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Skate Canada 2012
by Sonia Bianchetti
Skate Canada, which was held this weekend in Windsor, Ontario, is the
second Grand Prix event of the season. It was an interesting competition
with some excellent skating.
The event I preferred by far, as was the case at Skate America, has been
ice dancing. Here all the programs, both the short dance and the free
dance, were original and constructed to the music, and the skaters'
attention is focused on its interpretation and expression. Besides, in ice
dancing we can still appreciate the beauty of deep long edges, which have
become rare both in single and pair skating even among the top skaters,
due to the unbelievable number of turns required by the rules to get the
highest levels. Perhaps it would be a good idea for the ISU to add long
and deep edges as a "feature" to get level 4 in step sequences!!!! It is
very important, to me, at least, that the whole event is enjoyable and
pleasant to watch, from the weakest programs to the best, and not for just
a few, as is the case now in the other disciplines, where mistakes and
falls play a major role even among the top world competitors.
Fantastic was the "Battle of the Carmens", as we can call it, between Anna
Capellini/Luca La Notte (ITA) and the World Champions TessaVirtue/Scott
Moir (CAN). It is just amazing that both these couples have chosen the
same kind of music, but their interpretation was quite different. More
passionate, sensuous and captivating was that of the Italians, where Anna
really interprets Carmen as she is in the opera by Bizet.
The Canadians, in my opinion, although fantastic from a technical point of
view, with some innovative lifts and spins, skated to the music from
Carmen, but they were not representing Carmen and Don José. They
did show passion and emotion, but for me this was just another love story
with a sad end with Carmen's music playing in the background. There is no
doubt that the Canadians technically were superior but from the artistic
point of view, I must say that for me Anna and Luca were the best. Anyhow,
I found them both breathtaking.
The second best event, in my opinion, was the men's. The victory of Javier
Fernandez is a historic achievement since it is the first time that a
Spanish skater has won a Grand Prix event. Fernandez was first both in the
short and the free programs. His free program, skated to Charlie Chaplin,
although not flawless, was easily mastered, very appealing and amusing.
The music suits him perfectly. I really enjoyed it. Excellent was also
Patrick Chan's program performed to "La Bohème". Chan's elegance on
the ice is beyond question, but there are still too many mistakes. Let's
hope that he will be able to master his jumps later in the season. The
bronze medal went to Nobunari Oda from Japan.
The ladies were unpredictable as usual. Definitely too many errors both in
short and free. Kaetlyn Osmond, only 16, from Canada was the surprise
winner. It was her first participation in a senior Grand Prix. She is a
very promising, beautiful young lady. Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami,
both representing Japan, performed good and elegant free programs, placing
second and third.
In pairs, the performance of the four-time world champions Aliona
Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy did not convince me. First of all, I was
shocked by the costumes chosen both for the short and the free programs.
To me they are just clownish, more suitable for a show in a circus than
for skating competition, unless they are portraying Harlequin, which is
not the case. As a matter of fact, there is really no relationship between
these fancy colored costumes and the music of their free program, which is
"Bolero" by Ravel. And, apart from the bad taste, I even wonder whether
they comply with ISU Rule 500 on costumes, which states that "Men must
wear trousers: no tights are permitted".
"Bolero" obviously brings to memory the fantastic and unique
interpretation of this piece of music by Torvill and Dean at the 1984
Olympic Games in Sarajevo, when they received a shower of 6.0 marks in
Artistic Impression. So it is always a challenge for anybody to choose
this piece of music. However, besides the costumes, the interpretation of
this piece of music did not fit, either. "Bolero" is very rhythmical all
the way through, and therefore definitely more suitable for ice dancing
than for a free program where jumps, lifts, throws and spins must be
included. And these elements can hardly be performed as measured steps to
Second and third placed were Canadians Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford and
Italians Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek. As an Italian, allow me to
congratulate and thank Stefania and Ondrej for their excellent
We look forward now to the Cup of China and the Trophée Bompard in