LIVE BLOG: Ladies' free skate - Macleans.ca
 

LIVE BLOG: Ladies’ free skate

Joannie Rochette takes the bronze!


 

7:45pm
The final round of ladies figure skating will start in 15 minutes. It’s airing on TSN. At the risk of sounding repetitive (see Tuesday’s skate live blog), forget hockey. This is where the drama will unfold.

7:55pm
To set things up: Yu-Na Kim of South Korea, who is coached by living legend Brian Orser, is in first with a world record-breaking score.

Arch rival Mao Asada is in second—she landed a triple axel on Tuesday, the second woman ever to do so at the Olympics (first was countrywoman Midori Ito in 1992).

Also from Japan, Miki Ando is holding forth, another serious contender for a medal tonight.

And in third is Joannie Rochette, who stole the show on Tuesday with an emotional, stunning display of grace and power after her mother died of a heart attack on Sunday.

There are 24 skaters taking the ice tonight. These heavy weights are in the last flight.

8:02pm
First glimpse of Kim and Rochette. Both wearing blue costumes.

8:05pm
Canadian skater Cynthia Phaneuf is competing as well, in the 7th spot.

8:06pm
Black just spilled beans: apparently RBC provided tickets for the parents of Turkey’s Karademir to attend the Olympics. They weren’t able to get them online…

8:07pm
Speaking of Karademir, she’s up. In a black and blue dress. Missed the double toe loop in her combination jump, and then fell.

8:09pm
Singled the next jump, then doubled what should have been a triple. Mama and papa will still love her.

8:11pm
This is a loooong four minutes.

8:12pm
Pops is smiling, and Mom is waving the Turkish flag.

8:14pm
Karademir is sitting lady-like, legs crossed, while awaiting score. Shaking her head. Total score (TS): 129.54.

8:15pm
Spain’s Sonia Lafuente is on. Wearing all white. Big fall on her first jump. Should have been a triple flip.

8:16pm
Recovers with a triple loop. Fancy footwork follows.

8:18pm
That’s never been done before in skating. She just “wiped the dust off” her hip. Like Jay-Z does with his shoulder.

8:20pm
Triple toe in the second half of the program, rather than at the start, means more points. They value effort at the Olympics.

8:21pm
Blows kisses with a purple skate guard in hand. Pulls coaches sitting on either side of her in for hugs. Score: 83.77 (missed the total score). No love from the judges.

8:22pm
China’s Yan Liu is on. Wearing red. Why red? Why not? Her music is “Why are the flowers so red?” Why not?

8:24pm
Solid triple toe loop.

8:25pm
Triple salchow-double toe, nice. Black: “She is landing everything here!” You’d hope. Don’t jinx.

8:26pm
Jinxed: singled a triple!

8:27pm
Commentators say she is too “business like” between the jumps. Smiles to finish.

8:30pm
Double wave from Liu. Her coach has one hand on her back. TS: 143.47.

8:31pm
Estonia’s Elena Glebova is on wearing red, pink and black. Won’t see as many triples from her, we’re hearing. Way to set expectations nice and low, commentators.

8:32pm
They really rub it in too: “Well executed double axel.”

8:33pm
Planning a triple triple mid-way through, which is rare, they say. Why? No clue. But she does it! “Beautifully!” commentators concede. Take that.

8:34pm
Glebova gets too hot to handle: Fall on the triple salchow.

8:35pm
Skates off with hands on hips.

8:38pm
Blowing kisses, double waves. You’d think choreographers would come up with creative moves for this awkward time waiting for scores. TS: 134.19, for second. Liu is still in first.

8:39pm
Uzbetkistan’s Anastasia Gimazetdinova is on. In purple. She’s the oldest skater tonight: 29. On Tuesday she was referred to as a “grande dame.”

8:40pm
Landing jumps with flare. Despite her “age” she is finally able to express music well, we hear. Like a fine wine, better with time!

8:42pm
Nearly slips on a landing. Saves it. Fighter. But oh! Falls on the circular sequence. Silver lining? No chance of brittle bones at 29.

8:45pm
Smiling, waiting and blowing kisses alternately. Pecks coach on the cheek. Biting lower lip. TS: 131.65. Rolls eyes, shrugs. In fourth.

8:46pm
Coach pats Germany’s Sarah Hecken on the hand before she skates off to start her routine.

8:47pm
Wearing dress with splatters of blue, like it’s been hit with paint balls. Sticks her triple toe-triple toe.

8:49pm
Her face doesn’t display “the nuances of the music” as well as the next skater. Oh the comparisons! Can’t she have her own moment here?

8:50pm
Big smiles, landing jumps. There’s that facial expression!

8:51pm
Music just turned orchestra-techno. Like symphonic with a pop beat. And Hecken ends with a fist pump!

8:53pm
Phaneuf is next. Doing squats to warm up. Wearing a green dress with LOTS of BIG amber jewels on it.

8:54pm
Hecken’s TS: 143.94 for first place! She’s delighted, smiling, shrugging. Commentators impose own take on what she must be thinking: “To say one time—one time—I was the leader at the Olympics.” Read: This won’t last long.

9:00pm
An aside: Just learned that the Canadian women’s hockey team took gold! A good omen for the Canadian figure skaters. Now, with that distraction out of the way, here is Phaneuf.

9:02pm
She is gorgeous. Her music has some Cleopatra theme. Explains the centre-parted hair.

9:03pm
Nails her triple toe-double axel. But falls on her next jump! Lands the others.

9:04pm
Commentators say she made a mistake. Can’t specify what. Then singles an axel.

9:05pm
Choreography is being called a “masterpiece.” Dramatic, anyway. So were those solid jumps.

9:06pm
Finishes. Looks to the ceiling.

9:07pm
Hugs her coach as she skates off. Doesn’t look happy. Seems to reject someone offering a teddy bear. Not a fair substitute for a medal?

9:08pm
She too is sitting with legs crossed awaiting the score. Her coach lifts up Phaneuf’s chin with one finger. Chin up! Phaneuf sticks out her tongue and smiles. TS: 156.62, for first! For now.

9:10pm
Finland’s Kiira Korpi is on, landing high, powerful jumps.

9:11pm
Her dress: blue sequins bodice, black skirt, red capped sleeves.

9:12pm
She is the most sought-after endorsement athlete in Finland. That’s because she’s so pretty, we’re hearing. Seems believable.

9:14pm
Finn finishes with a grin!

9:16pm
Korpi’s TS: 161.57, to steal first from Phaneuf.

9:17pm
Aussie Cheltzie Lee, a former gymnast, has only been skating for six years, and Black says that’s “ridiculous.” Wearing purple and black.

9:18pm
Huge jumps go off without a hitch. But she’s only doing two types of triple jumps. Later we’ll see four or five types, apparently. But how many of us could tell the difference?

9:21pm
She falls. And doesn’t scramble to get up. Slides and pauses there, legs outstretched in front of her on the ice. Only had 40 seconds left to go. That must hurt.

9:23pm
She’s saying hi to Gabby, Brian…? Smiling, rubbing her thighs. Winces at her score: 138.16. Gets a hug from coach.

9:25pm
Switzerland’s Sarah Meier making sure her laces are tight before taking the ice. Wearing all white. Her routine is a version of Romeo & Juliet.

9:26pm
Lands triple lutz-double toe. But doubles what should have been a triple flip. And then does that again.

9:28pm
Commentators called her “underachieved” and “slow.” But she’s smiling, which is more than others have done so far.

9:30pm
She can spin!

9:32pm
Her coaches are with her, rubbing her arm and back. They’re smiling, but she’s not. Seems to be angry. Rolling her eyes. TS: 152.81, for third. Expressionless.

9:33pm
Hungarian Julia Sebestyen is on, wearing vibrant royal blue dress. Slips on the landing of her first jump.

9:35pm
Recovers with a high triple flip. Commentators wishing she had more expression.

9:37pm
Her routine was “front-loaded” with jumps, slow ending.

9:39pm
Seeing Asada come in, iPod in ears. Was it her who, while awaiting her score on Tuesday, thanked someone for making sure she didn’t forget to bring it with her that night?

9:40pm
Double waves from Sebestyen. TS: 151.26. Coach kisses her head.

9:41pm
Min-Jung Kwak, 16, from Korea. Black calls her “mini Yu-Na”. Wearing a black and turquois dress. Skating to Les Misérables. Sticks her triple lutz.

9:42pm
Misses her double toe on a triple lutz.

9:45pm
Crowd is loving her spins.

9:46pm
Huge applause. Black calls her “the future” of skating.

9:48pm
Kwak couldn’t be happier. Has her hands in prayer pose. Squeals and puts her hands on her cheeks, like Home Alone at her score: 155.53 for third!

10:09pm
We’re back after a 15 minute break. I just did a little math, and I bet this could be done in 2.5 hours rather than 4.5 hours if only there were fewer breaks. Just saying.

10:10pm
Rochette is in the building! She’s walking in. Her dad is here too, in the stands. Both composed. Imagine what they’re feeling.

10:11pm
Russian Alena Leonova is on. In black and royal blue. She’s skating to the sound track of Chicago. Stumbles coming out of two jumps. Nice triple flip-double axel.

10:14pm
Slowing down.

10:15pm
Speeding up.

10:16pm
Finishes with a big fist pump, and woah, pulling her hair. Wow. She’s pumped.

10:18pm
Blowing kisses. Seems that one hand is gloved, one not. She is still excited! Speaking Russian really fast. So it sounds. TS: 172.46, for first. Double thumbs up and a stuck out tongue!

10:19pm
Japan’s Akiko Suzuki doing West Side Story in a red dress. Nice three jump combination.

10:20pm
So light on her feet.

10:21pm
Big smile with a side of spiral.

10:22pm
Doubled a triple flip. But pulls off a great triple lutz. She’s got fans in the stands.

10:23pm
Music change and a burst of energy. Some arm twirls at her side. And quick steps. Peanut gallery says it looks like the Elaine dance on ice. But elegant!

10:24pm
Wow, she is moved to tears as she finishes. Overcome with emotion, covers her face with both hands. The crowd is excited!

10:25pm
Double wave from Suzuki. She’s regained her composure. TS: 181.44! That’s first! Eyes bug out, big smile to her coach.

10:27pm
Italian Carolina Kostner is up, also in blue. Lots of blue! Blue is the new black. Bach is on.

10:28pm
Ooh. Slips on her first jump.

10:28pm
Like we heard on Tuesday, she moves too fast into her jumps. Falls again!

10: 29pm
Gets the next jump. Black says she struggles with consistency. Yes.

10:30pm
Oh again! Falls. These are big, hard falls. And again! Oh my.

10:31pm
Lands the next jump. Thank goodness for inconsistency.

10:32pm
Wow, finishes with her her head in hand, and slow glide bent over. Stands up, bonks her forehead with her hand. But smiles at least!

10:34pm
Kostner holding back tears. Throws her hands up in the air: 151.90, for seventh.

10:35pm
Laura Lepisto of Finland, taking her full minute to settle onto the ice. Starts off time of the music. Oh no, the wrong music played or something. Rolls her eyes! Justifiable.

10:36pm
Wearing red, skating tango. Huge triple combination.

10:39pm
“Crisp and powerful” and “effortless” jumps. Indeed. Smiling, very expressive face.

10:40pm
Finishes with a self hug. She’s happy.

10:42pm
We see Rochette walking with coach, she’s in black tights, grey t-shirt. Seems strong.

10:43pm
“Woah!” says Lepisto. 187.97 for a big first!

10:44pm
Russia’s Ksenia Makarova is on. Wearing royal blue, with a little orange thing on one hip, like you’d have in flag football.

10:45pm
Lands her triple combination. Solid jumps. Striking lay back spin. Tad unsteady spiral.

10:47pm
Nailing jump after jump! But slips on a spin. Finishes with fast spin sequence.

10:50pm
Waiting for score, yelling lots of things into the camera, some in English such as “all my schools”…? TS:171.91, for fourth.

10:51pm
Georgian Elene Gedevanishvili is on, in bright red with a bit of gold. She’s a “fireball on the ice” we hear.

10:52pm
Big fall on her first jump.

10:53pm
Regains footing with triple toe-triple toe-double toe.

10:54pm
Crowd clapping to the beat of the music. But she has lost enthusiasm.

10:55pm
Finishes with a look of disappointment.

10:56pm
We see the glittery back of Rochette.

10:57pm
First air heart of the night from Gedevanishvili. She’s smiling. TS: 155.24, putting her in eighth. Mouths, “Woah.”

10:59pm
Rochette is on the ice, warming up along with the other five skaters left to show us their stuff. The crowd is roaring. She is wearing a turquoise dress with sequins.

11:02pm
Rochette tightens the lace of one skate. Her right one. She always puts her left skate on first. Coach says something to her, she nods, skates off.

11:03pm
We are seeing the commercials that air in Korea of Kim, and paparazzi around her.

11:05pm
We’re hearing that American Rachel Flatt is the “dark horse” tonight, a real threat because she is so consistent.

11:06pm
Rochette has left the ice.

11:07pm
Flatt is up, 17 years old, wearing red with gold sequins. She’s in fifth right now. Lands a solid double axel. Then triple flip-triple toe loop. Effortless.

11:09pm
Smiling. Apparently she spins slower than Kim and Asada, but she can land jumps like nobody’s business.

11:11pm
Commentators call her “Miss Consistency.” Finishes with a huge smile and a “Yes!” Blacks says: “Flatt out great!”

11:13pm
Wow, no idea what she’s motioning with her hands, looks like a C and an O. TS: 182.49, for second spot. Triple jumps were “downgraded.” Seems disappointed, but taking it in stride. “Okay,” shrugs. Commentators stunned.

11:14pm
Ando of Japan is skating to Cleopatra music. Wearing turquoise and gold dress and cuffs. Lands her triple combination. Apparently she’s been upping her routine all day. Her hair is half down, very Cleopatra.

11:16pm
Lands her second triple lutz. We’re hearing she appears cautious.

11:17pm
Smiles are nowhere to be seen. Not even after an amazing jump.

11:18pm
Finishes with slow smile, but not before shutting her eyes hard.

11:20pm
Waiting for score. Here it comes: 188.86, for first. Double wave, “thank you” and throws her head back. Relief?

11:21pm
“Queen Yu-Na Kim” as Black referred to her earlier is on now. Wearing royal blue. Apropos. Skating to Concerto in F.

11:22pm
Sticks her triple lutz-triple toe. And then a triple flip, with a smile to boot.

11:23pm
More magnificent jumps. “She is just ON.”

11:24pm
She moves with captivating ease.

11:26pm
Before she’s even done, Black can’t hold back: “One of the greatest free skates in Olympic history! It doesn’t get better!”

She’s crying. Skating slowly, folds in half, hands on her knees. Orser is smiling, raises his eyebrows. The crowd is hysterical.

11:27pm
Black isn’t sure anyone can match Kim’s performance. Not even Rochette?

11:28pm
Orser is so happy sitting next to Kim, his face is bright red. She is wiping her face with a tissue. Breathing heavy. Smiling. Score comes and Kim mouths “Oh my God!” 228.56! A NEW WORLD RECORD. She stands up and waves, and Orser lifts his hands in victory too!

11:30pm
Japan’s Asada is not to be outdone. She lands her triple axel, a stunning, rare accomplishment. And then does it again, in a combination. The crowd roars.

11:31pm
She is wearing a black and red dress, with black gloves. She moves with tremendous speed and grace. A lot of emotion in her face.

11:32pm
“These girls are here to fight it out tonight.” But then, a couple of stumbles, one going into a jump.

11:34pm
Finishes without much joy in her face. “She knows she gave some points back,” say commentators.

11:35pm
We see Rochette’s father in the stands. She takes the ice.

11:36pm
Double wave from Asada. Huge bouquet of red and white roses beside her. TS: 205.50, for second. She hasn’t moved her face and her gaze has been straight ahead.

11:37pm
Rochette’s name is announced. She is fixing her laces again. Wiping the snow from her blades. Nods to her coach. And she is settling on the ice.

11:38pm
Nails her first jump: triple lutz-double toe-double loop.

Oh, but steps out of her next jump.

11:39pm
Her eyebrows are furrowed.

11:39pm
She is gliding in a spiral.

The crowd is cheering spontaneously, emphatically.

11:40pm
Sticks her jump. And again.

11:41pm
Crowd is clapping to the beat of the music. Clapping to a symphony. She nails another jump, and bites her lower lip in determination on the landing.

11:42pm
The music isn’t even done, she’s still skating, and the crowd is thunderous. Her father is clapping. She is emotional, smiling, but composed. Taking bows in every direction, and the crowd is on its feet. Flowers are raining on the ice. She picks up a stuffed Olympic mascot and waves it to the crowd. Hugs Perron, who hands her pink skate guards.

11:44pm
She is speaking French to the cameras. Has her hand on her heart. Perron is hugging her tightly. TS: 292.64, for third. Rochette and Perron embrace, you can’t even see their faces they are so close together. They are both holding back tears. She waves to the crowd, and nods slightly.

11:45pm
Last skater of the night. If anyone will disrupt the medal standing now it’s her. American Mirai Nagasu. She is wearing a red dress with black sequins. Her second double toe is “iffy” say commentators.

11:47pm
The “best lay back of the competition.”

11:48pm
“A first-class spiral”

11:49pm
Lands yet another solid jump. And then the triple toe loop too, the last jump of her performance.

“She did everything she had to do here” says Black.

11:50pm
Finishes with a triumphant arm in the air, and a “Yes”.

“It will be very close” Black muses.

11:51pm
Nagasu saying hello to her mom and dad, among others, into the cameras. Drinking water. Saying more hellos and thank yous. Scores are not coming quickly. She seems happy, smiling for the cameras. Commentators very perplexed by the delay. Finally, the TS: 190.15. For fourth.

11:54
ROCHETTE gets bronze!

Rochette’s father is getting a huge hug in the stands. He is clapping.

Rochette “is a true Canadian Olympic hero!” proclaims Black.

11:55pm
Nagasu takes fourth with admirable grace and joy. She stands up and waves to the crowd and smiles huge. That is remarkable sportsmanship.

11:59pm
“I can’t believe it, and I’m really glad that I became Olympic champion,” says Kim in an interview. She is clearly emotional and still wrapping her head around this epic win.

12:00am
We are watching a replay of Orser as Kim did her performance and it is entirely endearing. He is bursting with pride, and almost mimicking her movements from outside the ice.

12:02am
The Mounties—and the medals—are on the ice!

12:03am
Rochette is back on the ice. Bowing. Smiling. She is beaming. Her father is too. He is holding back tears. She skates to the podium. Isn’t sure which one to take. Redirected, she hops on.

12:04am
Asada skates out, “Miss Triple Axel” as commentators call her, bows.

12:05am
Kim skates out, the crowd is still on its feat. She is smiling, and bowing. She hugs Rochette and Asada and takes the top spot. Clenches her hands at her sides and then releases.

12:06am
Rochette is named the bronze medallist. Big sigh, smile, wave to the crowd. The medal goes around her neck. She looks at it, holds it, says wow, shakes her head. The flowers are given to her. She is holding back tears. She raises the flowers, salutes the crowd. The tears have started. She wipes her eyes. She waves.

12:07am
Asada is given the silver medal, she smiles. It is around her neck, and she says thank you. She is pursing her lips. The flowers come. No smiles, she looks like she will cry. She looks at the silver medal. And then back to the crowd.

12:08am
Kim is announced as the gold medallist. She smiles, waves. Orser is clapping alongside Perron. She looks at the gold medal around her neck, picks it up and waves it at the crowd. The flowers are waved. The Korean anthem is playing.

12:10am
Kim is singing, with her hand over her heart. Rochette is still holding back tears, smiling through the moment.

12:11am
Kim is crying now, wiping her cheeks. The three medallists are all on the top podium, smiling. No tears for that photo.

12:12am
Rochette has a Canadian flag draped over her shoulders, Kim the Korean flag, Asada the Japanese. They smile. Cameras flash like lightening in the dim arena.

A massive sign in front of them says “Go Go Joannie.” Did she ever.


 

LIVE BLOG: Ladies’ free skate

  1. Come on Joanie!

  2. Thanks for your update! I missed the Russian's score as I was watching the medal ceremony for women's bobsleigh for a bit.

  3. Cleaner proformance by the american the canada or japan and got lower scores???????? We all base these games on the best of the best but clearly you dont have to do yor bes always…

  4. I am not trying to take away from them.. They all had great performances but come on.. 126 for a great performance and japan had @ major mistakes and got higher than 130.. where was the diductions

  5. It's shady.

  6. asada has two triple axles and didn't win gold? I guess this sport is not based on technical skills.

  7. I thought the Korean did an outstanding job, but I agree that the Japanese girl got a higher mark even with her flub than I would have thought. Rochette had a mistake too, though I was pulling for her. I think the last American did a better job–should have placed.

  8. The korean did an awsome job she was the clear winner hands down.. It should have been korea,canada, america 1,2,3 and as for asada,, Flat did the same and got a crap score with a great preformance on top so who's was better? not who went first or last.. And a clean program is better than one with a fault or two in it… Not sometimes (always)

  9. Greetings.. I'm from Ontario Canada, and am an avid olympian viewer. I was sorry to hear of Joannie's mother passing sudden.. I will say this.. Yes* she got a personal best, yes the korean, and the new olypian records stand as they are now… You showed courage hun,…. The reason i'm posting now, is the fact : Her mom's death did impact me, but i still enjoyed the canadian olmypics, considering the death on the luge course also. Well not anymore… 1 of my best friends passed away last night… I was with him last night, and we were at the pub, where he liked to go after work. We watched the olympics..My canadian olympics are now changed forever,……It's not fair.. why do the best 1's go all the time?. I so share the pain as a canadian atm…, n must go cry now.. Yes im a 39yr old male.. Ty people and ty the forums.

  10. ^^ meant as a definitive positive. My prayers go out to you hun.l. , her performance was flawless btw, im posting late~

  11. elena glebova je nejlepcii