2007 Skate Canada

Ladies Event

By Sandra Stevenson

Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Mao Asada JPN 3 1
2 Yukari Nakano JPN 4 2
3 Joannie Rochette CAN 5 3
4 Emily Hughes USA 2 4
5 Ashley Wagner USA 8 5

Nana Takeda

JPN 6 6
7 Laura Lepisto FIN 1 9
8 Elena Glebova EST 7 7
9 Lesley Hawker CAN 9 8
10 Cynthia Phaneuf CAN 10 10
11 Alisa Drei FIN 11 12
12 Idora Hegel CRO 12 11


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Cynthia Phaneuf

  2. Idora Hegel

  3. Lesley Hawker

  4. Alisa Drei

  5. Elena Glebova

  6. Ashley Wagner

  7. Laura Lepisto

  8. Nana Takeda

  9. Emily Hughes

  10. Joannie Rochette

  11. Yukari Nakano

  12. Mao Asada


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Laura Lepisto FIN
2 Emily Hughes USA
3 Mao Asada JPN
4 Yukari Nakano JPN
5 Joannie Rochette CAN

Nana Takeda

7 Elena Glebova EST
8 Ashley Wagner USA
9 Lesley Hawker CAN
10 Cynthia Phaneuf CAN
11 Alisa Drei FIN
12 Idora Hegel CRO

Laura Lepisto

A relative unknown, Laura Lepisto, a 19 year old from Espoo in Finland, was the surprise winner of the Short Program, with Emily Hughes less than half a point behind her. The favorite, Mao Asada, put two hands on the ice to keep from falling on the second jump of her combination and lies third, 1.10 points behind Lepisto.

1. 59.18 (34.50 + 24.68) Laura Lepisto, who is ranked second in that country, pulled off a huge upset winning the Short Program. "This is my first (Senior) Grand Prix," said the 19 year old, who has been ninth and seventh in the last two world junior championships. "I am happy to be healthy. (She missed a season due to injury.) It was the best that I have every done. I have trained very hard. Being in first place will make me a bit nervous for tomorrow but I just have to do what I can do."

Lepisto performed with a quiet grace to The Legend of 1900, dressed in medium blue. She began with a very nice combination of two triple toes. Both jumps were solid and of pleasingly equal proportions. The following double Axel was entered from a high kick position. Lepisto received the best technical score but only the fifth best component score. Her spirals and two of her spins were Level 4 and she received no negative Grade of Execution. However, her straight line steps were only Level 1.

Lepisto, who is trained by Virpi Hortrana, gave notice that she was a "up-and-comer" when she won the bronze in Oberstdorf at the Nebelhorn Trophy, in the last week of September.

2. 58.72 (33.80 + 24.92) Emily Hughes, the second ranked U.S. woman, who was ninth in the last worlds, is competing in back to back events. Last week she finished fourth in Skate America. The younger sister of Sarah, the 2002 Olympic champion, is currently in her first year at Harvard. Her marks were significantly higher than her Skate America score of 47.66 (22.70+24.96). "This is really motivating me for tomorrow," said Hughes. "I was very surprised (at the Technical calls in Skate America). I was really determined not to make the same mistakes again." (In Skate America both her jumps were deemed under-rotated.)

Skating in bright red to I Got Rhythm, the 18 year old who is trained by Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, put a great effort into her performance beginning with a triple flip which got a slight (-0.20) negative GoE because the landing could have been better controlled. But that was her only negative. Her triple Lutz to double toe earned the base value. Her double Axel was from a back Charlotte and earned a plus GoE of 0.80 added to the base value. Her spirals began in a split position and finished with in a held high kick position in which she changed hands.

3. 58.08 (30.80 + 27.28) Mao Asada, the current Japanese champion who won silver in her first world championship in March before a home country crowd in Tokyo, performed her eight elements set in the allowed two minutes fifty seconds to Fantasia for Violin and Orchestra by Jean-Claude Petit, choreographed by Tatiana Tarasova, dressed in a spectacular blue and silver creation.

On her first move, the combo of triple flip to triple loop combo, she under-rotated the second jump and had to put two hands on the ice to keep from falling. The next move, a triple Lutz was given the dreaded "e" signifying that the take-off had been from the wrong edge. That fault means the maximum GoE the judges can give is -1. In fact the judges were far more strict and she was saddled with a -2.40 GoE.

No other move received a negative GoE and her double Axel received a +1.0. She earned two Level 4s, for the spirals, which had a great GoE of +1.80, and for her flying sit which gained a +0.40. Asada had the fourth highest technical score but the best component marks.

Following Midori Ito’s example, Asada came into the press conference and said, "I want to apologize for making mistakes, and that my levels weren’t higher and my steps didn’t go very fast." (When Ito won the silver and not the expected gold at the 1992 Olympic Games) she apologized on television to the "whole of Japan".

Asada burst onto the senior scene in December 2005 when she won the Grand Prix Final but was too young to take part in the Olympics and Worlds a short time later. This is her first Skate Canada. She and her older sister, Mai, are based in Lake Arrowhead, CA, where Mao is trained by Rafael Arutunian.

While Mai was in Reading for last week’s Skate America, Mao was being evacuated because of the threat from the recent out-of-control fires.

Through an interpreter, Asada, who turned 17 on September 17, said, "I was a little afraid. The director of the rink (Anthony Liu) came and told us of the danger and that we had to pack up all our things, our skates and costumes and everything right away. We moved to train in Escondido."

4. 55.94 (31.30 + 25.64 – 1.0) Yukari Nakano, 22, presented a flawed routine set to the cascading notes of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu choreographed by Marina Zueva. Skating in light blue, she began with a wrapped leg triple flip to double toe and then fell on her triple Lutz. However, she earned three Level 4s – for her change foot combination spin, her flying camel and her spirals. Nakano received the second highest component scores. She was a significant 2.14 points behind the third placed Asada, but only a fractional 0.46 ahead of Joannie Rochette.

Nakano, who is taught by Nobuo Sato in Yokohama, is famous for being only the third woman (behind Midori Ito of Japan and the US’s famous bad girl, Tonya Harding) ever accredited by the International Skating Union as completing a triple Axel jump in international competition. That was in October 2002 at Skate America.

5. 55.48 (30.00 + 25.48) Joannie Rochette, 21, the three time Canadian champion, skated to music from two piano concertos, Tchaikovsky’s No. 1 and Schuman’s A Minor. Performing in a black with sparkles, she began with a good double Axel with a lovely landing in which she opened her arms to the audience in a "presentation". However, a jack-knifed landing on her next move, a triple flip meant she had problems getting airborne for the second jump in the combination. Instead of a triple toe it became a very low double. The landing on her triple Lutz was two-footed. However she received good GoEs (0.40 and 1.00 respectively) for her two Level 4 moves, the flying sit spin and her spirals. She had only the sixth highest elements scores but the third best components.

Rochette is trained by Manon Perron and Nathalie martin in St. Leonard, a suburb of Montreal.

6. 52.02 (30.02 + 22.00) Nana Takeda, 18, from Chiba in Japan, is making her senior international debut. She finished seventh in the last Japanese senior championship.

Takeda, who is trained by Koji Okajima, presented a Tango – Tanguera by M. Mores choreographed by Nanami Abe. She was costumed in a long sleeved red and black and creation.

She began, surprisingly, with a triple toe loop, a relatively easy jump for the solo triple. Then she completed her combination, triple Lutz to double toe. All eight elements appeared to be fully executed and her layback spin, which received Level 3 was excellent. Takeda gained Level 4 for her spirals and for her change foot combination spin. However she received her only only negative GoE for that spin.

7. 51.36 (29.76 + 21.60) Elena Glebova, an 18 year old from Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city, skated to Juan Rodriquez’s Concerto de Aranjuez dressed in black. She began with a triple Lutz followed by her spiral sequence. She presented a good combination of two triple toes but her double Axel was very low and received -0.64 GoE.

Glebova won their national title in 2004, 2005 and 2007, but was runner-up in 2006. She is trained by Anna Levanti, née Kondrashova, who was runner-up for the world title in 1984 while representing the Soviet Union. At that point, it was the highest a Soviet had ever places in the Ladies world championship.

8. 50.86 (28.06 + 22.80) Ashley Wagner, who turned 16 May 16, was the youngest competitor in Quebec City. She performed to music from Saint Saens’ Henry VIII choreographed by Jill Shipstad-Thomas in a beautiful royal blue number with sparkles. She gave a great showing, full of energy and enthusiasm.

Her only mistake was on her combination. The triple Lutz received an "e" for wrong take-off edge and the second jump, which was meant to be a triple loop, was downgraded to a double. Those faults and the struggle with the landing of the second jump saddled her with a very considerable -2.60 GoE.

Wagner is the current world and U.S. Junior bronze medalist. She is trained by Shirley Hughes in Alexandria, Virginia, and is making her senior international debut.

9. 46.96 (26.64 + 21.32 – 1.0) Lesley Hawker, 26, has competed in six Canadian championships and taken the bronze for the past two years. Trained by Richard Callaghan at the Onyx Skating Club in Rochester Hills in Michigan, she skated with a great deal of grace and feeling to Moon River played by Liberace, attired in royal blue.

She began with a Level 2 layback spin into a good triple Lutz to double loop which received the base value of 7.50. However, she fell on her triple flip.

Hawker finished 9th in last year’s Skate Canada. She is the oldest of ten children Barrie, Ontario, trained by Richard Callaghan at the Onyx Skating Academy in Rochester, Michigan. She married Jamie Doherty in June 2006.

10. 46.02 (26.70 + 20.32 – 1.0) Cynthia Phaneuf, 19, opened the Ladies event skating to You Are So Beautiful by Karl Hugo in a cream creation with a straight skirt with two splits in the front. She looked nervous, adjusting the bottom of her pants before she took up her starting position.

She began the routine with a great double Axel which received a +1.0 GoE. However she put her hand down on the triple Lutz in her combination before executing the double toe and then fell on her triple flip. Her layback spin contained a held skate portion but it was not brought up to touch the head and she got only Level 2. Her other two spins were Level 3 and her spirals were Level 4.

Phaneuf, who is from Contrecoeur, Quebec, won the 2004 Canadian championship beating the five-time champion, Jennifer Robinson, and also Skate Canada that year, but that success came too quickly. She and her coach decided that she would be more comfortable going to the world junior, instead of senior championship where she finished only 10th.

She was never able to repeat that splendid performance at nationals in Edmonton. Later, she was forced to take a season off because of injury compounded with growth problems. She presently ranks fourth nationally. She is trained by Annie Barabé, Sophie Richard, and Yvan Desjardin, at the CPA Sainte-Julie, Quebec.

11. 44.96 (25.32 +20.64 -1.0) Alisa Drei from Riihimäki in Finland, at 29, was the oldest entrant. Skating to Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninov, attired in purple, she presented the relatively simple triple toe to double toe for her combination. She landed her triple flip okay but her layback was pretty ugly as she struggled to show a flexible position and failed. She was given only Level 1 for that move.

Then she fell heavily during her straight line step sequence. Her double Axel had a scratchy landing. She was holding her left knee while sitting in the kiss and cry area. Drei, who was the 2003 & 2004 national champion, is coached by her mother, Elena Drei-Koskinen.

12. 40.38 (20.86 + 19.52) Idora Hegel, many time Croatian champion from Zagreb, skated to Tango de Roxanne from Moulin Rouge in black and silver. She two-footed the landing of her under-rotated triple Lutz and couldn’t do the second jump. She managed the triple loop but it was given a -0.40 GoE. Her double Axel received base value. Two of her spins were Level 1 and the other only Level 2. She did receive two Level 3s – for her spirals and her straight line steps.

She has been competing in worlds since 2001 with a best place finish of 13th in 2005. However, she competed in this event under stress. Three months ago, her coach, Alexander Rozin died of cancer, only three weeks after being diagnosed. Hegel, who is 24, said, "I was so lost. My whole life has been with him. He was like a father to me. We started working together when I was seven. He lived in our family house, on the second floor. I spent more time with him than my father."

She is trained by Victor Kudriavtsev in Moscow but says it has been a tough relocation. "There is a lot of crime there. I didn’t really feel secure." This is an important season for her because the Europeans will be held in January in her hometown.


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Idora Hegel
  2. Alisa Drei
  3. Cynthia Phaneuf
  4. Lesley Hawker
  5. Ashley Wagner
  6. Elena Glebova
  7. Nana Takeda
  8. Joannie Rochette
  9. Yukari Nakano
  10. Mao Asada
  11. Emily Hughes
  12. Laura Lepisto


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Mao Asada JPN
2 Yukari Nakano JPN
3 Joannie Rochette CAN
4 Emily Hughes USA
5 Ashley Wagner USA

Nana Takeda

7 Elena Glebova EST
8 Lesley Hawker CAN
9 Laura Lepisto FIN
10 Cynthia Phaneuf CAN
11 Idora Hegel CRO
12 Alisa Drei FIN

Mao Asada

Before a crowd of 5,104 in an arena which seats 6,500, Asada proved she is a force to be reckoned with. Although Japanese women have won medals in Skate Canada before, including the gold (and Fumie Suguri took silver last year) this is the first time two Japanese skaters have ever stood on the Skate Canada podium. Asada bounced back from third after the short to win the free skate by 6.09 with her teammate, Nakano, second in that section.

Nakano treated the audience to a triple Axel and climbed from fourth to take the silver overall, 8.23 marks behind Asada.

1. (3SP; 1FS) Asada gave a beautiful showing to Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu beginning with a double Axel which earned a substantial +1.40 over base. Later in the season, she says, this will be a triple. She followed with a triple flip to triple loop combination but the second jump was downgraded and the combination penalized with -0.80.

A Level 3 camel spin gained +0.30 over base but the next move, a triple Lutz was given an "e" meaning the take off was from the wrong edge and the GoE was -1.40. A flying sit gained Level 4 and +0.60 but her spirals, which are usually very good, were given only Level 1 because she wobbled and released her foot too soon on the change edge.

The routine then moved into the section where skaters earn an extra 10% for marks on jumps. Asada’s triple loop was rewarded with a full point over the enhanced base level. The same reward greeted Asada for her triple flip to double loop. In her following three jump sequence of double Axel to two double loops, Asada was given a slight negative GoE (-0.16) because her second foot touched the ice for a nano-second on the last jump.

In her final section, she executed Level 3 straight line steps sandwiched between two Level 4 spins. She finished with a double Axel.

2. (4; 2) Nakano, skating to Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky Korsakov, thrilled the crowd with a triple Axel which was landed on a steep edge which meant she was given a -0.20 GoE. Nakano has not accomplished this three and a half turn jump in an I.S.U. event since the 2002 Skate America Grand Prix in which the ISU referee gave her credit as being only the third woman to accomplish the move. In 2002 the jump she performed was far inferior to the jump Nakano presented here.

Nakano planned to combine the following triple flip with a double toe loop but played safe and gained base level for the simpler combination. A Level 4 change foot combo was rewarded with +0.80 and the following triple Lutz and triple Salchow with straight base levels. Her flying sit was only Level 2 but she got +0.30 over the base value. The combination spin and spirals which followed were both awarded Level 4 with, respectively, +0.30 and +0.80.

That took her up to the bonus time. She again played safe, doubling a triple flip but that earned the base value plus ten percent. Nakano then decoded to add a third jump, a double loop, to her triple toe to double toe combination and earned, not only the extra 10% but also +0.80 GoE for a total of 8.08 for that element. Her circular steps were Level 3 and +0.40. The final jumping pass was a base level +10% triple Salchow to double toe and she concluded with a Level 4 flying camel which earned a full point extra on the GoE.

3. (8; 3) Rochette performed so much better in this section than yesterday. It was a similar pattern to last year but in Skate Canada in Victoria she came up from fifth to win. This time she could only advance to take the bronze medal. Skating in royal blue to Felix Gray’s Don Juan, she earned base level or better for 12 of her 13 moves. There were a couple of jump reductions at the end. After executing triple Lutz to double toe, triple flip, triple loop and a second triple Lutz, she executed only a single Salchow in what was to be a sequence of a second triple toe and a triple Salchow sequence. She also singled the second jump in what was planned as a sequence of two double Axels.

"I needed to be more controlled," Rochette said. "The crowd was cheering me on so it was a little hard to concentrate."

4. (2; 4) For Hughes it was the reverse situation. She wasn’t able to maintain her bubbly momentum from the day before and finished 5.76 lower than the bronze medalist who had finished immediately behind her at Worlds in March.

She received base level for her opening jump, a triple flip, but she doubled a Lutz that was combined with a double toe and a double loop. The last jump was downgraded to single. She was given a -0.36 GoE and earned only 3.34 for that element. A triple Salchow followed but it was given a -0.20 GoE. Her Level 3 flying sit and Level 4 layback spins were well done and were rewarded with +0.20 and +0.50 respectively.

At the bonus time, she presented a triple Salchow to double toe and a triple toe to double toe which were given -0.40 and +0.20 GoEs. Her Level 4 spirals received an extra full mark so she earned 4.40 for that element. Her Level 4 change foot combination spin gained +0.50 so that move earned her 4.0. A triple toe was given the base value and she banked 4.40 points. Her straight line steps were only level 2 with a slight +0.10 but a double Axel had -0.16 taken away. She concluded with a Level 4 combination spin which got +0.10 and that earned 3.10.

5. (8; 5) Wagner was delighted with her fifth place in the free which pulled her up to fifth overall, still an enormous 12.46 points behind Hughes overall but a less intimidating 4.67 behind her in the free. "It was very exciting to be in my first senior Grand Prix," said Wagner. "I think it was a great experience. Senior level is very different. The audience was very loud and cheering. My best ever free was at the world junior championships but this was a good learning experience in my preparation for nationals in January."

Her routine, which was set to the Jealousy Tango and Mambo Jambo, began with a planned triple Lutz to triple loop but she doubled the second jump and both that Lutz and her second triple Lutz at the end of the routine were given "e" for wrong edge. That meant she received a -2.0 for the combo and -1.8 GoE for the second one.

This new "e" whammy has thrown many top skaters into a tail spin. Critics have written for years about flutzing (that is going to the inside edge on a Lutz take-off and liping (doing the flip from the outside edge). 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski was notorious for flutzing. However, this new ruling came as quite a shock. It is very hard to relearn a different technique.

In all Wagner presented six triples, the triple loop and triple flip were combinations. The loop was combined with one double loop and the flip with two and although these received minuses (-0.40 and -0.80 respectively) she was given credit for full rotations. Wagner received Level 4 for her spirals but only Level 1 for her straight line steps. Three of her four spins were Level 3s. The layback on which she traveled was only Level 2.

6. (6; 6) Takeda finished 2.01 points behind Wagner overall and 3.17 in the free skate. Dressed in a white sleeveless, flimsy, chiffony outfit, she skated to Raul di Blasio’s Otonol, immediately after the warm-up group for the top six. She began with a triple loop but then deliberately doubled her flip (as she did later with her Salchow). She then presented a very softly landed triple toe to double toe combination. In total, she accomplished four triple. She gained Level 4 for her spirals and her layback spin which morphed into a Biellmann. Two of her other three spins earned Level 3 as did her straight line steps. Her flying sit spin was Level 2. Her last but one move was a combination of double Axel and two double toes which earned the base value.

7. (1; 9) Lepisto put her hand on her brow, looking dejected and disappointed as she entered the kiss-and-cry area. Obviously the pressure of being in the lead and having to skate last got to her and she made a myriad of mistakes. She began her routine, set to music from the soundtrack Don Juan de Marco with a very good double Axel, which earned +1.0 GoE but then she put two hands down on her triple toe and omitted the planned second jump. She sat down on her triple Lutz. After her Level 4 flying sit spin, she singled a planned triple loop in what was to be a three jump combination. She did get airborne for the second jump, a double toe but didn’t try the third jump which was to be a double loop.

The next jumping pass was a double Axel to double toe and that received the 10% bonus plus base value. A Level 4 combination spin was next but her layback spin was only Level 1. She made the next jumping pass a double Salchow combined with two double toes. The final two moves were Level 3 steps which earned the base value and a Level 4 change foot combination spin which got +0.20 over the base.

8. (7; 7) Glebova skated the Allegro Molto Moderato section of Grieg’s most famous Piano Concerto. She began well with a base level triple loop but then singled her Lutz. A double Axel received a +0.20. Her Level 4 combination spin for the base level. Her Level 4 spirals had +0.20 GoE added. Her Level Upright Combination Spin had a slight negative (-0.18). Here double Axel to triple toe to double toe gained a +1.00. However, the following triple Salchow was saddled with a -1.0. Her Level 3 steps got the base value but her second triple Salchow, which was combined with a double toe was saddled with a -1.40. Her final jumping pass, double Axel to double toe got the base value. She finished with two spins. The change foot combination got Level 2 and -0.12 while the flying sit got base value but was deemed only Level 1.

9. (9; 8) Hawker had kept her long program to the evocative I’ll Be Seeing You and Hymn to the Fallen. She began with a +0.2 triple Lutz, which was initially planned as a combination. That was followed by a base value triple toe, a good +0.2 Level 4 combination spin, and a base level triple flip to double toe (which was planned as a combination of three jumps). Her Level 4 spirals earned the base value. Her second triple Lutz earned +0.60 but again, that jump was not combined with another.

Then things started to deteriorate. She executed only a double flip. Her flying sit was Level 3 and got base value but the flying camel was only Level 2 and was given a marginal minus -0.06 GoE. She fell on her downgraded triple Salchow. But the last three elements all received above the base level, Level 3 steps, a double Axel and a Level 3 change foot combination.

10. (10; 10) Phaneuf said she has more confidence now but that did not appear to be the case judging by her skating. She performed to Debussy’s ethereal music, Claire de Lune, beginning well with a sequence of two double Axels which earned +1.0 GoE. But she fell on the next move, a triple Lutz which was downgraded. Her Level 3 flying change foot combination spin earned +0.10 GoE but then she singled her planned triple flip.

Then she fell again on her triple loop. Her spirals were Level 4 and earned +0.80 and the combination of triple toe to double toe to double loop gained a +0.20. Her flying sit spin was Level 3 with 0.10 but her second triple toe was saddled with -0.10. She then did a double flip and a Level 4 and a Level 3 spin which received +0.50 and +0.40.

11. (11; 12) Drei

12. (12; 11) Hegel

sequence of two double Axels that gained +1.0 GoE. But she fell on her triple Lutz which was down graded. Her flying change foot combination spin was a Level 3 and she gained a small +0.10 GoE. However, she singled her planned combination.


2007 Skate Canada Ladies Medalists


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