2004 Skate Long Beach: Pairs Highlights

The third of eight ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) of Figure Skating series took place September 9-12, 2004 in Long Beach, Calif. Skate Long Beach, which was hosted by the Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club, featured over 70 skaters competing in the ladies, men’s, pairs and ice dancing disciplines.

Throughout the JGP series, approximately 400 skaters world-wide are expected to compete for titles and monies totaling $365,000. The top eight competitors for each discipline will meet in Helsinki, Finland for the Junior Grand Prix Final in December.

The new ISU Judging System is a modified version of the judging system tested during the 2003 Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and is being used for this season in both the ISU Junior and Senior Grand Prix events, as well as ISU Championships.

Pairs

In their second season together as a team, Canada’s Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison were the gold medal winners in the Pairs event. USA’s Aaryn Smith and Will Chitwood won silver while Michelle Cronin and Brian Shales of Canada won the bronze.

In the short program, Dubé and Davison opened with side-by-side double Axels, but Davison was unable to hang onto the landing and fell. While the program included a double twist and some good spins, Dubé fell on the landing of the throw triple toeloop. Despite the deductions, the 2004 World Junior silver medalists received a Total Segment Score (TSS) of 45.68 for their program to Hasta Que te Conoci by Raúl Di Blasio, subsequently putting them in the lead overall after the short.

Performing to music from the soundtrack of Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, USA’s Brittany Vise and Nicholas Kole delivered nice side-by-side double Axels, a throw triple toeloop (hand down), and a double twist. Despite some sync problems on a spin combination with change of foot, the team scored a TSS of 43.52, placing second in the short overall.

Skating to Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Paint it Black, Smith and Chitwood excuted a double twist, deliberate but good side-by-side double Axels, a throw triple toeloop, and good spins. The team had one of the cleanest programs of the seven couples and earned a TSS of 43.32 for an overall third place after the short.

Cronin and Shales delivered a double twist, side-by-side double loops, and a throw double toeloop to finish fourth overall after the short with a TSS of 32.81.

Ekaterina Ragozina and Pavel Sliusarenko of Russia were fifth after the short followed by USA’s Chole Katz and Joseph Lynch. USA’s Lucy Galleher and Justin Gaumond placed seventh.

Skating to the music from Phantom of the Opera, Smith and Chitwood executed a double twist, two throw triple jumps, side-by-side double Axels, and a side-by-side double Axel/double toeloop sequence. The 2004 NACS Waterloo Junior bronze medalists also displayed nice lifts, footwork, spirals, and spins, earning a TSS of 79.76 to win the free skate. Their total score of 123.18 was enough to move them up one spot to second overall.

Smith and Chitwood are scheduled to compete in their next JGP event later this month at the Belgrade Sparrow in Serbia & Montenegro.

Dubé and Davison had a less than par performance in their long program to music from the soundtrack of Romeo and Juliet. After completing a good throw triple Salchow, Dubé fell on the side-by-side triple Salchows while Davison took a hard fall on the double Axel of the side-by-side double Axel/double toeloop sequence. Dubé took another fall on the throw triple flip and the overnight leaders placed second overall in the long with a TSS of 78.64. The 2004 Canadian Junior champions barely maintained first place with a total score of 124.32 – only a 1.14 point lead over Smith and Chitwood.

“It was the first competition of the season for us,” said Dubé, while admitting it was not their best and that they still have work to do on many of the elements. “We kept last year’s free program, but we made many changes to it.” “It was a tough fight for the (free) program. We did win, but it certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to skate,” concluded Davison.

Cronin and Shales, who were fourth going into the long, delived a good triple twist, but Cronin had problems on the landing of three of the jumps, stepping out of both the throw triple jumps and the flip of the side-by-side double flip/double toeloop sequence. Despite the mistakes, the pair exhibited an interesting entrance into the back inside death spiral for which all the judges appreciated and thus rewarded them when factoring in the Grade of Execution (GOE). The team earned a TSS of 76.61 for a third place finish after the free skate and with a total score of 119.42, they moved up one spot from fourth to win the bronze.

Cronin and Shales will meet up again with Dubé and Davison next week in Harbin, China – the location of the fourth event of the JGP series. In addition to pairs, Dubé will also be competing in the ladies division at this event. Dubé and Davison are also slated to compete at the NHK Trophy, a senior Grand Prix event, schedule for November in Nagoya, Japan.

Vise and Kole were in second after the short but the team had problems from the beginning. Vise fell on the side-by-side triple toeloops which were scored as a double. After a good throw triple loop, both fell on the side-by-side double Axel/double toeloop sequence and Vise put her hand down on the throw triple Salchow. The team received a TSS of 72.33 for an overall fourth place finish after the long, dropping them from second to fourth overall with a total score of 115.85.

This was the only scoring event for Vise and Kole who are scheduled to compete in a senior Grand Prix event at Skate Canada next month.

Katz and Lynch were fifth after the long, moving up from sixth to fifth place overall, while Ragozina and Sliusarenko dropped to sixth overall. Galleher and Gaumond finished seventh overall.

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