Golden Skate

Weir edges out Lambiel for gold

USA's Johnny Weir won the Men's Free Skate and the gold after his performance to Love is War by Yoav Goren.

USA’s Johnny Weir was the gold medal winner in the Men’s discipline, edging out Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland (silver) by over 11 points, while Andrei Griazev of Russia captured the bronze.

Weir opened his routine to Love is War by Yoav Goren with a strong triple Axel-triple toeloop, but then underrotated a triple Axel. He quickly recovered to land five more clean triple jumps which received a combined GOE of +3.40.

The 2007 Cup of China champion also produced three level four spins and good footwork, but overall his performance appeared to be somewhat business-like and more suited for the strong technicians rather than the artistic skater Weir is known to be.

“I was of course happy with the result of this competition,” said Weir, “but the performance for me was so difficult. I was so nervous and I felt so much pressure to put on a good show for this audience.”

And they loved him, loudly applauding every successful jump. The U.S. bronze medalist placed first in the long with 149.81 (74.51/75.30) points, and with a total score of 229.96 points, rose from second to first overall.

“Galina Yakovlevna (Zmievskaya, his coach) had very good words for me,” said the 23-year-old. She told me, ‘Just relax and do what you do every day. You have nothing to prove.’ That was comforting, because I knew she wasn’t expecting me to be 100 percent perfect.”

Lambiel put out a strong interpretation of a flamenco by Vicente Amigo, but slipped to second place overall (218.84 points) after he made mistakes on both quad attempts. The 2006 Olympic silver medalist put his hand down on the landing of a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination and fell hard on a solo quadruple toeloop which was later deemed underrotated. He also doubled his final triple flip.

The Swiss champion otherwise delivered strong spins and very expressive footwork sequences to earn the highest Program Components Score, and placed second in the long with 138.35 (61.85/77.50) points.

“I worked very hard to do the big step between the Cup of China and here,” said the 22-year-old. “I want to make another big step forward in the Final. There are two positive things from this competition: I did a clean short program and I improved my long program. This gives me confidence.”

Jeffrey Buttle of Canada rose from sixth to fourth place overall (201.77) after placing third in the long with 136.61 (66.21/71.40) points. Compared to his previous outings, his performance in Moscow was quite a success.

The 2006 Olympic bronze medalist fell on his second triple Axel and singled a final double Axel, but otherwise produced four more triple jumps.

As usual, the Canadian champion showed excellent interpretation of the music, moving from one element to the next with complex connecting steps. His artistic impression to music from the Ararat soundtrack was second only to Lambiel’s flamenco, but the disastrous short program kept him off podium.

Takahito Kozuka of Japan moved up to the fifth place overall (199.98) after placing fourth in the long with 135.33 (74.83/60.50) points. His sound presentation seemed a bit workman-like, however the Japanese received the best technical elements score of the night.

Despite the flawed landings of three of his triple jumps, the 18-year-old otherwise skated a strong program to Beatles Concerto For Two by John Rutter. He also produced four solid spins, three of which were graded a level four.

Griazev held onto third place overall (206.13 points) despite finishing fifth in the long with 135.18 (69.68/65.60) points.

His performance to music from The Godfather soundtrack was marred only by the tight landing of the Axel in a triple Axel-double toeloop combination. Griazev otherwise produced five clean triple jumps, but lost to Buttle on the Presentation Score and to Kozuka on the technical elements score.

For the 2007 Russian Champion, the competition in Moscow was an excellent comeback after injuries he faced in the beginning of the season. In both programs he exhibited no hesitations as he approached the jumps and moved with power and confidence which captivated the home crowd.

“I am glad that I was able to do my job.” said Griazev. “I did almost everything. I am not too surprised (to be in third), because I was third at another Grand Prix event (2005 Cup of China) with a similar deep field.

Kevin Reynolds of Canada moved up from 11th to 8th overall (186.69 points) after placing sixth in the long with a new personal best of 127.23 (74.03/53.20) points.

The 17-year-old landed a quadruple salchow-triple toeloop-double loop combination, but then made mistakes on four other jumps.

Yannick Ponsero of France slipped from fourth to sixth place overall (189.76 points) after placing ninth in the long. The French silver medalist delivered good spins, but made numerous mistakes on his jumps in his routine to music from the Da Vinci Code and Tristan and Isolde soundtracks.

Russia’s Alexander Uspenski finished seventh overall, while teammate Andrei Lutai placed ninth.

Weir now has a total of 30 points and will compete next at the GPF.

Lambiel earned 13 points at this event for a total of 24. His prospects for a ticket to the GPF are good, but he must wait out the results of NHK Trophy next week.

Griazev earned 11 points and will compete again next week at the NHK Trophy.

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