Rink side: November 16-22, 2009

Figure Skaters Online wraps-up some of the noteworthy figure skating headlines and stories of the week.

• Andre Lutai arrested after Skate America

Andre Lutai, the Russian figure skater who finished 10th in last weekend’s Skate America competition in Lake Placid, N.Y., was arrested late Sunday night after allegedly stealing a car and driving drunk, The Associated Press reported on Nov. 17.

Jamie Salé and Craig Simpson win Battle of the Blades

With no French judge in sight, Jamie Salé and Craig Simpson became the first-ever winners of Battle of the Blades, CBC’s smash hit series that will surely become a staple in the network’s annual programming. The Alberta duo beat out the previous week’s winners, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Claude Lemieux, to snag the Crystal trophy and $100,000 for their charity, the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre.

“I don’t think we ever thought we’d be standing here. We all wanted to be, but it’s definitely hard to believe right now,” a breathless Sale said afterwards to the Toronto Star. “I was really nervous heading into tonight.”

Jason Dungjen reflects on his career

Jason Dungjen is one of the best male pair skaters the United States has ever produced. Now married to former Japanese national champion and current pairs touring partner, Yuka Sato, Dungjen is now helping train skaters at the Detroit Skating Club, including the current U.S. men’s national champion Jeremy Abbott with the 2010 Winter Olympics approaching in February. Dungjen recently spoke to The Spinal Column about his experiences on the ice and how he’s passing them on to young skaters.

Rachael Flatt wins free skate in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Rachael Flatt won the long program at Skate America despite not receiving credit for her last spin, beating Korea’s Yu-na Kim’s score by nearly five points. But the 2008 World Junior Champion had help as Kim fell on her triple flip and struggled with two other jumps.

“I am honored to compete against the best in the world,” Flatt was quoted by the Golden Skate. “Unfortunately, she did not have her best skate, and I happened to skate well. Everyone has good and bad days…no matter how hard we try to have a good day everyday! But it feels fantastic to have skated so well and won the long program!”