U.S. Ladies Lead the Way at Four Continentsby Laura Fawcett
Photo by Paul Harvath
(1/26/06) - U.S. ladies occupy the top two spots after Thursday's short program at the 2006 ISU Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. Bebe Liang and Katy Taylor both skated clean programs and bettered their personal bests to lead the field of 26.
The most exciting (if one could call it that) moment of the night didn't even happen on the ice. As the first skater of the evening left the ice for her marks, power went out in the World Arena – leaving the fans confused and the lower corridors of the arena in complete darkness.
Power was restored in less than a minute but not before shaking up some of the skaters.
“I don't like the dark,” said Taylor, who was waiting just outside the skater's entrance for her turn to skate. “You know how when you're in the dark you think you're the only one automatically, and I'm like ‘Where's my coach?' “Where's my coach?'”
She added that after the initial shock, the blackout actually helped calm her nerves.
“The lights went out and it just kind of took everything away, and it was kind of weird,” she said. “It didn't make me nervous anymore because it was kind of a freak thing so I just went off and did my thing.”
Skating resumed after a 15-minute break, and the remaining ladies in the first group had another six-minute warm-up. Taylor showed she wasn't rattled by taking the lead with a solid program.
Taylor's score of 57.26 held up for about 90 minutes until Liang took the ice. This year's U.S. fifth-place finisher also soared through her program, breaking her international personal best by about eight points. She picked up level 4s on two of her spins, and her step sequences were both level 3.
“I was happy with my performance,” Liang said. “Before competition I am usually worried about everything. This time I just let it happen by itself because I know I can do everything in my program.”
Third place went to 2005 Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Yukari Nakano of Japan. Her combination was only called as a triple Lutz-single toe, and she had a forward landing on her triple flip.
“I was nervous today, and so the combination wasn't so strong,” she said. “After I finished third in the Grand Prix Final, I feel a lot of pressure.”
Christine Zukowski struggled early in her program, doubling an intended triple loop. She finished strong with a double Axel and level 4s on both of her spins.
“I doubled my loop, but otherwise I think it went pretty well,” she said.
The ladies competition concludes Saturday.