Friday, January 30, 2009

Chipeur soars on jaw-dropping Axel

There are triple Axels, and then there is Vaughn Chipeur's triple Axel.

When the Albertan unleashes that jump in competition, the audience gasps, momentarily in awe of the gravity-defying distance between skater and ice.

Next week at the ISU Four Continents Championships, the new Canadian silver medalist wants to make his impossibly big Axel even bigger. His intent is to give the judging panel no choice but to award +3s across the board for the execution of his signature jump.

"Everyone says 'You have the best triple Axel.' So, OK, I want the best marks for it," Chipeur said in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, at the 2009 Canadian Championships, where he convinced six of eight judges to give him the maximum grade.

Chipeur, 24, is not one of Canada's most well-known skaters, but he has been around for a while. He competed on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in 2002 and 2003 and twice finished third as a junior at the Canadian championships. He ranked 11th and then 16th in his first two national appearances as a senior competitor.

After those lackluster results, he decided to get a lot more serious about his training. He even recognized the need to nurture his late-blooming inner artiste.

Chipeur skated to a respectable fifth-place finish at Skate Canada in November 2007 but fell to 11th at the NHK Trophy later that month. He was buoyed by a fourth-place result at the 2008 Canadians, although he placed just seventh in the long, and then finished a commendable seventh at Four Continents.

This season, Chipeur wowed the judges at the Cup of China to rank second in the short program, but he again fell back to seventh in the long and, ultimately, finished off the podium in fifth place.

Inconsistency on the jumps has been the culprit behind his mixed results. When his performances went completely off the rails at the Cup of Russia this past fall, resulting in a last place showing, coach Scott Davis decided to crack the whip.

Full article.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cohen considers Olympic comeback

News from America's ice rinks is dire. Or so it would seem in the emotion-filled world of U.S. figure skating, where anxiety has set in a year before the Vancouver Games because of a shortage of Ice Princesses.

The recently concluded U.S. championships left some questioning the strength of the once-prominent women's team that won five of the nine medals available in the past three Olympics. There's even talk of the unthinkable — being shut out in Vancouver.

No wonder some are clamoring for Sasha Cohen's return to the first Winter Olympics on the West Coast in a half-century.

Cohen, who retired in 2006, floated the idea of a comeback in October. She will make a decision in June after she finishes the Smucker's Stars on Ice tour that comes to HP Pavilion on Friday. But her intent sounded clear in a recent interview.

"The reason I am going back isn't because I need a gold medal or some other title," said Cohen, who was second at the Turin Games in 2006. "I need that challenge in my life and that purpose. I think I still have one more in me and it feels incomplete" without it.

Cohen, 24, knows comebacks of aging skaters don't have Disneyesque endings. But even if she fails to qualify for the 2010 Olympics, Cohen has the marketing power to re-energize figure skating in America.

"It would probably be very good for the sport," said John Nicks, who coached Cohen at the 2002 and '06 Olympics.

Alissa Czisny, 21, added to Cohen's optimism by winning the national title last weekend despite landing only three triple jumps — the fewest by any U.S. champion in nearly two decades.

Cohen isn't going to outjump current stars Mao Asada of Japan and Yu-Na Kim of South Korea. But at her best she possesses an ethereal quality found in great skaters such as Peggy Fleming, Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Full article.

Langlois and Hay unable to compete at ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Skate Canada announced today that 2008 Canadian Pair Champions Anabelle Langlois, 27 of Gatineau, Que., and Cody Hay, 25 of Grande Prairie, Alta., will be unable to compete next week at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2009. The event takes place at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC, the same venue that will be used for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic figure skating competition.

Langlois continues to struggle with an injury that occurred in July of 2008 when she suffered a spiral fracture to her lower right fibula during a practice session. Despite subsequent surgery and a determined recovery effort, Langlois and Hay are not yet competition-ready.

“This decision was made in conjunction with Anabelle, Cody and their coach Lee Barkell, and it is indeed unfortunate that they will not able to compete at the ISU Four Continents,” said Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada Director High Performance. “We want them to take the time they need for Anabelle to fully recover from this injury, and be ready to compete in the events leading up to 2010.”

“We are obviously very upset about having to withdraw from ISU Four Continents. It is just one more thing to add to our long and frustrating year, said Cody Hay. “Unfortunately this is something we have no control over, and we are doing everything we can to get Anabelle healthy. We wish the Canadian team the best of luck, and can't wait to be part of the action again.”

The pair team has missed all of the competitive season to date, withdrawing from their ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating assignments at 2008 HomeSense Skate Canada International and NHK Trophy in Japan. They also were unable to defend their title at the 2009 BMO Canadian Figure Skating championships in Saskatoon, Sask.

As announced in Saskatoon, Mylène Brodeur, 21, Standbridge Station, Que., and John Mattatall, 26, Wallace, N.S., the pair team who finished in third place at the 2009 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships, will step in to replace Langlois and Hay next week. The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2009 runs February 2-8 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships

McLaughlin, Brubaker defend their U.S. pairs title
Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker defended their title Saturday at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett finished just back in second.
Read more.

Davis, White become new U.S. dance champs
Meryl Davis and Charlie White dominated the senior dance field at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, earning their first senior national title with a 99.82-point free dance.
Read more.

Czisny rocks Cleveland, wins U.S. ladies title
Alissa Czisny's free skate wasn't perfect, but in the end, it was good enough to secure her first U.S. ladies national title. Rachael Flatt won the silver; Caroline Zhang the bronze.
Read more.

Abbott soars to new heights, is new U.S. champ
Jeremy Abbott won Sunday's free skate at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Championships to become the new U.S. men's champion. Brandon Mroz took the silver, Evan Lysacek the bronze.
Read more.

2009 European Championships - Ladies' LP

Ladies - Long Program
  1. Carolina Kostner (ITA) 114.06 pts
  2. Laura Lepistö (FIN) 110.70 pts
  3. Susanna Pöykiö (FIN) 100.25 pts
  4. Alena Leonova (RUS) 98.91 pts
  5. Annette Dytrt (GER) 92.92 pts
  6. Kiira Korpi (FIN) 91.41 pts
Ladies - Final Result
  1. Laura Lepistö (FIN) 167.32 pts
  2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) 165.42 pts
  3. Susanna Pöykiö (FIN) 156.31 pts
  4. Alena Leonova (RUS) 143.99 pts
  5. Kiira Korpi (FIN) 139.01 pts
  6. Katarina Gerboldt (RUS) 137.05 pts
  7. Annette Dytrt (GER) 136.98 pts
  8. Julia Sebestyen (HUN) 134.47 pts
  9. Jenna McCorkell (GRB) 131.42 pts
  10. Tugba Karademir (TUR) 130.85 pts

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009 European Championships - Free Dance

Ice Dance - Free Dance
  1. Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski (RUS) 97.31 pts
  2. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA) 92.90 pts
  3. Sinead Kerr & John Kerr (GBR) 92.60 pts
  4. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali (ITA) 91.11 pts
  5. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) 85.71 pts
  6. Anna Zadorozhniuk & Sergei Verbillo (UKR) 80.10 pts
Ice Dance - Final Result
  1. Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski (RUS) 196.91 pts
  2. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali (ITA) 186.17 pts
  3. Sinead Kerr & John Kerr (GBR) 185.20 pts
  4. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA) 184.84 pts
  5. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) 172.67 pts
  6. Pernelle Carron & Matthieu Jost (FRA) 168.03 pts
  7. Anna Zadorozhniuk & Sergei Verbillo (UKR) 160.62 pts
  8. Ekaterina Rubleva & Ivan Shefer (RUS) 156.43 pts
  9. Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin (AZE) 156.00 pts
  10. Katherine Copely & Deividas Stagniunas (LTU) 155.57 pts

2009 European Championships - Ladies' SP

Ladies - Short Program
  1. Laura Lepistö (FIN) 56.62 pts
  2. Susanna Pöykiö (FIN) 56.06 pts
  3. Carolina Kostner (ITA) 51.36 pts
  4. Jenna McCorkell (GBR) 50.00 pts
  5. Katarina Gerboldt (RUS) 48.62 pts
  6. Ivana Reitmayerova (SVK) 48.00 pts
  7. Kiira Korpi (FIN) 47.60 pts
  8. Irina Movchan (UKR) 46.48 pts
  9. Tugba Karademir (TUR) 46.26 pts
  10. Nella Simaova (RUS) 45.24 pts

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 European Championships - Men's LP

Men - Long Program
  1. Yannick Ponsero (FRA) 151.85 pts
  2. Brian Joubert (FRA) 145.11 pts
  3. Samuel Contesti (ITA) 144.97 pts
  4. Kevin Van Der Perren (BEL) 143.46 pts
  5. Alban Preaubert (FRA) 138.72 pts
  6. Andrei Lutai (RUS) 132.82 pts
Men - Final Result
  1. Brian Joubert (FRA) 232.01 pts
  2. Samuel Contesti (ITA) 220.92 pts
  3. Kevin Van Der Perren (BEL) 219.36 pts
  4. Yannick Ponsero (FRA) 219.30 pts
  5. Alban Preaubert (FRA) 212.22 pts
  6. Tomáš Verner (CZE) 207.98 pts
  7. Andrei Lutai (RUS) 200.57 pts
  8. Kristoffer Berntsson (SWE) 186.15 pts
  9. Sergei Voronov (RUS) 184.96 pts
  10. Michal Brezina (CZE) 183.19 pts

2009 European Championships - Original Dance

Ice Dance - Original Dance
  1. Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski (RUS) 62.17 pts
  2. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali (ITA) 59.03 pts
  3. Sinead Kerr & John Kerr (GBR) 57.71 pts
  4. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA) 57.56 pts
  5. Pernelle Carron & Matthieu Jost (FRA) 56.18 pts
  6. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) 54.38 pts
Ice Dance - Standings after OD
  1. Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski (RUS) 99.60 pts
  2. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali (ITA) 95.06 pts
  3. Sinead Ker & John Kerr (GBR) 92.60 pts
  4. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA) 91.94 pts
  5. Pernelle Carron & Matthieu Jost (FRA) 89.39 pts
  6. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) 86.96 pts
  7. Alexandra Zaretski & Roman Zaretski (ISR) 81.81 pts
  8. Anna Zadorozhniuk & Sergei Verbillo (UKR) 80.52 pts
  9. Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin (AZE) 79.59 pts
  10. Ekaterina Rubleva & Ivan Shefer (RUS) 79.01 pts

Domnina-Shabalin withdraw

Reigning ice dance champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin withdrew from the European championships Wednesday because of his knee injury, the second top couple to be sidelined by injuries.

A medical bulletin said Shabalin's earlier knee injury had worsened, but gave no other details. Shabalin had surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee in December 2007, but the couple came back in time to compete at last year's Europeans, where they won the title. He injured the knee again in March 2008, however, and the Russians had to miss the world championships.

Domnina and Shabalin were favored to defend their title in Helsinki, with reigning world champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France out as she recovers from shoulder surgery. However, Shabalin had a surprising fall in the compulsory dance Tuesday, dropping the pair down to fifth place.

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski, also from Russia, lead going into Thursday's original dance.

2009 European Championships - Pairs' LP

Pairs - Long Program
  1. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (GER) 132.43 pts
  2. Yuko Kawaguchi & Alexander Smirnov (RUS) 117.39 pts
  3. Tatiana Volosozhar & Stanislav Morozov (UKR) 115.14 pts
  4. Maria Mukhortova & Maxim Trankov (RUS) 112.45 pts
  5. Lubov Iliushechkina & Nodari Maisuradze (RUS) 95.42 pts
  6. Nicole Della Monica & Yannick Kocon (ITA) 89.83 pts
Pairs - Final Result
  1. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (GER) 199.07 pts
  2. Yuko Kawaguchi & Alexander Smirnov (RUS) 182.77 pts
  3. Maria Mukhortova & Maxim Trankov (RUS) 182.07 pts
  4. Tatiana Volosozhar & Stanislav Morozov (UKR) 171.34 pts
  5. Lubov Iliushechkina & Nodari Maisuradze (RUS) 147.84 pts
  6. Nicole Della Monica & Yannick Kocon (ITA) 135.33 pts
  7. Erica Risseeuw & Robert Paxton (GBR) 129.78 pts
  8. Maylin Hausch & Daniel Wende (GER) 129.67 pts
  9. Adeline Canac & Maximin Coia (FRA) 129.06 pts
  10. Vanessa James & Yannick Bonheur (FRA) 127.71 pts

2009 European Championships - Men's SP

Men - Short Program
  1. Brian Joubert (FRA) 86.90 pts
  2. Tomáš Verner (CZE) 81.45 pts
  3. Samuel Contesti (ITA) 75.95 pts
  4. Kevin Van Der Perren (BEL) 75.80 pts
  5. Alban Preaubert (FRA) 73.50 pts
  6. Sergei Voronov (RUS) 71.29 pts
  7. Kristoffer Berntsson (SWE) 68.19 pts
  8. Andrei Lutai (RUS) 67.75 pts
  9. Yannick Ponsero (FRA) 67.45 pts
  10. Ari-Pekka Nurmenkari (FIN) 66.64