Golden Skate

Rochette takes 2008 Trophee Eric Bompard title

Joannie Rochette of Canada won the Ladies Long Program with her routine to Concertio d'Aranjuez.

Canada’s Joannie Rochette defended her overnight lead to win her second Grand Prix title of the season. Her performance to Concertio d’Aranjuez, which was a highlight of the Ladies event, exhibited a combination of power, technical content, and complex choreography that was simply unmatched by any of her rivals. Her only mistakes were popping an intended triple loop into single and stepping out of the second double Axel in double Axel- double Axel sequence towards the end of the program.

Despite the errors, the Canadian Champion landed a superb triple Lutz-double toe loop-double loop, as well as four more triple jumps. Her non-jumping elements were equally strong and the 22-year-old earned a level four on two of her spins and spiral sequence. The skater received 121.19 points for her long program and 180.73 points in total to win the competition with an impressive 13 points margin.

“Am very happy about it,” said Rochette of her program at the post-event press conference. “My skate was not perfect. My goal was to go to the ice and not to be too nervous like in Skate Canada where I was relaxed. In the long, I didn’t do all the exits (from jumps) as well I could, but overall it was good and I am happy about it.”

Rochette feels that her training regiment and lack of injuries are the reasons for her success thus far.

“Training has been much better home,” said Rochette. “I am not injured now, so I can do things. I am working with a new choreographer (Shae-Lynn Bourne) and am very happy about it. It brought a new perspective. I’m also working with a psychologist who explained to me that I should enjoy myself on the ice because previously I was so stressed that I thought “why am I doing it?” I was actually working with the psychologist for a couple of years, but only now was I able to open up and use the advice.”

Mao Asada of Japan finished a disappointing second in the long (109.47 points) and overall (167.59 points) after missing half of her jumping passes in her routine to Masquerade Waltz. The 2008 World Champion opened her powerful routine with a fully rotated triple Axel, but double footed the landing. She also doubled a loop, singled a triple Salchow, and singled the loop at the back end of a triple flip combination. Despite the mistakes, the powerful music of Khachaturian brought out different qualities in the usually soft and graceful skater and the program in general seems to suit her very well.

“Today’s performance was far from my 100 percent and for the next competition I’d like to do better,” noted Asada.”The triple Axel is my weapon. To do a triple Axel in competition, I need concentration and energy. My mind was a bit stronger than yesterday, but not 100%, so I am not happy about this. I will keep training and later in the season I hope I can do better.”

USA’s Caroline Zhang was the only skater to attempt a triple-triple combination in the long program, but the technical panel downgraded both the triple flip and triple toe loop. The 2007 World Junior Champion also lost 2.00 points for use of the wrong takeoff edge on her triple Lutz which was otherwise clean.

Nevertheless, the 15-year-old landed four more triple jumps and impressed the audience with her phenomenal spins, all of which received a level 4. The music from Sleeping Beauty showcased her pleasant lines and posture and suited the young skater very well. She placed third (104.78 points) in the long, maintaining third place overall with 156.54 points.

“I was happy with how I skated,”said Zhang. “I think it was a lot better than the short program. I think that the flip-toe could have been better, but other than that I think I got most of the levels I wanted. I just want to improve on the program component score.”

Skating to Toccata and Fugue mixed with music from the Korean movie soundtrack of My Memory, Candice Didier of France finished fourth in the free program and overall (135.25 points). The student of Katia Krier Beyer landed an opening triple flip, but fell on a triple Lutz attempt immediately afterwards. She recovered to land two triple toe loops (one in combination) and a slightly flawed triple Salchow-double toe loop combination. Her non-jumping elements were strong and well executed and she gained a level four for two of her spins and spiral sequence to post a new personal best or 87.29 points.

USA’s Beatrice Liang slipped to fifth place after an error-filled performance. The skater from California landed only two clean triple jumps – triple flip and triple loop, falling or stepping out of all other jumps and receiving edge calls on both her Lutz attempts. Even though the level of her spins and spirals were good she only received 84.69 points and earned 134.29 points overall.

Binshu Xu of China, who was in 10th after the short, pulled up to sixth place overall (123.83 points).

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