Tag Archives: Armin Mahbanoozadeh

Weir Back in PA at Holiday Dreams on Ice

29 Dec

By Lynn Rutherford

Old and new friends nearly 7,000 miles apart gathered in Philadelphia the night before Christmas Eve to watch Johnny Weir headline the second annual Holiday Dreams on Ice, held at University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena.

The three-time U.S. champion and his parents, Patti and John, welcomed more than 60 well wishers from his hometown of Lancaster, PA, who bused into town especially for the show.  The Pennsylvanians met 20 of Weir’s Japanese fans visiting from Tokyo for a long holiday weekend in New York and Philadelphia, capped by front-row seats for the performances and a post-event party.

“I’m excited about this show; they literally ran out of printed tickets,” Weir said. “It’s my first time performing in Pennsylvania, my home state, in forever. I’m thrilled so many old friends are here.”

Weir gained standing ovations for an outrageous routine to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and his traditional holiday number “Ave Maria,” highlighted by special designs from Vincent DiGiorgio’s Digital Lighting, who created the Christmas lights for the White House this season.

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus kicked off the evening with a singing of “Sleigh Ride.”  More than 100 young local skaters hit the ice to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Former Israeli champion Tamar Katz, a student at Penn, skated to Adele’s “Someone Like You,” while 2010 U.S. silver medalist Brandon Mroz offered up two numbers: “Mack the Knife” and “Greased Lightening.”

Mroz is taking a short break from Colorado Springs to spend the holidays in his hometown of St. Louis.

“I can’t wait to see my grandmother,” he said.

Two-time U.S. bronze medalist Ashley Wagner shone in programs to Jessica Simpson’s “What Christmas Means to Me” and Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor.”

“I had the [“What Christmas Means to Me”] music before and I thought it was really cute,” she said. “I feel like a lot of Christmas stuff is kind of slow and I wanted something that was going to wake the audience up. I picked it a couple of years ago and then I just re-choreographed it [with Philip Mills]. I get bored with programs so if I have something new it’s much more fun to perform.”

Wagner took a short break from training under coaches John Nicks and Mills in California.

“I begged and pleaded Mr. Nicks, and then gave him no other option, but to let me go home for a week,” she said. “I am spending Christmas in Annapolis with my mom, my brother [Austin] and my boyfriend.”

“My dad is traveling right now for business, so it’s kind of a bummer not to have him home for the holidays, but I’m so excited to just slow down for a couple of days before getting back into training for nationals.”

Wagner, who hopes to win her first U.S. title next month at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, isn’t letting her guard down over the holidays.

“After Christmas I am going up and spending the rest of the trip in Philly, so I am training at University of Delaware for the rest of the week,” she said.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who is spending a quiet holiday with his parents in Virginia, performed “Summertime,” then unveiled a new Christmas number he choreographed just for the show to Michael Buble’s “Cold December Night.”

“I put it together quickly and had fun with it,” he said. “I had a great time. We had a long day full of practices and rehearsals but it was a great experience, it was a great crowd. There were a lot of enthusiastic kids who are just getting into skating. So it’s nice to see if we can kind of encourage some of the new skaters.”

For pictures, courtesy of Michele Mansoor, click here.

Team USA Nets Two Medals at 2011 NHK Trophy

12 Nov

Useful Links

icenetwork.com (LIVE stream of the NHK Trophy)

Starting Order/Results Page  Final Protocol (PDF) Twitter

TV Schedule/Competition Notes (PDF) Photo Gallery

2011 NHK Trophy

Team USA enjoyed a strong show in Sapporo, Japan, which includes a gold medal win from Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani and a bronze medal finish for Ross Miner.


Results Page

Ross Miner battled back from sixth place after the short program to earn the bronze medal, his first career Grand Prix Series medal. He was joined on the podium by a two representatives of the host country, gold medalist Daisuke Takahashi and silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka. After falling on his “Blues for Klook” program-opening attempt at a quad flip, Takahashi executed five triple jumps and two level four spins to net a season-high 169.32 points for the segment. He assured his spot in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with his second medal of the season and netted 259.75 points overall. Kozuka, skating to “Nausicaa Princess of the Wind,” produced two triple Axels and a total of six triple jumps. His attempt at a quad toe was two-footed on the landing. He totaled 235.02 points for the weekend (155.25 for free skate). Miner skated to music from The Untouchablessoundtrack. The program was highlighted by two triple Axels earned 141.24 points. Though he was fourth in the free skate segment, his overall score of 212.36 moved him into third place. American Armin Mahbanoozadeh, the finished eighth. His teammate Brandon Mroz sat in third after the short program, thanks in part to a landed Quad Lutz. He suffered some errors in the free skate and went on to finish ninth.

Ice dancing

Results Page

A week after earning the silver medal at 2011 Cup of China, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won their first ever ISU Grand Prix Series gold medal and did so by battling back from a third-place showing in the short dance to win the free dance and the competition. The outcome sees the Shibutanis and silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada book their tickets to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December. Shibutani and Shibutani edged the Canadians by just 0.09 points for the gold medal. Russian’s Elene Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, who were in first after the short dance, took home bronze. Performing their free dance to “In the Mood” and “Moonlight Serenade,” Shibutani and Shibutani earned level fours for five out of seven elements. The reigning World bronze medalists posted a new season’s best of 92.83 points and totaled 151.85 overall. Weaver and Poje’s skate was highlighted by difficult level four lifts and twizzles. They earned the silver with 151.76 total points. Ilinykh and Katsalapov danced to an arrangement of “Ave Maria” and had level four lifts and twizzles. Their free dance score of 87.65 dropped the team to third place at 149.48 points. Americans Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt finished the weekend in sixth place.


Results Page

Japan’s Akiko Suzuki captured the gold and a spot in the Grand Prix Final as teammate Mao Asada claimed the silver medal. The bronze went to Russia’s Alena Leonova, while Americans Ashley Wagner and Agnes Zawadzki finished fourth and eighth, respectively. Skating to “Die Fledermaus,” Suzuki, who won both segments of competition, performed a triple Lutz, double Axel-triple toe and triple loop. With 119.43 points she was ranked second in the free but was able to hold on to first place at 185.98 points. Asada’s “Liebestraum” free skate included five triple jumps and three level four spins. The 2010 Olympic silver medalist was the free skate winner with 125.77 points (184.19 points overall). Leonova landed a triple toe-triple toe combination and two triple flips in her program. She scored 108.92 points for the free and accumulated 170.68 total.


Results Page

Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov rebounded from a fifth-place showing in the short to win the pairs title followed by Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran of Japan and German’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy. Overcoming a rough short program, Kavaguti and Smirnov produced a triple toe, triple twist, triple throw loop and Salchow in their “Clair de Lune” free skate. They earned scored 122.49 points, setting a season’s best, and totaled 177.51 points. Takahashi and Tran’s program to “Concerto de Quebec” included a triple twist, level four spins and lifts as well as a throw triple Salchow. They maintained silver medal standing and earned 172.09 total points. Short program sinners Savchenko and Szolkowy opened their program to the Pina soundtrack with a throw triple flip, but they made errors on the side by side jumps and did not perform a planned lift. The reigning World Champions received 112.45 points for the free and 171.68 overall. Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin placed fifth (163.75 points) in their second outing of the season while teammates Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir finished seventh.

2011 NHK Trophy – Viewer’s Guide

10 Nov

Useful Links

icenetwork.com (LIVE stream of the NHK Trophy)

Starting Order/Results Page  Twitter

TV Schedule/Competition Notes (PDF)  Photo Gallery

2011 NHK Trophy

Schedule (all times Eastern):

Friday, Nov. 11
12:55 a.m.: Short dance
2:45 a.m.: Pairs short program
5:15 a.m.: Ladies short program
10 p.m.: Free dance

Saturday, Nov. 12
12:05 a.m.: Pairs free skate
2:30 a.m.: Men’s short program
5:00 a.m.: Ladies free skate
10:55 p.m.: Men’s free skate

1…2…3Ashley Wagner competes for the fourth consecutive year at NHK Trophy (4th in 2008, 3rd in 2009, 5th in 2010). She also looks for her second medal of the 2011 Grand Prix season after winning bronze at Skate Canada two weeks ago.

First TimerAgnes Zawadzki is the 2011 World Junior bronze medalist. She made her Grand Prix Series debut a year ago, fi nishing sixth at Skate Canada and fourth at Rostelecom Cup. NHK Trophy marks the fi rst time Zawadzki will compete in Japan.

Seasoned Vets - Armin Mahbanoozadeh and Ross Miner continue their seasons after already competing at 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America and Skate Canada, respectively, to open the year.

Lutz SkateBrandon Mroz was recently credited by the ISU with executing the first ever quadruple Lutz in a sanctioned competition. He accomplished the feat Sept. 16, 2011, at the Colorado Springs Invitational. Mroz, who has competed on the Grand Prix since 2008, won a pair of medals in two Grand Prix assignments last year (silver at Cup of China; bronze at Trophée Bompard).

Third Time’s a Charm?Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir begin their third season on the Grand Prix circuit. The Boston-based duo enjoyed their strongest finish, fourth, at 2010 Skate Canada and are looking for their first international medal.

Sneaky, SneakyCaydee Denney & John Coughlin were within two points of sneaking onto the podium in their Grand Prix Series debut at 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America. They won bronze at 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy to begin their competitive careers together.

2-for-2 – Both American ice dancing teams take the ice for the second consecutive week with the hope of medaling once again. Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani were silver medalists at Cup of China last week in Shanghai, while Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt won gold at Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria. The Shibutanis were bronze medalists at this event in 2010.

2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Saturday

22 Oct

Saturday, October 22nd – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, Calif.

Useful Links

Twitter  Official Event Program

Event Page    icenetwork.com (LIVE video stream of Skate America)

Starting Order and Result Page       Photo Gallery

Television Alert

Live coverage of Skate America will air on NBC for three hours beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

Acclaimed film RISE will be shown on VERSUS at 7:30 p.m. ET and at 9 p.m. ET. Click here to learn more about RISE. Click here to order a copy of the DVD or Blue-ray.

10:45 p.m.

The pairs and ladies short programs have been completed at Skate America. Click below for the results pages for both events:

Pairs Result Page

Ladies Result Page

U.S. champion Alissa Czisny delivered a nearly flawless short program to take a four-point lead into Sunday afternoon’s free skate. Czisny, who last competed at Skate America in 2005, had the California audience in her corner from the start. “I was really nervous at the beginning, so I’m happy to get this first competition underneath me,” she said. Czisny, a silver medalist at 2005 Skate America, said he plans to attempt seven triple jumps in the free skate. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, the 2011 World bronze medalist, also skated well and is in second place. She fought injuries last year and got a late start to this season, she said. Caroline Zhang, a bronze medalist at Skate America in 2007, is attempting to rejuvenate her career and she took a step in that direction with a solid short program. Her score of 55.05 points puts her in third place heading into the free skate. Zhang’s love of skating, she said, has kept her in the sport and striving to improve.

The Chinese pairs team of Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang are on track to win their third Skate America title with a three-point lead heading into the free skate. The 2006 Olympic silver medalists won Skate America titles in 2004 and 2005. They didn’t compete last year due to a series of injuries to Hao, which included a crushed finger during practice. The newly formed team of Caydee Denney and John Coughlin and the Russian duo of Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov each scored 59.62 point in the short program but Denney and Coughlin are sitting in second place because of their higher technical mark.  Less than .17 points separates second and fifth place. The World champion German team is in that tight race. Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy attempted a throw triple Axel but was unsuccessful. They won’t try it in the free skate. The team of Mary Beth Marley and Rockney Brubaker enjoyed a successful short program with a score of 56.16, while Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin sit seventh with a score of 51.55 points.

The pairs free skate will begin the final day of competition on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT and the ladies free skate will start at 2:40 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

The men’s and ice dance competitions have been completed at Skate America. Click below for the results pages for both events:

Men’s Result Page

Ice Dance Result Page

The big story of the early session is that the streak for Meryl Davis and Charlie White continues. The Americans backed up their strong performance in Friday’s short dance with an equally as dazzling free dance to win gold by nearly 22 points. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France finished with the silver and credit should be given to Bourzat for his podium performance despite being quite visibly sick. The Lithuanian team of Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas, who were entered into Skate America two weeks ago, used their consistency to jump from fifth to third overall after the free dance.

Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue showed great promise with their performance in the free dance which garnered the third-best score.

In the men’s competition, despite noting that he could have skated a more clean program, Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic cruised to the gold medal, his first in the Grand Prix Series. Kevin van der Perren, a 29-year-old from Belgium, landed a quad toeloop en route to a silver medal.

For the Americans, Richard Dornbush worked the crowd with his western-themed skate and finished in fourth position, while Douglas Razzano finished fifth in the free skate and seventh overall.

Up next, the pairs short program and ladies short program beginning at 6:55 p.m. PT. Also, RISE, as noted above, will air on VERSUS at 7:30 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET.

11:15 a.m.

The warmups for both the men’s free skate and the free dance competition have been completed. The first session of the day will begin with the men’s free skate at 11:30 a.m.

The free skate will provide a big opportunity for Richard Dornbush who performed well in his short program. Dornbush, who has a number of fans on hand due to the event’s proximity to his hometown, was seen laying in the skaters lounge with his eyes closed in a very relaxed state. Despite his fifth place finish in the short program, Dornbush is less than one point away from second. The men’s free skate is setting up for a very exciting conclusion with four skaters closely positioned.

Americans Douglas Razzano and Armin Mahbanoozadeh are both looking forward to their free skate as an opportunity to improve their position from the short program. Razzano, who turns 23 today, vaulted up the leaderboard at the Finlandia Trophy to finish second as he won the free skate in that event and Mahbanoozadeh noted yesterday that he will incorporate a quad into his performance.

In the ice dancing competition, Davis and White are in prime position to continue their winning streak from last season as they are placed 10 points higher than their nearest competitors. The reigning World champions will skate their Die Fledermaus free dance which they performed well in the warmups and practices leading up to the competition.

Check the U.S. Figure Skating Twitter page for live updates and tune into NBC from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for live coverage of these two events.

After the conclusion of the men’s and the ice dance competitions, we’ll get situated for the session tonight which features the pairs and the ladies.

9 a.m.

Good morning from 2011 Skate America! Today there will be four sessions which include the conclusion of both the men’s and ice dancing competitions as well as the beginning of the ladies and pairs events. Here is a list of what is on tap for today:

(All times Pacific)

Men’s free skate: 11:30 a.m. – 1:10 p.m.

Free dance: 1:30 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.

Pairs short program: 6:50 p.m. – 8:10 p.m.

Ladies short program: 8:20 p.m. – 9:50 p.m.

For a recap of the action from Friday as well as links to the results, click here.

2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Friday

21 Oct

Friday, October 21st – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, Calif.

Useful Links

Twitter   Online Auction (Bidding for most items closes on at 11:59:59 p.m. ET)

Event Page    icenetwork.com (LIVE video stream of Skate America)

Starting Order and Result Page       Photo Gallery

Sign up for the U.S. Figure Skating Fantasy Challenge (Free) – Picks are due by 7 p.m. CT!

Friday Recap (10:40 p.m.)

Good evening and thanks to everyone who followed the SKATING magazine blog today for the first two events at 2011 Skate America. The men’s short program was highlighted by the performance of Michal Brezina of Czech Republic, who received high marks for his triple Axel, a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Lutz along with two level four spins. There will be a lot of intrigue as the competition heads to the free skate, as positions two-through-five are separated by 0.66 points.

American Richard Dornbush, skating near his hometown, finished the short program in fifth position with a score of 70.03. Dornbush will perform his free skate in striking distance of a position on the podium.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White were dazzling in their short dance as they hope to continue the unbeaten run they began last season. The World champions performed last and posted the best mark by more than 10 points. Despite a fall, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France finished in second, more than five points ahead of third.

Men’s Short Program results

Short dance results

The event page is located at the top of this blog post and the official event program can be found by clicking here.

On Saturday, the men’s and ice dancing competitions will come to their conclusions and the ladies and pairs will begin. Check back for more information from 2011 Skate America.

5:35 p.m.

The start of the competition is less than 90 minutes away and the excitement is beginning to build here in Ontario, Calif. For coverage during the live event, log on to icenetwork.com, as subscribers will gain access to a live feed for Skate America and a host of other events throughout the year.

During the event, we’ll post updates to our Twitter and after the event, we will compile a list of post-event links as well as a short recap to tonight’s men’s short program and short dance.

Picks for the U.S. Figure Skating Fantasy Challenge will close at 6:59 Central Time. This free contest will run throughout the skating season so you won’t want to miss a single competition. Additionally, the online auction with many Skate America-themed items will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

We hope you enjoy tonight’s competition and we’ll check in with results, reaction and more useful links tonight.

2:55 p.m.

Caroline Zhang appears primed to improve upon her disappointing finish at Skate America in 2010. The California resident has worked hard to be competition-ready, competing in several  events this summer. “I hope all that work will show,” she said. Zhang, who graduated from high school last May, has a triple loop-triple loop combination in her arsenal, which she may consider using at this event or later in the season depending on how she feels.

2:45 p.m.

Joelle Forte arrived last night in Ontario from New York. She took part in this afternoon’s practice session. Her decision to come in late for her first-ever Grand Prix Series event was orchestrated in an effort to help quell any nerves she may experience competing against the international field. “That’s what I’m used to,” said the 25-year-old. Anytime I go to nationals or Easterns, I go at the latest possible time. I don’t want to start to freak out, so I try to keep things as normal as possible. I want to get my legs under me and have a good skate tomorrow and Sunday. Forte graduated from Fordham University in May with a degree in psychology. She wants to one day attend grad school in her chosen field. She also coaches skating back home.

1:05 p.m.

With the short dance warmup wrapping up, Meryl Davis and Charlie White did a little more than half of their short dance and they looked extremely polished. Davis, in an orange dress, and White, in all black, floated effortlessly around the ice to their trio of musical selections. The dance is very uptempo and energetic, and all the while, a big smile appeared on Davis’ face. The reigning World champions look ready to perform tonight as the short dance begins at 8:40 p.m. Pacific Time.

10:41 a.m.
Armin Mahbanoozadeh hopes to make his first-ever trip to California a memorable one. The 2010 Skate America bronze medalist completed his practice this morning and reports to be ready to go for tonight’s short program. It was in Portland, Ore., last year where Mahbanoozadeh recorded the biggest accomplishment of his career at Skate America. “I just want to keep on improving and setting personal-bests as much as I can and hopefully that will keep me moving forward.” Mahbanoozadeh said. He is a better skater, he said, than he was last year and has added a quad to his free skate. “I think my programs in general are a big step forward for me. My long is a lot of fun and my short is really powerful and really serious, so I’m trying to evolve my programs this year.” When he’s not skating, Mahbanoozadeh takes a few courses at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

In addition to Mahbanoozadeh, both Richard Dornbush and Douglas Razzano skated their warmups today and jumped extremely well. Razzano landed a strong combination which brought cheers from the crowd in attendance. Overall, morale and expectation amongst the American men appears to be high.

9:40 a.m.

Good morning from Citizens Business Bank Arena for the first day of competition in 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America! Today, the men and the ice dancers will have their warmups at 11 a.m. followed by practice for the ladies and pairs. Tonight at 7 Pacific Time, the men will take to the ice for the short program followed by the short dance.

For you on the blog, we’ll be posting live updates all day long with a special blog post around 5 p.m. with a FREE digital copy of the official event program from 2011 Skate America! Be sure to check back throughout the day and feel free to post comments in the comments section below.

2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America – Thursday

20 Oct

Thursday, October 20th – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, Calif.

Useful Links


Event Page

Starting Order and Result Page

Sign up for the U.S. Figure Skating Fantasy Challenge (Free)


Stay tuned for a digital copy of the official 2011 Skate America program to be posted at 5 p.m. Pacific Time here on SKATING magazine blog. We will also have continued coverage of the early practices and the beginning of the competition.

5:09 p.m.

At the ladies practice, both Caroline Zhang and Alissa Czisny ran though their programs and looked strong. Czisny has garnered a lot of attention before the competition with the promise of a number of triple jumps. Joelle Forte will arrive in California tonight and did not participate in today’s practice.

3:54 p.m.

The pairs team of Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin are hoping to make the most of their sole Grand Prix Series assignment this weekend in Ontario. In their third year together, they admit to focusing more on their connection as a team and their presentation mark. The Arizona skaters, however, will unveil three new lifts and some revised footwork. Vise and Baldwin had the choice of driving five hours to Ontario from their home in Peoria, Ariz., or taking a one-hour flight. They chose the quick flight.

3:46 p.m.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin completed a strong run through their practice today and both said they’re excited about their Grand Prix debut as a pair. In answering questions, Coughlin spoke confidently and was very loose, making jokes with the reporters on hand. He indicated that he and Denney’s ticket to improvement was simply more time together on the ice. The newly formed pair took bronze at the Nebelhorn Trophy.

2:13 p.m.

Meryl and Charlie answered questions for about 15 minutes following their practice session. The World ice dancing champs say they are pumped up to compete this weekend and kick off the Grand Prix season in California. The Michigan natives are the defending champions.

2:10 p.m.
We ran into two-time U.S. pairs champion Rockne Brubaker at rinkside and did a double-take. Rockne’s long hair is gone. He now sports a much shorter haircut, which he’ll debut this weekend at Skate America with partner Mary Beth Marley. We asked Charlie White what he thought of his good friend’s new hairstyle.  “It looks fantastic,” White said. “Everyone loves Rockne’s hair long but he looks suave, he looks clean-cut. I think it’s a little different approach for him but I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks on the ice.”

1:45 p.m.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White have just done a strong run-through of Die Fledermaus and are cooling down. They are joined in this practice session with fellow Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue as well as Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello. We hope to grab a few comments once the practice session is over.

12:58 p.m.

The song “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard blasts during ice dance practice. Pictures and quotes after it occurs.

12:30 p.m.

The three U.S. men completed their practice skate, and of note, Douglas Razzano told reporters that he feels “great” and that things have been “a whirlwind” since he found out he was selected to appear at Skate America. Razzano, who noted he will be celebrating his birthday on Saturday, took second in the Finlandia Trophy with a stellar performance in the free skate.

12:07 p.m.

Greetings from the site of 2011 Skate America! The entire U.S. Figure Skating media relations staff has arrived and throughout our stay, we will be posting pictures and updates on the newly minted SKATING magazine blog.

Currently, Team USA members Richard Dornbush, Douglas Razzano and Armin Mahbanoozadeh are practicing. Photos will be up soon on icenetwork.com and when they are, we’ll post a link to the gallery.


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