The 2005 BMO Financial Group Canadian Figure Skating Championships were held Jan 17-23 at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. For the first time, Skate Canada used the Cumulative Points Calculation (CPC) judging system at this event. The CPC system, Canada’s version of the International Skating Union judging system, was tried and used successfully at the Skate Canada Western and Eastern Challenges last month.
Joannie Rochette (QC) was the winner in the ladies event, edging out last year’s champ, Cynthia Phaneuf (QC) who settled for silver. Mira Leung (BC) claimed the bronze, while Amanda Billings (AB) placed fourth.
The ladies event began with the Qualifying Round (QR) – 25% of the QR score was added to the total score for the skater.
In the short, Rochette performed to Dvorák’s Dumsky Trio, opening with a double Axel, followed by a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination. The two-time and reigning Canadian silver medalist also executed a triple flip out of footwork and displayed a good layback to earn a score of 60.81, placing first in the short. With a cumulative total of 88.16 points, the 19-year-old was in first place overall going into the freeskate.
Skating to Songs My Mother Taught Me by Dvorák, Phaneuf fell out of the triple Lutz onto two feet in her opening combination jump. The landings on the triple flip and double Axel were clean, but a bit pitched forward (in both jumps). The reigning Canadian ladies’ champ earned a score of 54.76, and with a cumulative total of 78.18 points, was easily able to maintain second overall.
Meagan Duhamel (NO) put her hand down the landing of her triple Lutz in the triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, hopping out of the landing of the toeloop at the beginning of her Passacaglia routine. The triple flip appeared to have a bad wrap but was clean, as was the double Axel. The 2003 Canadian Junior champ earned a score of 47.62 for a third place finish after the short, and was fourth overall with a cumulative total of 64.26.
Performing to Smile, Lesley Hawker (CO) opened her short with a triple Lutz, but rotated and fell off the side of the edge on her landing. However, the 23-year-old landed a triple flip from footwork, as well as a double Axel (despite a lean on the outside edge on the landing), earning a score of 44.12 to place fourth in the short and third overall with a cumulative score of 66.00.
Leung performed her short to Rachel’s Song by Vangelis and a modern arrangement of Four Seasons, opening with a good triple flip, but turned out the landing of the Lutz on the triple Lutz-double loop combination. Leung also landed a double Axel, but did not receive credit for her combination spin – it was scored as two separate spins. Leung, who was third after the qualifying round, placed sixth after the short (41.35), dropping to fifth overall with a total cumulative score of 63.56.
Billings, who was fifth going into the short, stepped out of the Lutz on her triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and doubled a triple Salchow. However, the 18-year-old bounced back with a playful footwork sequence and a good double Axel. With a fifth place finish after the short (43.02), her placement dropped to sixth overall with a cumulative score of 61.67.
Performing to Firebird for her long, Rochette skated the program of a lifetime (and the evening), landing a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple Lutz. In addition to landing a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, the 2004-05 Grand Prix Final bronze medalist landed two more triples and two double Axels. The program appeared to be integrated, corresponding with every movement, with the diagonal footwork sequence matching the music perfectly. Rochette earned a score of 123.12 for a first place finish in the long and won her first senior national title with an overall score of 211.28.
Phaneuf didn’t fair as well. The 17-year-old put both hands down on a triple Lutz and triple Salchow, as well as popping a flip into a single, and falling on both a triple loop and triple toeloop. Despite the errors, Phaneuf managed to land a double Axel and triple Lutz-double toeloop in her routine to Capriccio Espagnol by Rimski-Korsakov. The 2004 Four Continents silver medalist earned 93.19 for her long, and despite the deductions, placed second in the long and overall (171.37) to win silver.
Leung opened her long with a triple flip followed by a triple Lutz, a double Axel, and a triple Salchow. Though The 15-year-old turned out the landing of a Lutz on a triple Lutz-double loop combination, she followed up with a triple toeloop-double toeloop combination and a triple flip-double loop-double loop combination. Despite a fall right after the straightline step sequence, Leung earned a respectable score of 92.83, placing third in the long and overall with a total score of 156.39.
Billings also experienced problems in her long to La Gitana and Tambourin Chinois, stumbling and/or struggling on the landings of most. However, a triple toeloop-double toeloop combination and a double Axel, along with nice spins was enough to garner a score of 84.66. The 2003 Junior silver medalist placed fourth in the long and overall in her second senior nationals with a total score of 146.33.
Hawker, who stood in third after the short, doubled a Lutz and fell on three jumps, earning a score of 79.41 for a fourth place finish after the long. It wasn’t enough to maintain third, and she slipped to fifth place overall with a total score of 145.41.
It also wasn’t Duhamel’s night. She stood in fourth overall going into the freeskate, but fell on five of the six triple jumps in her long (66.86) , and consequently slipped to seventh place overall (131.12).
Vicky Boissonneault (QC) stood in seventh going in to the long, but was able to move up to sixth overall (132.88) after placing sixth in the long (76.02).
Annie Bellemare (BC) withdrew from this event prior to the qualification round due to injury.
Rochette and Phaneuf have been named by Skate Canada to fill the two spots at the upcoming 2005 World Figure Skating Championships in March. Leung and Billings were named to the World Junior team.
Skate Canada has not yet announced teams for the upcoming Four Continents event due to that fact that there will be a 17 hour time difference between Korea and Russia (Worlds) within a 17 day span, option to leave it optional for the skaters at this time.