U.S. Ladies Pick Up Two Medals at Four Continentsby Troy Schwindt
Photo by Paul Harvath
(1/28/06) - With the TV cameras in tight, Katy Taylor refused to believe she'd won the ISU Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Saturday afternoon until official word came down.
“I do believe now,” she said after the scores were posted for Japan's Yukari Nakano, the final competitor of the weeklong event held at the World Arena.
“Of course it is really exciting to win, but I was still proud of myself even if I came in second,” Taylor said. “I think the hardest part was when the results were coming in and the cameras were on me and not knowing what to expect.”
Taylor, second after the short program, placed second in the free skate behind Nakano and finished with a total score of 164.05. Nakano, the silver medalist, received a mark of 161.49, while Taylor's U.S. teammate, Bebe Liang, captured the bronze medal with a score of 159.91.
The victory for Taylor, who placed fourth earlier in the month at the State Farm U.S. Championships in St. Louis, came in her first senior international competition.
“I just wanted to go out there and do two good skates, and I did,” said Taylor, 16, of Houston.
All three medal winners displayed solid free skates, but each missed on their loop jump element, a fact that they addressed in the press conference after the event.
“I was really upset about missing my loop because it is one of my best jumps,” Taylor said. “I felt good going into it. I think I just pre-rotated myself, but I know I wasn't holding back. I think next time I can get it.”
Nakano, who placed third in the short program and first in the free skate, said the loop is an element she struggles with and today was an example of that. Liang agreed.
“In the past it hasn't worked well in competition,” Liang said. “But this time I think I just waited a little too long, I was too hesitant going into it. Hopefully next time I won't make that mistake.”
Twenty-three ladies took part in the free skate, including Christine Zukowski of the United States, who struggled to a score of 131.42 and a 10th-place finish.
“I felt the crowd was really behind me,” said Zukowski, who placed sixth at the U.S. Championships. “I think I just got a little tight when I got out there. I need to train a lot harder to stay on top.
“Always after competition, skaters go down a little bit and so it was kind of hard for me to get back up, but I was feeling good before I came here and I still feel good about myself.”
For Liang, who is finished with her competitive season, Four Continents proved to be a good competition to build on for her.
“Every time I go out there I have fun and I learn something, so it was a good learning experience for me,” Liang said. “Before coming to this competition I had trained really hard because it was so close to nationals, and I just know that no matter what I put into my practice it will come out in the competition. I can just trust that.”
Liang, who stole the show during her first-place short program, said she did her best to focus on today's free skate despite a couple of miscues.
“I was really excited after the short, and I tried to not let myself get too distracted because I know I have another program to perform,” Liang said.
Nakano will finish her season at the World Championships, while Taylor will compete at the World Junior Championships. Taylor said finishing the season like this should set the tone for the next four years.
“I this is a great time to really hit the standings, and I know four years is a long way, but it will come fast,” Taylor said. “This (win) is something I dreamed about it, but I wasn't expecting it. I work so hard all year, so it really feels good.”
Nakano attempted the triple Axel and appeared to land it easily, but upon review it was downgraded to a double Axel. That downgrade was the difference between a gold and silver for Nakano.