Brian Joubert of France easily captured the gold medal, while USA’s Johnny Weir took the silver. Ilia Klimkin of Russia, who was ninth at this event last year, won the bronze.
Joubert landed his opening quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, but stepped out of the landing on a triple Axel. The two-time and reigning World silver medalist also delivered a triple flip, two good level three footwork sequences, and three good level four spins, earning 77.70 points for a first place in his routine to music from the soundtrack of Die Another Day.
“At the 2005 World Championships [in Moscow] I finished second and that’s not a good memory, but this is forgotten now,” said Joubert. “What I like here is the audience. They’re really super, and even at the World Championships it was a pleasure to skate in Moscow. So I like coming here.” The French National Champion added: “I’m quite disappointed about my triple Axel because this jump has become better and better for me. It was a little error, and that’s a shame because it cost a lot of points.”
Performing to King of Chess by Silent Nick, Weir executed a good triple Axel, a very good triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, and a triple flip. The three-time and reigning US National Champion also displayed good footwork and spins, earning a score of 75.10 for a second place finish after the short.
“My performance here was an improvement from Skate Canada and Campbell’s Cup,” said Weir. “I hope to continue to improve [at] every competition and always to make it better. My score wasn’t better than at Skate Canada, but I felt a lot more comfortable skating here. I’ve trained harder for this event than I had for Skate Canada, and I felt more prepared.”
Canada’s Emaunel Sandhu played it safe, landing a triple flip-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz, but fell on a triple Axel. Despite the mistake, the Canadian National silver medalist produced a very good level three circular footwork sequence, combination spin and three good spins to place third overall after the short with 71.30 points.
“It was just a silly little accident,” said Sandhu, referring to the fall on the triple Axel. “I was gliding backwards for like four meters. I don’t know why I had to fall. I just caught an edge and I think and I slipped.” The 2004 Four Continents silver medalist added: “We’ll ignore that for tomorrow. My goal for this season would be to win my National title back and get a medal at Worlds or win.”
Klimkin produced a good triple Axel, a triple toeloop-double toeloop combination, a triple loop, a very good straight line footwork sequence, and good spins, placing fourth with 67.45 points.
Sweden’s Kristoffer Berntsson also skated a good short program, landing a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel, and a triple flip. He was fifth with 67.25 points (personal best), followed by Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic (64.45 points).
Overnight leader Joubert nailed his opening quadruple toeloop-double toeloop combination, followed by a quadruple Salchow, and a triple Axel in his routine to selections from Metallica. The 22-year-old also produced a quadruple toeloop and four more triple jumps (one in combination with a double), good spins, and a good level three straight line and circular footwork sequence. The two-time and reigning European bronze medalist easily placed first in the long with a new personal best of 160.13 points and overall (237.83 points) to win the gold.
“I have worked a lot and I had done three quads in practice in one program,” said Joubert. “It was my dream to perform three quads in [one program], and I did that, especially in Moscow. I didn’t have good memories of Moscow, but now I have only good ones.” The two-time Olympian added: “If you do three quads, the difficult thing is to stay focused for the rest of the program. In 2005 [World Championships in Moscow], I couldn’t do three quads in one program and I was much weaker mentally. Now I’m very strong technically and especially mentally.”
Russia’s Sergei Dobrin, who stood in ninth after the short, popped his opening quadruple Salchow and stepped out of a quadruple Salchow (in combination with a double toeloop), but otherwise landed a quadruple salchow, a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, and three more triple jumps. The 20-year-old also displayed good spins in his Mask of Zorro routine, earning 123.03 points for a second place finish in the long and eighth overall (182.39).
Verner, who stood in sixth after the short, attempted a quadruple toeloop but it was graded as a triple as he underrotated it and stepped out of the landing. The Czech also stepped out of a triple Axel in his routine to music by Lesiëm, but despite the mistakes, produced seven more triple jumps (one in combination with a double jump), but the judges didn’t count a triple flip-double toeloop combination as he had already completed a flip and repeated two other jumps. The 20-year-old earned 122.05 points for a third place finish in the long, and with a total of 186.50, moved up to fourth place overall.
Andrei Griazev of Russia, who stood in eighth after the short, produced a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination, but fell on a triple Axel, put his hand down on the landing of a triple Salchow, and doubled two other jumps. Despite a flawed program, the 21-year-old earned 121.43 for a fourth place finish in the long and seventh overall (184.02).
Weir doubled a loop and singled two Axels, but otherwise landed five good triples (one in combination with a double). The 22-year-old earned 121.18 points for a fifth place finish in the long and second overall (196.28 points) to win the silver.
“The thing I’m happy with today is that I made the mistakes and then came back,” said Weir, comparing his performance to the on at Skate Canada. “In Canada, everything just kept unraveling and kept getting worse and worse. Today, towards the end, I found some energy – some power, and I could finish without falling down and without dying or killing myself. That was a plus. The performance was better than at Skate Canada and that’s what I wanted to do here. Having the support of the audience here helped me get through that last two minutes of the program.”
Klimkin landed a triple Axe-triple toeloop combination, but underrotated a quadruple toeloop, fell on the entrance of a triple loop, fell on a triple Lutz, and fell during his circular footwork sequence, placing sixth in the long with 120.00 points. Despite the mistakes, the Russian National silver medalist was able to move up to third overall (187.45 points) to capture the bronze.
“I put a lot of energy in the first jumps and then I felt tired,” said the 26-year-old. “That was the reason for my falls. I still tried not to lose the character of the program. I will work on my free program to be able to skate through it well until the end. I was set back by injury problems earlier this season. I injured my right Achilles tendon during a summer training camp in Switzerland and I had to deal with it until November.”
Berntsson, who stood in fifth after the short, produced five triple jumps (three in combination with double jumps) to place seventh in the long (117.45 points). With a total of 184.70 points, the 24-year-old slipped to sixth place overall.
Sandhu doubled an attempted quadruple toeloop, fell on a triple Axel, put his hand down on the landing of a triple flip, doubled a Salchow, and singled an Axel. The 26-year-old finished eighth in the long (114.15 points), slipping from third to fifth overall (185.45 points).
Joubert earned 15 points to go with his win from Trophee Eric Bompard for a total of 30 points, easily earning a spot at the upcoming Grand Prix Final (GPF).
Weir who had 11 points from Skate Canada, earned 13 for a total of 24 points. He will have to wait until after NHK Trophy (next week) to see if it’s enough to qualify for the GPF.
Klimkin earned 11 points at this event, but with a total of 20 points, it’s unlikely that he will compete at the GPF.