Czisny is Golden at Skate Canadaby Laurie Nealin, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
Photo by Michelle Harvath
(10/29/05) - A look of pure satisfaction tinged with amazement swept across Alissa Czisny's face at the end of her four-minute skate to "La Bayadere" on Saturday.
The expression on the face of U.S. men's champion Johnny Weir was at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.
With a near flawless effort that included five triple jumps (although the judges felt one was short on rotation and downgraded it to a double), the rising U.S. star claimed Skate Canada gold, recording a personal best of 168.32 points, nine more than she accumulated last week en route to silver at Skate America.Put the two results together and Czisny is on her way to the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo in December.
Weir, on the other hand, was on the way to the doctor after spraining his left ankle on the landing of his opening jump in the free skate. He struggled through the remaining four minutes of his calamitous program only to plummet from second spot in the opener to seventh overall.The gold went to Emanuel Sandhu, the three-time Canadian champion who battled back from sixth place in a virtual replay of his win here one year ago.
"My goal this season was to make the Grand Prix Final. It will be very exciting and a good learning experience there," Czisny said of the prestigious meet which features the Grand Prix Series' top six points-getters in singles, pairs and ice dance.
"I couldn't believe I had done that well," Czisny said, revealing her thoughts at the end of her routine."I was happy I was done, that I had focused when I needed to," added Czisny, the sixth-place finisher at the 2005 World Junior Championships.
On Saturday, Czisny recorded 109.78 points, while silver medalist Joannie Rochette of Canada earned 107.62 and 158.30 in all.Rochette gave a single, then a double fist pump at the end of her program signaling her satisfaction with her six-triple-jump outing. The Canadian champion, who claimed bronze at last season's Grand Prix Final, singled out on a triple flip but that was her only major error.
"I really wanted to do that flip especially since it was lower credit (counted as a double) in the short," Rochette said. "This is a good start, an improvement over Campbell's Classic (last month in Minnesota)."The bronze medal went to Japan's Yukari Nakano who opened with a rarely-seen triple Axel. She fought to hold the landing of the three-and-one-half rotation jump, then notched five more triples jumps in her "Don Quixote" program.
With 99.70 points for her finale, 149.54 in total, Nakano climbed from fourth onto the podium to claim her first senior Grand Prix medal.Japan's Fumie Suguri, a two-time World bronze medalist who was fifth at the 2005 World Championships, had a disastrous outing and tumbled from second to eighth overall in the 10-woman field.
Suguri, suffering from a painful hip injury which thwarted her preparation for this event, managed just one clean triple jump.Men's Free Skate
Sandhu clawed his way out of the sixth-place hole he had dug for himself in Thursday's short program and soared to gold.
Sandhu, ranked seventh in the world, overtook fellow Canadian and World silver medalist Jeff Buttle, the first round leader who stumbled into second, ripping his pants leg open and gashing his thigh in the process.
Despite the mishap during a fall on a triple Lutz, Buttle hung on. Subsequent triple jumps failed to materialize, but he had enough in the bank, scored huge presentation points and claimed silver.The final tally: Sandhu 201.85 points; Buttle 201.19.
"My track record indicates I'm good at that sort of thing," Sandhu, said of his comeback performance. "Hey, it makes the sport exciting."
Photo by Paul Harvath
Buttle, who fell on his quad attempt summed up his 126.66-point performance as a "beginning of the season skate.""I'm not happy with it, obviously. It was not my night," the current Canadian champ said.
The bronze medal went to Japan's up-and-comer Nobunari Oda, who won the World Junior title last March. A training mate of Buttle's in Canada, Oda nailed seven triples, earned 133.24 points to finish with 191.80.Weir was sporting a half-cast on his foot after his skate. During his program, it was obvious something was wrong but not even his coach Priscilla Hill realized that something had popped when he landed his first jump - a triple toe.
Twice, Weir appeared to forget what he was supposed to do next and just glided around the ice.
"He couldn't take the pain, but he didn't want to get off. It was like a tug-of-war," Hill explained, noting Weir was unable to move his ankle joint laterally after he removed his skate.Still, he managed to get triple flip and triple Salchow combos done after the mishap and accumulate 107.59 points for the free skate, 177.59 overall.
Matt Savoie, fourth-place finisher at the 2005 U.S. Championships, finished fifth among the 11 men entered. He delivered six triple jumps but seemed to lack speed towards the end. He scored 117.36 for his finale, 181.73 in total.
The gold medalists picked up a cheque for $18,000 US, while silver earned $13,000 and bronze $9,000. In addition, U.S. Figure Skating will pay Czisny $10,000 in bonus money.Original Dance
Meanwhile, the salsa dancing, cha-chas and meringues took the mid-day chill off Mile One Stadium.
World bronze medalists Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov of Ukraine earned top marks (55.68) for their energetic salsa/rhumba combo. Their score was enough to overtake first round leaders Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, of Canada, who earned 53.87 points.
The Ukrainians lead the nine-couple field with 87.44 points to the Canadian's 87.11.
"We were a little nervous today because we did mistake in compulsory," said Grushina recalling their shocking spill in round one. "Today, we wanted to show how we can skate."
Dubreuil and Lauzon, seventh at the 2005 World Championships, delighted local fans with their sexy salsa which fit them like a glove. Their trademark daring lifts which showcase his strength drew high marks, but a bobble on a spin cost them technical points.
The United States' entry, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, remained third heading into Sunday's free dance. The U.S. silver medalists, who were 11th at Worlds last season, were first out the gate with their lively dance set to cha-cha and mambo music by The Mambo Kings. They showed good synchronization in their side-by-side twizzle sequence and garnered 47.19 points on the day, 78.50 in total.
"I thought it went very well," Petukhov said. "There were a few little things at the end, but overall it was good."
Gregory and Petukhov train alongside Grushina and Goncharov in Newington, Conn.