(December 1, 2005)
It has been a very interesting few days for Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.
Despite Dubreuil only receiving her skates a few hours before her competition got underway at the NHK Trophy, the three-time Canadian Ice Dance Champions were able to deliver a very strong Tango Romantica and stand in first-place following the compulsory dance at the 2005 NHK Trophy.
The 2005 NHK Trophy, being held from Dec. 1-4 in Osaka, Japan, is the last of six stops on this season’s ISU Grand Prix circuit.
After some travel trouble in their trek from their training base of Lyon, France to Osaka, Dubreuil and Lauzon didn’t receive all of their luggage when they finally arrived in Japan, one of the missing bags contained her skates.
The skates arrived only five hours before the competition, and they went into the competition with only a 15-minute practice, one hour before the event.
Dubreuil and Lauzon had a technically solid compulsory dance that featured excellent timing, crisp steps and wonderfully smooth and precise interpretation. The judges awarded the dance 17.94 points for technical elements and 18.47 points for program components, bringing their combined total for the dance to 36.41.
Dubreuil and Lauzon, who captured the gold medal in their first Grand Prix assignment this season, the 2005 MasterCard Skate Canada International, are looking to qualify for their sixth appearance at the ISU Grand Prix Final. This year’s Final takes place Dec. 16-18 in Tokyo, Japan.
The Bulgarian team of Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski, who are two-time world medallists and placed fifth at last year’s world championships, are currently in second-place with 35.10 points.
Canada’s Chantal Lefebvre and Arseniy Markov are fifth after the compulsory dance. They were awarded 15.04 points for technical elements and 14.00 points for program components for a combined total of 29.04.
The ice dance competition continues tomorrow with the original dance. Dubreuil and Lauzon have drawn to skate first in the last group, while Lefebvre and Markov will skate right after the Canadian Champions.
In the pair event, Canadian silver medallists Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sébastien Fecteau are in fourth after the short program. Wakamatsu and Fecteau opened their program with side-by-side triple toe loops, which Wakamatsu touched down on and stepped out of the landing. They went on to complete a solid double twist, a throw triple Salchow, a difficult overhead lift and an impressive side-by-side spins that featured good unison and strong positions.
Wakamatsu and Fecteau earned 26.02 points for technical elements and 21.96 points for program components for a combined total of 47.98.
The German team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, who captured gold at the 2005 MasterCard Skate Canada International, are in first with 61.06 points. World bronze medallists Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang, of China, are second with 60.86, while the Russian team of Viktoria Borzenkova and Andrei Chuvilaev stand third with 49.14.
The pairs will perform their free skates tomorrow evening.