Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, Kitchener (CAN), Day 2

The Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Kitchener (CAN), continued on Saturday with the Ladies, Men, Pairs second Free Programs and the second Free Dance.

Ice Dance, Second Free Dance

The Ice Dance event was full of excitement, as all six teams skated well and the suspense lasted until the last couple had skated. Canada's Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz captured the second Free Dance to win overall. Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat of France settled for the silver, while the Lithuanian team of Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas clinched the bronze medal.

Bourne/Kraatz, sitting in second place after the first day, pulled off a strong, upbeat dance to Michael Jackson songs. Their performance featured good footwork, their trademark hydroblading moves and they worked the crowd from the start. As the marks came up, the skaters jumped up in triumph. They received marks up to 5,9 for technical merit and one 6,0 for presentation. "It's a shock to skate so well this evening", Bourne enthused. "I was so excited, especially in front of the Canadian crowd, I was taken aback." Her partner added: "They're judging what they are seeing." Overnight leaders Anissina/Peizerat were up next as the competitors skated in the reverse order of yesterday's result. The French put in a very flowing and expressive dance that featured intricate footwork and innovative lifts, including an inverse lift, a move, that they are famous for doing. However, their twizzles were out of sync. The couple's marks ranged from 5.6 to 5.9 for technical merit and from 5.8 to 5.9 for presentation of their program entitled "Liberta". They lost the gold medal by a majority of four to three judges. "The Canadians had that little extra energy today, the audience was behind them all the way through", Peizerat commented. "Now we'll go back home and will continue to work on our free dance to improve it further."

Drobiazko/Vanagas thrilled the crowd with their powerful performance set to "Quelques Cris" by Johnny Halliday. Weaving in one move after the other, the husband and wife team sparkled with energy. The Lithuanians were very pleased with their performance. "This was the best we've skated our program all season so far, not only in competition, but also in practice", Drobiazko explained. "This result was unexpected for us. It motivates us a lot to work even harder."

The reigning World Champions Barbara Fusar Poli/Maurizio Margaglio of Italy came in fourth place. They showed an energetic and entertaining program to "I will survive". "We didn't loose our motivation, we went out there to show what we can do", Margaglio said.

Men,Second Free Program

The excitement and the high level performances continued in the Men's event. Again, the overnight leader was beaten by yesterday's runner up.

Skating first of the top three skaters, Timothy Goebel of the USA produced a technically demanding program that contained a quadruple Salchow-triple toeloop combination, but he put his hand down on the second jump. The same mistake happened on the quadruple toeloop, but the US Champion completed six clean triples to place third. "Tonight I have proved myself artistically", Goebel said.

The battle for the gold was between the two Russians: Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko. Three-time World Champion Yagudin opened his emotional program set to the "The Man in the Iron Mask" soundtrack with a spectacular quadruple-triple toeloop combination, followed by another quadruple toeloop. The 21-year-old went on to reel off lightning footwork and four more clean triples, but he two-footed his second Axel and doubled the flip. The marks were as high as 5.9 for both presentation and technical merit. Plushenko saw the marks of his competitor. Appearing very focused and calm, the reigning World Champion hit his famous quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop-double loop combination, but had to put in an extra turn after the first jump. The 19-year-old landed another quad toeloop, a triple Axel and five more triples, including a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. He thrilled the crowd with his footwork and his Biellmann spin. Nevertheless, Plushenko's winning streak was ended tonight, as Yagudin pulled ahead of him by the thinnest margin, picking up four out of seven first place ordinals. "I was very emotional when I found out I won. I have been waiting for so long and worked very hard", Yagudin told the press. "I deserved to win, I'm very pleased with tonight." Plushenko said: "I didn't think about my sore ankle and the pain in the groin when I went out to skate. I'm pleased with the debut of my new program. It wasn't bad for the first time. I still can improve, there is not limit in figure skating."

Pairs, Second Free Program

The Pairs event concluded with the second Free Program. To the delight of the home crowd, Canada's Jamie Sale/David Pelletier overtook the Russians Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikhuralidze to capture the title for their second time in a row. The bronze went to Xue Shen/ Hongbo Zhao of China.

Skating to Love Story, their 2000 Free Program, Sale/Pelletier produced magic on the ice. Their flawless performance featured side by side triple toeloops and double Axels as well as a triple twist and triple throw loop. The crowd rose to their feet before the program ended. The current World Champions received two perfect 6.0s for presentation. "Wow! That was exciting", Sale commented, overwhelmed. "We worked really hard this year, both technically and physically."

Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze knew they could not miss a thing. The two-time World Champions started off strong with side by side triple toeloops, double Axels and a triple twist, but then Berezhnaya fell on the triple throw Salchow. The team debuted their new program set to "Meditation" from the Opera "Thais". "Of course it was hard to go out and to skate right after the Canadians. We remained clam, skated calmly. Too bad about the mistake."

Shen/Zhao delivered an emotional program to "Turandot" and nailed their spectacular triple throw Salchow and triple throw loops, but Shen struggled with the Axel, singling it both times. The World bronze medallist just managed to fend off US Champions Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman, who also produced a strong performance. "I already had trouble with the Axel in practice", Shen admitted. "It's because of the smaller ice surface, there is not enough room."

Ladies Second Free Program

The Ladies were last to compete today. Irina Slutskaya of Russia defended her overnight lead to take home her third consecutive Grand Prix Final title. Four-time World Champion Michelle Kwan stayed in second place to claim the silver, while her teammate Sarah Hughes pulled up to third overall.

Skating last, Slutskaya was fast and powerful on the ice, but a few mistakes marred her "Tosca" routine. The four-time European Champion double her second Lutz and stepped out of the triple Flip, but she did land four triples, including a triple Lutz-double loop and a triple Salchow- double loop combination. The Muscovite also produced excellent spins, including her trademark double Biellmann. "I was so tired, I didn't feel well", she said. "I'm happy to have won, but my skating has to be better." Slutskaya received four first and three third place ordinals to stay ahead of her competitors.

Kwan made amends after yesterday's performance. Skating to "Sheherazade", the Californian pulled off six clean triples, but she unexpectedly fell on her final triple toeloop, that she had thrown in as an extra at the last minute. Kwan collected three first place ordinals and four seconds. "Son of a gun! That's all I really wanted to do - that toeloop!" she exclaimed as she came off the ice. "I decided to add it at the end, obviously a mistake. I felt settled out there tonight, not having felt like that in a long time."

World bronze medalist Sarah Hughes also came back stronger. Her lyrical program set to "Daphne and Chloe" featured a triple Salchow-triple loop combination and five more triple jumps and nice spins. Hughes came close to beating Slutskaya in the second Free Program, as she picked up three second place ordinals. "I was really upset after the first program yesterday, and I still wasn't satisfied with the second. I was very determined today."

Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, Kitchener (CAN), Day 2

Results

Ice Dancing

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	OD	FD1	FD2

1	Shae-Lynn BOURNE / Victor KRAATZ 	CAN	3.0	2	2	1
2	Marina ANISSINA / Gwendal PEIZERAT 	FRA	3.0	1	1	2
3	Margarita DROBIAZKO / Povilas VANAGAS 	LTU	6.4	4	3	3
4	Barbara FUSAR-POLI / Maurizio MARGAGLIO ITA	7.6	3	4	4
5	Galit CHAIT / Sergei SAKHNOVSKI 	ISR	10.0	5	5	5
6	Marie-France DUBREUIL / Patrice LAUZON 	CAN	12.0	6	6	6

Men

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	SP	F1	F2

1	Alexei YAGUDIN 		RUS	3.0	2	2	1
2	Evgeny PLUSHENKO 	RUS	3.0	1	1	2
3	Timothy GOEBEL 		USA	6.0	3	3	3
4	Todd ELDREDGE 		USA	8.4	5	4	4
5	Takeshi HONDA 		JPN	9.6	4	5	5
6	Ivan DINEV 		BUL	12.0	6	6	6

Pairs

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	SP	F1	F2

1	Jamie SALE / David PELLETIER 		CAN	2.6	1	2	1
2	Elena BEREZHNAYA / Anton SIKHARULIDZE 	RUS	3.4	2	1	2
3	Xue SHEN / Hongbo ZHAO 			CHN	6.0	3	3	3
4	Kyoko INA / John ZIMMERMAN 		USA	8.8	6	4	4
5	Maria PETROVA / Alexei TIKHONOV 	RUS	10.0	5	5	5
6	Sarah ABITBOL / Stephane BERNADIS 	FRA	11.2	4	6	6

Ladies

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	SP	F1	F2

1	Irina SLUTSKAYA 	RUS	2.0	1	1	1
2	Michelle KWAN 		USA	4.4	3	2	2
3	Sarah HUGHES 		USA	6.4	4	3	3
4	Maria BUTYRSKAYA 	RUS	7.2	2	4	4
5	Yoshie ONDA 		JPN	11.0	6	6	5
6	Tatiana MALININA 	UZB	11.0	5	5	6



For further information please contact:

Aline Bussat Ingwersen,
ISU Media/ Communications Coordinator

Tel: + 1 (519) 744 8892    
E-mail: bussat@isu.ch	

or

Patrick Kenny,
Press Officer, 
Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final,

Tel:+1 (647) 221 31 06      
E-mail: pkenny@skatecanada.ca

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