|1.||Anjelika Krylova / Oleg Ovsiannikov||RUS||1||1||1|
|2.||Irina Lobacheva / Ilia Averbukh||RUS||2||2||2|
|3.||Elena Grushina / Ruslan Goncharov||UKR||3||3||3|
|4.||Jessica Joseph / Joseph Butler||USA||4||4||4|
No surprises here, with three of the four teams reprising their free dances from last season. Krylova & Ovsiannikov got two 6.0's in the second mark for their "Carmen" routine. Lobacheva & Averbukh were well prepared with their "Jesus Christ Superstar" routine, but Grushina & Goncharov were at best mundane with just another ethnic European dance. Joseph & Butler skated well, and in my book had third place, but only two of five judges saw it that way. Still, that is better than the OD when only one judge had them in third place where they belonged. Hopefully it is too early to tell, but one gets a hint that this team will work hard this year, improve steadily, and be disappointed every step of the way when it comes to getting the marks they deserve.
The four teams ended up skating in order of finish after the CD (first to last), and with just four team the relative quality couldn't have been clearer - at least for the first three. After Krylova & Ovsiannikov's lively dance the next two dances were progressively slower, simpler, and less interesting. To the untrained eye (mine), Joseph& Butler's Jive was faster and more intricate than the Ukrainian's and should have been third, but the panel, however, did not see it that way.
Ice dancing is the weakest of the events here this week with only four competitors. 1998 World Champions Krylova & Ovsiannikov will have an easy time of it here, with none of the other couples in a position to push them. Only one compulsory dance - the Silver Samba - was skated in this event. K & O skated the dance head-and-shoulders above the rest, Krylova wearing a vivid chartreuse dress and Ovsiannikov in a matching shirt and the traditional black pants. Lobacheva & Averbukh did a credible but restrained job, while Grushina & Goncharov were undistinguished. Joseph and Butler, who just moved up to seniors last season skated competently, but their inexperience was obvious, and acknowledged by Butler who said, "We're a new team. This is our first year. we just moved up from the junior tour. We don't have a lot of experience."
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