Skate America is the first of six events in the ISU Grand Prix series. It is organized by the United States Figure Skating Association. The location changes yearly. This year, the competition was held at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington from October 19–21, 2012.
Takahiko Kozuka led a Japanese sweep in the Men's event. Kozuka overtook Yuzuru Hanyu for the gold medal and Tatsuki Machida moved up from fourth to claim the bronze.
Kozuka landed a quad toe and five triple jumps in his routine to “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saens, but the second quad toe was underrotated and he fell on a triple Salchow.
Overnight leader Hanyu had a rough start into his “Notre Dame de Paris” program, missing his opening quad toeloop and quad Salchow. He hit five triples but went down again on a triple flip towards the end. “Today’s performance was very close to my worst. I haven’t skated that bad even in practice. I know the importance of skating well in both my short and free skate and I have many things to work on for my free skate and in my short program. I will practice hard and prepare for my next competition”, the 17-year-old commented.
Skating to “Firebird”, Machida produced a seven triple jumps but fell on the quad toe to move up one spot to third. “In today’s performance, I was not perfect but I was able to skate quite well due to the spectators’ help. They really pushed me and I was able to get my first Grand Prix medal”, he noted.
Konstantin Menshov was the only skater to nail two clean quadruple toeloops and pulled up from fifth to fourth. Jeremy Abbott dropped from third to fifth after several errors.
Volosozhar/Trankov's routine to “Violin Muse” was highlighted by a triple twist, a triple Salchow-double toeloop, a triple toe, a throw triple loop and two difficult lifts. The World silver medalists struggled with their reverse lasso lift and she fell on the throw triple Salchow. The Russians' free was dedicated to Japan and to all the people hitted by the tsunami, but I think last year black swan suited them better.
Pang/Tong skated a solid program to “Variations on a Original Theme Enigma” by Edward Elgar, completing a double Axel-double Axel sequence, a triple twist, two triple throws and three level-four lifts. They tried a new position for the death spiral, but their forward outside death spiral received no level.
Denney/Coughlin reeled off a triple twist, throw triple loop and flip, but underrotated the double Axel-double Axel sequence in their program to “Phantom of the Opera”. Very impressive free program, anyway.
Meryl Davis/Charlie White danced to victory to “Notre Dame de Paris”. They picked up a level four for five elements, but the circular step sequence garnered a level two. They showed fast-paced footwork and innovative lifts.
Bobrova/Soloviev put out a strong performance to “Man with a Harmonica” and “Tosca” as well. The Russian Champions earned a level four for six elements and a level three for the two step sequences. “We are very pleased that in such a high level competition with such strong rivals we were able to control our nerves and finish with a high placement. With each competition so far, we’ve been improving and we’re getting better each time. Today’s program, I think we can still improve a lot”, Soloviev noted.
Weaver/Poje portrayed a sculptor dancing with a come-to-life statue to “Humanity in Motion” by Nathan Lanier. They impressed with their lifts, but the footwork and the combination spin were graded a level two. “Andrew and I are disappointed with our free dance today to say the least. Several of the minor mistakes ended up adding up in the end and we had a low technical score. Luckily, those are the easy things to fix. We are no strangers to going home and reworking little things to make sure we make the most of our technical score”, Weaver told the press.
Performing to “Samson and Delilah”, Wagner produced six triple jumps and a level-four layback spin. She took home her first gold medal on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.”Today went exactly as planned. I really fought for some of those jumps, but I was pleased with what I put out. The quality of the program overall has improved since Japan Open”, Wagner said. “After the short program, I definitely thought that it was plausible to win the whole event. It was a good and bad thing because I started to worry about it. I was happy that I was able to go out there and keep my nerves under control and stay focused on what I wanted to accomplish. For my first Grand Prix gold medal , it’s a good day for me”, she added.
Gao turned in a solid Tango routine, landing six triples and winning her first medal on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.
Sotnikova opened her program to “At Last” and “Burlesque” with a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and a triple flip, but later missed her second triple flip and did one combination too many. “I’m very pleased that I did the triple-triple combination. I really wanted to do that. I’m completely unhappy about missing that second triple flip and about doing an extra combination”, the 16-year-old noted.
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series continues next week with Skate Canada International in Windsor, Ontario (CAN).