2009 Skate Canada

Kitchener, ON


Competition Reports

Ladies Report     Men's Report    Pairs Report    Dance Report

Start orders and trick lists available on reports pages.

Competition Schedule

Friday, Nov. 20, 2009

12:00 PM Ladies Short Program
Pairs Short Program
6:00 PM Compulsory Dance
Menís Short Program

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009

12:00 PM Original Dance
Pairs Free Skate
4:00 PM Menís Free Skate
Ladies Free Skate

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009

12:15 PM Free Dance
5:00 PM Exhibition of Champions


Sunday, November 22

This afternoon Virtue & Moir will be crowned the Dance champions, then in the evening we conclude with the closing exhibition.


And so it came to pass, with a season best performance by Virtue & Moir.  After the 10 in the pairs event, and the tendency of the Canadian judges to engage in national oneupsmanship, the possibility that the couple might get a ten today crossed our mind last night.  And indeed, one lone judge tossed out a 10 for Performance and Execution.  Three other judges were in the nines, and the five remaining in the eights (average of nine judges, 8.89).

What we have been seeing at this competition is not like the 6.0 days where a skater might get eight 5.9s and one 6.0, and no disagreement that the 6 might be valid.  It is more like eight 5.6s, and one 6.0 that seems pretty clearly political in nature.  Where is the OCA when we really need them.  (They were at Skate America, but we have not noticed them here.)  Some may be thrilled to see an era of perfect 10s to get the audience going, but if the judges are going to manipulate the components the way they did the 6.0 marks, then changing the scoring system will have been for nothing, and makes the past six years of scoring system development nothing more than a huge waste of time and money.

On a completely different subject, we always suspected Madison Hubbell had a great body.  With today's Free Dance, now we know for sure!

Estimated Attendance: 3000


Prior to the start of the exhibition, Skate Canada is trying something new.  They have the Canadian team (and Jeremy Abbott) on chairs out on the ice taking questions from the audience, and from the internet.  About 20 minutes have been scheduled and the few hundred people in the arena who showed up early are having a grand time with it.  This is a great idea that U.S. Figure Skating should "borrow" from our northern friends.

Duh moment.  Our ace correspondent Alexandra Stevenson pointed our something which should have been obvious right off the bat yesterday.  The judges who have tossed out the 10s have done the skaters the compliment of giving them a perfect score, but have also guaranteed their mark does not count!  You give a 10 you are sure to be giving the highest mark and the highest mark doesn't count!  Ironic.

Saturday, November 21

After sleeping on it for a night, I am still amazed one judge went to 4.25 for Denis Ten's Short Program, and another went to 8.00.  What was that panel thinking?  A well trained group of judges should give marks that are consistent to 10-15%, but this panel was all over the map by nearly a factor of two.  This appears to be a textbook example of how setting the start order in order of ranking corrupts judgment.  Ten is in the first warmup, so clearly he is a lesser skater, and thus clearly he deserves lower marks?

It is sad to see how the ISU throws away well  known lessons to the detriment of the skaters.  Even if a person knows the reputation of the skaters, by having a random start order the judges are forced to think about going up and down in the marks, instead of getting caught in the mindset that the subsequent skaters will be better and better and automatically deserve higher marks.

And I still can't get over Savchenko & Szolkowy's 9.75s.  0.25 from perfection?  Unlikely.  Well done yes; but all but 6 seconds of the program perfectly choreographed and perfectly interpreted?  Unlikely.

On tap today, the Dance OD and the finals for the Ladies, Men and Pairs.


Despite two major errors, Virtue & Moir extended their lead to nearly 10 points.  Fortunately the two major stumbles occurred outside an element, and Moir was able to keep Virtue from falling to the ice.  Thus, they managed to avoid a loss of points in TES and also avoided two points in deductions for falls. Their marks for Movements and Footwork and for Performance and Execution were both averaged in the eights, so no obvious penalty there either.  Go figure.


Savchenko & Szolkowy won the Pairs event with a record point total, and a record first 10 under IJS.  Awarded by one judge for Performance and Execution, the same judge also gave 9.75s for Choreography and for Interpretation.  Another judge, however, gave a 7.75 for PE and their panel average PE mark was 8.4  It was a fine performance, but not one for the ages.  We assume these marks came from the German judge Elke Treitz.

A handful of judges have been giving some absurd marks at this competition, and if the component mark inflation continues, by the time we get to Vancouver watch out for national bias run amok and inflated component marks skewing the competition results.  When marks for a single component span 2.25 points (or more in some cases for other events) something is seriously wrong with the quality of the judging.  We may be in Ontario, Canada, but the marks out of The Aud make it look like the wild wild west.


Jeremy Abbott was edged out of first place in the Free Skate by 1.02 points, but he held on to win the Men's event.  He attempted and landed the only quad of the Free Skate, and it was a doozey.  Daisuke Takahashi also gave a fine performance and both skaters surpassed 230 points, leaving the rest of the field in their dust.


Joannie Rochette won the gold in the ladies event by nearly a 20 point margin.  She also skated a personal best in the Free Skate, but at a total of 182.90 points, she still has some work to do to be in serious contention for Olympic gold.  Despite a fourth place finish in the Free Skate, Alissa Czisny won the silver, and Laura Lepisto moved up to win the bronze.  Pitty poor Mirai Nagasu who was third in both the short and the long and still ended up forth.

Caroline Zhang's career can only be described as in crisis, and hanging by a thread. Slow, unmusical and riddled with errors, her performance screams for a major intervention to salvage her future.  Her component marks barely averaged five, and one judge gave her a 2.5 for transitions while two others had her in the threes.  Two judges also had her in the threes for Interpretation.  Every major aspect of her skating appears in need of serious correction.

Estimated attendance: 3500 afternoon, 4000 evening.

Friday, November 20

All four events begin today, with an early 11:50 start.  The entry list is a little thin, though with only 8 pairs and 8 dance couples.  Eleven ladies will be competing, and a full compliment of twelve men are her.  Canadian and American skaters make up half or more of the entries in each event, with few European or Asian skaters present.  In the Pairs event, Savchenko & Szolkowy should have smooth sailing for the gold.  The same is likely to be true in Dance for Virtue & Moir.  In the Ladies event, Rochette and Lepisto are the ranked favorites, while in the Men's event Chan and van der Perren are closely ranked in the ISU standings.

Missing in the Dance event are Faiella & Scalli, and in the Ladies event Sarah Meier who have withdrawn.

In the Pairs Short Program Savchenko & Szolkowy outpaced the seven other teams by over eight points, and were a class apart in their performance.  As expected Joannie Rochette dominated the Ladies Short Program and now leads by 6.48 points.  Alissa Czisny gave a strong performance and now lies in second, over seven points ahead of her teammate Mirai Nagasu.  After the Short Program, the third through eighth place ladies lie in a pack separated by only 3.14 points.

Estimated attendance:  1500 for the Pairs and 1800 for the ladies.

The Compulsory Dance was a no-brainer, with Virtue & Moir opening up a 5.14 point lead.  This team has to end up winning the Dance event by at least 30 points.

The Men's event was the best event of the day, with several performances racking up over 70 points.  Jeremy Abbott lies in first after the Short Program.  Abbott said that is was difficult competing as he had heard today that a friend he knew from skating in Colorado Springs, Haley Rose Gans age of 14, had died in a skiing accident, killed instantly hitting a tree, and he had wanted to skate well in her memory.  He also said that he had held back a little today and hoped to skate better in the Free Skate.

Estimated attendance: 2400

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