Day 4

Wednesday, March 29, 2000

Pairs Practice

Not too much to comment on here. I saw the top 8 practice (minus Ina/Zimmerman, who mysteriously didn't show up - I hope they didn't withdraw, but apparently, I'm kinda out of the loop, because I didn't hear about Stephan Bernadis being stabbed until Skate Radio asked me about it last night and I said "Huh?" LOL). Anyway, the teams that were there all looked good. Between the two groups, half the lights in the arena went out, so the top 4 teams had to skate in kind of dim light for a few minutes while they were fixed.

Ladies' Qualifying Rounds

Well, with few exceptions, this ladies event was a MESS...and the groups were very uneven, with most of the top names in group B...

GROUP B
Didn't see Kopac or Skoda (was in my room watching Stefan Lindemann's program on Eurosport, LOL). Silvia Fontan skated fairly well; she just put her hand down on the 3L and landed a 3s, 3t, and two 2axels. Young-Eun Choi of Korea just managed one triple, a salchow. Jennifer Robinson was great! Her coach was practically jumping up and down by the boards. :) Jen landed 6 triples, including two lutzes! Good for her. Marion Krijgsman had a decent program with two 3toes and 3sals (4 total). She barely qualified, but she should be pretty happy, since she didn't qualify last year. Yoshi Onda had a nice performance and landed either 5 or 6 triples, including the lutz! She's gotta be pleased.

Sarah Hughes didn't give her best performance, but it was pretty darn good. Landed the 3s3l, even though she only held the landing for a fraction of a second. Did a solo 3t instead of a 3t3l combo, and stepped out of her 3f, which she had landed in the warm-up. Landed 5 triples in all. Marks were a little low, because she skated early. Siyun Sun landed 3 clean triples. Anna Wenzel has blondish hair now - last time I saw her, it was dark brown. She landed a 3l, 3t, 3t2t, 2a2t, and 2t. Her spiral rivals Bobek and Hughes, it's that good. Unfortunately, the judges didn't like her as much as I did, and she didn't qualify. She would have qualified easily had she been in the other group.

Helena Pajovic skated the best I've seen her skate, landing 2 triples and 2 double axels. Poor girl still finished last, though. Angela Nikodinov started out strong but then kinda fizzled. Landed 4 triples, but doubled two others and 2-footed her 2a. Vanessa Gusmeroli had a very rough skate that I'm sure she'd like to forget. Landed a good 3L2t and 3f, but doubled or singled everything else. I think she was kind of in disbelief afterwords. Jakupcevic of Croatia landed 3 triples.

Michelle Kwan was "first-rate", even though she had two minor errors - she did a 3t2t instead of a 3-3, and doubled the salchow. Landed both lutzes beautifully, though. Irina Slutskaya skated right after Michelle and also landed 6 triples (but no 3-3 combo). I would have gone with Michelle, but the judges put Irina in first, which I was a little surprised at. It seems like they really want Irina to win.

Yulia Lebedeva had some really neat spins and 3 triples. Tamsin Sear had a wonderful warm-up but fell 4 times in the program. Sabina Wojtala managed only 2 clean triples. Marta Andrade, like Sear, had a great warm-up but a bad program, although she ended strong with two triples. Olga Vassilieva landed 2 or 3 triples but also fell 2 or 3 times.

GROUP A
If group B was a mess, this group was a total disaster. Except for the top 2, no one skated NEAR clean, and I think some of these people are going to go back to their rooms and cry tonight, unfortunately...

Shirene Human started us off. She skated to "Titanic", and it was a lovely performance for her; she landed 2 3toes and 2 2axels. She has great prescence on the ice; she makes you want to watch her. I don't know the full results yet (I left before the last group ended), but I *think* she may have qualified...if so, she's gotta be thrilled, and I'm thrilled for her. Maria Butryskaya skated clean and landed 6 triples. Best performance of this group by leaps and bounds. Very high marks for skating so early. Lucia Starovicova had a lot of 2-foots and falls.

Diana Poth was the major disappointment today. She had a wonderful practice yesterday and nailed everything in the warm-up, but only landed a 3t in the program, singling, doubling, or falling on everything else. It was a real shame, because it's a very cool program. She took her time leaving the ice and had her head buried in her hands the whole time the camera was on her in the kiss and cry. :(

Elena Liashenko landed just 2 clean triples in a fairly dismal performance. Mikkeline Kierkgaard is probably the biggest story of today. This girl is a doll, and she had the prettiest pale pink dress on. Even though she didn't do a lutz or flip, she landed 5 triples and 2 2axels to wind up in 2nd place! She was very impressive...and her 2nd place finish means that she'll skate in the final group in the short program with all the big guns! Wow. Tatiana Malinina started off okay with a 3L and 3F but had rough falls on her toe loop and salchow and doubled her loop. Lisa Menagia skated to the "Mummy" and didn't land much.

Zoya Douchine of Germany skated pretty well with 4 clean triples and another 2-footed one. Not bad. Alisa Drei, after having landed many 3t3t combos in practice and in warm-up, ended up on her stomach after the first 3t, and that was the end of that combo. Made some sort of mistake on 3 other triples and landed only 2 clean ones. Her dress was neon orange/red.

Valeria Trifancova had on a gorgeous blackish-maroon dress with gold rhinestone-type jewels down the front and back. Unfortunately, her skating wasn't as pretty as her dress, and she landed just one triple and a 2a. Galina Maniachenko managed 3 triples, including a lutz, but singled both her 2axels. Julia Sebestyen had a great 3L and 3t (she gets wonderful spring), but 2-footed most of her other triples. She didn't fall, though, and she had "spunk", so she's in 3rd place (at least, I'm pretty sure she is). Anna Rechnio left her jumps at the practice rink and fell 3 times and stepped out of another jump. Only landed one triple, a 3toe.

I left after Anna skated, because I couldn't take any more bad performances. And apparently, there were plenty of them in the last group. As I'm writing this, I don't know who qualified from group A.

I hope the pairs' performances are better than this tonight!!!

Pairs' Free Skate

This event was certainly eventful, and not in a good way.

It started with Yulia Obertas/Dmitri Palamarchuk. They were having the skate of their lives, nearly flawless. I was getting so happy for them. But 4:20 into their program, with only 15 seconds to go, the unthinkable happened. They were up in a lift, and somehow (don't know how - it happened so fast), he fell hard and she fell directly on top of him, I think on his back. She got up right away and just stood there, stunned. But Dmitri laid there flat on the ice and didn't move. When, after 10 seconds, it became clear that he wasn't GOING to move, some medical people walked across the ice to help him. I'm don't think he was very conscious at that point - he couldn't walk whatsoever, so they had to drag/carry him off the ice. They really should have stabolized his head and neck, but didn't. Yulia covered her head with her hands and started shaking and crying as she left the ice. All the people on that side of the arena stood up to try to see what was happening, but I was on the opposite side and couldn't see anything. It was about a 15-minute delay, and my heart was just pounding...I felt SO bad - here they were, giving the performance of their lives, only seconds away from the end, and then something like this happens...it was a frightening fall, and you could immediately tell something was very wrong...Finally, they announced that he was being taken to the hospital and that they had withdrawn from the competition. I haven't heard anything since then. I really hope it's not too serious, but it certainly didn't look good, the way he was laying there on the ice.

After the long delay, Sargeant/Wirtz had the misfortune of having to skate next. They started their program, but they both missed their SBS 3toes and then did only a split single twist. After that, they both stopped and started shaking...it was clear they weren't emotionally ready to skate yet. Chris went over and talked to the referees, and they were allowed to start from where they left off - the music was started from the beginning, and they stood there and regrouped while waiting for the music to catch up. I wondered if they'd attempt any lifts - they must have seen that fall. But they did, and actually skated pretty well, with SBS 2axels and a throw 3salchow. Very gutsy. They hugged a while at the end.

The rest of the night, I almost had a heart attack whenever anyone did a lift. Very nerve-wracking, seeing something like that, and then seeing other pairs doing the same lift...

Scott/Dulebohn skated GREAT; their only mistake was her fall on the SBS 2axels. Good for them! Naomi Lang, Tim Goebel, and Angela Nikodinov ran out and threw them flowers. :)

Totmianina/Marinin were clean, although I think they may have eliminated a lift - they had an awful long glide towards the end of the program. But they landed a LOT of jumps, including SBS 3sals and SBS 3toe2toes. I think they were disappointed their marks weren't higher.

Schwarz/Mueller...darnit, they are so much better than this. Several problems, although, strangely enough, they weren't on the jumps. They landed nice SBS 3toes and a throw 2axel and throw 3salchow. The first major problem happened immediately, when Peggy went down on the split triple twist. Then, at the end, they had to abort a lift early. ARGH. Had they not made those errors, they probably would have been at LEAST 5th....I still LOVE that program.

Zagorska/Siudek were nearly clean, their only mistake being her putting her hand down on the throw 3sal. Great job. Ina/Zimmerman didn't skate their best, but it wasn't bad. She fell out of the SBS 3toe, and he fell out of the SBS 2axel, so they had equal mistakes. She landed both throws.

The noise was deafening when Abitbol/Bernadis took the ice. Guess what - SARAH WORE A SKIRT!!! LOL No white pant suit. They really were great, except for her fall on the throw 3loop. I love this program, too. I'm so happy for them. Petrova/Tikhonov were flawless - not one little bobble. I usually don't like this team, but I readily admit that they deserved this title. I actually enjoyed their program tonight, and their black, purple, and silver outfits (new?) were beautiful.

Shen/Zhao had a few bobbles; he stepped out of the SBS 2axel and doubled the 2nd SBS 3toe, and she stepped out of the throw 3sal. But they landed another set of SBS 3toes and she landed a huge throw 3loop. I knew they hadn't won, but their marks were still very high. I thought it was kind of rude when the crowd actually BOOED their marks, because it put them ahead of the French. They didn't deserve to be booed. Sale/Pelletier are so wonderful, but, unfortunately, Jamie had some jump problems tonight. She landed both throws, but only got around 2.5 times on the SBS 3toes, and singled both 2axels. And those errors cost them a medal. They were both crying in the kiss n' cry, and the camera stayed on them longer than it probably should have. I'm disappointed for them, but hey, they still had a great season, and 4th place at Worlds is pretty darn good. I still haven't given them their good-luck messages (haven't run into them all week), so maybe that'll cheer them up when I do.

That's all, I guess...I hope the men's event tomorrow is eventful in a less tragic way...

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