Starting Order - Free Skating
- Anne Sophie Calvez FRA
- Sarah Meier SUI
- Idora Hegel CRO
- Jenna McCorkell GBR
- Anastasia Gimazetdinova UZB
- Mojca Kopac SLO
- Alisa Drei FIN
- Ludmila Nelidina RUS
- Galina Maniachenko UKR
- Julia Lautowa AUT
- Dan Fang CHN
- Joanne Rochette CAN
- Julia Sebestyen HUN
- Yoshie Onda JPN
- Shizuka Arakawa JPN
- Sarah Hughes USA
- Elena Liashenko UKR
- Jennifer Robinson CAN
- Carolina Kostner ITA
- Michelle Kwan USA
- Viktoria Volchkova RUS
- Elena Sokolova RUS
- Sasha Cohen USA
- Fumie Suguri JPN
Free Skating Placements
||Anne Sophie Calvez
Kwan Wins Fifth World Title
To paraphrase Mark Twain, expectations of American domination of the
ladies event at the 2003 World Championships in Washington, D.C. were greatly
exaggerated. When it was all over, only Michelle Kwan stood on the podium, winning her
fifth world title and eighth consecutive medal.
A sellout crowd of more than 16,000 on hand at the MCI Arena saw little to cheer
during the first two groups of skaters. Of the 12 ladies in these warm-up groups, just
Alisa Drei of Finland managed her program without multiple falls and/or stumbles. Skating
with good speed, Drei executed five clean triples in her "Adagio" free, in
addition to several strong double Axels. With marks of 4.6 5.1 for technique and 4.8
5.5 for presentation, she stood in first place as the final 12 skaters took the
ice. (She would end in 10th place in the free program and 12th
The skating did not improve much through the first several competitors in the
next-to-last group. Current European bronze medallist Julia Sebastyen continued her
disappointing showing here, completing only three clean triples. Despite a successful
Grand Prix season, Japans Yoshi Onda was also unable to mount a challenge to the
leaders, falling on her first two attempts at triples, and popping and falling out of the
next two. Though she closed her free program strongly with a triple Lutz, a triple toe
loop, triple toe loop sequence and two big double Axels, this was a competition the
promising 20 year-old jumping specialist would rather forget.
Things picked up considerably when Ondas countrywoman Shizuka Arakawa took
the ice. Skating to "Titanic," the elegant Arakawa who is in the process
of arranging with the Japanese Skating Federation to work with coach Richard Callaghan
full-time in the U.S. -- opened with a triple Lutz, triple toe loop, double loop
combination that had only the slightest of "cheats" (an eighth of a turn short)
on the triple toe. She followed with a triple Salchow, a nice flying camel, a two-footed
triple flip and a lovely catch-foot spin before doubling her next jump, another Lutz.
Arakawa closed with a triple loop, (weak) spirals, a layback spin and a triple toe loop
and double Axel. Her marks ranged from 5.3 5.6 for technique and 5.2 5.6 for
presentation. She ended the evening in 8th place overall.
The first of the three American ladies, Sarah Hughes, was next. After her
disappointing qualifying round, the Olympic gold medallist was mired in 9th place,
with no hope to medal here. Skating to "La Bayadare," she opened with a double
Axel, triple toe loop sequence, then reduced a planned triple Salchow, triple loop
combination to a lone triple Salchow. She continued well with a triple loop, a (rather
slow) catch-foot spin and a slightly wild triple Lutz, double toe loop combination, before
falling hard on a triple flip. The 17 year-old closed with a circular footwork sequence
that had a few awkward moments, a combination spin and layback, a triple toe loop, a
spiral sequence and a solid flying camel. Her marks ranged from 4.8 5.6 for
technique and 5.3 5.8 for presentation, putting her 6th in the free
skate and 6th overall.
"Im glad thats over!" said Hughes. "(On the flip) It
didnt go up straight but sometimes I can save it. The fall really hurt." On
rumors that she was withdrawing from the upcoming Champions on Ice tour, Hughes and coach
Robin Wagner both replied, "No comment."
Hughes may be heading off to pursue her academic career, as she expects to field
acceptances from several Ivy League universities next week. "I have a lot to look
forward to, a lot of choices," she said. Her skating future remains uncertain.
Veteran competitor Elena Liashenko of Ukraine had a ho-hum performance of her
"Tango" free, including a popped triple loop and several two-footed triples.
Though she landed a triple Lutz, double toe loop combination, as well as a triple flip, a
triple toe loop, and a triple Salchow, she seemed to lack energy and her usual speed.
"It was difficult to motivate myself because the season is over," said
Liashenko, who must not consider improving her world ranking sufficient incentive. "I
didnt do the loop because it is not my favorite jump." She finished 8th
in the free and 7th overall.
Skating last in the warm-up group, Canadian champion Jennifer Robinson opened
with a triple Lutz, double toe loop combination, then fell victim to her tendency to
two-foot landings. Her attempt at a triple Salchow, triple loop combination ending with a
pronounced two-footed landing, as did her next jump, a triple flip. With marks ranging
from 4.7 5.4 for technique and 5.1 5.6 for presentation, she ended the event
in 9th place for the free program and 9th overall.
Then it was time for the final warm-up group of six.
Carolina Kostner, a 16 year-old from Italy who stunned observers with her 4th
place in the short program, was up first. The tall, slender youngster opened with a triple
loop, then had a disastrous try of her triple Lutz triple toe loop combination, doubling
the Lutz and hitting the boards with her free leg on the triple toe. ("The rink is so
small here; Im a little afraid to do my jumps," the inexperienced Kostner had
said after the qualifying round.) Kostner then fell on a triple flip before hitting a
double Axel, triple Salchow sequence, a double Salchow and a double Axel. The promising
skater ended up 11th in the free skate and 10th overall.
The crowd roared as Michelle Kwan took the ice for her "Aranjuez"
program, choreographed by Nikolai Morozov. The 22 year-old Californian did not put a foot
wrong, hitting six triples, a double Axel, a flying camel and a combination spin. But, as
always with Kwan, just listing these (rather mundane) elements does not do justice to her
matchless performance quality. While other skaters are trying, and occasionally landing,
triple, triple combinations; while others are doing more difficult and speedier spins; and
while others skate with more speed, no one reaches an audience or interprets music as
well. The four-time world champion earned marks of 5.7 5.9 for technique and 5.8
6.0 (two) for artistry, winning her fifth world title.
"I cant even put it into words. It is so amazing. I just let it go.
At the end of my footwork sequence, it was Yeah!" said Kwan with a pump
of her fist. "I heard them (the audience) but I took one thing at a time. I was in my
body, in the zone tonight."
Russias Viktoria Volchkova was up next, skating to "Four
Seasons." The 20 year-old made a good attempt at a triple Lutz, triple toe loop
combination, two-footing the triple toe but standing up well. She followed with a triple
loop, a triple flip, a (poor) layback spin, a triple Salchow, a triple toe loop, a (poor)
spiral sequence, a double Lutz and a somewhat shaky double Axel. Although her choreography
was relatively simple, she skated with good speed, and earned marks of 5.2 5.7 for
technique, 5.2 5.7 for presentation. She took 5th place in the free and 5th
"Tonights performance was the best of the season so I am very happy
about it," said Volchkova, who trains in the Chicago area with coach Oleg Vasiliev.
The resurgent Elena Sokolova, who won the Russian championship earlier this year
and is making her first appearance at worlds since 1998, opened her program with a triple
Lutz, triple toe loop combination, followed by a triple flip, a triple Salchow, double toe
loop combination, a triple loop, a triple Lutz, a triple toe loop and a double Axel. While
her jump content may have been superior to Kwans, the remainder of her program
including spins, spirals and step sequences was far inferior. She earned
marks of 5.6 5.9 for technique and 5.4 5.9 for presentation, including one
first-place ordinal. Sokolova won her first world medal, a silver.
"I did the maximum I could today. My qualifying was better, but I am
absolutely happy with my skate," said Sokolova.
Americas other hope, 18 year-old Sasha Cohen, was next. She opened
strongly with a triple Lutz, triple toe loop combination, with only a slight two-foot on
the triple toe. Cohen went on to hit a solid triple Lutz and a triple flip, double toe
loop combination, before the unthinkable happened: a fall on a flying camel spin.
Recovering, Cohen hit a strong triple loop and a lovely Ina Bauer, before falling again on
a triple toe loop. Still fighting through the program, she landed a triple Salchow
(slightly forward), double toe loop combination, a beautiful layback spin, a double Axel,
her stunning spiral sequence, a triple Salchow, a straight-line footwork sequence and a
closing combination spin. Cohen finished third in the free, with marks ranging from 5.4
5.7 for technique and 5.5 5.9 for artistry, and took 4th place
"I had some mistakes on a spin and a jump. I was actually happy that I did
a triple/triple for the first time. Im disappointed I didnt improve my
standing, but I did some good things at this competition," said Cohen, who trains in
Simsbury, Connecticut with Tatiana Tarasovas group.
Japans Fumie Suguri was the final skater of the night. She opened her
"Swan Lake" program with a solid triple Lutz, double toe loop combination and a
strong triple flip before popping a planned triple toe loop, double toe loop into two
singles. She recovered strongly with a triple loop and a second triple Lutz, then turned
out of the landing of a triple Salchow. Nevertheless, she defeated Volchkova in the free
finishing 4th in that segment of the competition and overcame
Cohens superior free skate to win her second consecutive bronze medal.
"I made one mistake. I wondered about my placement until the last minute. I
didnt think about a medal that much," said Fumie. "I thought about doing
my best, just like in practice. Next season, I will improve myself and my skating from