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Home-Crowd Favorite Joannie Rochette Leads Ladies Competition at Skate Canada

It was a very sloppy day of skating for the ladies at Skate Canada. But, in the end, Joannie Rochette, four-time Canadian champion, was the last woman standing (though, not quite the only woman standing). The Canadian Press reports that she got a personal best score of 64.74 for her short program to "Summertime," choreographed by Canadian Ice Dancer Shae-Lynn Bourne. I very much enjoyed the performance from the start.

Rochette was not perfect; she took an extra step in her jump combination. However, her double axel was a thing of absolute beauty, it was nice to see at least one completely confident jump since most of the other ladies were pretty unsure of themselves.

Fumie Suguri, of Japan, who I knew as soon as I did not pick her to medal would come out and prove me wrong as she has on several other occasions, was the other lady who did not fall during the short program. Her jumps weren't exactly clean and she was definitely knocked out by the end, but it was a solid start for her. She also had an interesting backward-layback that traveled but was cool. She scored a 57.92. It is a bit of a far cry from Rochette's score but not insurmountable.

The United States' Caroline Zhang fell right off the bat on her triple lutz. The rest of her jumps were fine, and her spirals are the best in the competition. I also noticed a better extension on her in general. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no joy in her face during the competition, so hopefully she can lighten up a bit for the free skate and just go for it. She scored a 53.28.

Italy's Carolina Kostner's day was going just fine, until she had a fluke fall during some footwork and an even worse fall during what I thought was a double axel attempt, although the article I read kept saying it was a triple axel but that sounds pretty ludicrous to me. Anyway, Kostner ended up in 7th with a 48.56. I didn't love the footwork...I guess it just wasn't her day.

Beatrisa Liang of the United States was in fifth with a 49.92. She had a fall on her triple flip. I appreciated that she held her double axel to the end, because most of the skaters don't seem to be doing that with the short program, they get the jumps out of the way, understandably. Liang's performance was good but not a particularly memorable routine.

American Alissa Czisny was as lovely as ever. She had a bit of a slouch going for a few seconds, but it disappeared. She was also as shaky as ever as she fell on her triple flip and seemed shaky on elements like the spiral sequence's catch foot section. Czisny scored a 49.66 for sixth place. So, you can see that spots three through seven are separated by only a few points, so tomorrow should be interesting.