Ladies' Short Program

Well, needless to say, I'm in total shock right now, as is everyone else, I think. I can't even remember the last time Michelle Kwan actually FELL in the short program. Must have been years ago. In any case, the whole arena gasped when she fell. They showed the look on Frank Carroll's face when she fell, and it was awful. Michelle just did not have a good skate today. She just barely landed the 3lutz and squeaked out the double toe after it. I know some Michelle fans may be mad at me for saying this, but I don't know if she even deserved 4th place. Poth, Liashenko, and Rechnio all skated very cleanly and had more difficult jumps, and their programs were presented very well. This isn't good for Michelle - she's definitely in trouble, being in 4th place. She will have to win the free skate and have Maria Butyrskaya finish 3rd or below in order for her to win overall. Could happen, but it is also very likely that Maria will place 2nd in the FS. For the first time in a long time, I will actually be nervous watching Michelle skate tomorrow. I saw Michelle, her parents, and Frank at the hotel a couple hours after she skated, and none of them were talking and Frank looked pretty glum. :o(

Well, lets talk about the other ladies. There were a lot of good performances, and some other surprises in the standings. Veronika Dytrova actually landed her 3lutz2toe and 3toe and I was so happy for her - I was surprised she didn't qualify. She looks so tall on the ice (to me, anyway), yet I got my picture with her today, and I'm bigger than her!! Hmph. I'm 5'2" and feel like a giant next to some of these girls. Julia Sebestyen had a horrible practice this morning but skated very well, nailing the 3lutz2toe and 3flip. She was very relieved, I think. Zuzana Paurova was just the opposite - had a nice practice but messed up the program when it counted. Poor girl.

Valeria Trifancova skated clean with a 3sal2toe, 3toe, and 2axel. Sabine Wojtala fell hard on the 3lutz and just squeaked out the 3loop. Julia Lautowa had a beautiful routine to tango music, but the jumps just weren't there. She fell on the 3toe and stepped out of the 2axel. Alisa Drei had a great skate and received huge applause. She was smiling throughout the program and landed the 3lutz2toe, 3loop, and 2axel. Nice job.

Angela Nikodinov was the first to skate in the 3rd group, and she landed a gorgeous 3lutz2toe, but doubled the flip. I handed her some pink tulips as she got off the ice; I don't know if they'll show that on TV or not. I think a lot of us thought she was going to place in the top 10, but that just isn't going to happen now. :o( Yulia Vorobieva did well but for a hand down on the 3lutz. Lucinda Ruh was just awesome! Slight 2foot on the 3loop, but her spins are just magnificent, of course. My aunt, who's never seen her before, was just amazed. Lucinda got a partial standing ovation for her performance, and I bet she is tickled pink to be in 12th place right now! Good for her. I haven't seen much of Jennifer Robinson before, but she was very good. Wonderful presentation and expression. Plus skating a clean short program doesn't hurt. :o)

Diana Poth did kind of a sensual number and did it very well. She landed her 3toe3toe, 2axel, and 3sal. She was very thrilled. I just love this girl; she is so nice. We saw her in the halls again today at the arena, signing autographs, and my aunt held up our camera to take a picture of her signing the autographs, and Diana saw us, looked up and flashed us this wonderful, sincere smile. So sweet. She speaks really good English, too, 'cause I talked to her for a minute yesterday. Elena Liashenko skated clean and did a very nice job, although she didn't look too excited in the kiss n' cry, and when I got my picture with her later, it was a forced smile.

Sarah Hughes was incredible again. This girl is going places! Totally clean, totally wonderful. She was so happy and excited during the performance that she was almost laughing, LOL! They showed a replay of one of her spins, and she was grinning from ear to ear in the middle of the spin! She is in 9th place right now, even ahead of Viktoria Volchkova, and I think she will stay in the top 10. She is just so happy to be here; we saw her once again at the hotel tonight and the girl never stops smiling! I'll definitely be giving her a stuffed bunny after her free skate tomorrow. :)

Fumie Suguri had a huge splat into the boards on her 3lutz that had to hurt, then stepped out of her 3flip. Silvia Fontana fell on her 3lutz but skated nice otherwise. Anna Recnio was clean as a whistle and her jumps were huge; I think I would've placed her ahead of Kwan. Vanessa Gusmeroli skated very cleanly and was very happy. She has a really good chance for a medal here, maybe even silver. It all depends on how Michelle and Maria do tomorrow. Maria skated great today, and although she never smiled until the end, I agree she should be first. We'll see if she can keep it together in the free skate. She has said she can beat Michelle; well, now's her chance.

Julia Soldatova continues to impress me with her jumps, and I like her more every day. Clean skate today, definitely worthy of 2nd place. Viktoria Volchkova was having major lutz troubles in practice this morning, so I wasn't surprised when she stumbled out of it in the program. She also turned out of the 3flip. I don't think I was paying close attention to Tatiana Malinina's program 'cause I was in shock from Michelle's fall. She had to do a turn after the 3lutz to complete the 2toe, and that's what cost her. If she had landed that cleanly like she's done all week, she would have been ahead of Michelle, I'm sure of it.

It should prove to be an interesting ladies' competition tomorrow...

Dance Free Dance

I only came to see the last couple groups. Sorry, most of the ice dancers just don't interest me. I did see both American teams. Chalom and Gates actually fell and slid across the ice about 8 feet. Lang and Tchernyshev did well and should be very proud of their 10th place finish. I really liked Drobiazko and Vanagas' routine to jungle-type drum music. Very interesting. Didn't care for Fusar-Poli and Margaglio's "Dracula" number. Tonight was the very first time I had seen Bourne and Kraatz's free dance. I'm still debating whether I liked it or not. In any case, they did fall once near the end.

Anissina and Peizerat were marvelous as always. "Man in the Iron Mask" is such an elegant program, and they skated it to the best of their ability. Roaring standing ovation; tons of flowers and stuffed animals. Krylova and Ovsiannikov's routine is definitley different, but it's so neat. They have a lot of speed and difficult footwork in there. No standing ovation, though. I thought that both teams deserved gold and that it could've gone either way. I am happy for all of them.

Random thoughts

Well, I've gotten my picture with so many skaters that I can't even remember them all anymore. We're just running into them everywhere. Got my pic with my honey Stefan Lindemann tonight. :o)p He's so cute! And he can't be more than 5'3" or 5'4" - when I stood next to him , we were almost the same height.

I have taken over 950 pictures by now and even ran out of film - had to go buy some more this morning. If the pictures turn out, I KNOW I've gotten some excellent shots. Dance is the only discipline I don't have many pictures of.

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