Jeremy Abbott and Stephen Carriere of the United States capitalized on the absence of Dice-K at the Cup of China, finishing first and second after great performances in both the short and long programs. 2008 European Champion Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic came in third.
Short Program Recap:
Jeremy Abbott is a very traditional skater to me. He is classic, nice to watch, maybe isn't going to be the most exciting skater on the ice but if he hits his jumps, can't really complain. He saved his triple flip landing and there actually were some moves that looked unfinished. But overall, I definitely agree with his placement and score of 77.05.
Canadian Vaughn Chipeur, coached by my eighth grade crush, Scott Davis, had a pretty good performance that put him in second place with a 72.70, bolstered by the highest technical score of the short program. He actually seems to hit moves a bit like Scott Davis at moments, but not on the spins. Too bad! His taste in clothing could merit a blog post on its own. And his footwork sequence was fun to watch, but he obviously has a ways to go as far as presentation.
American Stephen Carriere is a nice, soft skater. He did not have a perfect performance; he tripped up the landing of the triple toe loop on his combination, perhaps he would have been in second without that mistake. He scored a 72.00.
Tomas Verner was a bit of a surprise in fourth with a 65.55, although he had the highest presentation scores. He somewhat popped his first jump and that was the end of his chance in the short program.
Artem Borodulin of Russia looked like a Zebra nightmare! He was ok but he doubled his combination jump and he wound up in fifth place with a 65.05.
Jeremy Abbott skated last and sewed up the victory with a very clean program and a 156.39. There appeared to be underrotation on his triple axel/triple toe combination, and on his last double axel he almost put his foot down. But he gave a nice performance, very much like the short, and he won the event! It's the second American Grand Prix victory this season; Ice Dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White won Skate Canada. And Abbott won an overwhelming victory.
Stephen Carriere did a great job to get up to second place. He was just a jumping machine, checking those things off the list. His spins could have used a bit of work, but I was happy to see him get his 145.25 to be in second place.
Tomas Verner made a comeback into third place. He had a fall and I don't really buy his program, but at least he tries to tell a story with his actions. Maybe I need the Cliffs Notes. He scored a 139.93 but there was a lot of space for him to be in fourth place.
Chipeur seems to unfortunately have also taken on Scott Davis's meltdown tradition, and had a terrible free skate. He doubled jumps, two-footed them, turned out of landings, and just didn't appear to have the stamina to get through the program. He also has one of those blatant breather sections that only works when you have better choreography. His 114.80 left him in fifth place.
I know this may shock the readers, but I was actually happy with the placements here and the juding on the whole. Abbott and Carriere may not have been as successful if Takahashi had competed, but they capitalized when they needed to. They also gave nice, (if safe) performances and had some good jumping.