2009 World Figure Skating Championships

Los Angeles, CA, USA


Ladies Report     Men's Report    Pairs Report    Dance Report

Follow these links to event reports.



Sunday, 29 March 2009

Exhibition goes off this afternoon.  The second best thing about today is getting to see the exhibition.  The best thing about today is it's the last day having to work in the Staples Center.

I saw an interesting comment this morning on Golden Skate regarding the fact that here at Worlds all four U.S. Champions were bested by other teammates -- though to be fair Belbin & Agosto did not compete at Nationals this year.  I think this fan is on to something, since there is a long history of the U.S. sending out a champion who gets beaten by another U.S. skater in ISU competition.  The U.S. often marches to the beat of its own drum regardless of what page the ISU judges may be on.

Estimated Exhibition attendance: 10,800.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Ladies final starts at 4 PM.

And the answer is, Yu-Na Kim.  An exciting Ladies final drew an audience of about 17,000 (our estimate).  Official attendance is 12,064, but the people at Staples providing these numbers must be smoking something.  Maybe whatever the stoner elevator operator who delivers us to the bowels of the building to get to our photo positions is smoking.

It was nearly a full house this evening, not the 2/3 capacity the official numbers indicate.  And what a show the ladies delivered.


Friday, 27 March 2009

So many ladies (54), so much time (9 hours).  At least they will be easier on the eyes than the men.  Things don't get interesting until around 3 PM.  In the evening it's the dance final.  The top couples are all bunched up close, as so often now in the dance under IJS), the judges can put anyone they want on the podium in any order.

The fifteenth edition of the Ottavio Show is today.  Has it been that long?  Gee, it feels like its only been about 10 times that.  Some wise person scheduled it during the the second half of the Ladies Short Program, so many of us will be watching the skating instead.  For some of us at least, it is all about the skating.

The Juvenile and Intermediate Ladies are done.  All 27 of them..  At least I hope they are all done, and then second half will take the level up a notch.  The marks have been extremely low so far.  Mostly in the threes, with some in the twos and only a couple of skaters eking up to the fours.  So far about 2400 in the audience.  There are probably a lot more people across the road watching the top ladies on the warm-up ice.

And the answer is, Yu-Na leads by over 8 points after the Short.  Rachael Flatt is in seventh and Alissa Czisny hold fourteenth place.  Enough to hold on to two berths for next year.  But getting three is now pretty much out of the question.

About 8000 made it to the last two flights in Ladies Short.  It was a exhaustingly long event.  There is much talk of bringing back some sort of qualifying structure.  Mr. Cinquanta plugged the idea today, something he also brought up last year in Gothernburg.  Of course the federations will never get rid of the right to send at least one skater to Worlds each year, so qualifying through 4C and Euros seems a non-starter.  That leaves using qualifying rounds at Worlds itself -- which will cost a financially strapped ISU a fair bit of money.

The Dance event again proved controversial, with many comments heard that reputation (and lack of reputation) judging prevailed in the final group.  Our personal favorite for the Free Dance was Davis & White, who placed third in the Free Skate, but nonetheless placed out of the medals.  In fact Davis & White were third in both the Original and the Free Dances, and still finished out of the medals by 0.04 points.  Something is not right about that in our view.

Dominina & Shabalin will go into the record books as champions and Belbin & Agosto as the silver medalists.  Canadians Virtue & Moir placed fourth in the Free Dance, and won the bronze medal, thanks largely to the results in the Compulsory Dance.  We estimate about 9800 saw the last flight of the Dance event.

(Official attendance:  LSP, 9257; DFD, 9561)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Dance OD start at 12:30PM, and then the Men's final is this evening.

Maybe it's my commuting from home for this competition, but it just doesn't feel like a World Championship to me.  It's more like a glorified Skate America.  Practice has been sparsely attended, and the audience thus far has been small (for a North American Worlds) and subdued.  So far, the sweepers have not had much to do (few gifts thrown on the ice) and the fan's banners have been mostly hung in the rafters above the 300s sections where they are hard to see.  But at least the fans' will get them back on Sunday, which wasn't in the plan a month ago.

The economy has obviously hurt.  Plenty of tickets are still available, and many who planned to attend a year ago, cancelled their travel because of the economy.

After a ludicrous result in the CD, the judges gave Belbin & Agosto the victory in the OD.  They remain in second place overall.  We estimate 4500 on hand for the last two flights.  No doubt the official total will be twice that.

Evan Lysacek needed a season's best performance to win the gold medal, and he came through with a skate for the ages.  Not a negative GoE to be found in his marks.  And he did it without a quad.  Brian Joubert again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but he needed to skate clean and be close in Program Components to hold on to win, but he didn't and he wasn't.  After landing a quad toe loop and then a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination, he made serious errors on two elements.  Patrick Chan takes home the silver medal.  He too medalled without a quad.  We call the attendance at 8000.

Two fresh faces here with the men.  One is Samuel Contesti, who place fifth.  The 26-year-old is actually an old timer to skating.  He was born in France and skated there until 2006.  He then got traded to Italy but still trains in France, coached by his wife Geraldine.  U.S. Fans will gain a complete understanding of this skater when we say he is a French/Italian Ryan Bradley.

Another newcomer to look out for in the future is Denis Ten.  Born in Kazakhstan, of Korean heritage, the fifteen-year old trains in Moscow.  He placed fourth at Junior Worlds, and eighth here, with a sixth place finish in the long.  He has all the jumps solid through triple Axel, including triple-triples, and has the potential to develop a winning style.

(Official attendance:  DOD, 6312; MFS, 10134)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Fifty men today battle for 24 places available to skate in the final round.  It will be an 8 1/2 hour battle.  After that there is the Pairs Free Skate, where the top 20 from yesterday skate the final round.  All other disciplines take 24 for to the final round, but not pairs.  Doesn't seem fair, but that's the way it is.

Official Men's SP  attendance, 6092.  Official Pairs FS attendance, 11332.  Someone must be cooking the books.  Or maybe they are counting everybody every time the  go back and forth from the arena to the practice surface next door in the convention center.  For the SP, you could have fit everybody into the 100s sections, with seats left over -- so maybe 4500.  For the FS the 100s full and the 200's about 1/3 full. so call that about 6300.

The Men's Short Program was a bit controversial, with Brian Joubert missing his quad combination (GoEs of -2 and -3) and not sharp looking, and still besting a clean, energetic Lysacek by 1.4 points.  Patrick Chan place third, 0.15 point farther back.  The "we was robbed crew" was working the press room after the event.  Seems every Canadian within 1/2 mile made an appearance in the press room to wax profound about how Chan should have been cored higher.  No one from the U.S. was defending Lysacek.  In fact, no one from the U.S. federation (or world team) has made any substantial appearance in the press room as far as we have seen.  Got to give the Canadians credit, they know how to work the PR machine, and the ISU, for the benefit of their skaters.

It would be really satisfying to complain about the lack of a U.S. judge on the Men's Short Program panel, thanks to the reduction in panel size to save money (although apparently there is still immense amount of money for pampering ISU office holders), but there was neither a French, U.S., nor Canadian judge on the panel today.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Just another warm sunny day in paradise.  The perfect weather for a skating competition.  Our previews of the events can be found here.

2009 World Preview, Ladies

2009 World Preview, Men

2009 World Preview, Pairs

2009 World Preview, Dance

Competition begins today with the Compulsory Dance in the afternoon and the Pairs Short Program in the evening.  There is a full day of practice on the second ice surface, which is tank ice installed in the convention center, across from the main venue, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.  It really should be called the Deposit-All-Your-Money-Here Center, the way things are priced.  Nothing is reasonable priced.  Example, three meals a day for the worker bees in the press room are priced at $84 a day.  Concession stands are priced at about twice normal prices outside the arena.

The big controversy over the hanging of banners was finally resolved last week, when Staples agreed to give fans a claim check for their banners and to return them Sunday.  The photo police, however, are still in full sway.  Fans are limited to point and shoot cameras with lenses no longer than three inches long, and the ushers have been instructed to enforce the rule religiously.

So far the U.S. seems on track to retain three entries for the Olympics, with the top two U.S. couples now in second and fourth place.  Diminina & Shabalin hold first place.  God only knows why.

Reigning Champions Savchenk & Szolkowy have a comfortable lead in Pairs and look like a good bet to repeat as champions.  

Official CD attendance, 5,873.  Official Pairs SP attendance, 10,587.  Hard to believe since the lower bowl only holds 4800 and it looked only half full for the CD, and about three-quarters full for the SP.

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