Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Ladies LP / Final Result

Ladies - Long Program

1 KIM Yu-NA (KOR) 150.06 pts
2 ASADA Mao (JPN) 131.72 pts
3 ROCHETTE Joannie (CAN) 131.28 pts
4 LEPISTO Laura (FIN) 126.61 pts
5 NAGASU Mirai (USA) 126.39 pts
6 ANDO Miki (JPN) 124.10 pts
7 SUZUKI Akiko (JPN) 120.42 pts
8 FLATT Rachael (USA) 117.85 pts
9 MAKAROVA Ksenia (RUS) 112.69 pts
10 LEONOVA Alena (RUS) 110.32 pts
11 KORPI Kiira (FIN) 108.61 pts
12 KWAK Min-Jung (KOR) 102.37 pts
13 PHANEUF Cynthia (CAN) 99.46 pts
14 MEIER Sarah (SUI) 96.11 pts
15 KECKEN Sarah (GER) 94.90 pts
16 SEBESTSYEN Julia (HUN) 93.80 pts
17 GEDEVANISHVILI Elene (GEO) 93.32 pts
18 LIU Yan (CHN) 91.73 pts
19 KOSTNER Carolina (ITA) 88.88 pts
20 LEE Cheltzie (AUS) 86.00 pts
21 LAFUENTE Sonia (SPA) 83.77 pts
22 GLEBOVA Elena (EST) 83.39 pts
23 GIMAZETDINOVA Anastasia (UZB) 82.63 pts
24 KARADEMIR Tugba (TUR) 78.80 pts

Ladies - Final Result

GOLD: KIM Yu-Na (KOR) 228.56 pts
SILVER: ASADA Mao (JPN) 205.50 pts
BRONZE: ROCHETTE Joannie (CAN) 202.64 pts
4 NAGASU Mirai (USA) 190.15 pts
5 ANDO Miki (JPN) 188.86 pts
6 LEPISTO Laura (FIN) 187.97 pts
7 FLATT Rachael (USA) 182.49 pts
8 SUZUKI Akiko (JPN) 181.44 pts
9 LEONOVA Alena (RUS) 172.46 pts
10 MAKAROVA Ksenia (RUS) 171.91 pts
11 KORPI Kiira (FIN) 161.57 pts
12 PHANEUF Cynthia (CAN) 156.62 pts
13 KWAK Min-Jung (KOR) 155.53 pts
14 GEDEVANISHVILI Elene (GEO) 155.24 pts
15 MEIER Sarah (SUI) 152.81 pts
16 KOSTNER Carolina (ITA) 151.90 pts
17 SEBESTYEN Julia (HUN) 151.26 pts
18 HECKEN Sarah (GER) 143.94 pts
19 LIU Yan (CHN) 143.47 pts
20 LEE Cheltzie (AUS) 138.16 pts
21 GLEBOVA Elena (EST) 134.19 pts
22 LAFUENTE Sonia (SPA) 133.51 pts
23 GIMAZETDINOVA Anastasia (UZB) 131.65 pts
24 KARADEMIR Tugba (TUR) 129.54 pts

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Ladies SP

Ladies - Short Program

1 KIM Yu-Na (KOR) 78.50 pts
2 ASADA Mao (JPN) 73.78 pts
3 ROCHETTE Joannie (CAN) 71.36 pts
4 ANDO Miki (JPN) 64.76 pts
5 FLATT Rachael (USA) 64.64 pts
6 NAGASU Mirai (USA) 63.76 pts
7 KOSTNER Carolina (ITA) 63.02 pts
8 LEONOVA Alena (RUS) 62.14 pts
9 GEDEVANISHVILI Elene (GEO) 61.92 pts
10 LEPISTO Laura (FIN) 61.36 pts
11 SUZUKI Akiko (JPN) 61.02 pts
12 MAKAROVA Ksenia (RUS) 59.22 pts
13 SEBESTYEN Julia (HUN) 57.46 pts
14 PHANEUF Cynthia (CAN) 57.16 pts
15 MEIER Sarah (SUI) 56.70 pts
16 KWAK Min-Jung (KOR) 53.16 pts
17 KORPI Kiira (FIN) 52.96 pts
18 LEE Cheltzie (AUS) 52.16 pts
19 LIU Yan (CHN) 51.74 pts
20 GLEBOVA Elena (EST) 50.80 pts
21 KARADEMIR Tugba (TUR) 50.74 pts
22 LAFUENTE Sonia (SPA) 49.74 pts
23 HECKEN Sarah (GER) 49.04 pts
24 GIMAZETDINOVA Anastasia (UZB) 49.02 pts
25 PEIMAN Isabelle (BEL) 46.10 pts
26 ZIEGLER Miriam (AUT) 43.84 pts
27 POSTIC Teodora (SLV) 43.80 pts
28 REITMAYROVA Ivana (SLN) 41.94 pts
29 McCORKELL Jenna (GBR) 40.64 pts
30 JURKIEWICZ Anna (POL) 36.10 pts

Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Free Dance / Final Results

Ice Dance -
Free Dance

VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 110.42 pts
2 DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Carlie (USA) 107.19 pts
3 DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN maxim (RUS) 106.60 pts
4 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 99.74 pts
5 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 99.11 pts
6 DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 97.06 pts
7 PECHALAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 94.37 pts
8 KHOKHLOVA Jana / NOVITSKI Sergei (RUS) 93.11 pts
9 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 92.23 pts
10 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 90.64 pts
11 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 88.94 pts
12 CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 85.29 pts
13 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 84.11 pts
14 CAPPELLINI Anna / LANOTTE Luca (ITA) 82.74 pts
15 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 82.88 pts
16 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 79.30 pts
17 ZADOROZHNIUK Anna / VERBILLO Sergei (UKR) 79.26 pts
18 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 72.91 pts
19 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 71.60 pts
20 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 71.27 pts
21 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR David (CZE) 70.08 pts
22 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 63.45 pts
23 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 58.24 pts

Ice Dance - Final Result

GOLD: VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 221.57 pts
SILVER: DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Charlie (USA) 215.74 pts
BRONZE: DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN Maxim (RUS) 207.64 pts
4 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 203.07 pts
5 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 199.17 pts
6 DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 193.73 pts
7 PECHALAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 190.49 pts
8 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 186.01 pts
9 KHOKHLOVA Jana / NOVITSKI Sergei (RUS) 185.86 pts
10 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 180.26 pts
11 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 174.30 pts
12 CAPPELLINI Anna / LANOTTE Luca (ITA) 167.32 pts
13 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 167.23 pts
CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 164.60 pts
15 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 163.35 pts
16 ZADOROZHNIUK Anna / VERBILLO Sergei (UKR) 163.15 pts
17 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 159.60 pts
18 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 149.64 pts
19 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 145.52 pts
20 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 143.61 pts
21 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR Davis (CZE) 133.81 pts
22 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 132.32 pts
23 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 115.18 pts

Kim arrives inspired by Lysacek's gold

Yu-Na Kim popped a triple flip into a single at this morning's practice.

"But only one," her coach, Brian Orser, was quick to say.

The world champion has struggled with her flip all season. During her free skate at Trophee Eric Bompard, she skated through the element, although that didn't prevent her from setting a new world record score at the event.

At Skate America, she tried and missed the jump, losing the free skate to U.S. champion Rachael Flatt. And at December's Grand Prix Final, a popped flip caused her to lose the short program to Japan's Miki Ando.

Orser has his own sad history with the triple flip. It may have cost him Olympic gold in 1988, when the Canadian lost the legendary "Battle of the Brians" to Brian Boitano, partly because he turned out of the landing of the jump.

Here, Orser doesn't think the flip will make the difference.

"She's looked good," he said. "That element hasn't been an issue at all, not for the last six weeks since the Grand Prix Final.

"Every once in a while, something happens with it. That's all right with me. I don't want to do too well, all the time. That's when something happens. With all the training we've done, we've made sure that element is strong."

Kim has already had some good news: at the draw today, she selected to skate 23rd, right after longtime rival Mao Asada of Japan. "I was hoping not to skate last, so I'm really happy about the draw," she told reporters in the mixed zone.

Instead, Ando has that honor.

The skater's team arrived on Feb. 19th, and she had two practices yesterday, one at the Pacific Coliseum and the other at the training rink.

"Yesterday the ice felt a bit weird to me, but today it was okay," Kim said. "I just tried to train hard like I do in Toronto. I still have a few days until the short program, so overall it was a good practice today."

With the exception of the one popped flip, Kim is right; her triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and other jumps looked strong.

Orser has made no changes to either of Kim's David Wilson-choreographed programs, a short to selections from James Bond movies and a free skate to Gershwin's "Concerto in F."

"All we've done is work to make them faster, better and stronger," he said.

Otherwise, most of his job has revolved around shielding his skater from dealing with too much press, too soon. That's why he trained Kim at their home base, the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, for as long as possible.

"It was somewhat surreal, being in Toronto the first week of the Games," Orser said. "We had the skating on [the television], and as she skated by she couldn't help but see the venue and the competition.

"We watched the men's short program and the men's long from far away, which was good. We made the right decision."

A heavy favorite for gold in Vancouver, Kim is thought of as near-royalty in her home country of South Korea, where the press refers to her reverentially as "Queen Yu-Na." Some think the expectations of her countrymen could upset her competitive equilibrium, but Orser doesn't agree.

"The 'Queen Yu-Na' phenomenon, that's been a gradual process," he said. "It's built over the last four years, ever since the last Olympics. It has been beneficial for her to be in Toronto training. It's comfortable, and there's still a huge Korean community there.

"You know, one thing I've learned, maybe through my own career: you don't guard against pressure, you have to face it head on. I didn't tell her, 'Pretend this is just another competition.' We all know it isn't. She's ready."

Like other coaches today, Orser broke the news to Kim of the sudden death of Therese Rochette, Canadian champion Joannie Rochette's 55-year-old mother.

"I told her right away, and she was shocked," he said. "She feels bad for Joannie, and she feels bad for the family.

"Yu-Na has such a tight bond with her own mother; her mom is at every practice, part of very decision. I am sure she will be affected by it. All the women in the competition will be affected by it."

Kim is expected to be most challenged Ando, the 2007 world champion who won bronze last season, and Asada, the 2008 world champion who plans to perform triple Axels in both her short program and free skate here.

Fans have flamed the flames of the rivalry on message boards and YouTube, and many think historic political and sports rivalries between Korea and Japan have fueled the often nasty fire.

"Oh, Yu-Na is aware of it, but she doesn't bother with the political issues, she bothers with competitive issues," Orser said.

"I don't think she thinks of it in terms of politics or history; I think she sees the Korea v. Japan rivalry as a skating rivalry, similar to what I had with Boitano. She's competing and skating because she loves it. She's a true competitor."

Shortly before they left for Vancouver, Kim watched Evan Lysacek win gold with a controlled, yet passionate performance that held nothing back. The coach thinks that's what his own skater will do here.

"I'm happy she saw Evan," he said. "I remember at the '84 [Lake Placid] Games, when I watched Kitty [Carruthers] and Peter [Carruthers] skate out and take control of the ice. I said, 'I want to be just like that when I start,' and I was.

"I believe Yu-Na will, too; that's what the Olympics are about. I want her to be inspired. There's not a lot of strategy to winning the Olympics. You need to skate flat out. Both Evan and Yu-Na came here as world champions, and he rose to the occasion. That gave her strength and comfort."

With heavy heart, Rochette takes the practice ice

Hours after finding out that her mother had passed away, Joannie Rochette took the ice to practice her short program as planned.

According to Skate Canada officials, Rochette was informed at about 6 a.m. that her mother, Therese, died of a heart attack. Rochette, a six-time Canadian champion and the reigning world silver medalist, was in the Olympic Village when she heard the news from her father, Normand.

Therese died in Vancouver Hospital after suffering a heart attack, but Normand did not want to tell his daughter until later in the morning, in part to let her sleep and also so he would not disturb her roommate, ice dancer Tessa Virtue, who is competing in the original dance on Sunday.

"It really put things into perspective," said Virtue. "It was a tough day for everyone. She has had to go through a hard time, and I am here for whatever she needs."

Rochette surprised many when she set foot on the ice just moments after her scheduled 1:15 p.m. practice had begun. Wearing black tights, a peach tank top and a black sweatshirt, Rochette plowed through her triples.

Rochette, who placed fifth at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, still plans to compete in these Games in Vancouver. The women's event is the last of the skating competitions in these Games, and the women's short program is Tuesday, Rochette will skate first in the last group of ladies. The free skate is Thursday.

Neither she nor her longtime coach Manon Perron spoke with reporters after the practice, but her presence spoke volumes.

Rochette was the last skater to practice her run through, and when her music ended, Dick Button, who was in the stands watching, applauded.

"Good for her,'' said Button, the two-time Olympic gold medalist. "Good for her.''

It didn't matter much that she didn't attempt every element in the run-through of her short program. Just being on the ice was more than enough.

"Yes, I was surprised [to see her skate],'' said Cynthia Phaneuf, who also represents Canada and was on the same practice session as Rochette. "But I think she is doing the right thing. It shows how strong she is.''

Benoit Lavoie, the president of Skate Canada, said he was impressed by how much "control'' Rochette displayed considering the circumstances.

"You can see how strong she is'' Lavoie said.

Rochette, an only child, grew up in the tiny Quebec town of Ile Dupas. She has trained with Perron since she was a teenager. Brian Orser, the two-time Olympic silver medalist and coach, toured with Rochette and got to know her mother well.

"Her skating mom is her coach'' Orser said. "Her mother was the supportive mom.''

Rochette's parents had arrived in Vancouver on Saturday along with some close friends from Ile Dupas. Those friends joined Normand to watch practice.

Rochette seemed to be enjoying her time in Vancouver up until this tragedy struck. She marched in the Opening Ceremony and was staying in the Olympic Village. She was even giddy about getting her photo taken with U.S. Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White.

"In 2006, I felt like I was a kid working in a candy store,'' Rochette said earlier this week. "I feel like it's bringing back, like I'm a kid again.''

Now, in the face of tragedy, she's decided to perform on the biggest stage of her career with a heavy heart.

"I can't imagine what Joannie is going through,'' Orser said. "I know she'll find the strength from her friends on the team and from Manon and from her millions of fans.''

As shocking as the news was, Orser said he was glad to hear that Rochette still will skate.

"I'm proud of her continuing to compete,'' Orser said. "She'll be skating for the right reasons.''

When asked how a coach could help a skater in this situation, Orser said, "I don't think you prepare for anything like that, but Manon and Joannie have a very tight bond, and together, they will get through this.''

When the moment arrives for Rochette to take the ice on Tuesday, there is no doubt the Canadian fans will show their support.

"Oh my gosh'' Orser said. "I'll be a mess.''

For coach Robin Wagner and her skater, Elene Gedevanishvili, these Games have already been emotional. Gedevanishvilli represents the republic of Georgia, and although she did not know Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger who was killed, the team is small enough that it has it has made quite an impact.

Wagner and Gedevanishvili were eating dinner in the Olympic Village last night, and they saw Rochette there. They learned the news of Rochette's mother's death this morning.

"My heart goes out to her,'' Wagner said.

Tom Zakrajsek, who coaches U.S. champion Rachael Flatt, said he was alerted of the news shortly before Flatt took the ice for practice. Flatt, however, was stunned when reporters informed her.

"Oh my gosh,'' said Flatt as she looked at Zakrajsek in shock. "I feel so bad for her. It's really unfortunate. That's really hard. I can't imagine losing your mother, let alone being at the Olympics.''

Unfortunately for Rochette, she will have to experience both the loss of her mother and competing in the Olympics in the same week.

"It's not about a medal anymore,'' said David Baden, Rochette's agent with IMG. "It's about fulfilling the goal that she shared with her mother.''

Asada's hopes hinge on triple Axel

Mao Asada is sticking with the plan.

"As far as the triple Axel, I have one in my short program and two in my long program," the Japanese champion told reporters at a press conference today.

"I have prepared these for certain, and I hope to challenge myself. . . Today in practice [at Vancouver's Burnaby 8 rink] my success rate with the triple Axel wasn't too bad, so I am really going to go all out and hope I succeed."

Triple Axels have been hit-and-miss all season long for the 2008 world champion, the only woman to consistently try the forward take-off, three-and-one-half revolution jump in competition.

Correctly done, it has a base value of 8.2 points. At Four Continents, Asada landed two in her free skate, earning a whopping 16.80 points and pulling up from third place after the short to take gold.

Other competitions this season have been less successful.

Asada failed on her second triple Axel at Trophee Eric Bompard and flubbed both attempts at Rostelecom Cup a week later. She has not successfully completed the maneuver in the short program at any of her international competitions this season.

Heading into Vancouver, she hopes all that will change.

"After Four Continents and prior to coming here, I practiced my jumps every day and did my best job to make sure they were clean," Asada, 19, said.

"At my nationals and Four Continents, I think my triple Axel looked good. I will be going to actual training rink [Pacific Coliseum] tomorrow and hope to get the feel of the ice there. The most important aspect would be to do well in the short program. I would like to make sure every step and every move is clean."

Asada needs a clean short to compete with longtime South Korean rival Yu-Na Kim, who posted a huge score in her short at Trophee Bompard, where she defeated the Japanese skater by a devastating 36.04 points.

Without the Axel, Asada's jump arsenal is limited to a triple flip, toe and loop; she rarely executes a triple Lutz or Salchow.

At today's press conference, speaking through an interpreter, Asada sidestepped a question on Kim, saying only that she wished to focus on her own performances here.

"I am really confident, because I have been able to practice a lot," she said. "After the free skate at Four Continents, I said that I did my best and that I probably had an 80 percent chance of an Olympic medal. Now I think I am in an even better condition. I don't think I can give a numeric probability; that would be too difficult.

"But especially in my short program, I want to do my best and complete all the elements and I think I can. . . If I am successful in all of the jumps, I think the other scores will go up, too."

Asada's coach of record remains Tatiana Tarasova, who choreographed both of her programs, a short to Khatchaturian's "Masquerade Waltz" and free to Rachmaninov's "Moscow Bells."

Much of the time, however, she trains with Tarasova's assistant, Shanetta Folle, in Nagoya, while Tarasova remains home in Moscow. She was there, hard at work training, up until a few days ago, delaying her departure as long as possible and checking into the Olympic Village only this morning.

"Generally speaking, I arrive at the venue or town just before the competition begins, so I can practice in Japan until just before the event," she said. "That's what I did this time. This is the only pattern I know.

"I've been practicing in Japan early in the morning so I don't think I will need so much time to adjust [to the time difference]. I think I will adjust very quickly."

Asada was inspired by Daisuke Takahashi, who won a bronze in the men's event, the first-ever figure skating Olympic medal from a Japanese man.

"I was at the Chukyo University practice rink, over in Toyota [a suburb of Nagoya], and I saw the video there," she said. "I was extremely motivated, and I also want to medal.

"If I do my triple Axels, and a clean short, I really think I will."

2010 Winter Olympics - Free Dance Starting Order

Ice Dance - FD Starting Order

1 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR David (CZE) 22
2 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 23
3 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 20
4 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 21
5 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 16
6 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 18
7 CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 17
8 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 19
11 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 14
12 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 15
13 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 11
14 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 10
15 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 8
16 PECHALAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 7
17 DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 6
19 DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Charlie (USA) 2
20 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 5
21 VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 1
22 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 4
23 DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN Maxim (RUS) 3

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Original Dance

Ice Dance - Original Dance

1 VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 68.41 pts
2 DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Charlie (USA) 67.08 pts
3 DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN Maxim (RUS) 62.84 pts
4 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 62.50 pts
5 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 60.18 pts
6 PECHALAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 59.99 pts
7 DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 58.68 pts
8 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 56.76 pts
9 KHOKHLOVA Jana / NOVITSKI Sergei (RUS) 55.57 pts
10 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 55.24 pts
11 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 53.99 pts
12 CAPPELLINI Anna / LANOTTE Luca (ITA) 51.45 pts
13 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 51.22 pts
14 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 50.81 pts
15 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 50.61 pts
16 ZADOROZHNIUK Anna / VERBILLO Sergei (UKR) 50.02 pts
17 CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 48.17 pts
18 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 46.42 pts
19 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 46.33 pts
20 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 45.03 pts
21 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 42.22 pts
22 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR David (CZE) 40.54 pts
23 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 35.21 pts

Ice Dance - Current Standings

1 VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 111.15 pts
2 DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Charlie (USA) 108.55 pts
3 DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN Maxim (RUS) 106.60 pts
4 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 103.33 pts
5 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 100.06 pts
6 DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 96.67 pts
7 PECHALAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 96.12 pts
8 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 93.78 pts
9 KHOKHLOVA Jana / NOVITSKI Sergei (RUS) 92.75 pts
10 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 89.62 pts
11 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 85.36 pts
12 CAPPELLINI Anna / LANOTTE Luca (ITA) 84.58 pts
13 ZADOROZHNIUK Anna / VERBILLO Sergei (UKR) 83.89 pts
14 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 83.12 pts
15 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 80.47 pts
16 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 80.30 pts
17 CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 79.31 pts
18 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 76.73 pts
19 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 74.25 pts
20 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 72.01 pts
21 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 68.87 pts
22 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR David (CZE) 63.73 pts
23 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 56.94 pts

2010 Winter Olympics - Ladies' SP Starting Order

Ladies - SP Starting Order

3 ZIEGLER Miriam (AUT)
5 LEE Cheltzie (AUS)
6 LIU Yan (CHN)
9 KWAK Min-Jung (KOR)
10 McCORKELL Jenna (GBR)
11 NAGASU Mirai (USA)
12 PIEMAN Isabelle (BEL)
13 POSTIC Teodora (SLN)
15 PHANEUF Cynthia (CAN)
17 MEIER Sarah (SUI)
18 GLEBOVA Elenea (EST)
19 KORPI Kiira (FIN)
20 HECKEN Sarah (GER)
21 LESPITO Laura (FIN)
22 ASADA Mao (JPN)
23 KIM Yu-NA (KOR)
24 SUZUKI Akiko (JPN)
25 LEONOVA Alena (RUS)
26 ROCHETTE Joannie (CAN)
28 FLATT Rachael (USA)
29 KOSTNER Carolina (ITA)
30 ANDO Miki (JPN)

Tragedy strikes Rochette

The mother of Canadian figure skating champion and Olympic medal hopeful Joannie Rochette died suddenly in Vancouver Sunday morning, shortly after arriving to watch her daughter compete.

Canadian team officials said Thérèse Rochette passed away after being rushed to Vancouver General Hospital.

Cause of the death has not been determined. She was 55.

Joannie Rochette was given the news by her father Normand at the Olympic Village this morning.

Officials said Ms. Rochette intends to compete at the Olympics, despite the shock of her mother's death.

Ms. Rochette's parents had arrived Saturday from Montreal.

The skater is currently closeted with friends and family, sharing in the grief.
Officials described her mood as focused and determined to compete.
The Rochette family is from the tiny town of Ile-Dupas, Que.

In her journal on Oct. 26, 2008, Rochette described her mother as an important critic of her skating.

"My mom, who was always close to me, took more distance from my skating for the last couple of years,'' Rochette wrote in 2008. "I was missing her input and support as well as her approach to getting more and more solid with my elements.

"She has always been the most critical person about my skating, pushing me harder to improve.

"Even if it requires quite a big deal of humility at 22 to admit you need more of your mother, I expressed it and she drives from home to St-Leonard once a week to come to supervise with her unique eyes my training."

Canadian chef de mission Nathalie Lambert choked with emotion as she expressed condolences to the Rochette family Sunday.

"It has actually just happened this morning," Ms. Lambert told reporters. "It's very emotional for me, and all of us, today."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chances good compulsories out after 2010 Games

If you like the Tango, you got to watch it quite a bit in the Pacific Coliseum today.

Twenty-three times to be exact.

In the ice dancing event, there are three portions of the competition, and the compulsory dance is the one in which all of the skating teams do the same dance to the same music. At these Olympics, the dance was the Tango Romantica.

And if this was it for the compulsories, Olympic silver medalist Tanith Belbin will have no problem with the decision.

"If this is the last time we perform the compulsory dance, awesome,'' Belbin said. "Good riddance, I say.''

And if we think we've heard this music a lot, imagine how many times have some of the skaters heard this music.

"So many times I can't even count,'' American ice dancer Emily Samuelson said.

But Samuelson might not have to listen to the same music over and over anymore. At the International Skating Union's Congress, which meets in June in Barcelona, a decision is expected to be made about the future of compulsories. The general prediction is that the ice dancing competition will be trimmed from three segments to two and the compulsory dance might be merged with the original dance.

Chances are good that these Games will be the last with compulsories, which features the basics of ice dancing skating skills. Just as school figures were eliminated from singles skating in international competition at the 1990 World Championships in Halifax, many see the demise of the compulsory dance as part of the evolution of the sport.

In the minds of some, it is a move for the better. But there are many others who believe it will lead to the demise of overall skating in ice dancing.

"Maybe I'll tell the youngsters that back in my day we did the compulsory dance at the Olympics,'' said Evan Bates, who performed the Tango Romantica with Samuelson tonight.

Compulsory dance generally is not the most exciting portion of the competition. Often, it is not even televised. But it is usually where skaters with classic technique shine.

According to Skate Canada High Performance Director Michael Slipchuk, there has been some consideration toward keeping the compulsory dance in the lower levels but eliminating at the junior and senior levels. The idea would be to help teach younger skaters good technique. When school figures were eliminated, they were swept out of the competition in one fell swoop and many established coaches and judges have lamented the impact it has had on the generation of skaters competing today.

As tedious as the compulsory dances can be, many of the skaters at these Games expressed some sadness about the possible elimination of the dance.

"Not too many people get so excited about seeing so many Tango Romanticas in a row, but it's also sad,'' said Cathy Reed, an ice dancer who represents Japan. "I think compulsories are the essence of ice dancing.''

Then again, the sport might not be too bad off without them.

"It's too early to say how this would impact the sport,'' said Igor Shpilband, a longtime ice dancing coach who currently works with U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. "I think the skill level has really improved and everybody is doing more rockers, counters and compulsory moves because of the new system.''

The Tango Romantica would be a special way for the compulsories to close at the Games. Created by Elena Tchiakovskaya in 1974, the dance was used by the first Olympic ice dancing champions: Ludmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov.

Tchiakovskaya later coached a skater named Marina Zoueva, now a coach and choreographer herself. Zoueva teaches skating with Shpilband and shortly before these Games in Vancouver they had Tchiakovskaya visit the rink. Davis and White and Virtue and Moir got lessons on the dance from the master.

"It was so wonderful,'' Zoueva said. "What a great experience.''

Sasha Zhulin, an Olympic silver medalist in ice dancing who now is a coach, said the elimination of the compulsory dance would not be a good thing for skaters from his homeland in Russia. Classically trained, Russian skaters tend to focus a great deal on the compulsory and the basics of ice dancing.

"For the Russians, this would not be great,'' Zhulin said.

Lysacek waves off criticism from Russian Federation

Evan Lysacek hadn't slept a wink.

He had officials escorting him from one interview session to another, and he still had no idea what that Olympic gold medal was doing around his neck.

But, he was well aware he was in the midst of a controversy.

Lysacek, who became the first American since 1988 to capture the men's figure skating gold medal in the Olympics, had dethroned defending Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko.

And since Plushenko had landed a quad and Lysacek hadn't, Russian skating officials in Vancouver were none too pleased.

Plushenko said that he thought he had won and even motioned that his spot was on the top of the medal podium. Over in Moscow, even Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chimed in with his displeasure.

Lysacek, meanwhile, seemed to take it all in stride.

After all, he is the Olympic champion.

"I guess I was a little disappointed that someone who was my role model would take a hit at me in probably one of the most special moments of my life that I'll never forget, regardless of what anyone said there,'' Lysacek said. "For him to discredit the field is not right, it's probably the strongest field there has ever been.''

Lysacek added that he could sympathize with Plushenko's emotions, noting that losing is always "a tough pill to swallow.''

The victory marked the first time since 1988 that a member of the Russian Federation or Unified Team had not won skating's top prize. Plushenko, who had earned a silver behind compatriot Alexei Yagudin in 2002 and claimed the gold medal in 2006, entered these Olympics as the heavy favorite for gold. Even though he had taken three-and-a-half years off from competitive skating, he returned this season showing he was more than ready to return.

Plushenko won the short program but his free skate, even with a quad, wasn't sharp. He struggled with his spins and did more hip grinding and blowing kisses than actual transitions and footwork.

Lysacek, who skated conservatively but landed eight triples, wound up defeating Plushenko by 1.31 points. Lysacek said that Plushenko congratulated him and gave him a "good, strong handshake,'' and praised Plushenko for his three Olympic medals. He also noted that they have competed against each other for years and toured together and that he has always respected him.

Although Plushenko might not have shown any animosity toward Lysacek personally, he and his longtime coach, Alexei Mishin, made it abundantly clear to the media that they were not pleased with the outcome. "

Any judge who thinks this is the right champion is a Cyclops," Mishin told reporters. "Without the quad, there is no difference between the men's competition and the women's. Why not let them skate together? Why not have it as a unisex competition in the Olympics?"

Although reaction from the Russians has been fierce, reaction from America's top skaters has been supportive.

Brian Boitano, who had been the last U.S. man to win the Olympic gold medal until Lysacek came along Thursday night, was in the stands in the Pacific Coliseum to witness Olympic history. Both Boitano and Lysacek won their gold medals on Canadian soil, with Boitano winning in Calgary and Lysacek in Vancouver.

"Evan really deserved it,'' Boitano said. "He was mentally strong, and he was flawless.''

Another American champion in the crowd was Michelle Kwan, who has been in Vancouver working with ABC-TV. A longtime friend of Lysacek's, Kwan said his performance moved her to tears.

"He was the first person I ever saw skating that made me tear up,'' Kwan said.

Kwan also trained with Lysacek's coach, Frank Carroll, and was happy that Lysacek could help Carroll achieve his longtime dream of coaching an Olympic gold medalist. Carroll, who is coaching at his 10th Olympics, had come close to gold before. In 1980, Linda Fratianne settled for silver. Eighteen years later, in Nagano, Kwan also garnered a silver.

"I'm thrilled beyond words,'' Kwan said. "I texted him. It's great to see a friend so happy.''

Tim Goebel, who is finishing up his studies at Columbia, also trained with Carroll. Under Carroll's guidance, Goebel earned a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

"Frank is a master at preparing his students to skate their best performances when it counts the most,'' Goebel said. "His contributions to the sport are remarkable, and I am very happy for him to have realized his dream of coaching an Olympic gold medalist. It is well deserved.

"Evan was fantastic. It was great to see one of our guys on top of the podium.''

Carol Heiss Jenkins, the 1960 Olympic champion, watched the men's free skate with her husband, 1956 Olympic gold medalist, Hayes, on TV in their home in Cleveland. As soon as the scores were announced, Heiss Jenkins said she turned to Hayes and said, "We've got to contact Evan and welcome him to the gold-medal club.

"Then I said, 'I am so happy for Frank. I've probably known him since I was 11 or 12 years old, since we both competed in the East. He's been through so much and has had so many wonderful skaters. I'm just so happy because it couldn't have happened to a more wonderful person.''

When Lysacek was at the U.S. Championships last month in Spokane, Wash., he took particular attention to the celebration of America's Olympic gold medalists. All 12 of them, from Dick Button to Sarah Hughes, were in attendance.

Now he's part of that group.

He's just now soaking that in.

When asked if he realized he was indeed the Olympic champion when he awoke this morning, Lysacek replied, "Uhhh ... I haven't gone to sleep yet.''

Lysacek is in such an Olympic daze that he couldn't say for certain whether he will compete next month at the World Championships in Torino.

Nor could he even think about competing in the next Olympic Winter Games. Conveniently, those Games will be held in Sochi.

He does know, however, what his reception would be like in Russia.

"I don't think they'd like to see me,'' Lysacek said.

2010 Winter Olympics - Original Dance Starting Order

Ice Dance - OD Starting Order

1 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 20
3 CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 15
4 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR David (CZE) 22
5 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 23
6 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 13
7 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 14
8 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 17
9 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 16
10 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 18
11 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 19
13 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 21
15 DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 6
16 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 8
17 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 5
18 DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN Maxim (RUS) 1
19 DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Charlie (USA) 3
20 PECHLAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 9
21 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 10
22 VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 2
23 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 4

Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Compulsory Dance

Ice Dance - Compulsory Dance

1 DOMNINA Oksana / SHABALIN Maxim (RUS) 43.76 pts
2 VIRTUE Tessa / MOIR Scott (CAN) 42.74 pts
3 DAVIS Meryl / WHITE Charlie (USA) 41.47 pts
4 BELBIN Tanith / AGOSTO Benjamin (USA) 40.83 pts
5 FAIELLA Federica / SCALI Massimo (ITA) 39.88 pts
DELOBEL Isabelle / SCHOENFELDER Olivier (FRA) 37.99 pts
7 KHOKHLOVA Jana / NOVITSKI Sergei (RUS) 37.18 pts
8 KERR Sinead / KERR John (GBR) 37.02 pts
9 PECHALAT Nathalie / BOURZAT Fabian (FRA) 36.13 pts
10 ZARETSKY Alexandra / ZARETSKY Roman (ISR) 34.38 pts
11 ZADOROZHNIUK Anna / VERBILLO Sergei (UKR) 33.87 pts
CAPPELLINI Anna / LANOTTE Luca (ITA) 33.13 pts
13 HOFFMANN Nora / ZAVOZIN Maxim (HUN) 31.90 pts
14 SAMUELSON Emily / BATES Evan (USA) 31.37 pts
15 CRONE Vanessa / POIRIER Paul (CAN) 31.14 pts
16 BEIER Christina / BEIER William (GER) 30.31 pts
17 BOBROVA Ekaterina / SOLOVIEV Dmitri (RUS) 29.86 pts
18 REED Cathy / REED Chris (JPN) 29.49 pts
19 HUANG Xintong / ZHENG Xun (CHN) 29.22 pts
20 REED Allison / JAPARIDZE Otar (GEO) 26.65 pts
21 COOMES Penny / BUCKLAND Nicholas (GBR) 25.68 pts
22 HAJKOVA Kamila / VINCOUR David (CZE) 23.19 pts
23 SHTORK Irina / RAND Taavi (EST) 21.73 pts

Davis, White say if it ain't broke, don't fix it

The Tango Romantica compulsory isn't until Friday, but as far as Meryl Davis and Charlie White are concerned, the competition has already started.

At practices on Thursday, most teams worked on just a section or two of their programs, milling around and chatting during other parts of their music.

Not the U.S. champions. They did a perfect run-through of their "Bollywood" original dance, with every head tilt and facial expression intact, even though the Pacific Coliseum had already been emptied of spectators -- save for media and any judges that might be watching.

"We're confident enough that we really want to show every bit and every piece of our programs," Davis said. "So yes, the strategy is to show the judges everything we can do in practice, and hopefully, they'll take note."

"We're rested, we feel good, we're ready to go," White added. "We've done everything so many times; our bodies just know where to go on the ice."

So far this season, everything is going Davis and White's way. They've won five events, including the Grand Prix Final and the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, defeating top rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto along the way.

With so much success, no one can blame them for sticking to the script.

"There's nothing special to be said here; we're very motivated, we've done all the right things," White said. "We're ready to go. Definitely no last-minute changes."

Costumes, elements, every note of their music -- none of it has changed since September.

"Everything is the same as it was at our first competition, Nebelhorn [Trophy]," Davis said. "We've had a whirlwind of a season, and we've just kept really busy."

"We haven't needed to change anything," White added. "We've gotten positive feedback on everything. When you need to change something, you take care of it, but for us, all the judges have been saying, 'Just leave it the way it is and keep doing the same things you've been doing, and you'll be successful.'"

With their confidence high, the skaters are embracing every moment of their Olympic experience.

"We're having an amazing time in the [athlete's] village," Davis said. "We've been saying, you can just sit in the cafeteria and watch all these incredible athletes walk in and out, and meet people, and that's enough for the day. You don't have to do anything to be entertained."

While they haven't visited any other sports venues yet, they're watching events on TV at Vancouver's USA House, helping to explain the intricacies of figure skating to other athletes.

"We were sitting there with some hockey players, watching the men's short program, and they were asking us, 'What's that jumpy, spin-y thing they do?'" Davis said. "It's been cool to kind of get to know people you wouldn't normally get to meet."

After they're through competing, they hope to see other events in person. First stop: Cypress Mountain, where the snowboarding is being held.

"My brother does snowboarding, and I never got the opportunity to explore it," Davis said. "It's just a cool sport. I think we're both looking forward to some of that."

First things first: tomorrow, they will be the 17th team to take the ice for the Tango Romantica.

Compulsories have been a relative weakness of Davis and White in the past, but coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva have been drilling their Tango Romantica all season.

"We competed the Tango a couple of times earlier this year, and the creator of the dance [Elena Tchaikovskaya] visited us in Canton [Mich.] just a couple of weeks ago, so we feel really confident that we know exactly what we should be doing," Davis said.

"We know that gold is within our reach, so when we step out on to the ice, it's not gold that's in our mind. It's skating the best we possibly can. If we do that, we know we have a really good shot."

Can French dance team realize "Impossible Dream"

If they awarded the ice dance gold medal to the most relaxed and happy team, Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder would win it by a country mile.

Chatting in the mixed zone Wednesday, the French skaters, both parents, said they are sharing their final Olympic experience with their families, but in different ways.

Schoenfelder's wife, Isabelle Pecheur, and three-year-old son, Gabriel, arrive in Vancouver today.

"He loves to watch me skate," Schoenfelder, 32, said. "He is already interested. His eyes grow as big as saucers."

Delobel stays in touch with her husband, former Nordic combined skier Ludovic Roux, a bronze medalist at the 1988 Nagano Olympics, and five-month-old baby boy Loïc (born October 1) via Skype.

"He is just too young to be here," Delobel, 31, said. "His father is taking care of him in Lyon. He sees me, and he knows it is me, and he smiles."

Four years ago in Torino, Delobel shed a few tears in the mixed zone after the free dance when the team lost the bronze medal to Ukrainians Elena Grushina an Russian Guacharo despite placing second in the free dance. (They were seventh in the Ravens burger Waltz and fourth in the original dance).

"This is very different," Schoenfelder said. "In Torino, we were outsiders [dark horses], but we had skated all season; we were normal competitors. This year, it is very special with the injury, Isabelle's baby."

"I had an injury when we were on top in ice dancing," Delobel added. "Getting my strength back was a big challenge."

At the 2008 worlds in Gothenburg, after nearly 20 years of competing together, the French won gold, their first world medal. They won three events, including the Grand Prix Final, in the fall of 2008, but Delobel injured her shoulder and had to undergo surgery.

In the spring of 2009, Delobel announced her pregnancy.

"I had to work a lot [to come back]," she said. "There was not much time. As a mother now, I feel something different. Your view of sports is different . . . I don't know. You know what life is, and you know what sports life is, and you know the difference."

"With Isabelle and Olivier, we planned the return [to competition] very carefully and took it step-by-step," the team's primary coach, Muriel Boucher-Zaloumi, said.

"Isabelle was skating until she was seven months pregnant. We [created] the OD and free dance last April." After Loïc's birth, the team resumed training together on October 26.

In a black practice dress yesterday, Delobel looks fit and trim as ever, but she says she still is a few pounds over her former competitive weight.

"Not all the extra [weight] is gone; almost," she said. "I was so small before the injury, it is hard. I had to work to find a balance between losing weight, and not working too hard, that I would get another injury."

Last fall, the team announced they would perform their free dance to music by Jacques Bret, "La Quite de Bret" ["The Impossible Dream"]. Back then, Schoenfelder said, "It is very personal, a conclusion to our career. We put all our souls into it. We try to be very earnest and try to show what we are and skate the best we can."

Watching the team in practices here, the dance looks far more delicate and lyrical than some of their past avant-garde efforts.

"We want the program to be soft, not so sophisticated," Schoenfelder said. "We just want to show emotions. We are telling our story. We have skated together for 20 years; at the beginning [of the program], we are children, and we want to grow into this day."

"In the beginning of the program, it is kids speaking," Delobel added. "I say, "I want to be a ballerina" and he says, "I want to be a stunt man." Then I say, "I went to dress up." We are talking about what we want to be when we were young."

The program tells the story of their competitive career.

Full article.

Youngest Reed makes mark for Georgia

Back in the spring of 2009, Allison Reed was just another teenager, attending Watchung Hills Regional High School and skating one or two sessions a week at the Ice House in Hackensack, New Jersey, where her older siblings, Cathy Reed and Chris Reed, train under Nikolai Morozov.

Now, the 15-year-old ice dancer is the youngest skater at the Vancouver Olympics, participating in only her fourth competition with her first-ever partner, Otar Japaridze.

Allison is competing here for Georgia; Cathy and Chris, former U.S. novice ice dance champions, are representing Japan. The siblings' mother, Norika -- who is here watching from the stands -- is Japanese, and their father is due to arrive later this week.

Amidst the celebration, there has been tragedy: before the Games even opened, 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died after crashing during his final practice run.

Reed and Japaridze have been wearing black armbands in practice.

"It casts a shadow," Allison said. "It's been a very emotional time."

How the youngest Reed got to Vancouver is a story of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right connections ready to give a helping hand.

Before Japaridze, Allison could never find the right partner.

"I passed my gold dances and my senior moves when I was 10," she said. "All the boys in my age group were too small and too young. My ability was too much for men my height and age."

Meanwhile, Japaridze -- who placed 14th at the 2008 World juniors with Isabella Tobias -- was searching for a new partner. His coach, Evgeni Platov, got together with Morozov. Both men thought Allison and Japaridze might be a good fit.

The tall, talented Japaridze had had no trouble lining up tryouts, but nothing quite clicked until Reed came along.

"It was hard to match the technical skating, plus the mentality," he said. "With Allison, everything felt so comfortable right away."

The two, who train under Platov at the Igloo in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, qualified an ice dance spot for Georgia at the Nebelhorn Trophy last September. They placed 19th at the European Championships last month.

To compete in Vancouver, though, there was still the issue of Allison's citizenship. Japaridze's father, Irakli, the head of the Georgian Skating Federation, enlisted Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's president -- a huge sports fan -- for help speeding up her passport.

"We really appreciate all his help," Otar said. "When we qualified a spot for the country in Nebelhorn, we applied for Allison's citizenship and passport at the Georgian Consulate in New York City in October. By the end of November, we had the citizenship."

Otar and Allison had a chance to say thank you in person at the European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

"[President Saakashvili] was in Estonia on other business during Europeans, and he watched [Georgian lady] Elene Gedeshvanishvili's short. After the original dance, we had a little meeting with him; we even got to skate with him for about 15 minutes at a rink outside of Tallinn. He's a pretty good skater."

Linichuk shrugs off Domnina, Shabalin controversies

Judging from her grey cashmere sweaters and crocodile Kelly bag, Natalia Linichuk is quite the shopper.

Even so, the veteran coach -- who has had a hand in training more Olympic and World ice dance medalists than anyone else -- isn't buying any of the controversies swirling around her top team, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia.

"What can you do?" she shrugged. "Is normal, in professional life; somebody likes something, somebody doesn't like something."

Linichuk, who won the 1980 Olympic gold with her husband and coaching partner Gennadi Karponossov, has played defense ever since the European Championships in Estonia last month, when leaders of Australia's Aboriginal community expressed displeasure with Domnina and Shabalin's Aboriginal-inspired original dance.

Some object to non-Aboriginal people co-opting the community's cultural objects; others say aspects of the OD -- particularly the skaters' costumes -- are poorly researched.

Many more, including some non-Aborigines, complain the entire routine is just plain poor taste.

The rather bizarre story, replete with colorful photos of the Domnina and Shabalin in brown flesh-toned bodysuits adorned with white paint markings and green leaves, made the media rounds, appearing everywhere from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal to AOL and Yahoo.

At the compulsory dance draw this morning -- where world champions Domnina and Shabalin drew to compete the Tango Romantica 18th, and training mates Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the world silver medalists, drew to skate 20th -- the glamorous Russian coach said she didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

"You know, I did [the Aboriginal dance] because I thought it was a very interesting idea," she said. "All the teams [skating] here doing folk dances transfer the rules from the floor, to the ice.

"For example, in the Flamenco, [on the floor] you do not dance in a together position [a hold]. But on the ice, you have to dance together with each other."

Linichuk said her team is untroubled by the controversy.

"It is the opposite; how can I say in English -- they say, 'Thank you very much, for paying so much attention,'" she said. "It is a huge attention."

Then, she dug into her bag to pull out some color photos of Aboriginal dancers, wearing markings and leaves similar to those sported by Domnina and Shabalin.

"Here, see? Is the same," she said. "We adapt, everyone adapts. Some dances, the girls need long skirts, but that could be dangerous for skating, with all the steps and elements you must do. So they wear short skirts."

There have also been whispers -- the ice dance world whispers a lot -- that Linichuk breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Tango Romantica was selected in a blind draw as the compulsory dance here. (Domnina and Shabalin built a large lead in the Tango Romantica to win Europeans despite losing both the original and free dance to Italians Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali).

The other CD possibility, the Golden Waltz, requires deeper knee bends and more difficult steps from the male partner, and might have posed a greater challenge to Shabalin's oft-injured and surgically repaired knees.

This, too, Linichuk tossed aside with a wave of a manicured hand.

"For all high level teams, it doesn't matter what kind of [compulsory] dance," she said. "It doesn't matter which they do." Finally, the Russians' free dance, to "Requiem for a Dream," has several moves with Shabalin grabbing on to his partner's belt as an aide in lifting.

Since ISU ice dance rules include limits on both props and assisted lifts, this, too, was a mini-controversy in Estonia, though overshadowed by the Aboriginal uproar.

"The rules don't say nothing about this," Linichuk protested. "Maybe in the future, the rules will. It is not a prop, it is a belt. We do not break rules."

Despite Linichuk's seeming nonchalance, it is thought the Russians have changed their OD costumes, and may have made adjustments to their free dance as well. Are there any surprises in store?

"No surprises, just watch the competition," the coach said with yet another shrug.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Men LP and Final Result

Men -
Long Program

1 LYSACEK Evan (USA) 167.37 pts
2 PLUSHENKO Evgeni (RUS) 165.51 pts
3 LAMBIEL Stephane (SWI) 162.09 pts
4 CHAN Patrick (CAN) 160.30 pts
5 TAKAHASHI Daisuke (JPN ) 156.98 pts
6 WEIR Johnny (USA) 156.77 pts
7 ODA Nobunari (JPN) 153.69 pts
8 KOZUKA Takahiko (JPN) 151.60 pts
9 ABBOTT Jeremy (USA) 149.56 pts
10 FERNANDEZ Javier (SPA) 137.99 pts
11BREZINA Michal (CZE) 137.93 pts
12 BORODULIN Artem (RUS) 137.92 pts
13 SHULTHEISS Adrian (SWE) 137.31 pts
14 TEN Denis (KAZ) 135.01 pts
15 AMODIO Florent (FRA) 134.95 pts
16 JOUBERT Brian (FRA) 132.22 pts
17 VERNER Tomas (CZE) 119.42 pts
18 Van der PERREN Kevin (BEL) 116.94 pts
19 CONTESTI Samuel (ITA) 116.90 pts
20 PFEIFER Viktor (AUT) 115.05 pts
21 CHIPEUR Vaughn (CAN) 113.70 pts
22 BACCHINI Paolo (ITA) 112.79 pts
23 LIDERMANN Stefan (GER) 103.48 pts
24 KOVALEVSKI Anton (UKR) 102.09 pts

Men - Final Result

: LYSACEK Evan (USA) 257.67 pts
SILVER: PLUSHENKO Evgeni (RUS) 256.36 pts
BRONZE: TAKAHASHI Daisuke (JPN) 247.93 pts
4 LAMBIEL Stephane (SWI) 246.72 pts
5 CHAN Patrick (CAN) 241.42 pts
6 WEIR Johnny (USA) 238.87 pts
7 ODA Nobunari (JPN) 238.54 pts
8 KOZUKA Takahiko (JPN) 231.19 pts
9 ABBOTT Jeremy (USA) 218.96 pts
10 BREZINA Michal (CZE) 216.73 pts
11 TEN Denis (KAZ) 211.25 pts
12 AMODIO Florent (FRA) 210.30 pts
13 BORODULIN Artem (RUS) 210.16 pts
14 FERNANDEZ Javier (SPA) 206.68 pts
15 SCHULTHEISS Adrian (SWE) 200.44 pts
16 JOUBERT Brian (FRA) 200.22 pts
17 Van der PERREN KEVIN (BEL) 189.84 pts
18 CONTESTI Samuel (ITA) 187.50 pts
19 VERNER Tomas (CZE) 184.74 pts
20 BACCHINI Paolo (ITA) 177.21 pts
21 PFEIFER Viktor (AUT) 175.93
22 LINDERMANN Stefan (GER) 171.98 pts
23 CHIPEUR Vaughn (CAN) 170.92 pts
24 KOVALEVSKI Anton (UKR) 165.90 pts