Canada’s Cynthia Phaneuf, who won silver at Skate America last week, became the first woman to win gold at a Skate Canada event since Josee Chouinard won in 1990. Japan’s Yoshie Onda won the silver, while Susanna Pöykiö of Finland cinched the bronze.
Despite a bad warm-up, Phaneuf skated a clean short to Songs My Mother Taught Me by Dvorák, which included a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, followed by footwork into a triple flip, and a double Axel. The Canadian champion also displayed nice spins with various changes of positions to earn 57.76 for a first place finish after the short, as well as a standing ovation from a cheering home crowd.
Phaneuf was very happy with her program, saying, “It was better than at Skate America. There, I had lost my focus, so I really wanted to stay focused here and it worked.” The 16-year-old, who won silver last week at Skate America, was also surprised to find herself in first place. “This is my first year on the senior Grand Prix. When I came to Skate America, I thought that I’m not as good as the other girls, but then I was better than I thought.”
Skating to selections from The Pink Panther soundtrack, Japan’s Fumie Suguri opened with a solid triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, but the current Grand Prix Final Champion had too much speed and not enough landing room going into a triple flip, resulting in a fall into the boards. The two-time World bronze medalist recovered to land a double Axel as well exhibiting good footwork and nice spins, receiving 53.72 points for a second place finish after the short.
“It was not really good,” Suguri said of the fall on the triple flip, “but the rest of the program was good.”
Teammate Onda also produced a solid triple Lutz-double toeloop combination. She then landed a triple flip from footwork with her hands on her hips, as well as a solid double Axel in her Freedom routine. The two-time Four Continents bronze medalist also produced a nice layback, fast footwork, and good spins to earn a score of 52.16 for third place after the short.
“It was very good, but sometimes I felt nervous and shaky,” admitted Onda.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner skated to a Michael Hoppe medley, producing a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, but doubled her next triple loop. The Italian silver medalist also landed a double Axel, earning a score of 50.86 for fourth place after the short.
Julia Sebestyen of Hungary landed a solid triple flip and double Axel, but underrotated the triple Lutz in her planned triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, as well as two-footing the landing. The European champion placed fifth after the short with a score of 50.66.
Pöykiö opened her short with a solid triple flip, but then singled the toeloop on her triple Lutz-double toeloop combination in her Henry VIII program, placing sixth with 49.98 points.
Japan’s Yukari Nakano underrotated and two-footed the landing on her triple Axel that was meant to be part of a combination jump. She was eleventh.
Performing to Capriccio Espagnol, overnight leader Phaneuf opened with a triple Lutz-triple toeloop sequence, followed by a triple flip and double Axel. The 2004 Four Continents silver medalist then fell on a triple Lutz, as well as a triple Salchow, but landed a triple loop and a triple toeloop-double toeloop combination. Phaneuf also displayed nice spins and footwork to score 101.90 points, winning the long and maintaining her first place position overall with a total score of 159.66.
Her goal had been to land five triples. “And I did it,” she said happily. “I was just frustrated about my triple Salchow, because I know I can do it easily. That it the only thing I’m not happy with in my program. I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I pretended not to be in first place after the short program. I told myself it’s my first year on the senior Grand Prix circuit, and I had nothing to lose.”
Skating to Yoshimatsu’s White Landscapes and Memo Flora, Onda landed a huge triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, followed by a high double Axel-triple toeloop sequence. The 21-year-old put her hand on a triple flip and two-footed a double Salchow (meant to be a triple), but landed three more clean triples (one in combination with a double toeloop) to earn 99.38 points, finishing second in the long and moving up one spot to second overall with a total score of 151.54.
“The performance was very good for me,” said Onda. “I was a little bit nervous, but I came back. It was a good competition.”
Pöykiö, who was in sixth after the short, executed a triple toeloop-double toeloop combination, followed by a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination in her routine to Nino Rota’s Romeo and Juliet. Though she had a turnout on a triple Salchow and popped a loop, she landed two more triples and a double Axel to score 98.96 points for third place finish in the long. With a total score of 148.94, the 22-year-old moved up three spots to claim the bronze.
“I really enjoyed skating today,” said Pöykiö. ” There were a few mistakes, but they didn’t bother me so much. I just concentrated on one day at a time, and I left the Short Program behind me.”
Suguri, who was in second after the short, landed two solid triple-double combinations in her long, as well as a solid double Axel. However, the 23-year-old popped a flip into a single, stumbled out of the landing of an underrotated triple Salchow, and two-footed the landing of an underrotated triple loop. The two-time Four Continents champion placed fourth in her long to Tango Para Percusión and Carmen with 94.60 points, dropping to fourth overall with a total score of 148.32.
Kostner, who was fourth after the short, finished fifth in the long and overall, while Sebestyen, who placed seventh in the long, dropped to sixth overall.
Skate Canada was a scoring event for all the women except for Carolina Kostner. She will skate again at Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire, as will Suguri and Sebestyen who earned 5 and 3 points, respectively.
Phaneuf earned 12 points to go with the 9 she earned from Skate America. With a total of 21 points, she is almost guaranteed a spot at the Grand Prix Final.