Ryan Jahnke Wins First-Ever Grand Prix Medal at Smart Ones Skate America

by Amy Partain
Ryan Jahnke
Photo by Michelle Harvath

Men's Free Skate Results

Men's Free Skate Photos

All Smart Ones Skate America Event Information

(10/22/04) - In the first event to conclude at 2004 Smart Ones Skate America, U.S. skaters earned two medals - Ryan Jahnke took home the silver and Michael Weiss won the bronze.

All men in the competition struggled with jumps, but Jahnke's solid program component scores put him a position to win the free skate and jump from fourth to second. It was Jahnke's first Grand Prix Series medal and an incredible improvement over his 12th-place finish at Skate America last year.

He fell on both of his attempts at the triple Axel and doubled the second jump in his planned triple-triple combination. However, Jahnke earned points for his other program elements including transitions and interpretation. He also landed a triple toe-double toe-double loop combination.

"I would have liked to have had the triple Axel, but I decided to do everything else to a level 10 that I possibly could," he said. "Everything was on spot and it paid off in the second mark."

While last year during testing many people talked about the new judging system rewarding program elements other than jumps, Jahnke said it was the first time he feels that the more balanced judging of the new system has worked in his favor.

Weiss described his free skate performance as "mediocre" and said he was a little hesitant on his jumps. He received negative grades of execution on his quad toe, his triple flip-double toe combination, and he doubled both of his planned triple Axels.

"I'm a little disappointed," he said. "Technically it hurt me not to have the Axel."

Without a doubt Weiss had one of the most unique costumes in the competition - a flesh-colored shirt with tattoos covering it. Included in the tattoos are his name, his wife's name, his children's names and a sign on the back letting his children know he loves them. It was made by a Hollywood company, Sleeve Clothing, which made costumes for Brad Pitt's role in the movie "Fight Club."

France's Brian Joubert is taking the gold medal but says he will work on his free skate before his next Grand Prix assignment. Joubert fell on his quad toe, turned two planned jump combinations into solo jumps and stepped out of his triple Lutz. Still his lead after the short program helped keep him in first overall after placing second in the free skate.

"I'm happy I won Skate America because it was my first goal of the season," Joubert said. "I had a good short program but the free program was difficult. I know what I have to work on. For the beginning of the season it was very good."

This was the third time Joubert has competed at Skate America. He won the event in 2002. This win was different, he said, because last time he wasn't expected to win.

"The first time I won in 2002 it was a big surprise to win," he said. "This year I really wanted to win this competition."

The third U.S. competitor, Evan Lysacek, finished fifth overall after placing eighth in the free skate. He fell on his first jump - a triple Axel planned as a combination with a triple toe. Then he popped his second triple Axel and doubled a planned triple flip.

"I've been skating a lot better than that at home, so I'm a little disappointed," he said. "But I didn't give up and sometimes it's hard to come back after you've missed a couple of things."

Lysacek said he was feeling some pain in his hip today, but he didn't feel that the pain was a factor physically during his performance.

"It might have been a factor mentally," Lysacek said. "It's hard to come in here knowing you've trained for two weeks while everyone else has been training for five months."

But he said he plans to be on top of his game for the 2005 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Portland this January.