(March 27, 2004)
What a way for the 2004 World Figure Skating Championships to come to a close.
The Ladies free skate at the event was filled with unforgettable performances, including those delivered by the two Canadian ladies, Joannie Rochette and Jennifer Robinson.
The 18-year-old Rochette, who placed 17th at last year’s World Championships in Washington, D.C., skated an excellent free program that included a number of impressive triple jumps, including a triple Lutz and two triple-triple jump sequences.
Rochette’s program was also highlighted by her speed and power, which was evident throughout the program.
The judges rewarded the Ile Dupas, Que. native with marks ranging from 5.2 to 5.7 for technical merit and from 5.4 to 5.9 for presentation.
Rochette placed fifth in her qualifying group, ninth in the short program and eighth in the free skate to finish in eighth-place overall. This is only Rochette’s second trip to the World Championships.
Rochette, who has been practicing and landing quadruple jumps in the practice sessions at this event, was thrilled with her performance this week.
“It’s over my expectations,” said Rochette. “I never thought of doing a top 10 here. When people asked me what my goal was, I said just higher than 17.”
Rochette’s teammate Jennifer Robinson also skated an outstanding performance. Robinson, 27, of Windsor, Ont., completed a total of seven triple jumps in the program, including two solid triple Lutzes.
Receiving marks ranging from 4.7 to 5.4 for technical merit and from 4.9 to 5.5 for presentation, Robinson placed 15th in the free skate, which, combined with a sixth-place finish in her qualifying group and a 13th-place finish in the short program, placed her 14th overall.
Robinson was also very pleased with her skating at this event.
“I’m extremely happy to skate such a strong performance,” said Robinson.
Capturing her first World Championships title was Shizuka Arakawa of Japan. The 22-year-old skated an outstanding performance that included an extremely difficult triple Lutz-triple toe loop-double loop combination. She completed a total of seven triple jumps in her program.
The judges rewarded Arakawa with marks ranging from 5.7 to 6.0 for technical merit and from 5.8 to 5.9 for presentation.
“I’m very surprised to have won today, I can’t believe it yet,” said Arakawa. “Winning the World Championships has been a dream for me.”
Winning the silver medal was American Sasha Cohen, and five-time World Champion Michelle Kwan of the United States won the bronze medal.
Kwan, who has won nine consecutive world medals, received a total of six marks of 6.0 for the presentation of her free skate.
“I made one mistake, but overall the performance I felt was brilliant, because I felt good,” said Kwan. “That is all that matters.”