Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Skaters gather in Pennsylvania for Liberty Open

Skaters are gathering at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pa., for the eighth annual Liberty Summer Competition, hosted by the Liberty Figure Skating Club of Philadelphia. The non-qualifying event is a chance to perform new programs, gain feedback and make necessary changes before national qualifying events and international competitions, including the junior and senior Grand Prix assignments.

Among the men scheduled to compete: reigning world silver medalist Patrick Chan, who is expected to debut a new program, choreographed by Lori Nichol to selections from Phantom of the Opera, in the senior men's free skate event; 2009 U.S. pewter medalist Ryan Bradley; 2008 U.S. bronze medalist Stephen Carriere; 2009 U.S. junior champion Ross Miner; 2009 U.S. junior silver medalist Keegan Messing; and Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who finished second at last season's Junior Grand Prix Final.

"This summer has been as intense as ever," said Carriere, who will perform a new short program to "Carmina Burana" and last season's free to Stravinsky's Firebird.

"Summer is when you get that good foundation training your programs. Not going to worlds [this year] was tough to swallow, but it gave me more time to go home and get down to the basics, work on my triple Axel and triple-triple combinations [Lutz-toe and flip-toe]. I want to see the [triple] toe in those combinations more optimal and ideal."

Carriere, who placed a disappointing ninth at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, has also been working on a new entrance to his triple Axel, which failed him at a few key moments last season.

"I had a lot more negative grades of execution on the Axel [than in 2007-2008]. It was a little inconsistent, so I've been working on new technique for the take-off," he said. "I used to go into it with a half circle. Now I'm trying to get that step and skid, gain consistency. I need to bring out the fire. The past year was muffled. I'm taking nothing for granted."

For three of last season's top U.S. juniors -- Miner, Mahbanoozadeh and Messing -- It's an early opportunity to compete as seniors.

Full article.

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