by Alexandra Stevenson
|1||Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV||RUS||159.71||1||2|
|2||Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE||ITA||158.74||2||1|
|3||Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE||USA||150.30||3||3|
|4||Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI||ITA||141.06||4||4|
|5||Irina SHTORK / Taavi RAND||EST||129.41||5||5|
|6||Ramona ELSENER / Florian ROOST||SUI||113.03||6||7|
|7||Justyna PLUTOWSKA / Peter GERBER||POL||110.08||7||6|
|8||Henna LINDHOLM / Ossi KANERVO||FIN||101.73||8||8|
|9||Olesia KARMI / Max LINDHOLM||FIN||95.12||10||9|
|10||Bryna OI / Taiyo MIZUTANI||JPN||94.13||9||10|
|11||Lesia VOLODENKOVA / Vitaly VAKUNOV||BLR||86.93||11||11|
(7 October 2012) Espoo, Finland
1. 188.23 (64.89+59.29) Julia Lipnitskaia, Russia, skating last of the 11 entries from 8 countries, in a long sleeved lilac and pink outfit with gloves, to music from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”, the 14-year-old easily won the Free Skate to claim gold by the significant margin of 7.07 points), overtaking the Finn, Kiira Korpi who had led after the Short Program.
The wunderkid, who is not old enough this season to enter the World Championship, said, “I’m very pleased with my first competition of the season and my first senior international.”
She opened with a triple Lutz to triple toe which moved one judge to award the maximum +3 Grade of Execution. Four of the other judges gave +2 and three +1. That superb combination of jumps was followed by a secure +0.82 double Axel to triple toe loop to double toe, a +0.25 double Axel and a +0.23 triple loop. Her first spin, a flying camel spin got the maximum Level 4 with +0.83. At the halfway mark, she executed a triple Lutz to double toe which earned +0.23 over its base value. Then came her only mistake, she double a flip and it had -0.25 taken off its base value. Her triple Salchow earned an extra +0.23. Her straight line steps were Level 3 with +0.83 GoE. Her choreographed sequence was rewarded with two maximum +3s, four +2s and two +1s. The following Level 4 spin earned seven +3s and one +2. And her final spin, a layback, which finished in an almost split Biellmann, was rewarded with six +3s and two +2s. Her component scores ranged from two 6.00s up to six 8.50s.
It will be interesting to see how she develops when and if she grows. Asked how she manages her schooling, with all her training and competition demands, she revealed she is home schooled in Moscow. “I have exams once a year. My mother makes all my costumes.”
2. 181.16 (50.38+61.51) Kiira Korpi, Finland, after skating so brilliantly the day before, Korpi, dressed in a black outfit with a light brown underskirt, gave a disappointing showing to drop to second. She explained, “, I’m happy to be second in my first competition after such a long break.” An injury sidelined her after the 2012 European Championship.
“I got my qualifying minimum points to enter the world championship. That was a relief. There were technical errors and I have to work on that. I lost my focus after I stepped out and nearly fell of my first jump, a triple toe loop (meant to be combined with a second triple toe). Then I put my hand down on the triple Lutz and singled the flip. Towards the end I couldn’t figure out if I had done three combinations or not. I couldn’t decide whether to add an extra double toe. I was confused.”
After her first spin, a Level 4 +0.67 flying sit, she executed a good, +0.70, triple loop to double toe. But then, at the halfway point, she singled both parts of her planned triple Salchow to double toe and left off the scheduled third jump, a double loop. But she added to the following jump, a triple loop, a double toe and double loop. Her layback spin was a beautiful +0.50 Level 4, and her straight line steps were Level 4 with +1.28. (Two judges gave this the maximum +3.) Her final jump was a +0.58 double Axel. She closed with her choreographed sequence, which earned two +3s, five +2 and a zero, and a Level 4 combination spin, which gained one +3, five +2s, a +1 and a 0. The components ranged from three 7.00 up to one 8.5.
3. 163.09 (54.07+57.27 -1)Mirai Nagasu, USA, skated second of the second group of skaters, dressed in a very dark navy blue, to Camille Saint-Saens’ “Symphony No.3 in C Minor. She opened with a triple Lutz but rece ived an “e” for wrong edge take-off. That was followed by a +1.05 double Axel to triple toe, which was so good, it earned one +3, three +2s and four +1s. However, the following triple flip got an arrow for slight under-rotation, and she lost -0.70 from its base value. Her step sequence was Level 2 with +0.58 and her flying camel, with began with a butterfly jump entrance, earned an extra +0.67.
Then she fell on her second triple flip, meant as a combination. She recovered with a triple loop to double toe which lost -0.23 but the following double Axel earned an extra +0.25 and a second triple loop got +0.82. Her combination spin was Level 4 with +0.83, her choreographed sequence +1.05 and her final move, Level 4 layback, a superb +1.33 with five of the maximum +3 GoEs and three +2s.
Her components went from an out-of-place one 5.75 up to two 8.0s. She said, “Well, I fell on my butt. It was meant to be a combination so it was a bit of a bummer and I only did two (instead of the allowed three) combinations. I only have one Grand Prix, but I’m going to work hard for that and maybe get another one.”
4. 153.39 (55.90+48.75) Natalia Popova, Ukraine, trains alongside Johnny Weir and Michal Brezina in Hackensack, New Jersey. Popova, who turned 19 on September 15, skated as well as this reporter has ever seen her do, to the ballet music “La Bayadere”. All 12 elements earned at least their base value. She included six triples comprising two flips, the second one with a double toe, a loop, a toe loop and two Salchows, both with a double toe loops. Her combination spin was Level 4 with the other two spins and her steps Level 3.
Russians hold onto lead but Italians’ Carmen outshines the leaders’ “Noir” modern free.
1.Overall 159.71 (42.66+51.49) Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, Russia. It was apparent as soon as the couple, who placed seventh in Worlds earlier this year, took the ice, that this was NOT going to be your average fFree. He was in a grey, well-worn looking outfit, with his white undershirt peeking out of the top. She was in black with her long blonde hair loose. Their music is “Man with a Harmonica” from the movie, Once Upon a Time in the West, by Ennio Morricone. The routine begins with him in some sort of coma and her shaking him like a rag doll trying to get him to return to consciousness.
They appeared first on of the top four couples, immediately after the ice resurfacing. He later explained that he was a lost soul, that she was trying to rescue him, but in doing so, he brings her down to his level. But he finds redemption looking after her. They dash around the rink showing lots of angst for four minutes and a few seconds, taking time out to miraculously spring back to good health and complete their nine elements, including three Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 spin. Though their circular steps were Level 3, their twizzles, the curve lift and the diagonal steps were only Level 2.
The component scores included five 9.25s down to a 7.50. They were top in this category by 1.26 points, but the Italians beat them on the elements by 1.69.
With her enthusiastic, young approach to life and supportive nature, American Madison Hubbell defended the Russians’ innovation. “They are struggling to be Russia’s top team and they have to show they have a new approach. It’s an interesting development.” Yeah, well, Bolero it ain’t!
2.Overall 158.74 (44.35+50.23) Anna appellini & Luca Lanotte, Italy, drew to skate their Carmen routine last of the 11 couples from 9 countries. “Yes,” said Cappellini with a smile, “When we heard the Canadian Olympic champions had also chosen this music, we did think about changing ours. But by then, we had put in so much work on the routine and we really love performing it, so we decided there was room for it and I’m looking forward to the Skate Canada Grand Prix, where the judges and the audience will decide what they feel about the two versions.”
Originally, that first facing off would have occurred in Espoo, but Virtue & Moir were a last minute withdrawal from this event due to his neck muscle bull. (The sport was made more interesting in the 1988 season when Kati Witt and Debi Thomas battled out their very different interpretations of this music, so maybe this will turn into a similar dual. Kati won that round taking gold while Debi made an error and was disappointed with bronze behind the silver medalist Liz Manley from Canada.)
Cappellini had two previous partners before Lanotte, with whom she began competing in 2005. They have made steady progress and were sixth in the past world championship, but she lost time over a left shoulder injury. “Thank goodness these past two years are over. You wouldn’t think that a shoulder injury would be that bad, but every time I moved my head or even sneezed it would really hurt. Thank goodness that is in the past.”
Their routine began with Level 4 twizzles, which earned one maximum +3 Grade of Execution. Their following long lift received Level 4 for both parts with two judges punching in +3, five others giving +2 and one +1. (Ice dancers may choose to do four short lifts or combine two of them into a long lift.) Their circular steps were only Level 2, but the following combination spin and their straight line lift were both Level 4 with the lift earning straight +2s except for one +3. Their last lift and the diagonal steps were only Level 2 but the lift earned three +3s and the rest +2s. They concluded, as did everyone but the last placed couple, with the very short “choreographed” lift which is only ever given the basic Level 1.
3.Overall 150.30 (44.15+47.71) Madison Hubbell & Zach Donohue, USA, performed a passionate Flamenco. She explained, “It is difficult to translate a dance so well known on the floor to the ice. We worked with Flamenco dancers but they normally perform on a small stage. It’s very hard to present an authentic dance. It’s a very energetic, intense dance with lots of emotion and we like that. But it has definitely been hard work, and we know this is an on-going process. We have a lot of work still to do. But we are enjoying that challenge.”
They appeared in black and gold, with some red under the lace in her dress and a red flower in her blonde hair bun. They use three pieces of music, “Arrucas”, “Un Amor” and the well-known “Malaguena”. They drew to appear immediately following the Russians. Donohue said, “We were very happy to skate a pretty clean Free. It was very exciting because we really pushed ourselves. Almost all our moves are new. The program is far more difficult than anything we’ve done in the past. We’re very confident we are making progress.” Hubbell is tall with a lot of charisma and “presence”. There is one stunning pose when she places her blade carefully on his foot while reaching out and forward while he goes low and leans back. She looks like the figure on the front of an old ship, sailing off to unknown adventures on the high sea.
They both agreed, “We are pretty competitive as far as our Levels go. But we have to work on our GoEs.” They were second on the element score, only 0.20 behind the Russians and 1.49 ahead of the Italians. But their components were only third best. They were a very significant 3.78 behind the Russians in this section, and 2.52 lower than the Italians. However, they were well ahead of the second Italian couple, who finished fourth in both sections and overall, earning, for their Free, 2.99 points ahead of Guignard & Fabri on the elements and 3.45 on the components.