by Tatjana Flade
Photos by Robin Ritoss
Madison Chock and Evan Bates
(on short dance) Chock – The last one! It was fun. This program has been fun all season so we weren’t expecting anything different. We had a good time. It was nice to skate this program one last time.
(on their first World Team Trophy) Bates – It’s unlike any other competition I’ve experienced ever, in a good way. The atmosphere is infectiously fun. It’s not like a normal skating competition in the way that everyone is cheering for each other. Everyone is excited, I think as much as for the competition, as for what is coming up next, which is a rest. Everyone is happy to be here and going through their programs one last time for the fans. It’s the last hurray.
(on short program) I had a good time out there. I want to finish the season strong. I actually wanted a season’s best, I didn’t reach that, but it makes me go back and look at what I need to focus on.
(on free skate tomorrow) I want to skate a clean performance. I want to give a great performance for all of the fans in Japan and in the U.S. I want to prove that this season I’m where I need to be and it was no fluke. I’m ready to step up.
(on what he has been doing since U.S. Championships in January) I kept in shape after nationals just in case, someone God forbid, got injured before worlds. I wanted to be a responsible alternate and if I had the opportunity to take that place, be prepared. After nationals, I started very hard in the gym and completely changed my diet. I got in the gym and have been sore for about two months straight. I’ve been working very, very, very hard. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve never felt so comfortable doing a long program in training. I came into this event very seriously, this was my world championships since I didn’t get the opportunity to go.
(on the short program) I am very disappointed in the fall, obviously. You can’t make mistakes. But look at it, it’s so tight. The rest I gave 100 percent. I knew I could do a Lutz-toe, I knew I could do an Axel. We changed all of my spins in both programs to make sure they were Level 4s. I got a 2 and a 3 and I’m sitting here scratching my head because I don’t understand. I was in the program and making very sure to get those points. I was counting my revolutions and making sure everything was very specific. I’m kind of left scratching my head about the points that I left on the table in terms of spins, but the mistake I made is obvious so I understand where I lost points in terms of jumps.
It’s not over, there’s tomorrow. Like I said, I’m in the best shape of my life, so I’m excited to do this long program and do better than today.
(on third World Team Trophy) You have your teammates and you’re rooting for them. I was in my program, not before the mistake, and I saw my teammates and felt good they were cheering me on. I have complete support, it’s amazing. It’s so cool to be up in the stands rooting for everyone. The weird part is that your teammates are also your competitors. I want Max to skate his absolute best because the better he skates the better our team does. I want him to skate his best and I want me to skate a little bit better. It’s really cool and it’s a fun event. It’s a different sort of pressure. When you’re competing by yourself, you really feel alone on the ice, that can be scary. To have that camaraderie and that support here is really cool.
(on short program) It was pretty good. Not perfect. I had a fall. I probably should have done a triple Lutz-double toe. It’s the last competition of the season, I’m a little bit tired. I had a lot of fun and the crowd is so supportive. I’ve been working on my choreography since worlds, even more than my jumps. The components score really reflected that. The rest of my elements are solid so I’m happy with my score and placement thus far.
(on level 4s on spins) At worlds, I was lower than I wanted to be in the short. I’m glad all of my spins were in check today.
(on her second World Team Trophy) It was my senior debut last year. It’s a different kind of pressure, mostly it’s encouraging when you go out and hear everyone in the whole building cheer. The kind of pressure is a team pressure which is unusual because it’s a solo sport, but it’s mostly fun.
(on short program) I got the triple-triple out there, and that’s really what I was focusing on more than anything else. Then going into the Axel, I was thinking, ‘don’t repeat last year’ [which was a fall]. I’m happy with what I did. I really wanted to do the triple-triple, I got it out there and I’m happy.
Ashley Wagner, team captain
(opening statement) Today was a great day for Team USA. We had many amazing performances. I’m very proud of dance team, men and the U.S. ladies, I’m proud of what we accomplished. Hopefully we can carry that through tomorrow and Saturday as well.
(if participating in World Team Trophy will be helpful going into team event at 2014 Olympic Winter Games) I agree with Daisuke (Takahashi) that it’s going to be more serious at the Olympics. At the same time, it’s great practice. Figure skating is not known as a team sport so to be able to have practice as a team gives us a new experience we haven’t had in skating. It’s so great for us to be able to have. It helps the skaters gauge how they want to approach the Olympic team competition.
(on balance between competition and fun at World Team Trophy) World Team Trophy is unlike any competition a skater will ever enter. It’s a difficult balance. I’m not used to having Gracie Gold with me in the kiss and cry when I get my scores. The great thing is it’s at the end of the season. We’re tired, it’s been a long season. We come and skate because we love to skate, and compete because we love to compete. It’s fun to cheer on our teammates because we have grown up with each other. At the same time, you have to focus on competing because you don’t want to end your season on a bad note. But it’s a fun competition.
(11 April 2013)
The ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating is a relatively new event, it was introduced in 2009. The setting is different with the teams cheering for each other in the Kiss & Cry, and while it is more relaxed than a regular event and has more show character, it is still a high class figure skating competition. However, this year some of the top skaters decided to skip the event, most namely Ice Dance World medalists Meryl Davis & Charlie White, USA, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Canada and Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, Russia as well as France’s Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat and Florent Amodio.
With the Olympic season on the horizon, these skaters probably preferred to rest or heal their injuries. With World Champions Patrick Chan, Canada, and Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov, Russia, as well as Japan’s stars Mao Asada, Akiko Suzuki and Daisuke Takahashi plus Russia’s top ladies Adelina Sotnikova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and World bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford of Canada the World Team Trophy still boasts a deep field. The Yoyogi National stadium was virtually sold out except for some corner seats (and the so often half empty VIP tribune)
On the first day, Japan took the lead a little unexpectedly while the favored Canadians are only ranked fourth. Team USA finished second and Team Russia is in third place. Japan and the USA collected 47 points each, but the Japanese prevailed over the Americans by the second tie-breaker (combined score of the two highest ranked skaters in two different categories). Russia earned 41 points on the first day.
”Today we had ice dance, women and men, some of the skaters were able to skate very well, some others maybe not as well, but at least as of today we are very happy to be number one. Tomorrow the pairs are coming, and I don’t know how that will go for us”, Japan’s team captain Daisuke Takahashi commented. ”Today was a great day for Team USA. We had many amazing performances. I’m very proud of dance team, men and the U.S. ladies, I’m proud of what we accomplished. Hopefully we can carry that through tomorrow and Saturday as well“, U.S. captain Ashley Wagner told the post event press conference. ”We are very happy to be in the top three after the first day. It is the first time for Russia to be so high. We have skaters in the top three in all categories and it is a good result for us. We hope some skaters will skate better in the next days. We are a good team and we can do even better”, Russian captain Maxim Trankov said.
Chock & Bates win Short Dance
Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) upset Canadian favorites Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje in the Short Dance. Chock & Bates put out a strong performance of their lovely dance to a Waltz and Polka from “Quidam” (Cirque du Soleil), earning 66.54 points thanks to three level four elements (twizzles, first Polka sequence and rotational lift) and strong execution. “ The last one! It was fun. This program has been fun all season so we weren’t expecting anything different. We had a good time. It was nice to skate this program one last time“, Chock commented. “It’s unlike any other competition I’ve experienced ever, in a good way”, Bates said about the World Team Trophy. “The atmosphere is infectiously fun. It’s not like a normal skating competition in the way that everyone is cheering for each other. Everyone is excited, I think as much as for the competition, as for what is coming up next, which is a rest. Everyone is happy to be here and going through their programs one last time for the fans. It’s the last hurray“, he added.
Weaver & Poje really entertained the crowd with their characteristic Polka and Waltz interpretation to “The Sound of Music”. However, the technical side suffered today. The Canadians were a little sloppy on the twizzles (level three) and had just a level two for the side by side footwork. They also lost a point for an extended lift. With 62.42 points they have quite a bit to catch up now. “I don’t know it’s all kind of blurry now. We obviously made a major mistake on the twizzle sequence”, Weaver admitted. “I think at the last competition of the season we’re not so worried about how the scores comes up, we’re just happy to be able to finish this out and do a good performance. The audience liked it and we had fun. Ultimately that’s the best we can do. So right now it’s not really about the points”, she continued. The couple takes part for the first time in the World Team Trophy. “It’s definitely a different atmosphere about the competition. It’s a new feeling for us. Obviously we just appreciate where we are, because just being at a competition this season is good for us for next year”, Poje explained.
Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin only learned last Wednesday that they’re going to Japan. But they had been training. “We were working on elements and just skating, but apparently, we didn’t forget our program”, Khaliavin joked. Their Yankee Polka was rated a level four as was the lift and the other elements were a level three. However, Monko was shaky on the twizzles. The 2011 World Junior Champions achieved a seasons best score with 59.47 points to come third.”I don’t know what was wrong with the twizzles, it is just something in my head”, Monko said. “But overall we are pleased with our performance, we had a level four for the first time on the Polka this season”, she went on. “It was our best performance in international competition this season, we only skated better in Tver (at the Final of the Russian Cup).”
Japan’s Cathy Reed & Chris Reed placed fourth with 56.35 points and a solid performance to “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Pernelle Carron & Lloyd Jones of France finished fourth with their upbeat dance to “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Tenessee Waltz”, but some low levels held them back (54.73 points).
Xiaoyu Yu & Chen Wang of China placed sixth.
Patrick Chan grabs Men’s Short Program
Patrick Chan grabbed the Men’s Short Program, but there were quite a few mistakes today.
The three-time World Champion crashed on his opening quad toe and stepped out of the triple Axel but recovered to land a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and also picked up a level four for all his spins and the footwork. He scored 86.67 points, well below his record score from the World Championships. “Considering the long trip and end of the season it was a good day. I think all the men felt a little shaky. It was still a good day for me, I was able to do triple Lutz-triple toe at the end of the program. I was really tired and didn’t have enough speed into the quad or into the Axel, I think that was the reason I was a little rough”, Chan explained.
Skating to “Moonlight Sonata”, Daisuke Takahashi also struggled with the quad toe, landing forward and on two feet. The triple Axel was strong and the musical step sequence garnered a level four, but he left a few points on the table by doing level-three spins and stepping out of the back end of the triple Lutz-triple toe combination (he switched the combination to the Lutz as the quad toe was not good). “I was very motivated, but I made a mistake and it’s a shame I couldn’t give a better contribution to the team. Overall the level of my performance was good, but of course the mistake on the jump (quad toe) was big. I’d like to try harder for the free program. The setting for this event is different, it is pretty hard to cheer for the other skaters with a loud voice, but this is a fun part as well”, the Grand Prix Final Champion commented.
Konstantin Menshov turned in a strong performance to “Pina” that included a quad-triple toe combination, a triple Axel, triple Lutz as well as two level four spins to finish third at 80.60 points, a new seasons best. “I am pleased, but I still didn’t like the ice. It is very hard and crunchy. In the warm up before I got into it, all my jumps were terrible, the jump were straight but the landings were poor. But I really wanted to skate clean, this is the last competition of the season. I am very happy that I did all the jumps and I think I held all my positions in the spins, just the footwork wasn’t so good. I was a little careful going into it, I didn’t want to slip off the edge”, the Russian veteran said.
Jeremy Abbott (USA) was the only man not to have planned a quad and he fell on his opening triple flip, but rallied back to hit a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and a nice triple Axel in the second half of the program. The three-time U.S. Champion sold his program very well and easily had the most entertaining choreography, acting as “The Spy”. Abbott picked up 80.24 points. “I am very disappointed in the fall, obviously. You can’t make mistakes. But look at it, it’s so tight. The rest I gave 100 percent. I knew I could do a Lutz-toe, I knew I could do an Axel. We changed all of my spins in both programs to make sure they were Level 4s. I got a 2 and a 3 and I’m sitting here scratching my head because I don’t understand. I was in the program and making very sure to get those points. I was counting my revolutions and making sure everything was very specific. I’m kind of left scratching my head about the points that I left on the table in terms of spins, but the mistake I made is obvious so I understand where I lost points in terms of jumps. It’s not over, there’s tomorrow. Like I said, I’m in the best shape of my life, so I’m excited to do this long program and do better than today”, Abbott shared.
Takahito Mura of Japan was fifth after he missed his quad toe but landed a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe combination in his routine set to “Malaguena” (77.65 points). Reigning U.S. Champion Max Aaron produced a quad Salchow-double toe combination, a triple Lutz and triple Axel but wobbled on his final combination spin that was graded a level one (77.38 points). He is standing in sixth place.
Russia’s Maxim Kovtun turned in a much better short program than at the World Championships last month. He hit the quad-triple toe and the triple Axel but went down on the triple Lutz (76.67 points).
Brian Joubert of France turned out of the quadruple toe and added a double toe to it for his combination. He nailed the triple Axel and triple flip and all three spins merited a level four. “I really enjoyed skating today. I am pleased, because since I came here, even since Worlds, it was very hard. I am very tired and I feel a bit sick. I am satisfied, because the training here didn’t go well. I did just one quad this morning in practice and in the six minutes warm up it was impossible to do a triple Axel or a quadruple. But I am pleased, because I got my confidence back. The moment I stepped onto the ice for my program, I attacked and I am not thrown off (by bad practices)”, the Frenchman pointed out.
Kevin Reynolds (CAN) was the only man to go for two quads, Salchow and toe, but he crashed on both and sits in 9th (73.52 points). The Chinese boys Han Yan and Yi Wang had also trouble. Yan made mistakes on all three jumping passes and Wang doubled his planned quad toe. Romain Ponsart (FRA) underrotated the quad toe in combination with a triple toe and singled the Axel to finish 12th and last.
Adelina Sotnikova upsets Japanese stars in Ladies Short
Adelina Sotnikova upset the Japanese stars in the Ladies Short Program. The 16-year-old Russian turned in a strong performance to “Capriccio Espagnol”. She underrotated the toe in her triple Lutz-triple toe combination, but the triple flip, double Axel and the spins and footwork were confident and well executed. Sotnikova scored 67.13 points. ”I am very happy with my performance, although I didn’t do my planned (triple Lutz-triple loop) combination. I felt that I wasn’t right in the air and I had to do the toe instead of the loop. In the free, I just have to skate clean. I skated well today, why shouldn’t I do the same in the long”, the Muscovite noted.
Sotnikova edged out Japan’s Akiko Suzuki for first place by less than one point for first place. Suzuki downgraded her combination to triple toe-double toe in her program set to “Kill Bill” and “Malaguena”. However, the other elements were strong: a triple flip, double Axel and like Sotnikova she collected a level four for the spins and the footwork. This meant a seasons best of 66.56 for Suzuki. “This wasn’t perfect. I mostly regret not to have done the triple-triple, but the first triple toe wasn’t good enough for doing the second triple toe”, the skater admitted. ”I was thinking about dumping this programs because I thought that maybe it was not a good program for me, and that I needed to change it, but now I am happy that I kept it”, she added.
Gracie Gold (USA) ranked third at 60.98 points. The U.S. silver medalist fell on the triple Lutz-triple toe but recovered to hit a triple flip, double Axel and produced level-four spins and steps in her routine to “Hernando’s Hideaway”. “It was pretty good. Not perfect. I had a fall. I probably should have done a triple Lutz-double toe. It’s the last competition of the season, I’m a little bit tired. I had a lot of fun and the crowd is so supportive. I’ve been working on my choreography since worlds, even more than my jumps. The components score really reflected that. The rest of my elements are solid so I’m happy with my score and placement thus far”, the 17-year-old shared.
Teammate Ashley Wagner went for a triple flip-triple toe but underrotated the second jump. The triple loop was fine but then she didn’t have enough height on the take off for the double Axel, underrotated and fell. The U.S. Champion scored 59.77 points for her program to “Red Violin”. “I got the triple-triple out there, and that’s really what I was focusing on more than anything else. Then going into the Axel, I was thinking, ‘don’t repeat last year’ [which was a fall]. I’m happy with what I did. I really wanted to do the triple-triple, I got it out there and I’m happy”, Wagner stressed.
Mao Asada of Japan took a hard fall on her opening triple Axel attempt that was landed forward and downgraded. She hit her left knee badly and iced it after the competition. Asada also underrotated the triple flip in her combination with a double loop and the triple loop was somewhat shaky. The spins and footwork had good quality and the program to “I’ve Got Rhythm” is cute and suits her perfectly. Today it was only enough for 5th place, though, at 59.39 points. “I really love this program and today was the last time for me to perform it. I really wanted to finish it with a good feeling, but I couldn’t do that and I am unhappy about that”, the reigning World bronze medalist said. “I couldn’t do the triple Axel. It didn’t go well in the warm up and I didn’t know why, but now I saw the video and I think my body was leaning backwards”, Asada explained.
Mae-Berenice Meite of France gave a clean performance that included a triple toe-triple toe, triple loop and double Axel to finish sixth (58.51 points). Canadian Champion Kaetlyn Osmond fell on her triple toe-triple toe but the rest of her program went well. She sits in 7th (55.18 points). Kexin Zhang of China landed her triple toe-triple toe but the Lutz was wobbly (8th place & 54.97 points). Teammate Zijun Li went down on the triple flip, planned in combination but hit the triple Lutz. Maybe a crash in the warm up with Ashley Wagner had rattled her (9th & 53.16 points).
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia had an off day, falling on the triple Lutz and triple loop. She is ranked 10th „I have no explanation. Everything was good in the warm up. I smiled. Before the program everything was great. I felt good on the first jump, I landed… and I don’t understand what happened to me, I fall. Then I went for the loop, took off really well, felt comfortable and… I don’t know, maybe there was some nervousness”, she said.
Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry (FRA) and Gabrielle Daleman (CAN) finished 11th and 12th.
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