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Trophee Eric Bompard notes

Ice dancers at this year's Trophee Bompard, like Meryl Davis and Charlie White, had to perform their routines on very little sleep.
Ice dancers at this year's Trophee Bompard, like Meryl Davis and Charlie White, had to perform their routines on very little sleep. (Getty Images)

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By JC Berlot, special to icenetwork.com
(11/18/2007) - Ice Network correspondent JC Berlot gives the behind-the-scenes scoop from this year's 2007 Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire in Paris.

How many hours of sleep do you get per day?

"Yesterday we slept 3 hours between the compulsory waltz and the original dance," American ice dancer Charlie White explained on Friday morning. The ice dancers took the ice at 8:15 a.m. for their last official practice session, and then they went back to the hotel to sleep. At 1:00 p.m. they were back on the ice for their compulsory waltz, and then back to the hotel to sleep again. At 9:00 p.m. they returned for the original dance and finally could go back to sleep for the night. Saturday was the same, with an official practice starting at 7:00 am and the free dance starting at 2:00 pm.

"Each time I wake up and I say to myself, 'Whoa -- this is a new day,'", White said afterwards.

What is a photographer without objectives?

The French have their own way of organizing an event. Early Saturday morning we found the press room closed. Skaters were already practicing.

"I could not take my camera, which I had left in locker in the press room", one photographer states. "I had to wait for an hour before I got it".

He felt so embarrassed the whole hour, not knowing where to go or what to do.

"I feel naked without my camera", he explained later, his precious camera finally hanging around his neck. "As we say at home, I finally got my pants on!"

Mao's downs and ups

When she left the Japanese television crews Friday night after her winning short program, Mao Asada started crying. She managed to hold her tears during the press conference but then she cried again and spent the rest of the evening with tears in her eyes.

Was it because she had singled that triple loop in her combination? She had successfully landed her triple Lutz to triple loop all day long, and the feat had eluded her tonight. Yet she had won! Was it rather because her coach, Rafael Arutunian, had taken his bad look right before she started to skate to give her more energy? In some cultures it will be understood as a way to stimulate and give stamina. In some others it will be taken as a threat.

Who knows what goes through the mind of a champion?

"You know", her agent explained later, "Mao really loves the program Tatiana [Tarasova] made for her. She would like to make it perfect. She was so nervous..."

Saturday morning Mao was fresh again on the ice. This time she tried her triple axel successfully. Saturday night she fell on it, but her smile was soon back.

"I skated well!" she said with a laugh.

"Tomorrow will be a big fight!"

Maxim Trankov and Maria Mukhortova of Russia are back.

"We were world junior champions but then we changed coaches and it did not work", Maxim explained in a near perfect English. "We have lost a lot of time, and we now see couples who were behind us being in front of us. So we are late, and we need to move up".

The pair has started working with coach Oleg Vassiliev last December. They finished 3rd after short program, but Maxim advised right away that, "Tomorrow will be a big fight!" They ended third overall, but they are back.

Watch for spins!

At not even 17, Patrick Chan of Canada has become the youngest winner of the Eric Bompard Trophy. He chose to skate his free program to Vivaldi's "4 Seasons".

"Stephane Lambiel's program two years ago did inspire me," Chan said. "When he won the world championships two years ago, I immediately asked my coach if I could skate to it also, and he accepted. Then Lorie Nichol made the choreography".

His program was absolutely flawless, except for a fall on his final spin at the very last second.

"I did tumble on the same spin at Skate America", he explained later. "Here I was hoping not to fall, but these things happen," he said in a laughter, his gold medal around his neck.

History is made in Paris

Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent have made it. The American couple successfully landed their trademark throw-quadruple Salchow. Their free program was absolutely flawless and they beat again their personal best by more than 13 points, only two weeks after they had improved it already at Skate Canada. As soon as they left the ice, the duo ran to the TV monitor backstage. They ask their coach Doug Ladret to make a photograph of themselves in front of the magic screen. ESPN cameras soon join them. On the second line it shows: "4STh, 8.60". Their Quad has been validated by the judges. "This will remain as the first quad throw jump ever done in an international event", Doug Ladret stated right after making the shot.