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U.S. Figure Skating Classic - Day 2

U.S. Ladies Dominate Short Program.  Canadians Take Top Two Places in Pairs Short.

by Alexandra Stevenson

(16 September 2012)  Salt Lake City, UT

The strength of United States has been aided by the diversity of its immigrants. This event showed the diversity of the backgrounds of the 18 Senior Ladies from 14 countries, many of whom were either born here or train in the US.

Most competitors are in this event are trying to get the minimum score for the World championships. The minimum score for the Ladies and Pairs Short is 28. All the scores are shown below. The technical score is the first number in the brackets.

Ladies Short Program

1.65.24 (35.44+29.80) Agnes Zawadzki, an 18-year old who has won bronze and silver medals in the world junior championships, who is trained by David Santee and Christy Krall, skated immediately following her teammate, Gracie Gold, and seemed to give it everything she’d got. She appeared to be thoroughly enjoying herself. She opened with a very high triple Lutz which earned +1.17 over the base value for this jump of 6.0. What spectators did not know is that this was originally planned as her combination. Instead, of doing the expected triple flip, she executed a superb combination of two triple toe loops which got her 1.40 over the base value of 8.20.

Her first spin was a very interesting combination of a layback, which not only received Level 4, the maximum, but also was given a good average Grade of Execution which meant she received an extra +0.67 over its base value of 2.70. She completed her double Axel earning 3.63 + 0.50. Her flying camel was the maximum Level 4 and she was awarded an extra half point by the judging panel. Her blond ponytail flipped up and down as she sped around the arena showing off her Level 3 steps, which got her an extra +0.67. Her final required element, the change foot combination spin was Level 3 with a full half point over the base value of 3 points.

Zawadzki’s technical marks were an impressive 4.47 above her nearest rival. She said, "I'm so excited, it kind of hasn't hit me yet. I've been working really hard on confidence and my mental mindset coming to competitions, and I'm starting to get the hang of it now. Before I hit my starting position, I thought of a couple things to boost myself up and get ready for the program. My coach (Krall) told me, ‘You have a lot of speed and potential to overstep when you get nervous.’ I get up in my shoulders. I thought of that and told myself to be confident and trust my training and push. And smile a lot.

“With my frees, they have been tougher for me. I’m trying to put my short mentality into my free mentality and keep them similar. Make them the same program even though one is longer than the other. I’m focusing on my mental toughness because I know I can do everything, I just need to tell myself that when I compete.” Her music was from the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack

2. 59.37 (29.97+29.40) Skating third on in the second group to Hernando’ s Hideaway in a backless bright red and gold outfit, Gracie Gold, a 17-year-old American, gained Level 4 for all four of the elements which are given a Level. However, she made a major error on her first element, executing a double to double instead of the planned triple flip to triple toe.  She did bring off a fine triple Lutz and double Axel.

Gold said, “I know I had a problem on my flip-toe combination but it’s a hard combination and I can’t hit it every time. I was excited going in and I really rushed the take-off. I’m looking forward to doing this program more and working everything out. The program is really coming along. We’re really trying to add a sassy sort of attitude to it and not have a single focus moment where you can tell I’m getting ready to jump. I want to keep the character from the beginning to the end and make everything even bigger. This was another chance to get my program out there and I thought it went well.”

3. 59.14 (31.88+27.26) Amelie Lacoste, the 23 year-old Canada champion, skated last in the first group of six skaters, and took the competition to a whole new level. She gave a very impressive performance executing all her required elements with a maturity and grace. Dressed in deep maroon and with gold straps criss- crossing her back, Lacoste opened with a very nice double Axel followed by a solid triple flip to double toe and a flying sit spin. Her last jumping element was a triple loop.

Commenting on her new hair color, blonde, she said, “Everyone tells me they don’t recognize me, but it’s me! I like to change my hair color every year or every two years. Back in 2006 or 2007, I was blonde then I went to red hair and then brown. Now I’m back to blonde and I’m going to stay blonde. I like it.

This was my best short program in a while. I’m really proud of it. My goal coming to this international senior B was to make the technical points for the Worlds (Championships). In the short, it was 28 and I got 31 points. One section done, one to go - the free skate. Overall, I felt very good on the ice. I wanted to stay calm and perform like I do in practice.”

4. 54.82 (29.56+25.26) Skating next to last, Elena Glebova, 23, is the six-time Estonian champion who was born in her country’s capital of Tallinn. She gave a very dramatic showing, appearing in a black and deep red with long sleeves.  She stepped out of opening element triple Lutz but executed a good combination of two triple toes, and put a lot of effort into her steps.

5. 46.86 (25.06 +21.80) Melinda Wang, 21, was born in New York City but represents Taipei. Skating 11th in a red and pink long sleeved, backless outfit sprinkled with silver, began with a triple flip which earned the base value but nothing extra. She completed a triple toe to double toe and a double Axel but no more and her last spin, a flying camel received only the basic Level 1. 

6. 41.06 (22.20+18.66) Skating first in the third group of six skaters, Karina Sinding Johnson, Denmark, is 21. She was born in West Hills, California, but is the four time Danish champion. Skating in a deep black outfit with gold and silver trimming and one sleeve, she received negative Grade of Execution for two elements. The triple Lutz to double toe lost 1.40 and the triple Salchow 0.70. Her flying sit spin received only the base value for the basic Level 1.

7. 39.45 (20.83+19.62) Isadora Williams, Brazil, is a 16-year old who was born in Atlanta and raised in the Washington DC area. When she competed at the 2010 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in March 2010, she became only the third skater in any of the skating disciplines to represent Brazil, which she is able to do because her mother is from that country. She was introduced to the sport at the Cooler Ice Rink in Marietta, Georgia, when she was five. Earlier this year, she placed 16th in the World Junior championships earlier this year.

Skating second in a sleeveless fushia outfit with a diagonal shoulder strap, she fell on her first jumping element, a triple Lutz which got an arrow for slight under-rotation. On her next element, the triple flip to double toe, she was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off. Subsequently, she had to fight to hold the landing of her double Axel and seemed to slip a little on some footwork. But her final  spin, a combination, left the audience, judges and tech panel smiling. They awarded the maximum Level 4 with the full base value.

8. 38.19 (19.13 +19.06) Melissa Bulanhagui, Philipines, is a 4’11” 22-year-old who was born in Philadelphia lives in Newark, Delaware. She previously represented the US internationally, earning bronze for the United States at the 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy and was tenth in the 2011 US championship. This is the first season his season she has represented the Philippines, the birthplace of her parents.  She was fourth up and it was not a good showing. Appearing in a sleeveless bright pink outfit, she opened with a Level 3 flying sit spin. Her triple flip on one foot but forward and so received a double arrow for under-rotation. She subsequently brought off a triple Lutz to double toe but the first jump got a single arrow for slight under-rotation. Her last jump was a very nice double Axel but her final spin, a combination was only Level 1.

9. 36.06 (17.80+19.06) Skating last, Mimi Tanasorn Chinasook, Thailand, 17, was born in her country’s capital of Bangkok but came to the United States and trains in Lake Arrowhead. She wore a “backless” two-piece in shocking pink. She displayed a happy smile on landing her double Axel, but had to execute a double three turn after her triple toe before getting up into the air for the second jump in her combination, a double toe.  Her jump out of steps was a triple Salchow and she fell on it. Her step sequence was only Level 1.

10. 34.98 (17.84+18.14 -1) Kai-Jing Leong, Singapore, 19, was born in Canada. She skated at the end of the second warm-up group, immediately before an ice resurface in a sleeveless navy blue and silver creation, opened with a good double Axel but then had a bad fall on her triple Salchow. She subsequently presented a double Lutz to double toe loop. 

11. 34.14 (16.77+18.46 -1) Crystal Kiang, 22, was born in New York City but representsTaipei. She fell on her first element a triple Lutz, which received a double arrow for under-rotation. Her combination of triple loop to double loop rotation also received a double arrow for under-rotation. She wore a lovely sleeveless fushia outfit with lots of silver. Her deliberately uneven skirt was trimmed with pink. She used an unusual version of Swan Lake. Her steps and flying sit spin were only Level 1.

12. 33.72 (15.60+19.12 -1) Tiffany Packard Yu, 23, was born in Monteray Park in the United States but represents Hong Kong. She skated in a one sleeved bright purple and silver outfit with exposed midrift. She began with a triple Salchow but could only combine it with a single toe loop. Then she fell on her triple toe loop. She completed her double Axel but it got half a point removed. Three of the four elements which receive Levels in the Short Program received only the basic 1.

13. 33.57 (17.43+18.14) On the day before her 27th birthday, Ana Cantu Felix, Mexico, was fifth to skate. She appeared in bright lime green, opening her routine with a triple Flip but stepped out of the landing.  Her triple Salchow was under-rotated. However she earned the full base value for her double Axel.

14. 31.11 (15.17+16.94 -1) Ami Parekh, 24, who now represents India was born in New Jersey but is of Indian descent. “When India became a provisional member of the ISU in 2004, it came as a complete surprise to me. But I and my family contacted them.” She was the first person to represent that huge country in the world championship. In Salt Lake she performed in red with a black top and elbow length sleeves. Her opening required element, a double Axel, was high and secure. But she fell on her second jumping element, meant to be a triple loop combination and she singled her triple toe loop out of footwork.

15. 30.28 (12.44+17.84) Stephanie Rigley, Britain, was born and trains in California but is of British descent, was attired in black lace over orange, with one sleeve bare, began with a low triple Salchow to double toe but the first jump got a double arrow for downgrade and the second jump was saddled with a single arrow for slight under-rotation. She also got double arrows for her two-footed triple toe and for the double Axel. It was a day to be fast forgotten, although there was one ray of sunshine. Her layback spin received the maximum Level 4 with an extra half point added.

16. 30.09 (14.57+17.52 -2) Georgia Glastris, Greece, who opened the Senior Ladies event, is a 20-year-old who was born in Chicago, is the twice winner and twice runner-up for the Greek national title. She has represented Greece internationally since 2008, and has competed three times in the world championships. She is a pre-med student and trains in Bloomfield Hills at the Detroit SC. She is the oldest of three sisters, all of who are competitive skaters. She is the organizer of the annual “Frenchie Skate” which raises funds for pediatric cancer patients of a local children’s hospital. Skating in a sleeveless red outfit, she fell on her first element, a triple Salchow and again on her double Axel, and under-rotated her triple loop.

17. 29.59 (12.59+16.98) Clara Peters, Ireland, who was born in Germany of Irish parents, was raised near Dublin but has lived in the US for several years, studying at the University of Delaware. She has competed in the past four world championships. But this was not one of her better routines. She began with a tentative Level 2 flying sit spin and then singled her flip. Her layback was deemed only “basic”, which means it didn’t get a Level but the tech panel acknowledged she had at least attempted the element. Her steps were only Level 1. She then did double Lutz to single toe loop. She didn’t give up, however, and she didn’t fall. Her double Axel was completed, earning the full base value. Her last element was a Level 2 combination spin. She wore a sleeveless black number and her music was gorgeous. 

18.28.50 (14.28+16.22 -2) Yamada Sumika, Hong Kong, is a 17-year-old who was born in Osaka, Japan, but now lives and trains in Fairbault, Minnesota. She has competed since 2010 in several Junior Grand Prix events. Skating in a purple and silver creation, Yamada began with a double Axel and had complicated footwork, but she fell on both her triple loop and her triple Salchow, which were both downgraded. The Salchow was meant to be her combination. Her last spin was only Level 1.

Pairs Short Program

1.62.94 (34.02+28.92) Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch, Canada, presented an extremely interesting masterpiece of a routine, brilliantly choreographed to piano music from a French movie. They were obviously interpreting a romantic story. Skating fifth of the six pairs from three countries, they began with an impressive Level 3 +0.93 triple twist. Then came triple toes which lost 0.47 from the base value of 4.10 points. Their Level 3 back outside death spiral received an extra +0.70 as did their throw triple loop. Their Group 4 lift began with him sliding along the ice in a kneeling position and lifting her from that position! It got Level 4 with +0.50. They concluded with their Level 4 straight line steps.

He said, “We feel really good about what we did today. I think our short program has been improving all summer and this was our strongest outing so far. We’re very happy with our skate and our score. We definitely know we can skate it better, so we still have somewhere to reach. We have room to grow, but we’re thrilled with today.” She added, “We just want to attack the free skate now. Being in the lead so far gives us confidence, but it’s not really about that. It’s more about attacking everything for us. We always want to improve on our last performance.”

2. 54.43 (29.69+25.74 -1) Opening the event were the Canadians, Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers, who gave a very enjoyable performance. Although she fell on their opening element, side-by-side triple toes, they kept their cool and didn’t let it affect the rest of their performance. Their triple twist and back outside death spiral were only Level 1, although the death spiral had a nice finishing touch. They had very good unison on their flying change foot camel spins. The later gained the maximum Level 4 as did their steps and lift.

She said, “The program went really smoothly. It was a good second time out this year. The only disappointing thing was my jump. That’s something I’m working on myself. The rest of the program has a good base and this was a good starting out.” He said, “We are trying something new for the short program this year. In previous years, we’ve picked really fun programs where we emote to the audience and get them pumped. This year, we are trying to go more of a mature short and bring the crowd into us. Instead of bringing the moment out to the crowd, we want to have a moment between the two of us and bring the crowd into that.”

3. 47.44 (23.66+23.78) Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, who train in Ellenton, Florida, were making their international debut. They skated fourth, just after the warm-up, which was a little unfortunate because she had taken a fall in the warm-up and possibly could have benefited with more of a gap before skating. She wore a beautiful pale blue dress. He was in a royal blue short-sleeved top with black pants.  They opened with a good triple twist but it was only given but it was only a B for basic. She had problem with landing her side by side triple toe and the element got an arrow for under-rotated. They had pleasant music and a very interesting opening on their Level 4 lift where he presses her up above his head from a position in which she starts upside down with her head near his boots. Their steps and lift were Level 4.

He said, “When we found out we got assigned to this event, we were super excited to start our international career in the U.S. We were happy with the skate but we know we can do better. We were a little nervous with everyone here around us. Our debut is done now so we can just concentrate on enjoying the free skate and the experience.” She added, “We just talked with our coach about the fact that it was our first time, our first short program. Now we have a day to regroup and hit it strong for the free skate.”

4. 45.58 (20.84+25.74) Skating third, the new partnership of Lindsay Davis & Mark Ladwig, US, began with good triple Salchows which earned their full base value. But the triple twist was caught after two and a half rotations and they were saddled with double arrows and a down-grade. Their throw triple Salchow earned +0.70 over the base value but their lift was deemed only Level 2 with 0.70 removed from the base value. Their steps were Level 2. Unfortunately there was a problem with the end of their death spiral. Her position changed and the exit was flawed, which meant they received only Level 1 with minus 1.40 removed from the base value. She was dress in an interesting dusty rose creation with gold sparkles.

Ladwig said, “We learn stuff every time we go out there. There are positives that came through today, like our jumps. Obviously, we’re still working on things like the triple twist. We’re going to make some mistakes, but we are going to learn from them. She said, “The technical aspect is the most difficult thing to get together at the beginning, so we are really focused on that right now. We are trying to match our skating skills and start to blend together. The trust was there from the beginning. She’s known what I’m capable of and I completely believe in her. It’s been really easy, so far.”5. 40.99 (18.73+23.26 -1) Skating last of the six pairs from three countries, Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin, US, began with a high double twist which earned Level 2 with +0.40. She fell on their triple toes. Their lift was Level 3 with +0.33. They are opposite way jumpers and spinners, which makes for an interesting change. They earned Level 3 for their steps with +0.50 added. She put her hand down on their throw double flip which was penalized with -0.67. They got no points for the back outside death spiral.

Vise readily admitted, “It was a rough skate, not like we have been practicing. We have been perfect here in practice but the timing just wasn’t on on a lot of things. We had a good double twist and Donny did a good toe. We’re not working on the triple anymore. I rotate the opposite way so it’s hard to pull in. We decided to make a really good double.”

6. 38.76 (20.65+19.12 -1) Danielle Montalbano & Evgeni Krasnopolshy, Israel, were second up. Dressed in black with touches of blue, they began with a level 2 double twist. She fell on their side by triple Salchows and jackknifed on the landing of their throw triple loop. Their spin, lift and steps were all Level 3 but the back outside death spiral only received Level 1.