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2021 Skate America Women

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Amber Glenn (USA)

(26 October 2021)  The women’s competition at Skate America had a high level, and the competitors made far fewer mistakes than the men. World bronze medalist Alexandra Trusova from Moscow won the gold medal with 232.37 points. At the Russian version of Champs Camp in September and in front of live TV cameras she had landed five quad jumps in her free program. After one season in Evgeni Plushenko’s school she had returned to Eteri Tutberidze’s school in springtime 2021. But in October she suffered a stress fracture in her landing foot and it was not clear until the last minute if she would compete in Las Vegas. After the short program she explained: “There was the option to skate or to withdraw. When I got up this morning my foot hurt less and I decided I can fight.”

Competing to the soundtrack of the movie ”Frida,” about the red-haired Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, Trusova, now in red hair, performed seven excellent elements in her short program (77.69 points): a double Axel which had been planned triple if her foot had been healthy, a triple flip, a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, three level 4 spins and a step sequence. All of them had GOEs of mainly +3 and +4. Quad jumps are not yet allowed in a women’s short program. The components were around 8.9 because her skating style is much more mature and elegant than two years ago. The 17-year-old athlete said: “I am pleased with my performance, but I am a bit sad that I did not do my triple Axel and hopefully I can do it next time.”

She opened her free program with a good quad Lutz, competing to the soundtrack of ”Cruella” about a young pickpocket lady who dreams about becoming a fashion designer. Later she landed seven very good triple jumps and other elements. Her components had an average of 8.6. She commented: “I skated my program with a very easy content today, I did only one quad. I am happy that I was able to skate clean but in the future I want to do more quads again. I was a bit nervous because my preparation wasn’t as good because of the injury and I did not do many run-throughs of my programs.”

Daria Usachova also trains in the Tutberidze school in Moscow. She had been second at Junior Worlds in 2020 and captured the silver medal in her very first senior Grand Prix, earning 217.31 points. Skating to the soundtrack of “The Greatest Showman,” she performed the same elements as Trusova in almost the same quality and had only 0.98 points less. She commented: “I am happy with my performance and especially that I was able to open up and bring across the emotions. I did not specifically work on this, I just enjoyed performing today and the emotions came by themselves." In her free program to Puccini‘s “Nessun Dorma” she had five very good triple jumps, but stepped out of the first triple flip and doubled a toe loop which was planned triple. She ranked fourth in the free program but remained in second place and later explained: “I am a bit upset with the mistakes that I made but I am happy with my result.”

Young You from South Korea won bronze with 216.97 points. She had been second at the Four Continents 2020 and mainly trains in Colorado Springs with Tammy Gambill. In her short program to “Whirling Winds“ from the “Leftovers“ soundtrack by Ludovico Einaudi she fell on the triple Axel, but all other elements were very good and her components were around 8.2. With her free program to the French musical “Les Miserables,“ she moved up from fifth to third place after performing eight triple jumps, among them a triple Axel and two other triples which were near an under-rotation and got a q. Her spins were excellent. She said, “My triple Axel and other triples were a little under-rotated today but I am still happy that I did not do a big mistake.“

Kaori Sakamoto from Japan, who trains in Kobe, came fourth with 215.93 points. Her short program to the soundtrack of “Gladiator“ was good overall, but her combination was only double flip and triple toe loop. In her free program she included seven triple jumps all of which were very good. Her presentation has improved much since she has worked with French choreographer Benoit Richaud who had been in Japan for some weeks. Therefore she had the highest components of the field, around 8.8.

The third Russian skater Ksenia Sinitsina finished on fifth place with 205.76 points. Her short program with the same elements as the two other Russians was flawless, the layback spin was outstanding. In her free program she executed seven triple jumps, six of which were very good.

Amber Glenn of Euless, Texas, finished in sixth place, earning 201.02 points. The student of Peter Cain and choreographer Misha Ge opened her short program with a good combination of triple flip and triple toe loop. Five other elements were good as well, only the triple loop a bit shaky. She said, “We wanted to come in here and try and put out a performance that I could be happy with. Unfortunately today I’m not very happy with how I did. But I feel like in the free skate I’ll be able to come out and do what I know how to do.” In this free program to “Rain, in your Black Eyes“ by Ezio Bosso she skated without serious mistakes, with seven good triple jumps, very dynamic, but a bit less elegant than the top skaters.

Satoko Miyahara from Japan came seventh with 200.51 points. In the short program, all three triple jumps were a bit under-rotated and therefore did not get good GOEs. In her free program to the opera “Tosca“, three triple jumps were good, but three others under-rotated again. Her spins and steps were excellent. Yelim Kim from South Korea sits eighth with 199.34 points. Her short program had a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop and was flawless. In the long, five triple jumps were good, but she fell on the Lutz .

Ekaterina Kurakova from Poland is a former Russian skater who trained in Brian Orser‘s school for some time, but now works in Egna in Northern Italy with Lorenzo Magri. She placed ninth with 188.60 points. At the Nebelhorn Trophy she qualified for the Olympic Games. In her short, three jumps were not clean, but in the free, six of her seven triple jumps were good.  

Starr Andrews of the Los Angeles area finished in tenth place with 177.63 points. She was alternate for Bradie Tennell who withdrew from Skate America (and also from the Italian Grand Prix in Torino) because of a foot injury which lasted since the summer. In the short, Andrews, student of Derrick Delmore, stepped out of the second triple toe loop in her combination. The other elements were good. In her free, three triples got positive GOEs, but three others a q.

Yuhana Yokoi from Japan finished 11th with 174.07 points after having under-rotation problems with the majority of her jumps. Audrey Shin of Colorado Springs ended up 12th and last with 160.78 points after falling three times in the free program and popping another jump.