by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
Pairs Free Skate
The free program of the eight pairs in Kelowna had a relatively good quaity, but there were no really outstanding performances.
The young St. Petersburg pair of Aleksandra Boikova (17) & Dmitrii Kozlovskii (19) won the gold medal with 216.71 points. They impressed the jury and the spectators with ten (of the 11) very good elements in their free program to several soundtracks of James Bond films. The side by side triple Salchow was excellent, the combination of triple toe loop, double toe loop and another double toe loop almost clean, the twist and the throws stellar, two lifts excellent and one good. Their components had an average of 8.5. They are trained by Artur Minchuk and sometimes also by legendary pair coach Tamara Moskvina who works part time now. Boikova commented: “We feel good, we did our job well and hope to do even better next time. It was a great performance, a great day for us. We left all our emotions out there in the arena.”
Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro, who train in Oakville, Ontario with Bruno Marcotte, took the silver medal with 208.49 points. Their triple twist and their throws were excellent, but Marinaro touched down on the side by side triple Salchow and could add only a single toe loop. He singled his other toe loop which was planned triple, but the lifts were outstanding. Their components had an average of 8.7. Moore-Towers said: “It’s been a bummer day for us. We’re pleased with our score considering the mistakes we made, but we’ve been practising a lot better. We don’t believe we need to go back to the drawing board, but just adjust our mindset a little bit.”
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov from Russia, second at Worlds 2019, are bronze medalists, earning 202.29 points. The new students of Marina Zoueva in Florida began their free program to "Ti Amo“ (I love you) by Italian musician Umberto Tozzi with their usual outstanding twiple twist which had three GOEs of +5 and six +4. Then Tarasova stumbled on a double Salchow which was planned triple. The first two parts of the combination of a triple toe loop, a double toe loop and another double toe loop were good, but Tarasova under-rotated the third jump. The two throws and two lifts were excellent, but the couple had to abort the Axel Lasso Lift which got no points (instead of about 9 if well executed). “Today was not the best performance of our team. It is a good lesson for us at the beginning of the season. We’ll just keep working and practicing,” Morozov said. Their components were around 8.2.
Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim of Irving in California are on fourth place with 199.67 points, skating to modern music of Maxime Rodriguez and Ludovico Einaudi. After an outstanding triple twist, Knierim‘s triple toe loop combination and the triple Salchow were not clean, but it is a progress that he did not fall. The lifts were stellar, but Scimeca Knierim stepped out of the triple throw flip and landed the triple throw loop on two feet. Death spiral, choreographic step sequence and spins were very good.
The new pair of Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie Bilodeau from the Montreal pair skating school of Richard Gauthier finished their first Grand Prix together on fifth position with 192.47 points. Their opening triple twist was good, then Bilodeau stumbled on the side by side triple toe loop and landed the (under-rotated) triple Salchow a bit shaky. The three lifts were stellar, the triple throw loop very good, but Iliushechkina’s landing of the triple throw flip a bit shaky. Their components had an average of 7.9.
Jessica Calalang & Brian Johnson, also of Irving, California, and students of Jenni Meno, Todd Sand, Christine Binder and Robin Szolkowy, placed sixth with 181.54 points. Their triple twist was impressive, but both of Calalang’s individual jumps were downgraded. She touched down on the triple throw Salchow and landed the triple throw Lutz very deeply after the pair prepared this throw over the whole ice surface. The three lifts were very good. Their components had an average of 7.6, but would be higher if the pair made less mistakes.
Felyao Tang & Yongchao Yang from China are on seventh position, winning 170.57 points. The triple twist and the triple toe loop were good, but Yang had problems to lift his partner in one movement correctly, therefore their Axel Lasso Lift got no points. The other elements were good, including the triple throw loop and the triple throw Salchow. As they lacked emotions, their components were only around 6.8. Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud from Canada landed on eighth place with 164.66 points. Their triple twist was not clean and Walsh fell on the triple Salchow and on the triple throw loop. Their lifts, however, were good and they have components of 6.9.
Pairs Short Program
(26 October 2019) The pairs short program at Skate Canada 2019 had a higher level than Skate America a week before, because there were less mistakes.
Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii from St. Petersburg, a very promising young Russian pair, were the best and won with 76.45 points. They had been sixth at Worlds 2019 and skated in Kelowna to a non-vocal violin version of Frank Sinatra’s evergreen „My Way“. All seven elements in their elegant program were excellent. The side by side triple Salchow even had one GOE of +5, the triple twist mainly +3 and the triple throw flip, which is new for them, mainly +4 (and one +5). The Backward Inside Death Spiral, the Reverse Loop Lasso Lift (level 4), the step sequence (level 4) and the Flying Change Foot Combination Spin had mainly +3. Their components reached an average of 8.3. Kozlovskii commented: “Today doesn’t matter because tomorrow is the main day and our scores are not important. For each athlete, the goal is to give a clean performance and to bring across the idea of the programs. Figure skating is not just sport, but also an art and all athletes want to develop to combine the technical aspect and the second mark that consists of different components.“
To the delight of the home crowd, Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro of Oakville, Ontario also had an almost clean program and collected 75.50 points on second position. Their main coach Bruno Marcotte could not come with them because his wife Meagan Duhamel just gave birth to a daughter on the very day of the short program, and the father certainly wanted to be present during the birth. Therefore the assistant coaches Allison Perkiss and Brian Shales were in Kelowna. Skating to „Love On the Brain“ by Los Felix Blvd, they began their short program with a good, though not very high triple twist, followed by an excellent triple throw loop out of a difficult position. Marinaro landed the side by side triple toe loop a bit shaky, but the other elements were very good. Moore-Towers later said: “As for every athlete, our main objective is to compete how we train and today for the most part we’re pretty pleased with the outcome. There are a few things that we lost a few points on we’re looking to gain at NHK (Trophy), but overall we’re happy.”
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov from Russia, second at Worlds 2019, have been training with Marina Zoueva in Florida since June 2019. Their short program music is the Bolero by Maurice Ravel. At the Challenger competition in Salt Lake City in September they lost against the U.S. champions Cain & LeDuc. In Kelowna, they finished their short program third with 73.57 points. Their triple twist was as high and outstanding as ever and had three GOEs of +5. But Morozov doubled the toe loop which Tarasova tripled as planned. The triple throw loop and the four other elements were very good. Morozov said: “In general, the short program was not bad, but we made one big mistake, therefore we are not so happy. But we’ll keep going and working hard and come back with a new mindset tomorrow.”
Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim sit on fourth position, winning 71.28 points. Their triple twist was as impressive as always with three GOEs of +5. But Chris Knierim touched down with his hand on the triple toe loop and the spin was a bit wobbly. The other four elements were good, including the triple throw loop, and their components had an average of 8.2. The new Canadian team of Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie Bilodeau, which has been training together since spring 2019, is currently on fifth place with 68.62 points. After a good triple twist Iliushechkina stumbled on the triple toe loop. The triple throw Lutz was almost clean, the four other elements good.
The second American team of Jessica Calalang & Brian Johnson, like the Knierims of Irvine, California, is sixth with 62.54 points. Their triple twist was impressive, but Calalang fell on the triple Salchow and touched down on the triple throw Lutz. The four remaining elements were good.
Felyao Tang & Yongchao Yang from China are on seventh position with 62.35 points. Their triple twist, the side by side triple toe loop, the triple throw Salchow and the Reverse Loop Lasso Lift were good. The spin, however, was not long enough and therefore received only basic points. Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud from Canada, 12th at Worlds 2019, landed on eighth and last place with 56.09 points. The triple twist was not landed in a correct way, the triple toe loop was very good, the lift good, but Walsh fell on the triple throw loop. The spin was not totally clean, but the step sequence had a level 4.