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Rink notes: Cinquanta outlines team event

Makarova benefits from move; the return of the quad

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and President of International Skating Union Ottavio Cinquanta (L) at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and President of International Skating Union Ottavio Cinquanta (L) at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(04/30/2011) - At his annual world championships press conference, ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta spent most of the time discussing his favorite initiative, the new Olympic team figure skating event.

"We waited many years, now we are ready," he said. "In 2014, in Sochi, the ten best teams in the world -- one lady, one man, one pair and one [ice dance] couple, a total of six skaters [per team] -- will all perform the short program. After the short program, they will pick up points according to their finish, 10 points, 9 points, 8 points and so on.

"The best five teams will proceed to qualify to skate the long program. At the end, the points will be aggregated, and whoever has the most will win."

After his remarks, Cinquanta entertained questions.

When will the event be held?
This will be at the start of the Games. After one day off, the individual events will begin. This is something very new, it means there will be five figure skating gold medals, instead of four.

How will teams qualify for the competition?
The best ten teams will be chosen on the basis of the performances of the previous [world] championships and when needed consideration will also be taken of the junior [world] championships.

Are there any plans to add a team event to the world championships?
At the Olympics there will be only ten teams, but the ISU is also responsible for weaker countries. So although I believe it would be consistent, and although I believe the ISU will adopt team competitions [eventually], an evaluation to consider is how many teams [to include]. In the Olympics, the IOC will tell you ten teams are good; the world championships are a different story.

France has been awarded the 2012 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, but we have also heard France wishes to offer the championships to Japan.
The decision of the ISU council is that the championships have been allocated to France, to Nice, not to any other place, including Japan.

What has the ISU done to encourage the IOC to add a synchronized skating event to the Olympics?
Synchronized skating is part of the ISU family and is duly respected by us. A team synchronized skating has 16 individuals. If ten teams with alternates [compete at Olympics] that is about 200 people. Now the situation becomes technical and organizational. Why technical? Because to permit a team to offer strategies, lines and wheels, the team needs [living] space and ice time.

That doesn't mean [the ISU] will not try. We have to be cautious and make proposals at the right moment. There is a problem with the number of people staying in the Olympic Village.

What are your feelings about reinstating Evgeni Plushenko to eligible competition?
At the moment he is out, but the ISU has good rules. But the possibility he can be reinstated, if the Russian Skating Federation writes the letter to us. It must be through the Russian Skating Federation, not directly from him, and then the ISU can consider.

How would you rate Russia's organization of this world championships?
I would give them an eight out of ten, but only because I am not very generous.

Training move suits Makarova
Ksenia Makarova, eighth at the 2010 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, looks to better her placement here after placing a surprising third in the short program.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Makarova moved to the U.S. when she was eight with parents Larisa Selezneva and Oleg Makarov, longtime Soviet pair competitors who won the 1984 Olympic bronze medal as well as two European titles.

The family, which also includes nine-year-old Alexei, a swimmer, eventually settled in Newburgh, N.Y., and Selezneva and Makarov coach at the Ice Time Sports Complex and other area rinks. At one time, Makarova competed in the U.S. at the novice level.

After winning the Russian title in 2010, the 18-year-old dropped to fifth place this season. Immediately after, she moved from Hackensack, N.J., where she had been training under Galina Zmievskaya, and resettled in her family's hometown of St. Petersburg.

"I changed my skating career a lot, it's made me a lot different person," Makarova, who now trains under Evgeni Rukavitsin, said.

"I have my own doctors, my own choreographer. My entire training routine is different, I'm working a lot harder."

"She lives in our apartment in St. Petersburg, we kept this apartment after we moved to the U.S.," said Makarov said. "My mother lives five minutes away, so she helps Ksenia.

"It's a hard life for a girl, she is so busy. But she is happy."

Ksenia will return to the U.S. after Moscow to take her final high school exams in June. An honors student, she maintains more than a 96% average.

Mixed zone quick hits
Disappointed in his fifth-place finish, Japan's 2010 world champion, Daisuke Takahashi, plans to compete next season but would not commit to Sochi 2014. Miki Ando, who became the first (and thus far, only) lady to land a quad in competition back in 2002, says she would like to show the world "one more quad" in competition. Return of the quad: Three competitors: Patrick Chan, Artur Gachinski, and Ryan Bradley -- successfully landed quads in their short programs. These three, plus another five -- Takahiko Kozuka, Brian Joubert, Michal Brezina, Javiar Fernandez and Kevin van Der Perren -- landed quads in their free skates. Chan did two quad toes, while Brezina and Fernandez did both toes and Salchows.