Best skate, lowest marksLanglois and Archetto eighth after hose job by judges
By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun
DORTMUND, Germany -- Can do, Sandhu?
He'll have to do.
The on-off, hot-cold, high-low, yes-no guy is now Canada's go-to guy. Emanuel Sandhu is Canada's only remaining hope of continuing a run of 22 consecutive seasons placing people on the podium at the World Figure Skating Championships.
Judges hosed Canada's other hope here yesterday despite their best skate of the season.
"Their best performance and their lowest marks," said coach Jan Ullmark about Edmonton Royal Glenora skaters Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto, who ended up eighth in the short program.
"It doesn't make sense," Ullmark said of the pair which finished fourth at the Grand Prix final and fifth at Worlds last year in Washington, D.C.
The two nailed their short program in a performance which bordered on being heroic.
But the judges - proving again they have no intention of going straight after the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games scandal - placed Langlois and Archetto eighth while they proceeded to prop up back-to-back world champions Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China.
They sewered the Canadians to save the Chinese, who finished fourth to remain in the final flight for tomorrow's free skate final.
"Even David Dore told me he felt it was horse spit," Ullmark said of the ISU vice-president. "The Chinese fell. We should have beat them."
Hongbo went down on a side-by-side triple toe loop.
WON'T ZIP HIS LIP
Ullmark, who coached Sale and Pelletier, has no intention of going back to the zip-your-lip days after what happened in Salt Lake.
The only thing he could come up with in the judges' defence was "these two haven't practised well and sometimes they judge their practices."
Archetto made a gesture indicating his displeasure with the marks as he sat in the so-called Kiss 'n' Cry area.
"No, I'm not happy," he said.
"It's something I can't control. We were very pleased with our performance. There's nothing I can do."
Canada's other pairs team, Valerie Marcoux of St.-Leonard, Que., and Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., making their world championship debut, sit 10th after the short.
Sandhu, on the other hand, is in perfect position to keep the Canuck streak alive.
While it's only worth 20%, Sandhu won his section of the qualifying competition as the event opened here yesterday and effectively sits tied with reigning world champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia, who finished first in his division. The men's short program is tonight and the free skate final on Thursday.
"I'm proud of myself, proud that I kept it together," said Sandhu of not coming unravelled after falling on the Axel early in his program. It was the kind of thing that would turn him into a major mess a couple of years ago.
"The old me would have been worried about it but the more mature Emanuel knows how to come with that and to know it's not really that big a deal in the big picture if you do the rest of the stuff," said the 23-year-old native of Richmond Hill, Ont., skater who finished ahead of European champion Brian Joubert of France.
Sandhu landed an exquisite quad and seven triple jumps and was given marks ranging from 5.5 to 5.7 on the technical line and 5.5 to 5.8 on the artistic line.
There was great concern from the Canadian contingent here with the decidedly poor practices Sandhu had going into the skate.
"The first few practices here weren't exactly what I had planned on doing, but I had an awesome practice at 7:30 a.m."
But it was the injustice of the pairs short program that was the story of the day. The story should have been what Langlois and Archetto overcame to produce their best performance of the year.
Ullmark seldom shows any emotion behind the boards but nearly came out of his shoes and clapped with enthusiasm after the two landed their side-by-side triple toe loop.
"She's had migraine headaches since we arrived and a sore foot from her new boots. She received acupuncture and there was real concern about her.
"I usually don't show emotion. I expect them to do the jumps. But this time I didn't know."
Archetto said he was proud of his partner for getting it done.
"She had to fight it all week," he said of the migraine which forced her to miss practices.
The problem has existed in the past, once causing "one side of my face to shut down" and a fall on a lift.
But it wasn't just her.
Archetto was playing hurt, too.
Recovering from torn ligaments in a finger, Archetto's injury isn't a factor in jumps.
"On the death spirals, I have to squeeze his fingers hard," said Langlois.
This wasn't a say-you're-sorry story. Just another figure skating sorry story.