2011 Skate America

Ladies Event

Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Alissa Czisny USA 1 2
2 Carolina Kostner ITA 2 1
3 Viktoria Helgesson SWE 5 5
4 Haruka Imai JPN 4 9
5 Ksenia Makarova RUS 7
6 Caroline Zhang USA 3 10
7 Elene Gedevanishvili GEO 10 3
8 Joelle Forte USA 6  7
9 Valentina Marchei ITA 9 6
10 Joshi Helgesson SWE 8 8


Short Program

Planned Program Content


Starting Order - Short Program

Warmup Group 1

  1. Joelle Forte, USA
  2. Caroline Zhang, USA
  3. Joshi Helgesson, SWE
  4. Haruka Imai, JPN
  5. Valentina Marchei, ITA

Warmup Group 2

  1. Viktoria Helgesson, SWE
  2. Elene Gedevanishvili, GEO
  3. Ksenia Makarova, RUS
  4. Alissa Czisny, USA
  5. Carolina Kostner, ITA

Start Time: 20:25


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Alissa Czisny USA
2 Carolina Kostner ITA
3 Caroline Zhang USA
4 Haruka Imai JPN
5 Viktoria Helgesson SWE
6 Joelle Forte USA
7 Ksenia Makarova RUS
8 Joshi Helgesson SWE
9 Valentina Marchei ITA
10 Elene Gedevanishvili GEO


Despite later admitting to a case of nerves, a confident looking Alissa Czisny took a lead of nearly four points in Short Program.  The only negative in her program was an edge call on triple flip which receive GoEs of -1 and -2.  Her opening triple Lutz - double toe loop was clean and strong, with six marks of +1.  Regarding the program, which was her ISU personal best, Czisny said, I guess that was okay out there tonight. I was really nervous going out there tonight this being the first competition of the season. I was happy to get my feet under me.

Although the pre-competition element list included an opening triple-triple combination, a triple-triple double was executed.  We planned just to do triple-double today,  said Czisny.  Last year I came back and I only committed to one season. I really found that I love skating and I grew to love competition. I didnt reach my goals last season,  she explained.  She has seven triples listed in her long program planed content and said, Yes, I am still planning that. We did not do the triple-triple in the short to lay a strong short. I plan seven triples in the long.

The reigning World bronze medalist and three time World medalist placed second in the Short Program, skating a somewhat "weird" program to "Allegretto" by Dmitri Shostakovish.  The only negative element in her program was a triple loop with a slightly off landing.  Five judges went to -1 on that element.  Her choice of music was unusual, but was well choreographed and executed and the judges rewarded it with marks in the mid-sevens for Choreography and for Interpretation.

On her performance she said, I somehow felt that I wanted to sit down. Im glad that it went well for the first time. its always a little bit of a jump into cold water. I feel better now." Later she added, Last year, I struggled with pain in my knee. I never really got into perfect shape. After [2011] Worlds, I took a lot of time to recover and get pain free. I started training in the middle of July. I started slowly because the season is long. Im going to go with the flow and improve step by step with every competition.

On her choice of music she remarked, "I dont remember exactly. It was a natural choice. I wanted to experience something new and try it out. I didnt know if it would be good or not. I felt that it would be fun to choreograph a piece of music like this, and it was really fun.

 Carline Zhang struggle a bit through her performance, but not enough to prevent her from earning third place.  Evaluating herself she said, Its been a lot shakier than it has in practice, but for one of the first international events of the season, Im happy.  Only one element was scored negative, however; the double Axel which received GoEs of -1 through -3. Thats not really a challenging element," she said,  "it was just a silly mistake. I think I just checked out a little bit late, so hopefully I fix it by tomorrow. 

Zhang has sarted to work back from the depths of oblivion she worked herself into in past years.  Im happy with how Im doing right now. Especially since a lot of people wrote me off after my horrible performances from the last couple of years, but hopefully I can bounce back and show everyone that Im a competitor again.

Now working with coaches Peter Oppegard and Karen Kwan Oppergard, Its been hard," she said about the last few seasons.  " There have been a lot of choices and I realized that I loved skating enough to try to stick with it and do the best I can because its just something I love to do and want to do well in.  She added "Of course Im still looking toward 2014, and thats definitely something Im working toward, but right now, its still more on a year-to-year basis. ... The journey back to this point was hard. This gives me the confidence to keep training and improving myself. Hopefully I can keep building on that.

 The third U.S. lady here, Joelle Forte, placed sixth in the Short Program.  She missed her opening triple Lutz - double toe loop combination, but on triple Salchow improvised a double toe to salvage a combination. Her component marks were mainly in the mid to upper fives.

On her performance she said, I felt really good. I wasnt nervous, I was really calm. The Lutz was so much higher [than I thought it would be] that I didnt know when the ice was going to get there, but I was able to complete the combination on the Salchow so I was happy that I was able to do everything else to the best of my ability.  For the free skate she said, I just want to skate cleanno step outs, no falls, no pops, no anything and just to enjoy skating like I did today. It was awesome to be out there.

And speaking of improvising combinations, not so successful was Ksenia Makarova of Russia.  Makarova fell on her opening combination and decided to tack a single toe loop on the back of her subsequent triple loop.  Trouble is, a triple-single is an automatic -3 from the judges so by adding a jump worth 0.4 points she lost 2.1 points in the GoEs.  When improvising a combination the skates need to remember, improvising a single is a net loss of points!  (What you can't skate and simultaneously instantaneously do complex mathematical calculations and a rules review in your head?  Then you are in the wrong sport!)


Free Skating

Planned Program Content

Starting Order - Free Skating

Warmup Group 1

  1. Elene Gedevanishvili, GEO
  2. Valentina Marchei, ITA
  3. Joshi Helgesson, SWE
  4. Ksenia Makarova, RUS
  5. Joelle Forte, USA

Warmup Group 2

  1. Viktoria Helgesson, SWE
  2. Haruka Imai, JPN
  3. Caroline Zhang, USA
  4. Carolina Kostner, ITA
  5. Alissa Czisny, USA

Start Time: 14:45


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Carolina Kostner ITA
2 Alissa Czisny USA
3 Elene Gedevanishvili GEO
4 Ksenia Makarova RUS
5 Viktoria Helgesson SWE
6 Valentina Marchei ITA
7 Joelle Forte USA
8 Joshi Helgesson SWE
9 Haruka Imai JPN
10 Caroline Zhang USA


The Ladies Free Skate was a roller coaster ride, with Alissa Czisny and Carolina Kostner swapping places in the Free Skate, but without a large enough point difference for Kostner to win the event overall.  Inconsistent skating by the other competitors results in huge place differences between the short and the long for several skaters allowing Viktoria Helgesson to move up to take third place overall with fifth place finishes in both the short and the long.

Strong program components overcame six elements scored negative for Czisny to give her a 0.13 point victory over Kostner, despite placing second in the Free Skate.  That wasnt my best out there," said Czisny." I tried to fight for everything. Some went well, some didnt. Its the first competition of the season so I can build upon that performance. ... Its always an honor to come here and represent the United States. To win here was special. I have been here on the podium but never on top. Its nice to win something other than Skate Canada."

On an opening triple Lutz - triple toe lop combination, the triple toe loop was downgraded, and then she fell on her subsequent triple flip which was also downgraded and had an edge call. A later solo triple Lutz was under-rotated.   A planned triple Salchow was also doubled, and there was a poor landing on two triple loops.  The only jump element not scored negative was a double Axel - double toe loop - double loop combination.  On the fall she said, "That was bit uncharacteristic to miss early in my program. I heard Carolinas score so I knew I had to fight for everything and thats really what I did. ... I was nervous but not as yesterday going into the short. There are some new things in my program so I knew I had to take each element one at a time. Sometimes I focus too much on jumps but I want to grow the whole program more."

Carolina Kostner had a nearly clean skate, with only one jump element scored negative, a triple Salchow combination with a poor landing.  Her program included only one triple flip, however, and triple Lutz was not attempted.  Two of her spins were called level one.  I actually slept very bad last night," she commented.  "I was up really early this morning and looking for a way to skate. And when I got on the ice, I found my place and found my legs.

Kostner's program was skated securely and presented with confidence.  On her performance she said, Yes I did [think I might win after the performance], but its ok, I did a really good short and really good long today. ... I was very surprised that it went so well since it was my first competition, I didnt expect [it]. Im usually a roller coaster [at the beginning of the season]. This gives me confidence and I need to work on the jumps and go step by step and have a good feeling. I love to skate to that music. I want to stay focused and not thing this is enough. I want to improve with each competition.

To paraphrase an ISU officials we chatted with after the event, Czisny looks beautiful even when  just extending an arm, but Kostner performs using her whole body which is much more difficult.

Caroline Zhang dropped like a boulder moving from third in the short to tenth (last) in the long.  Five jump elelents were scored negative and her components were only in the low sixes.  About her free skate she said, That was just plain stupid. I really don't know what happened. I've been doing it clean in practice, so it was just a bunch of stupid mistakes that got to me. And each one throughout the program, when I started thinking about the mistakes, and each one just got worse.

On the otehr hand, Elena Gedevanishvili went from tenth in the short to third in the long to place seventh overall.  Had she not popped a planned triple flip to a single, she would likely have ended in third place.

Instead, third place went to Viktoria Helgesson who was fifth in both the short and the long. I enjoyed skating here tonight," she said.  "I had some mistakes but its still early in the season so Im pretty happy with the result. ...Its a really big thing for me [to win her first Grand Prix medal]. Im really, really happy to be here. I have improved my programs a lot from last season. I think that was what made me come this far.  ...  Im proud to make it this far. I hope it will be a lot more in the future.

Helgesson placed third despite five jump elements scored negative, and a fall on triple Lutz.  Her components were in the mid-sixes, and she mainly had the inconsistent skating of the other competitors to thank for her result.

Ksenia Makarova move up from seventh in the short to fourth in the long.  She too struggled with the jumps, with six of seven jump elements scored negative and a fall on triple flip.

If there was a common theme in the Free Skate, it is that the ladies could not land their jumps cleanly.  All the ladies except Kostner had the majority of their jump elements scored negative.


2011 Skate America Ladies Medalists


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