We finished today with the Pairs Free Skate and the Men's Free Skate. This was the best attended day of the competition with final attendance pegged at 4644. In the pairs event the order of finish in the free skate was identical to the short program. In the men's event, Canadians Jeffrey Buttle and Emanuel Sandhu finished one-two, with Evan Lysacek winning the bronze medal.
Prior to the day's events, Courtney Jones, O.B.E., ISU Council Member for Figure Skating and David Dore, ISU Vice-President for Figure Skating met with the press in an informal setting to review issues of current interest.
On tap for today were the Free Dance in the afternoon and the Ladies Free Skate in the evening. As is the rule at all ISU championships, only the top 24 ladies after the short program competed in the free skate. Young Canadian phenom Cynthia Phaneuf rocketed from eighth place in the short program to win the free skate and place second overall. In dance Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto secured a closely contested victory over Dubreuil & Lauzon.
About 2000 spectators were present in the afternoon and by evening the audience "swelled" to just over 3100.
Cold with snow flurries outside today. Cold with skating furies on the inside. There were three events today in the busiest day scheduled for the competition. We began with the Original Dance in the afternoon and then moved on to the Pairs Short program and Men's Short Program in the evening. About 750 spectators were on hand for the OD which began at 1PM, the audience grew to about 1000 for the pairs SP later in the afternoon, and by evening about 2000 were on hand for the Men's SP.
In the dance, Americans Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto took hold of first place by winning the OD. In the pairs and men's short programs there were a few nice programs turned in by the leaders, but the number of dreadful performances for the lower placed skaters was overwhelming. The lowest mark of today was a 1.5, an absurd state of affairs for a senior level competition. The logical favorite for the men's event, based on reputation, was Takeshi Honda. But Honda has been battling an injury and struggled during the warmup. He did not skate and withdrew from the competition.
In the men's event a quick analysis of the marks shows that Buttle (who placed first) and Tamura (who placed second) were actually in a virtual tie; and that with an alternate random choice of the nine of fourteen judges who make up the official results Tamura, would have won. Also, the marks indicate that Sandhu placed third over Evan Lysacek due to the random selection of the judges.
Ninety-five skaters from 11 countries are competing here in the Four Continents Championships, the equivalent of the European Championships, created for the skaters from the non-European ISU members. This is a chance for the skaters from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania to earn a little prize money and have one last major tune-up before the World Championships in Dortmund this March.
Few of the competitors here have any real chance to medal at Worlds, with Takeshi Honda, Jennifer Kirk and Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto the only serious possibilities in that department. For some of the U.S. Skaters it is an opportunity to get needed exposure in front of the international judges before Worlds while for others it is a consolation prize for placing well at U.S. Nationals, but not well enough to make the World Team.
With 23 men and 26 ladies competing there is no need for qualifying rounds which greatly expedites the competition. Only 10 pair teams and 13 dance couples are present for the other two events of the Championships.
We began tonight with the Ladies Short Program and the Dance Compulsory Dance (Yankee Polka). About 500 spectators were on hand at the start of the competition at 4 PM and by the time the ladies began had grown to about 1500.
Return to title page