Golden Skate

Joubert wins Skate Canada gold

Brian Joubert, 23, of France performs his long program to music by Metallica.

Overnight leader Brian Joubert maintained first place overall despite placing second in the long program (135.57 points) with a sub-par performance.

The Frenchman fell on a quadruple toeloop attempt, was penalized for using the wrong edges on two triple flips, and later bailed on a triple Axel.

“I am very disappointed with my free program,” said Joubert. “I was surprised that I fell on the quad. It was too small and after the quad, I was focused on what went wrong. The program was not easy today.”

“My triple flip is a Lutz,” Jouber later said with a laugh, when asked about the penalized flip. “I can’t do a triple flip. That is why I changed my short program.”

Joubert also later explained that he grew tentative when he realized that the blade of his right skate had come loose.

“I don’t know when it became loose,” said the French champion. “Maybe before or after the fall, but obviously it was distracting, because you don’t know if it’s going to hold up or not. I didn’t want to interrupt the program.”

The current World champion otherwise produced a good level three circular and straightline footwork sequence, three clean triple jumps, and three good spins.

With a total score of 213.62 points, the 23-year-old managed to hold onto first place.

Kevin Van Der Perren of Belgium, who sat in fifth after the short, delivered a good routine to music from the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack, placing first in the long (136.44 points) and subsequently moving up to second overall (202.55 points) to capture the silver.

The reigning European bronze medalist produced a quadruple toeloop and seven clean triple jumps, including a triple Axel. He also received a level four on three of his four spins.

“I was here at Skate Canada five years ago,” said Van Der Perren. “I had to withdraw because of a knee injury, so I’m happy to be back here in Quebec and skate good. The result is fine, but my goal was to skate clean and go out there and enjoy myself.”

When Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle took the ice, the audience went wild.

It’s was great.” said Buttle, “The crowd was really enthusiastic all week, not just today. That really helps.”

The Canadian champion opened his routine to music from the Ararat soundtrack with a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, but then doubled a Salchow.

“I turned my brain on and started to over-think,” explained Buttle. “It was too much, so I didn’t have the attack that I normally do and that’s what happened to the jumps today.

Though the 2006 Olympic bronze medalist produced three more clean triples, he doubled a flip (which was also “edge” penalized) and fell on a triple Lutz.

The Canadian, however, didn’t disappoint with his spins – three of which were awarded a level four. Buttle also produced a very good circular and straightline footwork sequence, earning 131.92 points for a third place finish in the long.

It was enough to maintain third overall, and the 25-year-old won the bronze with a total score of 198.77 points.

When asked about using the same program from last year, Buttle replied: “I only competed [with] it twice last year, and I didn’t have the mileage on it. I didn’t compete it the way I wanted to at Worlds and I feel it has a lot of room to grow and has the potential to be a really good program. And I like it.”

Skating to Sing, Sing, Sing from Fosse, teammate Christopher Mabee landed a good triple flip, but then underrotated a triple Axel in a combination jump. The Canadian silver medalist also later singled an Axel, but otherwise produced five clean triple jumps, a good level two straightline footwork sequence, and two level four spins.

The 22-year-old placed fifth in the long with 125.70 points, but with a total score of 192.20, was able to maintain fourth place overall.

Canada’s Vaughn Chipeur placed sixth in the long and fifth overall with (187.41 points). The 22-year-old landed a good triple Axel, a triple Lutz, and a triple Salchow, but struggled with the rest of his jumps.

Yannick Ponsero of France, who stood in second after the short, placed a disappointing 10th in the long program. The 21-year-old fell on a quadruple toeloop attempt and also struggled with many of his jumps. He finished in sixth place overall with 178.18 points.

USA’s Jeremy Abbott, who was in 11th after the short, placed fourth in the long (126.31 points), moving up to to eighth place overall.

The 2007 Four Continents bronze medalist fell on a quadruple toeloop attempt, but otherwise landed a very good triple Axel-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop-double toeloop combination. The 22-year-old also delivered three good level four spins and a good level three circular footwork sequence.

Pavel Kaska of the Czech Republic finished in seventh overall, while USA’s Scott Smith was ninth.

Joubert (15 points) and Van der Perren (13 points) will both be competing next at Trophee Eric Bompard in France.

Buttle (11 points) is slated to compete next at Cup of Russia.

The next Grand Prix figure skating event is the Cup of China which will be held next week in Harbin, China.

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