2011 Grand Prix Final

Quebec City, QC Canada

Event Info

Competition Reports Photos

Competition Schedule                                 List of Competitors

Planned Program Content

Senior Ladies          Senior Men         Senior Pairs         Senior Dance

Junior Ladies           Junior Men          Junior Pairs          Junior Dance

Senior Competition Reports

Ladies Report         Men's Report        Pairs Report       Dance Report

Junior Competition Reports

Ladies Report         Men's Report         Pairs Report         Dance Report


Daily Notes

Monday, 12 December 2011

During the Final, the sad news broke that Mao Asadaís mother, Kyoko, 48, who was in hospital being treated for cirrhosis of the liver, had died just before her daughter arrived home. Shortly after the Japanese 2008 world champion landed in Quebec City, she learned that her motherís condition had worsened to critical and immediately turned around and flew home. But the journey just took too long.

Asada told Kyodo News, "When I got to Narita (Tokyoís main airport) and checked my e-mail, I had a text from my father that said, ĎMom couldn't make it.' I just cried and cried."

On Monday, in a statement released by IMG, Asada, 21, said she is determined to compete at Nationals in Osaka, which begin on December 23. "My mother would rejoice that I'm determined to do what I must do as I aim to achieve my dreams for the future. It will satisfy my mother if I never fail to continue doing what I should toward my dream, as I promised to my family while she was alive. So I wish to work hard in training as before. Somehow, it is still hard to believe that she is gone but I feel she is watching me closer than ever."

AsadaĎs mother had raised both Mao and her elder sister, Mai, who also competed internationally. Their Japanese nationals will determine the team to compete in both the World Championships in Nice, in France in March, and in the Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, in February.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Competitive events finish today with the Senior Dance final.  Our crystal ball says changes in the top three places seem unlikely, but as Carlo Fassi used to say, 'the ice is very slippery."  Virtue and Moir's total score at Skate Canada was only 0.27 points above Davis and White's at Skate America, and the judges marks from competition to competition are not that consistent.  This is the first time this season the two couples will skate in competition before the same panel of judges.  In principle they could meet again before Worlds, at Four Continents in Colorado Springs next February, but it is unlikely either will compete at that competition, judging by past history.

Meryl Davis & Charlie White skate home with the gold medal in Dance.  The audience did not go batty for it, but still gave it a warm reception.  The crowd did go wild for Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir who won the silver. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat placed third.  In fact, the placements from the Short Dance did not change at all today.  Five of the six couples scored personal bests.

Senior Dance Medallists
Left to Right

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir

Meryl Davis & Charlie White

Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat


Unofficial Attendance: Dance 1700; Exhibition 2100


Saturday, 10 December 2011

The top three places from the Senior Ladies Short Program held up this afternoon, while a weak performance from Alissa Czisny dropped her from fourth to fifth place.  Her score was well below her personal best.  Czisny is competing here with a sore left leg, the result of an injury working triple flip during competition practice.

Patrick Chan won the Men's event to the delight of the home audience.  Daisuke Takahashi overcame his Short Program result to move up to second place, while Javier Fernandez held on to the bronze medal, despite a fourth place finish today.  Following his skate Chan literally showed the flag, waving a small Canadian flag in the kiss-and-cry area, and afterwards during an in-arena interview told the audience how much he loved them.  The PR machine was in overdrive today.

And the Russians sweep Junior Dance, also.  We are doomed.

We have been doing this too long.  We are now reporting on the children of skaters we reported when we got started!  Ivan Bukin, son of Andrei Bukin, took home a bronze medal in the Junior Dance event.  Ivan has a lot to live up to, with his famous father (with his partner Natalia Bestemianova), was 1988 Olympic Champion, 1984 Olympic silver medallist, four-time World champion, three-time World silver medallist, and five-time European champion.

Left to Right

Han Yan

Jason Brown

Joshua Farris

Left to Right

Anna Yanovskaia & Sergei Mozgov

Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin

Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin

Junior Men's Medallists Junior Dance Medallist

In the evening the U.S. finally struck gold in the Junior Men's event with a victory by Jason Brown.  Joshua Farris brings home the bronze.  In the Pairs final Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov beat their personal best by 10 points but it was not enough to win the gold, which was taken by Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy who also skated a strong program.  The German team won by 0.18 points.  Following the event  Valentin Piseev appeared visibly annoyed as he left the VIP stands, and a visibly disappointed Trankov threw a bit of a disrespectful pout during the playing of the winner's anthem.


Senior Pairs Medallists

Left to Right:  Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov, Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov

Senior Men's Medallists

Left to Right:  Daisuke Takahashi, Patrick Chan, Javier Fernandez

Senior Ladies Medallists

Left to Right:  Akiko Suzuki, Carolina Kostner, Alena Leonova

Both Tatiana Volosozhar and  Maxim Trankov competed here with injuries.  Getting them to describe these was like pulling teeth, but eventually they offered that Volosozhar has some sort of muscle injury to one of her legs and Trankov has some kind of groin injury.  They said they were going to take one to two weeks off for therapy and recuperation and would skip Russian Nationals, after which they would begin to prepare for the European Championships.  When Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov were asked what they were going to do to prepare for Europeans, Yuko said they were going to go home and buy a Christmas tree.

And speaking of injuries, it looked like Hao Zhang injured his left shoulder on the last lift of their routine.  Zhang was holding/rubbing his left deltoid as they skated off the ice.

Today's issue of the Globe and Mail has a correction to their controversial Chan article saying that Chan never compared the way he is treated to the way Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko had been in the 1980s and 1990s. 

Unofficial Saturday Afternoon Attendance: Junior Dance 1600; Senior events 2100

Unofficial Saturday Evening Attendance: 1900


Friday, 9 December 2011

Senior events begin today.  Patrick Chan faces his first home country audience after yesterdays excitement led Canadian media coverage of the Grand Prix Final.  In Senior Dance, can Americans Davis & White win in front of a Canadian audience?

The U.S. held on to a medal in Junior pairs despite a poor showing in the Free Skate.

In Senior Ladies,  Elizaveta Tuktamisheva fell apart, saving Czisny from the embarrassment of last place, and  Kostner and Suzuki were shining stars in the Short Program.

In the Dance event Virtue & Moir tumbled into second place while Davis & White took the lead with a season best performance.  The Shibutani's currently lie in fifth place.

At the Men's Short Program this evening Chan receive a warm reception from the audience.  All is forgiven, if they (the fans) were ever really mad at him the first place.  Chan related after the competition that he had been concerned that he might have been booed when he took the ice.  But that was not the case.  The audience went wild for him as they always have at Skate Canada events.

In the Men's Short Program, Patrick Chan landed a nice quad toe to which he appended a triple toe loop.  It was obvious when he tapped he was too close to the wall and what would happen.  He crashed into the barrier and fell.  His GoEs for that element ranged from -1 to -3.  For those who wonder why he did not get all -3's the rules are these.  If the second jump is attempted and the skater falls there must be a GoE reduction of -3 and the GoE given must be negative, but a -3 is not required.  A -3 would be required if he fell on the first jump, but not the second.

With a fall on the second jump the judges are also allowed to reward positive aspects.  So if one felt the element would have been +1 or +2 without the fall, then with a GoE reduction of -3 added in, the GoE to be given becomes -1 or -2.  There is of course a bit of guess work in this.  Would Chan have held a clean triple toe loop landing if he had had more ice?  Our view of the element was that he probably would have and that a GoE of -1 or -2 is defensible.  Other might rightly conclude otherwise and go to -3.  Which is how it played out on the panel.

Junior Ladies and Pairs completed their competition today, with a sweep of the Junior Ladies event.  There was a pleasant surprise in the Junior Pairs event with the U.S. taking home the bronze medal.  A Russian team did not make the podium, with their two entries finishing fourth and sixth.

The Junior Men's and Dance events conclude tomorrow. 

Left to Right

Polina Shelepen

Julia Lipnitskaia

Polina Korobeynikova


Left to Right

Katherine Bobak & Ian Beharry

Wenjing Sui & Cong Han

Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer


Junior Ladies Medallists Junior Pairs Medallist

We learned this afternoon that Mao Asada's mother passed away while Mao was on route, returning home.  The nature of her illness has not been released.

After the Russian sweep of the Junior Ladies event, and considering what we have seen so far of the other Russian Junior skaters compared to our own, the conclusion is forming that WE ARE DOOMED!  Absent some miraculous intervention by U.S. Figure Skating and Skate Canada, Sochi and beyond is going to be all about the Russians, Chinese and Japanese, with a few individual exceptions.

Senior Event Short Program Leaders

Carolina Kostner, ITA Patrick Chan, CAN Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov, RUS Meryl Davis & Charlie White, USA

This morning Skate Canada released the following statement concerning ChanGate.

Skate Canada CEO William Thompson Statement on the Chan Coverage

QU…BEC, QC. "We were deeply troubled today with specific coverage in the Globe and Mail about comments attributed to our World Champion and outstanding Canadian athlete Patrick Chan.

After considerable research about the development and content of the material in the Globe, we discovered there were many inaccuracies in the piece, including quotes attributed to Patrick which he never said. It was formulated in such a way as to create controversy, where absolutely none existed.

The original article, which the Globe used as a basis, was written by Reuters from an interview three months ago during the High Performance Camp in Toronto. Prior to that interview, Patrick had just returned from a trip to China where for the first time he had the opportunity to investigate some of the roots of his Chinese heritage. As a young man on a personal journey, he was inspired by Chinese history and by their cultural traditions that revere family so highly.

As CEO of Skate Canada, Iím very proud of Patrick and particularly of how he has embraced his familyís ancestry. Also, Iím the parent of a Chinese daughter; I can only hope that by the time she reaches Patrickís age, she has the same kind of respect and reverence for her heritage.

To have a national newspaper write an article on Patrick and incorrectly attribute comments to him is irresponsible and damaging to a fine young Canadian. Like Patrickís family, the majority of Canadians are immigrants; this is our country; this is what weíre proud of. We respect where we came from but we love where we live. In no way does this make us any less Canadian.

To repeat, we are proud of Patrick. He represents our country well. We stand behind him and we hope all Canadians will do the same.

We have demanded a correction and an apology from the Globe and Mail."

Unofficial Friday Morning Attendance: 1400

Unofficial Friday Evening Attendance: Junior Ladies, 1000; Senior events 1700


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Mao Asada withdrew from her event earlier this morning to return home to Japan due to an undisclosed illness of her mother, who is now reported to be in critical condition.  The withdrawal came too late to allow a substitute entry in her place.  Jessica Calalang & Zack Sidhu withdrew several weeks ago due to an injury to Sidhu and have been just recently been replaced by the Russian team of Tatiana Tudvaseva & Sergei Lisiev.

Today was largely devoted to practice during the day.  In the evening the Junior Short Programs/Dance were contested, preceded by an opening ceremony of sorts (parade of flags and speechifying).

Junior Short Dance Leaders Junior Men Short Program Leaders


IJS brings beauty and grace to skating

Opening Ceremony.  All dressed up and someplace better to go?



by Alexandra Stevenson

The lead story in the Globe and Mail, Canadaís leading newspaper, headlined today Chan Feels Unappreciated in Canada, and it caused waves of concern. The story was a development of a previously unused news agency telephone interview conducted in September, when Chan had just returned from doing summer shows in the Orient where, despite a crammed schedule, he was able to visit relatives.  Chan also expressed the thoughts now gaining attention at the Canadian national team camp held in early September attended by this reporter and a variety of other media.

The trip had a profound effect on the 20-year-old world championís sentiments. He was born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto with strong ties to the Chinese community. His mother emigrated to Canada from Hong Kong, then a British colony, as an adult. His father came from China as a preteen.

Chan grew up with a great respect for age which was readily observable in the years in which he was trained by Canadian Osborne Colson and then American Don Laws.

Chan said he grew up dreaming of the day he would whiz around for a victory lap in one of the world's premier skating arenas draped in Canada's Maple Leaf flag. But, when he won worlds in April in Moscow with a record score despite the reduction of one of the point-gaining technical requirements, he said he felt he didnít get quite the recognition he had anticipated.

Chan was quoted in the Globe and Mail saying, "Sometimes I feel skaters are not appreciated for how much work we put in. If my parents hadnít emigrated from China and say I had skated for China, things would have been very different. My parents wouldn't have had to make as much sacrifices as they have and there would be a lot more respect for what we do as figure skaters."

In fact, if he had learned to skate and shown talent in China, he would have been wrested from his parents at an early age and sent to the central training facility in Beijing. They would not have had to pay a penny for his board and lodging or training but they would only have seen their beloved son once a year. There is no question they would have willing have spent twice the amount of time and money focused on him in Canada, than lose their child to this inhumane treatment.

Obviously, Chan had not thought this matter through.

"I'm extremely well recognized in Korea," he said, "just because of what I do on the ice. But there is a lack of that in Canada because hockey is our sport and it will be for eternity. Figure skating has lost the draw and the attention it used to have."

While it is true that Elvis Stojko and Kurt Browning received incredible press, and were very well known, that was developed through their long careers. Although Browning is still connected with the skating world, Stoyko is practically a recluse, riding his motor cycle in Mexico, and visiting Canada only when there is an opportunity to make some money to support his hermit-like life.

When these Canadian skaters were first making their way to the top, they were initially overshadowed by the legends who came before them, including Brian Orser.

They also came along when the sports arena was less crowded. There are now a great deal more television- friendly and dangerous sports to titillate the public. Michael Slipchuk, Skate Canadaís Director of High Performance, explained that they also existed in the Tonya Harding era when every television station had repetitive and sometimes just plain bad skating practically every week. There is no denying this is a very different world.

Chan said, "Several years ago I felt more Canadian but I'm slowly feeling more Chinese and feel I should be more proud of being Chinese and appreciate where I've come from. This is because of the support I get from the Chinese community in Canada. He speaks English, French and Cantonese.

"I do wish I could have represented both China and Canada when I compete. That would be the ideal situation... in a perfect world."

Chan points out, "We have much more complexity in our programs than the skaters in the 80s but the skating in the 80s was much more epic and much more memorable. There was a lot more uniqueness between each skater whereas nowadays it's almost become a production line.

"Everyone's doing the same thing, just maybe in a different order. So I hope I can become somewhat of a throwback skater and be someone people will remember out of the 50 skaters at the world championships."

Surprisingly, Chan does not feel the normal pressure of being the one everyone is aiming for. General feeling is that it is far harder to defend a title than win it in the first place because of the pressure and peopleís expectations.

He claims, "Now that I'm world champion. I feel like I don't have to skate for anyone except myself. I've got absolutely nothing to prove to anyone. I skate just to satisfy my own desire and not care about other people's desire for me to do well.

"I barely have any interest any more in how well I do in competitions. I want to skate well but my main concern is to satisfy myself and make myself enjoy what I do on the ice and hopefully the audience can feel the same thing. If they feel they have understood the program and have been really been touched, then I feel much more accomplished than if I won a medal."

Chan's comments have ignited a firestorm of criticism among Canadians, with comment sections on CTV and the Globe and Mail website inundated with overwhelmingly negative comments.  Team Chan has now gone into damage control mode trying to contain the damage to Chan's image.


The 2007 world champion, who lost the Japanese title she had held for the previous four years and was sixth in the last world championship, her lowest placing ever, was stymied in her comeback attempt. She arrived in Quebec on Tuesday, practiced on Wednesday, and was "recalled" home because of her motherís worsening injury.

Ottavio Cinquanta, opening his Wednesdayís press conference said she had been "recalled" by her association because her motherís illness had worsened. The first reserve was Adelina Soknikova of Russia but the ISU said Wednesday there was not time to invite her. (The second and third reserves were Mirai Nagasu and Ashley Wagner.)


Cinquanta spent a long time after his press conference discussing the Olympic world team which will have its inaugural competition in Sochi. The dates have been included in the Olympic time table but still to be decided is how teams will qualify. Cinquanta admitted that in order to get ten nations to compete, the ISU and the IOC will have to adjust the qualification restrictions. He expects the Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix standings will be used to expand the list of possibly entries.

In an unrelated matter, discussing the Olympic aspirations of Quebec City, Cinquanta got into a detailed discussion which contained the surprising statement, "I am not a diplomat."


Jessica Calalang, 16, from Glenview, IL, and Zach Sidhu, 20, Las Vegas, pulled out due to his injury, which they hope will be healed by US nationals. The pair, who trained in Aliso Viejo with Jenni Meno and Todd Sand. This was his last season as a junior. They were replaced by the Russians Tatiana Tudvaseva & Sergei Lisiev.

Patrick Chan responded to the controversy over remarks he made earlier this year, by issuing a press release through Skate Canada and later meeting with the media here at the Grand Prix Final following his afternoon practice.

Unofficial Thursday Attendance: 700

Patrick on the Hot Seat

by Alexandra Stevenson

Canadaís top male skater Patrick Chan apologized Thursday for his remarks, in a telephone interview back in June, with a follow up in September, initiated by a Reuters correspondent in London. The information gathered, which Chan said was misunderstood, did not appear in print until today, instigating a wave of criticism from the Canadian public.

Patrick, bravely smiling before a jostling crowd of reporters asking questions in both French and English, jumped in at the deep end. "It was very unfortunate and I apologize for what I previously said. In June I was very jet-lagged from my trip to China and answered questions generally, instead of really thinking out the answers thoroughly, and that meant people got the wrong impression.

"I just want to get back on the ice where everything is less complicated. People have been talking about it all day. I apologize. Itís not very me to say things which could be taken out of context. When I gave the interview, I was just back from China, one of the most exciting trips of my life. It was something magnificent.

"I saw where my parents were from and met relatives. It was really something very special. I was caught up in the moment. Saying I wish I could represent China was not meant to give any offence to Canadians. Skate Canada and Canadians have been very good to me. But I failed to get that across sentiment across.

"I was really young when the Tonya Harding era took place. I know that was a quite amazing period. I hope it will come back. But I know itís a different world now. I know Elvis Stojko and Kurt Browning were incredibly interesting to watch. They had a quality of skating which people loved.

"The situation isnít the same anymore. Even the Olympic champions, Tessa and Scott, donít get that kind of recognition. Itís hard to figure out why.

"I know this system is very demanding and that harder for Ďdynastiesí to hold onto the title but I hope to change that.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Seventy-two skaters representing eleven countries began their final preparations today for the ISU Grand Prix Final of Figure Skating.  Following a day of practice today, and much of tomorrow the competition will begin with the four Junior Short Programs/Dance Thursday evening.

Each of the junior and senior events will have six entries determined by results from the six Senior Grand Prix competitions and seven Junior Grand Prix competitions earlier in the season.  The start orders for the events in the final are seeded by qualifying points earned during the season.  Skater will compete in reverse order of qualifying points, with the entrants with the most points skating last.  Supposedly this approach builds anticipation in the audience and makes the event more interesting for the public.  For the judges, however, it facilitates reputation judging, and offers the crutch of a comfortable mid-point and range approach to judging which were hallmarks of the 6.0 system of judging.

Russia has the greatest number of entries here with five entries in the senior events and eight in the junior.  The. U.S. has four in the senior events and six in the junior.  Both the U.S. and Russia qualified skates in all four junior disciplines.  For the seniors, however, Russia did not qualify a Men's entry, while the moribund U.S. pairs program could not qualify a Senior Pairs entry.

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