(November 20, 2005)
It was another strong result on the ISU Grand Prix circuit for Canada's Jeff Buttle on Saturday.
Buttle, who won a silver medal at the 2005 MasterCard Skate Canada International, captured the gold medal at the 2005 Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire in Paris, maintaining his first-place position after the short program by winning the free skate.
The 2005 Canadian Men's Champion and 2005 world silver medallist missed his attempt at the opening jump of his program, the quadruple toe loop, but came back to include five more triples in his program, including a solid triple Lutz-double toe loop-double loop combination. He also produced excellent spins and difficult footwork, which were highlighted in his program.
Buttle earned 65.10 points for technical elements and 75.30 for program components, which gave him a total of 139.40 for his free skate and a combined total of 215.48 for the competition, just off his personal best score of 216.65 that he earned at the 2005 ISU Grand Prix Final.
"The program itself, and all of the spins and steps were much improved (over MasterCard Skate Canada International)," Buttle told the press. "My goal this year is to keep improving with every skate, and I think I accomplished that today."
France's Brian Joubert, the 2004 European Champion and 2004 world silver medallist, was second with 210.41 points, while Romanian Gheorghe Chiper won his country's first medal on the ISU Grand Prix circuit in winning the bronze with 191.95 points.
In the pair event, Canadians Valerie Marcoux and Craig Buntin were awarded their second bronze medal on the ISU Grand Prix circuit this season, their first coming at the 2005 MasterCard Skate Canada International in October.
Marcoux and Buntin had an impressive free skate on Saturday evening, which they performed to a song composed especially for them by Paul Kunigis, entitled Our Song. The two-time Canadian Champions highlighted their program with a side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop combination, a strong triple twist and two impressive throws - the throw triple loop and throw triple Salchow, which was especially difficult as it came at the end of their program.
Their total of 116.48 points for the free skate gave them a combined points total of 174.92, which was a new personal best score. The duo's score of 62.08 for technical elements in the free skate was the highest technical elements score handed out in the free skate.
Marcoux and Buntin were pleased with their performance in Paris.
"It felt good, because our last personal best was two years ago, and it felt good to finally achieve that," said Marcoux.
"Tonight we just went out and took a step from where we were before tonight. So we're really excited to be in this new phase of our season and we're excited for the rest of the season," added Buntin.
Two-time world champions Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, of Russia, claimed the gold medal with 186.90 points, while China's Qing Pang and Jian Tong were second with 182.64 points.
The ladies competition was a very well skated event. The 2005 Canadian Women's Champion Joannie Rochette delivered a solid performance to place fifth in the free skate and fourth in the short program for fourth-place overall.
Rochette completed six triple jumps in her free skate, including an opening triple toe loop-double toe loop-double loop combination, a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and another strong triple Lutz. She also showed impressive spins throughout the program.
Rochette's overall total of 167.22 was just off her personal best score of 168.72, which she achieved at last year's Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire.
Winning the gold medal was 15-year-old Mao Asada, of Japan, who landed a triple Axel in her free skate and finished with an overall total of 182.42 points. American Sasha Cohen won the silver medal with a points total of 175.12, while Japan's Shizuka Arakawa was third with 173.30 points.
The next ISU Grand Prix event, the 2005 Cup of Russia, takes place next weekend in St. Petersburg.