Starting Order -
Warmup Group 1
- Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue,
- Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello, USA
- Isabella Tobias & Deividas Stagniunas, LTU
- Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam, CAN
Warmup Group 2
- Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill, CAN
- Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi, GER
- Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat, FRA
- Meryl Davis & Charlie White, USA
Start Time: 20:45
Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi
Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill
Isabella Tobias & Deividas Stagniunas
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donoh
Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello
Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam
Dancers Swivel Hips to Sparse Crowd
1. Meryl Davis and Charlie White,
70.33 (34.14+36.19) There is no draw for Grand Prix events. Competitors
skate in reverse order to their world ranking, so the first Americans to
win an ice dance world title in the eventís entire 59 year history, were
the last to perform, giving a great performance opening with a Samba to
Batucadas, by Mitoka. That was followed with a Rhumba to Life is a
Carnival. Their final two elements, the non-touching circular steps and
their spectacular the curve lift, were executed to a second Samba, On the
Floor sung by Jennifer Lopez.
Davis, who was born on New Yearís Day 1987, said the last section is
the most exciting piece of music and she feels sure anyone who hears it,
will feel like getting up and dancing alongside them. Dressed in an orange
creation, she was definitely undulating her body in a more mature,
outgoing, definitely adult but fun way. White, who turns 24 the day after
Skate America, is in a light black, sophisticated outfit, which promoted
his muscular body. He said he was sending out his "characterís
properties". And what are they? "Iím showing her Iíve got
all the moves," he said afterwards.
In their opening twizzles, they had a slight schronization delay but
earned 6.64 points. They got the maximum Level 4 but received their lowest
GoEs, which comprised two zeros, three +1s and the rest +2s. The nine
judges included American Shawn Rettstatt, Canadian Elizabeth Clark, David
Molina of France and Kerstin Kimminus of Germany, along with
representatives from Hungary, Russia, the Czech Republic, China and
Georgia. Alia Shekhovtseva was the Technical Controller and former US
champion Judy Blumberg the Technical Specialist with Maria Tumanovskaya
Their only other Level 4 was their concluding curve lift which begins
with her placing her blade carefully on the top of his leg while he's in a
cantilever position. For this they received three of the maximum +3 GoEs,
four +2s and two +1s. Both rhumba sequences got Level 3s. The initial one
called the "2" sequence because it's done on the opposite side
of the rink to the judges, and the "1" sequence done on the side
where the judges are. got Level 3s. The only difference between the two
sequences, Charlie Cyr explained, was that different key points are
Davis and White received +2s GoEs from all but one judge who gave +1
for the opposite side, Sequence 2 Rhumba. For the near-the-judges Sequence
1, they got seven +2s with two +1s . The Technical Special gave a No on
the middle of the three key points on both sequences, which prevented them
from getting Level 4.
The Level 3 non-touching circular steps were given unanimous +2s.
Davis admitted, "Weíre pretty pleased with how our Short Dance
went tonight. Itís still really fresh, still really early in the season,
so we were out there to have fun and get it started." White said,
"I think we can look forward to attacking the program a little bit
more. We definitely try to go with the flow. Like Meryl said, we havenít
had a ton of time with the program yet, so we just want to go out there
and do the program like we know how, so I think with training more weíll
be able to feel a bit more comfortable and get into character more, show
off deeper edges - just little things everywhere."
Davis said, their 10.26 point lead, "doesnít affect how we
(will) approach the (Free) program. Itís a program thatís really new
for us but weíre having really fun with it." They had initially
planned to perform to Felliniís poignant La Strada but, after Champs'
Camp, that was trashed in favor of the more upbeat, Die Fledermaus.
2. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, 60.07 (29.15+31.56 -1.0) from
France are the European champions. They began training with Pasquale
Camerlengo and Anjelika Krylova at the Detroit Figure Skating Club this
summer. They had previously left their base in Lyon, to train with
Alexander Zhulin in Moscow for several years.
Pechalat, who will turn 28 on December 22, and Bourzat, who will be 31
on December 19, were in light green outfits. The green was reflected in
his haggard face. He was really sick. "I had a cold and then it went
to bronchitis," he revealed before the event. By the time of the
press conference he looked in danger of imminent collapse. "I couldnít
take any rest because of this event. I had to practice for Skate America.
Itís tough but we have to come here. Iím trying to do my best because
we have a job to do."
They made their debut in the world championship in 2004 placing 20th
and worked their way up to fifth and twice fourth in the past three world
championships. In Moscow in April, they seemed certain to win the bronze
but he had a disastrous fall pulling her down also and it cost them the
bronze medal, which was claimed by Maia and Alex Shibutani. He also fell
in this event just after the completion of their non-touching steps.
They began with a Level 4 +0.86 curve lift and they went into their
Level 3+0.93 first Rhumba Sequence. Then came the Level 3 non-touching
+0.29 steps followed by the fall. Their second Rhumba sequence was also
Level 3 with +0.29. However, their Level 3 twizzles got -0.36 removed from
the base level.
They performed to three sambas: Mas Que Nada by Ben Jorge; Batacuda
by Abacaxi; and Real in Rio by S. Mendes, J. Powell and C.
Brown. This is a particularly imporant season for them since Worlds are in
Nice, in their home country..
Pechalat said, somewhat unbelievably, "Well, weíre not too happy
about tonight because of the mistake, but we all enjoyed it. Before going
onto the ice, we said, ĎOk. We have time until the European and World
Championships. So, what will happen will happen.í The rest of the
program was enough clean."
3. Nelli Zhiganshina, 24, and Alexander Gazsi, who just turned 27,
earned 55.66 (29.14+26.52), a significant distance behind the French. The
German champions were 11th in Worlds and 7th in
Europe. Former US champion Judy Blumberg is a tough Technical Specialist.
At the Nebelhorn Trophy, the Germans' Rhumba sequences were 4 and 3. Here,
their Rhumba, set to Desparados from Once Upon a Time in Mexico (with a
later Samba), got only Level 2s. However, they earned all` positive
overall GoEs and got Level 4 for their twizzles and rotational lift, and
these Germans weren't complaining. Zhiganshina said, "Sitting in
third right now is amazing for us." Gazsi added, "We want to
defend this placement and try to attack again in the Free Dance",
4. Kharis Ralph, 19, and Asher Hill, 20, from Canada,who earned 52.68
(27.79+24.89) are coming off a bronze medal win in the recent Nebelhorn
Trophy in Germany where they finished behind Madison Hubbell and Zachary
Donohue and Zhiganshina and Gazsi). It was their first international medal
and they are riding a high. Coach Carol Lane said they were over the moon
with their placing. "They are just so pleased they are in the same
warm-up group with the world champions. They are absolutely thrilled to be
on the same ice as them."
Ralph and Hill, who are ranked fourth in Canada, performed a Rhumba to
Wanna Be Startiní Somethiní by Michael Jackson Harlem Nocturne and Do
You Want to Dance? They received Level 2 for their opening element, the
non-touching steps, Level 4 for their lift anf twizzles, and 3 and 2 for
their Rhumba sequences.
5. Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas, 51.83 (28.14+23.69) were
14th representing Lithuania in their first Worlds together in April. The
26-year-old Stagniunas, who was born in Kaunas, has had several previous
partners. They train alongside White and Davis in Canton. Tobias is a
20-year old from New York. They presented a Samba and Merengue medley by
the singer, Shakia. They earned Level 4 for their twizzles and rotational
lift, Level 3 for both Rhumba sequences but had a slight negative (-0.14)
for their non touching circular steps.
6. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, 49.71 (24.65+25.06) tried to
put a good light on their low marks, which were a blow after they son the
Nebelhorn Trophy ahead of the Germans who currently lie third. "We
didn't do a good Short in Oberstdorf (where Donohue had a slight problem
although he didn't fall) but we still got marks way about those we got
today. We were second to the Germans and we did overtake them. The
experience, competition-wise, in this venue has been great. Itís very
comfortable. It feels like weíre at nationals. It's my first time at
Skate America so itís nice to stay inside the country.
"The actual performance today, it was an improvement than what we
did in Oberstdorf. I think the short dance, unfortunately, is our weakness
right now compared to our free dance. You know, we have a lot of questions
for the technical panel and everything - for Judges and technical panel.
The score in general wasnít what we were hoping for obviously. It was a
significant step down from our performance in Oberstorf, so thatís
disappointing of course, but all we can do is look forward to tomorrow and
prove our strengths in the free dance.
"The rhumba has unfortunately been a struggle for us. I think we
tried to get out as many times as we could in the early season and really
get feedback from the technical panels and what they were looking for and
I think we have to reevaluate a lot because what we were advised would
guarantee the level, it turns that I donít think they are really looking
at it as much as they said they would. What we need to work on is getting
the outside edge and not really pay attention to the things we were
The new two-some, who are both 20, are training alongside Pechalat
& Borzat, received Level 4 for their twizzles and lift, the other
three elements were Level 2.
They were asked by the cheeky press corp her about their being a "sexy"couple.
Donohue said, laughing, "Well, Iíve had a few partners in the past,
and Iíve never really had a relationship with them, and Maddy doesn't
have to worry about the brother-sister relationship anymore." She
countered, "They were always telling me I was too sexy, even when I
was dressed up in a polka outfit trying to look German."
7. Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello 42.05 (21.43+21.62 -1) had a
disappointing outing with Lorello falling. His mistake meant they got no
marks for their twizzle sequence. The 21-year-old explained, "Itís
one of those fluke things that kind of happens and you canít really
control that stuff. You just have to be prepared that if it does happen,
you can get the best recovery you can and keep going in the program so it
doesnít affect your other elements and your performance."
His partner said, "I thought it went really well.
We had decent levels (a 4 for the lift, 3s for both Rhumba sequences and a
2 for the non-touching steps.) The circular steps were only 2, but we know
to work on that."
8. 37.50 (19.57+20.93 -3) Alexandra Paul, 20, and Mitchell Islam, 22,
who are ranked third in Canada had a terrible outing. She has been off the
ice due to an injury to her knee which was misdiagnosed and obviously came
back onto the ice too soon. This duo astonished the world by winning
silver medals in the 2010 world junior championships only a year after
they teamed up. This is only their second Grand Prix event. They were
fourth in their debut in last yearís Skate Canada.
It was immediately apparent, just a few seconds into their routine when
she fell onto her knees, that they were not ready to return to this level