2008 Skate America

Men's Event


Final Standings
Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Takahiko Kozuka JPN 3 1
2 Johnny Weir USA 2 2
3 Evan Lysacek USA 1 3
4 Kevin Reynolds CAN 4 4
5 Sean Sawyer CAN 6 5
6 Alexander Uspenski RUS 7 6
7 Adrian Schultheiss SWE 5 9
8 Adam Rippon USA 8 7
9 Igor Macypura SVK 9 8
10 Ian Martinez CAN 10 10

Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Ian Martinez
  2. Igor Macypura
  3. Sean Sawyer
  4. Alexander Uspenski
  5. Adrian Schultheiss
  6. Takahiko Kozuka
  7. Kevin Reynolds
  8. Adam Rippon
  9. Evan Lysacek
  10. Johnny Weir


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Evan Lysacek USA
2 Johnny Weir USA
3 Takahiko Kozuka JPN
4 Kevin Reynolds CAN
5 Adrian Schultheiss SWE
6 Sean Sawyer CAN
7 Alexander Uspenski RUS
8 Adam Rippon USA
9 Igor Macypura SVK
10 Ian Martinez CAN




Short Program Turns on an Edge

What a difference an edge call makes.  For Johnny Weir, a -2 score on the GoE for his triple flip cost him two points, and left him trailing Evan Lysacek in the standings by 0.75 points after the Short Program.

Debuting a new Short Program, set to Ravel's "Bolero,"  Lysacek skated with strong clean elements, and excellent timing to the music.  Gone from this program is the footwork tornado and other movements that in past have made his programs look like the victim of a 4 1/2 minute tasing.  On triple flip he received an edge alert, but most judges discounted it, and he still received a positive GoE value for the element.  He also received a time deduction because he jumped the gun at the start of the program, starting one count too early.

For all his technical skill, Lysacek's program, however, lacked any sense of purpose.  Neither his choreography, nor his costume, black with a large cross designs on both front and back, seemed to have much of a relation to the music.  Where was the physical, emotional and intellectual understanding of the program which is key to the presentation components?

Apparently it doesn't exist.

In the post event press conference Lysacek related again the story of how when he got to Moscow this summer, coach Tarasova had already cut his music, choreographed the routines, and designed the costumes.  When asked he could not explain the significance of the crosses, other than to say Tarasova likes crosses.  Likewise he could not explain what his programs where about.

Appearing in his first Skate America, Weir receive an edge call in his triple flip, which resulted in the element scored with a GoE of -2.  Other than that error, his elements were neck-and-neck with Lysacek.  The performance, however, also suffered from being lethargic and was scored 0.15 points behind Lysacek in Program Components.  Weir scored slightly higher than Lysacek in Skating Skills and Interpretation, and slightly lower in Presentation/Execution, a true reflection of both their skating.

Takahiko Zokuka skated cleanly to that old warhorse "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck.  He was able to infuse a fresh spirit in this tied piece of music and scored third in Program Components.  His well executed elements were scored second in the group.  He ended up with 80.10 points, just 0.45 points behind Weir, and 1.2 points behind Lysacek.

The top three men formed a distinct group separate from the rest of the men.  All three broke 80 points, while the fourth place skater, Kevin Reynolds, was nearly 17 points back behind the leaders.  The first half of his program was a bit of a mess with errors on triple Axel, triple Lutz and a flying sit spin -- the triple Axel being called under-rotated.  In the second half he pulled the presentation together.

The third U.S. man here, Adam Rippon scored 59.60 points, placing eighth out of ten skaters.  His performance was a deer-in-the-headlights moment, with negative GoEs on four of eight elements -- including a flying camel spin he nearly fell out of.  On triple Axel he got all the way around but landed on the toe and could not control the check out.  Bottom line, he did not attack throughout the program, though there were some nice moments among the choreography to Vanessa Mae's "Storm."


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Ian Martinez
  2. Igor Macypura
  3. Adam Rippon
  4. Alexander Uspenski
  5. Sean Sawyer
  6. Adrian Schultheiss
  7. Kevin Reynolds
  8. Takahiko Kozuka
  9. Johnny Weir
  10. Evan Lysacek

Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Takahiko Kozuka JPN
2 Johnny Weir USA
3 Evan Lysacek USA
4 Kevin Reynolds CAN
5 Sean Sawyer CAN
6 Alexander Uspenski RUS
7 Adam Rippon USA
8 Igor Macypura SVK
9 Adrian Schultheiss SWE
10 Ian Martinez CAN



A Toe Loop, A Toe Loop.  My Kingdom for a Toe Loop

One would have though Johnny Weir would have learned the lesson at the 2008 U.S. National Championships:  Leave no points on the table.  If by some rare chance he, or Evan Lysacek for that matter, should happen to read this, I will repeat:


At he did at Nationals, Weir executed only two two-jump combinations in the Free Skate, and in doing so gave up the gold medal to Takahiko Kozuka.  At Nationals, had Weir included but a pathetic single toe loop he would have been National Champion.  Here, had he done only one of the two toe loops (or loops) he could have added, he would have had the gold medal.  It might seem odd, and maybe even wrong, that a championship should be decided not by the most difficult elements executed, but by the simplest, but that is often the way it is with IJS.

This is not take take anything away from Kozuka.  He had two good skates here.  In the Free Skate he landed eight triple jumps (with a hand down on a triple Axel) and also attempted a quad toe loop, which was ruled under-rotated, and on which he fell.  He also included his full allotment of jump combinations.  His spins and steps were of mix of levels two through four.  Skating to yet another warhorse, "Romeo and Juliet" by Nina Rota it was an engaging but not spectacular performance, with Program Component marks mainly in the low sevens.  His were the highest element scores, but only the third best component scores.

Skating to the soundtrack from "Notre Dame de Paris."  This is a French-Canadian musical that debuted in Paris in 1998, and is based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo.  American audiences will be more familiar with the story under the name The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Weir landed eight triple jumps, with an edge alert on a triple flip that received negative GoEs.  He also attempted a quad toe loop, on which he stepped out, and which was called under-rotated.  As bad as it was, it tuned out to be the best quad attempt of the top three men.  His spins and steps were all called level three, except for a circular step sequence at level two.  His Program Component were mainly in the mid sevens, and were the second best of the group.

It was hard to tell what part of the story Weir was presenting to us.  Dressed mainly in black with an off the shoulders neck line, and bearing a cross design on front together with what looked like a wolf but I was later told is supposed to be a gargoyle, maybe he was Notre Dame itself.  I don't know, it all made no sense to me.  But it looked pretty -- except for the hand gestures where he is busy shooing away flies, or something.

Third in the Free Skate and third overall was Evan Lysacek.  Skating to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"  he was dressed in what looked like an oversized waiters uniform covered with sequences, reminding one of both Ilia Kulik and a buffoon all at once.  Lysacek landed seen triples and a triple Axel that was called under-rotated (as part of a three-jump combination).  He also received an edge alert on a triple flip (scored mainly with GoEs of zero and one) and on a quad toe loop attempt, the jump was called under-rotated and he fell.  His step sequences were called level two while his spins were called levels three (1) or four (2).

Despite the errors in the jumps, the program was well skated, and received the best Program Components of the night, ranging from 7.25 to 8.25.  As in the Short Program, his style now is much more refined and controlled than last season, and his straight line step sequence (element 12) used the music particularly effectively, at least in terms of timing and rhythm.  Unfortunately, as was the case in the Short Program, it also appears in the Free Skate that he has no idea what his program is supposed to be about other than skating in time to the music.  He made little use of the melodic line in the first half of the program and there was nothing particularly jazzy about his interpretation.

Honorable mention in the Free Skate goes to Kevin Reynolds of Canada, who landed two quads and seven triples.  His initial attempt at triple Axel was called under-rotated and had a hand down.  A later attempt got all the way around but had a poor landing, and because it was not executed in combination or sequence lost an addition 20% of its base value.  He had the third best element score, but fifth best components, mostly in the low to mid sixes.

Adam Rippon's performance to "Send in the Clowns" and "Pagliacci" did not have the stink of fear on it as did his Short Program, but it was still a wreck.  Five jumps were scored with negative GoEs, and he fell once.  To his credit he attempted two triple Axels, the first of which got around but had a weak landing (GoEs of minus one), and the second of which was under-rotated leading to a fall, and a +SEQ adjustment, losing 20% of the base value.

Ultimately, Rippon managed a total of five clean triples in his jump elements.  His spins and sequences were called level three, except for a circular step sequence at level two.  His program components ranged from 5.00 to 7.00, averaging mainly in the low sixes.  Overall, in his first senior Grand Prix, Rippon's glass might be viewed as half full at this point, as he may still get the triple Axel consistently before Nationals, and if he gets his jumps squared away he may hopefully get more mileage out of his other skills.


2008 Skate America Men's Medalists


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