The men's event is the premier event at Skate America this year, with four strong men in the field.
Alexei Yagudin won the short with a strong program, and only a minor quality problem on his triple Lutz. He landed triple Axel - triple toe loop cleanly and did an excellent job on his spins and step sequences. His short this year is a clown/juggler number showing a distinctly Russian sense of humor. He was closely pursued by Elvis Stojko who is using last season's short program for one more year.
Stojko was the only man who attempted the newly permitted quad. He landed one in the warmup, but fell in the program. Otherwise his program was well done. At the end of the program he mouthed the word "almost" and smiled. Despite this four tenths error he still held second place.
Michael Weiss skating a new short program to a Van Halen medley was a distant third even with triple Axel, triple Flip - triple toe, triple Lutz, and strong skating in the step sequences and connecting moves.
After missing all of last season due to a groin injury, Alexei Urmanov continued his comeback attempt with his second outing of the season. He introduced a new short program, presently a techno-version of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. He had two significant problems here, a wild landing edge in his opening triple Axel- triple toe loop and then he crashed on triple Lutz. Despite the problems it was good quality skating, and if he works the bugs out he is a strong contender for this season.
Derrick Delmore did a decent job, but was clearly a step below the top four. He did only a triple-double for the combination and doubled the required triple jump. His expression was excellent but the difficulty of the program and the basic quality of the skating is not competitive for a senior international medal.
Last among the American skaters was Shepherd Clark with a dismal performance. He two footed triple Axel and then tacked on a weak double toe loop. Following that he fell of triple Lutz. The remainder of the program was skated with speed and energy but the expression was all wrong. He is using the last 2:40 of the 1812 Overture, skating it in a frenzied, frantic style with none of the majesty or drama of the music. He paid for this in the second marks getting scores as low as 4.5 in presentation. This program has serious problems that need attention.
Of all the events at Skate America, the men's even was the creme of the crop with four of the top five men competing here, and all of them ready to rumble.
After a whimsical short program, Alexie Yagudin did a more serious long to"Lawrence of Arabia". In his enthusiasm he landed nine triples, including two triple Axels, flips, and toe loops. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to repeat two triples which earned him a 0.1 deduction in the first mark. With five 5.9s in the first mark that would imply that without the lapse he would have earned a handful of sixes for his performance.
Moving up to second place was Michael Weiss skating to "Mulan". He two footed an attempt at quad toe loop and then went on to land 8 triples. This program, with the same trick list as last year's, has potential and his result here reinforces his position as a contender at this year's World Championships.
Also pulling up a place after the short was Alexei Urmanov in a strong performance in his comeback season. The program, a medley of Latin American melodies, was well done with the jumps only tending to be a bit on the toe. He also landed eight triple jumps.
Still dealing with recovering from his groin injury at the beginning of the year, Elvis Stojko dropped to fourth place in the long for a fourth place finish. His attempt at quad toe loop was two footed. He also stepped out of a triple Salchow, hopped out of the landing on triple Axel - triple toe loop, and doubled a triple Lutz. He landed a total of five triples. His new program is to music from "Merlin" and "Iron Will". The program has potential, but his biggest problem remains fully rehabilitating his injury, a process that took Alexei Urmanov - who had a similar injury - a full year.
Derrick Delmore did a capable job attempting a quad toe loop and eight triples, of which he landed six triples. He demonstrated here he has the potential to be a top skater internationally, and established himself as a medal contender at US Nationals in February. Shepherd Clark, on the other hand, was uninspiring. While a better job than the short program, with better choreography, it was full of errors, landing only two triples.
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