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Canadian pairs in heated battle for medals at ISU Grand Prix Final

BARCELONA – World champions champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are in the midst of a heated battle for medals following Thursday’s pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating competition.

Duhamel and Radford are sitting third at 72.74 just ahead of first year seniors Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., in fourth at 71.16. Russians are 1-2 with Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov first at 74.84 and Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov second at 73.64.

Duhamel and Radford, the defending Grand Prix Final champions, had a fall on a throw near the end of the program.

‘’It was the best short program we’ve done this season,’’ said Duhamel. ‘’But we know we are capable of more. Falling on a throw triple is uncharacteristic of us. We possibly got carried away with the moment with everything else being so good.’’

Radford says they don’t feel pressure with their impressive streak of six straight Grand Prix wins on the line.

‘’We approach every event the same,” he said. “When the music starts we bring ourselves back to the same place. That’s what we’ll do tomorrow (Friday) we know we are capable of skating a great long program.”

Séguin and Bilodeau also posted a season’s best score.

‘’We felt really great out there,’’ Séguin said. ‘’We are taking it as an experience and this gives us some confidence for the free skate.’’

In men’s competition it wasn’t a great day for three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto who is sixth after the short program with 70.61 which is more than 20 points off his personal best.

‘’I messed up,’’ said Chan. ‘’I tried to add the combo on the Lutz because you never want to give up. I tried to feel the program, feel the jumps but it wasn’t successful. I just have to put that behind me and have a fresh start.’’

Canada has one entry for the Junior Grand Prix Final also taking place here. Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., is in sixth spot in men’s competition after the short program.

“I think my mind was just racing today,” said Sadovsky, 16, a gold and bronze medallist on the circuit this fall. “I’ve had a good season up till now and I wanted to put together my best skate but it didn’t happen. I felt the extra pressure and it didn’t work.”

Competition continues Friday.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1516/gpf1516/

Canada’s Roman Sadovsky lands bronze at ISU Junior Grand Prix

TORUN, Poland – Canadian Roman Sadovsky ended a rough day on the podium Saturday finishing third in men’s competition at the fifth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Sota Yamamoto of Japan took the gold with 232.42 points, Dennis Vasiljevs of Latvia was second at 207.83 and the 16-year-old Sadovsky from Vaughn, Ont., followed in third at 198.38.

Sadovsky, the gold medallist at the season opening event in Slovakia last month, was second after the short program but had a rough start to his day on Saturday.

“I had a terrible warm-up,” he said. “I fell on jumps I usually never fall on.  It was a real roller coaster of a day.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, Sadovsky broke the tongue in his skate boot just before executing his program.

“I didn’t have much confidence going into the long program and the skate felt different,” he said. “Still I was happy to show I could perform under pressure and I got the medal which was my objective here.”

After falling on his quad Salchow to open the long program, Sadovsky was able to regroup and produce a clean skate the rest of the way.  While it wasn’t his smoothest skate he continued to impress with his flexibility, spins and overall performance.

His two results this season put him in strong contention to compete at the ISU Grand Prix Final in December.

In ice dancing, American couples finished 1-2 with Melinda Meng and Andrew Meng of Montreal fourth, less than a point from third spot with a personal best 140.80. Payten Howland and Simon-Pierre Malette-Paquette of Montreal were sixth.

“It was our best skate in competition,” said Andrew Meng. “We gave everything we had on the ice and had personal best scores in both the short and long programs. After the first Grand Prix we worked a lot on our footwork and choreography.”

The sixth stop is this Thursday to Saturday in La Rioja, Spain.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1516/jgppol2015/index.htm

Canada’s Roman Sadovsky wins gold at ISU Junior Grand Prix

Roman Sadovsky Junior Grand Prix gold.BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Roman Sadovsky of Vaughn, Ont. won the gold medal in men’s competition on Saturday to conclude the season-opening stop on the ISU figure skating circuit.

The 16-year-old Sadovsky totalled 203.72 points for his second career victory on the circuit.

His jump filled long program featured a quadruple Salchow which he landed successfully for the first time, at the opening. Near the end he dug deep to produce a triple-triple-double combo to cap the competition with two clean programs.

“This is an amazing experience,” said Sadovsky, visibly spent at the end of his performance. “After the quad Salchow I knew I had to calm down and not let the excitement get to me. I did a pretty good job handling that.”

Another goal the young Canadian achieved was surpassing the 200 point total.

“I want to keep getting that score higher,” he said. I left the triple toe out of the program and lost a lot of points there. Next time I want to get the toe done and get a higher score.”

Vincent Zhou of the U.S. was second at 200.85 and Denis Margaluk of Argentina third at 191.72.

In ice dancing, Audrey Croteau-Villeneuve of Montreal and Jeff Hough of Russell, Ont., were sixth and Valerie Taillefer of Montreal and Jason Chan of St-Laurent, Que., ninth.

Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons of the U.S. won the gold.

Full results: 2015 Bratislava

Canada’s Roman Sadovsky leads after short program at ISU Junior Grand Prix opener

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., is in first place after the men’s short program Friday at the season opening competition on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The 16-year-old Sadovsky delivered a clean program that featured his amazing flexibility. He landed his four jumps including a triple-triple combo and produced a personal best international score of 68.49 points. Vincent Zhou of the U.S. is second at 68.07 and Alexander Samarin of Russia third at 67.87.

“I felt really comfortable on the ice,” said Sadovsky, who won the Junior Grand Prix event in the Czech Republic last season. “That allowed me to be more aggressive on my jumps and I didn’t hold back. It obviously worked out for me and I got all my levels and now I’m looking forward to the long program.”

In ice dancing after Thursday’s short dance, Audrey Croteau-Villeneuve of Montreal and Jeff Hough of Russell, Ont., are sixth and Valerie Taillefer of Montreal and Jason Chan of St-Laurent, Que., are seventh.

There is no pairs competition at this event and Canada is not entered in women’s singles. The men’s free skate and the free dance are on Saturday.

Full Results: 2015 Bratislava

Roman Sadovsky advances to men’s free skate at world juniors

TALLIN, Estonia – Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was 13th in the men’s short program on Friday to advance to free skate at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Shoma Uno of Japan is in first place with Adian Pitkeev and Alexandre Petrov, both of Russia, second and third.

Sadovsky, 15 and already competing at his second world juniors, was 13th last year and stands 13th as well after the short program nearing his personal best with 66.36 points. This season he won a Junior Grand Prix event and was also fourth and fifth at two others. He was fourth in the senior men’s event at nationals in January.

Nicolas Nadeau of Boisbriand, Que., missed qualifying for the free skate by one spot placing 25th.

Competition ends Saturday with the men’s free skate and the free dance featuring Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., who stand second after Thursday’s short dance.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/wjc2015/index.htm

Canadian Junior skaters continue to bring home the hardware on the ISU Grand Prix circuit

Canadian skaters have never dominated a Junior Grand Prix event the way they did in Ostrava, Czech Republic last week.

The youth of Canada proved so compelling that the senior skaters attending the national team training camp in Mississauga, Ontario gathered en masse around a couple of laptops, watching magnificence unfold in Europe.

The youngsters won gold in three of the four events, a first for the land of the maple leaf. In most seasons since the Junior Grand Prix circuit started 18 years ago, Canada has done well to win as many as four gold medals during the entire string of seven or eight qualifying events. (This year there are seven.)

In only five of those 18 years, Canada has won four gold medals during the entire season. Last year, Canadian skaters won two gold medals over eight events, and none qualified for the Junior Grand Prix Final.

It’s not something that Canadian officials worry about too much. The Junior Grand Prix circuit is an important step, meant chiefly to develop future champions. “You see such a wide range of abilities on the circuit,” said Michael Slipchuk, director of high performance for Skate Canada. “Especially in singles and pairs, there’s always a clear break between the top skaters and the next group. Our guys are definitely pushing to be up there, but we’re more looking at our skaters to go out, learning to compete in that environment under those conditions, and skate at that level, and just continue in their development. So finally when they come to the Canadian championships, they are strong, and when they get to junior worlds, we can field a strong team.”

Witness Nam Nguyen, who stumbled his way through the Junior Grand Prix season last year as he went through a growth spurt. “I don’t think many people would have given him a shot to win junior worlds last year,” Slipchuk said. “But at Canadians, we knew he was moving in the right direction, and he won junior worlds. I think it’s a testament that if you keep progressing and doing things your way, things will work out. We leave it to our coaches to build a plan for their skaters and they know what’s best, and we’ll give the best support we can to get there.”

So far, Canada has won a total of five medals already: three gold and two silver in the first three Junior Grand Prix events. “We felt coming into this year that we had a strong group of dancers coming out,” Slipchuk said. Pair skating is another strength. Skate Canada is also looking to Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau to have a strong season, too. Seguin and Bilodeau, making their first Junior Grand Prix start of the season won gold with a dynamic routine to Peter Gabriel by almost 15 points over a Russian team in Ostrava.

Canada had already started off with two silver medals in dance in the first two events: Madeline Edwards and ZhaoKai Pang got off to a fast start in Courcheval, France the first week, and Brianna Delmaestro and Timothy Lum charmed their way to a silver in Ljubljana, Slovenia the next week.

In Ostrava, Canada’s junior champions Mackenzie Bent and Garrett MacKeen won gold in their fourth Junior Grand Prix season, blasting their previous personal best for their free skate by 7 ½ points, finishing up with 82.42 for a routine that looks more mature than last year.

And 15-year-old Roman Sadovsky won gold in the men’s event, also decimating his personal best with a “Les Miserables” program. His free skate score of 124.57 was almost seven points better than his previous best and although he was third in the free skate, his component score was the highest. And he has room to grow. He fell on a triple loop as he dealt with a new experience: being first after the short program in an international competition.

There are four events left: Nagoya, Japan this week, Tallinn, Estonia from September 24 -28; Dresden, Germany from October 1-5 and Zagreb, Croatia from October 8-12. Not all events feature pair events. Seguin and Bilodeau are out again at Dresden. So are Sadovsky and Delmaestro and Lum.

The Junior Grand Prix will feature Canadians that haven’t been out in the world before: a couple of 13-year-olds (Grace Lin from Yvan Desjardins’ stable in Montreal and Sarah Tamura who skates with Joanne MacLeod in British Columbia) will compete in Japan this week, where there will be no pair competition. Edwards and Pang will show their wares again in dance.

As the season wears on, Slipchuk says it will be interesting to see how Sadovsky, still young, fares. “He just keeps improving,” Slipchuk said. “I think he’ll be in the mix in the men.” He also looks to a new Canadian on the scene, Selena Zhao, who has a triple flip – triple toe loop (“It’s what the junior ladies are doing now,” Slipchuk said) in her arsenal, as a skater with the skills to be in the top half.

“We would like to see a fair amount of our skaters get into the top 10 or top eight,” Slipchuk said. “I think a few of them have a chance, given the event and the field. Some could be in the top five.”

Currently the Russians and Japanese are dominating the Junior Grand Prix circuit. Last year the Russians swept all four gold medals at the Junior Grand Prix Final and they also took over the entire pairs podium. The United States has always been a strong contender in the past. Canada has hovered between third and fifth place in the standings over the years. “We always look at longevity,” Slipchuk said. “We’ve never been a country that has been dominant on the circuit, but we transition well to senior and I’ve always felt that it is something that we don’t want to lose sight of. We want our skaters to keep improving.”

“Les Miserables” performance brings gold to Canada’s Roman Sadovsky

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., earned Canada’s third gold medal at the third stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit on Saturday winning the men’s singles competition.

Sadovsky interpreted his long program to music from Les Miserables to finish atop the standings with 192.08 points. Alexander Samarin of Russia was second at 188.69 and Sei Kawahara of Japan third at 184.69.

For Sadovsky it was his first gold and second career medal on the circuit. He led after a superb short program Friday and his long skate scored third best but was still enough to keep him first overall.

“It’s amazing to get the victory,” said Sadovsky, 15. “It was a real nerve-wracking experience. I had never gone into a long at this level standing in first place. The mistakes I did make I was able to quickly put them behind me.”

Sadovsky executed seven triple jumps and demonstrated amazing flexibility in his free skate. His only mishap was not hanging on to a triple toe-loop jump in the middle of his program.

“My goal for this year is to eventually have a solid triple Axel in the long program,” he said. “The speed and flow of the routine are also improving. I’m not sure what happened with the toe-loop today. It’s usually a sure jump for me.”

In women’s competition, Kim DeGuise-Léveillée of Sorel-Tracy, Que., delivered two clean programs in her international debut, including Saturday’s free skate, to place eighth overall. She ranked sixth for the long to climb from 10th spot after the short.

The 16-year-old also landed a triple Lutz in competition for the first time in her career.

“I skated very well,” she said. “The hard work paid off. Landing the Lutz was one of my big objectives at this event. I also felt strong at the end of the program and improved the artistic aspects of my skating.”

Canada ends the competition with three gold. On Friday, victories were earned by Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., in ice dancing and Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., in pairs.

The fourth stop on the circuit is Thursday to Saturday (September 11-13) in Aichi, Japan.

Videos of routines available on the ISU YouTube channel

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/jgpcze2014/index.htm

 

Roman Sadovsky looking for results on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit

THORNHILL, ONT: The humidity rests heavily at 33 degrees Celsius on a bright August afternoon, but inside the Ed Sackfield Arena, it’s cool enough for down coats and mittens. And Roman Sadovsky.

He’s winding up for a triple Axel, again and again. And it’s coming. That’s what summers are about at the York Region Skating Academy.

Sadovsky is a 14-year-old dynamo who has just experienced his first day at a special sports high school in the area. And yes, they start in August. It’s all new, but then Sadovsky is proving that he’s quite capable of taking some very big strides. Two years ago, he was a novice skater. Last year he was a junior, finishing third in a Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid, N.Y. This year, the son of Ukrainian immigrants is going for all the marbles. He’s moving into the senior ranks despite his youth, at least nationally.

He’s preparing for the Thornhill Summer Skate Aug. 15 to 18, not at all daunted by who he’s supposed to meet. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan – a skater he looks up to – was among the original entries. Sadovsky isn’t intimidated. He’s looking forward to it. “It just feels so good, when you’re the youngest in the group and you get to be with those guys,” he says. “I’m not afraid or anything.”

He also has a Junior Grand Prix in Latvia the following week. Internationally, he’s remaining a junior.

Last year, Sadovsky had won the junior men’s division at the Skate Canada Challenge event, qualifying him for the Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont. He didn’t make it to nationals because of a stress fracture in his right foot, but he defeated some competitors who did go. And his points were higher than those who won medals. Sadovsky won his Skate Canada Challenge division with 172.58 points, while training mate Anthony Kan won the junior title in his absence with 167.54.

Sadovsky could have stayed at the junior level this year, reasoned coach Tracy Wainman. But the only competition he missed all year was nationals, and he was the alternate to go to the junior world championships: a major goal. Somewhere down the road, he wants to rule the junior world, but to do that, he’ll have to match the lads at the top, who are currently doing triple Axels and even quads. He’s working diligently on what he needs: a triple Lutz – triple toe loop and a triple Axel.

Last year, at age 13, Sadovsky was the youngest on the junior circuit. ISU rules say a skater must have turned 13 by the previous July 1 to compete at the international junior level – and Sadovsky’s birthday is May 31. “We have a lot of years left on that circuit,” Wainman says. Still, they didn’t have to think very long about launching Sadovsky into the senior level nationally, to at least compete against skaters who are doing the tricks that the international juniors are doing.

As young as he is, Sadovksy skates much more like a mature skater. “You forget how old he is,” Wainman says.  On the ice, he’s very serious and focused. Barely pushing five feet tall, Sadovsky gets it: he knows what to do. “He always has a plan,” says Gregorz Filipowski, his choreographer. He understands the nuances of the code-of-points system. He’s an entertainer, too. “I just like performing and trying to tell the story,” he says.

Sadovsky’s body movement is impressive and his spins are exquisite. “He has a wonderful body,” says Skate Canada consultant Louis Stong. “He can stretch and he can hold and the spins are fast. On a camel spin, he gets right in on the outside edge, that body just stretches for days, and he gets those six turns in, and then he reaches back and does a variation, then he reaches with the other arm and changes, and does another variation. And you’re going: ‘That’s level four, and on my god, it’s plus three. It’s fabulous.”

His jumping has also improved rapidly. As a novice, he did two triples (Salchow and toe loop), and learned both of them before he got his double Axel. Last season, he set to work diligently – his work ethic is legendary – and got all of the triples down pat, except for the triple Axel.

Sadovsky was primed for the Canadian championships last year, but just before the event, he felt a bit of pain in his right foot. He told Wainman that he couldn’t do the flip and the Lutz, because it hurt to tap in for take-off from the right foot. “He’s quite tough,” Wainman said. “He was still landing the jumps.”

Concerned about the pain, Wainman sent him for tests. On the day that the MRI test results came, Sadovsky had landed a triple-triple combo and a triple flip – even though he’d been suffering from a stress fracture on a growth plate near his toe. Still, Wainman could see that there was something wrong, and had put a rush on the tests. Wainman was the one who had to tell him that he could not compete at the Canadian championships. “It was a tough thing for me,” she says. “But he wasn’t surprised.”

Continued stress on the plate could have affected the growth of his foot – and the rest of his life. “He understood,” Wainman says. Still, Sadovsky would come to the rink – which at the time was just beside the public school he attended – and stretch, as if preparing for ice time. Then he’d walk away wistfully. He did watch the Canadian championships, but skipped the junior men’s event. Too tough. He focused on the senior men – his future.

Still, Sadovsky continued doing Pilates and swam (he was a competitive swimmer) to keep fit so that when he came back, it wasn’t so hard. He was off the ice for a month and slowly regained his jumps.

Sadovsky started skating when he was five years old, but just to learn to skate, he says. “I really wanted to play hockey. My coach said I had to give figure skating a try. I didn’t like the option that I had.”

He wanted to be a goalie, stopping shots, going for the save. His first pair of skates were hockey skates.

He came to Wainman when he was eight and very tiny, she recalls. He was always very disciplined, she found. She’d give him little projects to do and he’d return, showing improvement. “Obviously, he’s going to learn faster that way,” she says.

Grzegorz Filipowski, a 1980 world bronze medalist, admits that it is fun being Sadovsky’s choreographer. “He’s not shy at all,” Filipowski says.  “He looks good in any kind of movement and he’s really willing to try things.” Wainman says he takes 30 minutes of ballet a day – and he wants to, something unusual for his age.

“You get a sense that he’s the kind of guy who knows what he wants,” Filipowski says. “He’s still a kid but whenever he’s on the ice, he’s definitely a guy with a plan. He’s a smart guy. He knows his math. He knows the system in and out.”

And his spins? Filipowski is his spin coach. He doesn’t get many lessons, Filipowski says. The secret to success in doing good spins? Practice. Practice.

It’s taken a lot of work,” Sadovsky says. “I learned to do the spins with lots of effort.”

Sadovsky has already started his season, with a fifth-place finish against seniors at Skate Detroit in late July. He finished behind Californian Grant Hochstein, who landed a quad-triple in his short program, and Canadian bronze (senior) medalist Andrei Rogozine. But with 190.54 points, he finished only three-hundredths of a point behind seasoned Canadian veteran Jeremy Ten, and well ahead of 15-year-old Nam Nguyen, who moved into senior competition two years ago.  And now Sadovsky is on the scene. It all bodes well for the future of men’s skating in Canada.

Beverley Smith