|7||Jens Ter Laak||GER|
Eldredge had things covered tonight landing a solid triple Axel - triple toe, and triple Lutz. He skated with speed, strength and confidence. Plushenko also skated well, landing triple Axel - triple toe, triple Lutz, and included a nice Biellmann spin - a rarity for a man. Zagorodniuk took third primarily by virtue of standing up (though not skating clean) and having a strong presentation. He landed a wild triple Axel - double toe combination and a double flutz. Abt, who showed promise two years ago but then was hampered by injury, skated a weird tango number that was well presented but he struggled with the jumps. He landed triple Axel - single toe and triple Lutz.
Davis continues to stick with the jazz/big-band numbers he has been putting on the ice since the dawn of time. He skated with speed and energy, and with great spins; but made two errors on the jumps, falling on the triple Axel leading off his combination, and later stepped out of triple flip. Honda left a beautiful triple Axel - triple toe in the warmup, landing single Axel - triple toe in the program and falling on triple flip. Chack repeated his tango number from last year, which was well presented, but with a single Axel, triple Lutz - double toe, and a double flip his jumps are not competitive.
Pliuta who is rumored to be quite a jumper apparently did not bring them with him tonight. In the combination he fell on triple Axel and two footed the double toe. He later landed only double Lutz and a single Axel.
|10||Jens Ter Laak||GER||7||11|
Following a major scare in the final warmup group, Todd Eldredge skated to victory in the Men's event. Early in the warmup while skating near the boards, he tripped in an ice-chip frozen to the ice. As he reached out to the boards to steady himself, he dislocated his right shoulder and dropped to the ice in pain. As he rolled on his back in agony the shoulder popped back in on its own. He lay there for several minutes while the warmup continued, and finally left the ice when only a few seconds remained. As he walked back stage, everyone who could see the incident expected he would not skate. Afterwards Alexei Mishin, the coach of the second place skater (as well as Alexei Urmanov, and Alexei Yagudin) said "His (Richard Callaghan's) skater was a hero today. I thought he would not skate today. It was the behavior of a hero."
After the event Eldredge was taken to Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital where he was examined by Dr. David Collon, the Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at the hospital, and the orthopedic surgeon for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. The examination showed no broken bones and at this point it appears the injury should not have a major adverse effect on the remainder of the season. The extent to which there may be ligament damage, however, is still unknown.
Although scheduled to skate second in his group, Eldredge most likely would have been permitted to skate last if he had asked. He decided, however, to skate in the order drawn, but was told by Callahan to stop the program it things were not working correctly. Eldredge skated the majority of his program as planned, but did elect to execute two planned triple-triple combinations as triple-doubles. One could see a few small grimaces in the program, especially near the end. Although he could make some use of his arm, he was limited to motions which kept his arm below shoulder level.
Despite the injury, the program was well presented. It is a new cut of music from "Gettysburg" with a new costume and new choreography. It is considerably slower than last year's program, and some observers of the practices have described it as boring. The judges, however, thought well of it. It received marks of 5.6 - 5.8 in the first mark, and 5.8 - 6.0 in the second mark. The single mark of 6.0 came from the Canadian judge. (Maybe that's why Elvis skates so slow and everyone in Canada thinks he is so artistic!) Even Eldredge was surprised by the 6.0 saying later "The 6.0 seems really generous. I really wasn't getting into the program to be honest. I really couldn't use my right arm. I am just glad I skated as well as I did - especially under the circumstances."
Second place was captured by the hot young Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko. He fell on an opening quad toe loop, and made several other errors popping or stepping out of jumps, but he still managed to land six other triple jumps including one triple Axel. A great deal of hype has surrounded him with respect to whether he might make the Russian Olympic Team, and Mishin thinks that it is not out of the question (despite uncertainty if he is age eligible). Still, with Urmanov and Yagudin in the way it seems a stretch.
Third place was taken by Alexander Abt who moved up one place following the Short Program. Skate America and Detroit have been good to Abt. Two years ago he won the gold medal at Cobo Arena, but then disappeared from view. Shortly after the 1995 Skate America he suffered two severe injuries that set him back substantially, but he know appears to be back on track. Despite a few problems, he landed six triples in a program based on music from Armenia, Egypt, and Iran. It is sort of a male belly dancer routine, with a combination of the exotic and the bizarre. The main weaknesses of the program was the inclusion of only a single combination (triple Axel - single toe), and too much standing/dancing in one place.
Scott Davis also moved up one place after the short. Overall it is a nice program that suites him well with a strong initial and final section. The middle section, however, is boring and the costume a little too prissy - though actually appropriate to the music ("Henry V" and "Hamlet"). After completely blowing the opening triple Axel - double toe combination (he only got off a single Axel instead), he landed six triples, but not a triple Axel, his second attempt at that jump being doubled.
Micheal Chack managed to pull up one place to ninth, but he appears to be fighting a lost cause. He doubled the opening triple Axel, and then doubled the triple toe loop in the following triple Lutz combination. He landed six triple jumps, and for the most part he skated well with a decent presentation, but he does not have command of the triple Axel and triple-triple combination that is essential for a senior man today.
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