Sunday, October 23rd – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, Calif.
Alissa Czisny didn’t have her best stuff on Sunday afternoon, but it was good enough to win her first Skate America title by .13 points over Italy’s Carolina Kostner. Sweden’s Vikortia Helgesson earned her first-ever Grand Prix medal, a bronze. It was the first time a U.S. lady has stood on top of the podium at Skate America since Kimmie Meissner in 2007. The two-time and reigning U.S. champion struggled early with her jumps, falling on her triple flip. But the standout from Ohio, as always, dazzled the crowd with her spins and spirals, finishing with the highest component mark of the event. Caroline Zhang, third after the short program, fell three times and finished last in the free skate and sixth overall. She called her miscues “stupid mistakes” and vowed to rectify her problems in upcoming competitions. Joelle Forte enjoyed a successful first Grand Prix Series event, finishing seventh in the free skate and eighth overall.
The German pairs team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy rallied past the veteran Chinese tandem of Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang to capture their third Skate America title (2011, 2010, 2008). The three-time and reigning World champions entered the day in fifth place, but just shy of four points behind the Chinese team. Their dynamic free skate contained all the difficult elements and transitions that the skating world has come to appreciate. They did not try the throw triple Axel as they did in the short program, but left the door open for that challenging element in future competitions. Their free skate score of 124.53 was seven points better than the Canadian team of Kristin Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, who garnered the bronze medal. The U.S. team of Caydee Denney and John Coughlin enjoyed a strong performance, finishing fourth overall. With the crowd behind them, they flowed nicely from one element to the next. A hiccup or two on the double Axel by Denney and a timing issue with a lift likely prevented them from making the podium. Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin fired up the crowd with their free skate. As they took the ice, the wrong music began to play. The same thing happened a second time. On their third try, there was an uncomfortable delay before the program began. The delay, however, seemed to relax both skaters as they turned in the best performance of their three-year career together, finishing sixth overall. Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker experienced the fall en route to an eighth-place finish. Brubaker said it’s a growing experience and that the team will continue to learn and grow.
Big day for Team USA today in both the pairs and the ladies events. In pairs, after skating first yesterday, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin will skate second-to-last in the free skate with an opportunity to medal in the event. Similar to the men’s competition on Saturday, the pairs leaderboard is tight and there are a number of players in contention. Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker sit only three points behind the pack of four pairs who are all at 59 points and Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin are in seventh.
In the ladies free skate, Alissa Czisny hopes to continue her success from the short program where she brought the crowd to their feet and her score through the roof. Czisny was awarded 64.20 points in her short program and is nearly four points ahead of Carolina Kostner. Czisny will skate a very difficult free skate which she has said will include seven triples. She looked good in her final practice in a partial run-through. In third after the short program, Caroline Zhang was in very high spirits on Saturday and is looking forward to a big day on the ice on Sunday. Zhang earned bronze at this event in 2007 and she would love to reach the podium again. Joelle Forte, a recent Fordham graduate, is the final skater to perform in group one today as she sits in sixth position.
Good morning from Ontario, Calif. for the final day of 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America! Today, the pairs and ladies will take to the ice for their free skate and Americans have hopes of the podium in each event. Yesterday we wrapped things up late, so if you missed the notes and quotes from the pairs and ladies short program, click here.
Currently, the pairs are in the building and on the ice for their final warmup before they compete at 1 p.m. PT. The ladies will take to the ice at 9:40 a.m. to practice before their free skate at 2:40 p.m.
Like yesterday, we’ll post on Twitter during the competition with results for Team USA and we’ll be back her throughout the day to post updates. Additionally, the Pairs free & Ladies free will air LIVE on Universal Sports from 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET. Have a great start to your Sunday!