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2012 Grand Prix Final - Day 2

by Alexandra Stevenson



Pl Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Mao ASADA JPN 66.96 1  
2 Ashley WAGNER USA 66.44 2  
3 Akiko SUZUKI JPN 65.00 3  
4 Kiira KORPI FIN 63.42 4  
5 Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA RUS 56.61 5  
6 Christina GAO USA 48.56 6  


Pl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Daisuke TAKAHASHI JPN 92.29 1  
2 Patrick CHAN CAN 89.27 2  
3 Yuzuru HANYU JPN 87.17 3  
4 Takahiko KOZUKA JPN 86.39 4  
5 Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 80.19 5  
6 Tatsuki MACHIDA JPN 70.58 6  


Pl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV RUS 73.46 1  
2 Vera BAZAROVA / Yuri LARIONOV RUS 70.14 2  
3 Qing PANG / Jian TONG CHN 64.74 3  
4 Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD CAN 64.20 4  
5 Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Dylan MOSCOVITCH CAN 60.95 5  
6 Yuko KAVAGUTI / Alexander SMIRNOV RUS 58.02 6  


Pl Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Meryl DAVIS / Charlie WHITE USA 73.20 1  
2 Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR CAN 71.27 2  
3 Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT FRA 68.70 3  
4 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RU 66.23 4  
5 Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE ITA 66.11 5  
6 Elena ILINYKH / Nikita KATSALAPOV RUS 63.56 6  



Pl Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Elena RADIONOVA RUS 60.90 1  
2 Hannah MILLER USA 59.18 2  
3 Anna POGORILAYA RUS 57.94 3  
4 Angela WANG USA 51.16 4  
5 Satoko MIYAHARA JPN 49.60 5  
6 Leah KEISER USA 47.23 6  


Pl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Maxim KOVTUN RUS 222.31 2 1
2 Joshua FARRIS USA 211.37 1 2
3 Ryuju HINO JPN 198.92 4 3
4 Jason BROWN USA 198.32 3 4
5 Boyang JIN CHN 187.95 6 5
6 Keiji TANAKA JPN 174.55 5 6


Pl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Lina FEDOROVA / Maxim MIROSHKIN RUS 54.37 1  
2 Margaret PURDY / Michael MARINARO CAN 51.83 2  
3 Vasilisa DAVANKOVA / Andrei DEPUTAT RUS 51.34 3  
4 Maria VIGALOVA / Egor ZAKROEV RUS 50.76 4  
5 Xiaoyu YU / Yang JIN CHN 50.34 5  
6 Brittany JONES / Ian BEHARRY CAN 48.11 6  


Pl Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN RUS 149.57 1 1
2 Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON FRA 139.21 2 2
3 Alexandra ALDRIDGE / Daniel EATON USA 136.19 4 3
4 Anna YANOVSKAYA / Sergey MOZGOV RUS 129.31 3 4
5 Valeria ZENKOVA / Valerie SINITSIN RUS 124.19 6 5
6 Evgenia KOSIGINA / Nikolai MOROSHKIN RUS 120.05 5 6

Junior Men's Medalists

Joshua Farris, Maxim Kovtun, Ryuji Hino

Junior Dance Medalists

Gabriella PAPADAKIS & Guillaume CIZERON
Alexandra STEPANOVA & Ivan BUKIN
Alexandra ALDRIDGE & Daniel EATON

Photos © Robin Ritoss


Junior Men Free Skate

Jason Brown

“I don’t know what happened (on missing program-opening triple Axel).  I think it’s just new and it’s something I need to learn how to do under pressure and with being off the ice for a while before I skate again.”

“I tried to get over what had happened (for the rest of the skate) and pretend like everything was the same. I took one element at a time and that really helped.”

“I’ve been working on the senior programs (preparing for U.S. Nationals) and I hope this is a good experience of doing the triple Axel and practicing it. Hopefully, it will be more comfortable at nationals.”

Joshua Farris

“I hit the boards when I fell on the quad (during the free skate) and it bent my hip back. It took a few jumps to get back into it. Then I lost it again. The flip, I don’t know why I did that.”

“I’m actually happy. I don’t know if anybody knows this, but I’m deathly allergic to dairy and accidentally had a little bit of it. So I had to take two Benadryl and I was really tired. I thought it was pretty good for how I felt. I took the medicine two hours ago.”

“The Final is the Final. I learned last year that it’s kind of a bonus round. You do well in your Junior Grand Prix events and it’s the icing on the cake. I skated probably a little bit worse than last year and still have improved my placement. I can’t be too disappointed with that.”

Junior Dance Free Dance

Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton

 Eaton – “The (free dance) performance was strong, we skated clean. We are both happy with the way we performed. All the elements were strong. We maintained speed and connection.”

Aldridge – “This free dance was important because of how disappointed we were after the short dance. Not so much with the way that we skated and performed, but with our score. We wanted to come out today and show the judges, technical panel and crowd that we are a strong team technically and emotionally. We can have strong levels and a high performance. I think we accomplished that today.”

Aldridge – “Regardless of what level you are, there will always be pressure. It’s a matter of how you deal with that. By having the opportunity to compete at these events, it prepares us for the future. It’s not so much the placement we’re worried about right now, but growing as a team and the way that we perform.”

Senior Short Dance

Meryl Davis & Charlie White

Davis – “It’s an improvement (technically). We both feel like this program was a big improvement for us over our first two competitions of the season, which is what we are aiming for.”

White – “(leading after SD) You always want to be the leader. We are really just looking to improve. Worlds is our goal this year, becoming the world champions. This is a good stepping stone.”

Davis – “There is always room to improve everything, so yes we can improve on our performance today. Attacking the program and the elements while maintaining that performance level is what we are most proud of today. Being at the Olympic venue for the first time, we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and enjoy being in the rink while not getting too ahead of ourselves. We are pleased with our balance of that particular performance.”

Davis – “This program was completely the idea of our coach Marina Zoueva. She’s very well educated in classic dance, music and ballet. When she came to us with the idea, she had a really great idea of how she wanted to approach it. Charlie and I spent a lot of time studying different versions of Giselle from different ballets. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what would be most effective to transfer to the ice. Certainly, bringing ballet to the ice is a challenge. In particular with this program, Marina deserves all the credit in terms of the choreographic approach.”

Top Dance Couples Underwhelmed by Yankee Polka

by Alexandra Stevenson

Charlie White talked in Sochi about the inclusion of the Yankee Polka in this season’s Senior Short Dance after he and his partner Meryl Davis won the Short Dance in Sochi in both categories, Element and Components, in the Grand Prix Final by a total of 1.93.

In the Senior Dance world, there has been controversy over having to incorporate the set steps of the two parts of the Pattern Dance, the Yankee Polka, but Davis & White are not grumbling (much). “We got to compete this dance a few years ago, although that was obviously in a very different way. Then, the ISU picked a few pieces of music and you skated to their choice, which kind of got on your nerves after it got played again and again and again early in the morning!

“But that isn’t the case anymore. We chose our own music. In general, I think it was a good dance for us. People compliment us about our quick feet, which you really need because there are half-beat steps.” (This was an innovation when U.S. champions Judy Schwomeyer and James Sladky invented the exercise in the season they almost won the world title, 1970 in Ljubliana, in the now-called Slovenia, which was then a part of Yugoslavia).

“So coming into the season, it was something we have been excited about. I think, in the end, after doing the Yankee Polka for some time, we really did well with it and began to enjoy it. I mean, now, the key points (the new focus of particular sets of steps, which determine the Level given from the Technical Specialist and her Assistant) are a bit of a pain because they go by so fast. But it’s a new challenge given to the top teams to keep them on their toes!”

Their main adversaries, with whom they train, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, have never made a secret of their dislike of the Yankee Polka. Virtue explained, “We found it a little bit daunting.” Moir said he didn’t feel it was a suitable dance and it was certainly “a challenge to have to incorporate it into a routine, but I think we have done a good job with that aspect.”

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, currently third after the Short Dance, were a little more positive but still had qualms about the Yankee Polka. She said, “We worked a lot with our coach, Angelika Krylova on the key points. I guess we will have to work more again on that because we did not get the credit we got at our previous Grand Prix events, in China and in Paris. I am sure she will NOT be happy and that she will help us do better.” In Sochi they earned the top level 4 for their first part of the Yankee Polka but only Level 2 for the second part.


(7 December 2012)  Sochi, Russia.


1. SD 73.20 (35.15+38.05); Meryl Davis & Charlie White, the four-time U.S. and 2011 world champions earned the right to skate their charming Short Dance last because they posted the highest scores of any ice dancers in the Grand Prix series.

They gave a light-hearted, graceful and upbeat performance to music by Adolphe Adam from Act 1 of the ballet, “Giselle”, she attired in a blue dress and he in a brown top, which would also have looked perfect on a stage production of the famed work.

They earned Level 4, the maximum, for their first and last moves, the twizzles, executed with dazzling and flat out dangerous speed, and their eye-poppingly difficult lift. Both elements also received the maximum Grade of Execution, +3, from the majority of the nine judges with the other four giving +2. Three judges gave +3 for both these feats of technical brilliance and only one judge did not present them with at least one +3.

Davis & White’s non-touching circular steps and both sequences of the Yankee Polka were Level 3, with the Non-Touching Steps receiving two +3s, and the first of the Yankee Polka sequence eliciting one +3. Only one judge failed to reward any of the five required elements with a +3. They had no GoE less than +1 which is for “superior, and their components included one 10 and nine 9.75s. Their lowest score was 9.0 from two separate judges for “Linking Footwork”.

Bob Horan was the referee. The technical controller was Hilary Selby. The technical specialist was Sylvia Nowak-Trebacka, and her Assistant, Marie Bowness. The U.S. judge was Shawn Rettstatt, and the Canadian, Jodi Abbott. The other countries represented on the panel were China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Davis said, “We both feel it was a big improvement for us over our first two competitions of the season, which is what we are aiming for.” Her partner added, “You always want to be the leader. We are really just looking to improve. Worlds is our goal this season. We want to get the title back. This is a good stepping stone.”

She continued, “It’s really special being on Olympic ice and getting competitive experience in the place where we hope to do the best performance of our lives and win gold. We kind of try to utilize this opportunity to take advantage of being here, and getting comfortable and relaxed with the surroundings. But, it’s VERY important that we don’t let ourselves get too ahead of where we are at the moment. Before we came here, we talked about how best to do that.

White added, “There is always room to improve everything, so, yes, we can improve on our performance today. Attacking the program and the elements while maintaining that performance level is what we are most proud of today. Being at the Olympic venue for the first time, we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and enjoy being in the rink while not getting too ahead of ourselves. We are pleased with our balance of that particular performance.”

“This program was completely the idea of our coach Marina Zoueva," Meryl said.  "She’s very well educated in classic dance, music and ballet. When she came to us with the idea, she had a really great idea of how she wanted to approach it. Charlie and I spent a lot of time studying different versions of Giselle from different ballets. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what would be most effective to transfer to the ice. Certainly, bringing ballet to the ice is a challenge. In particular with this program, Marina deserves all the credit in terms of the choreographic approach.”

2. SD 71.27 (34.01+37.26); Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, the Canadian, Olympic and 2010 & 2012 world champions, train with Davis & White in Canton, Michigan. Their Grand Prix wins in Canada and Russia scored a total of 343.40 and, so, they skated next-to-last. They combined their Yankee Polka with a waltz.

They combined their Yankee Polka and “The Waltz Goes On” by Antony Hopkins. Virtue explained, “I think, pretty clearly in the beginning of the piece, there are certain minor tones that we wanted to take up on for my character. We have played a lot of different story lines, but there is certainly something very upsetting and emotionally disturbed about my character. Scott tries to cheer me up. As the program progresses, through the polka, I start to heal through the love of dance and it kind of becomes a love story.

They received Level 3 and Level 4 for the two sections of the Yankee Polka, Level 3 for their twizzles and Non-Touching Steps, and Level 4 for their concluding element, their Rotational lift. Virtue admitted, “We made a couple of mistakes today. We were surprised to get only Level 3 for the twizzles. We’ll just have to watch the tape and see what happened.”

They were given three maximum +3 GoEs. Two were for their Mid-Line Steps and the other for their twizzles. Their components ranged from two 8.75 up to three 9.75s.

Asked about the location, Virtue explained, “It’s just awesome. It’s a beautiful venue. Everything here is done for the athletes. We’d done some research before coming here, so we were expecting to see the mountains and the sea. But, still, it’s a bit shocking to see palm trees in the city hosting the Winter Games.”

They have been caught in some traffic jams here, caused by the unfinished construction of a site which contains the nine ice venues. Butt Virtue said, “We try to block any negative aspects and just to enjoy ourselves and the whole experience.”

3. SD 68.70 (33.58+35.12); Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, the French twice European Champions, were pleased with their performance set to Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisienne”, which included a fun, crowd-pleasing Can Can, complete with her occasionally flaunted white garter and frilly panties. There is also a section with a Waltz, “Under the Paris Skies”, sung by Yves Montand.

Pechalat said, “We think it was one of the best performances we have done. We are doing clean edges and clean elements.” They did both sequences of the Yankee Polka at the end of the routine, earning the maximum Level 4 for the first one but only Level 2 for the second. She said, “We need to focus more on that.”  They also received Level 4 for their initial element, their twizzles, and for their straight line lift. Their Non-Touching steps were Level 3. Their component marks ranged from two 8.25 punched in by one judge, up to three 9.25s given for choreography.

They were asked about how it felt to be in the top three couples in the world meeting competitively for the first time this season. Bourzat, who turns 32 this month, said, “It doesn’t matter who you are in competition, you have to give your best each time you go on the ice. This is what we are trying to do. The results from before do not really matter. Performance is what counts. It just depends on what the panel want to see. So, in the first part of the season, we go to events and see what the panel determines about our levels and then work on that to make the perfect creation that everyone agrees on.”

4. SD 66.63 (32.65+33.58); Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, the twice Russian champions, who are from Moscow, were seventh in the last world championship. They performed their Polka to “Put in a Good Word for the Poor Hussar” and a Waltz to music from the soundtrack of “The Crew”, earning Level 4 for their twizzles and lift, and 3 for the other three elements.

They came into this event having earned silvers in both the U.S. and Chinese Grand Prix events. Soloviev, who is 23, said, “You can always show something better. There are so many things to improve. It’s impossible to do everything you want. But after the two Grand Prix and now the Final, I can say that this performance has been the best. We showed both good technique and emotions. We practiced the Yankee Polka most of all. It is not easy to get Level 4 for the key points in the Polka. (They had Level 3 for both sections.)

Bobrova, 22, added, “As our coach (former world champion Alexander Zhulin) says, “There is no limit to perfection. And that’s true. We’re satisfied with our performance. We already see much technical progress, and the results show this. Of course, we were nervous, but that helped us. And the audience supported us warmly.”

5. SP 66.11 (33.93+32.18); Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotta, from Italy, lie only 0.12 behind the Russians. Their previous appearance in the GPF was in 2009.

They skated to a rousing Yankee Polka the “Barn Dance”, and the rest of the routine to “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” and “Wonderful, Wonderful Day”, all from the soundtrack of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, earning the highest Levels of any of the couples, all 4s except for a 3 for their Non-Touching Steps.

Despite injuries which have plagued them, Cappellini and Lanotte have made steady progress in the world championships in their six appearances, placing 13th, 10th, 10th, 11th, 8th & 6th earlier this year. He said, “This season was not easy to get going. It was hard to know in what direction to proceed.”

But they earned silvers in Skate Canada and in the Paris Grand Prix, and got back into the Final after an absence of three years. Lanotte added, “We succeeded by managing the right attitude and focusing on small details.

6. SD 63.56 (30.43+33.13); Elena Ilinykh & Nikita & Katsalapov, Russians who train with Nikolai Morosov, were so upset with their marks, which put them sixth, 2.55 points behind the Italians, would not speak to the press after their performance, not even to their own country’s reporters. They had been fifth in the world championship in Nice, above their teammates and were upset to see them place higher. They had come into the event having won silver in Moscow and Japan, but with less marks that Bobrova & Soloviev. They had identified their music as Andijan Polka, but others said it was an Uzbek piece used as a dance by children. Mystery, mystery, mystery! They earned Level 4 for their twizzles and lift, Level 3 for both parts of their Yankee Polka but only Level 2 for the Non-touching steps.

Ivan Bukin – Following in his Father’s Footsteps. U.S. Couple Wins Bronze in a Field with Four Russian and One French Couple.

1. Overall 149.57; 1.SD 61.18 (31.50+29.68); 1.FD 88.39 (42.21+46.18); Alexandra Stepanova , 17, originally from St. Petersburg, & Ivan Bukin, 19, from Moscow teamed together in 2006 after Stepanova, an 11-year-old, who had been a single skater, decided to move to Moscow to try ice dancing. They were matched by Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin. Bukin had a previous partner, Elena Ilinykh, who is now a top ice dancer.

Bukin was born to dance. His father, Andrei, won three Olympic medals with Natalia Bestemianova, bronze in 1980, silver in 1984 and gold in 1988.

It hasn’t been an easy road. Stepanova & Bukin have been third twice in the JrGP Final. Last year, they might have won, but Bukin missed the twizzles in the Short Dance. They were second in the World Junior Championships and second nationally.

They came into the Final as the top contenders, by winning the Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul and Germany, with the best scores.

Bukin said, “We have worked a lot in the break since our second Junior Grand Prix in Germany in October, especially on the Compulsory Dance. (Although officials insist this be called the “Pattern Dance”, many instructors still refer to this section by its old name.) It felt calm to skate (the Blues) here. The audience received us well. Last year, I was probably too nervous, but now I am approaching everything in a calmer manner.”

She added, “We changed the lift since Germany. I think our Compulsory Dance has improved a lot. We worked on all aspects that we made mistakes on in early events. We did not expect to get the Season’s best score, not this high. We previously got a lower level for the twizzles, or they didn’t count a level in the lift because we didn’t hold the position. Honestly, we didn’t expect to have such a big lead.”

They began their Short Dance which was set to “Swing, Swing, Swing”, “Boogie all Night” and “Blues”, with their Level 4 twizzles, which earned one maximum +3 Grade of Execution. Seven other judges punched in +2 but one thought they deserved only +1. That meant a whole point was added to the base value for that level of 6.0. Then came the “away from the judges” sequence of the Blues, a series of steps invented by Britons in the 1930s. The Technical Panel (Controller Hilary Selby, Specialist Sylvia Nowak-Trebacka and her assistant, Marie Bowness,) decided that was Level 3 and they earned +0.71 from the judges. Then came their straight line lift which earned the maximum Level 4 with +0.64. Stepanova & Bukin then executed their Blues sequence near the judges and that received the maximum Level 4 but with only +0.29 GoE from the judges. They concluded their routine with the non-touching steps earning only Level 2 but with +0.86 GoE.

For the free, they did a Flamenco, Bolero by Gustavo Montesano, starting with Level 3 twizzles, which earned a full point over the base value for that Level, of 5.0.Then came Level 3 circular steps which were awarded +1.14 from the judges. Their straight line lift got Level 4 (with +1 GoE), as did their combination spin (which got an extra +0.57 added to the base value of 5 points), and their curve lift (which received +0.79 over the Level 4 base value of 4 points). Their Level 3 diagonal steps received and extra +1.14, their Level 4 rotational lift got +0.64, and they finished with their brief “choreographed” lift which received only Level 1.

Stephanova admitted, “It was quite hard to skate today. I think we skated better in practice. But it is great to win.” Bukin said, “It was a good performance, but we skated stronger in practice. It was quite hard to skate. But the audience was awesome.”

2. Overall 139.21; 2.SD 54.79 (26.35+28.44); 2.FD 84.42 (40.14+44.28); Gabriella Papadakis, 17, & Guilluame Cizeron, who turned 18 on the Tuesday after this event finished, are from Lyon in France where they are trained by Muriel Zazoui, Romain Haguenauer, and Gabriella’s mother, Catherine Papadakis.

They have competed for three years in the world junior championships, advancing from 22nd to 12th to 5th. They qualified by winning the JrGPs in their own country, in Couchevel, and in Austria.

They skated their Short Dance to “Minnie, the Moocher” and “The Dirty Boogie”. They also began with their twizzles, getting Level 4 with a whole point added. However, their first Blues sequence was only Level 1, though the following sequence was Level 2. Their non-touching steps were Level 2 and they concluded with a Level 4, +0.64 straight line lift. The gap between the top two was 6.39.

Their Free Dance was set to two pieces by Pink Floyd, “Money” and “Hey You”. Their opening element was the diagonal steps which was Level 2 with +1.43. However, the only other non-maximum Level 4 in the eight required elements were their circular steps, which were Level 2 with +1.29 and the choreographed lift which only has one Level.

Papadakis admitted, “We skated well although we had several minor mistakes. This is our first Grand Prix Final and so just getting here is already a victory for us. We have been sitting on a substitute bench for two years. We have waited a long time to get in.”

3. Overall 136.19; 4.SD 52.60 (24.15+28.45); 3.FD 83.59 (40.12+43.47); Alexandra Aldridge, 18, & Daniel Eaton, 20, teamed together in May 2009; They are the U.S. 2010 Novice champions, who won the national junior title early this year and subsequently won bronze in the World Junior Championship. She lives in Bloomfield Hills in Michigan. He lives in Birmingham, Michigan. They are trained by Angelika Krylova and their choreography was set by Pasquale Camerlengo. They earned their place in the Final by winning their two Jr GP events, in Lake Placid, and in Lake Bled, Slovenia, with a score which meant they came in as the second ranked couple.

Their own website best describes their routine: The Short Dance program is a dance fusion of a soulful blues and a rug cutting swing. The team boogies and gels with this rhythmic upbeat tune “Down Home Blues” by the Gene Harris Trio & “Pennsylvania 6-5000" by Brian Setzer.

Although their fifth and final required element, the rotation lift, gained the maximum Level 4, with +0.50 Grade of Execution added to that score of four points, their other levels were low. The two sequences of the Blues earned only Level 1 and Level 2 with +0.43 GoE and +0.07 respectively. They opened the routine with their non-touching steps which was rewarded with 1.29 GoE, but only Level 2. Their twizzles were Level 3 but with -0.14 taken off. That put them in fourth place going into the Free Dance.

Eaton said, “We skated really strong. We really connected on the ice. We feel we skated really good. This is the toughest competition of the season. Everybody at home calls us the comeback kids. In Lake Placid we were behind six points and we pulled back 7.5 in the Free Dance.”

And they did pull up from fourth to win bronze. Their Free Dance music is from “Fiddler on the Roof” by Isaac Stern. They explain the theme is a love story between a young couple with different ethnicity and their struggle with traditional family values.

Aldridge said, “This Free Dance for us was really important, just because of how disappoint we were after the Short Dance, not so much with the way we skated, just with our score. We wanted to show the judges, the panel and the crowd that we are a strong team technically and emotionally and that we can have high levels and still have a high performance. And I think we did that today.”

They started out with a Level 4, +1.0 GoE straight line lift. Then came +1.0 Level 3 circular steps. Next were two Level 4 elements, a +0.50 spin, and a +0.64 curve lift. The twizzles were only Level 2 with +0.64, and the diagonal steps, Level 3 with 1.14 GoE, but then there was a Level 4 rotational lift which earned an extra +0.71 over its base value of 4 points. The concluding choreographed short lift earned an extra +0.29.

4. Overall 129.31; 3.SD 53.03 (27.78+25.25); 4.FD 76.28 (36.33+39.95); Anna Yanovskaya, 16, & Sergey Mozgov, 17, are both from Moscow, where they are trained by Svetlana Alexeeva, although she was born in Dubai. Last year, they pulled an upset and finished second in the Final. This time, they qualified by taking second place in the Linz, Austrian and Zagreb, Croatia, Grand Prix contests, as the sixth and last couple, so they were pleased to be lying third after the Short Dance.

Skating to a Blues, they explained they had changed their music and were satisfied with the result. Yanovskaya said, “It was our coach’s wish and we like the second version better. Their first Blues section and their rotational lift earned the maximum Level 4 with nothing added for the Blues and an extra 0.57 for their lift. The second sequence of the Blues received Level 3, again with no points added or taken away. Their twizzles received Level 3 with +0.21, and the concluding non-touching steps were Level 2 with +0.64.

They did an Arabian dance for their Free and dropped a place to finish fourth overall. Yanovskaya said, “Yes, last year was a surprise. Such an incident is unusual, to come out of nowhere. But there is no perfection, no ideal program. We just have to continue to improve our technique and our steps.

5. Overall 124.19; 6.SD 50.39 (24.85+25.54); 5.FD 73.80 (36.68+37.12); Valeria Zenkova, 17, & Valerie Sinitsin, 20, who are both from Moscow, set their Short Dance to: Your Heart is as Black as Night, and Brother Swing. Their Free Dance was set to music from the show “Cats”. They are trained by Alexander Zhulin and Oleg Volkov. They qualified by winning in Zagreb and coming second in Courchevel.

6. Overall 120.05; 5.SD 50.45 (24.71+25.74); 6.FD 69.60 (31.24+38.36); Evgenia Kosigina, 17, & Nikolai Moroshkin, 19, are trained by Alexei Gorshkov and Igor Shpilband. They qualified by coming second Lake Placid and second in Zagreb. They teamed up in Spring of 2010. Her former partner also in this event, Sergei Mosgov. They did a Short Dance to Blues and Swing, to music from Lord of the Dance and from Capone. Their Free Dance was to a Michael Jackson Medley.

Russian Maxim Kovtun obliterates Joshua Farris’ two point lead In Junior Men's Event to take gold by 10.94.  Aided by Farris’ handicap – an allergic reaction to milk.  Japanese skater, Ryuiu Hino, jumps over Joshua Brown’s 1.88 advantage, to earn bronze by just 0.60.

1.  Overall 222.31; 1. FS 149.78 (79.80+69.98) Maxim Kovtun, a 17-year-old from Ekaterinburg, who trains in Moscow with former Russian champion Elena Vodorezova, gave a technically brilliant performance to music from the movie “Casablanca” used so effectively by world champion Kurt Browning.  Kovtun has a long way to go to match the Canadian’s version, but maybe Tatiana Tarasova will be able to perform a transformation on him the way she did when she turned Alexei Yagudin from a jumping machine into an artiste.

He opened with a solid “Wow” quad toe loop to triple toe loop to earn +1.29 over the jump combination’s 14.40 base value. Then he soared through a +0.86 triple Axel to triple loop, banking 13.46. Next came a +0.80 triple Lutz Level 3, and then a +0.86 change foot combination spin. At the point where the 10% bonus marks click in, he did a +1.29 triple Axel, a triple loop which earned its base value, and a triple flip which was saddled with an “e” for wrong edge take-off and had -0.80 removed from its base value. Next up was a triple Salchow to double toe loop which earned its base value, and a flying upright spin which received Level 3 with +0.29 added. After his Level 3, +0.50 steps, obviously now tiring, he presented a +0.07 double Axel and a Level 1 change foot sit spin which earned +0.57 over its low base value of only 1.90. His components ranged from one 6.0 up to one 7.75.

Kovtun said, “Of course, I’m satisfied with this performance. Today, I missed the morning practice because it was so early in the morning. If I went, I would be too tired for the performance, so I stayed in bed and warm-up harder. After the performance, Tatiana Tarasova said, ‘Thank you’. But at that point she had not heard I had only Level 1 for the final element.” His components ranged from one 6.0 up to one 7.75.

He reasoned, “The best thing was getting second place yesterday. Getting first in the Short Program is a huge responsibility. My legs would have been shaky. I would panic. I felt relaxed today and I skated for my own pleasure. I only got tired at the end of the program. It just hit me that I won. It wasn’t a surprise but it was unexpected. It helped to be skating on home ice because we got a lot of support.

Tatiana Tarasova told me that in each part of the program, I must show a different story. During the slow part, I must act as if I am in love, and that I will do anything for my love. For the rest of the program I should pretend I am in the most wonderful place on earth.” His next statement cause much laughter. Asked where that place was, he said that Tarasova told him, “Between Paris and New York!” He also said he was learning a lot from the seniors. “Not so much what they do on the ice, but they prepare for their performances.”

2.  Overall 211.37; 2.FS 136.84 (70.74+68.10 -2) Joshua Farris, who has twice competed in the U.S. Senior championships, placing 21st and 16th, and was runner-up earlier this year in the World Junior championships, lost his lead from the SP, in part because of an allergic reaction. He is allergic to dairy products and some soup he consumed turned out to contain milk. He explained, “I am actually happy to finish with the silver, but I am definitely weary. Two hours before I skated, I had a bit of allergic reaction and had to take Benadryl. I did pretty good for how I felt. I fell on the quad and hit the boards and it bent my hip back. It took me a couple of seconds to get back into the performance and then I lost it again.

“Just competing in the Final is a bonus. It’s like the icing on the cake. I skated a little worse than last year, but I improved my placement so I can’t be disappointed about it. (Last year, in Quebec City, he finished third.) I now know I have to pay more attention to the ingredients in what I eat! I haven’t had an allergic reaction for some time.”

He opened his routine, set to a Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, op. 18: Allegro Scherzando played by Van Cliburn, with an impressive +1.43 triple Axel to triple toe loop, but then fell on his quad toe. He was not fully recovered when he did the next jump, a triple Lutz and lost -1.40 from its base value of 6 points. But the following change foot sit spin was Level 4 with +0.43 GoE added. His second triple Axel, set at the point when the bonus marks click in, earned its base value. The following triple Lutz to double toe received an extra +0.70, but then he fell a second time, on a triple flip. His final jumps, a triple loop and a triple Salchow bot got -0.70 removed from their respective base values plus 10%. He concluded with a Level 4 change foot combination spin that gained a sliver, +0.07. Even with the flawed showing, he finished 12.45 points ahead of the bronze medalist.

3.  Overall 198.92; 3.FS 131.37 (71.07+60.30) Ryuiu Hino, Japan, was able to sneak ahead of Brown but only by 0.60. Hino, who is the reigning Japanese Junior champion, is half Russian. His grandmother, who still lives in Russia, was delighted to discover he would be on television. He came into the event with bronze and a silver as the fifth qualifier so he was delighted with his medal in Sochi. “Yesterday (in the Short Program), I made mistakes and I am surprised to skate better today. The main thing is that I was able to control my emotions and that’s why I did well and went into my jumps with confidence. My coach told me to forget yesterday and to think about the future. I felt some pressure from the buzz of the audience here but I tried not to keep that in mind. For me, it was not important if it’s the future Olympic rink or not. I always want to do my best in competition.”

Hino performed to the soundtrack from “Robin Hood” by Micahel Kamen, opening with a +0.71 triple Axel to triple toe loop which earned 13.31. But he lost -1.40 on the following triple flip, which received an “e” for under-rotation. The following triple Lutz to double toe loop and triple Salchow earned their base values, but nothing more. His Level 4 change foot, sit spin gained +0.29 over its base value of 3.0. His steps earned just 0.07 over their base value of 3.30 for Level 3. His flying change foot combination spin got the base value for Level 3 of 3.0. Then came a base value plus 10% triple Axel, a triple loop (which gained a total of 5.71, a triple Lutz (earning 6.60) and a double Axel to double toe to double loop, which was given a mere 0.07 extra. He closed with a Level 4 change foot combination spin which received +0.43 over its base value of 3.50.

4.  Overall 198.32; 4.FS 128.89 (59.97+68.92) Jason Brown, U.S.A., won this event last year, so his finish off the podium, especially after landing his first ever triple Axel in competition and lying third after the Short Program, must have been jarring. However, the flamboyantly artistic performer took the setback well and continued sending back an entertaining blog for each day, for USFigureSkating, detailing very interesting such items you normally do not hear about.

He performed to Liszt’s soothing “Liebestraum” (which means “Dream of Love”). Brown particularly enjoys this music since he is a pianist. The piece was choreographed by Rohene Ward. Brown made a satisfactory opening with a +1.20 triple flip. But then came the moment of truth and he gained no points for an aborted triple Axel. “I don’t know what happened. The triple Axel is something I have to learn to handle. There was pressure after yesterday, but I have to learn to cope. I have to try it at nationals.”

He bounced back with a triple Lutz which got an “e” and he lost half a point over the move’s base value of 6 points. The next three items earned good Grades of Execution. His Level 4 change foot camel spin got an extra +0.93; his triple loop out of which he did a split jump, +0.70; and his Level 4 change foot combination spin had an added +0.50.

But he stepped out of his second triple Lutz, set at the bonus time, which was meant to be combined with a triple toe loop, and he ended up with only 3.88 points. The following triple flip to triple toe loop received its base value plus 10% of 10.34. His last jumping passes were a +0.07 double Axel to double toe to double loop, and a Russian split into a +0.50 triple Salchow. His last element was a Level 4 flying change foot combination spin. One judge thought his components worthy of one 7.50 and two 7.75s for three of the five categories from one judge, but they went down to two 6.25s. Brown’s technical score was only fifth best, but his components were the second highest, only 1.06 points behind the winner. That meant he finished fourth in the Free and Overall, 1.67 ahead of Jin.

5.  Overall 187.95; 5.FS 127.22 (73.44+55.78 -2) Boyang Jin, China, who skated to a Charlie Chaplin Medley, said, “Today, I skated better than yesterday, especially in my jumps, but I still made mistakes.” The 15-year-old from Harbin, who likes model cars, and placed fourth in his last national championship, opened with a quad toe loop to double toe loop, which earned 12.03, but then fell on his second element, which was a second attempt at the quad. He said the reason for the failure was lack of speed. He lost 2 points off the base value of his triple Axel, but then repeated this jump at the point where the bonus marks click in, combining it with a double toe loop to double loop and earning 13.19 points.

But he also fell on his last jump, a triple Salchow. His other jumps were a triple loop which lost -0.10; a triple Lutz to triple toe loop which got an arrow for under-rotation on the second jump, and a triple flip which gained an extra +0.10. His steps received the base value for Level 2 (2.60), His first spin, a was a Level 4 +0.07. The two others were set at the end of the routine. Both the flying camel and the change foot combination earned the base value for their Level 3s, of 2.80 and 3.00 respectively.

As did Kovtun, he also skipped the 6 AM practice, but he has been watching the Seniors practice and compete. “My favorite is Yuzuru Hanyu because, like me, he is also very young.”

6.  Overall 174.55; 6.FS 112.81 (53.23+59.58) Keiji Tanaka, Japan, fell into the trap of presenting too many combinations. He began with a faulty -2 triple Axel, and then doubled his second attempt at this jump. Then he did a +0.70 triple flip but later also did a -0.70 repeat of this jump. Although he was not able to combine it with a second jump, this was classed as a combination because the skater may not do two of the same type of triple unless one is combined or sequenced with another jump.

He then improvised and added the missing triple toe loop from the flip to his triple Lutz, which got an “e”, and he had to put his hand on the ice to keep from failing. He also doubled his triple Salchow, although he was able to combine it with a double toe to double loop. When he came to his last jumping pass, which was supposed to be a double Axel, he threw in a triple toe loop to double toe loop, which received no points since he had done too many combinations.

He said, “I am very disappointed to have made mistakes today. I am learning from seeing my older colleagues. I would like to move up to the seniors but, obviously, that is not possible at the moment. Such a weak performance shows I must train harder.” He turned 18 in November. He skated to music from “The Untouchables”. He was also sixth in the Final last year.

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