Hinzmann and Parchem Skate Personal Best in Pairs Short Programby Michelle Wojdyla, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
|Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang during their short program at the 2005 Smart Ones Skate America|
Photo by Paul Harvath
(10/20/05) - Marcy Hinzmann's mouth dropped when the placement was posted on the Boardwalk Hall scoreboard: second.
She and partner Aaron Parchem skated a near-perfect short program tonight at Smart Ones Skate America in Atlantic City, N.J., and were rewarded with a score of 55.00, a new personal best. American teammates Rena Inoue and John Baldwin are .16 behind and in third. Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang, the 2004 Skate America champions, are in the lead with 59.90.
The Zhangs performed to Led Zeppelin's “Kashmir” and, as usual, had a high-flying throw triple loop and double twist, both receiving positive GOEs. Their spins continue to be their weakness. The side-by-side ones traveled on each foot change, and the pair spin was slow and sloppy.
“We have performed this well tonight, however, there were a few slight mistakes we made,” Hao Zhang said. “Overall, we've done a good job. We will try to improve in the future, and we'll do a better job.”
His partner was less enthusiastic.
“I'm not very satisfied with our performance tonight, but we will do our best for the next time,” Dan said through an interpreter.
Hinzmann was still all smiles at the press conference.
“Tonight was definitely our night! It was probably the first clean program we've really done. I was thrilled," she said. "We didn't know what to expect coming in, but we had very good practices, and we were able to put it all together.”
“It's great skating in front of the 'home town',” Parchem added. “The people of New Jersey were great to us. They pulled us through and made it so much more fun to be there.”
Skating to Zuzanna Szwed's (Parchem's wife) choreography, Hinzmann and Parchem floated through the program to “The Mission.” They received no negative GOEs on any element. Although they were not credited with any level 4s, the 2s and 3s were all high quality, boosting them 1.8 over their base value.
Asked what it's like to perform his wife's work, Parchem smiled.
“I've known Zuzanna for a long time,” he said. “It was an adjustment at first. After a few years you get use to knowing that she's the boss. As long as I know that, there's no problem.”
“(Aaron and Zuzanna) have a great relationship on the ice,” Hinzmann added. “They really feed well off of each other. I think she does an amazing job putting something special together for us.”
Baldwin failed to cleanly land his triple in the short, but he's not discouraged.
"We'll do (a triple) in the long program, for sure," Baldwin said. "You want to keep trying the harder elements in the short as well because it's a cumulative system. It's not like you're done with the short and you just have your placement. You still have the scores that will add up.”
For their long program Saturday night, Inoue and Baldwin plan on landing the first throw triple Axel in history. They have been successful all week in practices (watch here) and are confident going into the free program.
“We have nothing to lose,” Inoue said. “We're not afraid of taking risks or anything like that. We have to try as hard as possible.”
“More than anything, we want to push the level of the sport higher and have something for people to remember us by,” Baldwin said.
The Russian team of Julia Obertas and Sergei Slavnov are less than a point behind, with 54.04. Obertas missed the landing on the throw triple flip, and it took a while for her to get her feet back under her.
The third American team, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, had a problem on their overhead lift when they missed the handhold change and the lift was aborted. They also both fell on their side-by-side triple Salchows, receiving only a .30 score for that element. The teams in fifth-through-ninth places are only 3.5 points apart.