ABC'S SPORTS PRESENTS
THE STATE FARM U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS
SATURDAY, JANUARY 15
4:00-6:00 P.M., ET
MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP, DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP -- LIVE
8:00-11:00 P.M., ET
LADIES' CHAMPIONSHIP, PAIRS' CHAMPIONSHIP -- LIVE
ABC TELEVISION NETWORK
Five-time World and eight-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan -- who will be vying for a record-tying ninth National title -- and three-time silver medalist Sasha Cohen lead the top U.S. skaters in ABC Sports' coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
In the Men's division, 2004 U.S. champion Johnny Weir will attempt to win his second title.
This will mark the 42nd consecutive year that the U.S. Figure Skating Championships have been televised on ABC Sports.
ABC's coverage of the State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships begins SATURDAY, JANUARY 15 (4:00-6:00 p.m., ET) with championships in the Men's Dance competition and live coverage of the Free Skate. Coverage continues in primetime (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET) with the Pairs' Free Skate and Ladies' Free Skate, live.
Editors please note: The State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships can also be seen on ESPN2 on THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 11:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m., ET. (8:00-10:00 p.m., PT), Original Dance and Pairs' Short; and FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., ET (7:30 -9:30 p.m., PT) Men's Short and Ladies' Short.
ABC's Sports' coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will be broadcast in HDTV.
Terry Gannon is the host of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. He will be joined by two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time World champion Dick Button, Olympic gold medalist and three-time World champion Peggy Fleming, Olympic silver medalist Peter Carruthers and former U.S. Ice Dance champion Susie Wynne, from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
STATE FARM U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS:
SATURDAY, JANUARY 15 (4:00-6:00 p.m., ET)
Men's Free Skate, Dance
The State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships gets underway on ABC Sports with the Men's Free Skate. Headlining the Men's division is current U.S. champion Johnny Weir, who goes for his second title. Weir will be challenged by an outstanding field that includes two former U.S. champions, Michael Weiss (1999, 2000 and 2003) and Timothy Goebel (2001). Also among the top contenders are Ryan Jahnke and Evan Lysacek. Jahnke made it into the spotlight this season by winning his first ever international medal at Skate America, when he defeated world silver medalist Brian Joubert of France to win the free skate. Lysacek is coming off a huge high note, placing second at Marshall's in Detroit, behind World champion Evgeny Plushenko.
In the Dance competition, Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto are the defending U.S. champions, and this year they've pulled away from the pack to show that they're one of the best teams in the world. They will be very tough to beat as they go for their second consecutive title. The husband and wife team of Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, reigning silver medalists, had a good season on the Grand Prix circuit and look to make the World team again this season. Also back to compete in this year's competition are Kendra Goodwin and Brent Bommentre, who finished fourth a year ago in the U.S. Championships.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 15 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET)
Ladies' Free Skate, Pairs' Free Skate
Championship action continues on Saturday night in primetime with the Ladies' Free Skate and the Pairs' Free Skate competitions. The Ladies' competition will be headlined by defending champion Michelle Kwan, a five-time World champion, who has a chance to win a record-tying 9th national title. Three-time silver medalist Sasha Cohen could spoil that record. The deep field in the Ladies' competition also includes Angela Nikodinov, who finished first at Skate America, Jenny Kirk, who was third in the U.S. championships and Amber Corwin who, in her 11th consecutive appearance at this event, looks to break into the top three for the first time.
In the Pairs competition, reigning U.S. champions Rena Inoue nd John Baldwin are the only team to qualify for the Grand Prix Final this season. Last year's silver medalists, Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash, will be hungry for their first title, but they will see a strong challenge from 2003 U.S. champions Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn. Jennifer Don and Jonathon Hunt will also challenge for a medal.
SMUCKERS' SKYCAM DEBUT ON ABC'S U.S. FIGURE SKATING COVERAGE:
ABC Sports will add a new production element to its coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. ABC Sports and ESPN2 will utilize the new Smucker's SkyCam for the first time in a major skating competition. SkyCam is a moving camera that will be suspended over the ice on a series of cables to provide viewers with unique camera angles. A similar SkyCam has been used on ABC's "Monday Night Football" and ESPN's NFL telecasts with great success. With the use of the SkyCam, ABC expects the fluent movement and innovative camera angles to enhance its presentation of the 2005 U.S. championships.
ABC's will focus on Michelle Kwan's attempt at her 9th U.S. title and on what it takes to be a champion. The network will use sound bites from a star studded cast of athletes that includes Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods and Mia Hamm.
The dangers of Pairs figure skating will be highlighted by segments featuring Paul Binnebose and World champions Tatyana Totmianina and Maxin Marinin.
STOMP AND THE U.S. FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS:
There are a lot of similarities between modern dance troupe STOMP and figure skating: timing... rhythm... motion... movement... artistry... STOMP and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships are definitely a great mix. STOMP will be used as an artistic thread for ABC's daytime and prime teases
Curt Gowdy, Jr., is the coordinating producer of ABC Sports' figure skating coverage and the producer of The U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Doug Wilson, who has directed the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on ABC Sports since 1967, is the director.