Day 5

Thursday, March 30, 2000

Didn't go to the original dance.

Men's Free Skate

Wow, what a night! I never expected these results...

Overall, the level of performances was nothing like it was last year (which was probably the best men's event ever). The only entirely clean program came from Zhengxin Guo, who finished 8th. A lot of these skaters can do so much better. However, 19 out of 22 skaters I saw landed clean 3axels, which was great.

Patrick Meier was one who didn't land a 3axel, and didn't land much of anything, actually. Ben Ferreira had a great skate, landing 7 clean triples. Markus Leminen did a good job, landing 5 triples; he fell on the 2nd 3axel. Michael Tylleson opened up with a great 3axel, but fell or put a hand down on a few jumps.

Dmitri Dmitrenko didn't do badly, but he fell on his quad and stepped out of his 2nd 3axel. Ivan Dinev had a horrible skate - he is a much better skater than this. Only landed 3 clean jumps: 3axel, 3loop, and 2axel. ARGH. Andrejs Vlascenko doubled or singled a few jumps. Vitaly Danilchenko had a pretty good skate, landing both 3axels and 5 other triples. He skated to "Mask of Zorro".

Roman Skornykov started off strong with a great 3a3t and 3f, but then stepped out of or put a hand down on several jumps. Takeshi Honda - why, oh why did he have to screw up the short program?? This free skate was probably the best he's skated all year. 3a3t, 4t, 3L, 3a, 3l, 3f, fall on 3s. Partial standing ovation. Fifth in the free skate allowed him to move up 7 places to 10th. Great job, Takeshi!! He went for everything, and it worked.

Anthony Liu landed 7 triples and just put his hand down on the quad, but he didn't do a 3axel and his marks were pretty low. He only finished 14th in the free skate. Guo, like I said before, was the only clean skate, with a 3a3t, 4t, 3L, 3f, 3l, 3s.

Stefan Lindemann changed from his electric blue outfit to a teal blouse and black pants. He singled his 3L and 3s, but otherwise skated very well, landing 6 triples, including a 3a3t and 3a. I felt his presentation marks could have been higher. LOL, I tried to throw him a flower, but I didn't throw it hard enough and it whacked some lady on the head!! (She picked it up and threw it to him.) Several people around me laughed and said "nice shot!" :o) But a lot of people were getting pelted with things - the seats are not set up for the easy tossing of things. Apparently, even one of the judges got hit. :)

Tim Goebel had a lousy pracitce this morning, and had a so-so performance. Singled his first 3a and stepped out of a second attempt. Landed his 4s3t and also the 4t. Didn't try a second 4s. He got nailed on his presentation marks. Vincent Restencourt gave a great performance to the "Mask of Zorro", landing his quad and two 3axels. Stannick Jeanette did a wonderful 3a3t and landed 6 triples in all. I'm still a little surprised he finished so high, though.

I didn't think Elvis Stojko would have a good performance after he splatted on the quad, but he did. He fought for everything, and even though there were some very close calls, he landed 8 triples, including a 3a2t and 3a3t. High marks. Chengjian Li almost landed the 4t3t; he just stepped out of the second landing. Fell on his second 3a. I like his "Riverdance" program. Alexander Abt had a rough night. Came very close to landing the quad (2footed it) and did a 3a2t, but he made errors on most other jumps. A 12th-place free skate, but still 6th overall - weird.

Michael Weiss' bronze medal performance wasn't quite as wonderful as his bronze medal performance last yaer, but it was still good. Stepped out of the 4t and put hand down on 2nd 3a, but landed 3a2t, 3f3t, 3l, 3s, and 3L. Almost all 5.9s for presentation. He was behind Elvis, though, so everyone thought he wouldn't medal, since the two RUssians were up next.

Alexei Yagudin landed a 4t3t and another 4t!! Good for him. His 3axels were a little wonky tonight, and he only managed a 3a1t as his combo. Still, it was a great performance until he ended up on his butt on the last jump, the lutz. At that point, he probably thought he'd blown it. But his marks were very strong, and Plushenko would have to be nearly flawless to win.

And flawless Plushenko was not. I don't know what happened with him. He seemed to take longer than usual hitting his starting position. He had had SUCH good practices all week, and a great warm-up, so it was a shock to see him double the first quad. He tried it again and this time tripled it. Next was the 3a, and the landing was shaky, so no combo. He should have left the quad alone and went on with his program - it probably would have been a cleaner program - but no, he went for the quad again and this time landed on his butt. The whole crowd started murmuring at that point because they knew he was in trouble. And after that fall, I knew he was fighting not for the gold or silver but for the bronze. The rest of the program wasn't bad, although the 3a2t1l was kinda awkward. He landed 7 triples in all, though, so I didn't know if the judges would go with him or Weiss, who had landed only 6 but who had had the cleaner program. But when his technical marks came up, I knew and he knew that he had failed to medal, and he put his head in his hands. My roommate Paula, who was sitting by the skaters' entrance, said that Audrey Weisiger and Michael Weiss were in disbelief - Michael had already taken part of his costume off! You can imagine they were pretty thrilled.

It was really weird to see a Plushenko-less podium, since practically everyone "knew" he would medal and maybe even take gold. But I guess it was not meant to be...he still had a wonderful season, though, and should be proud of himself. He is still the European Champion, after all.

Miscellaneous

Jamie Sale and David Pelletier got their good-luck messages, but not until after their performances. I hadn't run into them all week, so I finally just left them at the front desk last night. Paula talked to Jamie today and she said that they got them. Takeshi Honda has not gotten his messages yet, either, because I haven't seen him except for the actual competition. I also need to find Marina and Gwendal.

There is a lot of speculation going on here as to whether or not the "slashing" of Stephane Bernadis was bona fide or if it was just some sort of trick to get attention. I don't know why they would need the attention, though - attention wasn't going to help them medal, a good performance was.

Dmitri Palamarchuk, the Ukrainian pairs skater who had to be taken off the ice yesterday, is fine. He just has a headache. :)

That's all for tonight.

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