2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Friday

19 Oct

Friday, October 19th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

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Friday Recap

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series is officially under way as the pairs and men each performed their short programs at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., on Friday. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan posted a world record short program to lead the men’s event while Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia lead in pairs.

Hanyu opened his season with the best short program in the history of the IJS scoring system at an ISU event as he posted a score of 95.07 points. He opened his program with a quad toe which earned a GOE of 2.00 and was nearly flawless throughout. The reigning World bronze medalist is in prime position to earn his second career Grand Prix Series gold medal.

“Ninety-five is an extremely high score and I wasn’t expecting it,” Hanyu said. “I want to concentrate on the free skate now. This is only part of the event and I want to control my thoughts until the very end.”

In second place, Takahiko Kozuka of Japan earned a personal best 85.32 points with a performance that included an opening quad toe and a triple-triple combination which earned 11.41 points. Kozuka, who finished 11th at last year’s World Championships has earned a medal at each of his four Grand Prix series events in the last two years.

American Jeremy Abbott is in third place with 77.71 points and was pleased with his performance overall. Abbott faltered on his opening quad toe, but landed a triple Lutz-triple toe which earned more than 11 points as well as earning the second highest score of the competition for his components.

“This was the first step,” Abbott said. “I did what I came here to do and I’m proud of myself for that. I got a pretty good score, better than a lot of my scores last season, so I just need to keep working on my consistency and keep building up from there.”

Despite a short program they admittedly had a hard time skating, Volosozhar and Trankov sit in first place going into the pairs free skate with 65.78 points. The program was highlighted by a level 4 lift which earned five points. On the flipside, they received uncharacteristic negative GOEs on their side-by-side triple Salchows and throw triple loop.

“We have to think about this because we had the same problem at the World Championships last year,” Trankov said. “We’re scared of our short program, we’re very nervous. We never feel this way about our free skate.”

Qing Pang and Jian Tong, who began their 13th Grand Prix season in Kent, are in second place with 61.96 points. The team has adjusted their training this season, down to four days a week from five or six in years past, in order to accommodate Tong’s sore knee.

“The biggest trouble that I have is my knee hurts when I skate. When I bend my knee when I’m skating, it hurts and doesn’t have the flexibility. I used to train 5-6 days a week, but now we’ve reduced it to four days.”

The duo is competing at Skate America for the first time since winning silver at the event in 2007.

Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin earned the highest technical mark of the segment, netting 33.14 of their 60.75 points on their “tricks.” Among the highlights were their twist and throw triple flip. The team, entering their second season, appreciated skating for a hometown crowd at Skate America, a privilege they also got last year.

“We’re always excited to compete at our home Grand Prix, Skate America. We’re excited to have a full season under our belts and it gives us a lot of confidence.”

Competition continues on Saturday with each of the four disciplines taking to the ice. The ladies begin the day with their short program at 12:30 p.m. PT while the ice dancing competition will get started shortly thereafter at 2:15 p.m. The men and pairs will each perform their free skate in the evening at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively.

For more information on 2012 Skate America, please visit icenetwork.com

For tickets to the remaining sessions, visit www.2012SkateAmerica.com.

2:45 p.m.

The ladies took to the ice for their last official practice and the field is stacked with former Olympians and reigning national and World medalists. The American contingent consists of reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, Rachael Flatt and Christina Gao who all have intriguing story-lines coming into this event.

Wagner, in her first Skate America, completing her ‘Grand Prix circuit’ (appearing at all of the six events) is truly enjoying her stay. Wagner took a trip to Seattle yesterday to participate in an online chat and she seems very relaxed coming into the Grand Prix Series opener. “I’m enjoying this,” Wagner said. “It’s strange though, it feels like a mini U.S. Championships since the set-up is so familiar but I see the Japanese girls walking around backstage and it reminds me where I’m at.”

For Flatt and Gao, this season is all about balance. As noted before, Flatt at Stanford and Gao at Harvard are balancing their skating careers with going to two of the most challenging and prestigious universities in the world. Flatt is a sophomore and is going through year two of this life, while Gao is a freshman, however, both are thriving.

“Skating has been pretty good, I am working hard and balancing school and skating well,” Flatt said “But it’s certainly been keeping me busy.” She added.

Gao, who is taking a full course-load at Harvard is getting settled into her new school life. “I am getting into a rhythm,” Gao said. “Everything is going well, school is going well, skating is going well and I am finding a balance that is working.”

Gao is the lone American planning a triple-triple combination, a triple toe-triple toe in her short program. The ladies will open their season on Saturday.

1:00 p.m.

Dramatic performances unfolded as the ice dancers showcased their short and free dances during today’s practice session. Fans in the stands were treated to their first glimpse of Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s  Notre-Dame de Paris  free dance as they took the ice in pursuit of their third straight Skate America victory. “We’ve been through a lot this season,” Davis said. “We’re trying to stand together both on and off the ice. We want to look like a unit when we step out onto the ice and we want everyone to take notice of that as soon as they see us, as soon as our names are called.”

Davis and White shared the ice with Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who debuted sections of their free dance set to music from The League of Extraordinary Dancers. Weaver and Poje, who came in fourth at last year’s World Championships are the only Canadian skaters to compete in Kent this week.

Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt had the audience clapping along to their short dance, set to the music of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, performed by Chris Isaak. “We feel really confident about our Yankee Polka section,” Giulietti-Schmitt said. “We know it’s going to be hard to get the levels we want at the first Grand Prix event of the season, but we’ve been working really hard on our technical ability, so we’re confident that we’re capable.”

Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt took the ice with their teammates Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who also performed their short dance to a medley of music by Willi Boskovsky and the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchestra. “We’ve had our rotational lift since last season, so we’ve really had a chance to perfect it,” McManus said. “I think it’s better this year because we found the perfect spot in our music for it.”

Skate America’s Honorary Chair, 2010 Olympic silver medalist Ben Agosto, attended the practices with several of his Seattle-area students, who got the chance to watch the world’s best ice dancers take the ice in their neck of the woods.

“We’ve got the sectional championships coming up pretty soon,” Agosto said. “I wanted to give them a chance to see the best and feel a push of motivation from it.”

The short dance competition will commence tomorrow afternoon, following the ladies short program.

What to Expect on the Blog Today?

Good morning from the ShoWare Center on Friday, the opening day of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. Tonight begins the first of six events held across the world that make up the Grand Prix circuit and it’s the pairs and men that will get the first edges in the ice. Prior to the competition, each of the four disciplines will have a final official practice and both the ice dancing and ladies will go through the media area for interviews. We will post short stories after each discipline has their practice session and a recap at the end of the day. Be sure to check icenetwork.com for more in-depth coverage including live video of the competition (Season Pass subscribers), blogs, articles, photos and more.

Friday’s Competition Schedule (Americans, ET)

Pairs

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – 10:07 p.m. – First team to skate

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – 10:20 p.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 10:41 p.m.

Mens

Douglas Razzano – 11:42 p.m. – First to skate

Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 11:49 p.m.

Jeremy Abbott – 12:35 a.m.

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4 Responses to “2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Friday”

  1. Harriet Brown October 19, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Will it be televised?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Saturday « SKATINGMagazine - October 20, 2012

    […] competition under way. If you missed anything from an exciting day one at Skate America, click here to view our posts from […]

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