by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
Short Program Men
The men’s short program at Skate Canada had a low level and was even kind of a disaster because almost all men fell at least once, popped jumps or made other big mistakes. The only exception was Japanese Kao Miura who, like at Skate America the week before, won the Tango short program, this time with 94.06 points because he made no real mistake again. His opening combination of quad Salchow and triple toe loop was good although the second landing did not have much flow. The three level 4 spins were good, the triple Axel and the step sequence (level 4) excellent and the quad toe loop almost clean. He commented, “Today my body moved pretty well and did what I wanted. There were a few rushed elements today, this is something I need to work on. When I competed at Skate America, Ilia Malinin did a quad Axel before me and that was some pressure. I was hoping not to skate last again, but that was a good experience at Skate America.”
The present World Champion Shoma Uno is second, earning 89.98 points and skating to “Gravity” by American singer John Mayer. His quad flip was excellent, but in his combination he could add only a single toe loop to the shaky quad toe loop. The triple Axel was soso, but the four other elements very good. He did not want to give any interviews to international media, not even the ISU, although there was an interpreter, but talked only to Japanese TV in Japanese language. Matteo Rizzo from Italy sits third with 81.18 points. He stepped out of the quad toe loop and could add only a shaky double toe loop. His quad loop, which he had the courage to try, was overturned and under-rotated. The triple Axel and the other elements were very good. He skated to two songs by Italian Rock music group Maneskin. He said, “I kept my short because I really like it. I am sure it will give me the result that I want at the end of the season. About the open field at Europeans, I know there is not someone like Javier Fernandez around who wins everything. So of course I will do everything to be prepared and fight for the first place there.”,
Keegan Messing from Canada placed fourth with 79.69 points, skating to “Grace Kelly” by British-Lebanese singer Mika. He fell very hard on the quad toe loop, but could show an excellent triple Axel 20 seconds later. The triple Lutz was a bit shaky, therefore he could not add an improvised combination which had been planned with the quad toe loop. Spins and steps were very good and his showy interpretation brought the public on their feet. His components were around 8.4. U.S. skater Camden Pulkinen moved from Colorado Springs part-time to New York City in the summer and is now mainly coached by Alex Johnson. He popped the toe loop combination which was planned quad and triple. The triple Axel was very good, but landed his improvised combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop in both cases very deep and not clean. His step sequence was excellent, his spins good.,
Conrad Orzel from Canada finished on sixth place, earning 69.69 points. His combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop was clean, but he fell on the triple Salchow which was planned quadruple. His triple Axel was a bit shaky, the other elements good. Deniss Vasiljevs from Latvia, who trains in Switzerland with Stephane Lambiel, sits on seventh place with 69.01 points. He popped the Salchow which was planned quadruple, then fell on the triple Axel. The triple toe loop after the good triple Lutz got a q for nearly an under-rotation. The spins were good, the step sequence excellent.
Lukas Britschgi from Switzerland trains in Oberstdorf, Germany for several years now. He placed eighth with 64.35 points, went down on the opening quad toe loop and popped the Axel which was planned triple. His improvised combination of triple flip and double toe loop was not clean. The spins and steps, however, were very good. His Air Canada nonstop flight from Munich to Toronto had to make an unplanned intermediate landing in Montreal because of an urgent medical problem of an elderly passenger. Therefore Britschgi, his coach Michael Huth and the German pair team with their coach arrived some hours late in Toronto.
U.S. skater Jimmy Ma moved to the Boston Skating club in Norwood to train there with Alexei Letov. He is currently ninth with 61.73 points. His quad toe loop in the short was downgraded because he landed forward and fell. Next was his improvised combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop which was not good either. Later he fell again on the under-rotated triple Axel. Aleksandr Selevko from Estonia is tenth earning 60.37 points. He fell on his downgraded quad Lutz, then he stepped out of the quad toe loop and had to made a step, therefore his double toe loop did not count as part of a combination. His double Axel was a bit shaky and he stumbled on his step sequence. Stephen Gogolev from Canada, a wonderkind six years ago, popped his toe loop which was planned quadruple, then missed his combination and ended up 11th and last with 57.94 points. Boyang Jin from China, who had been in Toronto, withdrew citing injury, just one day before the practice day. This was too late to send an alternate skater.
Men's Free Skate
The men’s free program at Skate Canada had a mixed level, it was a bit better than in the short program, but still not good. World champion Shoma Uno (24) won the gold medal with 273.15 points. He came from Japan, but is mainly coached by Swiss former World Champion Stephane Lambiel, also in Mississauga. Skating to “Air on the G string” by Johann Sebastian Bach, he opened his program with an overturned quad loop. His quad Salchow and his quad flip were near an under-rotation (q). His combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop was very good, but he stumbled on his second under-rotated quad toe loop. His first triple Axel was O.K. but his second was under-rotated as well. Two spins were excellent and his two step sequences outstanding. For his normal step sequence he got five GOEs of +5 (out of nine judges) and his components had an average of 9.0. He explained, “Today’s performance same as in the short program, I was able to find the main agenda, which was the quad toe. I performed like I do in practice, there were good parts and bad parts.”
Uno’s teammate Kao Miura, only 17 years old, had been first in the short program and finished second overall earning 265.29 points in spite of a problem before the beginning. He explained, “Before my performance my skate lace broke. I would give myself a 100 percent for the way I was able to perform my program considering this.” Skating to “The Beauty and the Beast”, he began his program with a good combination of triple Axel, Euler and triple Salchow, followed by a combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop. He fell on the quad Salchow and stepped out of the second quad Salchow, but did an outstanding second triple Axel. Two more triples, good spins and two very good step sequences rounded the program up. His components were around 8.3. With two silver medals he can be 99 per cent sure to qualify for the Grand Prix Final, which will take place in early December in Turin, Italy.
Matteo Rizzo from Italy kept his third place and had 251.03 points. Skating to “Talking to the Moon” and “That’s What I Like”, both by Bruno Mars, his first element was a shaky quad toe loop, followed by a good quad loop. Six good triples followed, among them two Axels. His components were around 8.3. He said, “That means a lot. It was important for me to achieve a great result in this competition. Keegan (Messing) did an amazing free skate before me, the crowd was crazy. I know him for a long time and I am happy for him and on what he achieved. I actually love this kind of situation, I can take the power from there and try to put it in my program.”
In his last Skate Canada event as a skater, crowd favorite Keegan Messing finished on fourth position with 250.72 points, just .31 points away from bronze. He entertained the public to popular modern music and performed a stellar quad toe loop, followed by a good combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop. He added three very good triples, a flip with an edge call and stepped out of his first triple Axel. His spins were as excellent as usual and his step sequences brought the crowd on their feet. His components were around 8.7, the second highest of the event. He said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better skate. ’To go out and perform like that, I’m so happy. I keep saying I’m not skating for a medal but for myself this year.’’ His wife expects a baby in the winter and he showed ultrasound pictures in the kiss and cry corner. After his skating career he plans to become a firefighter, like his father.
Camden Pulkinen, fifth at Worlds 2022, moved to New York City in the summer to study financial economics fulltime at Columbia University. He placed fifth earning 219.06 points and skating to a Piazzolla Tango. His quad toe loop was good, but he did not add a triple toe loop as planned. Then he touched down on the triple Lutz and added a good combination of triple Axel, Euler and double (not triple) Salchow. He stumbled on the second triple Axel and doubled two more jumps which were planned triple. His spins were good, his step sequences very good and his components around 7.8.
Lukas Britschgi from Switzerland is sixth with 212.43 points. His two quad toe loops were skaky, but four triples and all other elements very good. He popped, however, his second triple Axel. Stephen Gogolev from Canada moved up from 11th to seventh position, earning 210.64 points. He landed a quad toe loop, a combination with quad Salchow and two triple Axels, but touched down on his second quad Salchow. Aleksandr Selevko from Estonia sits eighth with 206.11 points after performing an impressive quad toe loop and three good triples, but missed two more.
Jimmy Ma of Norwood, Massachusetts, is ninth with 204.39 points. His quad toe loop was not clean, but five triple jumps were good, including two triple Axel. Later he stepped out of a triple flip and touched down. Deniss Vasiljevs from Latvia finished in tenth position with 197.45 points after mastering all his jumps in the warm-up. But in the competition, he landed his quad Salchow forward and on two feet, then he stepped out of the triple Axel, popped the second one and made more mistakes. His step sequences and his interpretation were very good, however. He said he worked a lot on finding four minutes of his music, Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony from the New World, which is about 50 minutes long. Conrad Orzel dropped from 6th to 11th place, collecting 195.42 points after making mistakes on five jumps. Boyang Jin from China did not show up citing injury.