Grand Prix Final 2009/2010

Day 1

By Atsuko Kuryu
Photos © M. Hashimoto

The 2009 ISU Grand Prix Final took place in Yoyogi, Tokyo from December 3rd to 5th with eighty-six competitors from eleven countries.


Junior Pairs’ SP

After a very simple opening ceremony, the competition started with the Junior Pair’s SP.

The Chinese pair led the short program with a very entertaining program. Wrapped in lovely Chinese-style costumes, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han performed a clean program with good speed. What is most impressive in their programs are their throw triple salchow which was quite high, and the combination spin with several beautiful positions. They got 56.80 which exceeded Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran by 2.44 points.

Takahashi & Tran of Japan also had a strong program in which they made only one mistake when Narumi stepped out of the first combination jump, the double axel. They received 54.44 which was almost as good as their season’s best.

Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov skated a very impressive routine at their first appearance in a GPF. They had some small mistakes in their program, however the overall impression was not bad and they remained in third place.

The margin between third and eighth is 5.85 which is less than the gap between second and third 5.54, so the order could be changed a lot tomorrow.


Junior Men SP

The Chinese 19 year old won the Junior Men’s short program. He skated to The Way Old Friends Do by Abba with huge jumps including 3 lutz-3toe combination, triple axel, and triple flip which impressed the judges and crowds very much. Despite this, he had edge call for his triple flip, the judges gave him +GOE of 0.20. Both of his footwork sequences received level 3 and had good flow and edge control.

Ross Miner stepped out the opening triple axel which cost him second place. Apart from this he had an almost perfect performance to A Carmen Fantasy, and entertained the audience. He got 70.85 for his effort.

Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, 15 years old, skated a little shakily in his program. His landing of the triple axel was over turned, he couldn’t execute the triple-triple combination which he usually does easily and had edge call for triple flip. His score of 69.85 must be a bit lower than he expected.

Grant Hochstein had a very good performance and stayed 4 th with 66.45, which was not a bad score for him, as he doesn’t have a triple axel.

Kent Nakamura was the only male skater who had a deduction for falls today. He fell on the triple axel and triple flip and ranked 8 th with 57.16.


Senior Pairs’ SP

Chinese Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao dominated the Senior Pair short program. They performed a breathtakingly beautiful program, moving the audience deeply. Their unison was perfect and detailed. They have renewed their season’s best score every time they’ve skated, since their come-back, and tonight’s performance was no exception. They got 75.36 which was another season’s best.

The reigning world champions Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy ranked second with 73.14. Their routine to Send in the Clowns performed by Danny Wright was very impressive and charming as usual. Their only mistake came from Aliona when she stepped out the side by side triple toe jump.

Maria Mukhortowa & Maxim Trankov of Russia also performed a beautiful program to Appasionata by Secret Garden. They got 69.78 which is their season’s best.

Shen & Zhao’s compatriots Qing Pang & Jian Tong’s program was also very impressive which seemed to be executed perfectly but the last spin was not counted. Thus they stay 4 th.


Senior Ice Dance Original Program

In this GPF the Ice dance doesn’t have Compulsory.

Meryl Davis & Charlie White’s (USA) Indian folk dance was very exotic and fit their characters. They interpreted the music and involved the crowd very well. They got 65.80 and became the leader of the night.

Canada’s Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir performed an elegant and mature program to Farrucas by Pepe Romeo which is a Spanish Flamenco. Their performance enthralled the audience and they received a standing ovation but couldn’t reach first place. Their score was 64.01

Although they are Europeans Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat of France interpreted the spirit of the Western folk dance. Their playful routine was really entertaining but maybe needs more technical difficulty to get a higher place. Their score 46.93 took over Sinead Kerr & John Kerr, who performed another American county, who scored only 0.46 points less.

Grand Prix Final Day 2 will be the Junior Mens’ free program, Jr. Pairs’ free program, Senior Mens’ SP, Senior Ladies’ SP and the Senior free dance.


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