Golden Skate

2006 Cup of China: Men’s Highlights

USA’s Evan Lysacek easily captured his first Cup of China (COC) gold medal, while Sergei Davydov of Belarus won his first senior Grand Prix medal – the silver. Canada’s Emanuel Sandhu, who was the COC Champion last year, won the bronze.

Chengjiang Li of China withdrew before the Men’s Short Program due to health problems related to asthma.

Short Program

Davydov opened his routine to Hymn to the Moon by Eugenia Manolides with a good triple Axel, followed by a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, and a triple flip. The two-time Olympian also produced good footwork and spins, earning a new personal best of 69.45 points to place first overall after the short.

“It wasn’t a bad skate today,” said Davydov, adding that he didn’t make any major mistakes. “The result, obviously, is very pleasant for me and it’s a surprise. I have changed my attitude in practice and we changed our schedule.”

Performing to Passion by Peter Gabriel, Lysacek produced a triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, but then singled a triple flip. However, the two-time and current World bronze medalist exhibited good spins and level three footwork, earning 69.20 points for a close and second place finish after the short.

“I felt good today and it was an improvement from my first Grand Prix appearance at Skate America,” said Lysacek. “That’s all that I can ask for at this moment – to keep building and improving to hopefully [compete at] the Grand Prix Final and the U.S. Championships.”

USA’s Scott Smith delivered a triple Axel, a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, and three level four spins in his Night Train routine, however, he two-footed the landing on a triple loop. Despite the mistake, the 25-year-old earned a new personal best of 63.77 points, placing third overall after the short.

“I was pleased with my program today,” said Smith. “Usually the long program is my strength and hopefully I can at least stay where I am in the long program.”

Sandhu attempted a quadruple toeloop combination, but stepped out of the landing before adding a double toeloop. However, the 2006 Canadian National silver medalist executed a good triple Axel and a very good combination spin with change of position and change of foot, placing fourth overall after the short (63.55 points).

Yannick Ponsero of France placed fifth after the short with a score of 62.90, while Japan’s Kensuke Nakaniwa was sixth (60.73 points).

Long Program

Judge Richard Grainge (GBR) passed out during the performance of the third skater, Jialiang Wu (CHN), and was taken to hospital. According to the Organizing Committee he was released later in the evening. The competition continued with nine judges.

Lysacek’s Carmen routine featured a very good triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel-double toeloop combination, a triple flip-double toeloop-double loop combination, and three more triple jumps as well as a double Axel. However, the 2006 US National silver medalist stepped out of the landing on the his first triple Axel. Despite the mistake, the 21-year-old produced very good spins and footwork, placing first in the long (150.84 points) and overall (220.04 points) to win the gold.

“Tonight was a little difficult for me just because of jet lag,” acknowledged Lysacek. “So I was glad to get out and do an ‘ok’ performance. Obviously there are plenty of things I want to go home and improve on before the Grand Prix Final.”

Skating to music from When Strangers Meet and various other soundtracks, Sandhu two-footed the landing on his opening quadruple toeloop, turned out the landing on a triple Axel, doubled a triple Lutz, fell on a triple flip, and singled an Axel. Nevertheless, the Olympian produced a triple Lutz, a triple loop-double toeloop combination, and a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination, displaying good footwork and strong spins throughout to earn 129.84 for a second place finish in the long. With a total score of 193.39, the 25-year-old rose from fourth to third place overall to win the bronze.

“I felt a little bit tired today and I think my long trip caught up with me,” said Sandhu. The Canadian, who turns 26 next week, missed his original flight and was rerouted. He then took a five-hour train ride from Shanghai to Nanjing. “I felt a little bit off. The performance I think reflected that a little bit, but it also reflects how early it is in the season for me. I love both of my programs. These programs I think are my best yet,” he continued.

Davydov performed his routine to Minkus’ Don Quixote, opening with a solid triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple Axel, a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double toeloop combination, and a good flying sit spin. The Belarusian National Champion doubled the flip on what was meant to be a triple flip-double toeloop combination, but landed three more good triples and a double Axel to earn 129.66 points (personal best) for a third place finish in the long. With a total of 199.11, the 27-year-old slipped from first to second place overall to win the silver.

“I’m very happy with the result,” said Davydov, “Concerning my performance, I didn’t do the flip, but overall I’m pleased to have shown a good level. There are many things I have to work on for the upcoming events.”

Smith delivered a good routine which yielded a triple Axel-double toeloop combination, a triple toeloop-double toeloop-double toeloop combination, a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination, as well as three more clean triple jumps. He was awarded 128.61 points for a fourth place finish in long and overall (192.38), missing the podium by 1.01 points.

Nakaniwa placed sixth in the long (62.51) and overall (182.74).

Russia’s Alexander Uspenski placed fifth (122.47) in long and rose from ninth place to sixth overall with a total of 178.59 points.

Lysacek, who earned 13 points at Skate America, pocketed 15 at this event, and with a total of 28 points, is guaranteed a spot at the upcoming Grand Prix Final (GPF) in Dec.

Davydov picked up 13 points to add to the 7 he earned at Skate America. With a total of 20 points, he will have to wait to see if it’s enough to qualify for the GPF.

Sandhu earned 11 points and is scheduled to compete again at Cup of Russia in two weeks.

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