Davis and White in Third After Compulsory Danceby Jyrki Pirkkalainen, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
|Meryl Davis and Charlie White|
Photo by Michelle Harvath
(3/8/06) - Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir waltzed to first place in the compulsory dance Tuesday at the 2006 World Junior Championships, but Americans Meryl Davis & Charlie White are also in the mix for a medal. Virtue and Moir, the 2005 World Junior silver medalists, are hoping to brighten the color of their medal this year now that last year's champions, Americans Morgan Matthews and Maxim Zavovin, have moved up to the senior ranks.
Virtue and Moir like the Austrian Waltz compulsory dance.
"It is hard to do well; it is a sophisticated dance," Moir said.
Davis and White train under Igor Shpilband in Michigan, and are in third with 33.31 points, only 1.34 points behind the second-place Russians, Natalia Mikhailova and Arkadi Sergeev.
White agreed with the Canadians about the Austrian Waltz.
"It's difficult, but it's got a lot of interesting things in it," he said. "There are a lot of changes of position, and when you don't feel so comfortable with your partner, sometimes the holds get a little uncomfortable. This is what we have been trying to work on, to make it look good even if it's really hard - it has to look easy. It's a tough dance, and I don't think we competed it better than that. We're really pleased to do that at Junior Worlds."
All three of the U.S. ice dancing teams made the top 10. Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles, who finished eighth on the senior level at the 2006 State Farm U.S. Championships, are seventh with 28.59 points, while Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates are 10th with 27.28 points.
Ladies Short Program
History was made in the ladies short program as Mao Asada of Japan became the first woman ever to land a triple Axel in the short program at an ISU championship. The world premiere didn't come as a surprise to the ISU media team though as they seemed to be well prepared: an express media advisory sheet was published at the Hala Tivoli rink only minutes after Asada had skated, stating that the technical controller Felicitas Babusikova officially ratified the jump.
Asada skated last, just after Yu-Na Kim of Korea had skated a mesmerizing performance and scored a new personal best of 60.86 points. Eventually, it was to happen that the historic jump wasn't enough for the 15-year-old Asada to win the short program. She had planned to do the jump in combination with a double loop, but the landing of the Axel was a bit shaky and she was only able to add a single loop. Her usual sparkling presentation was a bit subdued, and she couldn't captivate the crowd quite the way Kim did.
"In the free skate I want to skate clean, and if it feels good I would like to do two triple Axels," Asada said.
And she may need them as well.
Kim landed a triple flip–double toe combination, a solo triple Lutz and an Ina Bauer into double Axel, and the quality of everything she did was just as superior as the point scores show. She also has boundless ambition.
"I will try to do level four spins, and the other elements higher as well, to develop my facial expression, and include a triple flip–triple toe combination in the free skate," she said.
Five points behind Asada is Team USA's Christine Zukowski. The Newark, Del., skater skated with good attack, fighting the landing on the triple Lutz and nailing a triple loop–double toe combination as well as the double Axel.
Zukowski's spins and spirals were graded level 3 or 4.
"Today I was even more confident than yesterday," she said. "I had to be thinking positive and do everything I do in practice. I have been working on spins and spirals, so I'm glad I got high levels."
Alissa Czisny was fourth, only one point behind Zukowski. She skated seemingly clean and was happy about her performance, but the triple flip was downgraded to a double, costing her about four points. Her overall quality of skating is on par with Kim and Asada.
Megan Hyatt is in 13th place after she missed both the triple Lutz and the subsequent flying sit spin. "I got ahead of myself," Hyatt said. "The Lutz was good in practice, but I just rushed it. The fall kind of hurt, but I had to keep going and keep my focus. Then I rushed the flying sit too, but after that I recollected myself. I take this as a good learning experience."