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2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America Highlight Videos

26 Oct

We have put together some fun highlight packages from 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America. View the videos below, comment and share!

Recap Video

Men’s Short Program

Ladies Short Program

Pairs Short Program

Ice Dancing Short Dance

Exhibition Highlights

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Sunday

21 Oct

Sunday, October 21st| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Recap

Competition has ended at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America on Sunday as Team USA claimed both of the gold medals of the day in the ladies and ice dancing events from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Ladies

In a battle that came down to the very end, it was two Americans, Ashley Wagner and Christina Gao, who stole the show at Skate America as Wagner earned her first ever Grand Prix Series gold medal and Gao earned her first ever Grand Prix medal of any color, silver, in the ladies event.

Leading after the short program, Wagner watched her teammate earn a score that was more than eight points higher than her personal best to take the lead just two skaters previous. The pressure was on, but Wagner delivered.

In a program which included six triple jumps and 11 elements that received positive marks, Wagner earned more points than she ever has in a Grand Prix Series free skate by more than 16. A 127.76-point effort in the free skate vaulted Wagner into the top spot by more than 14 points and to the gold medal with a final total of 188.37 points.

“Today went exactly as planned,” Wagner said. “I really fought for some of those jumps, but I was pleased with what I put out. For my first Grand Prix of the season, I was really happy with what I did.”

Gao, whose best finish in her two previous Grand Prix events was fifth earned the silver medal after she was third in the short program. She received the second-best mark of the competition for her free skate. A full-time student at Harvard University, Gao, who has finished in fifth place at each of the last three U.S. Championships, finished second with a personal best 174.25 points overall.

“Today was obviously pretty awesome,” Gao said. “I felt really good about it. It’s what I’ve been doing in practice every day. I told myself before I started to make it like practice. I did, and I got a medal, so I’m really happy. ”

In second after the short program, 2011 World Junior champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia earned 168.96 points overall to claim her third bronze medal at a Grand Prix event.

American Rachael Flatt finished in ninth place with 136.09 points overall.

Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis & Charlie White have done it again. With an emotional free dance to music from Notre-Dame de Paris, the Americans earned their third straight title at this event to open the season with a total score of 176.28 points. Always the perfectionists, Davis and White, while satisfied with the win in Kent, know there are improvements to be made.

“Charlie and I felt like our performances went quite well today. We had a couple little technical glitches here and there. We’re definitely looking to get our technical scores much higher,” Davis said. “Overall, it was a good start to the season and we’re on track to accomplishing our goals on the ice. We are thrilled with our performances and thrilled to perform them here at Skate America.”

They also noted the support they have received on their return trip to the Pacific Northwest, saying, “It was a great audience. We would like to thank everybody here in the Kent area for organizing everything and being so supportive.”

Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev moved up from third after the short dance to nab the silver medal, elevating their career Grand Prix medal count to five. They totaled 97.04 points for the free dance, en route to 159.95 overall. Their segment score was fractionally less than a career mark set at 2011 Cup of China.

The Russians, who have skated together since 2000, made their first coaching change of their career together last spring. They credit Olympic and World medalist coach Alexander Zhulin with helping their psychological approach to competition.

“The male perspective is different and the whole way of preparing, physically and mentally, is different,” Soloviev explained. “As a result, we’re much calmer going into competitions. The psychological side of our skating has changed a lot and made a strong impact. The technical aspect, the technique is completely different, too.”

Fourth place finishers at the 2012 World Championships, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada earned the bronze medal, their sixth career medal on the Grand Prix Series, with a total of 157.32 points.

Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt enjoyed the best Grand Prix finish of their career, placing fourth with 141.41 points, while teammates Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus finished seventh in their Grand Prix debut.

9:30 a.m.

Good morning from the final day from 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America! Today, the ladies and ice dancing competitions will come to their conclusions with Americans Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White leading their respective events. Here is how the day will shape up:

Free Dance – 2:40 p.m.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus – 2:46 p.m.

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giuliettie-Schmitt – 3:16 p.m.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – 3:40 p.m.

Ladies Free Skate – 4:15 p.m.*

Rachael Flatt – 4:22 p.m.

Christina Gao – 5:24 p.m.

Ashley Wagner – 5:40 p.m.

*NBC will air live coverage of the ladies free skate while icenetwork.com will air coverage from the ice dancing event and the first group of ladies.

Short Program Highlights

Click below to view highlight videos from the short program at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America:

Men

Ladies

Pairs

Ice dancing

Skaters Impress NHL Hall of Fame Broadcaster Emrick

21 Oct

Impressed. That was the term NHL Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick used to describe the elite athletes he has seen at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America this week in Kent, Wash. Emrick will trade describing goals, checks and penalties to the beauty and artistry of step sequences, jumps and spins as the play-by-play broadcaster for the NBC coverage of Skate America from 4-6 p.m. ET on Sunday. An expert in the sport with two blue lines and a red line, Emrick is looking to create some goals this weekend rather than score them.

“I am going into this trying to think that I am on a line with Gretzky, and the best thing to do is get him the puck,” Emrick said. “I’ve got Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic, Tracy Wilson and Andrea Joyce. I can’t have it any better than that. I just have to make sure they get the puck, that’s all.”

NBC will air live coverage of the ladies free skate as well as highlights of the rest of the competition and interviews with the athletes on Sunday. NBC will also carry same-weekend coverage of the remaining Grand Prix events except Cup of China, but including the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia this year. In Janurary, NBC will carry seven hours of live coverage of the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships from Omaha, Neb.

Emrick, the first member of the media to be elected to the NHL Hall of Fame in 2011, has been broadcasting professional hockey since 1973 and has had stints calling the sport for several teams, during the Olympics and on all of the major television networks. He has, however, been using this week to educate himself on a sport he has never called before, figure skating.

“I have watched some DVDs and each of the last two Skate America competitions,” Emrick said. “I have also used our research team at NBC to give myself a crash course of the sport.”

As the NHL Lockout continues, despite optimism from Emrick that it would soon come to a conclusion, Emrick is lending his Hall of Fame voice to figure skating, ready to be impressed.

“Anyone who can do anything athletic like this and commit so much energy to their sport impressive to me,” Emrick said.

Watch 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America live on NBC Sunday October, 21 on NBC from 4-6 p.m. ET.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Saturday

20 Oct

Saturday, October 20th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Recap

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America has completed with medals being awarded in both the men’s and pairs events and the short program and short dance completed in ladies and ice dancing.  The entire competition will wrap up on Sunday with the ladies free skate and the free dance from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Men’s

The first medals of Skate America were earned with a Japanese podium sweep at an exciting men’s event. The top spot went to Takahiko Kozuka, with teammates Yuzuru Hanyu and Tatsuki Machida finishing second and third, respectively.

A downgraded quad toe as his only notable mistake, Kozuka won the free skate segment with 166.12 points and finished the event nearly eight points ahead of his competitors with a combined score of 251.44 points.

The rest of the field couldn’t keep pace, including Hanyu, who led after the short program with a world-record score of 95.07 points.

Hanyu placed third in the free skate, but held onto the silver medal after a 10-point lead following yesterday’s short program. He finished the event with 229.95 points.

Machida settled for bronze, despite finishing second in the free skate segment. Although he fell on his quad, Machida completed eight triple jumps, including two triple Axels.

Reigning U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, Armin Mahbanoozadeh and Douglas Razzano finished fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively.

Pairs

Together for just their second season and their third Grand Prix Series event, reigning U.S. champions Caydee Denney and John Coughlin earned their first medal together, bronze at Skate America.

Skating to music from Phantom of the Opera, Denney and Coughlin earned a positive GOE on each of their elements except one as they posted the second-best total element score of the competition. Coughlin earned bronze at Cup of China in 2010, but this was Denney’s first medal on the Grand Prix Series. The duo who trains in Colorado Springs, Colo., earned a total of 178.22 points for the event.

After posting the top score in the short program, reigning World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov earned the gold medal after earning the top free skate as well. They finished with 195.07 points overall. Reigning Olympic silver medalists Qing Pang and Jian Tong earned the silver medal with 185.16 points.

Ladies

Making her Skate America debut, Ashley Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Ice Dancing

Looking to win their 10th straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps toward that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than one point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.”

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points, while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, are in seventh.

The competition wraps up on Sunday with the ice dancing free dance beginning at 2:40 p.m. and the ladies free skate at 4:15 p.m. The ladies free skate will be aired live on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America visit icenetwork.com.

4:06 p.m.

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America is under way with reigning American champions Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White in first place after the first session of the day. The men and pairs events will wrap up the competition on Saturday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Making her Skate America debut, Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion, is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Looking to win their 10th straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps towards that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than one point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.” 

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points, while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut, are in seventh.

Later today, the men and pairs will perform their free skates with Americas Jeremy Abbott and Caydee Denney and John Coughlin each seeking a medal, in third after the short program.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America as well as live video of the competition available for free for all registered users, visit icenetwork.com.

9:13 a.m.

Good morning from the ShoWare Center on a big day at Skate America. Both the men and pairs will wrap up their events while the ladies and ice dancers will get their competition under way. If you missed anything from an exciting day one at Skate America, click here to view our posts from yesterday.

Saturday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)

Ladies – 3:30 p.m.

Rachael Flatt – 3:37 p.m.

Christina Gao – 3:44 p.m.

Ashley Wagner – 4:24 p.m.

Ice Dancing – 5:15 p.m.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus – 5:21 p.m.

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt – 5:28 p.m.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White – 6:08 p.m.

Men – 10:00 p.m.

Douglas Razzano – 10:12 p.m.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 10:37 p.m.

Jeremy Abbott – 11:18 p.m.

Pairs – 12:10 a.m.

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – 12:17 a.m.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – 12:34 a.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 12:58 a.m.

Day two at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America is under way with American champions Ashley Wagner and Meryl Davis and Charlie White in first place. The men and pairs events will wrap up Saturday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.

Making her Skate America debut, Wagner, the 2012 U.S. champion is looking to pick up where she left off last season, and that is what she has done. Skating to Music from The Red Violin, Wagner earned 60.61 points to take the lead after the short program.

“Today, since it was my first short program internationally, going out there I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “But I kept my head on my shoulders and I put out a solid performance.”

The 2011 World Junior champion, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, is in second place with 58.93 points while American Christina Gao landed a clean triple toe-triple toe to finish the day in third with 56.63 points.

“I’m really happy with how I did today,” Gao said. “I lost a few levels on footwork and spins, but coming into the season I’m really, really happy with what I did today.”

American Rachael Flatt is currently in 10th place with 43.72 points

Looking to win their tenth straight gold medal on the Grand Prix Series, Meryl Davis and Charlie White took their first steps towards that goal with 71.39 points for their short dance, more than a point better than their performance at 2011 Skate America in Ontario, Calif.

“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis said. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.” 

Behind the Americans are Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje with 65.79 points and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 62.91 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished sixth in their lone Skate America appearance in 2010 and are in fourth place with 53.89 points while Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, in their Grand Prix debut are in seventh.

The competition wraps up on Sunday with the ice dancing free dance beginning at 2:40 p.m. and the ladies free skate at 4:15 p.m. The ladies free skate will be aired live on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

For more information on 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America visit icenetwork.com.

2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America Program

19 Oct

Click the image below to view a PDF of the entire official 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America program!

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2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Friday

19 Oct

Friday, October 19th| ShoWare Center | Kent, Wash.

Useful Links

icenetwork.com | Photo Gallery

Event Website | Twitter

How to Watch Skate America

Fantasy Skating (Deadline is tonight!)

Starting Orders/Results

Official Event Program

Friday Recap

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series is officially under way as the pairs and men each performed their short programs at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., on Friday. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan posted a world record short program to lead the men’s event while Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia lead in pairs.

Hanyu opened his season with the best short program in the history of the IJS scoring system at an ISU event as he posted a score of 95.07 points. He opened his program with a quad toe which earned a GOE of 2.00 and was nearly flawless throughout. The reigning World bronze medalist is in prime position to earn his second career Grand Prix Series gold medal.

“Ninety-five is an extremely high score and I wasn’t expecting it,” Hanyu said. “I want to concentrate on the free skate now. This is only part of the event and I want to control my thoughts until the very end.”

In second place, Takahiko Kozuka of Japan earned a personal best 85.32 points with a performance that included an opening quad toe and a triple-triple combination which earned 11.41 points. Kozuka, who finished 11th at last year’s World Championships has earned a medal at each of his four Grand Prix series events in the last two years.

American Jeremy Abbott is in third place with 77.71 points and was pleased with his performance overall. Abbott faltered on his opening quad toe, but landed a triple Lutz-triple toe which earned more than 11 points as well as earning the second highest score of the competition for his components.

“This was the first step,” Abbott said. “I did what I came here to do and I’m proud of myself for that. I got a pretty good score, better than a lot of my scores last season, so I just need to keep working on my consistency and keep building up from there.”

Despite a short program they admittedly had a hard time skating, Volosozhar and Trankov sit in first place going into the pairs free skate with 65.78 points. The program was highlighted by a level 4 lift which earned five points. On the flipside, they received uncharacteristic negative GOEs on their side-by-side triple Salchows and throw triple loop.

“We have to think about this because we had the same problem at the World Championships last year,” Trankov said. “We’re scared of our short program, we’re very nervous. We never feel this way about our free skate.”

Qing Pang and Jian Tong, who began their 13th Grand Prix season in Kent, are in second place with 61.96 points. The team has adjusted their training this season, down to four days a week from five or six in years past, in order to accommodate Tong’s sore knee.

“The biggest trouble that I have is my knee hurts when I skate. When I bend my knee when I’m skating, it hurts and doesn’t have the flexibility. I used to train 5-6 days a week, but now we’ve reduced it to four days.”

The duo is competing at Skate America for the first time since winning silver at the event in 2007.

Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin earned the highest technical mark of the segment, netting 33.14 of their 60.75 points on their “tricks.” Among the highlights were their twist and throw triple flip. The team, entering their second season, appreciated skating for a hometown crowd at Skate America, a privilege they also got last year.

“We’re always excited to compete at our home Grand Prix, Skate America. We’re excited to have a full season under our belts and it gives us a lot of confidence.”

Competition continues on Saturday with each of the four disciplines taking to the ice. The ladies begin the day with their short program at 12:30 p.m. PT while the ice dancing competition will get started shortly thereafter at 2:15 p.m. The men and pairs will each perform their free skate in the evening at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively.

For more information on 2012 Skate America, please visit icenetwork.com

For tickets to the remaining sessions, visit www.2012SkateAmerica.com.

2:45 p.m.

The ladies took to the ice for their last official practice and the field is stacked with former Olympians and reigning national and World medalists. The American contingent consists of reigning U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, Rachael Flatt and Christina Gao who all have intriguing story-lines coming into this event.

Wagner, in her first Skate America, completing her ‘Grand Prix circuit’ (appearing at all of the six events) is truly enjoying her stay. Wagner took a trip to Seattle yesterday to participate in an online chat and she seems very relaxed coming into the Grand Prix Series opener. “I’m enjoying this,” Wagner said. “It’s strange though, it feels like a mini U.S. Championships since the set-up is so familiar but I see the Japanese girls walking around backstage and it reminds me where I’m at.”

For Flatt and Gao, this season is all about balance. As noted before, Flatt at Stanford and Gao at Harvard are balancing their skating careers with going to two of the most challenging and prestigious universities in the world. Flatt is a sophomore and is going through year two of this life, while Gao is a freshman, however, both are thriving.

“Skating has been pretty good, I am working hard and balancing school and skating well,” Flatt said “But it’s certainly been keeping me busy.” She added.

Gao, who is taking a full course-load at Harvard is getting settled into her new school life. “I am getting into a rhythm,” Gao said. “Everything is going well, school is going well, skating is going well and I am finding a balance that is working.”

Gao is the lone American planning a triple-triple combination, a triple toe-triple toe in her short program. The ladies will open their season on Saturday.

1:00 p.m.

Dramatic performances unfolded as the ice dancers showcased their short and free dances during today’s practice session. Fans in the stands were treated to their first glimpse of Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s  Notre-Dame de Paris  free dance as they took the ice in pursuit of their third straight Skate America victory. “We’ve been through a lot this season,” Davis said. “We’re trying to stand together both on and off the ice. We want to look like a unit when we step out onto the ice and we want everyone to take notice of that as soon as they see us, as soon as our names are called.”

Davis and White shared the ice with Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who debuted sections of their free dance set to music from The League of Extraordinary Dancers. Weaver and Poje, who came in fourth at last year’s World Championships are the only Canadian skaters to compete in Kent this week.

Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt had the audience clapping along to their short dance, set to the music of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, performed by Chris Isaak. “We feel really confident about our Yankee Polka section,” Giulietti-Schmitt said. “We know it’s going to be hard to get the levels we want at the first Grand Prix event of the season, but we’ve been working really hard on our technical ability, so we’re confident that we’re capable.”

Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt took the ice with their teammates Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who also performed their short dance to a medley of music by Willi Boskovsky and the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchestra. “We’ve had our rotational lift since last season, so we’ve really had a chance to perfect it,” McManus said. “I think it’s better this year because we found the perfect spot in our music for it.”

Skate America’s Honorary Chair, 2010 Olympic silver medalist Ben Agosto, attended the practices with several of his Seattle-area students, who got the chance to watch the world’s best ice dancers take the ice in their neck of the woods.

“We’ve got the sectional championships coming up pretty soon,” Agosto said. “I wanted to give them a chance to see the best and feel a push of motivation from it.”

The short dance competition will commence tomorrow afternoon, following the ladies short program.

What to Expect on the Blog Today?

Good morning from the ShoWare Center on Friday, the opening day of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. Tonight begins the first of six events held across the world that make up the Grand Prix circuit and it’s the pairs and men that will get the first edges in the ice. Prior to the competition, each of the four disciplines will have a final official practice and both the ice dancing and ladies will go through the media area for interviews. We will post short stories after each discipline has their practice session and a recap at the end of the day. Be sure to check icenetwork.com for more in-depth coverage including live video of the competition (Season Pass subscribers), blogs, articles, photos and more.

Friday’s Competition Schedule (Americans, ET)

Pairs

Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff – 10:07 p.m. – First team to skate

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir – 10:20 p.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 10:41 p.m.

Mens

Douglas Razzano – 11:42 p.m. – First to skate

Armin Mahbanoozadeh – 11:49 p.m.

Jeremy Abbott – 12:35 a.m.

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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