(February 9, 2007)
Joannie Rochette has the early lead after the short program at the ISU Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs.
Despite a step-out on the opening jump of her planned triple flip-triple toeloop combination jump, Rochette battled back to complete a solid triple Lutz out of connecting steps and a double Axel. She was also awarded a level four by the technical panel for her flying sit spin, combination spin and spiral sequence.
The three-time Canadian Champion earned a score of 56.60 for her short program, performed to Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.
“Despite making a costly mistake on my first jump, I was still able to enjoy my performance and do my triple Lutz which I missed at nationals,” said Rochette. “It was my goal to do it tonight and I held the performance together in spite of the mistake.”
Cynthia Phaneuf, the 2004 Canadian Champion, returned to international competition after sitting out last season with an injury. Phaneuf was awarded a score of 42.14, placing her 15th.
Canadian bronze medallist Lesley Hawker earned a total of 41.06 points, which placed her right behind Phaneuf in 16th heading into Saturday’s free skate.
American Emily Hughes stands second with 55.34 points, while Japan’s Aki Sawada is third after earning a score of 55.13.
Two Canadian ice dance teams in top-three after original dance
Canadian ice dancers Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir stand second and third, respectively, after yesterday’s original dance.
Dubreuil and Lauzon, who stood first after the compulsory dance, were placed second in the original dance portion. The five-time Canadian Champions, who performed their tango to Paya d’Ora, had a small wobble on the twizzle section in their side-by-side midline footwork. Their combined score of 97.86 placed them a close second to Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, who are currently in first with 98.17 points.
Canadian silver medallists Virtue and Moir skated a very technically demanding and precise tango that featured an intricate curve lift with various changes of position, as well as difficult footwork. The 2006 world junior ice dance champions were awarded a level four for all five elements and earned the highest technical elements score of the afternoon (31.23). The duo currently stands third with a combined score of 90.90.
Lauren Senft and Leif Gislason, ranked fourth in Canada, were sixth in the original dance and are sixth overall heading into today’s free dance with a total of 76.04 points.
Marcoux and Buntin finish fourth in pairs, Dubé injured in accident
The pairs free skate got off to a frightening start with Canadian Champion Jessica Dubé suffering a laceration to the left side of her face in a free skating accident.
Dubé and her partner Bryce Davison were performing a side-by-side camel spin when Davison’s skate blade hit the side of Dubé’s face. She was taken to hospital in Colorado Springs where she received medical attention and underwent surgery.
Dubé and Davison’s accident played on the minds of the other pairs competing in the event. Former Canadian Champions Valérie Marcoux and Craig Buntin finished fourth overall, earning a total score of 162.79. Their free skate was highlighted by a triple toeloop-triple toeloop sequence, as well as impressive lifts.
Canadian bronze medallists Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay, who stood fifth after the short program, were seventh in the free skate and placed seventh overall with a total of 152.26 points.
Former world champions and two-time Olympic bronze medallists Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, of China, captured the gold medal with a total score of 203.05, while their teammates and defending world champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong were second with 185.33 points. Americans Rena Inoue and John Baldwin finished third, earning a total score of 175.48.
The 2007 ISU Four Continents Championships continues today with the free dance and men’s free skate.
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Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Lauren Senft and Leif Gislason
Photos: David Carmichael