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2014 Skate Canada

Kelowna, BC Canada

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Substitutions:  Kevin Reynolds (CAN) had withdrawn earlier in the week (27 Oct) and was replaced by Andrei Rogozine (CAN).  Today Elladj Balde (CAN) withdrew due to injury (concussion) and will not be replaced.  Balde hit his head in training last week, training in Detroit, MI.  He had held of withdrawing in hope of being able to compete this week, but he could no get medical clearance to compete and withdrew today.
Kelowna is a city on Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. It serves as the head office of the Regional District of Central Okanagan, and derives its name derives from an Okanagan language term for "grizzly bear". The lake is a large, deep lake in the Okanagan Valley, that is 84 miles long, between 2.5 and 3 miles wide and 757 ft m deep.  Kelowna is the third largest metropolitan area in the province with a population of about 200,000.  Okanagan Valley has been named the second best wine producing region in the world, and is also a major apple producing region.
Today's day of practice was relatively uneventful as the skaters had their last full day of training before competition begins tomorrow with the four short programs.
The entries in the four events are not particularly deep.  The highest ranked entries in each event should have any easy time of it racking up qualifying points for the final, if they have prepared to be near the top of their game at the outset of the season.  This opens up the opportunity for the somewhat lesser ranked skaters to stay in the race for a spot in the final.  The reality of the qualifying system in the Grand Prix is that a competitor must place fourth or better in both their assigned events to make the final, and a competitor who places fourth in one competition must win the other to have a chance of making the final, most likely on a tie breaker if things go their way.
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) is the favorite in the Ladies event, while Ashley Wagner (USA) and Courtney Hicks (USA) have a reasonable chance to make the top four.  Team Canada appears to have little chance of making the podium in the Ladies event.
In the men, Javier Fernandez (ESP) should have any easy time of it, with maybe a little pressure coming from Takahiko Kozuka (JPN).  Neither the Canadian nor the American men have much chance to make the podium, though Adam Rippon (USA) has an outside chance, if he is at the top of his game.
Pairs will likely be a battle between Megan Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN) and Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (CHN).  Following them Vanessa James & Morgan Cipress (FRA) and Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS) are likely to round out the top four.
The dance event is perhaps the most competitive for couples seeking to qualify.  Kaityn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) are the favorites.  They are followed by four couples capable of scoring in the 150s and have a chance to make the podium.  One of these is Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA) and another is Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN).

Friday, October 31, 2014
Ann Pogorilaya (RUS)
More tricks than treats as the four short programs were skated today.  The favorites got the job done in each event, opening up small leads in the Ladies, Men's and Pairs events.  Weaver & Poje (CAN) lead by nearly nine points in the dance, making that result a blow out.
Ashley Wagner (USA) led in components among the ladies, but two under-rotations and an edge attention had her fifth in elements.  Good to see her trying the triple-triple at the start of the season, though.  Courtney Hicks (USA) missed her triple Lutz, which cost her about four places.  Anna Pogorilya (RUS), who leads in the short, two footed her double Axel in an otherwise clean program.
Takahito Mura (JPN) blew past his countryman Takahiko Kozura, to place second behind the leader Javier Fernandez (JPN).  Steven Carriere was the top U.S. man and lies fourth in the short, one place ahead of Max Aaron.  Adam RIppon left his jumps in the warm-up and lies eleventh.
The top three in pairs turned out as expected, while Madeline Aaron & Max Settlage just edged out Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres (FRA) for fourth place.  They look strong enough to hold that position, which would keep then in the running to make the final.
Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) are in command of the Dance event.  They are followed by four couples in striking distance to make the podium.  The Canadians lead by about 9 points, and then the remaining seven teams are all separated by another nine points.  The best result among the U.S. couples came from Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donahue who are only 0.33 points behind the second place couple Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin (RUS).
Estimated attendance: Men, 3100; Pairs, 3400; Dance, 2800; Ladies, 3000.

Saturday, November 1, 2014
Weaver & Poje (CAN)
Three of the four leaders in the short programs expanded their leads to win their events, while Javier Fernandez (ESP) fell short on his jumps and was overtaken by Takahito Mura (JPN) in the Men's event.
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) won the event based on the strongest technical scores.  In the Free Skate she was second in components behind Ashley Wagner (USA), who finished second the the Free Skate and second overall.  Wagner had two under-rotations and one of her triple flips has an edge attention.  She did not attempt a triple-triple and her base values trailed four other skaters in the event.  Satoko Miyahara (JPN) pulled up to third with a super performance to "Miss Saigon."  Courtney Hicks (USA) improved on her short program result and pulled up to finish fourth.
Javier Fernandez led the Free Sate in components, but errors in all three quad attempts cost him the gold medal.  Takahito Mura gave a strong performance to "phantom of the Opera," cleanly landing quad toe loop and quad toe loop - triple toe loop.  Konstantin Menshov (RUS) dropped in the long, opening the door for both Max Aaron (USA) and Stephen Carriere (USA) to move up a place, and in the case of Aaron to take the bronze medal.  Adam Rippon again left his jumps in the warm-up.  This was not a career enhancing competition for Rippon, while it was for Aaron and Carriere.
Except for a place switch in seventh and eighth place, all the pairs held their positions in the Free Skate, giving Meagen Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN) the gold, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (CHN) the silver and Evgenia Tarasove & Vladamir Morozov (RUS) the bronze.  Madeline Aaron & Max Settlage (USA) placed fourth, keeping a slim chance alive to make the final.
Katlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) crushed their competition to win the gold medal.  Piper GIlles & Paul Poirier (CAN) moved up for the silver, in large part thanks to Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin (RUS) dropping like stones with numerous points given up on the element levels.  Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue held third in the long, and finished third overall for the bronze medal.  Alexandra Eaton & Daniel Eaton (USA)  finished sixth.  After a strong record in juniors, their progress in seniors began to stall out last season, and from their performances here, seems to be stuck in neutral.

2014 Skate Canada Medalists
Estimated attendance: Men, 3900; Pairs, 3900; Dance, 4500; Ladies, 4500.
Ladies Event             Men's Event
Pairs Event               Dance Event