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!

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