2009 Four Continents

Pairs Event

by Alexandra Stevenson

Photos Copyright 2009 by George S. Rossano


Place Team Country SP FS
1 Qing Pang & Jian Tong CHN 1 1
2 Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison CAN 2 2
3 Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang CHN 3 3

Meagan Duhamel & Craig Buntin

CAN 4 6
5 Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker USA 7 4
6 Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett USA 8 5
7 Rena Inoue & John Baldwin USA 5 7
8 Mylene Brodeur & John Mattatall CAN 6 8
9 Huibo Dong & Yiming Wu CHN 9 9
10 Amanda Sunyoto-Yang & Daryll Sulindro-Yang TPE 10 10
11 Marina Agannina & Dmitri Zobnin UZB 11 11

Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Mylene Brodeur & John Mattatall

  2. Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett

  3. Amanda Sunyoto-Yang & Daryll Sulindro-Yang

  4. Huibo Dong & Yiming Wu

  5. Marina Agannina & Dmitri Zobnin

  6. Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison

  7. Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker

  8. Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang

  9. Rena Inoue & John Baldwin

  10. Qing Pang & Jian Tong

  11. Meagan Duhamel & Craig Buntin


Short Program Placements


Team Country
1 Qing Pang & Jian Tong CHN
2 Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison CAN
3 Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang CHN

Meagan Duhamel & Craig Buntin

5 Rena Inoue & John Baldwin USA
6 Mylene Brodeur & John Mattatall CAN
7 Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker USA
8 Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett USA
9 Huibo Dong & Yiming Wu CHN
10 Amanda Sunyoto-Yang & Daryll Sulindro-Yang TPE
11 Marina Agannina & Dmitri Zobnin UZB


Pang & Tong

Dube & Davison

Zhang & Zhang

Eleven pairs from five countries hardly equaled the European championships record 21 entries but it was a good field.

1. 65.60 (TES 36.36 + PCS 29.24) Qing Pang, who turned 29 on December 24, and Jian Tong, who was 29 on August 15, came into this event as the clear favorites having won the Grand Prix Final in South Korea in December. The Chinese duo has a remarkable record. They are the defending 4Cs champions, who also won this title in 2002 and 2004. They debuted in the world championships in 1999 and have finished in the top 5 every year since 2002. But, although they won in 2006, they were only fifth in 2008. They were 4th in the Olympic Games in Turin. Tong had an Archilles Tendon injury in August, and lost much training time because of that.

Skating tenth, to The Midnight Blues by Gary Moore, which was choreographed by Lori Nichol, Pang doubled her toe loop, their opening move, and they ended up with only 0.62 marks for this element. They quickly rebounded scoring an additional +1.40 over the base value for their Level 2, extremely high lateral triple twist. They were smiling after that move went so well, as did their next element, the throw triple loop, which earned +1.52 over the 5.50 base value. All their other Levels were 4. The spiral earned +1.40, the death spiral +0.98. The lift got +0.60 and the pair combo spin +0.50. However, their final flying change foot combination spin got a slight negative -0.06.

Pang offered an excuse for her problem doubling her triple toe. She said she had had a recent injury and that she was still having therapy but was not more specific. She also blamed the smaller hockey sized ice. "The rink was more narrow, so I hesitated due to the size of the rink."

He said he was surprised that they were still in first place, after making the mistake although he thought the rest of their program might make up for the loss. "Weíve been looking forward to this competition, knowing that itís the 2010 Olympic venue. We are very happy to be here."

2. 64.36 (36.36+29.24-1.0) Jessica Dube, 21, and Bryce Davison, who turned 23 on January 29, are the current and 2007 Canadian Champions. They previously competed in the Four Continents Championships in 2007, but you wonít find a finish place for them in that event. In the Free Skating, his blade slashed her face just missing an eye when side by side camels went wrong forcing them to withdraw. After placing 7th twice in the world championships, they won bronze last season.

Skating sixth, to Fix You by Coldplay, choreographed by David Wilson, they began with a +1.0 triple Salchows but their Level 1 triple twist merely earned the base value. All their other level moves were the highest possible, 4, and they gained positive GoEs from a low of +0.28 for the death spiral up to +0.80 for both their spirals and their flying change foot combination spin.

Davison, who was born in Walnut Creek, CA, said, "Technically, Iím very happy with everything we did, except for the deduction at the end. We think it was because we were late. We finished at 2 minutes 51 seconds and the maximum is 2:50." [It was.]

3. 63.20 (34.96+28.24) Dan Zhang, 23, and Hao Zhang, 24, who are not related, are best known for winning silver at the 2006 Olympics after an interrupted Free Skate in which she crashed onto her knees during an under-rotated throw quad Salchow attempt. In their previous Olympic Games, in 2002, they finished 11th. They are the 2003 World Junior champions and were second in both the 2008 world (Sr) championships and in the recent Grand Prix Final. They won the Four Continents title in 2005.

Skating eighth, to Riding on the Wings of Songs by Felix Mendelssohn, choreographed by Marina Zueva, they started with a WOW Level 2 triple twist which earned a substantial +1.52 GoE and an impressive +1.40 throw triple loop with an entry with her holding her foot in a high kick position. But then she singled her triple Salchow. All their other elements were Level 4 and earned positive GoEs from two +0.30s up to a +0.84 for their death spiral.

Both were very upset about the size of the ice surface Ė normal ice hockey instead of the 60 by 30m which is standard Olympic figure size. Dan said, "Technically, there was some problem. There were no problems in practice. We will pay special attention to it for the next event." Hao complained, "The venue hasnít been renovated. The ice surface is smaller that we are used to. When practicing, I hit the wall twice."

4. 62.08 (35.12+26.96) Meagan Duhamel, 23, and Craig Buntin, 28, who teamed up in 2007, were second in this seasonís Canadian championships after earning the bronze the year before. Competing in the Four Continents Championships with his former partner, Valerie Marcoux, Buntin won the bronze in 2004 and was fourth in 2007. They are trained by Richard Gauthier

Skating last, to Four Lamentations, they began with a hands over head Level 4 double twist which earned +0.64 over the base value of 4.50. (A Level 1 triple twist has a base value of 5.0). Then came superior (+1.0) side-by-side triple toe loops. Their lift was "only" a base value Level 3. "We had a little wobble on that," Buntin admitted. Their pair combination spin was a mere Level 1 with +0.50. But their flying change foot combination spin (+0.50), their spirals (+0.80) and their death spiral were (+0.28) were all Level 4. And their throw triple Lutz gained +0.84.

On why they chose the unusual throw Lutz, Duhamel explained, "When I came to Montreal, he asked me, ĎWhat kind of throws do you do?í I said, ĎAnything. What do you want to do? I can do a Lutz.í" Buntin added, "She landed it within the first ten minutes of our tryout. The loop and Lutz were going to score the best so we went with that. Sheís an incredible throwee! Our best asset is our passion, drive and desire. I think that comes out in our skating. Weíre such a new team and weíre developing so fast. Next year, weíll come out with something much, much better. Sixty two Ė thatís a world class mark - a personal best all the way. Weíre close to the top team and weíll come out swinging in the long program."

5. 56.78 (31.66+25.12) Rena Inoue, 32, and John Baldwin, 35, who have birthdays on successive days, October 17 & 18, are the elder statespersons in this event. The 2004 and 2006 US champions, who are trained by Philip Mills, were third this year, were Four Continents champions in 2006. Skating ninth, to Illumination by Secret Garden, they opened with +0.60 double Axels. But then she stepped out of their throw triple loop. And their Level 1 triple twist got blasted with a -1.20 GoE. Their five other elements all received Level 4. The pair combination spin earned "only" the base value but the other items gained from +0.20 (the lift) up to +0.60 (the spirals).

Later, Inoue said, "I thought it went really well. Iím really satisfied with our skating. I know I stepped out on the loop. Weíve been working really hard to try to bring up the components mark and we are definitely doing the best we can do. I think at this point, for us, we have to like our program and we have to like to perform the program. And we do. We really enjoy it."

Baldwin said, "I thought we performed it really well. Thatís our goal is to entertain the audience. I think we got punished too severely on the step out on the triple loop and on the twist Ė they really punished us there. I think the biggest shock to us was to see the second marks so low because this is a really special piece to us and a piece that we really emote to one another on and we think itís a strong point to us. Weíre actually very happy with the levels we got Ė we got all level 4ís. We got everything we wanted level-wise which is a big accomplishment over US Championships. Performance-wise itís up to the judges whether they like your style or not." Asked about not making the world championship team, Baldwin, never one to hold his tongue, said, "Itís not a factor for us but I think the judges know that and itís reflected in the second mark, politically."

6. 55.16 (32.96+22.20) Mylene Brodeur, 21, who competed in both pairs and singles until 2008 when she finished 11th in the Senior Ladies event, and John Mattatall, 26, who hails from Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, are projected substitutes for Annabelle Langlois and Cody Hay, who were unable to defend their Canadian title this season. Langlois fractured her lower right fibula during a practice session last July when she caught her toe pick in the ice while Hay was preparing to lift her. She underwent surgery a week later on her landing foot in which a metal plate with five screws was inserted. Recovery has been very slow. "Itís been a long season. Itís been very frustrating. We were always hopeful that we would compete in nationals. Iím not a patient person by nature. We have stayed positive through the whole thing, but the injury has tested us to the limit. If we can figure out exactly whatís wrong with my ankle then we get through it and move forward."

Brodeur and Mattatall, who were seventh in the Four Continents Championship last year, took bronze in the 2009 Canadian championships after being 9th and 7th the previous two years. Skating first, to Chambermaid Swing by Parov Stelar, choreographed by Julie Marcotte, they began with well synchronized side by side triple toe loops, earning +0.40 but their Level 2 triple twist was given a -0.70 GoE. She put her hand down landing their throw triple loop and they were slapped with -0.84. All the rest of their elements were Level 4. Three got the base value (the flying change foot combination spin, the pair combination spin, and the forward inside death spiral). Their spiral earned +0.40 and the lift +0.30.

They are trained by Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte. Brodeur said, "For sure, we would have liked it clean, but weíre still happy." Mattatall said, "Anytime, competing in Canada is a blast, especially with this pre-Olympic feeling.

7. 54.16 (29.32+25.84-1.0) Keauna McLaughlin, 16, who survived a bad case of bronchitis which was on the brink of becoming pneumonia which nearly caused her to withdraw from nationals in Cleveland because drug restrictions curtailed certain medicines, and Rockne Brubaker, 24, recently retained their US title. They received the ninth best technical score but the fifth best component score.

Skating seventh, to Malaguena, they began well with two moves which earned the maximum, Level 4, a +0.60 pair combination spin, and a +0.50 Group 3 lift. But then he doubled his planned triple Salchow. That immediately reduced the base value from 4.50 to 1.30 and, with the -0.68 GoE, they earned only 0.62 for that element. They appeared to recover well with a triple twist, which was a +0.28 Level 2; the spirals (+0.40 Level 4); and the change foot combination spin (Level 4 +0.40). But then she fell nastily, right onto her hip on the throw triple loop. That meant they earned only three points instead of the base value of 5. They finished with a Level 2 forward inside death spiral which was saddled with a slight negative 0.28. They are trained by Dalilah Sappenfield.

McLaughlin readily admitted, "It wasnít our best performance. We definitely had some good things going on in the program, but we werenít completely satisfied with it. I think it was, in some parts though, a step up from U.S. Championships. On the throw, I donít think I got enough push through to the top. It felt like I rushed it Ė it was just a mistake."

Brubaker said "I rushed my triple Salchow a little bit. It was a little slow going in and instead of waiting on my edge, I kind of rushed it and got a little ahead of myself."

8. 53.60 (32.04+21.56) Caydee Denney, turned 15 on June 22, is the youngest competitor in the event, and Jeremy Barrett, 24, are a new team who made a sensation at the 2009 US nationals, winning the Short Program and gaining the overall. Her parents are roller skating coaches in Florida and she won a juvenile national singles and elementary national pairs title in that sport. He won the 2004 US Junior Pairs title with Shantel Jordan. They actually had a false start, skating together briefly in 2006. But Denney went off to Colorado Springs to pursue a singles career. They gave it another try when she returned to Florida in 2008. They are trained by Jim Peterson, Alison Smith and Lyndon Johnson.

This was not the performance they produced in Cleveland. Barrett agreed with that statement. "It wasnít our best performance this season, but I think that we fought for everything. For it being our first international eventÖ.Well, Iím happy with it." His partner added, "Weíre really learning a lot. Iím having a lot of fun. I think itís a good first showing internationally for us. We felt really confident and we just really wanted to go out there and show everyone what we can do." But, unfortunately, they didnít.

He said there wasnít a problem with the short time between nationals and this event. "I think we are prepared for this competition. We were training so much leading up to nationals and with only a week in between competitions, I think weíre really prepared." Performing second to reorchestrated music now called Palladio and Summer Haze, dressed in black and silver, they began with a good Level 2 triple twist which earned +0.14 over base value. But then he had a strained landing with a deep edge on their side-by-side triple toes. Four judges thought it was good enough for the base value. Maybe they were watching only her. Four other judges punched in -1 and one put in -2 which seemed a little overly severe. There was unanimity on their next move. She stepped out of their throw triple Lutz and the judges all punched in -2. That resulted in -1.40 for the median. (Of course, the median on all -2s is -2 but this is then adjusted to reflect the value of the move.)

Seven judges thought their Group 3 Level 4 lift was worthy of the base value but two others punched in -1 and so they were saddled with a GoE of -0.10. The following flying change foot combination spin was Level 3 and +0.30. Their spirals were +0.40 over the base value for the maximum level, 4. Their Level 3 forward inside death spiral earned the base value and they finished with their pair combination spin which earned +0.20 on top of the base value for Level 4. They actually got a higher (by a significant 2.72) Total Element Score than McLaughlin and Brubaker.

9. 52.40 (31.28+21.12) Huibo Dong, who turns 20 on February 15, and Yiming Wu, who will be 22 on February 11, are from Changchun although they train with Bin Yao and Yu Sun in Beijing. Last season they won bronze in the World Juniors and were 12th in the World Seniors. Performing to music from Puciniís opera Tosca, played by M. Mrvica, choreographed by Wei Liu, they began with a Level 1 triple twist which earned +0.42 above base value. That was followed by +0.80 side by side triple toe loops and a +0.28 throw triple loop. Their spirals were base value Level 3 and their Group 3 lift was +0.10 over base value for Level 4. They received their only negative GoE, a small -0.12, for their Level 2 flying change foot combination spin. They received the base value for their final two moves, a Level 3 forward inside death spiral and their Level 1 pair combination spin.

10. 43.38 (25.82+18.56-1.0) Amanda Sunyoto-Yang, 16, and her brother Darryll Sulindro-Yang, 21, who were both born in Los Angeles but represent Chinese Taipei, are the first pair to represent that country in international competition. They have been 12th and 13th in the past two World Junior Championships. Skating to Rimski-Korsakovís Sheherazade, they began with a Level 2 triple twist. He caught her a little too diligently and closely and the move was saddled with a -0.98 GoE. Then she fell on their side-by-side double Axels but bounced straight back up. In their throw triple Salchow her blade was a little stressed on landing but she held it earning the base value. Their Group 3 Lift, which had both an interesting ascent involving her sort of kneeling on him and a complicated descent in which she swung around him, was awarded Level 4, but with a small -0.10 GoE. (Seven of the nine members on the judging panel thought it good enough for base value, but the two others punched in -1.) They are trained by Peter Oppegard and Randy Gardner at the East West Ice Palace in Artesia.

11. 36.88 (21.04+21.04-1.0) Marina Aganina, who is 23, and Dmitri Zobnin, 22, represent Uzbekistan. This is a new partnership. Aganina formerly skated with Artem Knyazev and they competed in this event for the past six years. She teamed up with Zobrin in the summer of 2007. They are trained by Peter Kiprushev in Ekaterinburg in Russia. Skating fifth, to Tchaikovskyís Violin Concert in D Major, Opus 35, he fell on their first move, side-by-side double Axels. She landed from their next move, a throw triple Salchow, messily on two feet putting at least one hand on the ice. They were in red and black, he with red trousers.


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Amanda Sunyoto-Yang & Daryll Sulindro-Yang

  2. Huibo Dong & Yiming Wu

  3. Marina Agannina & Dmitri Zobnin

  4. Mylene Brodeur & John Mattatall

  5. Rena Inoue & John Baldwin

  6. Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett

  7. Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker

  8. Meagan Duhamel & Craig Buntin

  9. Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison

  10. Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang

  11. Qing Pang & Jian Tong


Free Skating Placements
Place Team Country
1 Qing Pang & Jian Tong CHN
2 Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison CAN
3 Dan Zhang & Hao Zhang CHN
4 Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker USA
5 Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett USA
6 Meagan Duhamel & Craig Buntin CAN
7 Rena Inoue & John Baldwin USA
8 Mylene Brodeur & John Mattatall CAN
9 Huibo Dong & Yiming Wu CHN
10 Amanda Sunyoto-Yang & Daytll Sulindro-Yang TPE
11 Marina Agannina & Dmitri Zobnin UZB





1. 194.94; 1. FS 129.34 (67.66+61.68) Pang and Tong, who drew to skate last, enhanced their initial lead with a balanced, flowing, mature Tango routine. "We like to vary our routines," Tong said, "to give variety for the audience." When he was reminded he had skated a Tango in the 2000 season, he laughed, saying, "I am pleased you remember so far back." This is their fourth win in the Four Continents championships. They won in 2002 in South Korea, in 2004 in Hamilton, and last year when the event returned to Korea. They have also won silver medals (2003, 2005 and 2007) in this event. They like Canada. It was in Calgary that they won their only world title in 2006. And, of course, they are looking forward to returning to Vancouver for the Olympics. Tong revealed they had gone through trying times before embarking on a new training plan. "The first thing was to strengthen Pangís leg muscles so she could jump higher. The second was to have her gain weight so she could land the jumps." He also said, "I have never dreamed of gold at 2010 at his point. Itís been a really tough, difficult journey. It doesnít matter what color the medal is, Iím just looking forward to next year."

The 4Ĺ minutes were choreographed by Nikolai Morosov using music by the Gotan Project, Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, and the Tango de Roxanne from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. They began with a sequence of two solid double Axels (+1.0 GoE), followed by base value triple toe loops. Then came their first lift, from Group 4, which received Level 4 and +0.80. That was followed by +0.50 Level 3 straight line steps and their first spin, a Level 4 flying change foot combination which earned an added +0.40 over the base value. They chose to finish their routine with successive lifts which certainly delighted the audience. The toe Lasso was a +0.30 Level 3 and the Axel Lasso was a splendid +1.0 Level 4. Those moves were preceded by a Level 4 +0.40 pair combination spin. Their throws were also positioned together just after their Level 2 triple twist, which earned +1.40 GoE and was positioned just at the point where the 10% bonus marks click in. In all three of these elements, Pang is thrown to an incredible height. In both the throw triple Salchow and throw triple loop she landed as smooth as a feather, with the Salchow earning +1.52 and the loop +1.40. Their forward inside death spiral has so many extra feature, it earned Level 4 which is rare for this element and +0.84.

If they skate like this when they return for the Olympics, they will be extremely hard to defeat.

2. 185.62; 2. FS 121.26 (63.10+58.16) Dube and Davison skated ninth, to Bizetís Carmen. "It felt good," said Dube. "Weíre happy with what we did today. There were some rough spots there, but thereís still room for improvement towards the worlds. We really looking forward to Los Angeles. Silver here feels very good. Our goal was the podium." Davison said, "Two good performances like we had on the ice yesterday and today makes us very excited about 12 months from now. There were a couple of errors today, like Jessís toe pick hitting the boards on the first lift. That was just a hiccup but it did make a little bit of mental stress going into the lift. But other than that, it was solid and weíre happy with what we did. That mistake wasnít anything big. We train in a rink five feet shorter and eight feet narrower than this one so the problem was definitely not the size of this rink. " When they return, there will be less likelihood of running into the boards, since the ice size will be expanded to Olympics instead of NHL size. "We saw how Pang and Tong skated. They were incredible. They didnít really miss anything at all. They didnít set one foot in the wrong spot!"

The Canadians opened with a nice triple twist which is new to their repertoire, which received +0.28. Davison admitted, "We have a lot of work to do to get to Level 2." They earned +0.60 over the base value for their sequence of two double Axels. Then came a solid Level 4 Axel Lasso lift. However their triple Lutz throw was saddled with -1.12, the sole negative. Their triple Salchows were +0.80 good and heir first spin a flying change foot combo earned +0.40 over the base value for a Level 4. Everything else went splendidly. The only non-Level 4 was a 3 for their +0.50 straight line steps.

3. 174.98; 3. FS 111.78 (55.54+56.24) Zhang and Zhang performed to music from The Yangtze River Piano Concerto by Hao Weiya. The Chinese Olympic silver medalists revealed that they had wanted to take part in this event because it was the Olympic venue but they werenít in top shape. Hao said, "We are not at all satisfied with our performance. We have a month before the next competition. We hope to do better next time. My partner hurt her knee (last August). I didnít have much opportunity to train with her because her knee was feeling worse just a month ago, from the previous injury, so we were lacking in practice." Dan said, "It is true that my knee injury has had a great impact on my performance. My right knee was injured due to fatigue and over-practice. During the injury, I couldnít practice jumps or throws. Iím hoping when I return to China I will go though some therapy and that will help."

Skating 10th, they had a dicey start. They had planned a double Axel to triple toe combination but she doubled the second jump. They throw triple Salchow was great and was rewarded with +1.40 as was their Level 2 triple twist. The toe Lasso lift which followed gained +0.70 and the Level 4 forward inside death spiral was given +0.56. However, their Level 3 flying change foot combination spin earned only the base value. She soared through a throw triple loop and earned +0.70 but after the single Salchow, their Group 3 lift seemed to finish prematurely and they were saddled with a -0.60. They recovered with a Level 4 Axel Lasso lift which earned an extra +0.40 but their Level 3 straight line steps had -0.14 deducted. They finished with a satisfactory pair combination spin which was Level 4 and +0.10.

4. 168.43; 6. FS 106.35 (54.71+52.64-1.0) Duhamel and Buntin, skating 8th, performed to music from Puciniís Tosca. They held onto fourth place although they were sixth in the FS. He said, "I think we got most of our levels, but it just wasnít happening tonight. It just felt like more of a fight. We did the best we could." He said the problem was not physical. "Weíre in the best shape of our lives." They began with a sequence of two triple toes but were saddled with -0.60 GoE. They did a good Level 4 Axel Lasso lift from an outside spread earning +0.20 over the base value but then she fell on the triple Salchow. Their Level 3 double twist earned +0.10 and their forward inside death spiral was Level 4 and +0.14. But then she stepped out of their throw triple loop. Their Level 4 Step in Lasso earned +0.10 and their throw triple flip +0.42. Their Level 4 Group 3 lift was only given the base value. That was followed by a Level 4 +0.20 flying change foot combination spin earning +0.20, Level 3 straight line steps earning +0.10 and a base value Level 3 pair combination spin.

5. 164.01; 4. FS 109.85 (56.93+53.92-1.0) McLaughlin and Brubaker skated seventh to West Side Story choreographed by Lea-Ann Miller moving up two slots with a FS which was ranked fourth best. Brubaker said, "It was ok. The energy and the attack for the program was definitely better than it was for the short. Weíll be training hard and working on consistency. What we really trained better this past week coming into Four Continents and weíd really like to keep that going all the way until Worlds." McLaughlin admitted the performance was "not our best, but weíre saving that for Worlds. We had some mistakes with our jumps, but our goal today was to perform. So, weíre satisfied, but not completely."

They began well with a +0.84 Level 2 triple twist. But then, after their triple Salchow she did a single instead of the planned double jump. The Level 4, Group 3 lift earned +0.50. However, she fell on their side-by-side triple toes. There were no other errors. Their throw triple Salchow was nice and long, earning +0.70. Their change foot combination spin was only base value but it was Level 4. Their back outside death spiral earned Level 3 and +0.14. Their Level 4 toe lasso lift earned +0.30 and the Level 4 pair combination spin +0.20. Their Level 3 straight line steps got +0.50 and their throw triple loop +0.70. They concluded with an Axel Lasso Level 4 lift which gained +0.60.

6. 161.69; 5. FS 108.09 (57.05+51.04) Denney and Barrett moved up two places with a FS ranked sixth best. For Jim Peterson, who coaches them along with Lyndon Johnston, at the Southwest Florida FSC in Ellenton, their quick progress has been a pleasant surprise. This is their first international. They astounded the skating world by winning the Short Program at nationals and finishing second overall. Next month, theyíll be in worlds. Peterson said, "Iím very proud of them. Our game plan has changed a little. We have to fast forward a little bit and weíll strengthen their line and their look. They have the meat and potatoes. They just need the gravy."

Barrett said, "Weíve only been together six or seven months, so the ultimate goal is a year from now. As hard as we worked getting here, weíre only going to work harder next year. We were okay with the Short Program. We missed a few things, small mistakes. Overall it was two good skates. I think for skating at US nationals only a week ago, we did a really good job. This has been a great tool for us in our training for Worlds. A lot of the elements were a lot better than at nationals. We now have three days off to look around and enjoy ourselves and then get back to work." Denny appeared delighted with the whole experience. "I really feel like we learned a lot. We learned how to handle ourselves," said the 15 year old, who is age eligible for Worlds by the narrow margin of eight days.

Their free skate was set to Khatchaturianís Spartacus. Only one of their 12 elements received a negative GoE. That was a minute -0.12 taken off the 3.0 base value of their Level 3 flying change foot combination spin in the middle of the routine. They began with an impressive Level 2 triple twist which earned +0.42 over its base value of 5.50. (A Level 2 is about as high as it goes for a Triple Twist.) Then came a +0.40 side by side triple toe loop sequenced to a double toe loop. Later, they competed side by side double Axels which were not that high but were solid enough to earn the base value. A throw triple flip was awarded +0.40 over the base value. Their first two lifts, an Axel Lasso and a Group 3, gained the maximum Level 4 with +0.40 and the base value respectively. Their last lift, a step in Lasso, earned Level 3 with +0.10. their forward inside death spiral gained Level 3 and +0.14 but their straight line steps were only Level 2 but executed well enough to earn the base value. They ended on a high note with a Level 4 +0.40, pair combination spin.

7. 157.38; 7. FS 100.60 (51.60+50.00-1.0) Inoue and Baldwin, who skated fifth, had a bad start when he doubled their planned triple toe loops. Later on she fell on their throw triple loop. They did not attempt a triple twist. But they did accomplish their first throw, a triple Salchow which earned +0.50 over the base value, a sequence of two double Axels (+0.20), and a +0.14, Level 3 back outside death spiral. They received four Level 4s (for their flying change foot +0.50 spin, their +0.20 Step in Lasso lift, their +0.30 Group 3 lift and their base value pair combination spin.)

However, they dropped two places to seventh. Inoue said, "I was really calm today and I felt really good about myself out there. Iím very pleased with how it went. On the takeoff, I just didnít feel a good lift. I was trying to do the best I would do with it. I just needed a little bit more I think. Itís hard, because once the timing gets off, and you donít get a good lift, itís hard to make the adjustment. Overall, I was a little bit more nervous yesterday, so I was trying to be more calm today, and I think I did that, so Iím really happy with myself." Baldwin said, "It doesnít feel like an Olympic year. Weíre not at that point mentally right now. Itís an entire year away. Thereís a lot more work to do in that time.  Weíre not at the correct preparation level either mentally or physically yet for an Olympic-level competition. But, when itís here, I think we will be."

8. 149.85; 8. FS 94.69 (47.69+48.00-1.0) Brodeur and Mattatall performed to music from Gone With the Wind performed by John Williams. It was a lovely but flawed routine. He fell on their side by side triple toe loops and she stepped out of their throw triple loop. Their last lift, a Step in Lasso, was not completed. She said, "We felt great. We just didnít do it at the right time." He said, "I didnít feel as comfortable. Today was an off day. The program came and went, and we just didnít do the right thing. About the lift, sheíll (Brodeur) will say itís her fault. Iíll tell you itís mine."

9. 144.33; 9. FS 90.93 (49.85+42.08-1.0) Dong and Wu performed to The Myth by Nathan Wang

10. 126.73; 10 FS 83.35 (44.87+ 38.48) Sunyoto-Yang and Sulindro-Yang performed to Bridge to Terabithia by Aaron Zigman and The Chronicles of Narnia by Harry Gregson-Williams.

11. 102.52; 11 FS 65.64 (33.00+32.64) Aganina and Zobnin skated to Tchaikovskyís Nutcracker Suite.

2009 Four Continents Pairs Medalists

Dube & Davison, Pang & Tong, Zhang & Zhang


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