ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: Skate America, Day One

The Grand Prix of Figure Skating opened on Thursday with Skate America in Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA).

Ice Dancing, Compulsory Dance

The ice dancers opened the competition with the Compulsory Dance, set to the Ravensburger Waltz.

Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz (CAN) clearly took the lead with a well-executed, characteristic waltz. The Canadians, fourth at the past World Championships in Vancouver, showed deep edges and good speed. "It felt very good", said Bourne about their routine. "The first time in front of the judges is always a little nerve-wracking", she added. Their marks went up to 5.8 for timing and expression.

Lithuania's Margarita Drobiazko/ Povilas Vanagas came in second with marks ranging from 5.0 to 5.5 for technique and from 5.3 to 5.5 for timing and expression. Drobiazko slightly slipped on the second twizzle in the second round of the dance. "These compulsories are quite old, but the skaters today have much more speed and power and sometimes come too close to the boards. I tried to turn quickly", she explained. Bourne also got too close to the boards, scratching them with her blade.

Galit Chait/Sergei Sakhnovski (ISR) finished third in the first part of the event. "We changed something, and the judges are seeing it", commented Chait. "Last year, we did a lot of toe steps, this year, we try to do more on edges. We've been working much on technique, so everything we try is new and has a different feeling." While Bourne/Kraatz received six first place ordinals out of seven, the Judges were divided on the following couples. Drobiazko/Vanagas got one first place ordinal, three second places, one third and two fourth places. Chait/Sakhnovski had three second and four third place ordinals. Two third place ordinals also went to Russia's Tatiana Navka/Roman Kostomarov who stand in fourth overall.

Pairs, Short Program

Reigning World Champions Jamie Sale/David Pelletier of Canada won the Pairs Short Program, followed by US Champions Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman and Russia's Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin in second and third place, respectively.

Sale/Pelletier produced a fine Tango "Jalousie" routine and landed side by side triple toeloops, a triple throw loop and a high double twist. The only flaw came when Sale changed the position too early in their side by side spin. Their program contained many innovative moves and earned them marks ranging from 5.6 to 5.8 for required elements and from 5.7 to 5.9 for presentation. "It went well, we had one little mistake on the spin", Pelletier said. "Jamie felt I had said "change" while I didn't say anything."

Ina/Zimmerman were a strong second. Their bluesy and sultry program set to "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd featured side by side triple toeloops, a triple throw loop and a strong lift. They received marks up to 5.6 for required elements and up to 5.7 for presentation. "We never went out strong like this before, hopefully it's a good sign", a delighted Ina said. She is suffering from a torn labrum in her right shoulder but said the injury didn't bother her during the performance. "When you compete, you don't really feel it", commented Ina.

European silver medallists Totmianina/Marinin were slightly out of sync in their side by side spin and their lift was shaky, but then they nailed the side by side triple toeloops effortlessly. The Judges awarded them marks from 5.3 to 5.7 for required elements and from 5.4 to 5.7 for presentation. "Physically it wasn't so hard, but it is the first competition of the season and that's always difficult. We also have a new program", Totmianina commented. Sitting in fourth place are Canada's Valerie Saurette/Jean-Sebastien Fecteau, after she two-footed the triple throw Salchow.

Ladies, Short Program

Four-time World Champion Michelle Kwan (USA) still came out on top of the field, although she popped the triple flip in her "East of Eden" program. She landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination and a double Axel. Kwan's marks for required elements ranged from 5.0 to 5.4, but her presentation marks were as high as 5.8. "I felt really strong until I popped the flip", she said. "I was surprised when I did the mistake." Kwan just left her long-time coach Frank Carroll two days before the competition and is putting herself on the ice. "I've been through a lot the past months, a lot is going on in my head", she confessed.

Teammate Sarah Hughes singled the loop in her planned triple Lutz-double loop combination but produced a triple flip and good spins. The Judges awarded Hughes marks up to 5.4 for required elements and up to 5.7 for presentation for her "Ave Maria" program, placing her second. "I was a little cautious", Hughes explained. "I want to build on my performances. Last year in every competition I did I improved."

Russia's Viktoria Volchkova slightly touched down on her triple Lutz in the combination, but recovered to nail a high triple flip and showed improved spins. The European bronze medallist sits in third place following the Short Program. "Overall I'm pleased with my program, except for the little mistake on the landing of the triple Lutz", commented Volchkova.

Sasha Cohen (USA) stumbled in her triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and is now standing in fourth place.

The Judges were divided over the top skaters. Kwan took four first place ordinals, one second and one third place from the Judges. Two Judges had Hughes in first, while one put her in second place and three had her in third. Volchkova received three second place ordinals, one third and two fifth place ordinals from the Judges.

Skate America continues on Friday with the Original Dance, the Men's Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating.

Skate America is the first of six international qualifying events of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The skaters will be awarded prize money and points, and the top six skaters and couples with the most points overall will proceed to the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Kitchener (CAN) on December 13-16, 2001. Full results are attached and are also directly available on the ISU Internet site on ww2.isu.org .

Results 

Ice Dance

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	CD	OD	FD

1	Shae-Lynn BOURNE / Victor KRAATZ 	CAN	0.4	1		
2	Margarita DROBIAZKO / Povilas VANAGAS 	LTU	0.8	2		
3	Galit CHAIT / Sergei SAKHNOVSKI 	ISR	1.2	3		
4	Tatiana NAVKA / Roman KOSTOMAROV 	RUS	1.6	4		
5	Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO 	USA	2.0	5		
6	Magali SAURI / Michail STIFUNIN 	FRA	2.4	6		
7	Megan WING / Aaron LOWE 		CAN	2.8	7		
8	Jessica JOSEPH / Brandon FORSYTH 	USA	3.2	8		
9	Jill VERNEKOHL / Dmitri KURAKIN 	GER	3.6	9		
10	Nakako TSUZUKI / Rinat FARKHOUTDINOV 	JPN	4.0	10		


Pairs

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	SP	FS

1	Jamie SALE / David PELLETIER 		CAN	0.5	1	
2	Kyoko INA / John ZIMMERMAN 		USA	1.0	2	
3	Tatiana TOTMIANINA / Maxim MARININ 	RUS	1.5	3	
4	Valerie SAURETTE/Jean-Sebastien FECTEAU CAN	2.0	4	
5	Julia OBERTAS / Alexei SOKOLOV 		RUS	2.5	5	
6	Danielle HARTSELL / Steve HARTSELL 	USA	3.0	6	
7	Laura HANDY / Jonathon HUNT 		USA	3.5	7	
8	Yuko KAWAGUCHI / Alexander MARKUNTSOV 	JPN	4.0	8	
9	Natalia PONOMAREVA / Evgeni SVIRIDOV 	UZB	4.5	9	


Ladies

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	SP	FS

1	Michelle KWAN 		USA	0.5	1	
2	Sarah HUGHES 		USA	1.0	2	
3	Viktoria VOLCHKOVA 	RUS	1.5	3	
4	Sasha COHEN 		USA	2.0	4	
5	Julia SEBESTYEN 	HUN	2.5	5	
6	Shizuka ARAKAWA 	JPN	3.0	6	
7	Jennifer ROBINSON 	CAN	3.5	7	
8	Mikkeline KIERKGAARD 	DEN	4.0	8	
9	Elena SOKOLOVA 		RUS	4.5	9	
10	Vanessa GIUNCHI 	ITA	5.0	10	
11	Utako WAKAMATSU 	JPN	5.5	11	

For further information please contact:

Aline Bussat Ingwersen, ISU Media Coordinator    
Tel: +41 21 612 66 66   
Fax: +41 21 612 66 77
E-mail: bussat@isu.org	

or

Skate America
Bob Dunlop Press Officer 
Tel:      +1 719 228 34 41 
Cellular: +1 719 351 96 09 

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