Much to the delight of the home crowd, Canadians took top honors in both the men’s and ladies disciplines at Skate Canada International in Ottawa, Ont. Saturday.
Four-time Canadian champion Joannie Rochette won the ladies title for the second time at this event. Meanwhile reigning Canadian men’s champion Patrick Chan won his first gold medal in the Grand Prix Series at the senior level.
In the men’s competition, there was a lot of movement in the standing from one day ago. Overnight leader Yannick Ponsero of France finished sixth in the free skate and tumbled to fourth overall.
Chan was second heading into the free skate. He had the third-best long program, but still managed to come out on top.
Ryan Bradley (USA) came in second to win his first Grand Prix medal and Evan Lysacek (USA) took the bronze.
Chan produced a triple flip-triple toel oop combination, a triple Lutz, Salchow and loop as well as a level four flying sit spin in his elegant routine to a “Cello Sonata” and “Piano Concerto No. 2” by Rachmaninov. He also earned a level three for his two other spins and the straight line footwork.
However, the 17-year-old put down his hand on his opening Axel and fell on the second Axel. He also missed the take-off of his second Lutz, singling the jump.
Chan scored 142.36 points (75.16 element score/67.20 program component score) for his free skating and was ranked third in this segment, but moved up to first overall with a total of 215.45 points.
“I have to make up for it at my next Grand Prix and skate a better long program,” Chan said. “The short program wasn’t so bad; I was satisfied with the short. … Overall I was very happy.”
Skating to a medley, Bradley nailed a quad toe, a triple Axel-double toe combination another triple Axel as well as five more triples. He also was awarded a level four for the flying sit and a level three for the combination and flying camel spin to earn a new personal best of 140.36 points (74.45/65.80). Overall he complied a competition mark of 212.75 points.
“It was a really good event today. A lot of people went out and skated very well, and it feels good to be one of them,” Bradley said. “Shawn (Sawyer, who won the long program) did such an awesome job today, and I heard his score right before I stepped on to the ice. Such a big number coming up so early really shocked me. It was really motivating.”
Lysacek executed a triple Lutz, triple Axel, Salchow, a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination as well as fast and well centered spins, two of which were graded a level four. However, the second triple Axel and the triple loop were downgraded. The two-time and reigning U.S. champion received 137.87 (67.17/70.70) points for his program to “Rhapsody in Blue,” and although he finished fourth in the free skating he pulled up to third overall at 209.27 points.
He edged Ponsero by just 0.30 points. “It took some fight to get out and to get through that performance and stand on my feet for all my elements,” Lysacek said. “I just really like the music and I think it can grow into something that I really can be proud of by the end of the season. I think it’s a strong start and obviously I have my work cut out for me.”
Ponsero came in fourth (208.97 points) after crashing on his opening quadruple toe loop. He recovered to land four triples.
Sawyer’s long program featured seven clean triple jumps, only the triple Axel was two-footed and downgraded. He was ranked fifth (206.56 points).
Sergei Voronov (RUS) nailed a quadruple toe oop and two triple Axels, but doubled the flip to come in sixth (201.59 points).
Chan pocketed 15 points. His next competition is the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, France in two weeks. He will meet Bradley again, who earned 13 points. With two third-place finishes, Lysacek has 22 points and will have to wait and see if this is enough to qualify for the final.
Rochette capped off a successful day for the host country when she won the ladies title. Fumie Suguri of Japan captured the silver medal and the bronze went to Alissa Czisny (USA).
The overnight leader, Rochette looked composed and ready when she stepped on to the ice to perform her long program to “Concierto de Aranjuez.” Rochette landed a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop combination, a triple flip, loop, another triple Lutz and a triple Salchow. Her only major glitch came when she stepped out of the second jump in her triple toe-triple Salchow sequence.
Rochette was awarded a level four for the flying sit spin, the upright spin and the spiral sequence as well as a level three for her footwork and the combination spin. The 22-year-old picked up 124.15 points (63.99 element score/60.16 program component score), improving her previous personal best of 119.50 points.
Overall she racked up 188.89 points to claim her third Grand Prix gold medal. Rochette had won Trophée Bompard in 2004 and Homesense Skate Canada in 2006 before. “To skate in Canada is great, because the home crowd is cheering for you. In the past I was more nervous, but this time I felt calm on the ice, like in training,” Rochette said.
Suguri’s program to “Otonal” included two triple Lutzes (one in combination with double toe), a triple flip and two double Axels as well as two level four spins. Her last spin, however received no credit as she did a second combination spin and didn’t do any spin with flying entrance as required.
The three-time World medalist ranked third in the free skating with 105.94 points (52.02/53.92), but remained in second place overall at 163.86 points. It was a comeback for the 2006 World silver medalist who won her last Grand Prix medal two years ago at NHK Trophy and didn’t qualify for the Japanese team that went to the World Championships the past two seasons.
Skating to “Dr. Zhivago,” Czisny rallied from a sub par short program and put out a solid performance in which she landed four clean triples. Her only error came when she stumbled on her second triple Lutz. The elegant skater performed beautiful spins and spirals. Czisny scored 108.26 points (56.18/52.08), just short of her previous personal best established three years ago when she won gold at Skate Canada.
The 2005 competition also marked the last time she medaled at the Grand Prix. Last night, the 21-year-old ranked second in the free skating and moved up from sixth to third with 157.92 points. “I just wanted to go out and try to stay with each element. I have been working with Brian Boitano and his coach Linda Leaver and I was trying to change my technique to make my jumps better. This season, I competed a lot to gain more confidence in front of the judges,” she said.
Reigning World silver medalist Carolina Kostner finished fourth (152.76 points). She landed three triples and moved up from her seventh-place finish in the short program.
Caroline Zhang, the 2007 World junior champion, slipped to fifth with 150.80 points. She was the only skater to hit a triple-triple combination (triple flip-triple toe), but later fell on her second triple flip. Bebe Liang (USA) was sixth (142.12 points).
Rochette earned 15 points and will skate again at Trophée Bompard. Suguri collected 13 points and her next competition is the Cup of Russia. Czisny (11 points) currently doesn’t have a second Grand Prix event.
Ladies Final Standings
1 Joannie ROCHETTE CAN 188.89
2 Fumie SUGURI JPN 163.86
3 Alissa CZISNY USA 157.92
4 Carolina KOSTNER ITA 152.76
5 Caroline ZHANG USA 150.80
6 Beatrisa LIANG USA 142.12
7 Jenna MCCORKELL GBR 139.37
8 Cynthia PHANEUF CAN 133.47
9 Nana TAKEDA JPN 128.93
10 Jenni VÄHÄMAA FIN 122.75
11 Elena GLEBOVA EST 116.38
12 Myriane SAMSON CAN 112.74
Men’s Final Standings
1 Patrick CHAN CAN 215.45
2 Ryan BRADLEY USA 212.75
3 Evan LYSACEK USA 209.27
4 Yannick PONSERO FRA 208.97
5 Shawn SAWYER CAN 206.56
6 Sergei VORONOV RUS 201.59
7 Brandon MROZ USA 192.23
8 Yasuharu NANRI JPN 177.84
9 Anton KOVALEVSKI UKR 170.61
10 Jeremy TEN CAN 169.79
11 Vladimir USPENSKI RUS 150.50