Phaneuf struggles in free skate

Cynthia Phaneuf reacts after performing the ladies free program at the Skate Canada International...

Cynthia Phaneuf reacts after performing the ladies free program at the Skate Canada International figure skating competition in Kingston, October 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

MIKE KOREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:47 PM ET

KINGSTON — Cynthia Phaneuf wasn't even trying to hide her anger.

The native of Brossard, Que., who won the short program at Skate Canada International, unravelled in the free skate Saturday night, dropping her all the way to fourth.

Phaneuf, visibly upset with her performance, clenched her teeth when the music stopped.

“I'm very disappointed in myself,” said the native of Contrecoeur, Que., who seemed to be on the rise after a career-best fifth-place finish at last season's world championships.

“What can I say? I wasn't on top of my legs for the entire program ... In the warmup, I wasn't feeling great. But I don't think it's an excuse. I'm just very mad I couldn't put it all together on the ice and do what I do what I can do on the ice.”

Phaneuf's struggles opened the door for Amelie Lacoste of Delson, Que., who picked up a bronze medal after finishing fourth in the free skate. It was Lacoste's first medal in Grand Prix competition — junior or senior.

“I'm very proud,” said Lacoste, whose next Grand Prix is Skate America in Portland from Nov. 12-14. “To compete here in Canada and finish third is a big surprise. My goal coming here was top five. Third position is very good for me. It builds confidence for me.”

American Alissa Czisny easily won the competition with 172.37 points, while Ksenia Makarova of Russia came second.

Myriane Samson of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., the other Canadian in the women's event, finished seventh.

Phaneuf, after opening with a well-executed triple toeloop-double toeloop-double toeloop combination, started heading in the wrong direction on the second element of her routine, falling on a triple lutz.

“Even the jumps I was landing, I was not feeling great,” Phaneuf said. “I just lost my focus.”

Skate Canada has not been a fun event for Phaneuf. In the past four years, starting in 2007, she has been 10th, eighth, seventh and fourth at the Canadian stop on the Grand Prix circuit.

Phaneuf did win the event in 2004, following her national championship triumph.

“I don't think I will be doing Skate Canada next year,” Phaneuf said with a smile, pretty much the only time she laughed in the aftermath of her performance.

“I knew the crowd would be behind me,” she added. “For sure, I wanted to give them a good show. I would have loved to have won the competition in front of the Canadian crowd. It didn't happen.”

Phaneuf's other Grand Prix this season is the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris from Nov. 26-28.

Asked what she is going to do between now and then, she said, “Train. Train hard.”

As for Lacoste, she climbed to the Skate Canada podium after finishing sixth last year. Lacoste came fifth at the national championships last season.

Czisny, meanwhile, has enjoyed Skate Canada far more than Phaneuf. She has collected four medals in the past six Grand Prix events in Canada, including another victory in 2005 in St. John's, Nfld.

“I love skating in Canada,” she said. “Every year I'm invited always excited to come. Audience is great, really supportive.

The native of Sylvania, Ohio won the U.S. national championship in 2009 before dropping all the way to 10th last year.

The free dance for the ice dancers on Sunday wraps up Skate Canada.


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