2009 Skate America

Lake Placid, NY


Competition Reports

Ladies Report     Men's Report    Pairs Report    Dance Report

Start orders and trick lists available on reports pages.

Competition Schedule

Friday, Nov. 13, 2008

3:00 PM Compulsory Dance
7:00 PM Pairs Short Program
Menís Short Program

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2008

2:00 PM Original Dance
Pairs Free Skate
7:00 PM Ladies Short Program
Menís Free Skate

Sunday, Nov. 15, 2008

2:00 PM Free Dance
Ladies Free Skate
7:30 PM Exhibition of Champions


Sunday, November 15

The big Ladies Final and Dance Final make up the afternoon session today.  Then in the evening the closing exhibition takes place.  The rumor mill has it that Skate America will be back here next year, subject of course to verification by the Bureau of Rumor Verification.

A cute story from last night.  Prior to the press conference Evan Lysacek changed his clothes in what he thought was a private spot in the back of the press room (a practice rink next to the main arena).  Apparently, he did not realize (or care?) that fans in the arena can look down into the practice arena from above.  He made many a young fans heart flutter.

No official reason yet why the French judge did not judge the men's event, but it is a big scandal in France.  The French boy Amodia missed the podium by 0.54 points, and a friendly judge on the panel could easily have swung the results his way by that much (assuming the French judge was not one of the discard judges) if they wanted to.

Yu-Na Kim showed she was human, and perhaps beatable at the Olympics, by having a difficult free skate.  She placed second in the long but her lead in the Short Program kept her in first place overall.  Rachael Flatt won the long and placed second overall.  The ladies final drew an estimated attendance of 3800.

In the dance final Belbin & Agosto were the clearly superior team and won the gold medal.  About 2000 remained after the Ladies Free Skate to take it all in.

This evening an enthusiastic crowd of about 1500 were on hand for the closing exhibition.

Saturday, November 14

Four events today, with the Pairs final this afternoon and the Men's final this evening.  We start with the second of the three dance segments with the Original Dance with folk/country theme.  In the Ladies Short Program the U.S. team go up against World Champion Yu-Na Kim.  Emily Hughes returns to international competition, last skating in an ISU event in the 2008 Grand Prix.

Sasha Cohen, who was to compete here in the second of her two assigned competitions, withdrew from Skate America earlier this week, after also having withdrawn from Eric Bompard in October.  Cohen has seen little ice time since she withdrew from Bompard, nursing tendonitis.  With just two months to go before U.S. Nationals, it will be difficult for Cohen to reach top form in the time available since her leg is still not 100%.  Cohen's comeback season is looking more and more to be DOA.

We noticed on the internet some chitchat about whether the TBA for Skate America has originally been set aside for Michelle Kwan.  Back in July a reliable source had told me that the TBA was for Michelle, and she had given a deadline of 1 September to make up her mind if she wanted to compete this season.  The timing of her announcement in August that she would not compete, we were told at the time, was motivated by that deadline.

In the afternoon session, Belbin & Agosto opened up their lead in the dance event substantially.  The OD was followed by the Pairs final.  Shen & Zhao gave another polished performance to win the Pairs event.  Skating second in the final warmup, Duhamel & Buntin had a rough go of it, with several problem due to Duhamel injuring her leg during the warmup.  On their second throw, she fell hard on her right side and then hit her head sharply on the ice.  With four elements, left to go, the team withdrew.  They had been third in the Short Program.  Estimated afternoon attendance: 1800

The evening session started off with the Ladies Short Program.  A large contingency of Y-Na fans bussed in for the event making this the best attended session thus far (estimated attendance 4000).  Skating to a James Bond medley crushed the competition and leads Rachael Flatt by 17.48 points.  Following the event, most of the yunatics bussed back on out, leaving an audience of about 3000 for the Men's final.  The Free Skate scrambled the results considerably, except for Evan Lysacek, who won the Free Skate by nearly 20 points, and the event by nearly 34 points.  Canadian Shawn Sawyer placed second overall with a fifth place finish in the short and fourth in the long, which gives some idea who radically the placed moved around.  Eight judges marked the Men's event as the Frech judge, Ms. Florence Catry de Surmont did not appear on the judges' stand.  No reason was given for her absence as of Friday.

Shooting from the second deck from above the place where team members and officials from two countries that have Olympic contenders in the men's event we had an interesting birds eye view of their reaction to Lysacek's performance.  There was little applause from this group, and when Lysacek landed is two triple Axels in front of the judges, one coach stood up in pointed scrutiny of the landing edges (neither was downgraded).  We are told this same coach has been making the round the past few days with videos of his student showing the skater (it is said) landing triple Axel - quad toe, and quad toe - quad toe.

The Christmas shopping season starts earlier and earlier, and so apparently does the Olympic politicking season.

Friday, November 13

Skate America is off and running today, the 31st Skate America since its beginnings in 1979 as Norton Skate.  The entire Grand Prix schedule was reordered this season to allow the event to be held here in Lake Placed.  The Grand Prix also began earlier this season to accommodate the addition of the Winter Olympics in this seasons schedule.  The arena here in Lake Placid was not available for the October date had Skate America gone first as is normally the case.  So instead, Skate America and Skate Canada are ending the  Grand Prix rotation this season instead of starting it.

Lake Placid is a scenic delight and the weather is not too cold yet.  Getting here is not so easy.  Either one has a long (3-4 hour) drive from the nearest large cities, or one can fly into a small local airport on a little toy plan.  I came the toy plane route, and it was actually quite a nice flight.

Each event has at least one Olympic medal contender, and some of the top U.S. talent so it should be a good competition.

Apropos of nothing about Skate America, we mention that the Protopopovs wandered through the press room this afternoon.  They currently live in Lake Placid and are guests of the competition.  Oleg looks well for a man who had a stoke about a month ago, walking firmly if slowly.

The schedule this year is the same as last year except the Sunday start time is later than last year, with two finals and the exhibition Sunday.

No surprises in Compulsory Dance .  Belbin & Agosto opened up the competition with a comfortable lead of 2.34 points.  Estimated afternoon attendance: 700.  In the Pairs event Shen & Zhao showed they were back in top form in a well skated program that crushed their nearest rival.  In the Men's event Lysacek opened up more than a 6 point lead despite a cheated triple Axel and no quad attempt.  Estimated evening attendance: 1400.

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