by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
Women Short Program
(31 October 2022) Skate Canada 2022 returned again to Mississauga, just a few miles south of the Toronto airport, in a rink which changes its name every few years and is now called “Paramount Fine Foods Center”.
The women’s short program had a tight result with a difference of only three points from first to fifth place. Therefore everything is possible in the free program. 19-year-old Madeline Schizas of Milton, Ontario won the short program with 67.90 points. Her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop was good, the triple loop excellent, like the double Axel spins and the step sequence. Her components were around 8.1. Officially she skated to the soundtrack of “Black Swan” by Clint Mansell, but it was really “Swan Lake” by Peter Tchaikovsky. She commented, “I feel pretty good about my short program. There's always things that I'd like to improve, but I'm happy with how it went. I'm happy with how I managed myself and my nerves. I didn't have any moments where I felt out of control of what I was doing, and that was a big change for me from last season.”
Gabrielle Daleman, who trains with Lee Barkell in the Granite Club in Toronto and is from Oakville, Ontario, took second place with 66.65 points. She competed to “Diamonds” by singer Rhihanna from Barbados. Her combination of triple toe loop and triple toe loop was high and wide, just outstanding and had two GOEs of +5 and five GOEs of +4. The double Axel was good, the triple Lutz a bit wrapped and steps and spins very good. “I'm thrilled with how I skated,” she said. “There's always room for improvement. But for being my first Grand Prix back in two years on home soil I couldn’t have asked for a better kick off for the season. I was very controlled. I just let the music take over, let it tell me what to do, when to jump, and just gave it my heart, and it was absolutely magic and I cannot be happier with it.”
Ava Marie Ziegler of Hackensack, New Jersey, 16 years old, won the bronze medal with 66.49 points. She came as an alternate for Alison Schumacher from Canada. Skating to “Rebirth” by musicians HI-Finesse, the student of Steven Rice opened her short program with a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by an excellent triple flip and three very good spins, all with level 3. She said, “Obviously, things could have been better, but overall it’s my first senior Grand Prix. I definitely didn't think I'd be sitting here talking to all of you, but I'm very happy that I am here and I've definitely worked day in and day out to get here. My goal is to place in the top three at senior nationals.”
Young You from South Korea came fourth with 65.10 points. She is one of the many successful skaters from her country who were little girls when Yuna Kim celebrated the highlights of her career including the Olympic gold medal of 2010 in Vancouver. You had been sixth at the Olympic Games earlier this year and fifth at the World Championships in Montpellier, France. Skating to a Tango by Astor Piazzola, after an excellent double Axel she performed a good combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop which was certainly planned triple. Later she almost under-rotated her triple flip and got an edge call. Spins and step sequence, all level 4, were excellent and her components around 8.1. She said, “I felt really nervous going into today. Just doing the warm up my coach recommend not to try the triple Axel. But I will go for it in the free. After the double Axel I had the impression my hair got loose so that’s why I only did a double toe loop.“
Starr Andrews of Southern California sits fifth with 64.69 points. She was an alternate for Ekaterin Ryabova from Azerbaijan who has retired. The combination of two triple toe loops of the student of Derrick Delmore were very good, the double Axel as well and the triple loop o.k. She skated to “Dancing With the Devil” by American song writer Demi Lovato. Her components had an average of 7.5. She commented, “I felt super calm going into today, it almost felt like practice. Of course after landing my triple toe loop combination it got a lot easier. I have an eye on the Olympic team in 2026.”
Rinka Watanabe from Japan was invited as an alternate for Wakaba Higuchi. Watanabe had to wait more than five minutes before she could compete because there was a technical issue in the judging system. She placed sixth with 63.27 points. Skating to the well-known “Tango de Roxanne” from the soundtrack of “Moulin Rouge” she tried a triple Axel, but under-rotated it and stepped out. In her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop both jumps were under-rotated a bit. The triple loop was excellent, the other elements at least good. Her comment, ““I think I did pretty well, even though my triple Axel was under-rotated, I am happy I stood up on it and also that I got all level 4 on my spins and steps.”
Nina Petrokina from Estonia finished on seventh place with 61.68 points after having under-rotation problems with two jumps. Rika Kihira form Japan competed for the first time after her longtime injury last season and sits on eighth position with 59.27 points. Lindsay von Zundert from the Netherlands came as an alternate for Eunsoo Lim from South Korea who is injured. Van Zundert is on ninth place with 55.22 points. The triple toe loop of her combination with a triple Lutz was downgraded, the other elements were good.,
Lindsay Thorngren from Montclair, New Jersey, is tenth with 55.16 points. After a very good double Axel, she popped the flip. Later her triple toe loop after the triple Lutz was downgraded. Eliska Brezinova sits 11th with 55.14 points in her second Grand Prix after Skate America. Yukana Yokoi ended up 12th with 54.87 points.
Women's Free Skate
The women’s free program at Skate Canada 2022 had a mixed level. Nobody was outstanding, but the majority of the participants performed at least one good program. None of the three best in the short program finally won a medal.
Rinka Watanabe from Japan had been invited to Skate Canada only one week before the competition. She won the gold medal with 197.59 points although she was only sixth in the short program. She opened her free program with a good triple Axel which brought her 8.00 basic points plus 1.26 additional points for grades of execution. Next was a very good triple loop, followed by a combination of triple loop and triple toe loop, but both jumps were under-rotated. Three excellent triples and a downgraded triple Lutz came later. The three spins and the two step sequences were very good. She skated to the soundtrack of “Jin” and her components were around 8.2. She said, “This is my first time at the Grand Prix and I did pretty good. I was very nervous. I was told only one week ago that I will go here and I had to adjust my training. I had some challenges to overcome, but did well. At the NHK Trophy I will try two triple Axels in my long program.”
Starr Andrews of Southern California, who trains in Lakewood near Long Beach, moved up from fifth place to win a silver medal earning 191.26 points in her seventh Grand Prix. Her music choice was “Je suis malade” in two versions, one by Hugo Silver and the second part in the well-known version by Lara Fabian. Five triple jumps were good and the triple Salchow nearly under-rotated. Her components had an average of 7.7. She commented, “I am super excited, this is my first Grand Prix medal and I couldn’t be more proud of what I have done. It is a huge deal for me. I am one of the few people of color in the sport and to bring home a medal is even more special.”
Her coach Derrick Delmore added, “What I am most impressed with is even when things are not perfect she’s kept going. She has learnt how to overcome imperfections in practice, put them behind her, knowing she could skate well. That weight had kind of been lifted off of her. She even edited the music herself and brought the cut to me. I said this sounds great, it sounds beautiful, so let’s do it. I also love that about her this year. Our main focus coming here was to improve over our first competition in Finland. This competition was a huge step forward for us.”
Young You from South Korea mainly trains mainly in Colorado Springs and moved up from fourth to win a bronze medal with 190.15 points. She skated to “Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi. Her first elements was a triple Axel which was downgraded. Three clean triples followed, but two more triple were not clean. Her spins were very good, her step sequences excellent. She said, “I didn’t expect a medal today because my competition was not as good as usual. When the coach told me I was third I was really surprised and I am thankful to the crowd that they cheer me up even though the performance was not the best.”
16-year-old Ava Marie Ziegler of Hackensack, New Jersey is coached by Stephen Rice. She fell on the triple Salchow and on the triple Lutz and dropped from third to fourth place with 186.76 points although four triple jumps were good. Her step sequences were very good. Rika Kihira from Japan moved up from eighth to fifth place with 184.33 points. She had to sit out the whole last Olympic season due to a stress fracture. Skate Canada was her first competition again and she is coached by Brian Orser. She skated a clean free program with five very good triples, but did not try the triple Axel and the quad Salchow yet, which she had landed in competition two and three years ago. Nina Petrokina from Estonia placed sixth with 181.34 points after skating four clean and two skaky triple jumps.
The two Canadian ladies who were first and second in the short, had a bad day and dropped down far away from medals. Madeline Schizas of Milton, Ontario, fell from first to seventh place with 180.59 points. She missed three jumps which were planned triple. Gabrielle Daleman of the Granite Club in Toronto dropped from second to tenth place with 171.61 points. Her trademark combination of two triple toe loops was outstanding again, but then she fell three times and made two smaller other mistakes. Between them, Yuhana Yokoi from Japan rose from 12th to eighth position earning 178.73 points after performing a program without big mistakes. But three triples were near an under-rotation. Lindsay Thorngren from Montclair in New Jersey is coached by former Austrian champion Julia Lautowa and took ninth place with 176.09 points, after making four less serious mistakes. Her change foot combination spin, however, was outstanding. Lindsay van Zundert from the Netherlands finished on 11th position earning 160.96 points and Eliska Brezinova, the younger sister of Michal Brezina, ended up 12th with 159.03 points.