Team USA Off to a Good Start in Quebec

10 Dec

icenetwork.com (LIVE streaming of the GP Final)

Starting Order/Results Page  Twitter

TV Schedule/Competition Notes (PDF)  Photo Gallery

Team USA earned its first medal of the week earlier today while many more skaters stand in medal contention. Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer, who formed their partnership over the summer, earned the junior pairs bronze medal. They enjoyed two clean skates and totaled 146.35 points. They were joined on the podium by China’s Wenjing Sui & Cong Han in first and Katherine Bobak & Ian Beharry of Canada in second.

Russia enjoyed a sweep of the junior ladies podium with Julia Lipnitskaia leading the way. Teammates Polina Shelepen and Polina Korobeynikova finished second and third, respectively. American Vanessa Lam, competing in her first JGP Final, finished fifth overall.

With the exception of the senior free dance, which goes final Sunday, the remainder of events will be decided Saturday. A rundown Team USA’s current ranks is below:
Junior Ice Dancing: Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton (5th after short)
Junior Men’s: Joshua Farris (1st); Jason Brown (2nd)
Ladies: Alissa Czisny (4th)
Men’s: Jeremy Abbott (2nd)
Ice Dancing: Meryl Davis & Charlie White (1st); Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (5th)

Friday Quotes

Vanessa Lam (Bellflower, Calif./trains in Westminster, Calif./All Year FSC) – 5th overall (3 SP, 5 FS) – Total: 145.62; FS: 91.28; SP: 54.34 points (international PB)

(on free skate) “The beginning of the program, I was a little overcautious. That’s probably why I went down on the first element, the Lutz. I regained my footing on the second jump. But I felt my timing was off for the triple loop. The program didn’t feel like I had my footing under me. I didn’t feel as comfortable as I did yesterday.”

(on what she can take from this competition) “Training has a lot to do with it but I have to keep my focus for competition and fight through my programs. I’m going to have to train harder and push myself more. I need to put more pressure on myself when I’m doing my routines. I need to get used to putting on my performance when I have to.”

Britney Simpson (Golden, Colo./Broadmoor SC) & Matthew Blackmer (Detroit/Detroit SC) – (training town: Colorado Springs, Colo.)

3rd overall (3 SP, 5 FS) – Total: 146.35; FS: 94.44; SP: 50.91 points (all scores represent season-highs)

(on free skate) Simpson – “We are very excited. We did what we came here to do which is two season best scores and skate how we have been training at home with two clean programs. It was so amazing that the crowd kept us going and we got more into the program. We focused on components, which is what we do best.”

Blackmer – “My favorite is when we are in our last element, our pairs spin, there is a moment where we can look at each other and relax knowing we’ve done our job. Right before we went out, Dalilah (Sappenfield) said ‘It’s only you two out there, stay within you two.’ I feel like we did a really good job of that. We were focused on each other and our connection. That really showed in our marks.”

(on how this prepares them for U.S. Championships) Blackmer – “Anyone can attest that having international experience is a good ally going into a national championship. This will be my first nationals and I feel so ready and relaxed. Each competition has made me feel more that way.”

(on experience taken from this event) Simpson – “What we’re going to take away is knowing how to compete at a high level and how to enjoy skating and be prepared for our nationals and enjoy it.”

Blackmer – “We came into this competition without putting pressure on ourselves. I think it was a nice learning tool especially going into other competitions in the States.

(on what to watch in the senior pairs competition) Simpson – “For me personally, watching all of the senior teams that made it here is exciting. The best of the best make it here and it’s going to be fun to watch all of them.”

Blackmer – “It’s a cool experience to see all of these teams. I’m excited to see the Germans and the Russians battle it out and see elements like a throw triple Axel.”

Alissa Czisny (Auburn Hills, Mich./trains in Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Detroit SC) – 4th place – 60.30 points

(on short program) “Besides the one jump, I felt like the program was good, but the loop didn’t happen today so I’m disappointed in that.”

(on how she approached the program) “I wanted to try to focus on each element. I feel like the fans here deserve a great performance.”

(on being the defending Grand Prix Final champion) “There is definitely pressure. It is good experience for me to go into a competition defending and learning how to defend a title.”

Meryl Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich./Arctic FSC) & Charlie White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Detroit SC)

(training town: Canton, Mich.) – 1st place – 76.17 points (international PB)

(on season’s best score) Davis – “It was indeed our season’s best. We’ve been working on our short dance a lot since both Skate America and Cup of Russia. I think we’re feeling more solid and confident with the dance. We can really get our feet under us now. We’re really pleased with it.”

(on lead going into free dance) White – “A bigger lead is always nice. But I don’t think it’s going to affect our mind set very much. I must have said this a million times, sorry I don’t get more interesting, but we have the same idea going into every skate and that’s to skate how we practice. As long as we do that, we’re going to be happy.”

Davis – “Charlie and I were really pleased. This was our best program both with the season’s best score and our best program in competition so far this which is always nice when those line up. Charlie and I were talking a lot before we skated about keeping perspective. What’s happened with Mao’s mom is so sad and we all put so much into skating and it’s so important to all of us, but things like this really put into perspective what’s important. We wanted to go out there and have fun and that’s what we did.”

(on watching other skaters – specifically referencing Virtue and Moir’s fall) White – “We don’t usually watch anyone before us. We try to focus on ourselves. There’s a lot to focus on. We just want to think about that. But of course when you’re out there and the crowd is laughing really hard, we wonder what’s going on and figure it is Scott hamming it up.”

(on free dance) Davis – “Hopefully it will be an improvement over what we did at Cup of Russia. Charlie and I are pleased with both of the free dances we have done this season. We haven’t made any major changes. We’ve been focusing on the nuances of the dance. Hopefully it will be similar with a little bit of an elevated performance.”

Maia Shibutani (Ann Arbor, Mich./SC of New York) & Alex Shibutani (Ann Arbor, Mich./Arctic FSC)

(training town: Canton, Mich.) – 5th place – 65.53 points (season-high)

(on short dance) Alex – “It was our best performance of the year. Our best score. In terms of what we could control, we were really confident and relaxed. It was great warming up with Meryl and Charlie and Tessa and Scott, that helped for sure. We’re very happy with how we skated and it was a great start to our week. We’re so excited to be here.”

(on first Final experience) Maia – “We’re just so excited to be here. last year, we were first alternates, so to be here is really amazing. We keep trying to soak it all up because it’s only your first Grand Prix Final once. It’s such a lucky experience for us because we will have so many great memories from being here with Meryl and Charlie and Tessa and Scott.”

(on improvements throughout the season) Maia – “We were happy with our elements today. we saw a great increase in our score from every other competition we’ve done. That shows we’re moving in the right direction. We got some better levels and GOEs.”

Alex – “We practiced really well so far this week. We made a lot of changes to our short dance after NHK Trophy. We’ve been working very hard all year on improving our connection and the Latin movement. We’re getting more and more comfortable with that. It’s always been a lot of fun but now we are starting to get into a groove and I think that is showing in our performance and with the score.

“After our two competitions back to back, we weren’t able to make a lot of adjustments in between. We learned a lot over those two weeks. When we got home with Marina and Igor we changed our circular step sequence and side-by-side and a lot of the transitions toward the latter half of the program. All programs evolve and you go through changes to make sure you can perform them the best you can when you have to compete.”

Jeremy Abbott (Aspen, Colo./trains in Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Detroit SC) – 2nd place – 82.66 points

(on short program) “That program was a lot of work. I stepped out of the first jump and then didn’t have the combo. I wasn’t sure if they would count the step out as an extra jump. The whole program, I was like ‘Do I do the triple Lutz-triple toe, do I do the plain triple Lutz?’ Going into the triple Axel I was thinking this, going into the spin, I’m thinking this. Finally, I’m like, ‘I have to make up my mind.’ So I decided to do the Lutz-toe, if they drop it, they drop it but I’m sticking to the plan that I make regardless of the consequence. In the end, it was for the better because if I had no combo, I would be five points less. I worked it after the Lutz-toe. I had a little fun. I think I was thinking so much through the whole program I forgot to change edge on the camel spin because at that point I was so tired of thinking that I just went. I totally missed the edge but still level three so it’s OK. I had fun and I’m happy to move on to tomorrow.”

(on returning to the Grand Prix Final after missing last season) “I’m very happy to be here. The Grand Prix Final is such a great competition. To qualify really means you’re one of the best in the world. I’m proud to be here and representing the U.S. To be the only man here representing the U.S., I feel like I have a lot on my shoulders. I’m proud to carry it.”

(on plan for free skate) “I want to do my program justice. I have a good program that I’m really proud of and I think is special. I have yet to skate it to a point that show cases it. I want to stay focused and perform the way it deserves to be performed.”

Bookmark and Share

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 324 other followers

%d bloggers like this: