World Champion Brian Joubert of France kept up his winning ways as he was victorious at Skate Canada International held in Quebec City this weekend. Kevin van der Perren (BEL) roared from a dismal showing in the short program to capture the silver medal. Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle clinched the bronze.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir gave the home crowd something to cheer about as they claimed the ice dance title.
The Men's Final
Last season Joubert won every event he entered. He opened up his Grand Prix season in style once again this year, claiming gold despite a loose blade that caused a few problems.
Joubert nailed six triple jumps in his program to a Metallica medley, but he fell on the opening quadruple toe loop. The Frenchman was awarded a level three for both step sequences and also for three of his four spins to earn 135.57 points (64.47 element score/72.10 program component score). For the competition he compiled a total of 213.62 points.
“I am very disappointed with my free program," he said. "I was surprised that I fell on the quad. I was very nervous and thought about which jumps I have to do.”
He said he realized during his sit spin that the blade of his left skate had come loose and was cautious after that. “I don’t know when it became loose, maybe before or after the fall," he said. "It was obviously it was distracting, because you don’t know if it’s going to hold up or not, but I didn’t want to interrupt the program.”
Van der Perren, who stood in fifth place after the short program, put out a strong performance to “Lawrence of Arabia,” hitting a quad toe loop, triple Axel, a triple Salchow-triple toe loop combination as well as four more triple jumps. The Technical Panel graded his flying sit spin, sit spin and his combination spin a level four. The reigning European bronze medalist scored 136.44 points (74.54/61.90), won the free skating portion and moved up to second at 202.55 points total.
“Finally I did (both) the quad and the triple Axel in my program,” van der Perren said. “I had come once before to Skate Canada in Quebec (in 2002), but I had to withdraw due to injury. So I am happy that I was able to come back here and to skate strong. It was hard, as it was so hot in the ice rink and I was really getting dehydrated.”
Buttle opened his routine to “Ararat” with a triple Axel-triple toe loop combination but then struggled with some jumps, doubling a Salchow and a Flip and falling on a triple Lutz at the end. He had three more clean triples and got a level four for three of his spins. The 2006 Olympic bronze medalist collected 131.92 points and remained in third place with 198.77 points. “I was happy with the opening (of the program), triple Axel-triple toe and then I turned my brain on and started to over-think things a little too much. I was tentative, I didn’t have the attack like I normally do in training,” Buttle said.
Christopher Mabee (CAN) came in fourth with an entertaining program to “Sing, Sing, Sing” from “Fosse – A Song and Dance Spectacular,” landing six clean triples, but his triple Axel was cheated and downgraded (192.20 points).
Vaughn Chipeur completed a successful competition for the Canadian team by finishing fifth (187.41 points). Yannick Ponsero (FRA), who was ranked second in the Short Program, faded to sixth after missing his quadruple toe loop and making errors on most of his other jumps (178.18 points).
Joubert collected 15 points and is scheduled to compete in Paris at the Trophee Eric Bompard. Van der Perren (13) points will also go to France for his second Grand Prix event, while Buttle (11 points) will compete again at the Cup of Russia in Moscow end of November.
Ice Dance Final
Virtue and Moir danced to victory in front of an enthusiastic audience in the Colisee Pepsi. Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy earned the silver medal and Pernelle Carron and Mathieu Jost from France took the bronze. For both the Italian and the French couple it was their first medal on the Grand Prix series (senior level).
Virtue and Moir delivered a romantic free dance set to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and scored a new personal best of 99.62 (53.30 element score/46.32 program component score). Their program featured difficult but smooth footwork, a curve-rotational lift with changes of position, a straight line lift with him sliding on one knee and a serpentine lift. The 2006 World junior champions were awarded a level four for all eight elements.
Virtue and Moir's previous personal best score from the 2007 World Championships was 95.38 points. Overall, the Canadians racked up 197.07 points to win their first Grand Prix gold medal.
“We felt the performance went really well for us. We felt comfortable out there on the ice. We tried to take it one element at a time. That was our game plan. We’re looking to build for Japan, our next competition,” Moir said. “Our program is obviously based right on the movie 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg' and we are the characters in the movie. We’re trying to tell the story. It’s very young love and he has to leave for the military.”
Cappellini and Lanotte performed to “La Traviata” by Guiseppe Verdi. The Italians completed difficult steps, earning a level four for their circular step sequence and a level three for their side-by-side footwork as well as a level four for their twizzles.
However, they struggled with their serpentine lift when he couldn’t hold her long enough, and the element was graded only a level two.
Cappellini and Lanotte picked up 85.44 points (44.70/40.74), setting a new personal best. They were ranked third in the free dance but remained in second overall at 171.57 points. “Coming here, we didn’t expect to medal, but after the Polka (compulsory dance) we thought it’s possible,” Cappellini said. “We’re obviously not pleased with our performance today. We had a problem with the second position of our serpentine lift in practice this morning. We were afraid that I might be in an illegal position, so we changed it, but it became worse."
Skating to “Nocturne” by Frederic Chopin, Carron and Jost showed interesting lifts including a straight line-rotational lift with changes of position for both partners, a curve lift and a rotational lift and received a level four for their circular step sequence and a level three for the midline step sequence and their spin.
The French earned 87.13 points (47.90/39.23), significantly improving their previous personal best of 79.30 points. They were ranked second in the free dance and third overall with a total score of 167.83 points. “This medal is a great satisfaction for us. We came here to win the silver or bronze medal, although nobody except for us believed that this would be possible,” Jost said.
Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno (CAN) moved up from sixth to finish fourth with a dance to “Rhapsody in Blue” (152.16 points), and the 2007 World junior champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) were fifth, skating to “Suite No. 4” and “Toccata and Fugue” by Johann Sebastian Bach (151.97).
Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov (USA), who stood in fourth place following the original dance, had to withdraw due to injury after suffering a fall on a rotational lift in the warm up. Gregory fell hard on her chest and was hospitalized but according to the medical bulletin didn’t suffer a severe injury and was expected to be released last night.
Virtue and Moir collected 15 points and will compete again at the NHK Trophy in Sendai, Japan in December. Cappellini and Lanotte (13 points) and Carron and Jost (11 points) will meet again at the Trophee Eric Bompard in France in two weeks.