2003 World Championships

Ladies' Qualifying

by Maggie Doyle


Group A

Starting Order - Group A
  1. Sarah Meier  SUI
  2. Julia Lautowa  AUT
  3. Miriam Manzano  AUS
  4. Lucie Krausova  CZE
  5. Elena Liashenko  UKR
  6. Joanne Rochette  CAN
  7. Michelle Kwan  USA
  8. Sarah Hughes  USA
  9. Zuzana Babiakova  SVK
  10. Shirene Human  RSA
  11. Shizuka Arakawa JPN
  12. Sara Falotico  BEL
  13. Sasha Cohen USA
  14. Ana Cecilia Cantu  MEX
  15. Alisa Drei  FIN
  16. Tamara Dorofejev  HUN
  17. Elena Sokolova  RUS
  18. Julia Sebestyen  HUN
  19. Roxana Luca  ROM
  20. Dan Fang  CHN
  21. Jenna McCorkell GBR


Group A Placements
Place Skater NOC
1 Michelle Kwan USA
2 Elena Sokolova RUS
3 Sasha Cohen USA
4 Shizuka Arakawa JPN
5 Elena Liashenko UKR
6 Sarah Hughes USA
7 Dan Fang CHN
8 Alisa Drei FIN
9 Joanne Rochette CAN
10 Julia Sebestyen HUN
11 Jenna McCorkell GBR
12 Julia Lautowa AUT
13 Sarah Meier SUI
14 Miriam Manzano AUS
15 Sara Falotico BEL
16 Tamara Dorofejev HUN
17 Zuzana Babiakova SVK
18 Lucie Krausova CZE
19 Roxana Luca ROM
20 Ana Cecilia Cantu MEX
21 Shirene Human RSA

Fifteen skaters from each group will advance to the short program after the qualifying rounds, which are worth 20%. Ladies Qualifying Free Skating A began the competition at 10:30 AM and Qualifying Group B started their round at 2:30 PM. Despite using ISU rules with last year's world placements to divide the skaters, the groups were very unbalanced with Group A the much more challenging group.

USA's Michelle Kwan won after landing six triples in her Aranjuez" by Rodrigo short program that also featured her trademark spiral that nearly covers the length of the rink. Her marks ranged from 5.7 to 5.8 for technical merit and from 5.8 to 5.9 for presentation. She attempted no triple-triple combinations but her performance was strong artistically. She included a triple Lutz- double toe combination and just singled the double toe after her triple toe loop jump. "Last night I went to bed early, it's odd to skate so early, compete so early, but all the skaters are in the same boat," said Kwan. Kwan skates as the twenty-ninth skater for the short program.

Elena Sokolova of Russia produced two triple-triple combinations in her program for the first time but faltered to pop her triple loop into a single in her "Notre Dame de Paris" program to finish second or tied for third when the two groups are combined. When asked if she was surprised in her placement after landing her combinations, she responded with a huge smile, "I had a mistake. Michelle is a wonderful skater." She landed a total of seven triples and took two first place ordinals. Her marks ranged from 5.6 to 5.9 for technical merit and from 5.6 to 5.9 for presentation. She said, "I did two triple-triple combinations for the first time in competition, and now I won't be afraid of doing them again." She will be the final skater for the short program.

Sasha Cohen of the United States competed with "Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2" in the costume she designed, landing seven clean triples but not attempting a triple-triple combination. Her only error was the slightest stumble in her footwork but it did not disrupt the program. It was a strong performance but not skated with her usual speed and without letting go. Her marks ranged from 5.5 to 5.9 for technical merit and from 5.1 to 5.9 for presentation. "Tatiana (Tarasova) just wanted me to do triple-double (combinations) for my first long, but I did three (triple-double) combinations here," said Cohen. She will be the second skater of the last warm-up group for the short program, skating twenty-sixth.

Shizuka Arakawa of Japan finished fourth with her "Titantic" program landing two triple-double combinations, a triple Lutz-double toe and a triple Salchow-double loop but stepping out of her triple flip. "I am competing in my second world championships, my coach (Richard Callaghan) told me, 'smile, smile!" a hundred times so I cared more about smiling that the jumps. I was pretty relaxed," she said. She has had boot problems so had an old pair of boots sent from Japan, which is why her blades were different colors. She landed sixth triples and is tied for seventh, just missing skating in the final warm-up group.

Elena Liashenko of the Ukraine finished fifth or tied for ninth overall landing a clean triple Lutz-double toe and triple flip - double toe combinations in her "Piazzolla Tango" program. "It was not easy, but I fought for it. I tried my best because this is a very hard qualifying group. I made some changes in my program, replacing the triple loop with a flip and doing the second Lutz in combination because it was better to do a toe at the end than to step out, so I had an extra combination, which was good," Liashenko explained.

Olympic Champion Sarah Hughes of the USA had a disastrous and disappointing skate for her elegant "La Bayadere" short program. Hughes opened her comments with a joking "I am not a morning person," although she finished her skate at 11:43 AM. She noted she got off to a good start with her opening combination of a double Axel - triple toe combination but things went downhill from there. She singled her Salchow, fought back for a triple loop and a triple flutz but fell on a triple flip and singled an ad-libbed toe-loop. Her marks generously ranged from 4.7 to 5.4 for technical merit and from 5.0 to 5.7 for presentation. "It's an adjustment year. I'm just looking forward to getting my feet back on the ice, competing. Hopefully it will go better the next two programs," she said. She will be the twenty-second skater for the short program.


Group B

Starting Order - Group B
  1. Gintare Vostrecovaite  LTU
  2. Galina Maniachenko  UKR
  3. Diana Y. Chen TPE
  4. Viktoria Volchkova  RUS
  5. Hristina Vassileva  BUL
  6. Mojca Kopac  SLO
  7. Fumie Suguri  JPN
  8. Tugba Karademir TUR
  9. Ludmila Nelidina  RUS
  10. Yoshie Onda  JPN
  11. Hae-Lyeum Cho  KOR
  12. Daria Timishenko  AZE
  13. Olga Vassiljeva  EST
  14. Carolina Kostner  ITA
  15. Anastasia Gimazetdinova  UZB
  16. Jennifer Robinson  CAN
  17. Johanna Goetesson  SWE
  18. Vanessa Giunchi  ITA
  19. Georgina Papavasiliou  GRE
  20. Anne Sophie Calvez  FRA
  21. Idora Hegel  CRO


Group B Placements
Place Skater NOC
1 Fumie Suguri JPN
2 Jennifer Robinson CAN
3 Viktoria Volchkova RUS
4 Yoshie Onda JPN
5 Ludmila Nelidina RUS
6 Anne Sophie Calvez FRA
7 Galina Maniachenko UKR
8 Anastasia Gimazetdinova UZB
9 Carolina Kostner ITA
10 Idora Hegel CRO
11 Johanna Goetesson SWE
12 Vanessa Giunchi ITA
13 Mojca Kopac SLO
14 Tugba Karademir TUR
15 Olga Vassiljeva EST
16 Daria Timishenko AZE
17 Gintare Vostrecovaite LTU
18 Georgina Papavasiliou GRE
19 Diana Y. Chen TPE
20 Hristina Vassileva BUL
21 Hae-Lyeum Cho KOR

Japan's Fumie Suguri leads this group after landing four triples in her "Swan Lake" short program. Missing her toe loop and popping her Salchow, she landed her triple Lutz-double toe loop combination, a triple flip, triple loop and a second Lutz. She excelled at footwork and had strong spins. Her marks ranged from 5.1 to 5.7 for technical merit and from 5.6 to 5.9 for presentation. "I was not satisfied with my performance today, but the skating itself was good and the triple Lutz and double toe combination was good", Suguri said. She further added, "I will learn from the mistakes I made today and try harder for the short and free programs. If possible, I would like to receive a standing ovation." This performance would have placed her much lower if she had competed in Group A; she would have been in the second to last warm-up group for the short instead of the final one which shows the disparity in these two groups.

Jennifer Robinson of Canada gave a strong performance, her best ever in world championships with six clean triples. Her program to "Suite Populaire Espagnole" included a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and a triple Salchow-triple loop, but she under-rotated and stepped out of that second jump. Robinson included four additional triples and good footwork for marks from 5.2 to 5.7 for technical merit and from 5.2 to 5.7 for presentation. A very happy Robinson said, "I had really good energy and confidence coming into this program. I trained really hard. I think that was a personal best performance for me overall."

Victoria Volchkova of Russia winds up in the last warm-up group after landing six triples in her "Air and Toccata and Fugue" short program. She fell on her opening combination of triple Lutz- triple toe on the second jump but continued on with five triples before stepping out of her final double Axel. She will be the first skater in the final warm-up group. " It is very positive that I tried the triple-triple (Lutz-toe-loop) for the first time. I fell, but I think it will be easier for me to go for it next time", she said. Volchkova added, "It was good that I was able to do everything after the fall."

Japan's Yoshie Onda skated to "Concerto for Cello and Orchestra", falling on her flutzed triple Lutz but landing four triples. She put a hand down on her second Lutz. Her marks ranged from 5.2 from 5.6 for technical merit and from 4.8 to 5.5 for presentation. She will skate twenty-third in the short program, the fifth skater in the second to last warm-up group. "I don't know why I made the mistake on the Lutz but I was very nervous. I did pretty well during the warm-up but I got worried instead of gaining confidence from it. I will learn from this experience," Onda explained. She is coming back off a recent injury. "I decided beforehand not to go for a triple Axel in qualifying. I just wanted to do a clean program," she added.

Russia's Ludmila Nelidina two footed her triple-Axel but her overall program was stronger than in her Skate America performance to "Sentimental Medley", "Corovado", and "Abrazame." She landed five triples but put a hand down on her triple Lutz. "I didn't do everything yet as I wanted, but I have another freeskating yet to come. I think this program wasn't bad at all considering I am debuting at this event," said Nelidina who replaced Irina Slutskaya here when she withdrew. She feels it is a great honor to be skating on the same ice with Michelle Kwan. She will skate as the second skater in the second to last warm-up.

New face in the top skaters, Anne Sophie Calvez of France said of her performance to "On Golden Pond", "I am pleased with myself today, in spite of some errors. I fought until the very end." She is competing in her second worlds and did not make it out of qualifying rounds last year. "Skating at worlds doesn't make me nervous as I have met the other girls in competition but the word "qualifying" makes me a little bit afraid because I was eliminated last year in qualifying round," Calvez added. She opened with a triple toe-triple toe combination followed by a triple Lutz - double toe combination and completed a nice triple loop. She fell on her triple flip, triple Lutz and two-footed her triple Salchow. She will skate nineteenth in the next round.

Carolina Kostner of Italy had been creating a buzz in practice with a triple Lutz - triple toe combination but didn't produce here, finishing ninth. "I didn't really expect more today. I was very nervous," she said.

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