Tag Archives: Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff

Team USA Nets Eight Medals this Weekend

10 Nov

icenetwork.com | Notes

Starting Order/Results Page (Rostelecom Cup) | Starting Order/Results Page (Ice Challenge) | Twitter

Fantasy Skating

Team USA earned three medals, including one silver and two bronze, at 2012 Rostelecom Cup and added five more, two gold, two silver and one bronze, at 2012 Ice Challenge to bring the weekend total to eight.

Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series, concluded Saturday in Moscow with four free skates.

Gracie Gold, earned her first career Grand Prix medal, the silver, while teammate Agnes Zawadzki took home bronze. Finland’s Kiira Korpi won her second career Grand Prix gold, with 177.19 points. Gold, who made her career Grand Prix debut two weeks ago at Skate Canada, earned led after the short program with 62.16 points, the fourth-highest short program score of the season. Gold on her way to 175.03 total points, earned 115.64 for her “Life is Beautiful” free skate that featured a triple Lutz-triple toe and three level 4 spins. Each of Gold’s scores represent international personal best marks. Zawadazki, who edged her teammate for the gold medal at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September, earned 60.18 points for her “Sex and the City” short program. Her “Rhapsody in Blue” free skate, that earned 106.43 points, included three level 4 spins and a double Axel-double toe-double loop sequence worth 7.18 points. Her total for the week was 166.61 points. Caroline Zhang, in her third outing of the season, finished 10th and earned 138.21 points.

Richard Dornbush, in his Grand Prix season debut, placed sixth. The 2012 Finlandia Trophy silver medalist earned 210.89 points for the competition, including 143.45 for his free skate. Despite falling on his program-opening quad toe, Dornbush received huge points for his triple Lutz-triple toe combination (12.51) and triple Axel-double toe-double loop sequence (13.62). Dornbush’s U2 short program, worth 67.44 points, began with a beautiful quad toe that received a GOE of 1.29 and overall score of 11.59 points. Despite struggling on his other two jumping elements, Dornbush saw positive GOEs on his spins and step sequence. Standing atop the medals podium was Canada’s Patrick Chan, joined by silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka of Japan and bronze medalst Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic. Johnny Weir, who made his return to the Grand Prix circuit for the first time since 2010, withdrew due to injury prior to the free skate.

Caydee Denney & John Coughlin won their second bronze medal of the season, becoming the first U.S. pairs team to medal at two Grand Prix events since Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker did so in 2008. Their “Phantom of the Opera” free skate, which received a season-high 120.19 points, earned positive GOEs on 11 of 12 elements. The programs highlights included two level 4 lifts and a throw triple flip. They finished behind home country representatives Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Denney and Coughlin are also the 2012 Skate America bronze medalists, while Volosozhar and Trankov won gold at the same event last month. Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin finished sixth.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani also kicked off their season in Moscow, finishing fourth with a total of score of 140.91 points. The duo had to restart their “Memoirs of a Geisha” free dance, and after getting into rhythm turned in a performance that featured two level 4 lifts and level 4 twizzles. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir earned their second gold of the season, followed by a pair of Russia teams, Elena Ilinyhk & Nikita Katsalapov and Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan

In Graz, Austria, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir won their first international gold medal, totaling 175.86 points for the competition. Their win came by 40 points over teammates and silver medalists Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff. Castelli and Shnapir’s 18-point lead after the short program grew to the final margin after earning 114.42 points for their free skate. Their “Payadora” program featured side-by-side triple toes as well as a throw triple Salchow and a level 4 lift that earned 8.13 points. Donlan and Speroff, who nabbed their first international medal in Graz, earned 135.43 points for the competition and moved up from third place after the short program.

Douglas Razzano earned his second Ice Challenge silver medal (2010) with a total score of 204.62 points. He edged teammate Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who earned 200.01 points total. Gold went to Germany’s Peter Liebers. Razzano’s short program to Rachmaninoff’s music featured seven elements that received positives GOEs, including a triple Axel and level 3 and 4 spins and a level 4 step sequence. With 72.21 points, he led after the segment. Mahbanoozadeh also turned out a solid short worth 72.14 points. The program included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination that was the segment’s highest-scoring element at 11.27 points.

Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt earned their second consecutive Ice Challenge gold medal. They started the competition as the only team to break the 50-point mark in the short dance with 50.46 points. They went on to win Friday’s free dance by over 20 points, totaling 89.24 points for their program set to Adele’s music. The free featured four Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 step sequence. The duo was joined on the podium by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Mysliveckova & Neil Brown and Switzerland’s Ramona Elsener & Florian Roost. In their competitive debut, Anastasia Olson & Keiffer Hubbell finished 10th with 102.10 points.

Complete coverage of Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge is available on www.icenetwork.com.

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2012 Rostelecom Cup, 2012 Ice Challenge Under Way

9 Nov

icenetwork.com | Notes

Starting Order/Results Page (Rostelecom Cup) | Starting Order/Results Page (Ice Challenge) | Twitter

Fantasy Skating

After earning three medals Friday at 2012 Ice Challenge, Team USA is poised to win several more Saturday at Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge.

From Moscow, 2012 Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series, began Friday.

Team USA is in first and third positions in the ladies event with Gracie Gold leading and Agnes Zawadzki not far behind. Gold, who made her career Grand Prix debut two weeks ago at Skate Canada, earned a short program score of 62.16 points, the fourth-highest short program score of the season. Her program included a triple flip-triple toe combination and three level 4 spins. Zawadazki, who edged her teammate for the gold medal at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September, earned 60.18 points for her “Sex and the City” short program. She also executed a triple-triple combination, with hers featuring a pair of toe loops. Finland’s Kiira Korpi, the 2012 Cup of China bronze medalist, sits between the Americans with 61.55 points. Caroline Zhang, in her third outing of the season, is in 10th place with 46.15 points.

Richard Dornbush, in his Grand Prix season debut, is in seventh place, but sits just nine points out of bronze-medal position with 67.44 points. Dornbush’s U2 short program began with a beautiful quad toe that received a GOE of 1.29 and overall score of 11.59 points. Despite struggling on his other two jumping elements, Dornbush saw positive GOEs on his spins and step sequence. With 85.44 points, Patrick Chan of Canada holds a nine-point lead over Russia’s Konstantin Menshov and Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka, who are in a tight race for second. In his first Grand Prix since the 2010 season, Johnny Weir is in 10th place.

Caydee Denney & John Coughlin are poised to win their second medal of the season. With 59.02 points, they are in third place behind home country representatives Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Denney and Coughlin are the 2012 Skate America bronze medalists, while Volosozhar and Trankov won gold at the same event last month. Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin sit in seventh place.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani also kicked off their season in Moscow. They are in fourth and earned 58.26 points for their short dance. They are less than two points behind the third place team of Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganzhin of Russia. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir lead with 70.65 points. They were gold medalists at Skate Canada. Shibutani and Shibutani debuted a short dance to music by The Incantations in Moscow.

Meanwhile, in Graz, Austria, Douglas Razzano earned his second Ice Challenge silver medal (2010) with a total score of 204.62 points. He edged teammate Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who earned 200.01 points total. Gold went to Germany’s Peter Liebers.

Razzano’s short program to Rachmaninoff’s music featured seven elements that received positives GOEs, including a triple Axel and level 3 and 4 spins and a level 4 step sequence. With 72.21 points, he led after the segment. Mahbanoozadeh also turned out a solid short worth 72.14 points. The program included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination that was the segment’s highest-scoring element at 11.27 points.

Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt earned their second consecutive Ice Challenge gold medal. They started the competition as the only team to break the 50-point mark in the short dance with 50.46 points. They went on to win Friday’s free dance by over 20 points, totaling 89.24 points for their program set to Adele’s music. The free featured three of Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 step sequence. The duo was joined on the podium by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Mysliveckova & Neil Brown and Switzerland’s Ramona Elsener & Florian Roost. In their competitive debut, Anastasia Olson & Keiffer Hubbell finished 10th with 102.10 points.

Going into Saturday’s free skate, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir hold a significant lead in the pairs competition. Their short program score of 60.44 points is nearly 18 points higher than that of second place team Danielle Montalbano & Evgeni Krasnopolsky of Israel. Americans Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff are in third place and trail place Montalbano & Krasnopolsky by just over a point.

Complete coverage of Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge is available on www.icenetwork.com.

Saturday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)

Rostelecom Cup

Ladies – 5 a.m.

Caroline Zhang – 5:07 a.m.

Agnes Zawadzki – 6:09 a.m.

Gracie Gold – 6:25 a.m.

Pairs – 6:50 a.m.

Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin – 6:57 a.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 7:38 a.m.

Men’s – 8:30 a.m.

Johnny Weir – 8:37  a.m.

Richard Dornbush – 9:02 a.m.

Ice Dancing – 10:30 a.m.

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – 11:14 a.m.

Ice Challenge

Pairs – 9:30 a.m.

Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge Notes

8 Nov

Click below to read competition notes for 2012 Rostelecom Cup and 2012 Ice Challenge

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Saturday

20 Oct

Saturday, October 20th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Recap

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America has completed with medals being awarded in both the men’s and pairs events and the short program and short dance completed in ladies and ice dancing.  The entire competition will wrap up on Sunday with the ladies free skate and the free dance from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Men’s

The first medals of Skate America were earned with a Japanese podium sweep at an exciting men’s event. The top spot went to Takahiko Kozuka, with teammates Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida finishing second and third, respectively.

A downgraded quad toe as his only notable mistake, Kozuka won the free skate segment with 166.12 points and finished the event nearly eight points ahead of his competitors with a combined score of 251.44 points.

The rest of the field couldn’t keep pace, including Hanyu, who led after the short program with a world-record score of 95.07 points.

Hanyu placed third in the free skate, but held onto the silver medal after a 10-point lead following yesterday’s short program. He finished the event with 229.95 points.

Machida settled for bronze, despite finishing second in the free skate segment. Although he fell on his quad, Machida completed eight triple jumps, including two triple Axels.

Reigning U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, Armin Mahbanoozadeh and Douglas Razzano finished fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively.

Pairs

Together for just their second season and their third Grand Prix Series event, reigning U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin earned their first medal together, bronze at Skate America.

Skating to music from Phantom of the Opera, Denney and Coughlin earned a positive GOE on each of their elements except one as they posted the second-best total element score of the competition. Coughlin earned bronze at Cup of China in 2010, but this was Denney’s first medal on the Grand Prix Series. The duo who trains in Colorado Springs, Colo., earned a total of 178.22 points for the event.

After posting the top score in the short program, reigning World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov earned the gold medal after earning the top free skate as well. They finished with 195.07 points overall. Reigning Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang and Jian Tong earned the silver medal with 185.16 points.

Ladies

Making her Skate America debut, Ashley Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Ice Dancing

Looking to win their 10th straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps toward that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than one point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.”

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points, while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, are in seventh.

The competition wraps up on Sunday with the ice dancing free dance beginning at 2:40 p.m. and the ladies free skate at 4:15 p.m. The ladies free skate will be aired live on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America visit icenetwork.com.

4:06 p.m.

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America is under way with reigning American champions Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White in first place after the first session of the day. The men and pairs events will wrap up the competition on Saturday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Making her Skate America debut, Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion, is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Looking to win their 10th straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps towards that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than one point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.” 

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points, while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, are in seventh.

Later today, the men and pairs will perform their free skates with Americas Jeremy Abbott and Caydee Denney and John Coughlin each seeking a medal, in third after the short program.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America as well as live video of the competition available for free for all registered users, visit icenetwork.com.

9:13 a.m.

Good morning from the ShoWare Center on a big day at Skate America. Both the men and pairs will wrap up their events while the ladies and ice dancers will get their competition under way. If you missed anything from an exciting day one at Skate America, click here to view our posts from yesterday.

Saturday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)

Ladies – 3:30 p.m.

Rachael Flatt – 3:37 p.m.

Christina Gao – 3:44 p.m.

Ashley Wagner – 4:24 p.m.

Ice Dancing – 5:15 p.m.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus – 5:21 p.m.

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt – 5:28 p.m.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – 6:08 p.m.

Men – 10:00 p.m.

Douglas Razzano – 10:12 p.m.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 10:37 p.m.

Jeremy Abbott – 11:18 p.m.

Pairs – 12:10 a.m.

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – 12:17 a.m.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – 12:34 a.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 12:58 a.m.

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America is under way with American champions Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White in first place. The men and pairs events will wrap up Saturday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Making her Skate America debut, Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Looking to win their tenth straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps towards that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than a point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.” 

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut are in seventh.

The competition wraps up on Sunday with the ice dancing free dance beginning at 2:40 p.m. and the ladies free skate at 4:15 p.m. The ladies free skate will be aired live on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America visit icenetwork.com.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Friday

19 Oct

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

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Fantasy Skating (Deadline is tonight!)

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

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.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Thursday

18 Oct

Thursday, October 18th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com

Event Website  Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Fantasy Skating (Deadline is tomorrow!)

Thursday Wrap Up

Thanks for following the action today! We’ll have competition tomorrow, the start of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. See below for more information you may have missed from today:

We joined Instagram!

Ashley Wagner went to the Seattle Times headquarters to participate in a live chat, read through the entire transcript here.

We tweeted a whole lot. Check out our tweets here.

The starting orders for the short program and short dance can be found here.

5:00 p.m.

Elegance and grace filled the ShoWare Center as the ladies took the ice for their practice session. American Christina Gao performed a flawless short program run-through to “Ladies in Lavender” by Kostina, which included an effortless triple loop and triple toe-triple toe combination.

Gao was joined on the ice by her teammate, reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner. Although Wagner did not skate her full program, she had the fans in attendance applauding with a triple flip-double toe combination during her short program to music from The Red Violin.

Fellow member of Team USA Rachael Flatt was absent from this afternoon’s sessions, as she was attending her classes at Stanford University. Flatt is scheduled to arrive in Kent this evening, joining her competitors in the arena tomorrow.

The ladies will compete their short programs on Saturday, following the short dance competition.

4:30 p.m.

The ice dancing practice has now ended with both Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus and Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt participating. The omission, as you may notice, was the participation of U.S. champions and reigning World silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White who will arrive, along with Rachael Flatt, tomorrow. The ladies and dance competitions do not start until Saturday, so there is no cause for alarm.

For the ice dancers who participated, both came in bright-eyed and ready to go. For the reigning fourth place finishers at the U.S. Championships, Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt, they come into their second Skate America as veterans looking to break through to the top three in the United States. For Cannuscio and McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, they are excited for the opportunity to compete on this stage.

The ice dancers will go through the media area for interviews tomorrow, we’ll get comments from them when they do.

2:00 p.m.

As the men’s practices wrapped up Thursday afternoon, the word on everyone’s lips was “quad.” Both practice groups featured strong performances of both short programs and free skates as quadruple jumps abounded. “My goal here is to land the quad in both the short and the free,” reigning U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott said. “And I was to be solid on everything else. I’ve been training very consistently at home.”

Fresh off his win at Finlandia Trophy, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was among the abundance of men completing effortless quads, despite a whirlwind day of traveling. “He missed his flight last night because he got caught up in immigration,” coach Brian Orser said. “He flew in this morning and came straight to practice after a five hour flight. I told him to take it easy and just get a feel for the ice, but he really went lights out.”

Abbott’s teammate Douglass Razzano was among the quad discussion, although he isn’t as concerned about it at this point in the season. “I think it progressively gets better and better and I want it to be strong for U.S. Championships and hopefully post-season,” Razzano said. “Is it 100 percent? No. Do I want it to be 100 percent right now? No. I’m just going for consistency and keeping the technique sound. I think it’s really going to pay off.”

Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic is feeling the pressure after winning the event last year. “I’ve had to deal with being the defending champion back home, too,” Brezina said. “They say ‘you won last year, you have to win, again.’ It’s hard. Everyone knows that. I will try, but it’s going to be hard here.”

The men will take the ice for their short program tomorrow evening, seven of the competitors already having Grand Prix series medals to their names. “There are about six skaters here who could potentially win, if they skate clean,” Brezina said. “I’m trying not to think about it right now. I just want to do my job.”

1:00 p.m.

The pairs official practice has concluded on Thursday at Skate America and after a long day of travel yesterday, it was time to get put to the test. Both Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir and Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff flew nearly 2,500 miles across the country to compete from Boston, but that’s no reason to take it easy. “This is the hardest run-through of the week,” Shnapir said. “After you get in, the next day you practice the free skate.”

Despite the similar proximity of the two teams, they are coming to Skate America from different areas of experience. Castelli and Shnapir will be competing at their second Skate America (sixth in 2010) while Donlan and Speroff are Grand Prix series rookies. “This was our first time out on Grand Prix ice and this is a fresh and new experience for us,” Speroff said. “We just went into sponge mode and tried to absorb everything. It definitely has a different feeling, but it was awesome.”

Speroff mentioned how it was nice to have fans attend practice, also noting the presence of the crowd on hand for practice were 2012 U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin who will begin their second season together, but also their defense of a U.S. title. The two have been hard at work, utilizing their time together coming into their second year on the ice. “We have had time, the experience alone of being with John for a whole season and having daily training over a long period of time has helped,” Denney said. “Our timing and knowing each other and how to compete helps us now more than last year.”

The pairs short program opens the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season tomorrow night, a field highlighted by three of the top five U.S. teams from last year, the 2012 World silver medalists and the 2010 Olympic silver medalists.

10:23 a.m.

Good morning from the Pacific Northwest! We are live at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America on official practice day and we are also celebrating the one-year anniversary of this blog! Today we’ll get our first look at all of the short programs and short dances and we’ll post updates throughout the day here and on our Twitter page.

When you have a chance, please refer to the How to Watch Skate America link to learn how to utilize not only all of the free backstage streams, but also a free trial of all of Saturday’s LIVE action on icenetwork.com. Also, 2012 U.S. champion Ashley Wagner will be participating in a live chat at the Seattle Times at 2:30 p.m. ET today. To interact and follow, please click here.

To get you started with what to expect, click here for notes on Skate America, including competitor music. We will be back later today with quotes and starting orders for the competition which begins tomorrow. Hope you enjoy the second year of the SKATING magazine Blog!

U.S. Assignments Announced for 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series

21 May

The International Skating Union (ISU) announced today the athlete selections for the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The Grand Prix begins Oct. 21-23 with 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America from Seattle/Kent, Wash.

The Grand Prix Series, entering its 18th season, incorporates six international figure skating competitions as a unified point-scoring series that awards prize money to eligible skaters. At the conclusion of the series, athletes’ points are totaled, and the top six ladies, men, pairs and ice dancing teams are invited to compete at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The Grand Prix Final is scheduled for Dec. 5-9, 2012, in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The event will run concurrently with the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

Skate America will feature the four reigning U.S. champions including Ashley Wagner (ladies), Jeremy Abbott (men’s), Caydee Denney and John Coughlin (pairs) and Meryl Davis and Charlie White (ice dancing). Other notable competitors include Russia’s Alena Leonova, the 2012 World ladies silver medalist and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic, who is the 2011 Skate America champion. Pairs team Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, also of Russia, are two-time reigning World silver medalists.

Gracie Gold, the 2012 U.S. junior champion and World Junior silver medalist, will make her Grand Prix debut in the Series’ second event, Skate Canada. She will compete at Rostelecom Cup alongside Johnny Weir. Weir, a three-time U.S. champion and two-time Olympian, is set to return to competition for the first time since the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, when he takes the ice at Rostelecom Cup (Moscow) and Trophée Eric Bompard (Paris).

Two newly formed American pairs teams received one assignment each with Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan competing at Cup of China (Shanghai) and Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig skating at NHK Trophy (Miyagi, Japan). With the exception Davis, each skater competed on the Grand Prix Series with their previous partners.

The full list of Team USA’s assignments, as well as the full international lineup for Skate America, are below (listed alphabetically). Visit www.isu.org for the full list of selections across the Grand Prix Series.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America — Seattle/Kent, Wash. — Oct. 19-21

Ladies:

Rachael Flatt – Will make her fourth Skate America appearance; earned the silver medal in 2009, ‘10

Christina Gao – Made Gran Prix Series debut in 2011, placing fifth at Cup of China and 10th at Rostelecom Cup

Ashley Wagner – Makes Skate America debut as reigning U.S. and Four Continents champion

Men’s

Jeremy Abbott – Begins sixth Grand Prix Series with first-ever appearance at Skate America

Douglas Razzano – Placed seventh at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

Pairs

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – Finished fourth at 2011 Skate America in their Grand Prix debut

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – Only other international completion included a fourth-place finish at 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy

Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – Look for third consecutive Skate America gold; finished fourth in 2007

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt – Return to Skate America after finishing sixth in 2010

Skate Canada International — Windsor, Ontario — Oct. 26-28

Ladies

Gracie Gold – Is the 2011 JGP Estonia gold medalist

Caroline Zhang – Makes third Skate Canada appearance; finished fifth in 2008, eighth in 2009

Men’s

Ross Miner – Looks to improve on sixth-place finish in 2011

Pairs

Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker – Debuted on Grand Prix in 2011 with seventh-place showing at Skate America

Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin – Also competed on Grand Prix for the first time at 2011 Skate America (6th)

Ice Dancing

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue – Begin second season together; are the 2012 U.S. bronze medalists, finished 10th at 2012 World Championships

Cup of China — Shanghai — Nov. 2-4

Ladies

Mirai Nagasu – Makes fourth straight Cup of China appearance; reigning silver medalist; owner of two Grand Prix Series medals

Men’s

Adam Rippon – Starts fifth Grand Prix season; has won two Series medals

Pairs

Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan – First Grand Prix assignment as a partnership.

Ice Dancing

Madison Chock and Evan Bates – Begin second season; finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at 2011 Skate Canada and 2011 Trophée Eric Bompard

Rostelecom Cup — Moscow — Nov. 9-11

Ladies

Gracie Gold

Agnes Zawadzki – Competes at third straight Rostelecom Cup (fourth in 2010, seventh in ’11)

Caroline Zhang – Has competed on Grand Prix circuit since 2007; first appearance in Russia

Men’s

Richard Dornbush – Starts second Grand Prix season after finishing fourth at 2011 Skate America, sixth at 2011 Cup of China

Johnny Weir – Has medaled in four of five entries at Rostelecom Cup

Pairs

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin

Ice Dancing: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – Commence third Grand Prix season; have medaled at all four Grand Prix assignments, qualified for 2011 Grand Prix final and placed fifth

 

Trophée Eric Bompard — Paris — Nov. 16-18

Ladies

Ashley Wagner – Won bronze in only other appearance at this event (2007)

Men’s

Jeremy Abbott – Has won seven Grand Prix medals, including 2008 Grand Prix Final gold

Johnny Weir – Won 2004 Trophée Bompard title

Ice Dancing

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue – Finished sixth at 2011 Skate America in only other Grand Prix experience

 

NHK Trophy — Miyagi, Japan — Nov. 23-25

Ladies

Alissa Czisny – 2012 marks ninth Grand Prix season; finished sixth at only other appearance at NHK Trophy (2007)

Agnes Zawadzki – Finished eighth at 2011 NHK Trophy

Men’s

Richard Dornbush

Ross Miner – Reigning NHK Trophy bronze medalist

Adam Rippon – Placed sixth at 2009 NHK Trophy

Pairs

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – Placed seventh at 2011 NHK Trophy; have competed on Grand Prix since 2009

Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig – First Grand Prix assignment of their partnership.

Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker

Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – Won this event in 2009, ’10; placed fourth in only other appearance (2006)

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – Reigning NHK Trophy champions and 2010 bronze medalists