Saturday, November 10, 2012
Kiira Korpi tops Americans for gold
MOSCOW -- Two clean quads, an air of understated power and flowing moves brought Canadian Patrick Chan the gold medal on Saturday at the Rostelecom Cup.
Kiira Korpi of Finland overcame jetlag to win the women's gold, edging Americans Gracie Gold and Agnes Zawadzki in second and third.
First place in pairs went to Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Fellow Russians Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov won silver and Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin took bronze.
Chan said his good showing in Moscow was thanks to his chagrin at placing second before a home-country crowd at Skate Canada.
"It kind of sparked something in me," he said. His disappointment spurred him to practice intensively and "I didn't leave any chance for mistakes."
Chan was the only one of the men to land two quads, both of them strong enough to look almost relaxed. Japan's Takahiko Kozuka, who won bronze, under-rotated his first quad and fell on his planned second.
The Czech Republic's Michal Brezina started the free program in sixth place and ended with silver, benefiting from the mistakes that plagued Russia's Konstantin Menshov, who was in second after the short program.
Skating to the dramatic music from "Once Upon a Time in America," Korpi opened with four strong triples -- two toeloops, a lutz and a flip -- then doubled her fifth attempt, a loop. After recovering for a triple-double-double cascade, she fell on what was to be another triple loop.
Korpi said she was feeling the effects of having competed far away just a week ago at the Cup of China, where she won bronze.
"There were a few mistakes in my easiest jump, the loop," Korpi said. "This was the hardest two weeks."
Gold opened strongly with a speedy triple lutz-triple toe, but she scratched two of three jumps in the cascade that was to follow and doubled two subsequent triples.
But at age 17 and medaling in only her second Grand Prix, she took it all in stride.
"It had a lot of flaws, but that's just more room to improve in," said Gold, who led after the short program on Friday. "I was happy with it, but I know I can do so much more."
Zawadzki, who was seventh in Moscow a year ago, also notched her first Grand Prix medal with the bronze.
Korpi said her back-to-back medals vindicated the soul-searching she went through after being troubled by injuries last season.
"I'm already pretty old for a skater," the 24-year-old Korpi said.
Volosozhar and Trankov started their program with a high triple twist lift, but ran into trouble quickly, each of them stepping out of one part of a triple salchow-double toeloop. She then fell on a throw triple loop and Trankov soon followed her to the ice on the subsequent triple toeloop.
Trankov said the pair had been concentrating on fixing problems in their lift and "this is maybe the reason we made mistakes."
In ice dance, Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took gold with a free dance to music from the opera "Carmen." Slips and falls troubled the dances of the Russian medalists -- Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov who won silver and bronze couple Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin.