Canada’s Joannie Rochette was the winner in the ladies event, taking home her first Skate Canada gold, while Fumie Suguri of Japan won the silver. Less than half a point away, was South Korea’s Yu-Na Kim, who captured the bronze at her first Grand Prix event.
In the short, Kim opened her program to El Tango De Roxanne with a solid triple flip-triple toeloop combination, followed by a good spiral sequence, a flying sit spin, and a huge triple Lutz. The current Junior World Champion also displayed a beautiful layback, a double Axel, and a combination spin, earning 62.68 points (personal best) for a first place finish after the short.
“This was my first time to compete in the senior Grand Prix, and so I was nervous,” admitted Kim, “but I didn’t make any mistakes. I’m very pleased about that.”
Suguri opened her short program with a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination followed by a triple flip, and a nice layback. The 2006 World silver medalist also produced a good spiral sequence, a double Axel, and good spins and footwork, earning 58.52 points for a second place finish after the short in her routine to Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.
The 25-year-old felt that she wasn’t well-prepared and that it was difficult to find enough practice time. “It was very hard after the World Championships, I was very busy, and there were a lot of shows. But I will continue to practice and improve,” said the two-time Olympian.
Susanna Poykio of Finland opened her routine to One by Apocalyptica (a Finnish quartet) with a double Axel, a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and a triple flip. The 2005 European silver medalist also delivered good spins and footwork, but had trouble at the end of her flying sit spin. Despite the mistake, she scored a new personal best of 57.60 points for a third place finish after the short.
Poykio was pleased with her performance. “I had a new personal best,” the 24-year-old said. “I still had mistakes on my spins – probably because I was a little bit nervous.”
USA’s Alissa Czisny had a good skate, with the exception of a triple Lutz in which she singled and stumbled on the landing, and earned 56.12 points for a fourth place finish after the short.
Rochette stood in fifth with 55.60 points, followed by teammate Mira Leung (52.14 points).
Skating to music from the Don Juan soundtrack by Félix Gray, Rochette opened with a triple flip-double toeloop-double loop combination, followed by a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination. Despite popping a triple loop, the Olympian went on to land a good triple flip, a double Axel-triple toeloop sequence, a triple Lutz, and a triple Salchow. The 20-year-old also produced good spins and footwork, earning a score of 118.26 for a first place finish in the long. With a total score of 173.86, the two-time and reigning Canadian Champion rose from fifth to first place overall to win gold.
“All week my practices have been very good, and I came here to show what I can do,” said Rochette. “I really wanted to do that for myself. It’s very special for me to win Skate Canada, because this is my home country. It is always a little bit stressful to present a new program, but I was focused on one think at a time, and it worked.”
Suguri skated to selections of music by Karl Jenkins, opening with a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple flip, and a triple toeloop. The 25-year-old displayed good spins and footwork as well as landing a triple Lutz, a triple flip-double toeloop, and a double Axel. Despite singling a double Axel near the end of her routine, the four-time and reigning Japanese Champion earned 110.24 points for a second place finish in the long and overall (168.76) to win the silver.
“It was very difficult for me, because I wasn’t in a good condition,” offered Suguri, who was eighth at this event last year. “My health wasn’t good after the busy season. I thought of withdrawing from this event, but then I decided I’ll try until the last moment.
Czisny produced a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination in the opening of her routine to music from the Sabrina soundtrack. The 2005 Skate Canada Champion followed up with a triple flip-double toeloop but two-footed the landing on the flip. The 19-year-old went on to deliver two more triples as well as good footwork and spins, earning 107.57 for a third place finish in the long and fourth overall (163.69).
Kim skated to The Lark Ascending for her long, opening with a triple flip-triple toeloop followed by a double Axel. The 16-year-old flipped off the edge on her triple Salchow, stepped out of a triple loop (in combination with a double Axel), and fell on a triple Lutz. Despite the deduction, the young Korean was awarded 105.80 for a fourth place finish in the long. With a total score of 168.48, the current Junior Grand Prix Final Champion placed third overall to win the bronze, missing the silver by a mere .28 points.
“I had an injury last summer and I couldn’t practice so much in Korea,” said Kim, who went on to explain that her long program was new and still needed work. “This was my first Grand Prix, and it was a goal for me to win a medal. There is a big gap between juniors and seniors, and I tried hard to overcome that. I wasn’t prepared to skate in front of a big audience, and so I was nervous,” said the three-time and reigning South Korean Champion.
Poykio, who was third after the short, placed fifth in the long (103.96), slipping to fifth place overall with a total score of 161.58.
Canada’s Mira Leung placed sixth overall, followed by Yoshie Onda of Japan.
Rochette (15 points) and Kim (11 points) will share ice again at the Trophee Eric Bompard event, while Suguri (13 points) competes later this month at NHK Trophy.