by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
Ladies Free Skate
The Ladies Free Skate at Skate Canada 2019 had a good level, with five skaters showing really good programs.
No surprise that the winner was 15-year-old "Quad Queen“ Alexandra Trusova from Russia in her Senior Grand Prix debut. She collected 241.02 points, a new ISU record for ladies. Skating to the soundtrack of "Games of Thrones“, she fell on the opening quad Salchow, but this was her only mistake. Later she landed a good quad Lutz, an excellent combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop (16.82 points) and a sequence of quad toe loop, Euler and triple Salchow in the second half of the program (17.49 points), plus three more excellent triple jumps, spins and steps. For the first time in ISU history, a lady had more than 100 technical points in a free program. In her style there is still a lot of room for improvement, but many judges tend to give high components to skaters with outstanding jumps. An average of 8.5 is too high in her case, but her victory was well deserved. She explained: “Overall I am pleased with my performance, I am only upset that I missed the Salchow. It happens in practice quite often that I miss the first jump, but I just pull myself together and carry on. I still have to learn the triple Axel and the other quads.“
Rika Kihira from Japan won the silver medal with 230.33 points. She stepped out of her first triple Axel, but the second one (with double toe loop) was good. Five more excellent triples and very good spins and steps followed in her dynamic program to several music pieces. She named her program "International Angel of Peace“ which Tom Dickson of Colorado Springs had choreographed. Her components were around 8.9. She said: “I made a mistake on my triple Axel and I regret that and after that I wanted to do all my other jumps, which I did, but some of my landings could have been better. I am aiming for the Grand Prix Final.”
South Korean skater Young You, who trains in Colorado Springs, won the bronze medal with 217.49 points. She fell on her triple Axel which she had landed cleanly in the short program, but later had seven good or almost clean triple jumps. Competing to the soundtrack of “Evita“, she had excellent spins and steps and components of 8.1. “I was disappointed with the triple Axel“, she commented, “but the other elements were good. I am happy to have won the bronze medal at my first Grand Prix event.”
Bradie Tennell from the Chicago area finished fourth with 211.31 points. Skating to the soundtrack of “Cinema Paradiso“, five of her triple jumps were very good, but two under-rotated. Like at Skate America she did the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe lop twice, but this time the (different) jury saw it correctly. Her spins were excellent. With a second and a fourth place at her two Grand Prix, there is only a small chance to reach the Final in Turin in Italy. She has to wait and see until the sixth and last Grand Prix.
The 2016 and 2017 World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva claimed fifth place with 209.62 points. After a bad short program, her free program to the soundtrack of "Memoirs of a Geisha“ was excellent, and she got a standing ovation. Her triple Lutz got an edge call, but six other triple jumps were very good, her spins excellent and her stellar step sequence even got two GOEs of +5. Her components were around 9.2, which were the highest of all 12 ladies. But she had neither a triple Axel nor a quad in her program.
Marin Honda from Japan moved up from tenth to sixth place with 179.26 overall points. She performed four good triple jumps and two good spins, but the flip was a bit under-rotated and her last spin too short. She skated with a bandage on her right leg, which was caused by a car accident on Tuesday before the competition. Together with her teammate Keiji Tanaka, she was sitting in a taxi which had picked them up at the ice rink to bring them back to their hotel. The taxi bumped into another car and then was hit from behind by a third car. Honda had a slight injury on her leg and on her front head. She had thought of not competing the free program, but then decided to grit her teeth and skate.
The second South Korean skater Yelim Kim is seventh with 176.93 points. Three triple jumps were good, but two were under-rotated and she crashed into the boards on a triple flip which was downgraded. Serafima Sakhanovich from Russia sits on eighth place with 175,97 points. Three triple jumps were clean, but she made several other mistakes. Alexia Paganini from Switzerland is on ninth position with 166.20 points. Three triple jumps were good, but three others not. The three Canadian ladies ended up on the three last places, none of them skated well. Gabrielle Daleman made five mistakes in the free and is tenth with 164.34 points. Alicia Pineault is 11th with 161.37 points after four mistakes and Veronik Mallet 12th with 147.79 points.
Ladies Short Program
The Skate Canada ladies short program in the Prospera Arena in Kelowna had a good level, at least among the top four skaters. There were not too many mistakes, only one fall in the whole competition and several good programs.
Rika Kihira from Japan took the lead with 81.30 points, skating to the song „Breakfast in Bagdad“. The winner of the Grand Prix Final one year ago and fourth at Worlds 2019 began her dynamic short program with an sovereign triple Axel which had one GOE of +5 and four GOEs of +4. Her combination of triple flip and triple toe loop was almost clean, her triple loop very good. The spins and the step sequence (all level 4) were excellent and her components around 8.9. She commented: “The quality of my triple Axel and my triple loop was good, like in practice, but in some parts of the program I was nervous and I didn’t do my spins so well.”
Young You from South Korea, who was sixth at Junior Worlds 2019, is on second position, winning 78.22 points. Skating to the soundtrack of “Romeo and Juliet 2000“, she mainly trains in Colorado Springs with Tammy Gambill. The 15-year old skater also started her short program with a very good triple Axel which had mainly GOEs of +3. Her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was excellent, her spins as well. The step sequence had only a level 2 and her components an average of 8.2.
“The triple Axel was not as good as in practice“, she explained. “But it was still good and the other elements were as good as in practice. I have been working on the triple Axel for three years. Now I feel good and have more confidence.”
Alexandra Trusova from the successful Tutberidze school in Moscow sits third with 74.40 points. As no quad is allowed yet in a ladies short program, the 2019 Junior World Champion began with an excellent double Axel, followed by a very good trip flip and an outstanding combination of triple Lutz and triple loop. Spins and steps were stellar as well and skating to Peer Gynt Suity by Edvard Grieg, she had components with an average of 8.4. In her free program she plans several quad jumps. At Japan Open three weeks ago she landed four of them. She said: “I am pleased with my performance today, but I will continue to work on my spins, skating skills and I hope to do the triple Axel soon. I’ve waited a long time to be able to compete at the senior level and I really like it.”
One week after winning the silver medal at Skate America, U.S. skater Bradie Tennell is currently fourth, earning 72.92 points. In her combination, the triple toe loop after the triple Lutz was under-rotated, the triple flip and the double Axel very good. The spins were outstanding and she collected several GOEs of +5 for them. Her step sequence was very good as well, but she lacked a bit of emotions.
Gabrielle Daleman from Canada, bronze medal winner at Worlds 2017, is fifth with 63.94 points. After bumping into another skater in practice at the World Team Trophy in April, she had to pause for several months, had surgery and it took her a long time to get healed. But now she is getting better and better again. She skated to “Jazz Man“ by Beth Hart. Her combination of triple toe loop and another triple toe loop was good, the double Axel as well and the triple flip a bit shaky.
Two time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva is on sixth place with only 62.89 points, skating to “Exogenesis Symphony Number 3“ by Muse. In her opening jump combination, the triple toe loop after the triple flip was under-rotated, then she stumbled on the double Axel and fell on the triple Lutz which was also under-rotated. The step sequence, however, was excellent.
The third Russian skater Serafima Sakhanovich is currently seventh with 62.63 points after a combination was not clean. The second South Korean skater Yelim Kim finished on eighth place with 61.23 points in a program with an under-rotated triple loop. Alexia Paganini from Switzerland trains in Hackensack, New Jersey. She performed a good short program with a clean combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. Her step sequence was very good, but the spins not very impressive. She was a bit under-marked.
Marin Honda from Japan had been invited instead of her countrywoman Mai Mihara who is injured. In her combination, the triple toe loop after the triple loop was under-rotated and she doubled the flip (zero points). Spins and steps were very good. Alicia Pineault of Boucherville in Quebec sits in 11th position with 57.59 points after performing relatively low jumps. One week after competing at Skate America, Veronik Mallet from the Montreal area got a last-minute invitation to Kelowna because the other Canadian lady Aurora Cotop withdrew. She ended up 12th with 51.90 points.