Joannie Rochette of Canada won the error-ridden Ladies Short Program event, but the skater from Quebec wasn’t flawless either. The 22-year-old fell on a triple flip meant to be in combination with a triple toe loop. However, she received impressive GOEs for her double Axel (+1.80) and spiral sequence (+1.40).
“I don’t know what happened,” said Rochette. “I felt really good on the ice and I felt good in the warm up, but when I went into my flip, I think I just overpowered it. I wanted it too badly. I’m happy that I could do the rest of the program like in practice and I did a good triple Lutz.”
Though Rochette only earned a level 3 on her combination and layback spins, her neatly choreographed routine to Gershwin’s Summertime was delivered with lots of power, confidence, and the right degree of playfulness. She collected 59.54 points to lead by 1.42 points.
Japan’s Mao Asada, the heavy favorite to win the event, is currently second (58.12 points) after missing two out of three jumping passes. The 2008 World Champion singled her second jump in a triple flip-triple loop combination and later doubled a Lutz, however she picked up two additional points for GOE on a double Axel.
The student of Tatiana Tarasova gained rather high levels for her non-jumping elements: a level four on her spiral sequence and combination spins and a level 3 on her step sequence, flying sit spin and layback spin. Asada’s new short program is choreographed in the lyrical style which suits her so well, however, the mistakes marred the overall impression of her program. Despite the errors, the Japanese Champion earned the highest program components score of the night.
“I’m not satisfied,” stated the 18-year-old. “I couldn’t pull my mind together and I hope to do better tomorrow. There was no lack of concentration, but my mind probably was a bit weak. I worked hard on the edge problem of the Lutz and flip, and I’m confident now. Today, because I made an error in the combination, I probably wasn’t confident enough for the jump.”
USA’s Caroline Zhang was the only skater to attempt a triple-triple combination, but the toe loop was underrotated and she later slipped on her double Axel entry. The 2007 World Junior Champion’s only received a level one on her spiral sequence, however, she displayed strong and perfectly executed spins. Another strong point was her choreography and presentation: the balletic style of La Bayadere suited her very well, allowing her to make full use of excellent lines and flexibility. She currently sits in third with 51.76 points.
“I think my warm up was good,” said the 15-year-old. “I was a little shaky in the beginning. The triple-triple could have been better. I thought the loop was good, and then on the double Axel I was just surprised. I guess I didn’t hold my spirals long enough.”
Teammate Beatrice Liang finished fourth after suffering a hard fall on her triple Lutz which was meant to be the first jump of her jump combination. The student of Frank Carroll received high levels of difficulty on her spins, spiral and step sequences, and the music Sorcerer’s Apprentice was a great choice for her as it suits her powerful and playful style. The 20-year-old scored 49.60 points.
The only two skaters to avoid major mistakes in the short program were France’s Candice Didier and Gwendoline Didier. They are currently fifth (47.96 points) and sixth (47.58 points), respectively, with new personal best scores. Candice, who was the first one to skate due to her low ISU World ranking, landed a triple toe out of steps as well as a triple Lutz- double toe loop (her Lutz received a “!” warning), while Gwendoline landed a triple Lutz and triple flip-double toe loop combination. Both skaters were obviously excited to land all their jumping passes, and really sold the second half of their programs much to the enjoyment of the home crowd.