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2012 Skate America - Day 3

by Alexandra Stevenson


Pl Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Ashley WAGNER USA 188.37 1 1
2 Christina GAO USA 174.25 3 2
3 Adelina SOTNIKOVA RUS 168.96 2 3
4 Valentina MARCHEI ITA 158.79 5 6
5 Haruka IMAI JPN 157.72 7 4
6 Mae Berenice MEITE FRA 155.95 4 7
7 Alena LEONOVA RUS 153.49 9 5
8 Viktoria HELGESSON SWE 144.85 6 8
9 Rachael FLATT USA 136.09 10 9
10 Sarah HECKEN GER 134.09 8 10


Pl Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Takahiko KOZUKA JPN 251.44 2 1
2 Yuzuru HANYU JPN 243.74 1 3
3 Tatsuki MACHIDA JPN 229.95 4 2
4 Konstantin MENSHOV RUS 212.53 5 5
5 Jeremy ABBOTT RUS 211.35 3 8
6 Michal BREZINA USA 209.67 6 4
7 Armin MAHBANOOZADEH CZE 203.65 7 7
8 Tomas VERNER USA 197.36 9 6
9 Douglas RAZZANO CZE 187.73 10 9
10 Alexander MAJOROV SWE 182.42 8 10


Pl Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV RUS 195.07 1 1
2 Qing PANG / Jian TONG CHN 185.16 2 2
3 Caydee DENNEY / John COUGHLIN USA 178.22 3 3
4 Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES FRA 167.66 4 4
5 Marissa CASTELLI / Simon SHNAPIR USA 164.19 5 5
6 Gretchen DONLAN / Andrew SPEROFF USA 131.26 7 6
7 Danielle MONTALBANO / Evgeni KRASNOPOLSKI ISR 119.02 6 7


Pl Name Nation Points SD FD
1 Meryl DAVIS / Charlie WHITE USA 176.28 1 1
2 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS 159.95 3 2
3 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN 157.32 2 3
5 Nelli ZHIGANSHINA / Alexander GAZSI GER 132.57 5 5
6 Lorenza ALESSANDRINI / Simone VATURI ITA 125.74 6 6
7 Anastasia CANNUSCIO / Colin MCMANUS USA 122.37 7 7

Christina GAO, Ashley WAGNER and Adelina SOTNIKOVA

Ekaterina BOBROVA & Dmitri SOLOVIEV, Meryl DAVIS & Charlie WHITE and Kaitlyn WEAVER & Andrew POJE

Rachael Skates Two Flat Performances.
Time to Retire?

by George Rossano

Of all the skaters who are not prepared for the new season that we have thus far seen, Rachael Flatt is by far the one the farthest "behind the curve."

Skaters are never on the top of their game at the start of a season, and the Grand Prix and senior B competitions are the opportunities to hone their programs for national and international championship competition.

But to hone your knife, you need to at least bring one to the fight.

Rachael is injured and competed at Skate America with her right leg taped, but her problem is far deeper than that.

Yes, she can't currently attack the jumps for obvious reasons, but even when Alissa Czisny was injured last season, she could still put decent spins out on the ice, execute the artistic aspects of her program, and was otherwise athletically fit.  We did not see that from Flatt here.

In the Short Program Flatt only could muster a level 1 flying camel spin, level 2 layback spin and step sequence, and level 3 combination spin.  Overall her spins were slow and labored.  Her components averaged under 5.75 and a few component marks were in the fours.

In the Free Skate her performance was nearly as weak.  She achieved only 9 features in her spins and step sequence, the lowest of the group (tied with Valentina Marchei).  Her spins were again slow and labored and her components were again in the mid fives, with one as low as 4.75.  Both programs were skated slowly, with little power, and a deficiency of transitions.

Flatt made it obvious in comments to the media here that skating is not her top priority and it is obvious academics are her main focus.  So, with classes in session for the past two months, we did not expect to see particularly polished performances.  But after three months of summer break available for full time training, we did expect to see at least an unpolished athlete, not the unprepared coed that showed up instead.

This season there are many skaters past their prime who are holding onto their Olympic dreams, knowing that their skills have been eroded by time and will not be restored to their former glory.  In this Flatt is not alone.  What separates her from the other "old timers" is the apparent absence of the focused, obsessive determination that an elite athlete must have to make the most of whatever skills they retain.

Old timers past their prime who want to compete mainly for their own pleasure and satisfaction should not necessarily be discouraged.  But they should not be squandering federation resources, nor any of the limited slots available in Grand Prix competition at the expense of more motivated athletes.

(21 October 2012) Kent, Washington

Dance Free Dance

“More emotion,” is what Meryl Davis & Charlie White are after this season. Will it be enough to take back the world title?

1. Overall 176.28; 1.Free Dance 104.89 (48.16+56.73) Meryl Davis & Charlie White , the four-time U.S. champions, 2011 World champions, 2010 Olympic silver medalists

This is Meryl Davis & Charlie White’s 13th Senior Grand Prix appearance. Included in that number is their debut in Skate America in 2007, when they finished fourth. They didn’t come back until 2010 and they also appeared in 2011. But, probably, there has never been this much energy shown so early in the season. White is emoting with the force of an actor in a silent movie. It is working. He is certainly reaching the top of this not overly large, but very spectator friendly arena.

The music they use, Notre Dame de Paris by Richard Coccianti, with some singing in French, is powerful and White, in particular, is spreading his arms and stretching to make the accents count. But the premier performance did not have the wow of last season’s Die Fledermaus, or the incredible beauty that the first impression of the Giselle Short Dance produced. That is not to say that it won’t develop.

White made a definite mistake on the first twizzle, which is nitpicking. They showed off some interesting choreography. This writer can’t wait to see their next appearance.

Davis said, “Charlie and I felt like our performance went quite well today. We had a couple of technical glitches here and there. We’re definitely looking to get our technical scores much higher. Overall, it was a good start to the season and we’re on track to accomplishing our goals on the ice. We are thrilled with our performances and thrilled to perform them here in Skate America. It was a great audience (although by no means a sell-out). We would like to thank everyone here in the Kent arena for organizing everything and being so supportive.”

Regarding their music, Davis added, “It’s been tricky cutting this music because we wanted to make sure we were keeping the consistency with the story. We didn’t want Quasimodo singing to Esmeralda and merging it with one of the other male characters singing to Esmeralda and having a disconnect. Charlie and I have a basic understanding of the music so that the storyline is continuous as well.”

White explained, “We have always been big fans of this (Notre Dame de Paris) music. A situation to skate to it never really presented itself until this year. We’re glad it sort of worked out that way because the music is so emotional. We were definitely looking to pick those parts of the musical that we can connect to. It’s a group project as far as cutting the music and figuring out which parts are going to fit in with Marina (Zoueva), myself and Meryl. We’re very pleased with the final result. The emotional impact that the music can have is so important and I think we really accomplished that with this program.”

Although they earned their gold by 7.85 marks over the Russians who were second, they were only 0.45 ahead technically. Five moves were given Level 4. The diagonal steps and twizzles were Level 3 and the circular steps only Level 2.

What was particularly wonderful after the event finished on Sunday, just before the Exhibition  was that before the exhibition, they showed Davis & White’s Original and Free routines from the Olympics with Davis & White commentating on themselves. What a wonderful, and unique situation.

2. Overall 159.95; 2.FD 97.04 (47.71+49.33) Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, Russia, competed only two weeks ago at the Finlandia Trophy. That outing definitely made them more prepared the Davis & White. The Russians’ technical score was better by five points.

Bobrova & Soloviev present a rather depressing number in which he is a drug addict and she tries to rescue him. In doing so, she brings herself down to his level and at the end he’s recovered but she is trapped. They had Level 4s for all but their circular and diagonal steps which were both Level 2.

Soloviev said, “We are very pleased that, in such a high level competition, with such strong rivals, we were able to control our nerves and finish with such a high placement. We’ve improved this season but I think we can still improve a lot.” Their music was Man with a Harmonica with a small ending of music from Tosca.

They have skated together with their previous coach for many years but have now gone for instruction to Sasha Zhulin. Soloviev explained that this has had a definite effect on their training. “First of all, he’s a man instead of a woman. The male perspective is different and our whole way of preparing physically and mentally is now very different. As a result, we are much calmer going into competitions. The psychological side of our skating has made a strong impact. The technique is different, too.”

Bobrova added, “It wasn’t easy for us. We were with our previous coach for 12 years, from the very beginning. But what we do now is very different and we feel it is working for us.”

3. Overall 157.32; 3.FD 91.53 (41.59+49.94) Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, Canada, were disappointed to place third, when they had placed fourth, three places higher than the Russians in the last world championships. Weaver plays the Statue of Liberty and Poje a sculptor. Their music is Humanity in Motion by Nathan Lanier. They received the maximum Level for their four lifts and their twizzles were Level 3, but both sets of steps and their spin were only Level 4.

Weaver admitted, “Andrew and I are disappointed with our Free Dance today to say the least. I wasn’t all bad. We did a lot of things well and a lot of things better than our last competition. Several of our minor mistakes ended up adding up in the end and we had a low technical score. Luckily, those are the easy things to fix. We are no strangers to going home and reworking little things to make sure we make the most of our technical score. We’ve achieved the hard part which is making the program audience friendly. We’ve received very positive feedback on that. We are looking forward to making sure that something like this won’t happen again.”

The first thing they will do is talk to various technical specialists. Their next event is the Cup of China in Shanghai in two weeks.

They are the only Canadians in this event (after the Canadian pair withdrew). Poje explained, “It’s definitely a strange feeling (having no team mates) especially with the event being so close to Canada.”

4. Overall 141.41; 4.FD 87.52 (44.17+43.35) Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, who have skated together since 2006, were quite thrilled that they beaten such an experienced team as Weaver and Poje on the technical score, and by 2.58 marks. Skating to Turning Tables and Rumor Has It by Adele, they earned the maximum Level 4 for five of their elements. Their rotational lift and midline steps were Level 3 and the circular steps Level 2. All of their elements received positive Grades of Execution with a minimum of +0.33 for their twizzles and a maximum of a whole point for their circular steps.

Kriengkrairut, who is of Thai descent but was brought up in Bismarck, N.D., explained, “We listened to Adele last year and we really find her music moving. With her recent popularity, we thought these two songs blended together well. These were the ones which really spoke to us.” He added, “We were a little worried that it would be played too much on the radio and we use the routine all year but we kept coming back to it because it’s so moving.” They also competed in Skate America in 2010, when they finished 6th. In their fifth U.S. championship last January, they finished fourth. They train in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Yaroslava Nechaeva & Yuri Chesnichenko.

They came up with some interesting lifts. She explained, “It’s very difficult coming up with them. We think about them very early in the season. It’s a really long process.”

5. Overall 132.57; 5.FD 80.27 (38.20+42.07) Nellie Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi, Germany, skated to Tore My Heart, Et Maintenant, and Rama Rama playing Zombies, dressed in very elaborate rags. She digs him up out of his grave and four minutes later pushes him back there. It certainly is a novel concept for ice dance!! Zhiganshina was born in Moscow. They teamed up in 2005 after he went to Russia to search out a partner. They are the German champions who were 11th in the last World championships. They had a problem with their spin, which received only the basic Level 1, but their twizzles, both parts of their long lift and the two short lifts gained the maximum Level 4. Both step sequences were Level 2.

6. Overall 125.74; 6.FD 75.38 (37.61+38.77 -1) Lorenza Alessandrini & Simone Vaturi, who are from Milan, skated to lovely old-fashioned music from the movie, The Artist. They are trained at the Detroit Figure Skating Club by Angelika Krylova & Pasquale Camerlengo. The Italians received only four Level 4s, but were placed above the Italians on the basic of their superior component scores, despite a fall.

7. Overall 122.37; 7.FD 74.39 (38.93+36.46 -1) Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus, who rain at the SC of Boston, were first to skate. Cannuscio, 20, who is from Egg Harbor Township, NJ, admitted, “We had a little bobble on one of the lifts that was over-timed (resulting in a point deduction), but everything else felt really strong. We got most of the levels we wanted on our other elements so we are happy. I’ve loved every second of our first Skate America. It was almost to the point where I wasn’t nervous. It was amazing. I just couldn’t believe that I was here. I just wanted to enjoy it. We knew that the results wouldn’t be there for us this time around, but we wanted to enjoy it as much as we could.”

They received Level 4 for all their elements except for their opening diagonal steps, which gained Level 2 with +0.83, and their circular steps which were also Level 2, but earned only the base value. They skated first of the seven couples from five countries, presenting a jail themed four minutes, which was certainly a novel idea. Their selection included Comanche by the Revels, Please, Mr. Jailer by Rachel Sweet and Jailhouse Rock by the West End Orchestra and Singers.

McManus, 22, whose home town is Saugus, Mass., said, “We really want to start pushing the footwork to try and get above Level 2. It seems like all the changes we’ve made since competing in Salt Lake have had results. We got a higher technical score which is very encouraging.”

Ladies Free Skate

1. Overall 188.37; 1.FS 127.76 (63.83+63.93) U.S. Champion Ashley Wagner dominated this event winning by 14.12. Her free, set to Saint-Saens’ dramatic music, Samson and Delilah, was skated beautifully, although Wagner admitted that towards the end of her four minutes, her legs were beginning to turn to jelly. “Today went exactly as planned. I really fought for some of those jumps, but I was pleased with what I put out. The quality of the program overall has improved since the Japan Open. For my first Grand Prix of the season, I was really happy with what I put out.”

Wagner approached the event with positive feelings. She told local reporters that, while she was traveling to seven different locations, from Germany, where she was born, to Alaska, to Washington DC, as part of a military family, she loved best the few summer visits she spent in this location with her grandparents. (Her grandpa was a local park supervisor.) With that in mind, she came to Kent in a very positive frame of mind.

“After the Short Program, I definitely thought that it was plausible to win the whole event. It was a good and bad thing because I started to worry about it. I was happy that I was able to go out there and keep my nerves under control and stay focused on what I wanted to accomplish, my first Grand Prix gold medal.

“The one thing working with Mr. (John) Nicks has taught me, is that you can’t give away jumps. You really have to fight for every single thing. We work every day on my consistency. A lot of the success rate of the jumps is because of that. I have the confidence that, even if something is off, I can have the speed to get out of it and land it. Having a couple of jumps that weren’t perfect and then fighting to land them, that’s proof that what Mr. Nicks is teaching me is working.”

For some time, the 21-year old has been known as the “almost” girl. She almost did this and she almost made the team. “That was one phrase that I honestly think I only said once. Everyone heard it and latched onto it. It’s certainly how I’ve felt in years past. I feel now I can let that go. I’m exactly the same person I was. I just have the mental strength to perform how I do in practice. I was happy that I was able to go out there and keep my nerves.

Wagner gave notice she was in command right from her first element, a triple flip to two double toe loops which earned +1.17 over its base value. That was followed by a double Axel to double toe loop which received an extra 0.67, and a +0.70 triple Salchow. Her first spin, a flying sit received was Level 3 with +0.67 and the following layback Level 4 with +1.33 Grade of Execution.

At the point where the bonus marks click in, she executed a +1.40 triple loop. However, the following triple Lutz got an “e” for wrong edge take-off and she received her only negative, -0.35. That was followed by a triple loop to double Axel sequence that gained the base value but nothing more. Her straight line step sequence was Level 2 with +0.83 and her last jump, the triple flip, which she had to fight to hold, got an extra +0.23. After the choreographed sequence, which contained a split spiral with her head at her ankle, her final move was a Level 3 combination spin which was awarded an extra +0.75.

The routine, while not absolutely flawless, was an excellent showing this early in the season. Her components ranged from a low of two 7.0s from one judge up to an 8.75.

2. Overall 174.25; 2.FS 117.62 (60.64+56.98) Christine Gao, USA, has a superb lightness to her jumps and although nearly all of them are straight in the air, she has a catlike talent to land on her feet even when she’s not straight in the air. She overtook Sotnikova to gain the silver, a huge 14.12 points behind Wagner, but a significant 5.29 ahead of Sotnikova. For her Free Skate, Goa gained 9.28 more on the elements score but was 2.68 behind the Russian on the component score.

The 18-year old from Cinncinnati, who is now studying at Harvard, performed to the famous Libertango by Astor Piazzola dressed in black with a back cut-out and red. She began with a very high triple flip to double toe loop (+0.93) followed by a double Axel (+0.67). But her triple Lutz to double toe loop got an “e” for wrong edge take-off and had -0.58 removed from its base value of 7.30. All of her other moves gained positives.

After the bonus marks clicked in, she executed a +1.17 triple flip, a +0.35 triple Salchow, a +1.17 triple loop, and a +0.47 combination of triple toe loop to two double toe loops. Two of her spins were Level 3, with the ending flying sit getting +0.25 and the layback +0.92, but her first spin, the change foot combination was only Level 2 with +0.50. Her straight line steps were Level 2 with +0.58.

She said, “I’m really happy with what I did. I think I put out a good performance. It’s really pretty much how I’ve been training. That’s what I keep telling myself before my performance. I just say, “Do it like at home. Do it like normal. And that’s what I did.

“I was kind of nervous before. Last season on the Grand Prix, I didn’t do well at all.” In her first season at Senior Level in the Grand Prix Series, she was fifth in Cup of China in Shanghai and tenth in Moscow. “So this past summer was really hard for me. I was debating if I should continue to skate or not because of school. Now, I’m really, really glad I did. I’m relieved. It’s like, ‘OK! I made a good decision!’ I think it was the right decision for me.”

Her father, Chang Gao, is a former Junior National Olympic badminton champion in China. He has set appropriate goals for her both on and off the ice. That included leaving her hometown of Cinncinnati and going with her mother to Toronto to train with Brian Orser. Now that she is at Harvard, she is training in Boston with Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson.

Gao’s physique is long and thin. One expert said that was possibly due not only to genetics, but to her father’s knowledge as to the best diet for an athlete, and to the Asian preference for rice, vegetables and fish, as opposed to hamburgers, French fries and ice cream sundaes. Her parents are also obviously supportive of their child to pursuing both her goals in the academic and sporting worlds.

3. Overall 168.96; 3.FS 110.03 (51.36+59.67 -1) Adelina Sotnikova, who is from Moscow, presented a very mature showing to the very sultry At Last blues and music from the movie, Burlesque appearing in a purple outfit. She said, “I’m very pleased that I did the triple-triple combination. I really wanted to do that. I’m completely unhappy about missing the second triple flip and about doing an extra combination.

“This season is actually easier for me to compete on the Senior Grand Prix Circuit because I have experienced what it was like to compete on the senior circuit last season.” Last season, the age restriction for entry to this series was a year earlier than for competition at worlds. This has now been changed, with the world entrance being reduced to the competitor having to have reached 15 by July 1, which is Sotnikova’s birthdate (in 1996).

“I know it’s not something terrible and nothing to be afraid about. I know what I have to do to be able to compete as well as I did in 2010, when I skated clean in all my competitions. This year my goal is to compete in the European and World championships.”

Sotnikova had spent ten days prior to the event training with her coach, Elena Vodorezova Buianova in Detroit before this event to help with the jet lag. Vodorezova was a child protégé, making her debut at Worlds in 1980, the same time as the American Elaine Zayak, who won the 1982 world title, and Tracey Wainman of Canada. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis cut short her career but she still earned silver in the 1983 European and bronze in the 1983 world championships.

The 16-year-old opened with a very high triple Lutz to triple toe loop followed by a triple flip. Both jumping passes earned +0.83 Grade of Execution. But she put her foot on the ice landing the following double Axel which was meant to be combined with a triple toe loop. That lost her -0.67 from the jump’s 3.30 base value, and the one point for the fall.

After a Level 4 change foot combination spin which earned an extra +0.9, she executed a second double Axel, improvising by adding an extra double toe loop, which earned +0.42. After falling on her triple flip, which was meant to be a combination with double toe loop to double loop, and was still counted as such because she had already done a solo triple flip, she added a double toe loop to double loop to her triple loop, which was disqualified as an “invalid element.) It was counted as an illegal fourth combination. If she had only done the triple loop she would have earned at least the base value plus 10% because it was after the halfway point, of 5.61.

If she had earned that minimum of 5.61, she still would have been third in the free (and possibly she would have earned more on the components side). However, on element points alone she would have held onto to second place overall, because the gap between the two on the overall score was 5.29.

After executing the uncounted triple toe loop to double toe loop to double loop, she did a Level 2 step sequence which earned an extra +0.58, her choreographed sequence, which only has Level 1, but which gained an extra +0.93, and concluded with a +0.25 Level 3 flying sit spin.

4. Overall 158.79; 6.FS 104.78 (50.46+54.32) Valentina Marchei, Italy, earned a Personal best score for her Free, although she was only sixth in this section, and for her Overall score. It was a welcome achievement for the 26-year-old who placed 8th in the last world championship, but had been absent from that event for the previous three years. It also put a seal of approval on her decision to change coaches to Yuka Sato and move to Detroit.

Marchei’s father is a two-time Italian Olympian (1980 & 1984). Her first international representing Italy was in 2002. This was her third Skate America. She previously placed 9th & 10th in 2006 and 2007.

5. Overall 157.72; 4.FS 107.82 (56.82+52.00 -1) The 19-year-old, Haruka Imai, Japan, who now trains alongside Marchei in Bloomfield Hills with Yuka Sato, performed to Mozart’s Divertiment taking fourth place in the FS. She needed 1.08 points more to overtake Marchei too far behind after the SP, in which she finished seventh. Last year in Skate America she was fourth so this was a disappointment.

She showed she was not completely on her top form by landing her opening triple flip on a deep edge, losing 0.70 from its base value of 5.30. The following double Axel earned an extra 0.50 but she did not do the triple toe loop in this planned combination. Her triple Lutz got an “e” for wrong edge take-off. That was followed by three good moves, a triple Salchow, to which she improvised and added a double toe loop to make up partially for missing the earlier triple toe loop, earned +0.47 over its base value; her change foot combination spin was Level 4 with +0.83; and her straight line steps were Level 2 with +0.42.

However, she lost 0.47 on her triple loop set for when the bonus marks click in. That was meant to be her third and last combination. However, she added the two double toe loops to her following second triple loop and banked 8.82 points for this element. That was followed by her last jumping pass, a triple Salchow to double toe loop, which was given +0.82. She concluded with a level 3 +0.83 flying camel spin. After her choreographed sequence, she presented a Level 3 +0.83 layback spin.

6. Overall 155.95; 7.FS 101.54 (52.81+49.73 -1)  Mae Berenice Meite, France, who turned 18 on September 17, has been second, second, third and second in the past four French national championships, dropped two places from her Short Program showing. She made her debut in the World Senior championships in Nice last March placing 14th. In 2010, she finished tenth in Skate America.

Her routine starts with music entitled, Abu Simbel, which are famous temples in the south of Egypt, and she does some posing to indicate that this is the theme of her performance. The music continues with Hassan, Prince of the Desert from Zafara by Laurent Perez del Maralso. It also has music called Belphegor, which is the name of one of the seven princes from Hell, and, according to Wikipedia, also a “blackened death metal band from the Austrian town of Salzburg.” Also included in her music choice is Yulunga (which means an Australian aboriginal Dream Time Legend) and Serpent’s Egg, which is the fourth album released by Dead Can Dance.

7. Overall 153.49; 5. FS; How the mighty are fallen! In March, she was silver medalist in the 2012 World Championship, the first Russian woman to place as high as second since Elena Sokolova took that place in Worlds in Washington, D.C. She certainly skated better in the Free in Kent than she did the day before in the Short Program, in which she was ninth of the 10 competitors. But her fifth place pulled her up only to seventh. She performed a Flamenco, dressed in red to Vincente Amigo’s Poet in the Sea.

She never skates well early in the season, and the Free wasn’t THAT bad. (The worst this observer has seen Leonova skate her free, was when she placed last out of six in the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo.) In Kent, she opened with a combination of two triple toe loops. The second jump was landed on two feet and received an arrow for slight under-rotation. Minus 1.28 was removed from its base value of 7 points. The following triple loop got an extra +0.70. She touched a hand on the ice on her triple Lutz which got an “e” for wrong edge take-off. She lost -1.28 from the base value of 6 points.

Her first spin, a change foot combination, was Level 4 with +0.58 added. When the bonus clicked in, she executed a triple flip but stepped out of it and couldn’t do the planned second jump, a double toe loop. She had planned to add two double toe loops to the triple Salchow which followed, but did only one and received only the base value for that combination.

Her straight line steps were Level 2 with +0.83. That was followed by the choreographed sequence. Then came a triple flip, to which she added a double toe loop. Unlike the situation with her teammate, Sotnikova, that was allowed since she had only been able, previously, to do two combinations and she was not breaking the rule of not repeating more than two types of triple jumps. But she didn’t do it well and -0.58 was subtracted from the base value.

Her last jump was a +0.50 double Axel. She concluded with two spins, a Level 3 +0.50 flying camel and a Level 2 +0.17 layback.

8. Overall 144.85; 8.FS 94.56 (43.15+52.41 -1) The Helgesson family consists of two skating sisters trained by their mother. Viktoria Helgesson, 24, has been Swedish Champion for six years running. But this free, set to Miklos Rozsa’s Spellbound Concerto, was far from her finest showing, and she dropped two places. It was obvious she was not in peak condition right from the start when she received an arrow for slight under-rotation on her triple toe loop and was not able to add the planned second jump, a double toe loop. She was saddled with -0.70 off the 3.70 base value of a triple toe loop.

She tried to add the missing double toe loop to her second jump, another triple flip, which again received an arrow and she was only able to add a single. That resulted in -1.40 taken off the base value of that combination of 4.10. She did earn +0.23 on her sequence of triple loop to double Axel. And her first spin was a Level 4 with +0.83 camel. That was unusual because she had to present other features instead of the normal change foot. Her straight line step sequence was Level 3 with +0.58.

At the halfway point she presented a triple toe loop but it not only got an arrow, but she fell on it. That was followed by a double Axel to double toe loop +0.33 combination. Then came a +0.12 triple loop. After her Level 3 +0.75 change foot combination spin and the choreographed sequence, she doubled her last jump, a Salchow, and finished with a Level 3 flying sit spin which earned an extra +0.50.

9. Overall 136.09; 9.FS 92.37 (47.44+44.93) Rachael Flatt, USA, skated first in the event to music from Stravinski’s Firebird in a muted black outfit with silver and some red. She was able to advance a place to ninth, much better than the day before, but it was still not a showing which would do her justice at Nationals. She opened with a triple flip and then a double flip which both earned their base value. Then came a triple loop to double toe loop, which received +0.12. Her first spin, a change foot camel earned the base value for Level 3 but was slow, as was the next move, a Level 2 +0.25 flying combination spin.

At the half way point, she presented a +0.35 second triple loop, and a +0.47 triple Salchow. After her third spin, a Level 2 change foot combination, she did a second triple Salchow, this one with a double toe loop. Both those moves gained their base value but with nothing added. Her double Axel got a +0.17 Grade of Execution. Her straight lines steps earned +0.42 over the base value for Level 2.

The 2010 U.S. Champion said, “The last week has been pretty rough, with my ankle. I’m just incredibly excited that it turned out as well as it did. This injury has not healed fully over the past two seasons. I think we’re probably going to have it reimaged and go from there. It’s been incredibly frustrating. It’s my tapping and landing leg. There’s a lot of force exerted on that area. I know it’s going to really hurt. It’s quite painful. Your body’s automatic response is to become hesitant.

“I really have to take a long look at the situation. I have goals outside of my skating and I would like to pursue those wholeheartedly. As much as I would like it to, skating won’t last forever. I’ve put so much into it, but my body doesn’t seem to be able to handle it."

10.Overall 134.09; 10.FS 85.98 (41.57+45.41 -1)  Right from the start, things did not go well for Sarah Hecken, Germany, the 19-year old from Manheim, who won the 2010 & 2011’s seasons national title but is only just recovering from injury. She two-footed the landing of her first element, a triple flip. Although she managed a triple toe loop (+0.70) and triple Salchow (base value), she lost -0.12 on her second triple Salchow combined with a double toe loop and fell on her last jump, a triple toe loop which received two arrows for under-rotation. Her combination spin was Level 4 with +0.33 and the other two spins earned Level 3 with +0.25 (the layback) and +50 (the flying camel). She got no marks for her choreographed sequence.

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