Skate America

Men's Event

by Maggie Doyle

Final Standings
Place Skater Country SP FS

Michael Weiss

USA 1 2
2 Takeshi Honda JPN 4 1

Min Zhang

CHN 2 5

Andrejs Vlascenko

GER 3 4
5 Scott Smith USA 7 3
6 Vakhrang Murvanidze GEO 6 6
7 Trifun Zivanovic SCG 5 8
8 Stanislav Timichenko RUS 11 7

Stefan Lindermann

GER 10 10
10 Ivan Dinev BUL 12 9
11 Sergei Davydov BLR 8 11
12 Ryan Jahnke USA 9 12


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Michael Weiss

  2. Vakhrang Murvanidze

  3. Stefan Lindermann

  4. Takeshi Honda

  5. Andrejs Vlascenko

  6. Stanislav Timichenko

  7. Sergei Davydov

  8. Min Zhang

  9. Ryan Jahnke

  10. Trifun Zivanovic

  11. Scott Smith

  12. Ivan Dinev


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country

Michael Weiss


Min Zhang


Andrejs Vlascenko

4 Takeshi Honda JPN
5 Trifun Zivanovic SCG
6 Vakhrang Murvanidze GEO
7 Scott Smith USA
8 Sergei Davydov BLR
9 Ryan Jahnke USA

Stefan Lindermann

11 Stanislav Timichenko RUS
12 Ivan Dinev BUL

Michael Weiss skated his new short program to "Henry V" by Patrick Doyle to open the men's event and he lead throughout. Under the new scoring system, he was only given credit for a triple toe loop- triple toe loop combination after under-rotating his opening quad in combination. He skated the rest of his program with panache and solid elements for a total program score of 73.85, including a triple Axel and a triple Lutz. His total element score of 36.80 is combined with the factorized total program component score of 37.05. His program component scores (on a scale of 10) were skating skills 7.55, transitions 7.10, performance/execution 7.45, choreography 7.45 and interpretation 7.50.  "It was a warm feeling for me to get such a great reception from this crowd. 
This is an intimate arena so I could interact more with the audience," said Weiss. 

Weiss adds," I am very familiar with the technical side of the Code of Points but I didn't know what to expect for a score, 20 or 50 or what. Now I have something to compare it to the next time I compete since my score was in the 70's here. We saw a lot more outside camels in the spin combinations so people are going for the extra points. Before it seemed you didn't get rewarded enough for those kinds of things. 

Second place went to Min Zhang who also turned his quad combination into a triple toe loop- triple toe loop, landing heavily. His footwork was very simple and uncomplicated but he did complete a triple Axel and a triple Lutz in his "Lawrence of Arabia" program. Zhang's uninspiring performance suffered on his program component marks. His skating skills were 7.10 while his transitions earned a 5.90. On the other components he stayed in the 6.00 - 6.25 range. "My program is similar to last year's with some small details, little changes. It is a little difficult to skate under the new technical requirements right now," he said.

Weiss has a 6.3 point lead on Zhang going into the freeskate. Zhang skates 7th in the freeskate and Weiss skates eleventh in a 12-man field on Friday. 

Andrejus Vlascenko placed third with 64.86 in total scoring points with 29.96 for total element score and 34.90 for program components. His component scores ranged from 6.95 (transitions and skating skills) to 7.15 (performance/execution) for his "Moscow Nights" by the Scorpions. He attempted an easier combination with triple Axel but downgraded the second jump to a double toe loop.  He also included a double Axel and triple Lutz. "For me, it is the same (under the new judging system), just go out and do your job. We did look at how to get more points, like more original positions in spins and footwork. I tried to use my strengths to get more points when we made the program," he said. 

After that, this men's competition went very much downhill, probably the worst men's event since 2002 U.S. Nationals - men's final. The other skaters just could not seem to complete their quads and triples tonight, with no other clean performances in evidence. 

Takeshi Honda has a gorgeous new program to "Romeo and Juliet" that was choreographed by Nikolai Morozov, but unfortunately it didn't include the jumps he needed tonight. His quad combination was counted as a double toe, he fell on his triple Axel but completed a triple Lutz. His step sequence was 
spectacular and the rest of the program was well done. I do question the judges here as I would have given him higher for choreography (7.65) and interpretation (7.65) but he also received a 7.80 for skating skills, a 6.90 for transitions and a 7.85 for performance/execution. I expected more variety in these numbers based on that troubled performance with fantastic style.

His program element score was 24.80, as he took -3 deductions from the panel for the jump problems. He can still come back and even win with a strong freeskate but he is currently down from the leader (Weiss) by 6.3 points going into the freeskate. He skates 8th in the skating order on Friday night. 

Former American skater Trifun Zivanovic who now skates for SCG (Serbia and Montenegro formerly Yugoslavia) sits in fifth place with 58.75 total short program points after his "Ukraine" by D. Marshall. His coach is now Ada Minevich. He had problems with his easier combination of triple flip -triple toe loop, taking a -2 deduction for quality after two footing the second jump. His total elements score is 29.60 but his component-factored score was 29.15. His component scores ranged from 5.50 (performance/execution) to 6.15 for interpretation. 

American Scott Smith made his Skate America debut and opened his "Time" by Pink Floyd program with a strong Triple Axel. He fought for his Quad Salchow but did not attempt the triple toe loop in the combination and took a -3 deduction from every judge. He sealed his fate with a doubled loop that he stumbled out of later in his program. He had nice spins for 8th place and 57.41 in total short program points. He had a 26.26 in executed elements total score points and a 31.15 in factored program components. His component scores ranged 
from 6.05 (transitions) to 6.35 (skating skills and performance/execution. He is the first skater on Friday. 

Another American making his Skate America debut, Ryan Jahnke is currently in 9th place after pulling out of his Axel, which gave the jump a base value of 0.0 with -3 for quality. He did land a triple Lutz but downgraded the second jump to a double toe loop and fell on his flip. They only gave him credit for attempting a double flip. His spins and footwork were nicely done in his "Prelude No. 20" by Chopin and "The Planets" short program. Look for him to pull up in the freeskate but he does skate second, right after Smith. 


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Scott Smith

  2. Ryan Jahnke

  3. Stanislav Timichenko

  4. Sergei Davydov

  5. Ivan Dinev

  6. Stefan Lindermann

  7. Min Zhang

  8. Takeshi Honda

  9. Andrejs Vlascenko

  10. Trifun Zivanovic

  11. Michael Weiss

  12. Vakhrang Murvanidze


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Takeshi Honda JPN

Michael Weiss

3 Scott Smith USA

Andrejs Vlascenko


Min Zhang

6 Vakhrang Murvanidze GEO
7 Stanislav Timichenko RUS
8 Trifun Zivanovic SCG
9 Ivan Dinev BUL

Stefan Lindermann

11 Sergei Davydov BLR
12 Ryan Jahnke USA

American Michael Weiss skated to the patriotic "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" in military garb to take his first Skate America title. "This feels great,'' Weiss said. ``My focus last year was to get more wins than I was before, and I did. I was tired of skating really well and finishing second. First place is great." 

Weiss won the short program and overall but finished behind Japan's Takeshi Honda for the freeskating. His scores were 55.69 for his total element score and 77.40 for his program content with a total freeskating score of 133.09. His planned to skate technical content was 73.80. Weiss was anxious to see the scoring sheets after the men's press conference. "I imagine there will be some fine tuning after this competition of the judging system or maybe we all may have to change some things with our programs," said Weiss as the media informed him of his excess toe loop problem. 

Weiss was docked for doing four triple toe loops in his program with the solo quad attempt and the second one after his triple Axel not counting. "Everyone's strategy is to go out and skate what's in the program,'' Weiss said, ``but my thinking was a little different because of the new judging system. Doing a triple toe-triple toe is worth only a little less than a quad toe-triple toe. It's surprising. When I opened up in the air on the quad toe, I said, `Get off a triple-triple, make sure.''' Those did count. His solo quad was just slightly under-rotated but it was called by the technical specialist as a triple toe. Weiss would have been better off doing a double toe after his triple Axel. He also singled his second axel. His total score for both rounds was 206.94.

Honda had 58.72 for his total element score and 77.90 for his program component score for a total freeskating score of 136.62 but his short program deficit was more than he could overcome. He skated with great style to his new "Warsaw Concerto" by Addinsel, created by Nickolai Morozov. Honda said, "Last year, I won Skate Canada and after that I was so nervous at each competition,'' Honda said after winning his second Skate America silver medal. Here I messed up the short program and am pretty relaxed now."  Honda got credit for his opening quad toe loop but tripled his quad Salchow and landed on two feet. He scaled back his triple Axel combination to a double toe loop and stepped out of his quaff toe loop in combination. He landed his other triples except for a doubled loop and his other elements were all well done. Honda finished second with a total score of 199.27, combining both programs, finishing second by 7.67 points.

China's Min Zhang skated to Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens for third place overall but 5th place in the freeskating round. His total points for both programs was 190.77, beating Germany's Andrejs Vlascenko for the bronze medal by just 2.23 points. In the freeskating, Zhang's technical score was much higher (58.42) compared to the German's (50.38) but Vlascenko finished much higher in program components (73.30) than the Chinese skater (64.80). Zhang completed a triple Axel - triple toe loop combination, saved his quad Salchow but stepped out of his quad toe loop. His footwork was very simple and uncomplicated. 

Vlascenko slipped to fourth in the freeskate and overall with 188.54 total points for both programs. He stepped out of his triple Axel and didn't complete a combination, and doubled the toe after his triple Salchow. He doubled his Lutz and his second Axel but completed his other elements. The audience liked the music of his "The Circus Princess", and frequently clapped along. 

Trifun Zivanovic who now skates for SCG (Serbia and Montenegro) skated to a combination of the Matrix soundtrack combined with "Sry Break" and dropped to 
8th in the freeskate from 5th in the short program, to finish seventh overall. His total score was 170.62, he opened with a triple Axel - double toe loop combination, followed by a triple flip. He doubled his loop and singled his second Axel. His spins and footwork were all level one elements except he upgraded his final spin to a level 2. 

American Scott Smith redeemed himself with a strong freeskate after a seventh place short to move up in the standings. His "Concerto for Saxophone" by M. Kamen program, was judged the 3rd best freeskate, for a fifth place finish overall in his Skate America debut. He opened strong with a triple Axel double toe loop, followed by a triple toe loop - triple toe loop combination. He stepped out of his Quad Salchow and doubled his flip but his other elements were well done and this was a mature performance. 

Teammate Ryan Jahnke again struggled for his "Charama" , "Cosa Nostra" and "Candyell Beat" program. He dropped from ninth in the short program to last in the twelve-man field. His jumps were just not there this week. We were 
checking to see if he had any injuries or equipment problems to help explain this melt down, but haven't got word on that yet.


2003 Skate America Men's Medalists


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