Friday, October 21st – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, Calif.
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Friday Recap (10:40 p.m.)
Good evening and thanks to everyone who followed the SKATING magazine blog today for the first two events at 2011 Skate America. The men’s short program was highlighted by the performance of Michal Brezina of Czech Republic, who received high marks for his triple Axel, a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Lutz along with two level four spins. There will be a lot of intrigue as the competition heads to the free skate, as positions two-through-five are separated by 0.66 points.
American Richard Dornbush, skating near his hometown, finished the short program in fifth position with a score of 70.03. Dornbush will perform his free skate in striking distance of a position on the podium.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White were dazzling in their short dance as they hope to continue the unbeaten run they began last season. The World champions performed last and posted the best mark by more than 10 points. Despite a fall, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France finished in second, more than five points ahead of third.
The event page is located at the top of this blog post and the official event program can be found by clicking here.
On Saturday, the men’s and ice dancing competitions will come to their conclusions and the ladies and pairs will begin. Check back for more information from 2011 Skate America.
The start of the competition is less than 90 minutes away and the excitement is beginning to build here in Ontario, Calif. For coverage during the live event, log on to icenetwork.com, as subscribers will gain access to a live feed for Skate America and a host of other events throughout the year.
During the event, we’ll post updates to our Twitter and after the event, we will compile a list of post-event links as well as a short recap to tonight’s men’s short program and short dance.
Picks for the U.S. Figure Skating Fantasy Challenge will close at 6:59 Central Time. This free contest will run throughout the skating season so you won’t want to miss a single competition. Additionally, the online auction with many Skate America-themed items will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
We hope you enjoy tonight’s competition and we’ll check in with results, reaction and more useful links tonight.
Caroline Zhang appears primed to improve upon her disappointing finish at Skate America in 2010. The California resident has worked hard to be competition-ready, competing in several events this summer. “I hope all that work will show,” she said. Zhang, who graduated from high school last May, has a triple loop-triple loop combination in her arsenal, which she may consider using at this event or later in the season depending on how she feels.
Joelle Forte arrived last night in Ontario from New York. She took part in this afternoon’s practice session. Her decision to come in late for her first-ever Grand Prix Series event was orchestrated in an effort to help quell any nerves she may experience competing against the international field. “That’s what I’m used to,” said the 25-year-old. Anytime I go to nationals or Easterns, I go at the latest possible time. I don’t want to start to freak out, so I try to keep things as normal as possible. I want to get my legs under me and have a good skate tomorrow and Sunday. Forte graduated from Fordham University in May with a degree in psychology. She wants to one day attend grad school in her chosen field. She also coaches skating back home.
With the short dance warmup wrapping up, Meryl Davis and Charlie White did a little more than half of their short dance and they looked extremely polished. Davis, in an orange dress, and White, in all black, floated effortlessly around the ice to their trio of musical selections. The dance is very uptempo and energetic, and all the while, a big smile appeared on Davis’ face. The reigning World champions look ready to perform tonight as the short dance begins at 8:40 p.m. Pacific Time.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh hopes to make his first-ever trip to California a memorable one. The 2010 Skate America bronze medalist completed his practice this morning and reports to be ready to go for tonight’s short program. It was in Portland, Ore., last year where Mahbanoozadeh recorded the biggest accomplishment of his career at Skate America. “I just want to keep on improving and setting personal-bests as much as I can and hopefully that will keep me moving forward.” Mahbanoozadeh said. He is a better skater, he said, than he was last year and has added a quad to his free skate. “I think my programs in general are a big step forward for me. My long is a lot of fun and my short is really powerful and really serious, so I’m trying to evolve my programs this year.” When he’s not skating, Mahbanoozadeh takes a few courses at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
In addition to Mahbanoozadeh, both Richard Dornbush and Douglas Razzano skated their warmups today and jumped extremely well. Razzano landed a strong combination which brought cheers from the crowd in attendance. Overall, morale and expectation amongst the American men appears to be high.
Good morning from Citizens Business Bank Arena for the first day of competition in 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America! Today, the men and the ice dancers will have their warmups at 11 a.m. followed by practice for the ladies and pairs. Tonight at 7 Pacific Time, the men will take to the ice for the short program followed by the short dance.
For you on the blog, we’ll be posting live updates all day long with a special blog post around 5 p.m. with a FREE digital copy of the official event program from 2011 Skate America! Be sure to check back throughout the day and feel free to post comments in the comments section below.