Archive | April, 2012

Haydenettes Look Back on Memorable Worlds

30 Apr

Coverage of the Haydenettes’ bronze-medal finish at the 2012 World Synchronized Skating Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, is featured in the May issue of SKATING magazine. However, because of the magazine’s tight print deadline for the May issue, we were unable to get all of the skaters’ quotes and photographs in the magazine before it went to press.

Below are some quotes from the Haydenettes, as well as some photographs of both the Haydenettes and Crystallettes from the World Championships.

Haydenette captain Kelly Ottaviano

 What did it feel like to win the bronze medal in Sweden?

“It was an amazing feeling, because the competition was extremely close and many teams were fighting for a spot on the podium. Changing most of our step sequences in both programs midway through the season was one of the greatest challenges we faced. Hard work and perseverance by my teammates and coaching staff enabled us to skate strong programs at Worlds. The best part was skating two powerful programs, and the bronze medal was just icing on the cake.”

This is the team’s third consecutive World bronze medal. Does this solidify the U.S. as one of the top synchronized skating countries?

“Yes, I think this solidifies Team USA as a serious competitor at the world level. In the last three years, we have been the only team to medal each year. Saga’s genius choreography throughout her career in the U.S. has brought us to a new dimension in the synchro world. It has been an incredible season and we are thrilled to be on the podium again.”

 How does the team feel about this year’s free skate?

“Words cannot fully explain how exhilarating the experience was to skate that program. The combination of Saga’s incredible choreography and Lady Gaga’s music gave our free skate everything it needed to succeed. We understood how to impersonate Lady Gaga when the music came on, and it was a fun character to act out on the ice. She is a powerful pop star, which made it an exciting program. We were thrilled to earn a silver medal on our performance for this program at Worlds.”

Haydenette Jenna Longo

 What did it feel like to win the bronze medal in Sweden?

“Winning the bronze medal in Sweden was amazing, as is winning any World medal! This year was special since it was the first year the Haydenettes had come from behind; we did not medal in the short program but we were able to stick together as a team and perform a program we will always remember. We focused on having a good time skating the Lady Gaga free skate for the last time.”

This is the team’s third consecutive World bronze medal. Does this solidify the U.S. as one of the top synchronized skating countries?

“It absolutely shows we are a top synchro country. I believe fully that we always have been, but I also believe our sport is growing so much. The fact that there was a change of podium this year proves that each team is getting stronger, and the world is pushing the bar of excellence. The top teams and countries are closer than ever right now, and to be on top we are going to have to work harder and harder to stay there.”

 How does the team feel about this year’s free skate?

“The team loved our Lady Gaga free skate. It was much different than in years past. We weren’t necessarily telling a story, we were portraying a woman who is wild and graceful. This allowed for the team to show our strength in performance and skating skills. Each time we skated it, we had fun. It was a program that was so dynamic and powerful, regardless of how well we skated we felt proud of ourselves.”

Haydenette Emily Albert

What did it feel like to win the bronze medal in Sweden?

“Worlds was an experience I will never forget! The competition this year was so close and all the teams were so good that it made this year’s Worlds very exciting.  After being in fourth place following the short, we were happy with the way we skated. We were excited to skate our fun and unique free program. After we skated our free skate, we were so happy with the results. We put our heart and soul into that free program and we were ecstatic with the results. It truly was a competition to remember.”

This is the team’s third consecutive World bronze medal. Does this solidify the U.S. as one of the top synchronized skating countries?

“I do believe that this solidifies the U.S. as a top contender. We work hard and we love what we do!”

How does the team feel about this year’s free skate?

“The Lady Gaga free skate is definitely one of my favorites. Saga did an incredible job choreographing it. We are so lucky to be able to have her as our coach and we all love her. The Lady Gaga free skate was one that was unique, dynamic and full of passion. It is one that I will always remember and hold close to my heart. It was so fun to skate. This year was one that I will always remember — 20 national titles, a World bronze medal and being able to skate with 19 of my best friends. We worked hard this year, went through a lot as a team and I will cherish all of the memories the 2011-12 Haydenette team has made together.”

Slideshow pictures are courtesy of Alex Finn, Leslie Graham and Gail H. Mayer and are of both the Haydenettes and Crystallettes.

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Team Braemar Synchronized Skating Day

28 Apr

Today has been declared ‘Team Braemar Synchronized Skating Day’ by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Congratulations to Team Braemar on all they have achieved this season. Press release and certificate below.

Edina, MN – Today, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed Saturday, April 28, 2012, to be Team Braemar Synchronized Skating Day.

Team Braemar, the 2012 U.S. junior synchronized skating champions, represented the United States Figure Skating Association as Team USA at the 2012 Junior World Challenge Cup (JWCC) March 16-17 in Gothenburg, Sweden and earned an impressive fourth place. The JWCC is sanctioned by the International Skating Union and is comprised of elite teams from around the world. This was Team Braemar’s fourth consecutive trip to the prestigious competition.

Coached by Pam May and Toni Swiggum and skating to a number titled “Blah Blah Blah Blah, Cha Cha Cha”, the team performed their short program to a crowd packed with fans from the U.S.. Said Co-Captain Breanna Hegseth, “Taking the ice was an indescribable feeling. The USA pride in the stands was unbelievable! Our short program was one of the best programs we skated all season!” The judges agreed, awarding the team a score of 49.94 and placing them in 3rd place after the short program.

The public has the opportunity to watch Team Braemar skate their award-winning programs at the annual Spring Ice Show, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at Braemar Ice Arena. Tickets will be available at the Braemar Ice Arena box office. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.

Tryouts for the 2012-2013 synchronized skating season will be held at 7:00pm on May 7, 2012 at Braemar Arena. For tryout information, visit braemarfsc.org or contact Jane Chaffee at jehchaffee@aol.com.

ISU World Team Trophy 2012 in Pictures

27 Apr

Last week, the world came together in Tokyo as the top six figure skating teams of the season competed in the second ISU World Team Trophy. Team USA, comprised of Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Jeremy Abbott, Adam Rippon, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin and Meryl Davis and Charlie White earned the silver medal behind the host country Japan.

Courtesy of Renee Felton, here are pictures from Yoyogi National Stadium from ISU World Team Trophy 2012.

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Team USA Wins Silver at ISU World Team Trophy 2012

21 Apr

Saturday, April 21st – Yoyogi National Stadium – Tokyo

Useful Links

Twitter  #WTT12  |   icenetwork.com Event Page

Team USA Press Release   |   icenetwork.com Event Photos

Results | Team Standings | ISU World Team Trophy 2012 competition notes (PDF)

Well, fans, it’s time to say goodbye to the 2011-12 figure skating season!

The ISU World Team Trophy 2012 wrapped up today with Team USA winning the silver medal behind Team Japan. Team Canada grabbed the third spot on the podium after sitting in fourth place after the first two days of competition.

1. Team Japan – 55

2. Team USA – 53

3. Team Canada – 42 (Wins tiebreaker)

4. Team France – 42

5. Team Russia – 39

6. Team Italy – 39

The final day of competition began with the pairs free skate. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, who wanted to “leave the season with a good taste in our mouths,” did just that by skating a clean program that engaged the crowd from the opening note. Their competition total was 175.98 points after receiving 117.05 for the free skate.

Meanwhile, in the Kiss and Cry, Team USA was determined to amp up its team spirit. With the help of the World pairs champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy from Germany, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Jeremy Abbott, Adam Rippon and Denney and Coughlin started the wave.

Denney and Coughlin finished fourth and earned nine points toward the U.S.’s final score. Russia’s Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov placed first with 180.70 points while Team Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were second. Short program leaders Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan finished third.

In the ladies event, Ashley Wagner, the 2012 U.S. and Four Continents champion, skated one of her best “Black Swan” free skates of the season, earning 122.29 points for the segment and 179.81 overall to finish third.

“That performance was just the way I wanted to end my ‘Black Swan’ program,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite programs by far and to skate it clean is quite extraordinary. To top it off, I had a great double Axel-triple toe. Overall, it was a solid program. For the end of the season and the last program, it’s a great way to wrap everything up.”

Gracie Gold rounded our her senior debut by finishing fifth with a total of 169.65 points. She totaled 110.58 points for the free skate. After competing among some of the top senior skaters in the world, Gold has her sites on improving over the summer in preparation for her first full season at the senior ranks.

“I’m excited to skate senior next year,” she said. “I will keep my training the same because it was working out well for me. I might add in some new tricks. We will see how it goes.”

The ladies crown went to Japan’s own Akiko Suzuki with World champion Carolina Kostner coming in third.

On behalf of Team USA, thank you to our fans for your constant support. To the people of Japan, your hospitality and kindness is appreciated this week and always.

Team USA displays their silver medals at ISU World Team Trophy 2012 (Photo by Renee Felton)

ISU World Team Trophy 2012 – Day 2

20 Apr

Friday, April 20th – Yoyogi National Stadium – Tokyo, Japan

Useful Links

Twitter  #WTT12  |   icenetwork.com Event Page

Team USA Press Release   |   icenetwork.com Event Photos

Schedule (PDF)   |   Live Results/Starting Orders

In-event Team Standings | ISU World Team Trophy 2012 competition notes (PDF)

Day 2 of competition from the ISU World Team Trophy 2012 proved to be as exciting and fun-filled as yesterday. Team USA is currently in second place with 51 points behind Team Japan with 59. Team France remains in third place with 44 points.

Friday’s action kicked off with the pairs short program. Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, the 2012 U.S. champions, earned 58.93 points for their final “East of Eden” program of the season. They noted technical improvement from the World Championships – including earning a level 3 on their death spiral here, something that was scored as a level 1 at Worlds.

Denney and Coughlin spent the rest of the evening cheering from the Team USA box. Coughlin is Team USA’s No. 1 fan, and he admits to thriving in the team environment.

“People have told me that this is an event that was made for me,” he said. “I have a little inner-baseball player, team sport guy in me so this format is a treat for me.”

The pair is in fifth place going into tomorrow’s free skate. However, less than .40 points separates them from third place. The segment went to newly crowned World bronze medalists Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan with 64.92 points, while Russia’s Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov earned 62.02 points for second.

Four-time reigning U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dancing segment of this competition with a total score of 183.36. By virtue of their first-place finish in their discipline, Davis and White earn 12 points toward Team USA’s final score. Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished second with 177.76 points, while Natahlie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat were third with 167.83 points.

The duo was clearly thrilled after their “Die Fledermaus” free dance, sharing a long embrace at center ice before entering the Kiss and Cry.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been so emotional after a program we’ve skated before,” White said. “It’s not Worlds or the Olympics, but I still feel like we wanted to go the program justice in our last program of the season. I’m really proud of how we skated.”

Admittedly dissatisfied with their second-place finish at Worlds last month, Davis and White felt like they proved themselves in Tokyo.

“Charlie was saying yesterday he felt like there was a lot of pressure and I was saying I didn’t,” Davis said. “Coming in today, I think I felt a little bit differently because we were really disappointed with second at Worlds. Even though we were really happy with how we skated, the silver isn’t what we were looking for. We felt pressure to prove ourselves here and we did that. We are really happy.”

Hometown hero Daisuke Takahashi racked in a season-high 182.72 points for the free skate to win the men’s competition with 276.72 overall. Two-time reigning World champion Patrick Chan of Canada placed second with 260.46 points.

As for Team USA, Jeremy Abbott earned 147.39 points for his “Exogenesis” free skate, totaling 234.47 points for the week and finishing fifth. Despite some hiccups, Abbott enjoyed the program and is already looking forward to next season.

He explained, “I went out there today and knew I wanted to enjoy the audience. I started out with a bad mistake then followed up with my next jump. I got my feet back under me and I thought, ‘Whatever happens for the rest of the program, land, fall, win or fail, enjoy this moment. I have to say I did. I didn’t enjoy the jumping part of it so much. I’ve had better days, but I’m happy that my season is over and ready to move on and be five times stronger next year.”

Adam Rippon earned an international season-best with 147.80 points for free skate. His total score of 222.73 points also represented a season-high. Rippon, who finished seventh, is having a great time skating as part of Team USA.

“I’m having a blast here. I love this format,” he explained. “I think it’s going to get a lot of people into skating because not only will they be able to see us compete as individuals like they’re used to, but also come together as a team. It’s fun to work as a team rather than just a single person.”

Abbott and Rippon earned 14 points toward Team USA’s total.

The pairs free skate is set for 2:15 a.m. (ET) Saturday, while the ladies free skate will be the event’s competitive finale, with the ladies taking the ice at 3:50 a.m. Gracie Gold made her senior debut on Thursday and sits in fourth place, while  Ashley Wagner, the 2012 U.S. and Four Continents champion, is in fifth place. The ladies field is led by Italy’s Carolina Kostner with 69.48 points and Japan’s Akiko Suzuki with 67.51.

Team USA’s Saturday Start Times (all are ET)

Denney and Coughlin – 2:30 a.m.

Wagner – 4:59 a.m.

Gold – 5:07 a.m.

2012 U.S. Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships Competition Notes

19 Apr

ISU World Team Trophy 2012 – Day 1

19 Apr

Thursday, April 19th – Yoyogi National Stadium – Tokyo, Japan

Useful Links

Twitter  #WTT12  |   icenetwork.com Event Page

Team USA Press Release   |   icenetwork.com Event Photos

Schedule (PDF)   |   Live Results/Starting Orders

In-event Team Standings | ISU World Team Trophy 2012 competition notes (PDF)

Welcome to World Team Trophy 2012! Everyone from skaters to coaches and officials to fans have caught the spirit of the event. Team pride abounds! Team USA is currently tied for first place with Team Japan (both teams have 45 points). Team France is in third with 35 points.

The event kicked off with the short dance and Team USA was led by four-time reigning U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Skating their short dance for the last time, Davis and White earned 72.18 points and won the segment. Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished second with 69.93 points and Natahlie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France finished third with 66.57.

After their performance, Davis and White expressed their desire to defend the title Team USA won at this event in 2009.

“We owe it to the team that came before us to do just as well and give it our best shot,” team captain White said. “We want to continue the excellence that America set in the first one.”

Davis added, “Something that is special about this competition is the team spirit. The atmosphere we are going to create. It’s going to be fun and different. Team USA also won the ‘spirit award’ last time so we are going to try for that.”

The crowd clapped along through every moment of Jeremy Abbott‘s swing-themed short program, and Abbott gave them a performance worth cheering for. He earned a season’s best 86.98 points and placed third in the segment. Afterward, he acknowledged the support of the crowd, saying, “For the Japanese fans, before I got on the ice, I could hear how excited they were and I thought they came here to watch good figure skating and I want to give them their money’s worth.”

Adam Rippon skated to his best international score of the season, earning 74.93 points for his “Korobushko” short program. Rippon is looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow – “Today was a little bit shaky. The more I’m here, the more comfortable I feel so I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Leading the men’s event is hometown hero Daisuke Takahashi, who earned 94.00 points for his “In the Garden of Souls” skate. He was the only skater to break the 90-point mark as two-time reigning World champion Patrick Chan of Canada placed second with 89.81 points.

Gracie Gold made her senior debut, at an international competition featuring the world’s best no less, and earned 59.07 points to lead off the ladies short program. Her teammates offered hardy congrats as she came off the ice, with White telling her she made it easy to cheer. She is in fourth place.

For her part, Gold was particularly happy with a solid triple flip-triple toe combination that opened the “Nutcracker” program – “When I land a really good flip, like I did today, it makes the triple toe easy for me. I love it when it’s like that.”

Ashley Wagner started her “Pollock” short program with a solid triple-triple combination. Despite a self-proclaimed “silly mistake” on her double Axel, Wagner earned 57.52 points and sits in place fifth place.

Wagner expects her a strong come-from-behind mentality to propel her into the free skate, a program that has become a signature piece of her career.

“I have put myself in a good spot. I attack more when I’m coming from behind,” she said. “As of now, I’m not sure if it’s going to be too large of a gap. We’ll have to see what I’m up against. Other than that, it’s one last chance to perform my program which is my favorite program of all time. It’s an honor to be here in Japan and to finish it here because I have so many fans who love it.”

The ladies field is led by Italy’s Carolina Kostner with 69.48 points and Japan’s Akiko Suzuki with 67.51.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin kick off competition tomorrow for the U.S. with the pairs short program at 2 a.m ET, followed by the free dance at 3:25 a.m. ET and the men’s free skate at 5 a.m. ET. The ladies get a day off with the free skate coming as the event’s finale on Saturday.

Team USA’s Friday Start Times (all are ET)

Denney and Coughlin – 2:14 a.m.

Davis and White – 4:17 a.m.

Rippon – 5:49 a.m.

Abbott – 6:30 a.m.

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