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Worlds 2003: Mens Finals; Dance OD (3/27)


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This will be briefer than I had anticipated, as I have been too busy this am, prior to going to MCI at 1 pm for today's events (ladies SP and Dance finals).

So back to a recap of yesterday's events at Worlds.

DANCE ORIGINAL DANCE (Theme: "In a Grand Ballroom" - each team selects to use two of the following tempi: waltz, gallop or polka. Unique selections of music, costume, choreography.)

Prior to this event, Canada's Bourne/Kraatz and Russia's Lobacheva/Averbuch (the reigning World Champs) were tied for 1st. The 'friendly sportmanlike rivalry' between these two nations is intense, here in DC...adding a unique undercurrent of politics to tonight's 'SKATE-FAIR' protest against the Int'l Skating Union, re. judging in recent past. ;) The protest JUST HAPPENS to be taking place immediately preceding tonight's Ice Dance finals.

Thus, the fact that, yesterday in the OD segment, the Russian's pulled ahead of the Canadians...well, it just has added fuel to the fire, from what I have overheard in the corridors of MCI Center.

Standings after the OD -

1. Lobacheva/Averbuch (Rus) - skated with intense speed and magnificent precision, especially the straight-line footwork across the length of the ice. WHEW!!! Shades of Grishuk/Platov, the 1998 Olympic champs, who excelled at speedy footwork!!! L/A also had the edge with body line and proximity of their skate blades. IMO, L/A's long-limbed balletic lines -- as opposed to B/K's slim but shortish-and-muscular -- give them the edge with most Eastern Euro judges, who are weaned on that 'Kirov-Thin' look. Just my dumb guess. :)

2. Bourne/Kratz (Can) - also magnificent!!! Best of the deep-edged movements, hydroblading glides and such. Evoke the spirit of grand ballrooms best, among the top two. However, they had a brief, yet obvious, unsynchronized moment during their fast-footwork run. And their blades were not quite as close together as those of the Russians.

3. Denkova/Stavitsky (Bulgaria) - Lovely, unique program set in a Baroque ballroom, to a gaillarde by Purcell. Well skated, although I find their footwork a bit less intricate that that of the other top teams. Loudest cheers from audience, after B/K's dance. I sure hope that ABC shows this routine as a prelude to its taped coverage of the Ice Dance finals...it may appear in the ESPN coverage from 6 - 8 pm, preceding the ABC coverage from 8 - 11 pm, all of this on Saturday.

4. Navka/Kostomarov (Russia) - After a weak prelim, N/K rallied with a sparkling CD to a military theme...MY FAVORITE fast footwork sequence of all, entirely set to snare drums. N/K tap-tap their way down the ice furiously, magnificently, totally in-synch. BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!!

5. Chait/Sakhnovsky (Israel) Like N/K, C/S are known for their fast footwork, and they did not disappoint yesterday. Gorgeous program, earning them 5th among a super-talented field. They should not be ashamed that they are in 5th, even though they were 3rd at Worlds last year. The top 6 teams are all brilliant.

6. Grushina/Goncharov (Ukraine) Also gorgeous...I lost my notes...sorry

7. Belbin/Agosto (USA) the 'mini-competition' between the two USA teams was won by this younger couple...energetic & youthful...although I prefered...

8. Lang/Tchernichev (USA) yes, I preferred them, due to taller, more elegant 'look'...but it is great to see that the USA has two teams in the top 10!

9. Delobel/Schoenfelder (France)

10. Dubreuil/lauzon (Canada)

Among the lower-ranked teams, I loved the young Italians, Faiella/Scali, currently 11th, for their energy and charismatic quality (which Belbin/Agosto also have).


[some of this is repeated from my reply on another thread post...to save time]

As with the Pairs finals two night ago, this year's Men's Finals was among the best at any int'l competition in recent memory. Each and every man who skated in the final flight of six skaters skated well. This was one for the books. What a pleasure and honor to have been there...I an simply DYING to watch the TV tape to hear Dick Button and Company's comments! LOL!!

1. Yevgeni Pluschenko (Russia) - IMO, Yevgeni Pluschenko won

fair-and-square, 100%, on artistry, as well as a huge arsenal of jumps that were

landed...some saved through extraordinary...but no touch-downs, or falls. So

each and every jump that he attempted counted. Kirill Simonov's choreography to

the specially-commissioned piece of music, "St. Petersburg 300," was simply

stunning, particularly the footwork, as well as the placement of spirals and spins.

A great tribute to a great city by a great skater who refuses to abandon his

country. (Neither does his coach, Alexei Mishin; along with Moscow's

Tchaikovskaia, the only top coach from the old USSR who has not left.) A stellar

moment for Russian sport, in this era of non-stop emigration from east to west.

2. Timothy Goebel (USA) - any other year, this free skate, to 'American in Paris', would have won the gold. Superior technique. Two quads, one in combination (if memory serves), and seemingly dozens of perfectly-landed triples. OK spins. OK footwork. More zip and personality than I've ever seen from TG...but still has a way to go on the artistic impression mark, compared to Pluschenko. Sorry, folks - the judges called this one right, IMO.

Other high finishers -

3. Takeshi Honda (Japan) totally deserving of bronze with gloriously-speedy footwork to 'Riverdance,' in addition to solid arsenal of quad and triple jumps. crowd went crazy as he tore through down the ice!!!

4. Chenjiang Li (China) the best I've seen him skate. Charismatic...first time ever! Crowd loved him but was a bit subdued towards end of routine...I finally figured it out...crowd realized that Li was the one who could displace hometown hero Michael Weiss from a podium spot. uhh-uhh...

5. Michael Weiss (USA) skated 'Malaguena' cleanly, with class. Simply did not have the high difficulty/number of triples and quads as the four guys above him.

6. Brian Joubert (France) Ignited the crowd with his personality-plus 'Untouchables' routine. After a 'splatfest' of poor performances among the middle-ranked men, Joubert was able to show folks that the ice was not jinxed. Quad, triples, footwork reminiscent of Alexei Yagudin, suberbly-centered spins. This kid is going places! Too bad that he was in a lower postiion going into the finals -- not among the top six -- so he did not make the live ABC broadcast group.

7. Sergei Davydov (Belarus) Surprise! he made the top-six after the SPs and, thus, was shown on live TV in the ABC broadcast. Fantastic for a heretofore-unknown skater. And he skated beautifully to the soundtrack 'Criminal St. petersbirg.' He went down in rank by one place only because he did not do a quad...while Joubert did.

8. Emanuel Sandhu (Canada) lost my notes...but I recall that it was a gorgeous, artistic program...he put it together tonight 7 the crowd appreciated his creative moves!

9. Ilya Klimkin (Russia) total crap...awful program to awful music. Lots of falls. How the blankety-blank this was deemed the 11th-best free skate, among 24 men, is beyond me.

10. Stephane Lambiel (Switzerland) My Choice for "STAR OF THE FUTURE" among all the men!!! WOW! WOW! WOW! Super spins...the Biellman of men!! And decent triples. But it's the FACE! Ahhh.... All the women at MCI have fallen in love again!!!! ;)

Other superb performances included

- China's Min Zhang

- Belgium's Kevin Van der Perren

- Cezh Rep.'s 16-yr-old Tomas Verner

- Germany's Silvio Smalun - most creative choreography & artistic 'look' after Sandhu.

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Thanks again Jeannie!

I appreciate your comments about Pleshenko; hopefully I'll have a chance to see the skate again. Would love to hear Elvis' comments versus Dick Buttons. As for Mr. B, in my very humble opinion, he talks too much. I like to learn things about skating through the commentators, but too much talk can detract from the enjoyment of the performance.

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