Men's: Canada's world champion withstood a fall on a triple Lutz and other missteps in his free skate to defend the Grand Prix Final title he won last season. "My training really helped me today," he said. "I had difficulty at the start of the program, and that is where training kicks in. You have to stay concentrated on your plan."Daisuke Takahashi had his finest free skate in recent memory to climb to second after placing fifth in the short. The Japanese skater just edged out Spain's (!) Javier Fernandez, who hit two different quads in his free skate and won bronze and was, in a word, spectacular! And quite adorable.
Pairs: Savchenko and Szolkowy and Volsozhar and Trankov gave the judges very little to choose between, since they both hit every jump, twist lift and throw in their programs, while performing with remarkable intensity and style. In the end, the German pair (and two-time World Champions) won, while the Russians took the silver and the Chinese settled for the bronze. The winning margin between gold and silver was 3/10s of a point! I doubt I was the only one who gasped at that!
Ladies: Carolina Kostner deservedly won the gold medal with an equally worthy Akiko Suzuki coming in second. Alissa Czizny of the U.S. was skating on an ankle that had been injured in the pre-competition practices. It was the "landing" leg ankle and the pain she was experiencing was evident in both her skating and her lovely face. Two Russian ladies were also in the final - both of them skated sloppily as the Russians frequently do. They think drama outweighs technical excellence over there. It doesn't.