2011 Grand Prix Final

Ladies Event

Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Carolina Kostner ITA 1 1
2 Akiko Suzuki JPN 2 3
3 Alena Leonova RUS 3 4
4 Elizaveta Tuktamisheva RUS 5 2
5 Alissa Czisny USA 4 5

Short Program

Planned Program Content

Starting Order - Short Program
1. Alena Leonova, RUS
2. Alissa Czisny, USA
3. Akiko Suzuki, JPN
4. Carolina Kostner, ITA
5. Mao Asada, JPN
6.Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, RUS

Start Time: 13:00


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Carolina Kostner ITA
2 Akiko Suzuki JPN
3 Alena Leonova RUS
4 Alissa Czisny USA
5 Elizaveta Tuktamisheva RUS

Carolina Kostner

1.  Carolina Kostner skated her intricate "Allegretto" routine to a first place finish in the Short Program.  It was the only clean program of the segment.  She landed a strong clean triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination which all nine judges scored +2.  Her triple loop and double Axel were also securely executed and both jumps received GoEs of +1s and +2s.  Her flying camel spin and change foot combination spin were both called level 4, while her layback spin and step sequence were called level 3.

The performance was executed with good speed with most of the judges going into the eights for the component marks, except for Transitions where the judges tended to mark a little lower.  The program relies primarily on arm and body movements for transitions and less so on skating movements which helps the Choreography and Interpretation marks, but works against the Transitions score.  There are also some holes in beginning of the program which pulls down the Transitions mark.

Following her performance she said, " As I was getting off the ice, I still did not realize that I have finally performed the program as I wanted to.  I have been practicing the program over and oer, but today was the best performance.  I have to asmit, I did not think the three grand prix events would be so tiring, so after Paris  had to take 2-3 days off to rest and to get energy and motivation back.  Going into the Final, my goals were to not have any regrets.  I am happy, but then their is still tomorrow."

2.  Akiko Suzuki, lies in second place, 5.13 points behind Kostner.  Suziki stepped out of her opening triple flip and then doubled the planned triple toe loop.  The remainder of the program was clean and nicely skated with good speed and good expression.  All four spins were called level 4 and the step sequence level 3.  Her components scores averaged 7.5, about half a point behind Koster.

"Before the competition, I was not thinking to try triple flip - triple toe loop combination," she said, "but after I came here, I felt much better about it and it and was the first time I tried to do it in competition.  Now, I could not perform it cleanly and I am mortified by that, but I want to try my best for tomorrow and move the audience's emotions with my skating."  Later in the post segment press conference she added, " I tried the triple triple flip for the first time at the beginning and it didn't quite go well but the rest of the program was quite good.  So I think that is why I am sitting in second place after the short program."  Which may well be true.

3.  Skating first, Alena Leonova was not expected to be a medal contender, but that is where she finds herself after the Short Program.  Her opening triple toe loop - triple toe loop had one GoE of -1, while the eight other judges scored it 0 through +2.  The following triple flip had a bit of a rough landing and seven judges scored it -1.  The remainder fo the program was skated cleanly with Leonova performing strongly in character.  Her layback spin and flying sit spin were called level 4 while the change foot combination spin was called level 2 -- with eight GoEs of +1.  On her performance she said, "I am happy with my performance as my morning practice didn't go so well.  I did all my jumps, but I am not quite sure what happened on the combo spin, but I will review the protocol ad hopefully fix it."

Leonova's components averaged just bellow 7.5, similar to Suzuki and also Alissa Czisny.  My practice this morning did not go well," she said, "but I regrouped for the short program and I am very pleased with the performance.  I rested a bit after Rostelcom Cup, and then continued preparing for the Grand Prix Final in my usual relaxed rhythm.  I love performing to the audience and I love the reception here in Quebec.  I was even a little surprised just how enthusiastic the audience is.  My next competition is Russian Nationals in two weeks and then the European Championships.  I will take some time off after the Grand Prix Final and then may adjust programs based on feedback I receive here."

4.  Alissa Czisny opened with a solid triple Lutz - triple toe loop combination which received seven marks of +1. She fell on the following triple loop attempt, with the jump under-rotated.  Not enough for under-rotation call, but enough to go flying across the ice.  On double Axel she threw around somewhat but landed the jump with one judge going to -1, but three others going to +1.  After the three jump elements she got her feet back under her and performed three strong spins and the step sequence.

Czisny's program components averaged just above 7.5, slightly head of Suzuki and Leonova.  Only one point separates second through fourth place, so Czisny easily remains in medal contention.

"Besides the one jump I felt the program was good," she said, "but the loop didn't happen today and I'm kind of disappointed with that.  I was really trying to focus on each element in the program.  The fans here deserve a great performance. ... There is definitely pressure.  It is a good experience for me going into a competition defending, learning how to defend a title."  As for what she has learned she said, "Just keep learning and keep attacking my program tomorrow."

5.  Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, tanked. She landed a nice opening triple Lutz - triple toe loop, but then doubled a loop attempt for -3 GoEs and stepped out of double Axel which was scored -1 through -3 with seven judges at -2.  After the jump elements she never got her focus back, and though the last four elements were clean she was not in command of the elements or the program.  Her component marks averaged 6.8, well bellow the rest of the group, and bellow her results previously in the Grand Prix.  She currently lies 6.31 points behind Suzuki.  "Mistakes happen," she said.  "I skated two clean short programs in the Grand PRix, and you can't always skate clean.  I could have skated betetr today but making the Final alone was already a big victory for me.  Maybe I was a little too nervous, more nervous than usual.  For the free skating, I just want to do my best and do what I didn't do today."


Free Skating

Planned Program Content

Starting Order - Free Skating

1. Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, RUS
2. Alissa Czisny, USA
3. Alena Leonova, RUS
4. Akiko Suzuki, JPN
5. Carolina Kostner, ITA

Start Time: 15:40


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Carolina Kostner ITA
2 Elizaveta Tuktamisheva RUS
3 Akiko Suzuki JPN
4 Alena Leonova RUS
5 Alissa Czisny USA

Carolina Kostner

Kostner Takes Gold.  Tuktamisheva Recovers in Free Skate but not Enough to Medal.

by Alexandra Stevenson

1.Overall 187.48 Carolina Kostner, 1.FS 121.05 (55.83+65.22). The 24-year-old Italian, who was third in the world championships last April, won both SP & FS with a considerable margin, despite no longer presenting a triple Lutz. Her FS technical score, however, was only fourth best of the five competitors, though her components were well ahead of her adversaries.

Skating in a grey-blue catsuit to music from the second and third movements of Mozartís Piano Concerto No.23 in A Major, she opened with a +0.70 triple loop. But she touched her hand down on the landing of the following triple flip which had -0.70 removed from the base value and she singled her first attempt at a double Axel. When the bonus marks clicked in she executed a +1.10 double Axel to triple toe, a strained base value triple toe to double toe, a -0.40 triple Salchow with a jacknifed landing and a +0.70 triple Salchow to double toe. Two of her spins, a +0.43 flying camel, and the concluding element, a +0.64 a change foot combination, were Level 4. But the flying change foot combo was only +0.24 Level 2. Her straight line steps were a good +1.07 Level 3.

She said, "I wish I would have skated better. My Short Program went so well. It was a fight today. At first I was a little upset at the mistakes I made on the flip until the single Axel. Then I thought, "Now, I have nothing to lose. Itís all or nothing. I am glad that I didnít let myself go. It was a good exercise for me to be in the lead. Sometimes I was in behind in the Short and it is different to defend rather than attack. I think I am still a little bit nervous because I was really nervous going into the competition. It was the first time for me (being in the lead after the SP) to defend something that felt so important. I am so happy that I did not have major mistakes but I have the feeling that I could have done better.

"I think the most important thing, now, is Christmas at home with my family because I havenít been home for so long. So, just to relax and have some calm days, is just what I need. Honestly, when I came into this competition I felt not as good as everyone else because I donít have the triple Lutz in my program. I still have some technical things to work on and I feel that I want to stabalize what I can do before I go into a program with a full head and lose myself. I look forward to the moment I can add it again." Her FS score was her Seasonís Best. This was her first Grand Prix Final gold. However, she earned silver in last yearís Final and bronze in the previous two years. She also earned silver in the Junior Grand Prix back in 2003.

2.Overall 179.76 Akiko Suzuki, 3.FS 118.46 (56.53+61.93) The 26-year old from Toyohashi in Aichi Prefecture trains in Nagoya but her choreography was created by Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo at the Detroit SC. Dressed in a fushia dress, she performed to music from Die Fledermaus. There is so much talent in Japan, that, although she was 8th in the Olympics and 11th in the following Worlds, she did not make the world team this past season.

She began the routine a little tentatively with a -0.60 triple Lutz in which she was leaning in the air and so the landing was not perfect. But that was followed by a double Axel to triple toe loop and a triple loop which both earned +0.80 GoE. Then came two Level 4 spins (+0.71 and +0.43), and her choroegraphed spirals. However, at the halfway mark, she did a -1.10 triple loop with a hop-hop on the landing and she stepped out of a triple Lutz which had -1.40 removed from its base value.

Her last two jumping passes were good, a +0.50 triple flip and a +0.30 triple Salchow. She concluded with two Level 3 moves, straight line steps, which earned an extra 1.07, and a +0.50 flying change foot combo spin. Although she was third in the FS, she held on to second place by a margin of 3.34. This was her second Grand Prix Final medal. In the Olympic season she won the bronze, but was fourth last year. Way back in 2002, she won bronze in the Junior Grand Prix Final.

She said, "The result (silver) is very good and I am happy with it. But the performance itself was disappointing. During todayís practice time, I felt good and was hoping to continue like that. But during the six-minute warm up, my body was still. I was trying to be positive, but I did not succeed. My overall feeling is I am not totally happy. This is the best place ever for me in the Grand Prix Final (she won bronze in December 2009 and was fourth last season), and I am happy, but the program could have been better. I did not skate my best, and I am not happy about the content tonight."

3.Overall 176.42 Alena Leonova, 4. FS 115.96 (57.95+59.01 -1). The Russian from St. Petersburg, who turned 21 on November 23, was fourth in the world championships last April and ninth in the Olympics but she has never been national champion. She came into this event as the sixth and last qualifier, with a third place in the NHK Grand Prix in Sapporo and a second in her home country Grand Prix. So this result was better than expected. Although she has competed in Grand Prix events since 2008, this was only her second time to qualify for the Final. Last season, when the Final was in Beijing, she finished sixth of the six competitors.

Leonova opened her routine set to Samuel Barberís Adagio for Strings and Clint Mansellís Requiem for a Tower, with a very good combination of two triple toe loops, which earned +2s from eight of the nine judges (with the dissenter punching in only 0). But then she doubled her loop. "I was rushing going into the loop and decided to do a clean double instead of risking a fall. It was an unfortunate error as I did an excellent triple loop in the warm up and in practices."

Then she fell on her triple Lutz. "I am very disappointed about the Lutz as after the Rostelecom Cup my coach (Alia Piatova) changed the approach going into the jump so I would feel more comfortable in order to have the correct (takeoff) edge. I do not know whether the (Technical Panel) credited me with the correct edge today (they did) so I will have to review the protocols. If they did, I will continue working on this approach. After the fall, I just concentrated on the rest of the program."

She got back in stride with a +0.43 Level 3 change foot camel, a +0.70 triple flip to double toe set for when the bonus marks click in, the choreographed spirals and a base value triple Salchow to double toe to double loop. But her second triple flip got -0.40 removed from the base value and a double Axel "only" received +0.07 extra.

She concluded with three good moves, a +0.36 Level 4 flying sit spin, +0.93 straight line steps for which one judge gave the maximum +3GoE, and a Level 4 +0.57 change foot combination spin. "I was very excited about the crowd cheering me on during the straight line step sequence in practice and I expected to have even louder cheering during the Free Skate, which definitely helped my performance. I am very pleased with myself for not getting tired after competing in three Grand Prix events this fall (a new situation this season in which the worldís top skaters can choose to do an extra event with only the best two finishes counting towards qualifying for the Final). Leonova was fourth in Skate Canada.

She said, "I am very happy with my first medal at the Grand Prix Final. (She made the Final once before Ė placing 6th in the Olympic season.) I donít have many emotions right now because I canít quite grasp it. I am very happy to place third. I try not to pay attention to the pressure. I just want to skate my best. My goal is always to skate well and not to think about placement and scores."

4.Overall 174.51 Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, 2.FS 119.52 (63.86+55.68), who gave dazzling performances to win Skate Canada and the French Grand Prix events but would not turn 15 until December 17 and so is still too young for the World Senior championship in Nice, came into this event as the top qualifier. But her less than stellar SP had her lying 5.31 points behind the fourth placed Alissa Czisny.

However, her energetic, Latin-flavored Free was judged second best to Kostner, just 1.53 points behind the gold medalist. Tuktamishevaís Elements score (63.86) was the highest by 5.91. (Her Russian teammate, Leonova, earned the second highest elements score of 57.95.) However, the judges gave Tuktamisheva the lowest components marks, 55.66 almost ten points (9.56) behind the Italian.

Tuktamisheva is from Glazov, a stop on the Trans Siberian Railroad, which is home to Russiaís top uranium processor and is most famous for being the home town of Anton Chekhovís actress wife. However, after an interim two-year period when she traveled a 24-hour rail journey twice a month to get instruction from Alexei Mishin, she now lives in that city.

She began her routine with a superb triple Lutz to triple toe, which had beautifully light landings on both jumps and which earned six +2 and three +1s from the judges. But she stepped out of her second triple Lutz, which came immediately following the first, and it was saddled with six -2s and three -1s. A triple flip was rewarded with eight +1s and one +2.

She almost came to a stop on the landing of the second jump in her fourth element, a double Axel to triple toe. Her circular steps were Level 2 with +0.29 and her triple Loop, set to take advantage of the bonus marks clicking in at the half way stage, earned +0.90. The rest of the program was faultless. Her GoE for the choreographed spirals, which only receive Level 1 worth two points, got an extra +0.50 from the judges. Two Level 4 spins received +0.50 for the flying sit and +0.79 for the change foot combination. Her triple Salchow to double toe to double loop got an extra +0.20. Her second double Axel received +0.57 and her final move, a Level 3 camel spin was rewarded with +0.64.

She said, "I realized after yesterday that I have nothing to lose and I have to just skate well for myself. I changed my costume from black and red to green to help feel the Latin music. My best element was the triple Lutz-triple toe combination and the worst the double Axel to triple toe. I learned from this event that there is nothing to be afraid of and everything is possible."

5.Overall 156.97 Alissa Czisny 5.FS 96.67 (40.22+58.45 -2). Czisny "tweaked" her left lower calf/ankle practicing a triple flip on Thursday. She explained, "Itís sore but it will be fine. Itís something I did in practice here but it certainly wasnít easy to skate on. It happened at the very beginning of practice. It was just the way I picked on a flip. It's one of those things that can happen. There's not much you can do."

U.S. Figure Skating team doctors Peter Breen and Jen Burke examined the injury and said competing would not cause further damage. Czisny appeared to take the situation calmly. "Itís still early in the season. Iím going to go home, take a little time (a week or so) and rest." Coach, Jason Dungjen, put a positive light on the matter. "Actually, if it had to happen, this is the perfect time. Iím going to Italian nationals (with Valentina Marchei) so I wonít be at the rink (Detroit FSC). When I get back, it still gives us five weeks until U.S. nationals."

This was Czisnyís third appearance in the Final. She finished sixth in 2006 but won gold last year. Back in 2003, she was 5th in the Junior Grand Prix Final. In her Free, set to Valse Triste (Sad Waltz which seemed very appropriate in view of the unfortunate performance), the 2009 and current national champion, wore a royal blue sleeveless creation. Blue for a blue day! She had the sort of day only a fellow US international competitor like Rachael Flatt could truly appreciate.

Flatt bombed in this seasonís Skate Canada Grand Prix in Mississauga in October, earning only 73.99 points for her Free (22.68 lower than Czisnyís FS point total here in Quebec). The 24-year-old Czisny, who was only 10th in nationals when Flatt dethroned her and won the 2010 US title, just appeared to have no power.

But, even when she falls, Czisny is worth watching because of her matchless spins, spirals and sheer grace. She received a single arrow for both triple Lutzes, for her second triple Loop and for her first double Axel on which she fell. She also fell on her second double Axel which was not given an arrow. A single arrow indicates that the jumpís rotation was not fully achieved, but the problem was not serious enough for the Technical Panel to give two arrows, which means the jump is downgraded (generally from a triple to a double).

Of her 12 required elements, Czisny received positive GoEs for only five, - the choreographed spirals which were awarded unanimous +2s by the nine-member judging panel; her three spins, which were all awarded the maximum Level 4 with the flying camel earning three +3s, the maximum GoE; the change foot combination getting one vote of +3; and her final move, the matchless layback spin getting unanimous +3s. That went a long way to helping the audience forget and forgive what had assailed their eyes in the previous four minutes. Czisny earned Level 2 for her circular steps which came immediately before her mesmerizing spinning finish. What can you say after such a disaster? "Obviously today was not my best and Iím disappointed in that. I learned to be tough and push through some pain."


2011 Grand Prix Final Ladies Medalists

Return to title page