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

The Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Skate America, continued on Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA) with the Original Dance, the Men's Short Program and the Pairs' Free Skating.

Ice Dancing, Original Dance

The ice dancers were first to take to the ice at the Colorado Springs World Arena with the Original Dance. The Original Dance of the 2001/02 season is the "Spanish Medley". Skaters chose two or three rhythms from the following: Tango, Flamenco, Paso Doble and Spanish Waltz. Overnight leaders Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz of Canada strengthened their lead by winning the Original Dance with a majority of 5 to 2 Judges. The four-time World bronze medallists went for an unusual and burlesque interpretation of the Flamenco and Tango. Their entertaining routine contained strong footwork and the Canadians earned marks ranging from 5.4 to 5.7 for composition and from 5.7 to 5.8 for presentation. Their only flaw was a twizzle that was out of sync at the end of the side by side step sequence. "It felt great", said an enthusiastic Bourne. "The steps are very difficult. It's a very technical dance, and I think we performed it very well. When we go home we want to make it even better."

Lithuania's Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas remained in second place. They produced an intense Paso Doble and Flamenco, in which Vanagas portrays the bull and Drobiazko the matador. The 2000 World bronze medallists performed with expression and displayed difficult steps, but overall they looked a little cautious. Their marks ranged from 5.3 to 5.7 for composition and from 5.4 to 5.8 for presentation. They had two first place ordinals, two second, one third and two fourth place ordinals. "Our Flamenco is called "Farchuta" and is actually a dance mostly performed by men only", Vanagas explained.

In third are Galit Chait/Sergei Sakhnovski (ISR). They chose the rhythms of Flamenco, Paso Doble and Tango for their Original Dance, which they performed with dynamism and good speed. "On the ice, we're actors", Chait said. The Israelis received three second place ordinals, three third place ordinals and one fourth.

Russia's Tatiana Navka/Roman Kostomarov are sitting in fourth after showing a passionate Tango and Flamenco routine.

Men, Short Program

The men started their competition with the Short Program during which, everyone seemed to be struggling a little. In the end, it was the defending Skate America Champion, Timothy Goebel, who took the lead ahead of Alexander Abt of Russia and Japan's Takeshi Honda.

Honda was first to skate and opened his Swing program with a high quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination followed by a shaky triple Axel out of a spread eagle. Then, the 1999 Four Continents Champion suddenly fell on his triple Lutz. "I thought my coach would kill me", he said. "I was so upset about the Lutz."

Abt started off strong with a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination in his musical program entitled "Armenian Selections", but then he slightly touched down on the quadruple toeloop out of steps. He went on to complete strong spins and a double Axel. "It was very hard to skate, mentally, and that means also physically", Abt commented. "As I wasn't sent to the Goodwill Games, this is my first competition this year, and the first one is always difficult. Let's hope the best for the free program." The US Champion, Timothy Goebel, nailed an effortless looking quadruple Salchow-triple toeloop combination, but his triple Axel was wobbly and he stepped out on the landing of the triple flip. "It was a stupid mistake, but I still wasn't too disappointed overall. I'm pleased, I skated my program very well. I focused on the presentation," commented the 21-year-old. Goebel took five out of seven first place ordinals, while the remaining two went to Abt.

Matt Savoie (USA) is currently in fourth position. He fell on the triple Lutz but showed excellent spins. Teammate and two-time World bronze medallist, Michael Weiss, fell on his quadruple toeloop attempt and missed the triple Axel, placing him seventh. Reigning Four Continents Champion, Chengjiang Li of China, fell hard on his quadruple toeloop, hitting the boards, and is now sitting in eighth place.

Pairs, Free Program

Reigning World Champions Jamie Sale/David Pelletier of Canada won the Pairs event and were the first to be crowned champions of 2001 Skate America, also becoming the first pair to have won this competition three years in a row. US Champions Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman took the silver medal, while the bronze went to Russia's Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin.

Sale/Pelletier were first to skate in the final flight. Performing to Sergei Rakhmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, Sale doubled the opening triple toeloop, but the team didn't make any further errors. Their exquisite and flowing program featured strong lifts, a triple throw loop, triple twist, triple throw Salchow and side by side double Axels. The Judges awarded the overnight leaders marks ranging from 5.7 to 5.8 for technical merit and from 5.8 to 5.9 for presentation. "You can't be perfect all the time", Sale said about the doubled toeloop. "I was just too quick. I got a little ahead of myself." She then went on to explain the theme of the program: "It's based on an orchid. I'm the actual orchid and David is the stem. It's all the concept of a flower and the experience of life."

Ina/Zimmerman presented an entirely new choreographed version of their program of last year, set to "Variations on a Theme by Paganini", by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Although Zimmerman struggled with the side by side triple toeloop and touched down with his hand on the ice on the second double Axel, the team managed to hold the program together. They pulled off difficult lifts, including their trademark "candle lift" and Ina landed the triple throw Salchow and triple throw loop. "We were very prepared, we didn't take anything for granted", Ina explained.

Totmianina/Marinin also delivered a strong Free Program, set to Leonard Bernstein's "Westside Story". The European silver medallists reeled off side by side triple Salchows and side by side triple toeloop-double toeloops. The pair also went on to complete a triple twist, triple throw loop and Salchow. However, over all, Totmianina/Marinin seemed less expressive than their competitors, and their lifts were not as difficult. "I didn't feel confident when we went out there", Marinin admitted. "The most positive thing today was that we were able to pull off all our elements. At the end, I only wanted to breath", he added, referring to the altitude of Colorado Springs.

Skate America continues on Saturday with the Free Dance, and the Men and Ladies Free Programs. Skate America is the first of six international qualifying events of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. Full standings will be published after each event and also made available directly 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	1.0	1	1	
2	Margarita DROBIAZKO / Povilas VANAGAS 	LTU	2.0	2	2	
3	Galit CHAIT / Sergei SAKHNOVSKI 	ISR	3.0	3	3	
4	Tatiana NAVKA / Roman KOSTOMAROV 	RUS	4.0	4	4	
5	Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO 	USA	5.0	5	5	
6	Megan WING / Aaron LOWE 		CAN	6.4	7	6	
7	Magali SAURI / Michail STIFUNIN 	FRA	6.6	6	7	
8	Jessica JOSEPH / Brandon FORSYTH 	USA	8.0	8	8	
9	Jill VERNEKOHL / Dmitri KURAKIN 	GER	9.0	9	9	
10	Nakako TSUZUKI / Rinat FARKHOUTDINOV 	JPN	10.0	10	10	


Men

FPl.	Name			Nat.	Points	SP	FS

1	Timothy GOEBEL 		USA	0.5	1	
2	Alexander ABT 		RUS	1.0	2	
3	Takeshi HONDA 		JPN	1.5	3	
4	Matthew SAVOIE 		USA	2.0	4	
5	Ilia KLIMKIN 		RUS	2.5	5	
6	Ben FERREIRA 		CAN	3.0	6	
7	Michael WEISS 		USA	3.5	7	
8	Chengjiang LI 		CHN	4.0	8	
9	Silvio SMALUN 		GER	4.5	9	
10	Brian JOUBERT 		FRA	5.0	10	
11	Kensuke NAKANIWA 	JPN	5.5	11	
12	Fedor ANDREEV 		CAN	6.0	12	

Pairs

FPl.	Name					Nat.	Points	SP	FS

1	Jamie SALE / David PELLETIER 		CAN	1.5	1	1
2	Kyoko INA / John ZIMMERMAN 		USA	3.0	2	2
3	Tatiana TOTMIANINA / Maxim MARININ 	RUS	4.5	3	3
4	Julia OBERTAS / Alexei SOKOLOV 		RUS	6.5	5	4
5	Danielle HARTSELL / Steve HARTSELL 	USA	8.0	6	5
6	Yuko KAWAGUCHI / Alexander MARKUNTSOV 	JPN	10.0	8	6
7	Valerie SAURETTE/Jean-Sebastien FECTEAU CAN	10.0	4	8
8	Laura HANDY / Jonathon HUNT 		USA	10.5	7	7
9	Natalia PONOMAREVA / Evgeni SVIRIDOV 	UZB	13.5	9	9

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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