Golden Skate

2004 Skate Long Beach: Men’s Highlights

USA’s Dennis Phan was the winner of the gold medal in the men’s discipline, while teammate Princeton Kwong picked up the bronze. Christopher Mabee of Canada won the silver, trailing Phan by only 2.1 points.

When Phan took to the ice, the crowd clapped and yelled “Happy Birthday” while waiting for Naoto Saito’s (JPN) marks to be announced. Skating to dramatic music from the soundtrack of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Phan opened with a solid triple Lutz/triple toeloop combination. He managed to hang onto the landing of the double Axel which had a lean in the air but then encountered problems with his flying camel spin which he corrected. Phan then landed a triple loop out of traveling 3-turns followed by a change foot sit spin, good circular footwork, and a nice combination spin with changes of foot and position. The 19-year-old was awarded a TSS of 60.67 for a first place finish after the short.

Mabee, who was first to skate, didn’t have a good warm-up. Skating to the Art of War by Vanessa Mae, he two-footed the landing the triple Axel of his first jump combination. He went on to do a triple loop out of footwork, a flying camel spin, circular footwork, a solid double Axel, a sit-change-sit spin with low position and nice variations, good straight line footwork, and a combination spin. The 2003-04 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist earned a TSS of 55.90 for a second place finish overall after the short.

Kwong performed his long to To Bee or Not to Bee, opening with a triple Lutz/double toeloop which had good height and position in the air. The 14-year-old continued with a triple loop, a flying camel, a solid double Axel, a fast and centered sit-change-sit spin, straight line and circular footwork, and a fast combination spin. With a TSS of 53.84, Kwong found himself in third overall after the short – only 2.06 points behind Mabee.

Kevin Reynolds of Canada was only a breath away with 53.42 points for an overall fourth place after the short. USA’s Charlie White was fifth.

Kwong, who was third after the short, performed his long to music from the soundtrack Atlantis: The Lost Empire, opened with a solid triple Lutz/double toeloop but then fell on the landing of the triple toeloop of a triple flip/triple toeloop sequence. Shaking it off, he went on to land another triple Lutz which had good height and position in the air, two more double Axels, a triple loop, and a flying camel spin. Albeit a two-footed triple flip, the 2004 Novice U.S. champion had good footwork and spins which earned him a TSS of 100.99 for a first place finish in the long and 154.83 for an overall third place finish.

Phan performed his long to Time Line, opening with a triple Lutz. While it appeared he had a good beginning, it rapidly deteriorated when he fell on the triple Axel. Despite a unique entrance (a cantilever) into the triple flip, he was barely able to hang onto the landing. While is straight line footwork was fast and his spins fast and well-centered, the 2003 Junior U.S. champion fell during a triple loop/double loop combination and came out forward on his triple flip. Regardless, his third place finish in the long with 98.10 points was enough to maintain first overall with a total of 158.77. Barely.

“I’m disappointed with the how I performed,” Phan said, confiding that he was ‘nervous and tight’. Phan’s next JGP event is in Kiev, Ukraine later this month.

Skating to Finlandia by Jean Sibelius, Mabee popped his opening jump, a triple Salchow and then over rotated his triple Axel in which he stepped out of the landing. He recovered to land a triple flip out of footwork but then under rotated his next triple Axel and fell. After landing a triple Lutz, the 19-year-old executed an upright spin with nice variations of position, circular and straight line footwork, a solid double Axel, a triple loop, and a combination spin with a fast scratch. His TSS of 100.77 placed him in second after the long and overall with a total score of 156.67.

Mabee is next slated to compete at the Belgrade Sparrow in Serbia & Montenegro later this month.

Reynolds, who was fourth after the short, dropped to fifth overall after placing fifth in the long. White dropped two places to seventh overall.

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