October 31, 2010
By Suzanne Herrmann
Photos © Suzanne Herrmann
Fact of the day: Nobunari is a new father!
Today began bright and early, long before I was officially awake. Practice is one of my favorite parts of a competition because it allows the spectators to see how a skater works through their elements, programs, and difficulties. It is also a great opportunity to view the technique at this level. Though I did take some photos, I chose to enjoy watching practice so that I would not miss out on the programs and elements during the actual competition since I photographed more during that period. After dance practice, I let Evgeny Platov, coach of Sinead and John Kerr, that I gave him a +3 GOE on his arm movements during Sinead and John’s Short Dance. He said he controls them with his mind and when he moves so do they! (hahaha!)
Pairs was the first discipline to finish the competition today. It was not surprising that the Russians, Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze finished first with a total of 171.40 points though they actually were second in the free program to surprise silver medalists, Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch who finished with a total of 170.92 points. While Lubov and Nodari’s program was sharp, it had a few problems. Kirsten and Dylan owned the ice when they skated and performed like pros. Their spins were quick and their game was on minus a couple of unsteady landings. What an outcome for the last minute replacements for Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison!
Holding steady in third place was Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers, also Canadian, with a total of 161.15 points. It was halfway through the long program before I realized both Paige and Rudi spin clockwise!
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, from the United States, finished in fourth place with an overall total of 159.85 points. Their program had interesting choreography and Marissa’s dress was gorgeous. It will be interesting to see how the top four teams develop.
I had the chance to talk Stacey Kemp and David King, from Great Britain, after the competition was over. They have chosen to use this season as the time to put more difficult elements which initially is a rocky road, hence their last placement, but in this post-Olympic season, I cannot think of a better time to begin to up the ante!
The next discipline to be decided was the Men’s. Did they ever bring their A-game to Kingston!! Almost every skater skated a solid program. They were not all perfect—which I would expect is normal for the beginning of the season—but they attacked their elements and really made for an interesting competition. I was thrilled for many of them to do skate as well as they did. Finishing in first place was Canadian Patrick Chan with 239.52 points. I love the guy and I love his smooth skating, but I think he may have been a bit over-scored judging by the number of sticky jump landings which included a fall. He is definitely a crowd favorite and the Canadians roared when everyone realized he had won. The program was a definite improvement from the short!
Dropping to second place with a total of 236.52 points was Nobunari Oda from Japan. He was actually third in the long behind Adam Rippon, from the United States. Nobu completed a quad but fell on one of his attempted triple Axels. His knees are amazing on his jump landings and he has an enjoyable quality to watch. Even though Adam finished ahead of Nobu in the long, he remained in third place overall, finishing with 233.04 points despite Patrick’s surge ahead because Canadian Kevin Reynolds experienced some mishaps in his program. Adam’s quality of skating is exquisite and his grace puts me into a trance while I watch him. The triple Lutz with both arms overhead is unfathomable to me.
Though Kevin had quite a bit of jumping difficulty throughout his long, he deserves a shout-out for the two quads he landed. When he has it together he is amazing! Though what do you think…is it time to cut his hair or do you like the craziness of it?
Speaking of quads, I was thrilled for Spaniard, Javier Fernandez for landing what I believe was his first quad in competition. I will have to inquire on that but I am not aware of any other time that he has done one at least in a Grand Prix event! It was especially awesome because he had quite a bit of difficulty with it during practice; it looked rotated but he would fall after landing. He stood up on the landing and skated away as if it was nothing which anyone could see really motivated him to skate an amazing program with only one visible mistake—he singled an axel in combination with a double toe. The circular footwork sequence is an audience favorite as he mimics a pirate as he skates to Pirates of the Caribbean. His overall point total was 210.85, enough to move him up from sixth to fifth—and he finished fourth ahead of Kevin in the long.
Last but not least were the Ladies. Talk about mixing up the standings! Skate Canada is surely one of American Alissa Czisny’s favorite events—she always skates well at that event! It is obvious she has put in a lot of work—she even said so during the interview after the longs were over—and it is paying off. She is now working with Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen. Though she did fall once, her overall technique and confidence has improved miles in the past year. Alissa sprung up to first place with a total of 172.37 points. When she is on, she is unstoppable.
Ksenia Makarova, from Russia, finished in second with a total of 165.00 points. Though her skating elements were still great, she did have a few problems with her jumps and that held her back.
In third place was surprise finisher, Amelie Lacoste from Canada with 157.26 points. Today was the day for surprise Canadian medalists! Amelie skated a superior performance and attacked every element falling once and squeaking out another jump landing.
Canadian Cynthia Phaneuf dropped from first place to fourth after finishing seventh in the free skate after suffering a string of jump problems throughout her program.
Agnes Zawadski suffered a similar fate and dropped to sixth place. Haruka Imai, from Japan, and Valentina Marchei, from Italy, each moved up a position to finish in fifth and eighth respectively. Haruka is a very pleasant skater to watch and certainly has a bright future. Though Valentina had a couple jump issues, her skate was strong and her dress gorgeous.
All in all a fantastic day of competition! Tomorrow will finish the competition with the Free Dance and the Exhibition and we all will have to bid adieu.