by Alexandra Stevenson
|1||Aliona SAVCHENKO / Robin SZOLKOWY||GER||201.36||1||1|
|2||Meagan DUHAMEL / Eric RADFORD||CAN||190.49||2||2|
|3||Stefania BERTON / Ondrej HOTAREK||ITA||172.03||3||3|
|4||Paige LAWRENCE / Rudi SWIEGERS||CAN||158.33||4||4|
|5||Daria POPOVA / Bruno MASSOT||FRA||149.37||5||5|
|6||Tiffany VISE / Don BALDWIN||USA||141.21||7||6|
|7||Lindsay DAVIS / Mark LADWIG||USA||122.26||6||7|
|1||Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR||CAN||169.41||1||1|
|2||Anna CAPPELLINI / Luca LANOTTE||ITA||160.06||2||2|
|3||Ekaterina RIAZANOVA / Ilia TKACHENKO||RUS||143.39||3||3|
|4||Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER||CAN||136.74||5||4|
|5||Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE||USA||135.16||4||6|
|6||Julia ZLOBINA / Alexei SITNIKOV||AZE||132.80||7||5|
|7||Pernelle CARRON / Lloyd JONES||FRA||130.75||6||7|
|8||Kharis RALPH / Asher HILL||CAN||126.60||8||8|
According to ISU rule 500 men must wear trousers, and tights are not permitted. In both the short and long programs Robin Szolkowy wore a form fitting costume. Are these costumes trousers or not? You decide. Click to enlarge the photo.
(27 October 2012) Windsor, Ontario.
1. Overall 201.36; 1.SP 72.26 (38.63+33.63); 1.FS 129.10 (61.59+67.51) Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, Germany, have been World Champions four times in the past five years. In 2010 they were third in the Olympics and second in the world. At that point they said they were only continuing in order to go for Olympic gold in 2012. But they are not young – 28 & 33. They won this Grand Prix event by more than ten points although they made a tentative start in the Short Program. Every time they have competed in Skate Canada, they have won – 2005, 2007, 2009 & 2012.
But this event won’t be remembered for their performances. The talking point will undoubtedly be their unique, extremely flashy unitard costumes, which they unveiled in this, their first competitive appearance this season.
The ISU rules state that men must wear trousers, but, in practice, men's attire has been getting thinner, tighter and more stretchy, in line with other athletic gear for ages. But no penalty was given, so the officials must have decided it was OK. A Canadian journalist called them “sausage casing” which was not exaggerating.
They started in good form. Skating to Kismet by Bond, they opened their Short Program with a throw triple flip which earned three of the maximum +3 Grades of Execution, while the other six judges gave +2. Their side-by-side triple toe loops earned an extra +1.10, but, while their triple twist received Level 3, the average GoE was only +0.40. Their back outside death spiral was Level 4 with a full point extra. The last three elements were Level 4 with the flying camel combination spin gaining +0.93 GoE; the straight line steps getting +1.30, and their lift +1.0. Their components went as high as three 9.50s and as low as two 7.50s from one judge.
Later, Savchenko, who had a bad cold and a temperature, said, “I didn’t even know if I could do the Short Program. I am really proud of myself that I was able to pull myself together. It was hard.”
Their Free was to a Flamenco Bolero, by Gusatavo Montesano. They again began with their throw triple flip but this time she put her free foot down on the landing, and they lost a half point from its base value of 5.5. But their planned sequence of two triple toe loops was classed as double/triple because he doubled the jump. The element still got a +0.30 despite two judges punching in -2 and another -1. (Four others thought the sequence worthy of +1 and two thought it was good enough for +2!!!!) Something is DEFINITELY wrong there.
After their Level 4, +1.0 GoE forward inside death spiral, they presented their choreograph sequence, and then a Level 3, +0.80 triple twist. Instead of side-by-side triple Salchows, they did doubles. But then it was all plain sailing. There were two great Level 4 lifts, which earned +1.30 and +1.20. Then, after a +0.64 Level 4 pair combination spin, the presented their third lift, a Group 3 Level 4 elements which was awarded 0.64 extra. Their final move was a throw triple Salchow which gained an extra +0.60.
Skolkowy said, “It was a quite good performance. It was our first competition with new programs and new costumes. There were a few shaky moments. We’ll have to improve our elements that were not clean like the jump sequence. The twist could have been better and the second jump in the sequence was just a double. It was a working version of our program and there are not so many emotions yet.”
There was a reason they placed all three lifts in the second half. Jumps, and lifts, get a 10% bonus if they are performed then, and the Germans, and their coach, Ingo Steuer, are very adept at taking every opportunity to rack up the points.
2. Overall 190.49; 2.SP 64.49 (35.35+29.14); 2.FS 126.00 (64.00+62.00) Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, are the Canadian champions, who teamed together in 2010. They have placed seventh and fifth in the past two worlds. She said she believed the routines they presented in this contest have the potential to “take us right to the top. We set some pretty lofty goals coming into this weekend that I think a lot of people considered to be out of our reach. And we did it.”
Their SP, however, was not as perfect as hoped. Set to music from the opera, La Boheme. They opened with a triple twist which earned Level 3 with +0.70. Their Group 4 Level 4 +0.79 gained five +2s, three +1s and one 0.Their Level 3 back outside death spiral received 0.80 extra. But they lost -0.90 on their side-by-side triple Lutz jumps. Their throw triple Lutz gained an extra +0.70. Their Level 4 straight line steps got +0.2 over the move’s base value. They concluded with their +0.36 flying camel combination spin. Duhamel, who will turn 26 on December 8, admitted, “We are fairly pleased with our Short Program but we did leave some points on the table. We had a couple of stumbles during the choreography on my part but other than that, it went well.”
Their FS was set to music from the movie Angel by Philippe Rombi. They again began with a Level 3 triple twist but it earned a greater GoE of +1.20. Their side-by-side triple Lutzes were also better, although they did lose a minimal -0.10. After their choreographed sequence, they presented a back entry into a Group 5 press lift that was deemed the top Level 4, with a GoE of +0.90. Their following Level 3 flying change foot spin earned two votes of +3.
That put them past the half-way point and they began to earn 10% for lifts and throws. Following their Level 4 +0.80 Axel lift, they presented a three-jump combination of triple Salchow to two double toe loops which earned its base value plus 10%. Then came a + 0.57 Level 4 pair combination spin. But then, on both throws, they lost points. Their throw triple loop had -1.30 removed, and their throw triple Lutz had -1.40 taken off. But they ended on a positive note, with a Group 4 Level 4 +0.36 lift and a Level 4 forward inside death spiral which earned an extra +0.20. Their components ranged from two 7.0 up to one 9.25. Radford, who is 27, said, “We may have had ups and downs on the technical side, but to get that second mark up like that is an accomplishment.”
3. Overall 172.03; 3SP 59.79 (31.13+28.66); 3.FS 112.24 (58.44+54.80 -1) Stefania Berton & Ondrej Hotarek, Italy, had been training in Detroit with Jason Dungjen for a week and a half after competing in the Bratislava event, before coming to Windsor. Dungjen said, “They came for a month and a half in the summer and we were working on cleaning up their elements. We worked on their triple twist. It’s very hard to get over the basic in this move.”
They performed their SP to The Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black. Berton, who is 22, said, “Our practices were close to this performance, but I struggled on the side-by-side spin (although it was still given Level 3 although with -0.17). Apart from that we are happy.” They began with side-by-side triple toe loop jumps which earned an extra +1.10. Their basic twist received the basic Level got an extra +0.50. Their throw triple loop earned +0.60 and their Level 4 Group 4 lift got +0.50. Their Level 4 steps gained an extra +0.70. Their back outside death spiral received Level 1 with +0.30.
Their Free was set to Poet in the Wing. They began with a triple toe loop to two double toe loops, but had -0.70 removed from its base value of 6.70. Then she fell on their side-by-side triple Salchows. All their other moves, including two Level 4 lifts and Level 4 pair combination spin and Level 4 forward inside death spiral, got a positive GoE except for their 12th and last element, the flying change foot combination spin which earned Level 4 but had a small -0.17 removed from the base value of 3.5. He said, “We improved our Personal Best, but there are still some things to work on. We are looking forward to making the improvements and to skating better in our next competition.
4. Overall 158.33; 4.SP 52.88 (25.90+26.98); 4.FS 105.45 (53.03+53.42 -1) Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers, Canada, have been the third ranked Canadian couple for the past two years. He was born in South Africa and she in Saskatoon. His family came to this area, when he was 12 and their skating is putting their Province on the international map. Their Short Program was set to music from Robin and Marion. They began with +0.40 triple toes but their triple twist had -0.20 removed from the basic level base value. Their back outside death spiral also received only the basic level with +0.40 added, and their flying change foot combination spin was only Level 1 with -0.30 subtracted. Their triple Lutz throw, however, gained +0.80 over its base value of 5.50. But their straight line steps were only Level 1 with 0.14. They finished with their Group 4 Level 3 lift which gained +0.36.
Their Free Skate was set to music from the movie War Horse. She fell on their first element, a triple toe loop, but they received Level 4 for four of their other elements.
5. Overall 149.37; 5SP 25.53 (25.53+23.90); 5.FS 100.94 (54.60+48.34 -2) Daria Popova & Bruno Massot, France.
6. Overall 141.21; 7.SP 46.47 (24.41+23.06 -1); 6.FS 94.74 (48.16+47.58 -1) Tiffany Vise, 26, & Don Baldwin, 33, USA. It was a learning experience for both U.S. pairs who flip-flopped positions after the SP. Vise and Baldwin, who train in Scottsdale, AZ, skated their Short Program to Open Arms, beginning with a double twist which had +0.34 added to its base value. But she fell on their solo triple toe loops which received a double arrow for down grade to double. Their next two elements received negative GoEs, but the last three, their Level 4 steps, their Group 4 Level 3 lift and their Level 3 back outside death spiral received +0.30; +0.21 and +0.40 respectively added to their base values.
Their Free was to Legends of the Fall and Time to Say Goodbye. They received the full base value or more for seven of their elements. However, for one of the five other elements, the pair spin, they received no points because an error turned it into an element that did not meet requirements. The highlight of the routine was a +0.70 Level 4 Group 5 lift which earned an extra +0.70 and was followed by a +0.60 throw triple loop.
7. Overall 122.26; 6.SP 47.05 (23.68+23.37); 7.FS 75.21 (31.50+43.71) Lindsay Davis, 20 & Mark Ladwig, 32, USA, who train in Ellenton, FL, were the opening pair in the Short Program. They only just teamed together and their first international was the recent U.S. senior event in Salt Lake City where they placed fifth.
They began their routine, set to music by Beethoven, with good side-by-side triple Salchows which got an extra +0.60. They had a problem with their triple twist but still banked 3.30 points for this element. Their throw triple loop earned +0.20 over its base value, but the combination spin lost a minimal -0.90. Their Group 4 lift was Level 2 with -0.14. Their straight line steps were Level 1 with +0.21, but their back outside death spiral was Level 1 with -0.40 removed from its base value.
Their Free Skate was set to Hans Zimmer’s Angels and Devils. It was one of those days when nothing went right. Everyone knows what that is like and it’s ten times worse when it happens before an audience. They didn’t actually fall. But their pair spin did not get credit for the change of foot and received no points as an element that did not meet requirements. They also received no points for one lift that collapsed and did not go up. Only four of their 12 elements gained the base value or more. It was a day to be forgotten.
Coach Lyndon Johnston said, “When you have a brand new team, it’s tough to know how they will react under pressure. They need run-throughs of the program. It’s tough to know how they will react under pressure. Every one of my partners reacted differently. Bottom line, in the next three weeks, it’s going to be more of the same training, and build from that.” They will next compete in NHK Grand Prix in Japan.