Golden Skate: 2004 Campbell's International Figure Skating Classic

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Golden Skate: 2004 Campbell's International Figure Skating Classic

Post by Admin on Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:31 am

2004 Campbell's International Figure Skating Classic

Continued - Ladies Highlights
When Michelle Kwan took to the ice with her debut of her much anticipated version of Bolero, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. Signs hailing the "Kween" could be seen waving throughout the arena. Dressed in sleeveless lavender, Kwan looked strong and determined from the very opening note of her new routine. Nailing a triple toeloop/double loop combination in front of the judges, Kwan didn't disappoint when she displayed moves such as the inside outside spiral, catch ankle spin, and a camel spin in two directions. While there was no triple/triple combination, this was an otherwise well-balanced program filled with solid jumps, moves in the field, and good speed.

As the 2004 World bronze medalist prepared to enter the straight line footwork sequence at the end of the routine, the music shifted into a loud heavy snare drum portion of Bolero. The program was marred when Kwan caught an edge and fell to the ice during this sequence. "I was supposed to do one less turn but my mind was kind of one step ahead of my body. It's all still a work in progress," she said later. But the eight-time U.S. champion quickly regained her composure and bounced up to skate into a knee slide for the finale. As flowers and stuffed animals rained down onto the ice, the jumbo-tron cameras panned the audience that was already on it's feet waving signs - one of which took three people to hold and read: "Marry Me Michelle!"

Sitting in the kiss-in-cry with coach Rafael Arutunian, Kwan positively glowed as her scores came up, including three 5.9s for presentation. She appeared to be unbeatable at this event. And she was. But Kwan knows it's just the beginning. "It's exciting. For everybody here, I think it's stressful for all the skaters because this is the first time out for the new season. It's shaky and difficult to go out there and perform again."

"This program, I believe, has a potential to be a great program," Kwan said, admitting that it's not a whole program on the ice yet. "I felt it here and there but the program has yet to blend and come together." The 24-year old also admitted to having a few back problems. "I haven't done a layback in a few weeks [due to the pain]. Here, tonight, I had to do the layback, and 'Whoa!' Its hard with the new system to be doing them because you have to do like four different positions. You're grabbing your leg, twisting and moving this way and that. It takes a long time to get used to."

The pressure was on Japan's Shizuka Arakawa as she had to take the ice after Kwan. Showing her jumping ability superiority, Arakawa landed a total of five triples in her rendition of Romeo and Juliet. This was an adequate program, albeit an overly busy billowing pink costume detracted from her normal statuesque elegance. It was no surprise that Arakawa lost to Kwan only on her presentation scores as her style on the ice still lacks passion and audience connection.

After a summer spent training with Tatiana Tarasova, the influence was obvious in the intricate footwork sequences which featured lots of changes of direction. Performing her amazingly flexible Ina Bauer layback across center ice, the reigning World champion does display flashes of brilliance that will surely keep her a major contender for the world stage this season.

"I think it is a very nice program," said Shizuka. "I was very nervous skating today. For the next three weeks, I plan to go back to Conn. and train with Tarasova before the NHK Trophy in Japan." When asked what she wants to focus and improve on prior to the next event, the 22-year-old smiled broadly, then laughed, and said, "Everything!"


Skating to Pas De Deux from the Nutcracker, Cohen wore a long-sleeved and lavender costume that she wore at Skate Canada a few years ago. "My new costume wasn't ready yet," she said, adding that her new one should be ready for Skate America. The feisty three-time and reigning U.S. National silver medalist got into trouble when she fell on a triple flip and singled a toeloop.

Playing to her strength, Cohen, who turns 20 later this month, showed off her unique vertical spiral to huge applause. Her Charlotte and catch-foot vertical scratch spin were also huge crowd pleasers. With nearly all 5.8s for presentation, it looks like Cohen could have a strong program winner on her hands for the rest of the season if she can minimize her tendency towards falls and blown jumps.

"I'm not as trained program-wise where I was last year at this time," admitted Cohen, who had some blade problems and got a late start on her programs. "I need to get stronger. I know I have a lot of work to do. My big goals are U.S. Nationals and Worlds and now it is time for me to go home and work."

The 2004 World silver medalist has had a lot going on this summer, including a move to her own apartment in New York City. "I was moving to different places. My apartment only became ready for me to move into Tuesday so I felt like a nomad over the summer," revealed Cohen. "My parents also moved to New York city. I'm going to be four floors up from them. It's nice because then I can come down for dinner," she added with a smile.

Miki Ando of Japan opened her routine with a triple lutz/triple loop/double toeloop combination that wowed the crowd and judges, giving her the highest single technical score of the evening - a lone 5.9. Resplendent in a water-colored chiffon dress of faded burgundy and melon, the 16-year-old phenom threw down a number of textbook triple jumps but had some slip-ups including an odd looking spin series that she appeared to fall out of followed late in the program by a poorly positioned layback spin. Overall, the 2004 World junior champion's program to Alexandre Tansman's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra lacked technical footwork intricacy, but she finished on a high note with an amazingly super fast scratch spin in front of the judges.

USA's Kimmie Meissner, who celebrates her 15th birthday on Oct. 4, skated to Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé wearing a two-toned turquoise and deep blue sleeveless dress. The diminutive 2004 U.S. junior champion placed fifth place at this event, but still ahead of two U.S. senior teammates, Amber Corwin and Jennifer Kirk.

Julia Sebestyen of Hungary got off to a good start with a triple Salchow in her routine to Carmen, demonstrating her ability to get great height on her jumps compared to the rest of the field at this event. A hindrance to this program was the garish day-glo orange portion of her asymmetric black, gold, and orange costume which took away from what could of been an elegant performance to this operatic classic.

Corwin, who took a hard fall toward the end of her program, was seventh followed by teammate Kirk who finished eighth.

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