|1||Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze||RUS|
|2||Sargeant & Wirtz||CAN|
|3||Pang & Tong||CHN|
|4||Ina & Zimmerman||USA|
|5||Obertas & Palamarchuk||UKR|
|6||Saurette & Fecteau||CAN|
|7||Stiegler & Stiegler||USA|
|8||Lariviere & Faustino||CAN|
Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze won the short program despite three serious errors. It was their third problem plagued skate in one week. Whereas at Skate America Berezhnaya had problems in the short program and Sikharulidze in the long, here in the short program both skaters had their problems. On triple toe loop Berezhnaya fell, while in the closing pair spin Sikharulidze fell pushing in. In the combination lift there was a major failure going up. On the positive side the twist lift was outstanding as was throw triple Salchow. Still their first marks were surprising, some as high as 5.2 in a program where deductions as high as 1.0 were justified. After the competition the team was caught by Canadian TV exchanging angry words and reportedly Sikharulidze's costume ended up in the trash, only to be recovered later. Whether the tension between them is the result of their recently poor skating or the reverse is not clear, but it is clearly taking its toll.
Sargeant & Wirtz took second place in a repetition of last year's short program. The only major error in the performance was in the triple toe loops where Sargeant fell and Wirtz put his hand down. The remainder of the program was clean with their throw triple Salchow and forward inside death spiral particularly well done. Although they generally received higher technical merit marks for their effort, the program does not particularly grab ones attention and they were place lower in the presentation mark by 2 to 3 tenths giving the Russians the margin of victory.
Third place in the short program went to the Chinese team of Pang & Tong. In their combination spin Pang fell and in the death spiral she enters in a poor quality butt-out position. Their opening throw triple toe loop was excellent as was the double twist. They skated much of the program in foxtrot position with a very basic presentation with a lot of rough edges. Like the early development of their countrymen Shen & Zhao the development of their technical skills has substantially outpaced the development of presentation.
Ina & Zimmerman placed fourth with a program with only a few minor errors. Zimmerman stepped out of triple toe loop and there was a very minor wobble in the takoff of the required lift. It was a better performance than at Skate America and one that some thought should have been placed higher
Stiegler & Stiegler placed seventh skating to music appropriately titled "Nightmare". He fell on triple toe loop, but more importantly the program was flawed by several quality problems. The death spiral was entered in the butt-out position and the unison in the combination spin was poor. Their diagonal footwork sequence was slow as simple and the rest of the program could have benefited from greater speed as well.
|1||Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze||RUS||1||1|
|2||Ina & Zimmerman||USA||4||2|
|3||Sargeant & Wirtz||CAN||2||3|
|4||Pang & Tong||CHN||3||4|
|5||Obertas & Palamarchuk||UKR||5||5|
|6||Saurette & Fecteau||CAN||6||6|
|7||Lariviere & Faustino||CAN||8||7|
|8||Stiegler & Stiegler||USA||7||8|
The fallout from Friday's argument between Berezhnaya & Sikharulideze spilled over into Saturday with Berezhnaya skipping the practice session. Prior to the long program she spent her time back stage pacing alone. As they were announced to perform the team seemed a bit more nervous than normal with Berezhnaya most noticeably so. In spite of their problems, they were able to channel their energy into their best skate in the past week. Though not perfect it was closer to their intrinsic level of ability than we have seen recently. Afterwards both skaters said they were happy with their performance despite the erors given the circumstances. In the triple twist the catch was no good, in throw triple Salchow Berezhnaya put her hand down, and a flying camel to sit spin was a bit sloppy. Except for the twist, the lifts were otherwise well done and throw triple loop was excellent. They landed triple toe loops and double Axels with steps into double toe loops. Without the distractions of too many technical errors they were able to develop the presentation of the program and received a standing ovation for their effort. They received marks of 5.5 to 5.8 in the first mark and 5.7 to 5.9 in the second mark.
Ina & Zimmerman moved up to second place in a performance substantially better than at Skate America. The only major error was Zimmerman falling on double Axel as he did last week. The triple twist was mediocre and unison in the combination spin was off but the rest of the program was well done. They landed triple toe loops, throw triple Salchow and throw triple loop. The lifts were stronger than last week and their back outside death spiral was excellent.
The American team moving up dropped Sargeant & Wirtz to third place. Their opening triple twist had an interesting entry but the lift itself was of poor quality. On throw triple Salchow Sargeant reached for the ice but did not touch and she put a hand down on double Axel. That was followed by a broken lift that did not go up and then on throw double Axel she two-footed the jump. The team landed triple toe loops and both death spirals were well done. Their back outside death spiral is one on the best among teams currently competing. Skating to "Claire de Lune" their presentation was the best we have seen from them in several years, sustaining the mood of the music throughout the four minute program.
Pang & Tong dropped to fourth place in a program in which technical skill again outpaced presentation. On triple toe loops Pang stepped out and on throw triple loop she had to put both hands down. An opening lateral triple twist lift was well done as was the back outside death spiral. Their lifts were strong but by the end of the program they were obviously getting tired and starting to lose control.
Steigler & Stiegler dropped to last place in an error marred program. Johnie double the triple toe loop and on triple twist the catch was no good. In a double loop - double toe loop jump sequence he was again sloppy and on throw triple Salchow Tiffany took a nasty fall hitting her face on the ice. Throw triple loop was well done and the back outside death spiral was better than average. Overall the routine looked like a good junior level program but was too slow and is not competitive at the international senior level.
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