2005 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Portland, Oregon

9 - 16 January, 2005

Event Reports


Novice Ladies
Novice Men
Novice Pairs
Novice Dance


Junior Ladies
Junior Men
Junior Pairs
Junior Dance


Senior Ladies
Senior Men
Senior Pairs
Senior Dance

Daily Notes

(For individual event reports follow the links at the left.)

Dawn of the Midnight Blues - A look at the origin of the newest compulsory dance to be introduced into competition.

Saturday, 15 January

Michelle Kwan won the ladies event, receiving four 6.0s in the process.  This is Kwan's ninth ladies title, tying the record with Maribel Vinson Owen.


Johnny Weir won the Men's event, successfully defending his title.  Just 7 more to go to catch up to Kwan!


Kimmie Meissner attempted a triple Axel in her performance.  Many media gave her credit for it, but as of Sunday morning there was no word if USFSA would formally ratify it.  It appeared to us in the performance and in the replay that the jump was pre-rotated on the takeoff (a big 1/4 turn skid entering) and cheated more than 1/4 turn on the landing.  So we call the jump more than 1/2 turn cheated, even though she came a lot closer than several of the men this week.  The first (and only from our point of view) U.S. lady to land a triple Axel in competition was Tonya Harding in 1991.



Angela Nikodinov made a brief statement to the media today.  Nikodinov was at the Rose Garden Arena to watch and support her friends competing in the men's free skate. The statement was as follows:


“First, I just want to thank everyone for all of your thoughts and prayers for my family and me. I look forward to getting back on the ice and being able to perform again. I would just like to have some private time for my family and I and after a few days, I'll be in a better position to answer all of your questions about the accident. I just want to ask for your patience and understanding. As far as today, I decided to come to the arena today to be there for my friends who have supported me through all of this. I would just like to be there for them.


“That's all I can say for right now. Just… thank you.”


Naomi Lang, five-time U.S. ice dancing champion, and Ivan Dinev, a men's singles competitor who represents Bulgaria, accompanied Nikodinov to the press conference.  No questions were taken.



2005 Scholastic Honors Recipients

Friday, 14 January

Igor Pashkevich, is in stable condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. He has a concussion, a broken bone in his neck and multiple cuts and bruises. A cut on his head required stitches.

More sentimental 6.0s, with Belbin & Agosto earning nine 6.0s in the second mark for their free dance.

Attendance during the day remained anemic, but was more respectable in the evening for the Dance and Pairs finals, about 3500 during the day, and 10,000 in the evening.

Thursday, 13 January

Another hectic day running back and forth between the two arenas.  Attendance at Junior Pairs in the morning was sparse (about 3000) and even less for Junior Dance in the second arena (about 1200), but picked up for the Senior Men and Ladies short programs in the evening (about 6000).  A moment of silence was observed for Dolores Nikodinov prior to the start of the ladies short program.

The parade of sentimental 6.0s continues with Belbin & Agosto receiving four yesterday, and Evan Lysacek receiving one and Michelle Kwan three today.

Wednesday, 12 January

Angela Nikodinov, her parents, and her coach, Igor Pashkevich were in a car accident this morning riding in a taxicab from the Portland airport to their hotel.  Delores Nikodinov, Angela's mother, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Angela and her father were treated at the hospital and released.  Igor remains in the hospital overnight for observation.

Though it has yet to be presented to a Governing Council, USFSA is moving ahead quickly here to train judges for use of the new system at Nationals next year.  Judges and Technical Specialists are being trained and hardware is being exercised.  As I write this, a seminar is being held in the adjoining press conference area where USFSA officials are doing the full political press to sell the system to the assembled media.  Tomorrow a second session will be held to hammer home the point.  The reason for this escapes me since the media who cover this system are already completely familiar with the system from covering ISU events; and, second, the system is a done deal.  It's passed the ISU.  The U.S. is going to use it regardless of what anyone else thinks about it.  End of story.  Move on.  Further, it has every appearance that the ISU is heavily involved in manipulating the show behind the scenes to bring this system to the U.S..  One wonders if USFSA officials who hold ISU positions know which hat they are wearing at any given time, and can distinguish between what is in the best interest of the ISU and their positions in the ISU, and the best interest of USFSA (which are not necessarily the same things).

Of somewhat more value, a little bit of information on the US implementation plan was presented, but not much.  The current implementation is currently planned to take 3 years.  3 Years!  The IUS threw this system together in just over a year.  Why is it taking three years to copy what already exists?  I still don't like the new system (duh!), but its coming, so it's time to quit playing around and put it into use.  There is no practical reason why the new system cannot be used at all levels at all competitions within 18 months.  It could be used at Novice and above at all levels and all competitions next season it USFSA was concerned less about politics and more about solving the technical questions.

We estimate attendance today at 2500 for events in the big arena and 1500 for the toy arena.

Tuesday, 11 January

The Senior events started today with the Compulsory Dance.  Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto won this segment of the dance event and received one 6.0 in the second mark.  It is generally assumed that this will be the last U.S. Nationals judged using the 6.0 system, and this was only the first of what will likely be many many undeserved 6.0s that will be awarded in this competition, as was the case in Worlds in Dortmund last year.  Attendance today was approx. 1500 at each session.

Monday, 10 January

Traditionally the Novice events are completed on the second day of competition and the the Junior and Senior events begin on day three.  Here, however, not only did the Novice events finish up, but two of the Junior events also began, resulting in six events and a 15 hour day for anyone who saw things through from beginning to end.  The reason for this remains a mystery at this time.  Attendance at events the first two days was approximately 1200 (at each event).

Sunday, 9 January

It took three tries to get it and now it's here.  Portland Nationals, that is.  Operating out of the Rose Garden Arena and Memorial Coliseum, next door neighbors in central Portland, the Novice events today began with the short programs and compulsory dances.  The Memorial Coliseum was the site of the 1978 National Championships, but has only a 185 foot ice surface.  To accommodate a full 200 ft ice surface the removable seating in the lower bowl were taken out and a temporary 200 ft surface installed over the smaller permanent surface.

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