1996 Skate Canada

Kitchener, ON

7 - 10 Nov 1996

Misc. Notes

On Thursday, Lu Chen fell in practice reinjuring her right foot which had been subject to a stress fracture in the past. The injury occurred while working on triple Lutz. She withdrew from the competition after morning practice today (8 Nov 96). While not severe, the injury makes the takeoff on the Lutz painfull. Since this is not a point event for her, having withdrawn will not affect her standing in the Champions Series.

Content attempted in the singles and pairs short programs.




Skater SP FS Final
Irina Slutskaya, RUS 1 1 1
Tara Lipinski, USA 3 2 2
Lucinda Ruh, SWI 4 3 3
Yulia Vorobieva, AZE 2 6 4
Jennifer Robinson, CAN 5 5 5
Susan Humphreys, CAN 9 4 6
Silvia Fontana, ITA 8 7 7
Astrid Hochstetter, GER 7 8 8
Elena Liashenko, UKR 6 9 9


9 Nov 96:

Irina Slutskaya was on her game today with a strong long program which earned her the ladies title. Her program was very well done, skated with strength and an appealing presentation, which nicely interpreted the music. She landed five triples, covering triple toe through triple loop, with only a triple flip not included in the program. Her spins were skated with speed and control, highlighting her signature Biellmann spins which she does in both forward and back rotation. The translation from her interpreter left a lot to be desired, but we got the impression that Slutskaya was happy with her performance but felt there was room for improvement and things would get better as the season progressed.

Taking the cautious approach, using mostly double jumps, and with errors on two of the three triples she attempted, Vorobieva dropped like a stone to sixth place in the long leaving the door open for Lipinski to move up. Tara, who skated last, made good use of the opportunity placing second in the long, and winning the silver medal. Her program, choreographed by Sandra Bezic, is complete and well constructed, and Lipinski performed it with poise and maturity. She landed six triples, and attempted a seventh, triple flip, on which she sat down. She also landed the only triple triple of the ladies competition, a triple Salchow - triple loop which was clean despite a spinny check out on the triple loop. She described her performance as "prety good for the first competition of the season. I like to get it [the first competition] over with since I improve through the season"

In her best finish ever in an international competition, Lucinda Ruh placed third in the long for the bronze medal. Her program, choreographed by Toller Cranston (who also designed her costumes), relied on her outstanding spinning skills, but came up short on connecting moves and jumps. She attempted six triples, landing three (triple toe - double toe, triple loop, and triple Salchow), but two footing triple flip and triple toe, and falling on a triple Salchow. Except for two footwork sequences the program was nearly devoid of connecting moves. Given that she skated the program with good speed, she seems to be capable of more, and perhaps we will see that develop in working with her new coach, Christy Ness.

Susan Humphreys redeemed herself in the long program with a good skate which earned her a fourth place finish in the long; but having buried herself in ninth place in the short, could only move up to sixth overall. Jennifer Robinson had the opportunity to move up for a medal from fifth place in the short, but she skated a conservative program in which she did not attack the few triple jumps attempted, and which incorporated too many double jumps.

8 Nov 96:

Throughout tonight's Short Program if you listened very carefully you could each girl wisper to the others as they got off the ice, "you win", "no, you win", "no, you win." Nine Senior Ladies and not one clean program among them.

The best job was done by Slutskaya who fell on triple Lutz and then tacked on the double toe. She skated with fair speed with a resonable interpretation of the music, but was slow between many of the elements and looked awkward in some of the connecting positions. It is a potentially good program, but still needs work.

Vorobieva was in a position to challenge for the lead but gave it away by singling the double toe in her combination and doing a poor quality triple flip. Her presenation was spotty, good at times, weak at others, and ended late, well behind her music.

Lipinski gave a credible performance, and could also have taken the lead, but caught an edge setting up to do her combination and slid down, never getting off either jump. It took her by surprise, and to her credit kept her composure to complete the rest of the program cleanly. The program has several nice moves and is well constructed, but she still does not have much presence on the ice, due to her youth and petite size.

We found the performance of Ruh, who placed fourth, the most pleasing of the evening. She singled the double Axel, but landed her other jumps, and her spins were outstanding - not only in terms of speed and position, but also in innovative positions and combinations. It was a thoroughly enjoyable performance.

Jennifer Robinson placed fifth with a credible performance, falling only on triple loop. The program included many nice movements, but suffered from being slow and the lack of more aggressive jumps.


Skater SP FS Final
Elvis Stojko, CAN 1 1 1
Ilia Kulik, RUS 2 2 2
Scott Davis, USA 4 3 3
Steven Cousins, GRB 6 4 4
Dimitry Dmitrenko, UKR 5 5 5
Michael Weiss, USA 3 6 6
Thierry Cerez, FRA 10 7 7
Andrei Vlachtchenko, GER 8 8 8
Takeshi Honda, JPN 7 9 9
Cornel Gheorghe, ROM 9 10 10
Jayson Denommee, CAN 11 11 11
Fabrizio Garattoni, ITA 12 12 12


9 Nov 96:

Elvis Stojko attempted the quad toe tonight but came up half a rotation short; but it didn't matter. With six triples in a dynamic program he took the men's title and announced that he was back. The program starts out slowly, and is ponderous, almost pretentious in places; but it builds dramaticaly ending in a triple Lutz - double toe combiantion, multiple (six?) Arabians and a fast combination spin. Earlier in the weak he said he was "leaving every crappy feeling behind me I had last year", and it appears he has.

Although it was strong program from Stojko it was still a beatable, and Kulik who skated two skaters later had the chance to take the event. He started out strong, but missed the triple toe in his triple Axel - triple toe combination, tacking on a single toe due to an over-rotated landing on the Axel. Later in the program he two footed a triple Salchow and doubled two other jumps. Nevertheless, he still landed six triples and skated with more speed and had bigger jumps than the other men.

Scott Davis made two errors in his long program, putting a hand down on triple toe and falling on triple flip, but he landed the all important triple Axel - double toe, and a second triple Axel. Overall he landed five triples. In addition, his presentation was much better than at Skate America, last week, getting about as much out of this program as he could, given its choreographic weakness. This result is sure to be a confidence builder for the remainder of his season, and he remarked after the event "I havn't been on the podium for a little while, so it feels real good."

Micheal Weiss, who came into tonight in third place had the opportunity to medal but made two serious errors, missing both of the Axels in the triple Axel - double toe combination and the second triple Axel. He landed six triples, including a unique right handed Lutz - left handed Lutz - triple Lutz combination, but without the Axels and with a program lacking emotion and depth he dropped to sixth in the long and sixth overall.

Based on the results from Skate America and Skate Canada, four men have established themselves as the top dogs in men's skating, Eldredge, Kulik, Stojko, and Urmanov. All four are already well prepared, and have or are working on quad toes. All four are recognized as capable of beating the others on any given day, and at this point none is really an overwhellming favorite for Worlds. As described by Kulik, "This is not Ice Dancing. This is men's figure skating."

8 Nov 96:

The Men's event is the srongest in this competition, with Stojko, Kulik, and Weiss looking well prepared. Stojko won the Short with a clean program flawed only by a jacknifed triple Axel which resulted in his combination being triple Axel - Double toe, instead of the intended triple toe. It was a solid performance of great difficulty. Based on his comments made after the program, he has clearly put a great deal of thought into the construction and presentation of the program. Nevertheless, despite its generally good quality it comes up short in speed compared with programs from Eldredge (at Skate America) and Kulik (here), and we find some of the footwork steps and many of the gestures stupid looking.

Kulik also skated a difficult program, and received excellent marks, even with a two footed landing in his triple Axel - triple teo combination. His program was strong and fast with difficult footwork and connecting moves we much prefered to Stojko's in an artistic sense.

Weiss skated a good quality, clean program with decent form and presentation, but lacking in emotion or energy. He had been practicing triple Axel - triple toe for the combination, but opted for a double toe in the program.

Scott Davis gave a much better performance here than he did at Scate America. His program is a funky "Put'n on the Ritz" which was generally well done here. He had two minor problems; a lack of flow out of the triple Lutz, and a step out of the landing on the treiple Axel.


Skater SP FS Final
Woetzel,Steuer, GER 3 1 1
Eltsova/Bushkov, RUS 1 2 2
Ina/Dungjen, USA 2 3 3
Sargeant/Wirtz, CAN 4 4 4
Abitbol/Bernadis, FRA 5 5 5
Higgins/Rice, CAN 7 6 6
Menzies/Bombardier, CAN 8 7 7
Rogers/Aldred, GBR 9 8 8
Schwarz/Muller, GER 6    


8 Nov 96:

Woetzel and Steuer moved up from third to win the event. They skated to a romantic piece of piano music called "In Memory", which we found lovely. The program had a few problems with a mediocre triple twist and a broken throw triple loop. They landed triple toes, double Axels, and throw double axel. Except for the twist, their lifts were well done and included an inverted star with a unique position.

Slipping to second were Eltsova and Bushkov who also skated to a romantic piano piece, but we found the emotional level of their presentation on the cold side, with the music bordering on background music. Their pair elements were well done, but both had problems with the jumps. Both skaters fell on triple toes, and Bushkov also fell on double Axel. Among their pair moves they landed throw triple Salchow and throw triple toe. Their triple twist was the best of the night and their other lifts were also well done.

Ina and Dungjen skated a program heavily loaded on the front end, with a tedious middle section and a boring final third. They had a tough go of it at first, with Ina falling on throw triple Salchow, followed by poorly done triple toes, and a triple twist in which Ina hit Dungjen's shoulder on the way down. After that, however, things improved, landing throw triple loop, and a double Axel - double toe jumps sequence. Their lasso lift and combination lift were well done; but their third overhead, a lido, while impressive looking is only a class three lift which detracts from the difficulty of the program.

Sargeant and Wirtz gave an interesting performance, skating to music from "The Mission", and "Waterworld." Their main errors were falls on triple toe and double Axel by Sargeant. Their throws, triple Salchow and double Axel, were well done, and except for a weak triple twist their lifts were of good quality. We do not understand why this team is ranked second in Canada, finding them technically superior to the others, and much more interesting to watch.

The German team of Schwarz and Muller only got through the first three tricks of their program before having to stop. In the opening triple twist Muller caught an elbow above the left eye, and after a brief trip to medical services they chose to withdraw from the event. The cut required four small stiches to close.

8 Nov 96:

Eltsova and Bushkov were in control of the Pairs Short Program. They skated a clean program with technical skill, but their usual restrained style. The only flaw in their program was a poor (but still clean) landing of a triple toe from Eltsova.

Ina and Dungjen also skated a clean program, but came up short compared to the leaders mainly due to some clumsy elements - most noteably the twist lift - and generally lethargic skating. This is a new program, and with further work should show some improvement.

Woetzel and Steuer skated a program with good style and expression, and were in a position to challange for the lead, but a two footed landing of triple toe by Woetzel knocked them down in the standings. Given the way the teams skated in the short program, and what we have seen in practice, any of the top three teams is capable of winning the event in the long program.

Sargeant and Wirtz gave a commendable performace, showing definite improvement since last year. Their program was skated cleanly with fair speed, and only slightly lesser difficulty than the top three team. Any mistakes from the top three teams and they could move up for a medal here.

It is interesting to note - and perhaps is a message to American teams - that all 9 teams here attempted triple jumps for the solo jump element, with four team successful, (for two teams both partners fell, and for three others one partner fell or two footed the jump).


Skater CD OD FD Final
Bourne/Kraatz, CAN 1 1 1 1
Anissina/Peizerat, FRA 2 2 2 2
Fusar Poli/Margaglio, ITA 3 4 3 3
Drobiazko/Vanagas, LIT 4 3 4 4
Nowak/Kolasinski, POL 5 5 5 5
Semenovich/Fedorov, RUS 6 6 6 6
Chalom/Gates, USA 7 7 7 7
Lefebvre/Brunet, CAN 9 9 8 8
Humphreys/Askew, GBR 8 8 9 9
Koinuma/Arakalian, ARM 10 10 10 10


10 Nov 96:

Bourne and Kraatz completed their sweep of the dance event skating to a medley of big band tunes from the 40's and 50's. The dance included all their signature hydroblading moves. It was skated fairly fast and with good flow, but included a lot of side-by-side skating with simple footwork, resulting in fairly low first marks for a first place finish.

Anissina and Piezerat took the silver medal skating a dance with an exotic, eastern flavor. They attacked the program with energy and enthusiasm. We enjoyed their dance, but its lesser difficulty was obvious, even to the likes of us.

The Italian team of Fusar Poli and Margaglio pulled back up to take the bronze medal. Theirs was an ethnic dance of Italian tunes which was pleasant enough but limited by slow, side-by-side skating and average lifts.

Chalom and Gates skated to latin rhythms with enthusiasm, in one of the few true ballrom dances in the event. They included two hydroblading moves and although only placing seventh showed potential for the future. They skated with good technique, but have yet to develop speed and presence on the ice.

9 Nov 96:

The OD tangos included the usual assortment of tortured passion, male chauvinism, spurned love, and traditional ballroom interpretation. We preferred the OD from Anissina and Peizerat which was intricate with flow and deep edges. The judges, however, did not agree, giving the nod to Bourne and Kraatz who skated a restrained ballroom dance with nice edges and flow, but otherwise very ordinary choreography.

Drobiazko and Vanagas moved ahead of Fusar Poli and Margaglio skating a traditional tango full of wild gyrations. The Italian team skated an agresssive tango, but its lesser difficulty and a few clumsy spots cost them one place.


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