Kostner, Joubert earn titles at Challenge Cup

Abbott settles for silver, Czisny bronze; Amodio withdraws after hurting groin in practice

Carolina Kostner finished head and shoulders above the competition in the Netherlands.
Carolina Kostner finished head and shoulders above the competition in the Netherlands. (Getty Images)


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By Kristin Zinsmeister, special to
(03/10/2012) - Italy's Carolina Kostner, in the midst of her finest season to date, came up with another masterful performance, while veteran French skater Brian Joubert showed he still had some life in him yet as both won gold at the International Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

Senior Ladies

With an overall total of 197.73 points, Kostner outscored the competition by 26 points on her way to the gold medal. Skating to Mozart's "Concerto No. 23," she completed six triples, including a triple flip-double toe combination and a triple Salchow-double toe. Her free skate and short program earned 132.84 and 64.89 points, respectively.

Kostner's teammate, Valentina Marchei, garnered Italy another medal, earning the silver. Skating to music from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, among several other pieces, she completed a triple Lutz-double toe combination, a triple flip and a Level 4 change foot combination spin during her free skate. She earned 57.55 points for her short program and 113.45 for her free skate for a total of 171.00.

American Alissa Czisny took third overall, totaling 152.24 points. She was in second after the short program with a score of 59.82 points but struggled in the free skate, falling twice and receiving negative grades of execution (GOE) on six of her jump elements. Her free skate earned 92.92 points.

Senior Men

Joubert moved up from second after the short to first, scoring 227.28 points overall. He opened his Matrix free skate with a flawless quadruple toe that earned a base value of 11.3, followed by seven more triples, which included a triple Axel (-1 GOE) and a triple Lutz-double toe combination. His free skate garnered 148.49 points and his short program 78.89 points.

American Jeremy Abbott also moved up one spot, jumping to second after placing third in the short. Skating to "Exogenesis Symphony," Abbott landed a clean triple Axel-double toe and performed two Level 4 spins but had his opening quad toe downgraded and received negative GOEs on four of his other jump elements. He earned 145.81 points for the free skate and 223.78 overall.

Representing Italy, Samuel Contesti won the bronze. After placing fourth in the short with a score of 77.15, Contesti bounced back in the free skate to earn 144.82 points. The highlights of his "La Vie en Rose," "Ca Gaz" and "Valse a mille temps" free skate included his combinations -- a triple Axel-double toe-double toe and a triple Salchow-triple toe -- and two Level 4 spins. He earned 221.97 points overall.

Florent Amodio of France won the short program with a score of 82.48 points but withdrew from the free skate after injuring his groin in practice.

Junior Ladies

Team USA's Leah Keiser won the event, scoring 145.27 total points and placing first in both segments of the competition. Skating to Dr. Zhivago, Keiser started her free skate strong, landing a double Axel-triple toe loop that earned a base value of 8.1 points. She also completed three Level 4 spins, a triple flip-double toe loop-double loop combination and a triple Salchow. She earned 93.63 points for her free skate and 51.64 for her short program.

In second place was Gabrielle Daleman of Canada. She jumped from third after the short to second overall with 132.48 total points. She earned 47.06 points in the short program and 85.42 in the free skate. During her free skate, she completed a double flip-double toe-double toe, a triple toe and a triple Salchow along with two Level 4 spins.

Giada Russo of Italy captured the bronze medal with 130.25 points overall, moving up a spot from fourth to third. She landed two double Axels, one in combination with a double toe, and a triple Salchow along with two Level 4 spins during her free skate. She garnered 84.00 points in her free skate and 46.25 points in her short program.

Junior Pairs

Jessica Pfund and A.J. Reiss of the U.S. won gold by a 24-point margin, scoring 132.85 points overall. The duo executed side-by-side triple Salchows, two Level 3 lifts and a Level 4 combination spin in their free skate; they also also landed a throw triple loop in their short program. They earned 87.16 points for their free skate and 45.69 points for their short.

In second were Anastasia Dolidze and Vadim Ivanov of Russia. During their free skate, they completed a throw double loop and a Level 3 group three lift. They received 108.42 points overall, scoring 43.32 points in the short and 65.10 points in the free skate.

Third place went to Germnay's Vanessa Bauer and Nolan Seegert. The team jumped from fourth to second to earn the bronze medal. They scored 32.95 points in the short program and 70.92 points during their free skate, which included side-by-side double Axels and two throw doubles (loop and Salchow) along with a Level 4 pairs combination spin. Their total score was 103.87 points.