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Desjardins World Team Challenge 2005

John Labatt Centre - London, ON - Dec. 4, 2005

Written by Tina with help from Wendy

The World Team Challenge was held at the John Labatt Centre in London, ON on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2005. The competition featured four teams representing different geographical regions, each consisting of a lady, a man, and a pair team, competing against each other. Skaters performed a technical program and an artistic program, with the score for the artistic program doubled, counting for 2/3 of the final score. The required elements for the technical program were as follows: Ladies were expected to do a minimum of two triple jumps, including at least one combination or sequence, at least two spins of a different nature, and at least one step sequence. The men had similar rules, except they were expected to do a minimum of three different triple jumps. The pairs were expected to include a minimum of three overhead lifts, at least one double or triple throw, at least one pair or solo spin, and at least one death spiral. The artistic program mark was based on technical merit and artistry. Technical merit was described as "difficulty, variety and quality of jumps, spins, and footwork" while artistry "includes musical interpretation, choreography, originality, creativity, expression and presentation." Programs were marked on a 10.0 point scale by five judges and one referee. The judges for the event were Elena Bechke, Paul Duchesnay, Bernard Ford, Lyndon Johnston, and Rod Ludington, and the referee was Kerry Leitch.

The competition opened with the ladies' technical skate. First up was their six minute warmup. Jennifer Robinson showed her ability to play to the audience, coming over to the photographers' section to pose mischievously for us. She seemed at ease on and off the ice all night, seemingly in her element in the pro world.

Initial disclaimer: I'm not the strongest at identifying technical elements, and I didn't take notes until after each program, so there may be inaccuracies here in reporting the technical elements.

First up for the ladies was Oksana Baiul, dressed in white and wearing a simple bridal veil which she took off fairly early in the program. The music was a slow, dramatic, classical instrumental piece. While Oksana did land, I believe, a 3-sal, a 3-toe, and a 2-axel, her landings were kind of shaky, and I found her skating to be oddly slow and stiff in this program. Oksana's usually got great artistry and dramaticism, but while the emotion was kind of there, her skating just seemed off in this program. The program also featured a lot of camel spins, a layback spin, as well as her trademark donut spin, her catch foot bent knee spiral, and a couple of Ina Bauers. If I'm remembering her technical elements correctly, Oksana failed to do a combination as was required in the rules for the technical program, which also may have hurt her scores.

Scores: 9.6 9.5 9.7 9.5 9.7 Total: 48.0

Caryn Kadavy followed Oksana with an elegant program to slow vocal music, that sounded like it might have been in Italian. Caryn is always a graceful, classy skater, who presents a lovely figure on the ice, and this program was no exception. Lots of beautiful edgy moves, like a spiral, spread eagle, and Ina Bauer, along with several spins, including a camel spin, a catch-foot almost-donut camel that wasn't as tight as Oksana's, and a lovely layback. She also landed her jumps solidly, including a combination, but unfortunately I think they were all doubles, which meant that she also failed to perform some of the required elements for the technical program. The jumps, btw, were a 2-axel, 2-loop, and a 2-toe/2-toe combination.

Scores: 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.7 Total: 48.2

Jennifer Robinson's technical program was performed to a song that sounded like Celine Dion, but may not actually have been - "If It Wasn't For Your Love". The program was pretty and wistful, with the choreography featuring a lot of reaching upwards and gazing skywards. At one point in the program, she performed a lovely series of spirals, both backwards and forwards, that glided easily over the ice with great extension and reach. The program also featured an interesting bent-body spin, as well as a lovely layback and camel spin. Jennifer had the strongest technical program of all the ladies, successfully landing a 2-axel and a 3-lutz/2-toe combination, and landing either a 3-toe or 3-flip with a touchdown on the landing. This meant that she alone among the ladies successfully met the technical requirements for the program.

Scores: 9.8 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.8 Total: 48.9

Maria Butyrskaya was the strongest technical skater at Ice Wars two weeks earlier, but unfortunately was far shakier in her World Team Challenge outing. Her program to "The Color of the Night" was beautiful, with passionate choreography and emotional skating. Unfortunately, her jumps were not at all together - she botched her 3-loop jump, landed a very shaky 3-toe or flip (which may have been in combination, I don't recall at the moment), and then singled her 2-axel. This hurt her marks considerably, placing her at the bottom of the rankings for the women.

Scores: 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.4 9.6 Total: 47.3

Standings after the ladies:

  1. Canada 48.9
  2. USA 48.2
  3. Europe 48.0
  4. Russia 47.3

Jennifer Robinson came back out in the Kiss 'n Cry area with Debbi Wilkes to do an interview (the interviews were not piped through the speakers so the audience could hear them, unlike at Ice Wars), but they appeared to be having some technical difficulties, as both kept looking up towards the booth and trying to get their attention.

The pairs came out to do their 6-minute warmup, with Jamie and David continuing the trend of Canadian team members warming up the crowd a little. There was some thrilling stuff done during the warmup, like Ina & Zimmerman's fly high and say bye, and several lifts by Sale & Pelletier.

Radka Kovarikova & Rene Novotny were the first of the pairs on the ice, performing to "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. I haven't seen these two on the ice in years, so it was a really nice treat to get to watch them skate. The two had a lovely connection to each other and to the audience, and just had this light, free feeling on the ice that was fun to watch. It may just be because I'm used to watching S&P, B&S, and I&Z, but Kovarikova & Novotny seemed to use a variety of lifts and moves that were quite different than those used by the other pairs. While I&Z do a move where John does a spread eagle with Kyoko draped across his feet, K&N do one where Radka only has one arm hooked around one of Rene's feet as she glides parallel to the ice. The pair makes good use of Radka's flexibility and apparent lack of fear, and were a great deal of fun to watch. As per the requirements, they also did land a throw triple something or the other (I can't tell the difference most of the time between the throw triples).

Scores: 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.7 Total: 48.0

K&N were followed by a fast, energetic program to U2's Vertigo from Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman. I've been told that the rather rough nature of the choreography and execution are intentional. This may be true, but I found their synchronized dancing in the beginning to be highly choreographed and stylized and rather stiff, and this isn't the only program I've felt that way about them before. Ina & Zimmerman are very fun and dynamic skaters, and do high energy programs well, but somehow the side by side dance moves always feel off to me, possibly b/c the fact that they're doing them exactly the same way next to each other reduces any element of spontaneity from the delivery. With singles skaters, you can almost believe they're dancing to the music b/c they feel it - with pairs skaters, it's obvious they're performing choreography, if that makes any sense. Synchronized dance moves in the beginning aside, though, this was a really fun, fast, and exciting program, with some of their trademark thrilling moves like the fly high and say bye, the candle lift, the headbanger, the Detroiter, and that move they do where John's in a Besti/bent knee spread eagle and holding Kyoko horizontally out from his chest. It also featured a throw triple ...possibly a loop, a throw triple or double twist, and some side by side footwork.

Scores: 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.7 9.7 Total: 48.6

Jamie Sale & David Pelletier's program to "I Wanna Know What Love Is" provided a change in pace from the fast-paced "Vertigo". The program opened with Jamie splitting off to skate pensively and longingly alone before rejoining with David to skate a lovely romantic program with emotion and passion. The program featured a lot of beautiful choreographic moves that effectively evoked the passion of the piece, such as a long held lift with Jamie in the spiral position with her foot in David's lap, or David doing a spread eagle while Jamie stood on his feet and arched backwards, and several lifts and moves that looked like they learned them from Roca & Sur (Jamie draped over one of David's arms, another spin where she was parallel to the ice, with his hand clamped between her legs). The program also featured a split twist (not sure if it was a triple or double), a press lift, a throw 3-sal with a touch-down on the landing, a pairs camel spin, and a nice outside edge death spiral, as well as a variety of other lifts. Beautifully performed program, marred by the touchdown on the landing of the throw 3-sal, and a stumble in the footwork by Jamie.

Scores: 9.7 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.8 Total: 49.0

Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze came out and immediately commanded the ice with a lovely program to "You Are So Beautiful". Simple, romantic choreography with pure, clean lines, and choreography that showed off their ease and grace on the ice. The program also featured some unusual and interesting moves like a series of three death spirals to start the program, the last of which somehow went into Elena doing a double jump, which was a startling and very neat move that brought a gasp from the crowd. They also did their own variation on a handstand lift, with Elena upside down in front of Anton and held up by one of Anton's hands on her waist, and the other supporting one of her hands. Elena and Anton were technically perfect in this first program, including a huge throw triple loop that sent Elena soaring across half the width of the ice and a lovely pairs spin, and easily won the technical portion of the pairs competition.

Scores: 9.9 9.9 9.9 9.9 9.9 Total: 49.5

Standings after the pairs:
1. Canada 97.9
2. Tied - Russia and USA 96.8
4. Europe 96.0

During the six-minute warmup, Kurt landed a beautiful and solid triple toe/triple toe combination, earning cheers from the crowd, but making me turn to my friend and say "Gosh, I hope he didn't just leave that in the warmup!". Unfortunately, I was a bit more prophetic than I hoped to be...

First to take the ice in the men's technical competition was Steven Cousins, performing his "Come Back to Bed" program. This was a nice, smooth program with a sort of lazy/laid-back intensity to it - emotional, but with a looseness of limb and bendy body positions that suited the feel of the music quite well. The program was obviously choreographed to take advantage of Steven's sex appeal - not in the overt gyrating or heavily coming on to the audience fashion, but more in his charisma and ability to connect to the audience. Unfortunately, Steven's delivery of the program was marred by his jump problems; althought he did land a 3-toe and a 2-axel, his 3-flip/2-toe combination had problems on both jumps, and his last triple also had problems.

Score: 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.5 9.6 Total: 47.7

Todd Eldredge was unfortunately suffering from the after-effects of his ankle surgery in this competition. As I understand it, he hasn't yet healed from the surgery, and was in a great deal of pain, especially when picking, and yet he still tried to do all his jumps. As a result, the technical side to this program was much weaker than would be expected from Todd: he doubled his first two jumps, managed to successfully land a 3 toe/2 toe combination, but then singled his last axel. Choreographically, however, his "Bolero" program was a great success. It opened with Todd essentially doing figures on the ice, similarly to the beginning of one of Brian Orser's classic programs, before building from there. Todd's program was dramatic and compelling, with interesting choreography that fit the music beautifully, and he performed it very well. Unfortunately, this being the technical program, his marks suffered from his technical errors.

Score: 9.7 9.4 9.5 9.4 9.5 Total: 47.5

Kurt Browning's technical program to "Peace Frog" by the Doors was somewhat of a stylistic 180 from the dramatic serious skating of Todd Eldredge. Upbeat, fast-moving, and filled with footwork, Kurt exuded a sense of mischievous light-heartedness and fun, and seemed to really enjoy himself out on the ice. This program is one of his nonstop footwork and dancing numbers, with fast frantic footwork that perfectly fit the beats of the music, and which invited the audience to have as much fun as he was having. Aside from the difficult in-betweens, Kurt also had a fair number of jumps in the program which were executed to varying degrees of success. He started off with a solid 3-toe, but then popped his axel going into a double axel/2-toe?? combination, which threw him off enough that he two-footed his 2-toe landing. This problem seemed to throw him off mentally, so that his 3-toe/3-toe combination ended up being downgraded into a solid 3-toe/2-toe combination. He closed off strongly, however, with two beautiful 2-axels in a row.

Scores: 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 Total 49.2

Alexei Yagudin closed out the technical portion of the competition with a dramatic and compelling skate to "Overcome". This is choreography that Alexei undoubtedly knows down to his bones, and a style of skating that suits him perfectly, which allowed Alexei to take his time and really draw out the drama and passion of his moves to give them the fullest effect. This program is highly choreographed and very deliberate in its movements, yet Alexei performed it so well that it felt like he was really feeling the emotion and that the movements were a natural extension of that feeling. Technically, the program was also very strong - I forgot to take note of his first few jumps, but I remember that they were all landed solidly, including a 3-toe/2-toe combination, a 2-axel, and a 3-flip. The program also featured trademark strong footwork passes, and was just very strongly skated overall.

Scores: 9.9 9.9 9.9 9.8 9.9 Total: 49.4

Scores after the men's technical:

  1. Canada 147.1
  2. Russia 146.2
  3. USA 144.3
  4. Europe 143.7

In the second half, the warmups were shortened to 4 minutes, as the skaters got ready for their artistic programs. The skaters performed in the reverse order of the team standings after the technical program. Scores from the artistic program were doubled, and counted for 2/3 of the final mark. Unfortunately, I stopped taking as many notes in the second half, so I won't be able to provide as much detail.

Oksana Baiul led off the artistic programs with her self-choreographed program to "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. She seemed to have more of a spark in her performance for this program than the last, skating with a big smile and a nice connection to the audience and the music. In fact, she positively radiated joy in her big smile and laughter as she skated. Unfortunately, she seemed to get a bit over-excited about moves that weren't perfectly performed, pumping her fist excitedly after a 2-footed triple toe loop. She did land a nice 2-axel, though, and also performed a bent-kneed camel spin, an Ina Bauer or two, and a donut spin.

Scores: 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 Total: 95.2

Caryn Kadavy's artistic program was to a bluesy sounding song, "Feeling Good". This was a nice style for Caryn, quite different than the female ballads she often skates to. She got right into the feel of the music, skating with a relaxed ease and choreography that well suited the music. Although her jumps in the second half were all doubles - 2-axel, 2-flip, 2-loop - they were solidly landed with the music, and helped to enhance the program. This was a very enjoyable program, solidly skated by Caryn.

Scores: 9.7 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.8 Total 97.4

Maria Butyrskaya's artistic program, performed to a series of French songs, seemed to tell a story. Maria started off in a raincoat and scarf, receiving a call on the cell phone that caused her emotional grief, and drove her to pose along the side of the rink, before removing the scarf and skating out. She skated emotionally, using the scarf to dramatic effect as she did a layback spin. However, then she seemed to come to some sort of decision, shedding the scarf and the raincoat to emerge assertive in a sleeveless black dress, dancing to faster-paced music, flirting a bit with the crowd, and just giving off a confident vibe. The vibe got even more confident and flirty, as she shed the outer layer black dress and emerged in an outfit that was more flesh-toned illusion fabric than anything else. She ended the program getting a call on her cell phone that she chose to ignore - the new confident Maria no longer had to wait around for that call anymore. Maria's performance has gotten quite good in terms of connection with the audience and just looking like she had fun out there. Unfortunately, she had a rather jarringly big mistake in her program, falling on a 2-axel and then falling again as she tried to get up. She quickly recovered, though, and went on to land a nice 3-loop.

Scores: 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.4 9.5 Total: 95.2

Jennifer Robinson's artistic program, to a medley of songs (The Beat Goes On, Feelin' Groovy) remade by a female artist, had a completely different vibe to it than Maria's more sexy number. Jennifer, with her big daisy on her chest and bright pink spangly dress, skated a light, playful number. Jennifer looked incredibly at home on the ice, in front of a Canadian crowd, and totally played up the playful flirtatiousness and light-hearted skating. The program was really cute and energetic, and she just invited the audience to have fun with her. Her jumps were also mostly on, including a 2-footed 3 loop, a 1-axel into 2-salchow combination, and a 2-axel.

Scores: 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.7 9.7 Total: 97.4

Scores after the ladies' artistic:

  1. Canada 244.5
  2. USA 241.7
  3. Russia 241.4
  4. Europe 238.9

The pairs artistic programs opened with Radka Kovarikova & Rene Novotny performing a lovely program to a French song with lyrics that sounded something like "Dans ces yeux" (in your eyes? In these eyes?). The program opened with the two of them in a loving pose. As the music started with a woman singing, Radka broke away from the pose, leaving Rene still frozen in place, skating lightly and joyfully alone. Then she returned to Rene and woke him just as a man started singing the other part of the duet. The program started out pretty and romantic, and then became fast and dancey, with the two of them skating more and more energetically, doing all sorts of neat tricks that were fairly different than those performed by the other pairs. Radka appeared both flexible (doing a split down the ice while holding onto Rene's boot) and fearless (doing a headbanger and several upside down lifts), and the two were quite fun to watch.

Scores: 9.7 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 Total: 96.2

Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman followed, skating to "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt. This program was a lot more romantic and soft than their first program, and suited them quite well. Kyoko and John's style lacks the grace and elegance of Elena and Anton, or the smoothness of Jamie and David, but they have an ease on the ice and some nice choreography that worked well with the music. The program featured a lovely death spiral, several overhead lifts, a throw twist (not sure if it was a double or a triple), a nice pairs spin, John doing a spread eagle as Kyoko skated behind doing a spiral, and the move where Kyoko drapes herself over John's legs as he does a spread eagle. It was a nice program, and they performed it well.

Scores: 9.6 9.5 9.7 9.7 9.5 Total: 96.0

Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze's program opened with Anton alone on the ice as the Chaplin figure, wearing a hat and carrying a cane that he spun around as he moved down the ice in a cute Chaplin-esque manner. Anton is really quite good at the Chaplin mannerisms, and is very charming and great at drawing the crowd into his performance. Elena soon joins him on the ice, skating separately in a heavy coat as the little orphan girl (I think) with a flower to give someone. After a few misses, Anton tries to get her attention, and finally does, and the two skate together charmingly for a while, including some dance-ish spins and an overhead lift. Somewhat jarringly, though, the music transitioned into a faster beat, and Elena shed her outside coat to reveal rolled-up overalls that it took her an unfortunate amount of time to roll down. There is some cute characterization and skating in this part, but then the music jarringly transitioned again into the dance beat song that sounds like it's from their "Dance Mix" program, Elena dons Anton's jacket, and the two start revisiting the choreography from that previous program. Upon leaving the ice, Anton got a lot of laughs squeezing into Elena's discarded (way too small jacket) as he made his way off the ice. This program was fun and charming, and Elena and Anton performed it well, but I found the music transitions to be rather awkward and not handled that smoothly - the action came to a dead stop on the ice while they transitioned the costumes. I understand that in Stars on Ice, the theme is to revisit old programs, but taken on its own, the transition to the "Dance Mix" music made very little sense - the program's Chaplin theme was fun and should have been left alone, IMO.

In the transition between pairs, as Anton & Elena stepped off the ice and Jamie & David stepped on, Anton picked up one of the flowers thrown on the ice and offered it...to David, to Jamie's joking indignation. It was a cute moment, and showed a nice sense of humor on both sides.

Scores: 9.9 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 Total: 98.2

Jamie Sale and David Pelletier closed out the pairs artistic programs with their program to the "Elite Syncopations"/Scott Joplin music that had been used years ago for the "Red Hat" group number in Stars on Ice. Choreographed by Christopher Dean, the program contained many choreographic elements and a style of interpretation that were very familiar to anyone who had seen the "Red Hat" Stars on Ice number or Kurt Browning's "Red Hat" Ice Wars program from 8 years ago. This wasn't a detriment to the program at all - Christopher Dean has had more than enough time to refine the choreography for this music and to find all the nuances in the music, as well as to develop the characters. The result was a highly charming, well-developed program with interesting choreography that Jamie and David performed very well. The beginning of the program was also reminiscent of their ballroom number a couple years back, with the partners separated on the ice, looking at their watches, wondering where the other was, before they finally found each other and hastily started skating together. Jamie and David's performance was spot on, and completely in character the whole time.

Scores: 10 10 10 9.9 10 Total: 99.8

Standings after the pairs artistic:

  1. Canada 344.8
  2. Russia 339.6
  3. USA 337.7
  4. Europe 335.1

The interesting thing about Kurt Browning's Raggy character from his Rag-GIDON-Time program is that he doesn't tend to treat his performance just as a one-off program. Instead, he's created an entire character out of that program, with his performance beginning long before he's stepped onto the ice to skate his program, and continuing afterwards. In his own words, "It's about the character, and can you create believability, and can you make everybody fall in love with this guy and want him to get up?" From the moment warmup begins, Kurt is fully in character; the warmup is about preparing for the programs, and since Rag-GIDON-Time is more about the character than it is about the jumps, his warmup is to warmup the character and start pulling the audience in to believing in this character. During warmups at the World Team Challenge, Kurt stepped out on the ice in his skate guards, peering into a long narrow jar of candies, trying to figure out how to get the candy out and at first refusing to share with the audience, before finally relenting and tossing handfuls into the audience. After setting the jar down on the boards, he turned to step out on the ice and suddenly "realized" that he had his guards on, falling all over the place, and clinging to the boards until he could prop his foot up and demand that an audience member remove his guards for him. He then started to warmup a bit, landing a beautiful jump (it's slipped my mind if it was a 2-axel or 3-toe), and then being all ho hum about it, before going back to check with Michael Jiranek at the boards, and then continuing his circuit around the rink, including swiping a water bottle from the judge's table, taking a swig, and then leaving the water by me, fixing his hair by looking at his reflection in a camera, and then recovering his guards to use as a back and butt scratcher. Somehow, this whole routine was perfectly timed so that when the announcer said that the warmup was ended, Kurt was already moving to the exit and stepped off the ice that same moment.

Steven Cousins was first up for the men's artistic, skating a beautiful program to "Belfast Child". Steven was completely on in this program, skating with great emotion and feeling, and a deep connection to the music. The program is a beautiful fit for him, and it's fairly evident that he loves performing it and is very comfortable with it. The choreography was interesting, the music lovely, and Steven's jumps were also spot on. He landed a beautiful 3-flip, and then followed that up with a lovely russian split into a 3-toe followed by another lovely russian split into another 3-toe. This is a wonderful program for Steven, and one that I really enjoyed seeing again and appreciating anew.

Scores: 9.6 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.8 Total: 97.2

Todd Eldredge's unfortunate jump problems continued into his artistic program, to "Alexander's Ragtime Band". Although he landed a 2-axel, he fell out of his 3-toe. His number was quite nice and well-skated, with fun footwork, a nice connection to the audience, and lovely spins, as are typical for Todd. Something about this program didn't quite connect for me, though. It would be interesting to see this program with more miles on it, without the technical problems. I definitely preferred "Bolero" to this program by far, but it has some good potential, and Todd is shaping up to be quite a good entertainer without resorting to audience pandering.

Scores: 9.7 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.7 Total 96.2

I will confess to having a bias against Alexei Yagudin's "Sway" from the start - the fact that he starts way up in the audience, where he spends a considerable amount of time and where I can't even see him (couldn't see him at Ice Wars, either, because he was on the same side of the ice as me), and I think gives a lap dance to someone while he's up there turns me way off this program before he even steps onto the ice. The program is an audience-pleaser, there's no question about that, with the audience whooping and cheering as Alexei gyrates his hips, points into the audience, and sheds his outside shirt to show off his muscles. It also features some interesting footwork, breakdancing on the ice, and several jumps - 2-flip, 3-toe, and 3-toe. Alexei is very on when he skates it, and has a definite connection with the audience as he skates. It's a fun program, but as an artistic program, in my opinion, there's just no artistry to it. It's audience pandering with some nice technical elements in between. Overcome would have made a much better artistic program.

Scores: 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.9 9.9 Total: 98.2

Usually, when one skater steps off the ice and goes into the kiss 'n cry area, the next skater steps on and starts warming up on the ice. In the meantime, the audience has to wait in boredom in the quiet arena for the scores to come up since the skaters in the kiss 'n cry are watching the replays which the audience can't see, nobody is miked, and it takes some time to tabulate the marks. In Kurt's case, he stayed right by the boards while waiting for Alexei's marks to come up, but kept the audience who was paying attention amused as he first followed the flower girls off the ice, wanting a flower, went to slap Michael Jiranek's hands and missed, got a kiss from Jamie and a rejection from David, who stepped back, smiling and shaking his head no as Kurt leaned in for a kiss, and then got his nose put on by Jamie. He never actually went out onto the ice until after Alexei's marks were finished, at which point, still wearing his guards, David pushed him to mid-ice and then left him alone, to his dismay. After almost falling, smiling brightly but sheepishly, he knelt on the ice, pulled his guards off awkwardly, and then sent them flying towards the end of the ice, where one actually skidded onto the boards while the other pretty much made it to the edge. Finally, he was set for his program to begin, and the music started. Rag-GIDON-Time is pretty much a Kurt classic by now, and Kurt performed the program wonderfully and with a great deal of charm while staying completely in character. Every move was perfectly on the music, and every note of the music was completely utilized. While I said before that Rag-GIDON-Time is more about the character than anything else, that doesn't mean the program lacks for technical elements. His jumps in this program are out of absolutely nowhere and solidly landed, including a 2-axel, 3-sal, 3-toe/3-toe (with a slight 2-foot landing), and a 2-axel. He said later that he originally thought there was no way he'd do a 3-toe/3-toe that late in the night, but he was so angry at himself for his mistakes in the technical program that he got determined and did it in the artistic. Kurt's program ended with his typical leap onto the judge's table, which apparently surprised the hell out of a couple of the judges, who weren't expecting it. The program got a ton of laughter and a full standing ovation. While collecting flowers on his way off the ice, Raggy almost collected himself a person, pretending to pick up a little girl and take her with him.

Scores: 10 10 10 10 10 Total: 100.0

When going out to take the team bows, Kurt proved his adeptness at moving across the ice on his guards yet again - he charged right off the boards straight onto the ice without slowing down on his guards, and then managed to control his slide perfectly so he came to a stop right by his team members. I don't know how he doesn't kill himself doing stuff like that, but he's obviously well practiced at it!

Total scores and standings for the evening:

  1. Canada 444.8
  2. Russia 437.8
  3. USA 433.9
  4. Europe 432.3

And, for those who might be interested, the totals for each discipline:


  1. Jennifer Robinson: 146.3
  2. Caryn Kadavy: 145.6
  3. Maria Butyrskaya: 142.5
  4. Oksana Baiul: 141.2


  1. Jamie Sale & David Pelletier: 148.8
  2. Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze: 147.7
  3. Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman: 144.6
  4. Radka Kovarikova & Anton Sikharulidze: 144.2


  1. Kurt Browning: 149.2
  2. Alexei Yagudin: 147.6
  3. Steven Cousins: 144.9
  4. Todd Eldredge: 143.7