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2013 Trophee Eric Bompard: Ice Dance

by Alexandra Stevenson

Raining in Paris: Not only the Wet Stuff, but also Level 4s and +3 Grades of Execution.

These maximum awards are to be expected when you have snagged the Canadian reigning Olympic and twice World Champions (2010 & 2012) Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, for your competition. The now 24 (Virtue) & 26 year old (Moir) even tried something different, something far more mature, in Sunday’s highly popular, fully televised Exhibition Gala. The famous stars sexily rolled around the ice, she in what looked like a negligee and he in a very understated outfit which made him look like a character out of a steam-y Tennessee Williams novel. The program featured all the top competitors and other acts that were not part of the official contest including acrobats and a past skater who is now a top circus performer, who has an amazing spinning act many feet off the ice.

Whatever Virtue & Moir were attempting to do, it was a long way from their previous vanilla flavored presentations. Oo la la! They are also talking a little more in depth, and the Globe & Mail had a fine interview about the lengths they go to in seeking perfection. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/tessa-virtue-and-scott-moir-explain-their-training-regimen-for-sochi/article15214213/

Moir explained, “At the Olympics in Vancouver, we’d hug before we stepped on the ice and start breathing slowly at the same time. We want to feel totally in unison. We even try to get our hearts to beat as one. I don’t regret being nervous because as long as that’s the case, I’m focused. It helps me get out there and take what’s mine.”

Virtue says she has a different view. “I get really nervous. With that comes doubt! I can get very quiet and internalize things. So, I have to be conscious to express my nerves to Scott and to reframe them into a positive thing. He tells me, ‘We’ve trained for this. Truthfully, what we do in training is ten times harder than what we ever have to do in competition. That’s always really reassuring. And, Thank Goodness, we have each other to rely on.’”

They both say that the “Glutes” are their most important muscles. He explains, “It’s the area where I get all the power to throw Tessa and to skate faster. If I don’t activate that group, then I’m going to be pulling on smaller muscles to take the load. That’s when you run into injury problems.”

Virtue blames not building up Glutes may have been responsible for her having to have surgeries in 2008 & 2010 because of chronic exertional compartment syndrome. “For over 10 years, I didn’t use my Glutes (Gluteus maximus muscle: otherwise known as your rear end!). But I’ve since worked hard to improve hip activation and core strength.

“One of my favorite things is sending our trainer videos of our new list of what we’ll be doing in the coming season because she comes up with the craziest exercises, having us work with bungees and different things. We could be in the gym working on the same lift but Scott might be lifting a barbell and I’ll be working on something entirely different.”

Who knew that ice dance had developed so professionally into this area?

1.  Overall 180.96; Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Canada; 1.SD 75.31 (36.94+38.37);  1.FD 105.65 (49.76+57.87 -2 for two lifts going overtime).

This is Virtue & Moir’s fourth Trophee Bompard win in five appearances. Their first was in 2006, when they finished 4th. They certainly had no trouble winning by a huge 9.07 points, but, in the Free Dance their margin of superiority was only 2.83 ahead of a young Russian couple. That was in part because they were penalized 2 points for going overtime in TWO of their lifts. They certainly have had lifts that have gone over, but when did they last have two overtimes in the same routine?.

Their Short Dance was set to a Foxtrot, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, by Ella Fitzgerald and a Quickstep to “Muskrat Ramble” by Louis Armstrong, and then back to a Foxtrot with “Heaven” by Ella Fitzgerald. They wore black. “We felt like it was a strong skate,” Moir explained. “There were some great moments and it was a better skate that at Skate Canada, especially the ending. Still, we left some points out there. Technically we can’t afford to do those little mistakes.”

They opened with Level 4 non-touching steps, which earned three of the maximum +3 GoEs, plus five +2s and from one grumpy judge +1. “Grumpy” also gave only +1 for their next two elements, and +2 for the last two. He/she ranked both the second and third placed couples in the SD ABOVE the Canadians on both the element and component scores (for which he/she gave two 9.0s). Of course, most of his/her marks were thrown out because they were the lowest. The other judges were far more impressed.

For their second element, the Twizzles, which they have moved to an earlier slot than this element occupied earlier in the season, Virtue & Moir earned five +3s, three +2s. Grumpy again gave +1. “We do a lot of tweeking and changing as the season progresses,” Moir admitted, “That’s perfectly normal.”)

The first part of the Finnstep rated Level 3 and “only” two +3s, along with six +2s and Grumpy’s +1. The second part of the Finnstep was also Level 3 with eight plus 2s. This time the only exception giving +1 was not Grumpy, who gave +2, but another judge. For their concluding rotational lift five judges gave +3, while the rest voted for +2.

In the components, the first judge listed, presumably Grumpy again, gave the lowest scores (9.25, 9.25, 9.00, 9.00 & 9.50). The highest scorer gave two 9.50 for the first two categories (Skating Skills, and Linking Footwork & Movement), and “10.00” for the remaining three awards. Another gave two tens, for the third (Performance) and fifth (Interpretation & Timing) categories. And yet one other judge gave 10 for the last category.

They performed their Free to: “Petit Adagio” and “Waltz in Concerto No.2” by Alexander Glazunov and “Allegro Moderato” by Skriabin. Virtue was in a rich sleeveless, knee-length emerald green creation. There was only one element which failed to get at least one of the maximum +3 from the judging panel. That was their eighth move, the Level 3 diagonal steps which earned five +2s and four +1s.

They opened with their straight line lift, which received one +3, seven +2s and one +1. Their circular steps were Level 3 with just one +3 (from a different judge) and eight +2s. (No couple received the maximum Level 4 for this element.) Their curve lift was ONLY Level 2 but with three +3s, five +2s and a solitary +1. Their twizzles, however, were pretty spectacular, earning SEVEN +3s and two +2s. Their Level 4 combination spin received two +3s and the rest +2s. Their Level 4 rotation lift was amazing and they were again rewarded with SEVEN +3s and two +2s although the +2 judges were not the same ones who gave +2s on the twizzles. The second rotational lift, surprisingly, got only Level 3 with just one +3, along with six +2s and a +1. The diagonal steps were noted in the previous paragraph, and they concluded with their choreographed lift which earned four +3s, four +2s and a +1.

Their components included three 10.00s for the third category, Performance, and those same judges along with one other also gave a 10.00 for the last category, Interpretation & Timing. Their lowest marks were three 9.25, two from the same judge.

Facts you probably don’t know: Scott’s older brother Danny, 33, is a figure skating coach who competed on the international Junior level and now teaches the sport in Copenhagen. He was runner-up for the Canadian Junior title with his cousin, Sheri Moir. They took part in the 2001 World Junior championship. Tessa & Scott were the first Canadian ice dancers to win that title, which they accomplished in 2006 (after being second the year before and 11th in their debut in 2004). Who is to say that had Danny not become such a skating enthusiast, Scott might have turned to another sport?

2.  Overall 171.89; Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov, Russia, 3.SD 70.59 (35.44+35.15);  2.FD 102.82 (50.51+52.31).

This was quite a coup for Ilinykh, who is 19 and was born in Shevchenko, Kazakhstan, and Katsalapov, 22, who was born in Moscow, to beat the Pechalat & Bourzat in their own country. They actually skated together when they were very young but split in 2005. Ilinykh remembers, “We were really stupid. We’d grumble about each other instead of talking things out with each other.” She lived in the United States for some time, training in Canton, but then, in 2008, re-teamed up with Katsalapov.

They have been trained by Nicolai Morosov since May 2011. Last January, they were runners-up in the European championship, behind their Russian teammates, Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, after Pechalat & Bourzat had to withdraw. They are making steady progress, having won the 2010 world Junior Championships. They placed fourth in their debut in the European championship in 2011, and got the bronze the following year. This season, they finished fourth at the NHK Trophy. They finished fourth in their previous entry into the Trophee Bompard in 2011.

They skated a Quickstep to “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” sung by Sholom Secunda, followed by a slow Foxtrot to “Sixteen Tons” and then reverted to the Quckstep, set to “Sing, Sing, Sing”. They opened the routine with both sections of the Finnstep, which gained, respectively Level 4 with +0.71 GoE and Level 3 with +0.64. Their Level 3 non-touching steps earned two points over the base value of 6.50. Their Level 4 twizzles got their highest GoEs, two +3s, six +2s and one +1. They finished with their Level 4 rotational lift which received unanimous +2s. Their top component marks were a three 9.25s from different judges. Their lowest scores were a 7.25 and a 7.75 for Linking footwork & Movement.

Their Free was to “Swan Lake” with him playing the evil magician and she the Princess transformed into a swan. They had previously been quite successful in the 2011 season, peforming a Free to music from the ballet “Don Quixote” with her in a genuine black tutu supplied by the Bolshoi Ballet, when they were trained by Alexander Zhulin.

Ice dancers can either do four “short” lifts, a path most competitors choose because it is less risky. However, the rules allow competitors to choose instead, to do one “long” lift, with two short ones. The base value of all short lifts is 4.0, while the base value of a long lift is 8.0. Only three couples choose to do a long lift, Ilinykh & Katsalapov, Papadakis & Cizeron, and the British couple.

For Ilinykh &Katsalapov, taking that risk, was a great decision. The straight line to rotational combo earned seven of the maximum +3 GoEs and the other two judges punched in +2. That gave them a total score of 10.86, and certainly pleased the audience. That was followed by a Level 4 straight line short lift which earned seven +2s and two+1s so they banked a total of 4.93.

Their Level 3 circular steps received four +2s, four +1s and a 0. Their last lift, a rotational, was given the maximum Level 4 with +0.93, which came from one +3 (thrown out as the highest), six +2s and two +1s. Then they did an excellent Level 4 combination spin which earned one +3 (again thrown out but certainly appreciated by the skaters) and the rest +2s. Then came really great Level 4 twizzles, which elicited five +3s and four +2s. As with Virtue & Moir, their lowest marks came from the Diagonal steps. They got two +2s, six +1s and a 0 (thrown out as the lowest mark). They finished with their short choreographed lift which has only Level 1. Nevertheless, they did it so well, they earned two +3s, four +2s and three +1s, which resulted in an extra +0.73 added to the move’s base value of +0.20!

Their highest component score came from two judges, who gave them identical marks, of two 9.25s for their “Performance” and “Interpretation & Timing”, along with three 9.0s. The lowest mark was an out-of-line 6.50 for “Linking Footwork & Movement”. The second lowest mark was 7.75, given by two judges, on for one for that same category, (“Linking Footwork & Movement”) and another one from a different judge for “Skating Skills”.

3.  Overall 171.08; Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, France, 2.SD 69.07 (34.92+34.15);  3.FD 100.49 (48.15+53.34 -1 for a lift going overtime).

Pechalat & Bourzat, who have been French champions four times in the past five years, would have won silver in this event, if they had earned just 0.82 more! How frustrating, particularly in the light that they lost a mark in the Free, because of a lift running overtime! They have competed in the Trophee Bompard nine times, winning in 2010 and 2012, and taking silver in 2009 and 2011. But they have had a lot of bad luck and have said this is almost certainly their final year. Pechalat will turn 30 on December 22, and Bourzat will be 33 on December 19. They won the bronze medals at the 2012 World championship, which was in Nice in their own country, despite her accident not long before the event in which her partner elbowed her nose, breaking it and knocking her out in practice at the Detroit SC.

This past season, it was Bourzat who was injured. He partially tore his adductor muscle in his right leg and they had to withdraw from the European championships which they had won the previous two years. They were determined to enter the world championship, but had lost a great deal of training time and finished sixth. But, they were delighted that they qualified France for two couples for the Olympic Games next year.

In May 2013, in a move which Igor Shpilband said was a complete surprise to him, the French Association decided to send them to the Novi rink. And, after winning the Cup of China, they appeared to be on track. (They were originally trained in Lyon by Muriel Zazoui, and then went to Moscow to train with Alexander Zhulin. Then they came to the Detroit SC to train with Pasquale Camerlengo.

In their first Grand Prix, in Beijing, they were second in the Short Dance but overtook Bobrova & Soloviev, who have been Russian champions for the past three seasons, to claim gold. (In Pechalat & Bourzat’s absence, Bobrova & Soloviev had won the European championship, and were third in the World when Pechalat & Bourzat were still striving to recover from his injury, so the French couple saw them as their main rival (apart from Virtue & Moir and the Americans Meryl Davis & Charlie White, both of whom the French acknowledge as being in a class by themselves).

In Paris, Pechalat & Bourzat were lying second, 4.72 points behind Virtue & Moir, after their Short Dance but, ominously, only 1.52 ahead of Ilinykh & Katsalapov. They began their SD performance, for which she was dressed in a sexy black and red sleeveless number with unusual black bands around her elbows, and he was in a short sleeved shirt with a waistcoat, and striped trousers, with a slow Foxtrot to the come-hither “Hey, Big Spender”, a Quickstep to Louis Prima’s “Sing Sing Sing”, and a Charleston to “Mein Herr” by John Kander.

Their Level 4 twizzles gained seven +2s and two +1 which resulted in 0.93 being added to the base value of 6.00. Their Non-touching Steps were Level 3 with +1.86 (which came from a similar seven +2s and two +1s but with a higher base value of 6.5). Both sections of the Finnstep rated an impressive Level 4 and received an extra +0.57 (from two +2s, six +1s and one 0) and a better +0.79 from five +2s, three +1s and one 0. (The base values of the two sections are not equal. The first sequence is 0.57 while the more difficult second sequence has a base value of 0.79. One judge gave very low component marks, from 7.25 to 7.75 for all five categories. - Perhaps that was the Russian judge, Elena Fomina? The top mark was 9.75 which came from a judge who also gave two 9.25s and two 9.50s - Perhaps the French judge, M. Jean-Bernard Hamel. In the 35 awards from the other seven judges, the top were two 9.25s and the bottom one 8.25.

After the SP in Paris, Pechalat & Bourzat revealed that, in the brief time after the Chinese GP and their long trip home, they had concentrated primarily on the SP because they felt that’s where the most improvement was needed. But it turned out, they were vulnerable because of their Free, although they gave a good showing. The routine was set to four pieces, “Carousel” from Cirque du Soleil by Benior Jutras; “Right of the City” by Raphael Beaun & Max Steiner, “Forbidden Games” by Fernando Sor and “The Little Prince and his Rose” by Maxime Rodriquez.

They began with Level 4 twizzles which received one +3 GoE, five +2s and three +1s. Their Level 4 straight line lift got four +3s and five +2s.  Their Level 3 Diagonal steps were given five +2s and four +1s. Their Level 4 curve lift gained one +3, six +2s and two +1s. Their Level 3 circular steps earned four +2s and five +1s.

Their second Level 4 curve lift was rewarded with one +3 and the rest of the panel punched in +2. Their weakest element was their Level 3 spin which earned seven +1s, but the other two judges thought it was merely satisfaction in all aspect and punched in 0 which means nothing is added to the base value. They climbed back into top shape with their last lift, a Level 4 rotational which earned one +3, five +2s and three +1s. They concluded with their choreographed lift, which received six +2s, two +1s and a 0.

On the components, one judge gave a 10, a 9.75 and three 9.50s!!! Another high marker gave two 9.0s and three 9.25s. The marks went down to three 8.25s.

4.  Overall 147.27; Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi, Germany, 4.SD 60.13 (31.07+29.06);  4.FD 87.14 (44.22+43.92 -1 for a lift going overtime).

Zhiganshina, who is 26, & Gazsi, 29, are an example of how barriers between countries are beginning to be less and less important. He was born in the old Karl Marx Stadt (now called by its original name of Chemnitz), but decided in 2005 to go to Russia to search out a partner. He found Zhiganshina, who had represented Russia until 1994 with Denis Bazdyrev. They initially trained in Moscow but eventually settled in Germany in 2009. She has a younger brother, Ruslan, who won the 2012 World Junior Championship for Russia with his partner Victoria Sinitsina. So, it is possible, they will find themselves competing against each other, the sister for Germany, the younger brother for Russia!

They have won the German title four times, have gained silver twice and bronze twice. Last season, they played zombies. This season, they wear the same outfits for both the Short and Free Dances. He’s dressed as a nerd, complete with leather elbow covers on his sweater, and glasses. They are telling a continuing story of an unlikely romance.

The music for their Short Dance, to which they perform a Foxtrot and a Quickstep, is “Le Jazz Hot” performed by Glee Cast. Their Levels were good. They earned the maximum 4 for their opening move, the Twizzles, for the first section of their Finnstep, and for their final move, the rotational lift. Their second move, the non-touching diagonal steps got Level 3 as did the second section of the Finnstep. But their GoEs were lower than the top three. They received only one solitary +2 from one judge, which was for their lift. The majority of their GoEs were +1 and there were fourteen 0s. One judge gave -1s for three of the five elements; another thought two elements of the five had a fault and gave both -1s; and a third judge gave one -1, which was for the twizzles. Their component scores ranged from a low of one 6.0 up to a high of one 8.25.

Their Free was set to “Carrigan & Dips” by James Horner; “Mrs. ES Dancecard” by Elliot Goldenthal; and “I’m Happy” by Gorillaz. Six of their elements earned Level 4. The diagonal and circular steps were Level 3. Three of the nine judges each gave a solitary minus 1. Two of those were for the twizzles, and one for their second straight line lift. In addition one judge gave -1 for both the combination spin and for the choreographed lift. But the rest of the 75 marks comprised 0 or better and their curve lift earned +2 from six of the judges. The components ranged from one 6.0 up to one 8.0.

5.  Overall 143.26; Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron, France, 5.SD 58.10 (30.72+27.38);  5.FD 85.16 (42.45+42.71).

They performed their SD from last year, set to “Minnie, the Moocher” and “The Dirty Boogie”. Their twizzles received eight +2s and a solitary +1, which earned them a full point over the base value for Level 4 of 6.00. Both parts of their Finnstep were level 3 with the first sequence receiving +0.29 GoE, but the second sequence losing -0.07. Their Non-touching steps were Level 3 with +0.43 and their straight line lift was Level 4 with +0.57. Their components ranged from one 6.00 up to two 7.75.

Their Free was set to “Money” and “Hey You” by Pink Floyd. They began extremely well with a Level 4 straight line lift which earned one +3, five +2s and three +1s. However, their circular steps were only Level 2 and the judges were divided. They received one -1, three 0s, two +1s, and three +2s! Their twizzles were performed less well than in the SP, and they received Level 3 with two -1s, four 0s and three +1s. Their Level 4 combination spin earned six +2s and three +1s. They were one of three couples along with Ilinykh/Katsalapov and the British champions to present a long lift, which gained them seven +2s and two +1s. Their diagonal steps earned three +1s and six 0s, which resulted in only +0.29 added to the Level 2 base value of 5.00. Their Level 4 curve lift was impressive gaining six +2s, two +1s and a 0. Their choreographed lift was rewarded with five +2s and four +1s. Their components ranged up to one 8.00 and one 8.25 from one 6.25.

Papadakis was 18 on 10 May; Cizeron turned 19 on 12 November; and this was their debut season as seniors. Until last season they were trained by her mother, Catherine, and are now trained by Muriel Zazoui. They relocated because he had finished high school, and moved to begin college in Lyons. He explained, “It brings us great pride to be seniors. People start staring at us with a different look. But, last year, we came up fourth each time at our JGPs, so we were pretty much not known. Still, we have a newfound maturity in our skating. We have worked a lot on choreography and interpretation. Our best moment was competing in the Jr GPFinal in Sochi in Dec 2012 and finishing second!”

She said, “This season our first objective was to win (the JrGP) in Courchevel. (The JrGP in Austria in) Linz was more difficult, however. We were first after the Short Dance. It's never easy to start a free dance in such a position. Everybody is expecting a lot from you, and you surely don't want to disappoint anyone!  Our relation to the audience has changed, and it is rather surprising. We were not used to having fans. Now, people come and ask for autographs. In a competition, we skate mostly for the judges. But then you realize that some people like what you are doing, although they are not part of the competition itself, except as spectators.

“It's a huge change for me. It's not so easy to leave the family cocoon and to become independent all at once. It's not easy for my mom either, as she is seeing both her daughter and her homemade couple leave her all at once. My dad lives in Texas, so I've been there, too. Also, our first Junior Grand Prix took place in Lake Placid three years ago. We ended last. The winners were Maia & Alex Shibutani. We regarded them as living Gods!”

6.  Overall 139.96; Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin, Russia, 6.SD 56.53 (29.63+26.90);  6.FD 83.43 (41.76+41.67).

Monko is 21 and Khaliavin turned 23 on November 21. They performed a Quickstep to “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy” and a Foxtrot to “Love” by Nat King Cole for their Short Dance, opening with both parts of th Finnstep, for which they received Level 3 with a tiny 0.07 added and Level 2 with +0.21. Their twizzles were Level 4, as was their concluding rotational lift. These two elements gained +0.64 and +0.50 respectively from the judges. Their fourth element was their Level 3, +0.71 Non-touching Midline steps. Their components ranged from a low of one 5.75 up to five 7.50s.

Their free was set to music by Rene Aubry and Gaetano Donizetti. All four lifts, the twizzles and the spin were Level 4, while both sets of steps were Level 2. All their GoEs were 0 or better. Their opening rotational lift received four +2s and five +1s, as did their twizzles. (Two judges gave +2s to both these elements. The other four +2s came from four of the other judges giving just one +2 to one of these two elements.) However, one of those who just honored the rotational lift, gave a second +2 to the later curve lift which also received a second +2 from a judge who did not give either of the initial rotation lift or the twizzles a +2. Their components ranged from one 6.25 up to one 7.50.

7.  Overall 128.59; Penny Coomes & Nick Buckland, Great Britain, 7.SD 52.52 (26.15+27.37 -1 for an extended lift);  7.FD 76.07 (36.11+39.96).

Coomes & Buckland were first reserves for this season to get a second Grand Prix, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Nowadays people appear to wait till the last minute to decide whether they are well enough to skate or not, and the ISU has established a cut-off date after which they will not pay the expensive last minute airline fares for the replacement.

The twice British champions, who are both 24, train with twice Olympic champion Evgeni Platov in the United States. Their Short Program is set to the classic, “I Won’t Dance” and “Swing Set: by Jurassic 5.” They opened with Level 4 twizzles which got a mixed reception with one judge awarding +2, four judges giving +1 and four merely giving 0, which is for satisfactory in every aspect. However, the first half of the Finnstep received only Level 1 with just +0.07 added. The second half was much better, with Level 3 and +0.29 over the base value. The non-touching steps were Level 2 with +0.71. They finished with a Level 4 rotational with five +2s and four +1s from the judging panel. The components ranged from one 5.50 up to one 7.75.

Their Free is set to a Michael Jackson Medley. They opened with a spectacular long lift which received Level 4 for the first part, which was straight, and Level 3 for the rotational half. Although three judges gave +1 GoE, and another saw nothing wrong and awarded 0, four judges did not agree and punched in -1. The remaining judge thought the error was even worse and gave -2. There was nothing wrong with their Midline steps with six judges giving 0 and three +1. Their Level 4 twizzles got a variety of awards, from one +2, two +1s, four 0s and two -1s. They were more agreed about the curve lift, which was rewarded with one +2, six +1s and two zeros. The circular steps were only Level 2 and got zero added to the base value of 5.00. The combination spin was also Level 2 with one +2, four +1s and four 0s. The rotational lift was their best element, a Level 4 with +0.71 GoE which derived from the judges’ four +2s and five +1s. Their concluding choreographed lift had an error. Although one judge gave +1 and another 0, five gave -1 and two -2. Their components ranged from one 5.75 up to one 7.50.

8.  Overall 119.60; Nicole Orford & Thomas Williams, Canada, 8.SD 47.45 (21.65+25.80); 8.FD 72.15 (35.33+37.82 -1 for an extended lift).

The two 21-year-olds teamed up in May 2010 and won the 2011 Canadian Junior title. Nationally, at Senior Level, they were 6th in 2012 and 3rd 2013.

That first season (2010-2011), they won bronze in the Junior GP in Britain. “Standing on the podium in Sheffield was an amazing experience,” he said. “Before that, I had never really medaled at any major competitions at all during my career, so to place at our first (international) was awesome.” He’s from a tiny town outside of Calgary – Okotocs, but had previously been training in Waterloo/Kitchener. He said, “I was actually going to take a year off from competing to move back home and work for a year before returning to skating,” Williams, who is 6’1”, explained. “Aaron Lowe (who coaches in Vancouver) contacted me about coming out for a tryout, and I thought, “Why not give it a try?” We got together through Facebook and I knew within the first hour of our tryout that I wanted to skate with Nicole.”The 5’3” Oxford is currently attending Simon Fraser University. “I hope to get a degree in either kinesiology or health sciences,” she explained recently.

Their Short Dance was set to “Cheek to Cheek, and “Fly Me to the Moon.” Their opening move, the twizzles, earned Level 4 with +0.36, and their final element, a Rotational lift, also was rewarded with Level 4 and 0.71. However, both sequences of the Finnstep were Level 1 with -0.21 and -0.07. Their non-touching steps were Level 2 with -0.14.

Their Free was set to “Beneath the Moonless Sky”; “Coney Island Waltz”; “Heaven by the Sea”; and “Till I Hear You Sing.” They earned Level 4s on all their lifts and their spin, all with positive GoEs. But both step sequences were Level 1 with the circular steps earning only +0.07 and the diagonal steps earning just the base value. Their twizzles were Level 3 with -0.07.

Judy Blumberg was the Technical Specialist; Sharon Rogers, the U.S. Judge; Jodi Abbott, the Canadian Judge; and Christopher Buchanan, the British Judge. The other judges were from Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, China, Austria and France.

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