Men's Report Pairs Report
We finish today with the Dance Free Dance and the Men's Free Skate. Then, following the medal ceremony the closing Exhibition will be held. The Free Dance starts at 10:20 AM. Ugh! In general, skaters and coaches are not thrilled with this schedule.
During the warm-up for the second group, Melissa Gregory & Denis Petuhkov fell in a rotation lift. Gregory went flying from his arm and fell hard to the ice. Petuhkov also fell and hit his head on the ice. Gregory was taken from the ice on a backboard. She was taken to L'Enfant Jesus hospital for tests. It was announced later in the day it is expected she will be released this evening after a few more hours of observations.
Virtue & Moir crushed their competition to win the Free Skate and the event. Cappellini & Lanotte dropped to third in the Free Dance but held on to the Silver medal overall, while Carron & Jost moved past the Italians in the Free Dance to place second in the dance and third overall.
In the Men's event, Kevin van der Perrin had an unfathomable victory in the Free Skate that propelled him to second overall. Brian Joubert, placed second in the long, but won the event overall thanks to a big after the Short Program. Jeffrey Buttle place third in the long and third overall.
The Exhibition immediately followed the events, wrapping up the 2007 Skate Canada International. We estimate attendance today at 4,000.
Today we have the Original Dance, the Pairs final and the Ladies final. The Pairs start the day at an early 10:30 AM. It is our understanding this is to accommodate the TV schedule for this afternoon. We finish early, 4:30 PM, since broadcasting figure skating in the evening is a non-starter. Saturday night, we are told, is "hockey night" in Canada.
In the Pairs Free Skate the top three teams held their respective positions. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy gave a lovely, controlled performance, to win the event. Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison had some rough edges in their elements, but still gave a solid well interpreted performance. Yuko Kawaguchu & Alexander Smirnov displayed strong elements, but look less polished than the top two teams. Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent moved up one place in the Free Skate to finish fifth out of six in the event. We estimate the attendance at about 4500.
Following the Pairs, the Japanese ladies stormed to the front of the pack. Mao Asada moved up from third to first, while Yukari Nakano moved up from fourth to second. Joannie Rochette also had a good skate and moved up from fifth to third. Emiily Hughes dropped to fourth in the Free Skate and fourth overall, outclassed by the leaders in both elements and Program Components. Ashley Wagner moved up from eighth to fifth. She kept it close in element score, landing six triples, but was not competitive in PCs. The leader in the Short Program, Laura Lepisto, dropped to ninth in the Free Skate. The junior skater from Finland was in over her head in the Free Skate, failing to complete even one clean triple.
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir held first place in the Original Dance, while Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte held second. Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukov, who placed third in the Compulsory Dance, are getting eaten alive. The placed fifth in the OD, passed by Pernelle Carron & Mathieu Jost of France, and Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev.
Official attendance for today was 5104.
Red-eye from Los Angeles to Quebec City. I am getting too old for this! Well at least it wasn't a screaming-baby flight. The Compulsory Dance and the three Short Programs are today. Skate Canada is taking a different approach on the condensed schedule than Skate America. We start at 2 PM and are done by 10 PM. We will see what kind of daytime audience they draw. Saturday is an early start at 10:30 AM, ending at 4:30 PM, and Sunday a 10:20 AM start, ending at 5:15 PM. So early starts and early ending each day compared to Reading.
Pretty slim picking in the Pairs and Dance. There are ten pairs, with Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov the only entry form the U.S., and Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, the top of the three entries from Canada.
In pairs there are but six teams, with three of those from Canada. It's almost not worth the effort to hold this event. Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent are the only entry from the U.S.
Things are slightly better in the Men's and Ladies event, with a full compliment of 12 skaters in each event. Mao Asada looks to be the favorite in the Ladies event, with Brian Joubert the favorite in the Men's event.
About 3000 on hand at the start of the Compulsory Dance. Not bad for a Friday afternoon. Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir of Canada opened up a strong lead. The Italian team of Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte skated a lively well executed dance to place second, while Americans Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov placed third.
In the Pairs Short Program Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy of Germany won the Short Program for both elements and Program Components. Canadians Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison placed second, skating cleanly but subdued. Third in the short were Yuko Kawaguchu & Alexander Smirnov.
Laura Lepisto racked up 59.18 points in a smooth performance the won the Short Program, with PC in the low 6s. Emily Hughes placed second in the short, but had slightly higher PC scores than Lepisto. Mao Asada currently sits in third with 58.08 points. Her PC scores were the highest of the group at 27.28 but lagged in element score.
Finally, in the Men's Short Program Brian Joubert of France gave a dynamic performance, earning 78.05 points and landing a quad toe loop double toe loop combination and a triple Axel. His teammate, Yannick Ponsero placed second, nearly 11 point back. Canadian Jeffrey Buttle placed third with 66.85 points. He fell on a triple Lutz attempt that was downgraded. His teammate, Christopher Mabee, trails in fourth place 0.35 points behind Buttle. The U.S. men were a sorry lot, with Scott Smith 22 points back in eighth place, Jeremy Abbott in eleventh place, and Geoffry Varner in twelfth place.
There seemed little increase in the size of the audience for the last two events, but what the crowd lacked in size it made up in enthusiasm. There also seemed to be more children and young families in the audience than at Skate America, but that is frequently the case for skating events held in Canada. It is said that ticket sales for Saturday are over 5000.
Official attendance for today was 3278.
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