The 2004 BMO Financial Group Canadian Figure Skating Championships were held Jan 5-11 at the Skyreach Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
Cynthia Phaneuf (QC) was the surprising winner in the ladies event, edging out Joanne Rochette (QC) who placed second, as well as the reigning Canadian champ, Jennifer Robinson (WO) who came in third.
The ladies event began with the qualifying round which accounts for 20 percent of the final score. The short program is worth 30 percent while the long is worth 50 percent.
In the short program, Rochette opened her routine with a double Axel but then fell on the triple Lutz as well as the triple flip. The disappointing skate earned her marks from 4.4 to 5.6 for a fifth place finish after the short.
Annie Bellemare (QC) fell on the triple Lutz portion of her combination and didn’t perform the second jump. She bounced back to complete a triple flip and double Axel to earn marks ranging from 4.8 to 5.6 for a fourth place after the short.
Mira Leung (BC) had a good skate, landing a triple Lutz-double loop followed by a double Axel and a triple flip. The 14-year-old earned marks ranging from 4.9 to 5.2 for a third place finish after the short.
Robinson blanked out in the beginning of her program, briefly forgetting her choreography. She then had a turnout on her triple Lutz-double toe combination (after the Lutz) as well as a two-footed landing on the triple flip and a scratchy landing on the double Axel. The reigning champion’s performance to Tangosain and Welcome to Cuba earned her marks ranging from 4.8 to 5.7, enough to keep her in the lead overall after the short.
Phaneuf skated the performance of the evening, landing a solid triple Lutz-double toe, a triple flip, and a double Axel. The 15-year-old earned marks ranging from 5.1 to 5.6 for her performance to The Promise by Rolf Lovland for a second place finish after the short.
In the long, Robinson performed to Debussy’s Prelude a L’Apres – Midi d’un faune, landing all her jumps, but two-footed the landing on a triple Salchow-triple loop combination (on the loop) as well as the next loop. The six-time Canadian champion executed a double Axel and then a triple Lutz which was heavily two-footed. The marks ranged from 5.3 to 5.9, dropping her from first to third overall.
Skating to selections of music by Ennio Morricone, Rochette hung on to the landing of her opening triple loop, followed by a triple flip and triple toe. Though she fell out of a triple Lutz, she came back to land a triple toe, a triple Salchow and a double Axel, earning marks ranging from 5.4 to 5.8 for a first place finish in the free skate and an overall finish of second.
Phaneuf received a standing ovation after her moving performance to Queiques Jeux Interdis by Francois Dompierre. The 2002 Junior silver medalist opened her routine with a double Axel followed by a triple loop, a triple Lutz, a triple toe, and a triple flip. The second triple Lutz was two-footed but she bounced back to land a triple Salchow and a triple toe-double toe combination. The 15-year-old earned marks ranging from 5.3 to 5.8 for an overall first place finish.
Bellemare skated to the Un Homme et Son Peche (soundtrack) by Michel Cusson, opening with a double Axel followed by a huge triple Lutz-double toe combination. Though she fell on the triple flip, she came back to land a triple loop, a triple flip, a triple Lutz and a triple Salchow. The routine earned marks ranging from 5.4 to 5.7 for a third place finish in the free skate and an overall fourth place finish.
Leung fell to fifth overall after long program, followed by Lesley Hawker (CO) who finished sixth.
Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon (QC)won the national title for the second time (the first was in 2000) at this event, followed by veterans Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe (BC), who won their second silver. Newly teamed Chantal Lefebvre and Aresniy Markov (EO) won the bronze.
The (CD) of the event was the Austrian Waltz. This dance was created by the brother-and-sister team of Austrian ice dancers, Susi and Peter Handschmann, and performed for the first time in 1979.
Dubreuil and Lauzon took the lead in the CD, followed by Wing and Lowe (second) and Lefebvre and Markov (third). Josée Piché and Pascal Denis (QC) were fourth.
The event continued with the Original Dance (OD) – the “Swing Combo” being the theme. The couples can choose any two or three of the following rhythms: Blues, Jive, Rock’n’Roll, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie and/or Swing.
Dubreuil and Lauzon took defended their the lead in the OD, followed by Wing and Lowe (second) and Lefebvre and Markov (third). Piché and Denis maintained their fourth place position while Tara Doherty and Tyler Myles (CO) moved up one spot to fifth ahead of Judith Longpre and Shae Zukiwsky (QC).
In the Free Dance (FD), Lefebvre and Markov displayed demanding footwork sequences which earned them marks ranging from 5.3 to 5.6, resulting in a third place finish in the FD and their first bronze medal together as a team.
Wing and Lowe skated with speed in their FD to selections from soundtracks by Nino Rota. Their marks ranged from 5.4 to 5.7, placing them in second overall – barely.
Dubreuil and Lauzon put out an energetic tango earning marks from 5.7 to 5.9 and the team captured their second Canadian gold.
Piché and Denis maintained finished fourth overall, followed by Doherty and Myles.
Valerie Marcoux and Craig Buntin (QC) captured their first national title after only skating together for less than two years. Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto (QC) had to settle for their second silver, while Elizabeth Putnam and Sean Wirtz (CO) took home their second bronze.
In the short program, Putnam and Wirtz skated to Ave Maria, performing, a double twist, side-by-side triple Salchows, and a throw triple Salchow. The team had good side-by-side spins and unison, and earned marks ranging from 5.3 to 5.5 to place second in the short.
Performing to Vanessa Mae’s Leyenda, Langlois and Archetto opened with a throw triple Salchow followed by a double twist. Though they landed the side-by-side triple toes, Langlois seemed to have problems on the landing. Their spins, unison and footwork were good, earning them marks ranging from 5.2 to 5.8, for an overall first place.
Marcoux and Buntin skated to Caravan, and executed side-by-side triple toes but Marcoux stumbled on her landing. There was lots of height in the double twist and a good triple throw loop. The team earned marks ranging from 5.2 to 5.6 for an overall all third place in the short.
Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sebastien Fecteau (QC) finished in fourth followed by Jessica Miller and Ian Moram (BC) who were fifth.
In the long program, Putnam and Wirtz executed a badly under-rotated triple twist which had a rocky landing. Problems occurred in their both the side-by-side triple Salchows and side-by-side double Axels, in their performance to Variations on a Theme of Paganini. The 2003 Canadian bronze medalists earned marks ranging from 5.2 to 5.6 and dropped one place to third overall in the short.
Performing to Lawrence of Arabia (soundtrack) by Maurice Jarre, Langlois and Archetto opened with a good throw triple Salchow, but Langlois fell out of the landing on the side-by-side triple Salchows. They went on to execute a triple twist, and then Archetto had problems on the landing of the side-by-side triple toes, putting his had down. Langlois fell on the triple throw toe and the team earned marks ranging from 5.4 to 5. 7. The 2003 Canadian silver medalist fell from first to second place overall.
Marcoux and Buntin had a strong skate in their long program to Rockin’ Gypsies by Willie & Lobo and Canción Triste by Jesse Cook. The team opened with a high triple twist (almost lateral) followed by a throw triple loop. Although Buntin had problems on the side-by-side triple toes, the next ones were better as well as the side-by-side triple Salchows. The new team earned marks ranging from 5.6 to 5.8, moving them up two spots to first overall.
Wakamatsu and Fecteau maintained their fourth place as well as Miller and Moram, who finished fifth.
Emanuel Sandhu (BC) won his third title in what proved to be an exciting men’s event. Ben Ferreira (AB) won his first Canadian silver, while Jeffrey Buttle (NO) had to settle for another bronze.
In the short program, Fedor Andreev (EO) opened with a triple Axel followed by a triple flip-triple toe combination, and a triple Lutz. His routine to Dialogue de Vent de la Mer by Claude Debussy earned him marks ranging from 5.1 to 5.6, placing him in fourth overall.
Buttle opened his short program with a triple toe-triple toe combination followed by a triple Axel and a triple Lutz. His performance to Dave Brubeck’s Take Five earned him marks ranging from 5.2 to 5.9 and an overall second place after the short.
Skating to Oh’ But on the Third Day and The Majesty of the Blues Album by Winston Marsalis, Ferreira opened his short with a clean quadruple toe-triple toe combination. He followed through with a triple Axel which was a bit jerky but clean on the landing, and then fell off the back of the blade on the triple Lutz. His marks ranged from 5.2 to 5.7 for an overall third placement.
Sandhu performed his short to Carlo Saura’s Tango by Lalo Schifrin, opening with a quadruple toe-triple toe combination (stepping out of the quad). He then executed a triple Axel followed by a triple Lutz earning marks from 5.2 to 5.9 for a first place finish.
Nicholas Young (QC) was fifth followed by Christopher Mabee (WO).
In the long program, Andreev opened with triple Axel-triple toe followed by another triple Axel. He fell of the edge of the triple and then started having problems. He doubled a Lutz and a Salchow and finished fifth overall but third in the free skate with marks ranging from 5.3 to 5.6.
Performing to selections by Camille Saint-Saens, Buttle executed a triple flip and then fell on a quadruple toe. His jumps went downhill from there, sliding off the edge of a triple Axel, popping a triple loop, and stumbling out of triple Lutz. Though his spins were good, but it wasn’t enough to maintain his second place position and he fell to third overall after placing fourth in the free skate. His marks ranged from 5.1 to 5.8.
Ferreira opened his long program with a triple Axel-triple toe combination, followed by a quadruple toe, a triple flip, a triple Lutz, a triple Axel, and a triple Loop. He double the Salchow but then landed a triple Lutz-double toe and had the crowd on their feet with his ending spin. His marks ranged 5.7 to 5.8 and his Untouchables program earned him an overall second place finish.
Sandhu impressed with his opening quadruple toe-triple toe combination followed by a triple Axel-triple toe combination (thought the landing was a bit shaky). The 23-year-old then executed a triple loop, a triple Lutz, a triple Salchow, saved a triple Axel, and a triple flip. His marks ranged from 5.8 to 5.9 for an overall first place finish.
Sandhu and Ferreira will fill the two spots available for the Canadian World Team and will also be participating in the upcoming Four Continents Championships (4Cs). Buttle is the first alternate for the World team but will still compete at the 4Cs.
As with the men, the top three ladies will go to the 4Cs, however, Phaneuf will not be going to Worlds. A decision was made with her coaches and Skate Canada to send her to Junior Worlds in order to gain more international experience. Robinson and Rochette will fill the two berths for the Canadian World team.
The top three pairs team will go also compete at the 4Cs, however their are only two spots for Worlds which the top two (Marcoux/Buntin and Langlois/Archetto) will fill.
Canada can send three dance teams to both the 4Cs and Worlds. Lefebvre and Markov cannot compete at the 2004 or 2005 Four Continents or World Championships due to the ISU rule which requires Markov to sit out two years before he can represent a new country in an ISU championship event.
Piché and Denis will take their place at both events.
The Four Continents Championships are schedule to take place Jan 19-25 in Hamilton, Ontario at the Copps Coliseum.