Japan takes men’s podium at Skate America
By Vladislav Luchianov
Takahiko Kozuka led a sweep of Japan in men’s event. He overtook Yuzuru Hanyu, who had a strong margin in points after short program, for the first place. Another Japan’s skater Tatsuki Machida moved up from fourth to claim the bronze.
Takahiko Kozuka performed a quad toe and five other triple jumps in his routine to “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saens, but he fell on a triple Salchow. The 2011 World silver medalist earned 166.12 points for his free skate and 251.44 points overall.
“My performance was not so good, but I am happy that I could win,” Kozuka said at post-event press conference. “This season I’ve been able to focus on skating alone. I have been accumulating good practices so far and hopefully I will be injury free this season.” he added.
Yuzuru Hanyu, the overnight leader, had a rough start into his “Notre Dame de Paris” free skate, missing his opening quad toe and quad Salchow. Hanyu hit five triples but went down again on a triple flip towards the end of the program. The World bronze medalist was ranked third in the free skating with 148.67 points and overall slipped to the second place with 243.74 points.
“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.” commented Hanyu.
Skating to “Firebird”, Tatsuki Machida performed a seven triple jumps but fell on his quad toe to score 154.17 points. He moved up one spot to third with 229.95 points overall. “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.” Japanese skater noted.
In ice dance, Meryl Davis/Charlie White (71.39 points) of the USA danced to the lead in the short dance. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver/ Andrew Poje (65.79) finished second ahead of Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (62.91).
In pairs, Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (195.07) took gold in pairs event. Chinese Qing Pang/Jian Tong (185.16) skated to the silver and the bronze medal went to Americans Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (178.22).
Skate America 2012 – Takahiko Kozuka, FS