(March 26, 2003)
There were some encouraging results from the young Canadian skaters who competed at the Mladost Trophy, an international developmental event, which was held March 13-15 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Canada's best finish came in the Junior Men's event, where Tyler Cochrane won the bronze medal. Cochrane, who finished fifth in the Junior Men's event at the 2003 BMO Financial Group Canadian Championships, had a strong free skate that was highlighted by a triple Lutz, a triple flip and a triple loop.
Nobunari Oda, of Japan, won the event, while Great Britain's Robert Murray captured the silver medal.
Matt McEwan, the silver medallist in the Novice Men's event from the 2003 BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Junior Nationals, finished just off the podium in fourth-place in the Novice Men's event. McEwan was fourth in the short program, but placed third in the free skate to finish in fourth-place overall.
Japan's Takahito Mura, who came from third after the short program to place first in the free skate, won the Novice Men's event. Elliot Hilton of Great Britain captured the silver medal, and his teammate, Matthew Parr, took home the bronze medal.
Like McEwan, Canada's Erin Scherrer finished just off the podium in fourth-place in the Novice Ladies event. Scherrer had a very impressive short program that put her in second-place, and she finished fourth in the free skate to place fourth overall.
Scherrer's teammate, Amelie Lacoste, who was in third-place after the short program, finished seventh in the free skate to place seventh overall.
Winning the event was Japan's Rumi Suizu. Her teammate, Momo Makino, made a huge leap in the standings from seventh after the short program to first in the free skate, which propelled her to the silver medal. The bronze medal went to Karla Quinn of Great Britain.
This was the first international event for all of the Canadian skaters, except for McEwan, who competed at the Triglav Trophy last year. In fact, it was the first time out of Canada for some of the competitors.
"International development competitions are a great opportunity for both athletes and coaches to gain exposure to life and events outside of Canada," said Bill Bridel, Skate Canada Director of Athlete Development. "They provide the opportunity to deal with jet lag, different foods and environment, and allow athletes and coaches to see the level of skating in other countries.
"In some cases, it can be an eye opener for our team members, but more often than not, it is a great confidence builder - Canadian athletes see that they can compete with athletes from other countries and bring that knowledge back to their training facilities."
The short programs were the main highlights for the Canadian skaters, as all of them skated cleanly.
"There are also great lessons learned at these events," added Bridel. "Athletes and coaches begin to recognize what it takes not only to compete at international competitions, but to win at international competitions - a combination of technical excellence and strong presentation skills.
"A lot can also be learned off the ice, by watching other athletes warming up and warming down, as well as through conversation about training at home. Athletes and coaches learn that ballet, off-ice strength and core stability, and cardiovascular conditioning are absolute musts to be on the top internationally."