2005 World Championships

Moscow, Russia

Ladies Qualifying Report     Men's Qualifying Report
Ladies Report     Men's Report
    Pairs Report    Dance Report



(Click on the above links for detailed results and reports)

Saturday, March 19

The last event of the competition takes place today.  The Ladies Free Skating begins at 1 PM (2 AM PST).

Friday, March 18

Irina Slutskaya won the Short Program and is well on her way to the gold medal.  Sasha Cohen is not far back in hot pursuit.  Michelle Kwan placed third in the Short Program and is now fifth overall, but the skaters holding places 3 through 7 are bunched up closely, so any of these are in a position to medal.  Kwan will probably need help from Slutsyaka to win, which seem unlikely, but the silver or bronze are potentially in reach.

The top three dance teams held their positions after the Free Dance to capture the medals.  Belbin & Agosto won the first silver medal in dance for the U.S. since 1975.  Delobel & Schoenfelder place third in the Free Dance and move up to fourth overall, but did not make the podium.

Marina Zoueva, Benjamin Agosto, Tanith Belbin and Igor Shpilband
Celebrate Dance Silver Medal

Thursday, March 17

Now that the qualifying rounds are over, the schedule for the remainder of the week settles down and there is time to breath.  Today we play hooky and take our first stroll around the city.  It is still the dead of winter here and today is the first day that has been completely clear.  For most of the week it has been cloudy, snowy and cold.  Tonight it is forecast to snow again.

Today they skate the dance Original Dance and the Men's long program.

Evgeni Plushenko has withdrawn form the competition. The reason given is adductor muscle inflammation syndrome.

Tatiana Navka & Roman Kostomarov continue to lead in Ice Dancing after the OD.  Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosot hold second.

Despite a few flaws, Lambiel kicks butt again and wins the gold.  Buttle moves up to second.  Lysacek wins the bronze.

Swiss Fans Go Crazy for Stephane Lambiel's Victory

As the arena was being prepared for the men's awards ceremony, a curious site was observed on the judges stand.   The Wige Data crew was running back and forth franticly, fingers were being pointed at one of the computer screens and then Peter Krick joined the pow wow.  It was like someone had poked a bee hive with a stick.  No official announcement was made, but it was noticed by the reporters who write down the scores in the arena, that the score for Evan Lysacek posted in the arena was different from the score listed in the protocol. In the arena, his scores had him third in the Free Skate, but in the protocol he is fourth.

Turns out there was another entry error that was discovered just after the event ended, with a triple Axel entered instead of a double Axel.  Fortunately it didn't change the medal results, but again we have a situation that raises questions about the integrity of the system. How many other entry errors are there that go unnoticed? Why is verification of the accuracy of marks input into the system so slipshod?  Why are entry caller errors being corrected, but not the judges?  In other sports both of these would be considered field of play decisions not subject to revision.

Wednesday, March 16

Today is a busy day, with the two ladies qualifying groups and the pairs long program.  We will post in this space what brief comments we can, when we can.  Full reports for these events, however, will be posted when we have the chance to catch up.

Despite errors, Sasha Cohen won qualifying Group B.  Miki Ando placed second.  After these first two ladies, the overall quality of the group was unimpressive.

Half way through Group A and it looks like Irina Slutskaya will end the day the leader in the ladies event and in a strong position to win.  Michelle Kwan hade major error in three jump elements.  Her program component scores were not in the range one would expect for a medal contender.  She earned just shy of 100 points.  Lucky for her, most of the other ladies (other than Slutskaya) had their share of problems so she is not entirely out of the running.  She will likely end the day trailing by 5 points.

Group A ended with Cynthia Phaneuf wiping up the ice like so many ladies beofre his.  Group A was truly a slop fest.

Pairs final:  Totmianina & Marinin, Petrova & Tikhonov, Zhang & Zhang.  Shen & Zhao withdraw due to injury.

Tuesday, March 15

The mystery surrounding the marking of Chengjiang Li was somewhat cleared up.  The revised marks show his last spin was changed from a disallowed sit spin to a level 1 sit spin.  This increased his score by 1.2 points for the base value of the spin and 0.10 for the GoE.  This was enough to put him 0.1 point ahead of Johnny Weir.  In terms of points this has a minor impact, but it alters the practice groups and start order for the     Short Program.  By dropping to fourth in his qualifying group, Weir will now skate in the next to last warmup group for the Short Program instead of the last.  A new draw for these two groups will be held in the morning, prior to the start of the men's practice.

The exact circumstances of the error remain unclear.  Specifically whether the Technical Specialist called the spin incorrectly during the event, and the identification was later changed; or whether the TS called the element correctly and the data entry operator entered the wrong identification.  In the former case the rules do not allow a change, since that is a field of play decision.  In the latter case, it could be considered a "calculation" error subject to correction.  It is assumed (but only assumed) at this point that the error was due to the data entry operator not correctly entering the call of the TS.

In addition to the error by the data entry operator, it appears that the Technical Controller, Junko Hiramatsu, is also partially at fault since it is the TC's responsibility to check the protocol and certify the correctness of the scoring.  This appears not to have been correctly done, since the error was not discovered until more than three hours after the end of the event.

There are two lessons to be learned from this.  First, skaters and team officials should always carefully check the protocol for potential errors immediately after an event and move quickly to question potential errors; and second, that the process for verifying that information is correctly entered into the system has serious holes in it.

In the compulsory dance segment, Tatiana Navka & Roman Kostomarov were in clear command of the ice dancing event.  Tanith Belbin & Benjamin placed a surprising second.  They were followed by four couples who are all numerically competitive for the bronze medal.

In the Men's Short Program, Stephane Lambiel was stoked and Stefan Linderman choked.  Evgeni Plushenko is looking like more of a long-shot for the gold and Evan Lysacek remains at least in range of the bronze.  Full story in the morning.

Monday, March 14

Competition began today with men's qualifying groups A and B during the day, and the pairs Short Program in the evening.

Group B led off at 10 AM.  Skating third in the first warmup group, Takeshi Honda was forced to withdrew due to injury at the start of his program.  Taking off on his opening jump, a quad toe loop, he injured his left ankle and had to be assisted off the ice.  Stephane Lambiel won Group B.  Brian Joubert placed second and Evan Lysacek third.

In Group A, Evgeni Plushenko skated a cautious program to win his group.  He was followed by Stefan Lindemann and Johnny Weir.  Long after the event was over and start order for the Short program drawn (and everyone having filed their stories for the day) it was announce that due to an entry error for Chengjiang Li, Weir had actually placed fourth and Li third.  Due to this change in the standings, a new draw must be held for Short Program.

In pairs the Russian and Chinese teams swept the top six places in the Short Program.  The two U.S. teams placed a dismal 12th and 14th in a field of 20.  The Canadian teams placed only slightly better (9th and 10th).

Sunday, March 13

We arrive alive!  (Well, actually we arrived yesterday.)  And it only took 19 hours!

In a break from past practice, the opening ceremony was held this evening.  The 90 minute extravaganza was attended by Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin.  To the best of anyone's recollection in the press room, this is the first time a head of state has attended a World Championships since 1982 when the Queen of Denmark attended the World Championships in Copenhagen.

A full size stage was erected at one end of the ice on which a variety of musicians and dancers performed.  Styles ranged from classical orchestral music to modern, from ballet to modern dance to acrobatic, from operatic to the Interior Ministry choir.  On ice several synchronized team and theatrical numbers were performed.  There was a laser light show and historical video clips on the arena scoreboard.  The closing of the show was a celebration of Russian skating champions of the last 40 years, many of whom were present in the VIP section during the ceremony.  A very rough estimate of the attendance is 4,000, which is a decent total considering there was no competition tonight and no "name" skaters performed.

Tonight the stage will be removed and the arena made ready for the start of competition tomorrow, with the. men's qualifying rounds in the morning and afternoon, and the pairs short program in the evening.  Rumor has it that Evgeni Plushenko has a serious problem with a stress fracture and may withdraw.  During practice today he did little more than stroke around and talk to his coach, Alexei Mishin.

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