Skate America

Ladies Event

Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Michelle Kwan USA 1 1
2 Ann Patrice McDonough USA 6 2
3 Elena Liashenko UKR 4 3
4 Jennifer Kirk USA 2 5
5 Ludmila Nelidina RUS 5 4
6 Viktoria Volchkova RUS 3 7
7 Yukari Nakano JPN 8 6
8 Julia Sebestyen HUN 7 9
9 Miriam Manzano AUS 10 8
10 Annie Bellemare CAN 9 10
11 Zuzana Babiakova SVK 12 11
12 Elina Kettunen FIN 11 12


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Julia Sebestyen
  2. Elena Liachenko
  3. Ann Patrice McDonough
  4. Miriam Manzano
  5. Ludmila Nelidina
  6. Elina Kettunen
  7. Zuzana Babiakova
  8. Annie Bellemare
  9. Michelle Kwan
  10. Yukari Nakano
  11. Jennifer Kirk
  12. Viktoria Volchkova


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Michelle Kwan USA
2 Jennifer Kirk USA
3 Viktoria Volchkova RUS
4 Elena Liashenko UKR
5 Ludmila Nelidina RUS
6 Ann Patrice McDonough USA
7 Julia Sebestyen HUN
8 Yukari Nakano JPN
9 Annie Bellemare CAN
10 Miriam Manzano AUS
11 Elina Kettunen FIN
12 Zuzana Babiakova SVK

Michelle Kwan had no close competition in winning the short program in the ladies event.   Kwan, who was a late substitute for Sarah Hughes who withdrew from the competition two weeks ago, skated a short program consisting of her standard content, including triple Lutz-double Toe loop, triple flip, and double Axel.  She had a small stumble just after coming out of a straight line footwork element, but that error was not a deduction as the element had already been completed.  Her closing combination spin was not her standard combination spin and was very simple.  Skating to "The Feeling Begins" by Peter Gabriel, she performed with ease and confidence and earned marks of 5.8 and 5.9 in the second mark.

Second behind Kwan was Jennifer Kirk who also skated a clean program, with much the same content as Kwan's; the main difference being a circular footwork sequence from Kirk as opposed to a straight line from Kwan.  Kirk skated to the soundtrack from "The Princess Diaries" with good speed and a nice expression, thorough perhaps not quite as securely as Kwan.

Third in the short program was Viktoria Volchkova.  She opened with the double Axel and then landed triple Lutz - double toe (with a cheated toe Axel takeoff).  That was followed by a nice triple flip.  On her circular spiral sequence, however, she had a minor stumble.  She skated with decent speed, but stiffly, and with an indifferent presentation.

Ann Patrice McDonough had a respectable skate to end up sixth in the short program.  She opened with a deathdrop that needed more power, and followed with a triple Lutz-double toe.  The combination was deduction free, though she had to fight for the landing on the Lutz.  Triple flip was landed successfully, but on double Axel she had a huge step/pop out of the landing.


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Julia Sebestyen
  2. Elina Kettunen
  3. Zuzana Babiakova
  4. Yukari Nakano
  5. Annie Bellemare
  6. Miriam Manzano
  7. Ludmila Nelidina
  8. Elena Liachenko
  9. Michelle Kwan
  10. Viktoria Volchkova
  11. Jennifer Kirk
  12. Ann Patrice McDonough


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Michelle Kwan USA
2 Ann Patrice McDonough USA
3 Elena Liashenko UKR
4 Ludmila Nelidina RUS
5 Jennifer Kirk USA
6 Yukari Nakano JPN
7 Viktoria Volchkova RUS
8 Miriam Manzano AUS
9 Julia Sebestyen HUN
10 Annie Bellemare CAN
11 Zuzana Babiakova SVK
12 Elina Kettunen FIN

With her seventh title, Skate America has become the competition that is 'All Kwan, All the Time'.  In her first major competition of the new season, she competed here with her new coach, Scott Williams.  And on an historic note, two ladies were given credit for landing triple Axel jumps, though only one of these was really clean.

Michelle got off to a shaky star, doubling a loop jump and falling on triple Lutz.  The Lutz was supposed to be part of a combination, so on the next jump, triple flip, she tacked on a double toe loop.  She fought back for the rest of the program, landing three more triple jumps and a double Axel with a poor landing edge.  Overall she skated sluggishly and her program was laid out with too much end to end skating.   But it was enough to capture the title, with little competition offered by the other skaters who had their own problem to deal with.

Ann Patrice McDonough came back strong from the short program to place second in the free skate and second overall.  She skated inconsistently, doubling a toe loop and a flip, and falling on triple Salchow; but she also landed four triples and a nice double Axel, in a nice rendition of "Madame Butterfly" for which she received a warm standing ovation.

Elena Liashenko moved up to third in the free skating to win the bronze medal.   She landed four triples and two double Axels.  On two other triple jumps she two footed a loop and cheated and two footed a Lutz.  Her presentation was only middling and the layout of the program was repetitive with two double Axels followed by spins laid out in the same place.

Jennifer Kirk had a great chance to medal here, but thre it away with an error strewn program that was indifferently presented.  She opened with a double Axel then put a hand down on triple Lutz.  With steps in between, she landed a double toe loop with a poor landing edge. Next came a fall on triple flip.  After landing triple Salchow she almost landed a triple loop, but after a step out had a delayed fall.  She ended the program landing triple toe loop and triple flip, for a total of only three successful triples.

Skating fourth in the first warmup, Yukari Nakano was given credit for landing a triple Axel.  The jump was a little cheated on the takeoff, as those jumps tend to be, but was also clearly a quarter turn short on the landing.  Nonetheless, referee Gale Tanger gave credit for the jump.  Whatever could she have been thinking?  Or was she thinking at all?  Apparently, cheated jumps are now officially ok for credit in ISU competitions.

Later skating first in the second warmup, Ludmila Nelidina landed a beautiful triple Axel that was all the way around and so effortless looking that most people in the arena probably didn't realize it was a triple by the lack of response it received.  These are the first triple Axels to be landed by a woman in international competition since 1992, though in our mind only Nelidina's was the real thing.



2002 Skate America Ladies Medalists

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