She lost -1.28 from her first element, a triple Salchow to double toe but the following triple toe earned +0.47 over its base value. Her double Axel had a slight -0.08 taken but the rest of the elements all gained positives over the elements base value. However, only one spin was Level 3. The steps and the layback spin were Level 2 and the combination spin just Level 1.
10. 42.66 (23.78+19.88 -1) Jasmine Costa, Estonia, 18, was born in her country’s capital, Tallinn. She presented a Tango, but fell on the second jump of her first element, a combination of two triple toes. Her triple Salchow had -0.12 removed. The double Axel gained its base value, but the flying sit spin was only Level 1 with 0.20 taken off. The steps were the minimal base value for Level 1. However, her final move, the combination spin, earned +0.42 over the base value for Level 3.
11. 39.54 (19.20+20.34) Alisa Mikonsaari, Finland, a 19-year-old from Lappeenranta, on the Finnish-Russian border, skated ninth. She performed to Ronan Hardiman’s “Lord of the Dance”, dressed in purple with one sleeve lighter than the other and purple tights. She singled her first element meant to be a triple Lutz. However, all but that and her last element, a Level 2 combination spin which had a minimal -0.05 removed, gained at least its base value. She presented a triple toe loop to double toe loop, and a double Axel which both received their base value but nothing more. Her layback spin was Level 3. The other two spins were Level 2 but the steps were only Level 1.
1. 65.56 (31.66+33.90) Ekaterina Bobrova, 22, & Dmitri Soloviev, 23, Russia, drew to skate last, 11th of the 11 couples from 9 countries. “We are in a ballroom, at a ball,” Soloviev explained when asked about his about his routine. She is dressed in a knee-length pink dress with short sleeves. He’s in a black military jacket with epaulets and a red stripe down the outside of his cream pants. “I ask her to dance and it is very lighthearted because it is a March and with the Polka, then it is still OK because we have fun a Polka. But then we go into a Waltz and that’s more formal and serious and we realize we have to part because I’m too old for her.” The piece ends with them sadly walking away from each other. Another Russian War and Peace tragedy? Or just a lot of twoodle?
They began with the Yankee Polka, receiving Level 3 for the first part and Level 2 for the second from the Technical Panel and received +0.58 Grade of Execution and +0.50 respectively from the judges. Their twizzles and straight line lift were both Level 4 with +0.58 and 1.0 added respectively. Their final element, their Level 3 non-touching midline steps, earned an extra 1.5 points.
They established a small lead, beating the Italians who lie second, by a mere 0.07 on the elements, but by 1.33 on the components.
2. 64.16 (31.59+32.57) Anna Cappellini, 25, Luca Lanotte, 27, Italy. After Oberstdorf, Igor Shpilband did not go back to the U.S., he went to Milan where he helped the two Italian couples in this competition. Cappellini explained, “From Finlandia, we will go to the United States to Igor’s Novi rink, to get ready for Skate Canada. We are based in Milan with Paola Mezzadri but being in the U.S. will help us get adjusted to the time change, and we’ll do that again when Worlds comes round.” (Shpilband also works with the Polish dancers who competed in Finland.)
The Italians skated eighth which was first after the ice resurfacing. They gave an extremely enjoyable and polished performance, to “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” and “Wonderful, Wonderful Day” from the great American musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
The top Canadian ice dancers, who withdrew at the last minute from this event due to Scott Moir’s neck muscle pull, have expressed huge antipathy for the Yankee Polka. But Shpilband likes it. “It’s a fun dance. It’s different from last year. I see some progress from my pupils this season, but, of course, it’s still early. They have a long way to go. But we’re underway.”
It certainly suited Cappellini & Lanotte’s upbeat personality. They opened with their twizzles. All eight judges punched in +2 Grade of Execution which resulted in a full point being added to their Level 4 base value of this element of 6.0. That put them initially ahead of the Russians by 0.42.
The base value for the Level 2 first half of the Italians’ Yankee Polka, was five points, and for Level 3 for the second half, it was six points. The Italians’ average GoEs for the first and second halves were 0.50 and 0.42. (The Russians reversed that – getting a higher Level for their first half (3) but only Level 2 for the second half. With their GoEs, on the Yankee, the Russians’ technical score was 0.16 higher than the Italians.) The Italians concluded with their level 4 rotational lift which followed their Level 3 non-touching steps. Both couples earned the same marks for their lifts, but the Russians got an extra 0.33 for their steps.
3. 58.44 (28.42+30.02) Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, USA, both 21, are trained by Massimo Scali in Bloomfield Hills. They drew to skate first of the 11 couples from 9 countries. Their Short Dance is to music from the movie, Titanic. They start with the famed Skaters’ Waltz which the doomed ship’s orchestra played as the ship sank, and then went into the raucous John Ryan’sPolka, which was what was playing when the heroine descends from her first class accommodation into third class and meets the hero. Dohohue’s two legged kick right in front of the judges was particularly impressive.
They opened with Level 4 twizzles (+0.75) and a Level 4 curve lift (+0.50). The two parts of their Yankee earned Level 2 (+0.50) and Level 3 (+0.17). Their non-touching steps were only Level 2 with +0.50. “I made a mistake, putting my foot down on the steps,” Hubbell admitted. That put them 2.55 behind the Italians. Hubbell continued, “We were physically well prepared, but you have to be mentally on top, too. Zach is a very passionate person and we feel very strongly about this routine. Getting feedback was our goal. We want to push higher than last year and this was a good start.”
They had planned to spend one day sight-seeing in Helsinki but it rained. Hubbell said, “When you are representing your country, you have to be really careful. You can’t just think of yourself, and we were a bit apprehensive about getting too cold or tired so we had to leave that till another time.”
4. 55.64 (27.42+28.22) Charlene Guignard, 23, & Marco Fabri, 24, Italy skated third in the second warm-up group to “Good Day to You” and the Trish Trash Polka.
5. 50.55 (26.08+24.47) Irina Shtork, 19, & Taavi Rand, 20, Estonia, are trained by Elena Kustarova & Lea Rand in Tallinn. They performed to “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Old Country Waltz”. They skated tenth, just before the final couple, Bobrova & Soloviev.
6. 44.95 (23.75+21.20) Ramona Elsener, 20, & Florian Rost, who will turn 23 at the end of this month, from Switzerland, skated to Pie in the Sky Polka by Henri Mancini, and Carnival de Venice. They drew to skate second of the middle warm-up group of four.
7. 41.62 (22.42+20.29 -1) Justyna Plutowska, 21, & Peter Gerber, 20, Poland, who are trained by Igor Shpilband, skated to two numbers from the sound track of Mary Poppins, They skated first of the second warm-up group of four. Shpilband said, “They are not very experienced yet. They had a couple of mistakes (and a fall) but it’s still very early season.”
8. 39.98 (20.95+19.03) Henna Lindholm, 23, & Ossi Kanervo, 24, Finland, are trained by Maurizio Margaglio. Their Short Dance was choreographed by Marina Zoueva to “The Angry Birds’” main theme by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and “Jeux des Enfants” by Cirque du Soleil. They skated 7th immediately prior to the ice resurfacing.
9. 39.14 (21.59+17.55) Bryna Oi, 19, & Taiyo Mizutani, 24, Japan, train with Yaroslava Nechaeva, Yuri Chesnichenko & Masakazu Naruse in Michigan. They performed to Recreation Musette and Comment Java. They skated third, and last in the first warm-up group.
10. 36.51 (17.99+18.52) Olesia Karmi, 20, & Max Lindholm, 21, Finland, are trained by Maurizio Margaglio. They performed to the Sakkijarven Lake Polka and the Summer Night Waltz, choreographed by Paola Mezzadri. They skated ninth immediately following Cappellini & Luca.
11. 32.19 Lesia Volodenkova & Vitali Vakunov, Belarus, who are both 21, presented a Slow Waltz and a Hungarian Polka, both by Johann Strauss. They skated second, immediately following Hubbell & Donohue.
1. 248.13; 1.FS 172.56 (90.70+81.86) [SP 2] Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, smiles a lot and giggles. He speaks with his blades, which is not a good trait from the press’s point of view. Even though he trains in Canada, with Brian Orser, alongside Javier Fernandez, he is shy about saying anything in English. Of course, he is only 17 (18 in December) and he certainly chatters away in Japanese. Bouts of asthma stymied his early schooling, and the requirements of learning such a demanding sport may have cut down his formal language studies at school.
We know he has quick reactions. When the earthquake struck in his hometown Sendai in northern Japan, he took no time at all to race out of the shaking building, ruining his blades in the process. And he is a remarkable skater as witnessed by his bronze medal in his first World Championship. He was actually second in the free in Nice, jumping up from seventh after the Short Program.
He drew to Free Skate last of the 15 men from 10 countries. He had a terrible warm-up after the ice had been resurfaced, so how did he recoup from that ordeal? He told the Japanese press that he had sought solitude away from the others to calm himself down and that apparently worked. He opened with a beautiful quad toe for which one of the eight judges awarded the maximum +3 Grade of Execution. Five others punched in +2 and two misers registered only +1. That was followed by a quad Salchow, good enough for six +1s, although two judges thought it was only “satisfactory in all aspects” and stuck with 0 which means nothing added or subtracted from the base value. It was the first time he has accomplished both quads in a competitive routine.
His next element, a triple Axel also wowed two of the judges who gave +3. His first spin, a flying change foot sit, was the maximum Level 4 with +0.83. His Level 3 straight line steps earned +0.58. At the half-way stage when the bonus marks click in he executed three jumping passes, a triple Axel, and two triple Lutzes. All three were meant to be in combination with double toe loops, but the second Lutz had only a single joined to it.
After a good +0.70 triple loop, and a Level 3 flying combination camel spin which earned an extra +0.33, he got -0.82 removed from his the base value of his triple flip. His choreographed sequence got +0.70 and his final spin, a Level 4, gained an extra +0.25. He performed to music from the sound track of Notre-Dame de Paris by Riccardo Cocciante, choreographed by David Wilson.
2. 239.99; 2FS 168.80 (92.12+77.68 -1) [SP 3] Richard Dornbush, USA, is on the comeback trail after a freak setback last season, with a strangely warped boot. His coach Tammy Gambill said, “It really was an incredibly distressing period not knowing what the problem was. In the end, it was his skate sharpener who realized what the problem was but we haven’t discovered what actually happened.”
Dornbush, 21, who is from Corona, California, skated first up of the top five immediately following the ice resurfacing. After the routine, which was set to “The Wild Ones, Harlem Nocturne and Rooftops”, he said, “I still have a few things to work on. I’m sorry to have fallen on the quad toe, but I think the rest went well.” That included a stunning move in the second half in which he put both arms over his head on both jumps in a combination of triple Lutz to triple toe.
He critiqued himself saying, “I definitely want more points in the Short Program. I have to work on that, getting ready for the Grand Prix series. I’m scheduled for Cup of Russia and the NHK.” Later, he declared, “I’m very proud to have the silver.”
3. 235.20; 3.FS 154.43 (72.95+81.48) [SP 1] Javier Fernandez, Spain, began his Free in fine style, with a dazzling quad toe to triple toe which got a +3 GoE from one judge. But then he doubled the following Salchow. He got back on track with a +1.33 triple Axel and +0.17 Level 4 Change foot sit spin and +1.17 Level 3 straight line steps.
At the halfway point, when the 10% bonus points click in, he executed a mere +1.05 triple toe, a +0.70 triple Lutz to double toe and a +0.93 triple loop. But the following combination of triple flip to half loop to double Salchow was strained and had -0.47 removed from its base level. After a Level 3 +0.25 spin, he executed the choreographed sequence which earned a good +1.17 over its base value. But then, exhausted, he singled a Salchow. He ended with a level 3 combination spin which was given an extra +0.25. It was a particularly strong mens event and he was 4.79 behind the silver medalist.
4. 201.42; 5.FS 132.39 (56.65+75.74); [SP 4] Johnny Weir, USA, skated 13th immediately following Dornbush, his teammate. “Again,” Weir repeated as he left the Kiss ’n Cry area, laden down by a huge number of bouquets, “I was very nervous. I was nervous all day! So nervous, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I knew the Free would be harder than the Short Program. Obviously, it’s longer and it’s got more jumps. I was satisfied that I got out there. It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m proud, very proud of that, that I did it. There are many things I want to work on now. I was upset about doubling the triple loop (set when the bonus marks clicked in as the second half started). And there’s a lot that has to be cleaner. I took out some transitions and they have to go back in. I’m sure I’ll be a lot more confident for my next competition. I thank my fans because I would NEVER have made it here without them.”
Weir skated 13th of the 15 competitors His music was named Phoenix by Escala & Edvin Marton, and this was certainly a rebirth. He opened with three jumps, all of which received a negative Grade of Execution. The quad toe was saddled with an arrow for slight under-rotation, the triple Axel got -1.50 off for an unsteady landing and the triple flip got an “e” for wrong edge takeoff. The following steps were only Level 1, in part because he didn’t stay on one foot for the required for half the length of the sequence.
His first spin, the flying camel earned +0.25 over the base value for the top Level 4. However, he double his loop and following his second triple Axel which he combined with a double toe loop, he doubled a Lutz. The following triple Lutz to double toe got an arrow for slight under-rotation. But his last jump, a triple Salchow earned +0.23 over its base value. After a Level 1 change foot sit spin, he presented his choreographed sequence which earned a +3, the maximum Grade of Execution from one judge, and then got the audience cheering for his Level 4 combination spin. Although it was a problem with errors, it has a great deal of potential, but he and his coach, must pay more attention to the rules.