Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada
Golden at Nationals
Daisuke Takahashi rocked the house at the 2011 Japanese national championships in Osaka with a sensational short program that put the homeland superstar on another planet in the world of skating.
His performance, which included his first clean quad (toe loop) triple toe combination in competition this season, earned a score of 96.03 and put him more than 10 points ahead of Takahiko Kozuka and 20 ahead of Yuzuru Hanyu.
Serious technical issues in the free skate plagued the 2010 World champion who ranked only third in the segment. He fell on an attempted quad, a planned triple Axel combination and the triple flip.
Still, Takahashi claimed his fifth national title with 254.60. Kozuka was second (250.97) and Hanyu placed third (241.91).
"I feel really disappointed because that was one of my worst free skates,” Takahashi told the Japan Times.
In the ladies event, Mao Asada came from behind after the short to also win her fifth national title with 184.07 ahead of Akiko Suzuki (179.27) and Kanako Murakami (172.69).
"This was a competition that was held under unusual circumstances for me," Asada tearfully told The Asahi Shimbun. "So I'm happy, and I'm sure my mother is, too. I think she knows I won, even if I am unable to report to her."
The top three in both disciplines will represent Japan at the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships in Nice.
Plushenko Wins Europeans Appeal
Following his uncontested victory at Russian nationals, Evgeni Plushenko announced his intention to compete at the 2012 European Championships.
The International Skating Union (ISU) weighed in stating he was not eligible to do so given that he did not compete last season and therefore did not have the requisite number of points required.
The Russian federation filed an appeal with the ISU, stating in part that Plushenko's presence would enhance the event. The request was subsequently granted, clearing the way for Plushenko to compete in Sheffield, England later this month.
The official statement from the ISU: “The ISU received a specific request from the Figure Skating Federation of Russia pointing out that the skater Evgeny Plushenko was unable, for different reasons, to obtain the required minimum score in an International Competition during the ongoing and past season.
"Based on this request and also noting that Evgeny Plushenko has recently returned to competitive skating by winning the Russian National Championships at the end of December 2011, the ISU Council exceptionally agreed to accept the entry of Evgeny Plushenko into the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2012 in Sheffield/Great Britain.
This exceptional decision is valid for the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2012 only."
Banner Year for Chan
Aside from the multiple on-ice victories Patrick Chan has enjoyed thus far this season, the off-ice awards keep coming for the young man who celebrated his 21st birthday on New Years Eve.
In late December the Canadian Press voted Chan male athlete of the year and winner of the Lionel Conacher Award for 2011.
The prestigious award, which is named after the late multi-sport star was the overwhelming choice of the Canadian Press as the outstanding male athlete for half a century, is in recognition of Chan’s dominance in the figure skating domain in 2011.
“The award is voted on annually by sports editors and broadcasters across the country,” said Neil Davidson, General Sports Editor for Canadian Press.
“Chan joins the likes of Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Donovan Bailey, Ferguson Jenkins and Rocket Richard in winning the award.”
Lionel Conacher was an NHL defenceman who won two Stanley Cups, a Grey Cup in football, excelled at lacrosse, and won a Canadian light-heavyweight boxing title.
In early January Chan won the Canadian Sports Awards male athlete of the year honour from the True Sport Foundation.
This brings to six the number of honors bestowed upon Chan in the past few months. He was named Sportsnet’s 2011 Canadian Athlete of the Year, won the Toronto Star’s Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete for 2011, the QMI news agency’s male athlete of the year award and named CBC Sports’ Athlete of the Year.
Chan celebrated his 21st birthday on New Years Eve.
Johnny Weir Ties the Knot
Johnny Weir and his partner Viktor Voronov wed on Dec. 31 at the New York City Courthouse. The couple exchanged vows with both sets of parents in attendance.
“I'm married!” Weir tweeted to the 103,000 people who follow him on the popular social network. “Wedding in summer!” he added. “But all the official stuff is done now! No more livin' in sin!”
Voronov later tweeted: “Ringing in the New Year with my new hubby @JohnnyGWeir! #ELATED.”
The couple honeymooned in Punta Cana. A formal wedding is planned for sometime in July.
Who will win the European titles? Cast your vote in the IFS poll. Click here...›
If you missed the "Caesars II: A Tribute to the Ladies of Skating" here are the performances of Shizuka Arakawa and Joannie Rochette. The show will air on the Ovation Network on April 26.
Emily Hughes graduated from Harvard University on Dec. 14 with an honors degree and an Associate Bachelor in sociology with a minor in government. She plans to continue skating and has a job offer.
Lucinda Ruh recently announced that she and her husband Antonio De Rosa are getting ready to welcome twin girls in June.
TSN and CTV will broadcast the Canadian Figure Skating Championships this week. NBC will broadcast U.S. Nationals from San Jose. Click here...› for the schedules.
"Synchro in the City" took place in late December in London, Ont., Canada.
ISU Detect Flaw in Calculation Program
In late December, the International Skating Union announced that it had detected a flaw in its calculation program used by the judges.
“In all fairness to the sport we have to inform you that after the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final of Quebec City a calculation error in the ISU Judging System calculation program has been detected,” the press release stated in part.
The problem was detected in the Grade of Execution being awarded for the Combination Lift.
The release went on to say: “The difference of 0.5 points emanating from this calculation error was enough to result in a switch in the free dance ranking…Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN) should have been ranked in first place and Meryl Davis and Charlie White (USA) second in this segment.
“It is important to point out however that the final ranking (short dance and free dance combined) has not changed.”
Originally published in February 2012