2010 Skate America

Portland, OR


Competition Reports

Ladies Report     Men's Report    Pairs Report    Dance Report

Competition Schedule

Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

7:00 PM Pairs Short Program
Menís Short Program

Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010

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

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010

11:00 AM Free Dance
Ladies Free Skate
5:00 PM Exhibition of Champions


Sunday, November 15

The new highly compressed schedule schedule brought an early 11 AM start and two competition segments to the final day of Skate America.  Many a ticket holder could not pull themselves out of bed it seems for the start of the Free Dance, with perhaps 800 on hand at the start.  But as the day wore on, the fans trickled in by the end of the dance there were about double that number to watch Davis & White win the gold medal, despite a fall by both skaters.  The couple also received a deduction for an extended short lift (a lift of longer duration than permitted).  Canadians Crone & Poirier held second despite a fall by Poirier.  I did not notice it so much at Skate Canada, and perhaps it was just the mood I was in today, but my, their routine is depressing -- which I guess is about right since the rendition of Eleanor Rigby they are using is pretty much a downer too.

In the Ladies final  Kanako Murakami gave another delightful performance, and though she was "only" second in the free skate (due to a few jump errors) she won the event.  Rachael Flatt gave a stronger performance than her Short and won the long to move up to second place overall.  Carolina Kostner, fighting a knee injury, dropped to sixth in the long, but held on for a medal placing third place overall.  Both Caroline Zhang and Alexe GIlles dropped like stones in the free.  Joshi Helgesson gave a decent performance and placed fifth in the long, dropping to fourth overall, while her sister Viktoria sparked, placing third in the long with a personal best for the season.  With a twelfth place finish in the short, however, she was able to move up to only sixth place.

Suppose they gave a Skate America and nobody came?  That's the way it seems to be for the media.  Spectator attendance was pretty typical for a Skate America, maybe even a little better than last year which was held in Lake Placid, a not that easy to get to location.  But media attendance was pretty poor as measured by interest from the big guns.  No Tribune Corp., no USA Today, no Boston Globe or N.Y. Times.  AP sent a stringer with no figure skating experience.  Even the local paper did not give much coverage -- less than even local high school and prep school sports.  Not a good sign, whatever the reason (and there are several to choose from).  Plenty of Asian press though.  They do follow their skaters with a passion.

Estimated Afternoon Attendance: 1600 (with many late arrivals during and after the Free Dance)
Estimated Evening Attendance: 1600

Saturday, November 14

The Ladies and Dance events kicked off today, with their Short Program and Short Dance.  The quality of the Ladies event was a bit disappointing after the Men's Short Program that produced elite scores. Only one lady, Carolina Kostner, broke 60 points in the short, with the rest of the pack well below the pace of world-medal-performance.  Kanako Murakami of Japan, though second in the short, was breath of fresh air, and Joshi Helgesson of Sweden was an unexpected addition to the top three placed.  Among the Americans, Rachael Flatt, battling a leg injury, placed fourth, but remains in contention for a medal, while Caroline Zhang was so devoid of speed and artistic spark, it was a wonder she placed even fifth.  Alexe Gilles gave a flawed performance and placed ninth.

In the Short Dance, Meryl Davis & Charlie White easily placed first, despite a fall by Davis in synchronized twizzles.  Canadians Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier and Kaitlin Weaver & Andrew Poje both gave strong performances to place second and third.  Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani earned fourth in a well skated routine with grace and elegance.

With the start of the Dance event today I was reminded there is a new rule that 50% of the upper body of the ladies must be covered by costume, and I could not help but wonder if that meant a costume that completely covered the back and completely exposed the front met the rule.  All of the back and none of the front, that's 50%, right?

Estimated Afternoon Attendance: 1200
Estimated Evening Attendance: 1600

Friday, November 13

Following a nearly full day of practice session, competition began this evening with the Pairs and Men's Short Programs.  Eight pairs from six countries including two-time former World Champions and current World silver medallists and Olympic bronze medallists Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy are participating in the Pairs event.  The German team holds a 2.35 point lead over Canadians Kristen Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch.

In the Men's event Nobunari Oda holds a slim 1.16 point lead his teammate, the World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist, Daisuke Takahashi.  American Adam Rippon placed third, 5.32 points behind the leader.  Takahashi under-rotated his triple Axel and stepped out of triple Lutz, but had the highest  component marks of the segment.  Twelve skaters from eight countries are competing in the Men's event.

Estimated Attendance: 1200

Thursday, November 12

From Alexandra Stevenson


The small crowd for the practice sessions have been extremely enthusiastic applauding for every run-through. Most are relatives of skaters, not necessarily skaters taking part in this event, but of lower level competitors.

There have been some nasty falls. Wenjing Sui, the tiny 15-year-old Chinese pair skater, who has enough air time when partner Cong Han throws her to easily accomplish a quad, slammed down extremely badly, on Thursday, eventually slamming into the barrier. The medical personnel wanted to carry her off the ice, but her partner and coach said no although she looked very dazed and unsteady. Nevertheless after a brief rest, she continued the practice doing a great back outside death spiral. Chinese pair skaters are really tough!!

Adam Rippon had some nasty flat out falls on quad toe attempts. "I do them about 50-50," he said afterwards. They arenít really ready for the program but, obviously, I want to do them. I feel they are really necessary."

The Canadians, Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch, who won silver in Skate Canada have their own lift which they call the Iron Towers. He starts from a drag and then stands up, lifting her up into a star. Their coach, Kris Wirtz joked Thursday that the lift calls for strength and "everything the groin does NOT want to do." Two weeks ago, they were a last-minute replacement for the Canadian champions, Jessica Dube & Byrce Davison, who had to pull out of Skate Canada, after he suffered a knee injury in practice a few days before the event.  Dube & Davison are now toast. His injured knee had much more surgery on it than expected. She will now pursue a career as a singles skater.

British ice dancer Penny Coomes is skating with tape over her nose. Last week, her partner, Nick Buckland "smashed me with his elbow. There wasnít much blood so I really didnít think it was so bad, but they had to take me to the hospital. I thought I would do the Free Dance here with a lionís nose since we are skating to The Lion King but we decided against it because it might be too theatrical." Coombes, who earned a place on the Olympic team, in their first season as seniors, was a replacement in the NHK Trophy and then learned, just as they were coming off the ice in Nagoya, that they had been assigned a second Grand Prix Ė Skate America. "We are just thrilled to be here," she said.

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