2006 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

St. Louis, Missouri

8 - 15 January, 2006

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.

Sunday, 15 January

All done.  On to Four Continents.

Saturday, 14 January

2006 Olympic Winter Games Ladies Nominations to the USOC

1. Sasha Cohen

2. Kimmie Meissner

3. Michelle Kwan

1st alternate – Emily Hughes

2nd alternate – Katy Taylor


2006 World Figure Skating Championships Ladies Entries

1. Sasha Cohen

2. Kimmie Meissner

3. Emily Hughes

1st alternate – Katy Taylor

2nd alternate – Bebe Liang


2006 Four Continents Championships Ladies Entries

1. Emily Hughes

2. Katy Taylor

3. Bebe Liang

1st alternate – Christine Zukowski

2nd alternate – Alissa Czisny


2006 World Junior Figure Skating Championships Ladies Entries (in alphabetical order)

Alissa Czisny

Katy Taylor

Christine Zukhowski

1st alternate – Megan Hyatt

2nd alternate – Stephanie Rosenthal

By a 20 to 3 vote, Michelle Kwan was provisionally named to the Olympic team.  She will be monitored for the next two weeks and will have to skate for a five person panel by Jan 27.  The panel has been given the authority to decide at that time if she should remain on the team or be replaced by Emily Hughes, who placed third in the Ladies championship.  The panel will consist of National judges and Technical Specialists.

 2006 Olympic Winter Games Men’s Nominations

1. Johnny Weir

2. Evan Lysacek

3. Matt Savoie

1st alternate – Michael Weiss

2nd alternate – Scott Smith


2006 World Figure Skating Championships Men’s Entries

1. Johnny Weir

2. Evan Lysacek

3. Matt Savoie

1st alternate – Michael Weiss

2nd alternate – Scott Smith


2006 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships Men’s Entries

1. Evan Lysacek

2. Matt Savoie

3. Michael Weiss

1st alternate – Scott Smith

2nd alternate – Ryan Jahnke


2006 World Junior Figure Skating Championships Men’s Entries (listed in alphabetical order)

Stephen Carriere

Daisuke Murakami

Geoffry Varner

1st alternate – Tommy Steenberg

2nd alternate – Craig Ratteree

The mystery 0.5 points removed from the score of Hinzmann & Parchem was due to an erroneous time bonus awarded their first throw jump, which was the second element in the program.  The throw triple loop has a base value of 0.5 points, but with the error was scored as 5.5 point.

Ladies and Men's events finish up today.

Ladies results

1.  Cohen
2.  Meissner
3.  Hughes
4.  Taylor

Men's result

1.  Weir
2.  Lysacek
3.  Savoie
4.  Weiss

Here's a weird one for you.  ABC has been telling fans here they can't look into kiss and cry and take pictures.  I always knew they think they own just about everything at an event, but I didn't know until now it included the photons too!

Friday, 13 January

Junior events conclude today with the Ladies final.   Afterwards the Senior Pairs Final and Dance final wrap up those events.  In Pairs, Rena Inoue & John Baldwin recaptured the pairs title.  In their performance they landed a throw triple Axel, the first time that element has been landed in U.S. competition.  As far as anyone in the press room can remember, this element has not been landed in ISU competition either.  (But if we are wrong we are sure one of you will send us e-mail correcting our error.)

Following the Pairs event, the scores for Hinzmann & Parchem were reduced by 0.50 points.  This change did not affect the results, though reduced there margin for making he Olympic team to a mere 0.62 points.  No explanation for the change was offered, but it would appear to be due to the change in an element level after the conclusion of the event, or perhaps an entry error.

Belbin & Agosto win Senior Dance. (Duh!).  Kate Slattery & Chuen-Gun Lee withdrew after the Original Dance.  Lee took an elbow to the face during the OD warmup which broke his nose.  He skated the OD anyway, but the subsequent swelling made breathing difficult; and with the risk of further injury the team decided not to skate the Free Dance segment of the event.

This morning U.S. Figure Skating President Ron Hershberger said that a "skate-off" involving Michelle Kwan at Four Continents was not an option within the rules.  The position staked out this morning is that the team must be named by 16 January with no strings attached -- meaning monitoring of Kwan's progress after 16 January would not occur, if she is named to the team this week.  That's it, end of the story.  Maybe.  Rumor has it USOC is applying intense pressure to insure Kwan is named to the team.

2006 Olympic Winter Games Pairs Nominations to the USOC

1. Rena Inoue and John Baldwin

2. Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem

1st alternate – Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash

2nd alternate – Tiffany Scott and Rusty Fein


2006 World Figure Skating Championships Pairs Selections

1. Rena Inoue and John Baldwin

2. Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem

1st alternate – Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash

2nd alternate – Tiffany Scott and Rusty Rein


2006 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships Pairs Selections

1. Rena Inoue and John Baldwin

2. Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem

3. Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash

1st alternate – Tiffany Scott and Rusty Fein

2nd alternate – Naomi Nari Nam and Themistocles Leftheris


2006 World Junior Figure Skating Championships Pairs Selections

1. Kendra Moyle and Andy Seitz

2. Bridget Namiotka and John Coughlin

3. Julia Vlassov and Drew Meekins

1st alternate – Kaela Pflumm and Christopher Pottenger

2nd alternate – Bianca Butler and Joseph Jacobsen


2006 Olympic Winter Games Ice Dancing Nominations to the USOC

1. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto

2. Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov

3. Jamie Silverstein and Ryan O’Meara

1st alternate – Morgan Matthews and Maxim Zavozin

2nd alternate – Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre


2006 World Figure Skating Championships Ice Dancing Selections

1. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto

2. Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov

3. Jamie Silverstein and Ryan O’Meara

1st alternate – Morgan Matthews and Maxim Zavozin

2nd alternate – Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre


2006 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships Ice Dancing Selections

1. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto

2. Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov

3. Jamie Silverstein and Ryan O’Meara

1st alternate – Morgan Matthews and Maxim Zavozin

2nd alternate – Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre


2006 World Junior Figure Skating Championships Ice Dancing Selections

1. Meryl Davis and Charlie White

2. Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles

3. Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates

1st alternate - Jane Summersett and Elliot Pennington

2nd alternate – Kaitlyn Weaver and Charles Clavey

Thursday, 12 January

Attendance has started to pick up today, though still well below what would expect for an Olympic year.  Junior pairs drew perhaps 4,000, increasing to about 5,000 for the Senior Men and 8,000 for the Senior Ladies. Sasha Cohen fought off the flu well enough to win the Ladies Short Program in a respectable skate.   The outstanding performance of the day goes to Johnny Weir, however, who trounced his competition without a quad.

Those who are tempted to predict the Olympic future based on a comparison fo the scores here with scores elsewhere will be wasting their time.  The judges scores here (in all events) are clearly inflated compared to ISU competition, which highlights the difficulty of attempting to train the judges in a coherent and consistent marking standard.  What we can take away from the Senior events so far is what we already knew.  Cohen and Belbin & Agosto remain our best hopes for Olympic medals, with Weir and Evan Lysacek also having an outside chance.

Wednesday, 11 January

Only one more day in schedule hell!  Junior Ladies Short Program takes place in the secondary arena this afternoon, then a little over an hour to run to the main arena for the day's events there.  It might happen!  Well at least it is sunny and warmer today.

So far nothing earth shattering has occurred.  The only really fun controversy so far is whether Michelle Kwan should get a bye onto the Olympic team, and if there should be strings attached if she does.  Opinions run the gamut from "hell no," to only if she proves herself at Four Continents, to "for sure".  My feeling is past practice and her status in the sport say Kwan deserves a chance to make the team.  But no one deserves a free ride.  If she's not healthy, such is sport, and someone else should get the place.  So if I was king of figure skating, I would say, the third place girl here and Kwan should do Four Continents, and the one who gets the most points there makes the team.  If Kwan doesn't want to do Four Continents then she can stay home and watch the Olympics on TV like the rest of us.

Revised scores for yesterday's Senior Compulsory Dance came out today.  For reasons unexplained, the judges' marks for Program Components were miss-associated with the correct components.  Since each Program Component in dance has a different weight, if you change the component a mark refers to the calculated score will change.  The change in scores was minor and no places changed because of it.  But how is it that the software could allow such an odd occurrence?  One can only wonder at this point.

Attendance remains anemic, with most events drawing less than 2000 spectators, with the Junior events as low as 300-400.  The Senior Pairs Short Program this evening had the best crowd thus far.  It looked like about 5,000 people were in the audience.  Official attendance figures are much higher than what we report here, and are completely unbelievable.  Maybe they are counting the help and multiple entries to cook the books, or tickets sold instead of tickets used!

Tuesday, 10 January

Busy, busy day today.  Two junior events took place in the secondary arena, while three events were held in the main arena.  Ten minutes was allotted in the schedule to get from the end of the last event in the secondary arena and the start of the first event in the main arena.  A brilliant move for two arenas that are over 20 miles apart!  Attendance in the secondary was estimated at about 300-500 while in the main arena about 2000 were on hand.

Senior events began today with the unusual schedule of skating both the compulsory dance and the original dance in the same day.  The two dance were separated by the skating if the Junior Men's Free Skate in the middle.

Minor scoring glitches continue, with the most obvious one today the use of the wrong segment factor for the Senior Compulsory Dance.  This was caught after the scores for the first couple were posted on the arena scoreboard and quickly corrected.  Nevertheless, these small errors tend to erode confidence in the results and need to be taken seriously, even though the problems they have created thus far are minor. For confidence in the results needs to be top priority in any competition, and particularly in a National Championship that will select the Olympic team.

And the weather report from St. Louis, COLD AND WET!

Monday, 9 January

Novice events concluded today in the secondary arena, which is a new, very nice facility about 24 mile from the main arena.  It is so nice, in fact, it could have been used as the main arena were it not located out in the middle of nowhere.  Also today, the Junior events got underway in the main arena.

Due to the increased length of the events (scheduled to accommodate the new judging system) and the long commute time between arenas, there are schedule conflicts on three days that prevent all event ticket holders for seeing all events.  Ticket holder are not happy about this, and in this respect, this is the worst schedule in the history of Nationals.

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Attendance for today's events in the secondary arena (where we spent the day) was about 400 for the free skating events, and no more than 200 for the free dance in the early evening.  In the secondary arenas events stayed mostly on schedule, falling at most 5-10 minutes behind.  There were several scoring revisions, due mostly it seems to corrections to application of the program requirements rules.  The reason for one of these was announced, but the remainder were simply posted without explanation.  Hopefully, all were caught before the awarding of medals.

Sunday, 8 January

Two stories coming into U.S. Nationals hold center stage, both of which should really be non-stories at this point.  First Michelle Kwan withdrew several days ago due to a groin injury.  She will not be here to defend her title and to try and extend her streak of U.S. Championships.  The real story concerning Kwan will take place after the crowning of the Ladies Champion later this week, when U.S. Figure Skating has to decide who will represent the U.S. at the Olympics.  If Kwan's doctor says she is fit to compete when the decision must be made, it is assumed she will be named to the team, but it is not a slam dunk.  We expect a lively discussion both inside and outside of U.S. Figure Skating when that decision comes down.

Second, there is the non-story of the use of the new judging system here at Nationals for the first time.  Everyone remotely interested in skating know this by now, and has so for a long time.  At this point, most people just don't care any more.  Worse, this story is being spun by both the media and U.S. Figure Skating in the context of ISU politics.  In a recent Washington Post article Charlie Cyr, Pacific Coast vice president and ISU Technical Controller was quoted on the issue of cheating in judging saying, ""I'm not going to say it's impossible.  If you want to crack a safe, you can crack a safe. It's not fail-safe. But it sure is better than it was before. . . . I think everyone's on board that this is the way."  But honesty and integrity of the judging within the U.S.  has never been an issue in adoption of the new system in the U.S., and to imply that is why we are using it here is a disservice to U.S. judges.

Rather than parrot the ISU propaganda on the new system one should focus on the real reasons the new system is here.  The system is being adopted in the U.S. because many believe it is a superior way of evaluating the ability of skaters (or at least no worse), and most believe that fairness to U.S. skaters competing internationally demands they should compete under only one system, and not a domestic system and an international system.

The real story on the new system will be whether the championships run smoothly under the new system. After the sectional championships in November, it was clear there was still plenty of work to be done to get ready to use the system here.  Now it is show time.

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Competition began today with the Novice Short Programs and Compulsory dance.  The events today ran smoothly.  About 3 minutes were scheduled between each skater, and with other pads built into the schedule thing never fell more than 5-10 minutes behind.  The afternoon events were well attended for Novice competition, with an unofficial estimate of 1200-1500 in the audience -- at least until the start of compulsory dance, when the arena tuned into a ghost town.

Current leaders in the Novice events are:

  • Rhianna Brammeier in the Ladies event
  • Brandon Mroz in the Men's event
  • Jessica Rosa Paetsch & Jon Nuss in pairs
  • Madison Hubbell & Keiffer Hubbell in dance

Full reports will be posted Monday.

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