|15.||Tony Sabrina Bombardieri||ITA|
This was one of the worst groups of ladies to be seen at Worlds in some time. Clean programs were few and far between, and few of the ladies even attempted a complete set of triples through triple Lutz.
Michelle Kwan started off well, landing her opening triple Lutz - double toe better than she has in competition for several months, and followed up with a good triple flip - double toe. In the second half of the program, however, she made three serious errors, doubling a second triple Lutz, popping a second triple flip, and singling a closing double Axel. It was a better performance than at US Nationals and on a par with the Champions Series Final. Even at this level of performance she seems in a position to win a medal, but if she wants to keep her title she better get her head together for the rest of the week.
An unexpectedly good performance was given by Vanessa Gusmeroli who is again presenting her circus routine in the long program. She attempted all the triples through triple Lutz, landing most of them; only popping a triple loop. She skated fast and strong and is a medal contender based on this performance.
Irina Slutskaya had a mediocre skate, not nearly as well as at the Champions Series Final. She missed badly on her opening triple Lutz and made a few other minor errors, but with good speed and a decent presentation she took third place. She could yet challenge for a medal but she will have to skate better than she did here today.
|21.||Rita Dolly Auyeung||HKG|
At the end of Group A one would not have though it possible, but this group was even worse than the first. Lipinski and Bobek did good jobs and the remainder either struggled or were totally outgunned.
Lipinski skated clean and lander her triple loop - triple loop. After the qualifying round it looks like she and Michelle will be battling it out for the gold. Bobek skated clean until stepping out of a triple toe at the end of the program. She landed all the triple through triple flip, though at times was a bit sloppy. Nevertheless she is skating well enough to challenge for a medal, giving the US a chance for a sweep in the ladies event.
Butyrskaya started off rough, falling on triple toe and following with a sloppy triple Lutz. She was able, however, to pull it together for the rest of the program to grab third place.
Lucinda Ruh did a nice job with her program, landing triple toe and Salchow but popping triple loop. Her signature spins were first rate and she gave a thoroughly pleasant presentation.
One of the big questions here has been the condition of Lu Chen who has been under wraps in China all season due to problems with her Federation/Government. We got the answer today, and it was pretty sad. Others who had seen her in practice have described her as lacking spirit and energy, and that was certainly the case today. She skated with her usual grace and flow but the jumps are gone. She managed a single triple toe among the triple jumps. She fell on triple Lutz, popped a triple toe that was to be in combination, and popped triple loop twice. Several of these attempts seemed half-hearted, and she looks like all the life has been sucked out of her. Thanks to high second marks (in some cases 1.4 points above the first mark) she was able to take ninth place and move out of the qualifying rounds. Prior to Worlds there has been speculation whether she might defect, and from the looks of things she may have good reason to.
|22.||Yan-Ho Brain Chan||HKG|
The top two favorites for the men, Todd Eldredge and Elvis Stojko, met here in the qualifying rounds, with Eldredge topping Stojko on the strength of the second mark. Neither skater pulled any punches, attempting their complete programs. Eldredge landed his triple Axel - triple toe and skated clean through most of the program only to fall on his second triple Axel late in the program. He looked in good form and showed no effects of a sore ankle that had been bothering him before arriving here.
Stojko attempted his quad toe, falling in the attempt. He landed the remainder of his program but skated in slow motion. His presentation was as dreadful as it was in Kitchener, but that will not stop him contending for the Gold later in the week.
Vagorodniuk skated fairly well, landing both his triple Axels, but made a few minor errors in several other jumps; and Vlachtchenko was in a similar situation, skating well but making a few minor errors and lacking a bit of control in his jumps. Rounding out the top five was Igor Pashkevitch who made numerous small errors in his jumps, especially the combinations, but skated with nice style.
Yagudin had a mediocre skate, landing triple Axel - triple toe, but popping the second triple Axel and skating with little energy and with slow spins. He could only manage sixth place today and looks like he is going to have a rough time of it this week.
A surprising and notable effort was put in by the Hungarian skater Vidrai who attempted all the triples, landing a triple Axel - triple toe and a second triple axel. He tired towards the end of the program, however, putting his hand down on triple flip and popping triple loop. With a little better stamina he looks to have the equipment to move up. Another fine effort was also given by Anthony Liu who skated fast with good style and landed a solo triple Axel.
|22.||Matthew van den Broeck||ARM|
Group B was won by Alexei Urmanov who, in a surprising development, skated in a normal looking costume and without gloves. His presentation was excellent and he landed quad toe and a triple Axel - triple toe combination. Based on todays skating he looks to be the third man here who has a serious chance to take the Gold.
Ilia Kulik also landed a quad toe today as well as triple Axel - triple toe. He skated on the slow side, however, and stepped out of triple Salchow and triple toe loop. While he may contend for a medal, he does not look like he is in shape to challenge seriously for the Gold.
Millot gave a capable performance, landing a solo triple Axel but also doubling several jumps. Michael Weiss also skated fairly well, though not a well as at US Nationals. He did not attempt the quad toe but landed his triple Axel - triple toe.
Daniel Hollander did not have a good skate today, ending up 18th and not making the final cut (top 15 go on to the Championships). He missed both triple Axels, made numerous errors, and double several jumps. His speed and presentation were good, but with so many errors he got killed in the marks and it was clear as soon as his marks went up that he was dead meat.
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