Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland was the winner in the men’s event, rising from seventh place after the short to win his first Skate America title. Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi and USA’s Johnny Weir settled for silver and bronze respectively.
Takahashi pleased the crowd with his routine to Concert for Violin and Orchestra by Tchaikovski, landing a very good triple flip-triple toeloop combination and triple Lutz. The 20-year-old had to hang onto the landing of a triple Axel that had a lean in the air, but he displayed good spins and footwork to place first after the short with a new personal best score of 78.80 points.
“It was nothing special, but it wasn’t bad,” said Takahashi. “I want to enjoy skating. This music is very elegant, and I hope to skate accordingly.”
Weir struggled through a combination spin in his King of Chess routine, but otherwise completed a good triple Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, and a triple flip. The three-time and reigning US Champion earned a score of 76.28, placing second after the short with a 2.52 point difference behind Takahashi.
“It was ok today,” said Weir. “The spins were off, the steps were off. At the end of the step sequence, I had six more steps and I started to trip. I hope to keep improving as the season goes on.”
Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic skated to selections by Bach and Vanessa Mae, landing a triple flip-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz, but two-footed the landing on his triple Axel. Despite the mistake, the 20-year-old produced good spins and footwork, placing third after the short with a new personal best of 71.30 points.
“I really enjoyed the audience in Canada,” said Verner, adding that he had already had a great experience in Calgary at Worlds. “It was not my best short program, but still my best in competition.”
France’s Yannick Ponsero attempted a quadruple toeloop combination, but turned out the landing before executing a double toeloop. He also put his hands down on a triple Lutz. The 2006 World Junior bronze medalist earned a score of 69.05 points for a fourth place finish after the short.
Vaughn Chipeur of Canada stood in fifth, followed by teammate Shawn Sawyer.
Lambiel was seventh. The two-time and reigning World Champion fell on a quadruple toeloop combination attempt, as well as the entrance into his combination spin.
Lambiel, who stood in seventh after the short, opened his Four Seasons routine with a double Axel, but touched down with his hand and foot on the first part his quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination. The 2006 Olympic silver medalist continued with a triple loop, double Axel, and good footwork, but then fell on a quadruple toeloop attempt. Despite the mistakes, he displayed good spins and footwork, earning 146.25 for a first place finish after the long. With a total score of 210.70, the 21-year-old catapulted from seventh to first overall to win the gold.
“What happened today is unbelievable,” said the 2006 European silver medalist, admitting that he is not currently in top form. “I think it’s hard for me to start the season, but I came here to test and to see what I can do for my first competition.”
Takahashi, who stood in first after the short, bailed on his opening quadruple toeloop, stepped out of the landing on a triple Axel, and fell on a triple loop and a double flip (that was meant to be a triple). Despite the mistakes, the Japanese Champion landed a good triple Axel-double toeloop combination, a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination, and a triple Salchow. He also displayed good spins and a very good straight line footwork sequence, earning 129.41 points for a second place finish in the long. With a total score of 208.21, the Olympian placed second overall with his Phantom of the Opera routine, missing the top spot on the podium by 2.49 points.
“I made a lot of mistakes,” admitted Takahashi, who said he felt lucky to be in second.
Sawyer put out a decent program to Moments in Love by Art of Noise, producing good spins and footwork, but had problems on some of the jumps. The 21-year-old stepped out the landing of a triple flip on his opening jump combination and two-footed a triple Axel. However, he landed five more triples and earned 128.42 points for a third place finish in the long. With a total score of 195.17, the two-time and reigning Canadian bronze medalist rose to two spots to fourth overall.
Weir’s put his hand down on the opening triple Axel, popped a second triple Axel, and fell out of triple Salchow in his new program to Child of Nazareth. The 22-year-old earned 122.42 for a fourth place finish in the long and third overall (198.70 points) to win the bronze.
“I’m also very lucky to have a medal here,” acknowledged Weir, who placed seventh at this event last year. “I haven’t done so many doubles since I was [a] really low level.” He was happy to get this competition out of the way. “Now I can focus on the Cup of Russia and work hard for that [as well as] being as prepared as possible for every competition the rest of this season.”
Verner, who was third after the short, placed fifth in the long and overall with 192.15 points.
Lambiel (15 points) and Takahashi (13 points) will compete against each other again at NHK Trophy later this month. Weir (11 points) will compete next at Cup of Russia.