The ISU World Figure Skating Championships continued Thursday in Calgary, Canada, with the Original Dance and the Mens¡¯ Free Skating
Ice Dancing, Original Dance
The Ice Dancing event continued with the Original Dance, the Latin Combination.
It turned out to be an interesting competition at a high level, and the top five couples are ranked very closely before the final Free Dance.
Albena Denkova/Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria defended their lead after the Compulsory Dance while Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon (Canada) remained in second place. France¡¯s Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder pulled up from fourth to third while Tanith Belbin/Benjamin Agosto (USA) slipped from third to fourth.
Dancing to Samba, Rhumba and Samba, Denkova/Staviski put out a dynamic performance that included an intricate side by side footwork line and diagonal step sequence, a straight line lift with her in a difficult position where he wasn¡¯t supporting her, a dance combination spin and a rotational lift. All their elements were graded a level four by the Technical Panel, and the 2004 World silver medallists picked up 60.94 points (31.19/29.75) which added up to 99.40 so far. ¡°Today we tried not to think about the placement we have, if it¡¯s first, or eighth or tenth. We¡¯re trying not to care about it. Now we¡¯re just trying to do our Free Dance the best we can. We don¡¯t think about the placement, we don¡¯t feel it yet. Maybe when the competition is over I can tell you how it feels and if I sleep tonight or not¡±, Denkova told the post-event news conference. ¡°We changed the Original Dance a little bit. We always try to improve the elements and we¡¯re very happy to receive very high levels for our elements in the OD here.¡±
Dubreuil/Lauzon completed smooth steps and difficult lifts including a straight line lift with him skating on one foot while holding her up high in their Salsa and Rhumba routine. The Canadian Champions scored 59.81 points (30.33/29.48) and now have 98.12 overall. ¡°It was little bit stressful coming here. It was the OD that was on our mind a lot. We knew we could it really well, because we did it in practice last week. We¡¯ve seen the accident (at the Olympic Games) so many times that it still goes on in my head. To land the lift as well as we did was great¡±, Dubreuil explained. ¡°For both of us it¡¯s just such a blessing and so exciting to skate our Free Dance. We really missed skating it at the Olympics and I think tomorrow will be full of passion. We just hope to skate our very best performance and give them (the audience) chills.¡± Lauzon said that they changed the last lift which they fell on during the Olympic Winter Games and where Dubreuil sustained an injury that eventually forced them to withdraw. ¡°It¡¯s not exactly the same lift that we had in Turin. The reason why we changed it was to make sure that when we go into the lift that there was no doubt in my mind.¡±
Delobel/Schoenfelder produced a strong dance to Mambo, Rhumba and Mambo as well. Their Mambo part was highlighted by a difficult side by side footwork line with twizzles in both directions and the Rhumba featured a curve lift and an excellent diagonal step sequence right on the beat. The 2005 European bronze medallists earned 60.02 points (30.35/29.67) and were ranked second in the OD. They moved up to third at 97.32 points. ¡°For the last original dance of the year, we did a really good job. We are very proud of what we did today¡±, Delobel commented. ¡°It was our best original dance in terms of marks. To have surpassed the Canadians (Dubreuil/Lauzon) at home, on the original dance mark, when we know they¡¯re really good performers and I think they skated really well. I would consider that we have a chance at the podium¡±, Schoenfelder added.
Belbin/Agosto turned in a strong performance of their characteristic dance to Salsa, Rhumba and Samba as well and were just edged by Delobel/Schoenfelder by 0.08 points to finish fourth at 97.24 points total. The Olympic and World silver medallists got 59.65 points for their performance. Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas of Lithuania came in fifth with another exciting and technically difficult routine. At 96.12 points they still have a shot at a medal.
Men, Free Skating
Today¡¯s competition continued with an exciting Men¡¯s Final at a very high level. World Champion Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland defended the title he won last year, Brian Joubert of France came back strongly from a rather disappointing season to claim the silver medal and Evan Lysacek (USA) soared from seventh to third to capture the bronze.
First to skate in the final group was Nobunari Oda (JPN), who stood in second place after the Short Program. The Japanese put down both hands on his opening triple Axel but recovered to land five clean triples. However, Oda didn¡¯t get any points for his triple flip-double toeloop combination. After he repeated the triple Axel (which counted as a combination), the flip-combo became his fourth combination, but only three are allowed. Oda dropped to fourth at 251.21 points.
Next up was Brian Joubert. He looked focused when he took his starting position. Skating to ¡°The Matrix¡±, the Frenchman nailed a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip-double toeloop, a triple Axel and then another quadruple toeloop right in front of his coach Andrei Berezintsev who threw his arms up in triumph. Joubert went on to complete a triple loop, flip, Lutz and Salchow as well as good spins to achieve a new personal best score of 156.47 points (79.99 element score/76.48 program component score). The 21-year-old racked up a total score of 270.83 points and moved up one spot. Joubert had gone back to his old program ¡°The Matrix¡± with which has had his most success for far, when he won the 2004 European Championships and the silver at Worlds.
Jeffrey Buttle (CAN) was next, but the Olympic bronze medallist seemed nervous and singled both his planned triple Axels. He finished fifth (241.59 points).
The defending champion had drawn to skate last. Stephane Lambiel greeted the crowd with a radiant smile when he took on to the ice. The 20-year-old opened his program to ¡°The Four Seasons¡± with a triple Axel that wasn¡¯t fully rotated and subsequently downgraded to a double by the Technical Panel. The Swiss then releed off a quadruple-triple toeloop combination, a double Axel, another quadruple toeloop, a triple flip-triple toe, a triple Lutz-double toeloop, a triple Salchow and good spins. The only other glitch was a two-footed triple loop. Lambiel scored 156.88 points (78.70/77.88) which added up to a total of 274.22 points and skated off with the gold.
Lysacek stood in seventh place after a mistake in the Short Program and didn¡¯t skate in the last flight. He hit a quadruple-triple toeloop, although he two-footed the quad and stepped out of the triple. But the American continued his energetic routine to ¡°Carmen¡± by Georges Bizet and Rodion Shedrikh without further mistakes, landing a triple Axel, a triple loop, Salchow, a triple Axel-double toeloop, a triple Lutz-triple toe, another triple Lutz and a double Axel. His spins were fast and well centered, and the 2005 Four Continents Champion was awarded 149.97 points (76.97/73.00). He accumulated a total score of 255.22 points to add a second World bronze medal to his collection.
¡°I¡¯m very happy and very proud, because it was a very hard competition. Every skater did a good job tonight. It was interesting for me to compete at the end of this competition, because I was the World Champion from Moscow, and I was the last (to skate) tonight. The suspense lasted until the end of the competition. I didn¡¯t know the score of Brian (Joubert) and everybody, but I knew it was a hard competition. I didn¡¯t watch the others at all, but when I went out it was to give the maximum. I knew I could do the maximum¡±, Lambiel explained. ¡°The first time was a nice surprise. Today it was harder to skate here, because everyone wanted to beat me, because I¡¯m in first place after the combined result (of Short Program and Qualifying). I¡¯m proud to win the title again¡±, he answered when asked to compare his first and second title.
¡°I was confident before my Free Skating. I was very happy about it. I did a Free Program with two quads, this was very important for me. The season was difficult. My Free Skating program (¡°Lord of the Dance¡±) was too difficult for me. I love the music, but it was too much for me. Therefore I didn¡¯t perform it well. When I went back to ¡°Matrix¡±, it was magic. My jumps were good after two days. 2005 wasn¡¯t a good season and this one was difficult. It¡¯s gerat to win this medal. Two silver medals are good. I can be World Champion, I know that¡±, Joubert commented.
¡°It was kind of a relief actually today to be done, to put this long but also successful season to an end, to put these two programs that I love very much to an end. I think that today was important to me, because putting a quadruple jump into a program is a huge hurdle both physically and mentally, and I think that¡¯s were the bulk of my energy went today¡±, Lysacek said. ¡°I worked very, very hard for the last 12 months to make improvements, and I think my levels have gone up, there is a lot more difficulty in my routine. I¡¯m proud of that, and I think that I¡¯m a very different skater this year than I was last year. Last year was a lot of fun to go to the World Championships as a new guy and just enjoy it and get a medal. There was no pressure. This year was a totally different story coming off a fourth place finish at the Olympics. There was a lot of pressure on me to win a medal and to do at least what I did last year and deliver a good skate. I was very nervous in the Qualifying and in the Short (Program) and today.¡±
The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2006 continue Friday with the Ladies Short Program and the Free Dance.
From ISU website