2001 Four Continents Championships
The men's event finished on the same high level as it had begun in the short programs, at least for the top ten-or-so men, with five men landing a total of seven quadruple jump. At the bottom of the heap, however, the quality and the marks were considerably lower with marks as low as 1.8 being handed out. Indeed, the bottom ten men ranged from junior to juvenile-level in quality and several resorted to the futile trick of using fast music to try and hide the fact they were skating in slow motion. In the short program three men tried this same trick using the exact same music - a rapid fire "Four Seasons" skated like it would take all four seasons for them to finish.
After skating during the last warmup period Todd Eldredge decided to withdraw from the competition due to an ankle injury that occurred on Wednesday prior to the short program. He had jammed his left ankle in practice on Wednesday and had received treatment and physical therapy since. Later he said, " I worked with the doctor today and did some different things. Nothing seemed to really make it feel good enough to go out and compete to the ability I should be able to." Subsequent evaluation the following day showed the additional presence of a cyst on the ankle. It appears likely that Eldredge will not compete in the upcoming Grand Prix Final in two weeks.
In the first two warmup groups onlt Emanuel Sandhu was able to pull away from the dregs. He made several errors but fought back through the program to pull up to fifth place in the long program to end up seventh overall. He started off by putting a hand down on quad toe loop and then fell on triple Axel. He then went on to land triple toe loop, triple flip, triple Salchow and triple Axel. He doubled a planned triple loop but immediately improvised a second and landed it. Shortly therafter he singles a triple Lutz but improvised again adding a triple toe loop. In some respects it was a strong program though not very interesting, and if he repeats this inconsistant skating next month at Worlds he will have a hard time making it into the top ten there.
In the third warmup group Ben Ferreira and Jayson Denommee faced off in their skateoff for a World Team spot. Ferreira was clearly superior ro Denommee who seemed to give up in the middle of the program. Consequently, even though he placed third at Canadian Nationals, Ferreira will end up competing in Vancouver.
Michael Weiss skated first in the last warmup group. He struggled through the program, but fought back well enough to place third in the long program and move up to third overall. Because he placed fourth at U.S. Nationals he did not make the U.S. World Team and thus he ends his season with the bronze medal here. Opened with quad toe loop - double toe loop but two footed the quad. He then landed a triple Axel - double toe loop combination, though just barely on the Axel. He again just barely made through a solo triple Axel. In the middle seciton of the program he landed triple flip, two footed a triple loop, landed a triple Salchow, and doubled a Lutz for his last jump.
Todd Eldredge was scheduled to complete next but withdrew from the competition. As a result Chengjiang Li was a little rushed getting onto the ice. When he heard that Eldredge was not going to skate, Li still had his skates off.
Li opened with a quad toe loop - triple toe loop combination and then a solo quad Salchow. In the middle of the program for unknown reasons he completely revised the order of his jumps. On a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination he stepped out of the second jump and he subsequently singled an attempt at a solo triple Axel. He later landed triple loop and a triple Salchow. He landed a total of six quads or triple, but oddly did not attempt either a triple flip or Lutz. It was a generally nice performance though he started to run out of gas in the last minute. Seven of the nine judges placed him first. Compared with when he first came on the international scene his endurance has improved and his presentation skills are much better, but he still cannot make it all the way through his ambitions programs and his artistic skills are still surpassed by several of the top men.
Yamato Tamura landed two quadruple toe loops in his program, the first in combination with double toe loop and the second a solo effort. After that his program fell apart. After that he landed but one triple, a flip, and stepped out of or doubles all the other jumps he attempted. After the short program he was in range of a medal but dropped to eight in the long to sixth overall.
Matt Savoie who had been in third after the short program also had a difficult skate, which cost him a medal. He landed an opening triple Salchow out of a split jump and then attempted a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination. The Axel was clean but he put a foot down on the toe loop. After a double Axel he fell on triple flip but then landed a triple loop. He stepped out of a solo triple Axel attempt, omitted a planed triple flip and finally landed a triple flutz. His inconsistent performance received placements of third through eighth for a sixth place result in the long for a fourth place finish overall.
Last to skate was Takeshi Honda. With all that had transpired to this point he had a chance to win the event, despite his fourth place finish in the short program, if he won the long program. He opened with a nice triple Axel - triple toe loop combination. On a quad toe loop - triple toe loop combination he doubled the first jump and omitted the second. He then elected to do a triple Salchow instead of a planned quad and at that point he was skating for second place. He landed triple loop, stepped out of a triple Axel, flutzed a triple Lutz and then landed a triple flip. It was a decent job with some nice moves, but inconsistent. Still with the errors made by Li, two judges placed him first while the other seven placed him second through sixth. The net result was a second place finish in the long program moving him up to the silver medal in the event.
In addition to the skaters mentioned above, quadruple toe loops were also landed by Yunfei Li, in combination with a double toe loop, and by Min Zhang and Yosuke Takeuchi as solo efforts.
The pairs event may have included two potential Worlds medalists, but in terms of well fought competition it was the men's event that took held center stage. While the ladies could barely eke out marks in the low fives in the medal positions, the men performed in the mid to upper fives with five men landing quadruple jumps in the short program. The men's event, however, was also very much a case of the have's and have not's. At the bottom of the standings some of the lowest marks ever awarded in an ISU championships were give out, with the lowest mark awarded a 0.9 - yes that is a zero, as in less than 1!
Takeshi Honda was the first of the top men to compete, skating second in the first warmup. He opened with a successful quad toe loop - triple toe loop combination and then a spread eagle into triple Axel. For the the solo jump he attempted triple Lutz though is was noticeably flutzed. Skating to "Don Quixote", his presentation was marginal with mediocre connecting moves and repetitive gestures. Three skaters later he was followed by Chengjiang Li who skated last in the first warmup. Li opened with a quad toe loop which was followed with a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination. He skated with good expression to fast rhythmic music and made it through all of the difficult elements only to step out of double Axel near the end of the program. His marks were high enough to hold onto the first place spot until the last skater of the event, Todd Eldredge.
The second warmup group began with Emanuel Sandhu again crashing and burning in international competition. The recently crowned Canadian national champion has already been selected to compete at Worlds next month while his teammates Jayson Denomme and Ben Ferreira are in a skate off here for a second Canadian berth at Worlds. Sandhu has a history of choking in international competition and both Denomme and Ferreira outskated him in the short program. Sandhu managed to barely land a quad toe loop but then produced a single Axel in place of an attempted triple Axel - triple toe loop combination and on the required double Axel he singled again.
Sandu was followed by Mat Savoie in the skating. Savoie skated clean with triple Axel, a triple flip - triple toe loop combination, and a solo triple Lutz. His presentation was fairly strong, and by virtue of the clean program he was able to take the third spot in the short program standings despite lacking a quad.
Last to skate in the third warmup group was Michael Weiss who was blown out of the rink at U.S. Nationals where he lost his national tittle and ended up placing fourth. Weiss decide not to attempt a quad and opened with a triple toe loop followed by a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination. It was a clean strong skate, but with difficulty a notch below the other top men the best he could do here was tie for fifth with Yamato Tamura.
Tamura was third to skate in the fourth warmup group. He landed triple Lutz and double Axel but in his combination jump he stepped out of triple Axel and put his hand down and then completed a double toe loop. The judges had a hard time deciding what to make of his innovative choreography to "Night on Bald Mountain", giving out second marks ranging from 4.8 to 5.8. Similarly one had a hard time deciding what to make of his costume which in retrospect was meant to represent flames bursting out of his clothes but a first glance looked more like a chicken had exploded inside his jacket. He received placements of second through ninth and ended up in a tie for fifth with Weiss.
Last to skate in the event was Todd Eldredge. Eldredge also decided not to attempt a quad and began with triple flip - triple toe loop instead. He also landed triple Axel and triple Lutz. His clean well skated program earned marks of 5.6 through 5.9 and he was placed first by all nine judges.
In addition to the above named skaters, Min Zhang of China also landed a quad toe loop - triple toe loop combination.
The tie for fifth place presented a fine illustration of the weakness of the OBO scoring system. Honda, Tamura, and Weiss all had "beat" seventeen other skaters in the group, but only because OBO allows the foolish result that Weiss beat Tamura, Tamura beat Honda, and Honda beat Weiss. Thanks to the voodoo math that OBO is based on, Honda ended up in fourth place and Tamura and Weiss were tied even though Weiss was placed above Tamura by six of the nine judges.
J1: Anita Hilbert
J2: Jiasheng Yang
J3: Gale Tanger
J4: Mieko Fujimori
J5: William Thompson
J6: Simone Moore
J7: Florin Gafencu
J8: Laura McNair
J9: Thomas Biegler
Sb: Krunoslava Cumic
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