Evan Lysacek Wins Skate America Silver Medalby Laura Fawcett
|Evan Lysacek won Skate America silver.|
Photo by Paul Harvath
(10/27/06) - It may have been one of the last times figure skating fans saw Evan Lysacek's “Carmen” free skate, but for those at the Hartford Civic Center Friday night, it was one to remember.
“Carmen” is considered one of the most overused pieces of music in skating, but Lysacek's version suits his tall frame and accentuates the best aspects of his skating. When he is on, his final straightline step sequence exhilarates the crowd and shows why he is one of the world's most exciting skaters.
It was no different Friday during the 2006 Skate America men's free skate in Hartford, Conn. Just like his two previous outings at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and World Championships, Lysacek nailed his final program by landing eight triple jumps. He won the free skate with 150.74 points, although it still wasn't enough to overcome Nobunari Oda's massive lead after the short program.
Lysacek won the Skate America silver medal for the second year in a row, but after a long summer of touring and media appearances, he's pretty happy with the result.
“I feel good. I'm happy with my conditioning at this point in the season,” said Lysacek. “I came in here to do well, so it feels good to end it on a better note.”
Lysacek was not as quick to compare this competition with his performances at the Olympics and Worlds. At both of those events, he had more devastating short programs that landed him way back in the field. His short program on Thursday contained only two minor errors.
“It's not like coming from a disaster to something great,” he said. “It's just a little bit of a shaky performance [yesterday], and I got that out of my system.”
Since Skate America is the first Grand Prix of the season, often the skating is not quite up to the level one would see in January. But nobody told that to Lysacek, or for that matter, to gold medalist Oda or bronze medalist Alban Preaubert of France.
Oda opened the final flight with a personal best 144.90 points, starting with a triple Axel-triple toe-double loop combination that earned a whopping 14.80 points. He followed that with six more triples (including a wonky triple Axel that earned -2 GOEs) in his program to Tchaikovsky's “Symphony No. 4.”
“I didn't think I could do my personal best. I am a little surprised now,” said Oda in his usual taciturn, but smiling style.
Preaubert tried to steal the show from everyone this weekend, enchanting the crowd Thursday with his “Buzzy Bee” number, and then getting them clapping along to music from “Swing Kids” and “The Mask.”
A relative unknown in the skating world, his charm is undeniable, and his popularity may explode after tonight's performance. He ticked off his triple jumps like they were nuisances between his choreography and playful elements. After landing seven triples, and with the crowd in the palm of his hand, Preaubert might have gotten just a little too excited as he flopped on a final triple Salchow.
“The program is not totally ready yet, but it was not bad,” he said. “People like, I think. There was a lot of noise [from the crowd]. For me, it's good to just make a mistake at the end of the program, because I was tired since it's the beginning of the season. It's promising.”
Scott Smith moved up two places to finish sixth overall. Once again he was the only man to attempt a quad, and his fall on that jump and an ensuing pop on his triple Axel were costly errors. He landed seven triples.
“I hit two out of two quad Salchows on my practice this afternoon, so I was feeling really good about [the quad],” Smith said. “Then it just did not happen at all tonight. It was way underrotated, and I fell. It was really not even an attempt I'm used to.”
Fourth after the free skate, Ryan Bradley dropped four places after some jump problems early in the program.
Thinking through the program, Bradley improvised and added double toes on two jumps late in the program when he missed combinations early on.
“It was a little bit of a let down from yesterday,” Bradley said. “Today I just let things rattle me early. I really think I'm on the right track. Things at home have been going really well. I just need to keep pushing it.”