-- Michael Weiss had only one sure foot going for him in the men's short program Thursday night in Skate America.
"On Monday night when I was leaving my rink, I landed a jump and my heel separated from my boot and I never had anything like that happen in my life," Weiss said. "Luckily I had a new pair of skates ready that I planned on breaking in."
Weiss replaced only the damaged right skate and kept the broken-in left one for landings. But it didn't work. He fell out of a quadruple toe loop and was unable to complete his opening combination of a quad-triple toe loop at Mellon Arena.
"I was talking about it with my coach afterward because, sometimes, I two-foot the quad and, this time, I felt better doing it on one foot," Weiss said. "I have a brand new skate and a brand new blade and this is only the fourth time I've skated on it so, for that, I feel great."
Because Weiss couldn't complete the mandatory combination, he scored only a 64.82 and fell into second place behind Brian Joubert of France, who finished with a 72.10 despite a stumble of his own. Roman Serov of Israel was third at 62.24.
The short program counts as one-third of the total score. The long program, scheduled for Friday night, accounts for the other two-thirds.
"The rest of the program felt pretty good," Weiss said. "It was a good program to start on."
Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin of Russia eased into first place after the pairs short program with a near-flawless performance while skating to Ave Maria.
"For the first time this season, I though we skated okay," Totmianina said.
Totmianina and Marinin were followed by compatriots Julia Obertas and Sergei Slavnov with a score of 57.58. The Chinese pair of Dan and Hao Zhang was third at 56.98.
Americans Jennifer Don and Jonathon Hunt set a personal best with a 51.00 but that was only good enough for fifth place heading into Saturday portion of the event. The short program comprises one-third of the final score with the free skate long program the other two-thirds.