Golden Skate

2005 European Figure Skating Championships: Men’s Highlights

Evgeni Plushenko won his fourth European title, but it was close. Brian Joubert of France trailed behind by only 2.71 points, winning his second European silver. Germany’s Stefan Lindemann won the bronze, while Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland placed fourth.

The men’s event began with the Short Program (SP). Following a decision of the
ISU congress in 2004, there will no longer be a Qualifying Round at the European championships. Therefore, all 33 men competed in the Short Program with the top 24 proceeding to the Free Skate.

Short Program

Joubert nailed a quadruple toeloop-double toeloop combination in the opening of his routine to a selection of music by the Blue Men Group. The current European champion also landed a solid triple Axel and triple flip, displaying good spins and footwork throughout the program. The Frenchman earned a score of 76.98, a new personal best for his short, placing first after the short.

“At the moment, I’m happy to be first and to have done a very good short program,” said Joubert, adding that the short was the hardest part. “The beginning of the season was really difficult for me,” he added. “I worked a lot on my spins and footwork. Just before the Europeans, I returned to my (former) coach Veronique Guyon. I worked very hard on my jumps. I feel better now.”

Plushenko wasn’t so lucky. The 2002 Olympic silver medalist stepped out of the landing of the first jump in his quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination. While his triple Axel was clean, it appeared tight and was landed on a deep edge that took strength to hold. The 22-year-old went on to land a good triple Lutz and displayed good spins and footwork throughout the routine, but the mistake on the quad cost him. With a score of 75.33, the 2004-05 Grand Prix Final Champion found himself in second place after his Moonlight Sonata performance, only 1.65 points behind Joubert.

“I’m a little bit tired, and I didn’t feel comfortable on the ice,” admitted Plushenko. “As you can see, it didn’t work out so well today, but I’m looking forward to the free skating and I believe I’ll do a lot better.”

Lambiel popped his opening triple Axel, but came back to nail a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz. The crowd showed their appreciation for his good footwork and trademark spins, with the final change sit spin drawing a loud ‘Bravo’ from one spectator. The Swiss champion earned a score of 69.97 (new personal best) for his performance to George Winston’s Spanish Caravan, placing third after the short.

“At the beginning of the program, I felt insecure,” explained Lambiel of the single Axel. “But then I gained more and more confidence.” Lambiel didn’t plan to compete at this event due to an injured knee (he underwent surgery on the left meniscus in fall). “When I started training again, I felt better day after day, so I decided to compete here.”

Showing lots of character in his Carmen routine, Griazev opened with a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, followed by a tight triple Axel. While the 19-year-old displayed good footwork and spins, as well as many Yagudinesque mannerisms throughout the program, his triple flip had a lean in the air and resulted in a fall out on the landing. The 2004 World Junior champion earned a score of 68.20 (new personal best), placing fourth after the short and trailing Lambiel by only 1.77 points.

Lindemann fell out of his quadruple toeloop, taking a step before adding the double toeloop, but came back and nailed the triple Axel and triple Lutz. With a score of 67.75 (new personal best), the reigning World bronze medalist placed fifth place after the short.

Kevin van der Perren landed a nice triple Axel, followed by a good triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, but spun out of the triple flip. The 22-year-old placed sixth after the short with a score of 67.46 (new personal best), a mere 10 points behind the leader.

Gheorghe Chiper of Romania placed seventh, followed by France’s Samuel Contesti who was eighth.

Long Program

Plushenko nailed a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop-double loop combination, at the beginning of his short, followed by a triple Axel-double toeloop combination, another triple Axel, a triple Lutz, and a triple flip-double toeloop combination. The reigning European silver medalist went on to land a triple Salchow and a double Axel, and despite doubling a loop, the three-time and current World champion displayed good footwork and brought down the house with a great passionate performance to a special arrangement of Godfather music by Edvin Marton. The six-time and reigning Russian champion earned a score of 151.81, placing first in the long and edging out Joubert with a total score of 227.14.

“After yesterday’s result, I told myself that I have to fight,” Plushenko told the press. “I have found the strength in my mind to win. It wasn’t the hardest (earned) medal that I’ve won, but one of the hardest (earned). I’m not a 100 percent right now, and I was tired after Russian Nationals (in early January).”

Skating to music from the 1492: Conquest of Paradise soundtrack, Joubert landed a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, followed by a skiddy but clean triple Axel, and a good triple flip. Despite problems on the landing of a triple flip-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz, the 20-year-old landed two more triples, a double Axel, and displayed good spins to earn a score of 147.45 (new personal best), placing second in the long. The reigning World silver medalist scored a total of 224.43 points, slipping to second overall by a mere 2.71 points.

“For me, this silver medal is like a gold medal since I had a lot of problems before these European Championships,” Joubert said, referring to his recent coaching change. “I’m going to work very hard. I have one month and a half to be ready for the World Championships.”

Lindemann opened his routine with a solid quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple Axel, a triple loop, and a triple flip. However, the the German champion fell on a triple Lutz and stepped out of the landing (with a hand down) on a triple Axel combination. Despite the errors, the 24-year-old gave a strong performance to music from The Big Bounce soundtrack, earning a score of 132.79 (new personal best) to place third in the long. With a total score of 200.54, Lindemann moved up from fifth place to third overall.

“I don’t have words right now,” said Lindemann immediately after his performance. “It was difficult to skate last and right after Plushenko. But I had to risk everything. I fought from the beginning to the very end. I did a nice quad-triple combination at the beginning, and at the end I did the triple Salchow and the triple toeloop. I think the triple toe made the difference today.”

France’s Frederic Dambier stood in 12th after the short, but catapulted to seventh overall after placing fourth in the long. The 27-year-old landed a quadruple Salchow, followed by a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel-double toeloop combination, and four more triple jumps.

Lambiel, who stood in third after the short, doubled an opening triple Axel, but managed to land a tight quadruple toeloop, followed by a triple loop, and a triple flip-triple toeloop combination. However, the 19-year-old doubled a quadruple toeloop attempt which was emphasized by the collective “ahhhh” groans from the arena. Despite good spins and footwork, there were just too many errors and the 2002 Olympian placed seventh in the long with a score of 126.50. As a result, Lambiel slipped to fourth overall with a total score of 196.47.

Skating to The Feeling Begins and music from Cirque’s Quidam, Griazev landed an easy quadruple toeloop, followed by a triple Axel. The 2004 World Junior champion doubled a Lutz and put his put down free foot down quickly on the landing of a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination. After singling a flip, the Russian landed a triple Salchow-triple toeloop combination, a double Axel, and a triple loop. With 128.11 points (new personal best) and a fifth place finish after the long, the current Russian silver medalist maintained fifth overall with a total score of 196.31.

Kevin van der Perren landed a triple Axel, a nice triple Salchow-triple toeloop-triple loop combination, a triple toeloop, and two double Axels, but struggled with the rest of his jumps to place sixth after the short (128.01), maintaining sixth place overall (195.47).

Chiper placed eighth in the long, slipping to eighth overall, while Contesti placed ninth in the long and dropped to ninth overall.

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