Finlandia Trophy - Day 2

By Celine Oreiller
Photos © Vera Alexandrova

On Saturday, the afternoon started with the original dance. After the success of the “folk” theme two years ago, the ISU decided to bring it back for the Olympic season, thinking it would appeal to the audience. According to the reaction of the crowd, it was a good decision. The skaters took us on a trip around the world, though the connection between the music and the choreography wasn't obvious in all cases.

Sinead and John Kerr danced to a country song by Johnny Cash and, despite some mistakes in the steps and twizzles, increased their lead over the other teams with a score of 52.72 points (86.83 points overall). Beknazarova/Zuyev skated a very energetic Ukrainian dance and were rewarded with 49.36 points (80.20). Platonova/Grachev received 48.74 points (79.37) for their beautiful program to music from Dagestan. Skating to Hawaiian music, the German siblings Christina and William Beier got the highest technical score (25.90) for a total of 45.62 points that moved them up to 4th place (72.04).

The ladies were next to take the ice for the short program. Many people came to support the three beautiful stars of Finnish figure skating. Kiira Korpi fell on her opening triple lutz, but managed to hang on to the second place (54.71 points) thanks to the quality of her other elements. Susanna Poykio put her hand down on the triple flip, but her score of 54.64 put her in third place. After a beautiful triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, reigning European Champion Laura Lepistö doubled the loop and fell on the axel. She is currently in 6th place with 53.45 points. In the lead so far is 2009 World Junior Champion Alena Leonova (Russia), who delivered a strong and powerful performance despite a fall on the set up of the triple flip, which she landed nonetheless (56.24 points). Fumie Suguri (Japan) is in 4th place with 54.09 points and a surprising Myriane Samson (Canada) lies in 5th place with 53.67 points.

Last but not least was the men's free program. The first group had its share of drama. Kevin van der Perren (Belgium) had to stop his program following a heavy fall on his triple salchow-triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination. Despite clearly hurting at the left hip, he bravely continued his program, landing two more triple jumps, and climbed four ranks in the overall standings (160.53 points in total). Then the fire alarm went of during Mikko Minkkinen's program and people started leaving their seats while he was skating. It turned out that popcorn had burnt and there was no reason to worry, but it was a very awkward moment. Minkkinen (Finland) finished his program without interruption.

In the fight for the medals, Sergei Voronov skated a very good program that included a beautiful quadruple toeloop. With 141.72 points, he actually won the free program and climbed to second place overall (210.22 points). Daisuke Takahashi performed his program to “La Strada” for the first time. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the choreography, very different from his previous free skates, but he had some problems on jumps and spins. He received 141.02 points for the free program and remained in first place overall (224.25 points). He knows he still has a lot of work ahead, but for his first competition after his surgery, he has a lot to be satisfied about and his many fans can be reassured: he is back! Stephen Carriere only had the 5th best score in the free program (123.02 points) but hanged on to the bronze medal (193.24 points).

On Sunday, the free dance and the ladies' free program will conclude the competition.

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