(December 2, 2005)
Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sébastien Fecteau have won their first medal on the ISU Grand Prix circuit.
Wakamatsu and Fecteau, who have finished as high as fourth at a Grand Prix event in the past, captured the bronze medal at the 2005 NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan, today.
The duo had been standing fourth after the short program but placed third in the free skate to finish third overall.
Skating second to last in the final group, Wakamatsu and Fecteau fought through their program. Skating to La Revancha by Gotan Project and Quartango by Bond, Wakamatsu and Fecteau’s free skate highlights included strong side-by-side double Axels and impressive overhead lists that featured Wakamatsu’s flexibility. They struggled on the throws, with a fall on the throw triple loop and a touch down by Wakamatsu on the landing of the throw triple Salchow.
“Even though our elements were not fine, we made improvements over Skate Canada,” said Fecteau. “However, we won our first medal so that is what we are happy about.”
The Canadians earned 47.88 points for technical elements and 43.76 points for program components, bringing their point total for the free skate to 90.64. Added to their points from the short program, Wakamatsu and Fecteau were awarded an overall total of 138.62.
The Chinese team of Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang, the 2005 world bronze medallists, won the gold medal with 171.46 points, while Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, of Germany, were second, earning a total of 170.84.
Meanwhile in the original dance, Canadians Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon increased their lead over the Bulgarian team of Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski.
Dubreuil and Lauzon, who were first in the compulsory dance despite Dubreuil only receiving her skates five hours before the start of the competition after encountering travel and luggage problems, continued their solid skating today with a technically well-skated and beautifully presented original dance.
The three-time Canadian Ice Dance Champions, skating to Jacques Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas, turned in an extremely smooth and refined dance. Their footwork was precise and their step sequences had excellent unison.
A technical element score of 57.92 combined with 29.50 points for program components gave Dubreuil and Lauzon a total score of 57.92 for the original dance. Combined with their score for the compulsory dance, the duo currently stands in first with 94.33 points.
Placing eighth in the original dance were Chantal Lefebvre and Arseniy Markov. Lefebvre and Markov’s total of 42.67 points for the original dance brings their combined total to 71.71, placing them eighth overall. They were fifth in the compulsory dance.
Canada’s Ben Ferreira and Christopher Mabee will take to the ice tomorrow for the men’s short program, while Dubreuil and Lauzon will look to secure a spot in the ISU Grand Prix Final in tomorrow’s free dance.