Timothy Goebel (USA) was the first medal contender to skate in the mens'short program. Goebel, who had won Skate America two weeks ago, landed a quadruple salchow as his solo jump and went on to land a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination and a shaky double Axel. Goebel felt that his spins in his program to "Thus spoke Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss were not as centered as they should have been; however, his marks were as high as 5.8, both for technical and presentation marks. "I was pleased with my (second) mark, with the 5.8. I don't think I've gotten that before." Goebel commented. "I improved a lot, but I know we've still a long way to go", he said referring to his artistic impression.
Chengjiang Li (CHN) did not skated well at Skate Canada last week and finished in a disappointing 9th place there. This time, the Chinese skater redeemed himself. The Four Continents Silver Medallist delivered a clean, dynamic program to music from the "Tarzan" soundtrack. His program featured a high quadruple toe loop, a triple Axel-double toe loop combination, a double Axel as well as fast spins and good steps. "I'm happy with my performance, but it wasn't perfect", said Li. "I was very disappointed at Skate Canada, of course. I had a problem with my back in Canada."
Russia's Evgeni Plushenko was the last competitor of the group and witnessed a terrible fall by Stefan Lindemann (GER) who skated just before him. Lindemann, the reigning World Junior Champion, tried a triple Axel late in his program, and fell hard on his knee. He was not able to get up and was carried out on a stretcher. According to a report from the hospital, the 20-year-old German was diagnosed with a stretched ligament in his right knee and it was expected that he will be off the ice for three weeks.
Plushenko looked very focused when he came out on the ice. He began his fast paced "Bolero" with a huge quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, and nailed a solo tripleAxel. Although he was slightly leaning while in the air during his triple Lutz, Plushenko managed to land it nonetheless. His spins and steps were amongst the best of the field, and one of the Judges awarded him a 6.0 for presentation. However, the European Champion still believes he could have done better. "It was not super", he explained. "My step sequence wasn't a 100 percent. My coach and I think that I can do much better. Of course, I'm very pleased to have gotten a 6.0, there is nothing better!" Plushenko added, "It was difficult to skate after the accident of Stefan. It was terrible. I feel very sorry for him. I tried not to watch and to keep focused on myself." Plushenko won the short program, with Goebel second, Li third, and Alexander Abt of Russia, who fell on his quadruple toe loop attempt, fourth.
First to skate among the top contenders, was China's Chengjiang Li, who touched down on his opening quadruple toe loop. The two-time Four Continents Silver Medallist recovered quickly and pulled off a triple Axe l- triple toe loop combination and five more triples, although his loop was shaky. Li's program to "Blue Men" was dynamic and fast, and he claimed the bronze medal. "I'm happy that I skated here. I learned a lot from training with the other competitors", said Li.
Timothy Goebel, second after the short program, started with a triple flip and then reeled off a quadruple Salchow - triple toe loop combination. The 20-year-old then stumbled on the second jump in his triple Axel - triple toe combination and fell on a quadruple toe loop before he pulled himself together to land another triple Axel and quadruple Salchow. Goebel's program to music from the soundtrack of "Henry V" included a triple Lutz and triple loop, but his spins and step sequences were not so convincing. He got marks up to 5.8 for both technique and presentation and settled for the silver. "Overall I'm disappointed with my performance. I had a few mistakes", he said. "I'm happy to have come away with the silver medal."
Short program leader Evgeni Plushenko skated right after Goebel. The 18-year-old from St. Petersburg opened his program set to a Tango and music from "Once upon a time in America" with his trademark quadruple toe loop - triple toe loop - double loop combination. He then nailed another quadruple toe loop, a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination, as well as three more triples. His only mistake came when he touched down on his triple loop. The entertaining performance also featured fast steps and original spins, and received a strong ovation from the audience. The judges awarded the European Champion straight 5.9s for presentation, and eight 5.9s and one 5.8 for technique. "I landed two quadruple jumps in competition for the first time in competition," said a delighted Plushenko. "We really worked hard on this during the summer. I plan to include the quadruple Salchow soon in my program, if it works out."
Alexander Abt, who fourth in the Short program, took to the ice first in the last group. He opened his program with a quadruple toe loop, followed by a triple Axel - double toe loop combination. Overall, Abt landed five triples, but he doubled the Lutz and lacked speed in the second half of his performance and finished fourth in the long and fourth overall.
Ivan Dinev of Bulgaria had some bad luck before his free skate. His left blade broke during the warm-up of the last group; however, he was able to quickly obtain a replacement pair of skates. He was allowed to skate last in the group and he put in a decent performance to finish in fifth place.
Canada's Emmanuel Sandhu had to stop after one and a half minutes into his free program because he discovered a flower that someone had thrown on to the ice for the previous skater. Sandhu was allowed to continue his program from the point at which he stopped and he came in sixth.
The Sparkassen Cup on Ice was a non-scoring event for Plushenko and Li. It was a scoring event for Goebel who now has 21 points after his two events and is currently heading the men's Grand Prix standings.
Return to title page