2009 Skate America
Evan Lysacek, the 2009 U.S. World champion and two-time World bronze medalist, netted Friday nightís highest IJS numbers and won the menís short program, a 79.17, and proved he is on a promising path as he moves closer toward the 2010 Vancover Olympics this coming February.
Lysacek, known to be a consummate performer, skated a riveting, very theatrical portrayal of Igor Stravinskyís classic "Firebird" that captured the full attention of the crowd, despite an under- rotated triple Axel, and conclusively received a standing ovation.
The Chicago native, who was the second-to-last contender of the 12-member field to perform, took the ice with confidence and was right in his element from the moment he walked through the gate.
He wore an all-black Vera Wang ensemble accented with black gloves and feathers on his shoulders and wrists that seemed to be well suited for the program, which was crafted by Lori Nichol.
Right from the moment the music began, Lysacek was all about the Firebird character and seemed to morph completely into this concept as he skated the program. His edges were powerful, his arms flew and almost all of his elements were executed with notable strength and confidence.
Lysacek did however, run into some trouble on the landing of his first jump, a triple Axel, and it was marked as under-rotated. He took off right smack in front of the official panel, which perhaps momentarily threw off his focus.
Still, this moment did not seem to bother him in the least and he bounced back with a triple Lutz-triple toe and triple flip with a difficult back spiral and back turn entry and a high death drop. His dime-centered spins were all about energy and momentum, and featured wonderful extension and turnout.
Lysacek really immersed himself into character during the circle and straight-line footwork sequences. In these, he turned with strong edge assurance and quickness while simultaneously moving his upper body and arms up and down. It was quite a sight to watch.
Florent Amodio of France was another a big audience favorite and scored the second-best marks of the night with a clean performance to "Munich" and "Papa Can You Hear Me" by John Williams. He was awarded a 72.65 and a program component score of 32.75.
Amodio was fluid, interesting and exceptional in terms of both his artistry and technical elements and earned audience accolades for skating one of the very few clean programs of the event.
He opened up with a gorgeous triple Axel that had fast, fluid entry and exit edges. He went on to do a triple Lutz with a little bit of a short landing and nice triple Salchow-triple toe. He also executed some well-positioned, quick spins.
Notably, Amodioís program was outstanding in terms of its overall design. Its creators, Stannick Jeannette, Alexander Zhulin and T Myles, indicated they did a top job well in terms of setting up all the steps, moves and technical moments for Amodio, and it seemed to be ideally suited for him.
Brandon Mroz, the talented U.S. skater from Colorado Springs who was second at the 2009 U.S. Championships, came up third last night here in the short, earning a 71.40 for his jazzy rendition of "Temptation" by Freed and Brown.
Mroz, who is known for his terrific technical ability, opened up with a high, quick-turning quad toe in which he turned out on the landing. He followed up with a triple Axel with another turnout on the landing, but came back with an exceptional combination spin, much in the same style as the spins of the winner, Lysacek. He also did a rock-solid triple Lutz.
Mroz, who seems to be a dedicated and focused athlete, apparently has been working extremely hard on developing his performance skills and reaching the audience, which is no task at this level.
Overall, Mroz did a commendable job of portraying the whole jazz theme. He went at it with a vigor and commitment that in the end, he managed to generate a 30.50 program component score, which helped him to earn a third-place standing.
Ryan Bradley, the third U.S. entry, placed eighth with a 59.24. His program to "Dark Eyes" featured a quad toe with a turnout on the landing into a double toe, a triple Axel in which he fell and a triple Lutz. His spins were exceptional as was his interpretation and he earned a 29.30 program component score.
Evan Lysacek, the acclaimed 2009 U.S. World champion, skated away with top honors in the menís free skate with a total score of 237.72 and outdistanced the rest of the 12-member field by more than 33 points. This also marked the Chicago nativeís first-ever first-place finish at a Skate America event.
Lysacekís free skate to "Scherezade," which was created by Lori Nichol, earned a 158.55 and program component score of 81 points.
Lysacek maintained his first-place finish from the short with visible ease. The last skater of the event, he commenced his program with a whopping triple Lutz-triple toe then followed up with a triple Axel-double toe, triple Axel, triple loop, triple flip-double toe-double toe from a back spiral entry, among other elements. He fell out on the landing on his triple Salchow, however.
Once again, Lysacek did his characteristic super spins, including a floating death drop into back sit and camel-sit-180 degree layback back spin.
Artistically, Lysacek went into character in a zealous and committed fashion and utilized lots of arm and upper body movement as well as strong steps to emphasize his thematic point.
Shawn Sawyer of Canada scored silver with a 203.91. He pulled up to second overall due to some serious result shifting among all of the contenders from second place on in the short. Sawyer was fifth in the short and fourth in the free, yet earned enough total points to wind up with the silver.
Sawyer, who skated to selections from "Amadeus," was one of the most interesting performers of the event. He commenced with a huge triple Axel with a turnout on the landing, then reeled off a triple flip-triple toe, triple Lutz, second triple flip, triple loop, triple Salchow-double toe-double loop and double Axel. He touched down on the landing of a double Axel-triple toe.
Sawyer was sophisticated and dramatic and did some terrific spins, including a stunning 180-degree stretch spin in which he pulled his leg behind his shoulder.
On a side note, Sawyer was one of the elder statesmen of this event and last night, his years of competitive experience were apparent in his style, technique and presentation.
Ryan Bradley of the U.S. rocketed to third from eighth in the short with his second-place free skate to selections from the "Amadeus" film score, for which he earned 138.88 to give him a 198.12 total score.
Bradley interacted with the crowd from start to finish and knocked out a host of exceptional jumps including a rock-solid quad and portrayed the brilliant, often hilarious character of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with enthusiasm and zeal.
Bradley opened up with a quad toe loop and followed it up with a quad toe-double toe, triple Axel, Lutz, flip and loop. He singled a Salchow put added a triple toe loop in combination. He stepped out on the landing of the triple flip, and doubled a triple Lutz with a double toe-double toe.
Bradley worked his showmanship abilities better than ever, and maneuvered the crowd with the likes of a professional Broadway performer. People laughed at his inflections, clapped for him at every turn and step and traversed through the whole "Amadeus" experience with him as if it was just another day in the Austrian musical geniusí life.
In his program, designed by Tom Dickson and Catarina Lindgren, Bradley effectively managed to transport both himself and the audience back in time by incorporating his world-class skating skills with his one-of-a-kind style, and he was rightfully rewarded for that.
Brandon Mroz of the U.S. had a less stellar night and dropped from second in the short to eighth overall with 178 points. He fell on his opening quad, then singled a triple Axel-triple toe. Although he followed up with a triple flip-double toe-double toe, double Axel-double toe and triple lutz-double toe, he double his two last jumps, a triple Salchow and triple Lutz.
2009 Skate America Men's Medalists
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