Kwong Hits Five Triples To Win Novice Men's TitleBy Sal Zanca, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
|2004 U.S. novice champion Princeton Kwong competed in the NACS series in the summer of 2003.|
Photo by Paul Harvath
(1/5/04) — Princeton Kwong (Peninsula SC) won the U.S. novice men's title and immediately had a problem. He wasn't expecting to stay the rest of the week and skate in Sunday's Chevy Skating Spectacular. The champions in each discipline in the novice and junior divisions are all invited to skate in the exhibition.
"Originally if I didn't medal I would leave on Tuesday," Kwong said. "If I did medal and did not get a first I would leave Thursday. Now I have to stay the whole week."
He knows it's definitely not a bad problem to have. Skating to music from the Disney movie "Atlantis," Kwong landed five triples including a triple toe-double toe and triple flip-double toe. However he had only a double Lutz.
"I didn't attempt a triple Lutz because I didn't really have it all season," Kwong said. "I didn't start it early enough. I was landing it at practice."
He did show some surprised delight when talking to reporters about the exhibition.
"Are you in a spotlight?" Kwong asked. "Wow. I have never done that before."
Daisuke Murakami (All Year FSC) used a medley to "Fiddler on the Roof" to finish second.
"It's phenomenal," Murakami said.
He had a fall at the start on his double Axel and another fall at the end of his program, but in between landed six triples.
"He never misses it (the double Axel) so I think that was his wake-up call," said Murakami's, coach Tammy Gambill about the early fall. "It was like 'O.K., I'd better concentrate.'"
He quickly got back on track with a triple Lutz-double toe loop and another triple-double later in his routine. In the final seconds he sprawled on his death drop.
"I just wanted to get my program finished," Murakami said. I was rushing it."
Charlie White (Detroit SC), who led after the short program, had a rough time. He barely held his jumps and fell three times. However, his ice dancing background was evident as he had tremendous flow and speed. He held on to third although he was just sixth in free skating.
"There was a lot of pressure being in first, and I think I let it get to me too much," White said. "I think that is what happened."
He said he felt uncomfortable as the last skater in the second group of six.
"But I can't use that as a excuse," he said. "You have to do what you have to do. It didn't happen today."
However, unlike others, he has a chance to rebound at the championships. He begins junior dance with partner Meryl Davis on Tuesday. He is ready to make the switch.
"I have been doing it for so long it is just natural. It is just as easy as changing skates,'" he said.
Douglas Razzano (Coyotes SC of Arizona) finished third in the free skate after placing 10th in the short, to take fifth overall. Stephen Carriere (SC of Boston) was fourth.