Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) take Pairs gold
Canadians Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford took the Pairs gold medal. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov of Russia claimed the silver and the bronze went to Wenjing Sui/Cong Han. All three couples won their first medal in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Skating to songs by Muse, Duhamel/Radford produced a triple twist, throw quadruple Salchow, triple toe-double toe-double toe combination as well as level-four lifts and spins. The only glitch came when Duhamel put down her hand on the side by side triple Lutz. The World bronze medalists posted a personal best with 146.22 points and totaled 220.72 points. "We've been waiting a long time to do a performance like that in competition as we do every day at home. I think we really thrive under pressure and it's our fate to skate after a great performance, they (Stolbova/Klimov, RUS) really put the pressure on. Our goal coming into this was to stand on the podium as we never have before. I think we are also very proud to have a personal best score, not just a season's but a personal best for our long program", Duhamel commented.
Stolbova/Klimov's routine to "Notre Dame de Paris" featured a triple twist, throw triple flip and Salchow as well as a double Axel and six level-four elements. The Olympic silver medalists earned 141.39 points and accumulated 213.72 points overall. "I think today it was almost our best performance this year. Except for one little mistake we did all the elements well and we got all the levels we planned so I think it was good. But we understand that we should improve some technical elements to get more points", Klimov told the post-event press conference.
Sui/Han completed a quad twist, throw triple flip and Salchow as well as side by side triple Salchow, but Sui singled the toeloop. The Four Continents Champions scored 127.65 points which added up to 194.31 points overall. "First of all we are so happy to be at this competition, although we made some mistakes and felt very sad, we were happy to show the audience our skating and I think we are very lucky to get this place", Han said.
Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) finished fourth with 191.79 points ahead of Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN/187.79 points) and Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS/184.54 points).
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) skates off with gold
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia skated off with the gold medal and her teammate Elena Radionova earned the silver medal. Ashley Wagner (USA) pulled up from sixth to claim the bronze medal.
Tuktamysheva reeled off seven triples including a triple toe-triple toe combination in her program to "Batwannis Bek" and "Sandstorm" and picked up a level four for all spins and the footwork to score a personal best of 136.06 points. The Cup of China Champion accumulated 203.58 points overall to win her first medal at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. "I'm very happy and surprised I could do a clean free program for the first time this season and even happier to win the Grand Prix Final, especially as I was ill and wasn't in the best shape coming into this. It was hard at the end, my legs were heavy, but I'm glad I could battle this and fight right to my final breath. Now I will go back to St Petersburg and try to recover completely and skate well at Russian Nationals", the 17-year-old said.
Radionova's program to "Piano Concerto No. 3" and "Trio Elegiaque No. 2" featured a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, a triple loop-single loop-triple Salchow combination as well as three more triple jumps and three level-four spins. The two-time World Junior Champion scored 134.85 points which added up to 198.74 points. "I'm very happy with my free program, I skated well and clean and it wasn't too easy because I was ill before the event. But nonetheless I was pleased to skate, to do all my jumps and fix the small mistakes from the short program. I didn't think about placements. My aim this season was to skate always clean so I can say now that I more or less did that", the 15-year-old noted.
Skating to "Moulin Rouge", Wagner landed a triple flip-triple toe, four other clean triples and earned a level four for the flying sit spin. The 2012 Four Continents Champion picked up a seasons best with 129.26 points and collected 189.50 points overall to earn her second consecutive bronze medal in the Final. "Today was huge for me to come from last place to the podium is a huge accomplishment, especially against the best girls in world. Finally I got to show a clean triple flip-triple toe and I tried the triple loop half loop triple Salchow. I want to challenge myself with something new, hopefully by the time I get to nationals, I just have to figure out how to put together two clean programs because although this free went well, this competition as a whole was little wonky", the two-time U.S. Champion commented.
Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) finished fourth with 180.29 points. Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) dropped from second to fifth at 177.79 points and Rika Hongo (JPN) placed sixth with 176.13 points
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) dance to the title
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje of Canada danced to their first ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final title. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) took the silver medal and Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron of France moved up from fifth to secure the bronze. The three couples won their first medal in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Performing to a new arrangement of the "Four Seasons" Weaver/Poje completed intricate footwork and impressive lifts. The World silver medalists collected a level four for the lifts, twizzles and spin and a level three for the two step sequences. They set a new personal best with 109.80 points for themselves and totaled 181.14 points. "Andrew and I couldn't be more pleased with our performance today, it was definitely a personal best not only in terms of the score but in terms of the skate. Everything came easily, we felt calm and prepared and I think that's the best zone to compete in. Between these two days I think we can say it's been our best competition yet, certainly so far this season, and we look forward to building on this momentum for the rest of the season", Weaver said.
Chock/Bates turned in a strong performance to "An American in Paris" by George Gershwin, picking up a level four for five elements and a level two and three for the footwork. The Skate America Champions scored 102.03 points and had 167.09 points overall." We are really happy with how we skated today. It was so much fun, truly fun to skate today. We were in sync, connected, and like Kaitlyn said that's a really good zone to be in. The crowd was so supportive, it was a ton of fun, it's so great to skate when the crowd is really receptive. Following yesterday it's a big improvement so we are really happy to finish the competition in the way we did", Chock explained.
Papadakis/Cizeron produced an elegant dance to the Adagio from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23. Two lifts and the spin merited a level four while the twizzles and the diagonal step sequence were graded a level three. The French scored 100.91 points for their Free Dance and had a total score of 162.39. "Today was a good performance, we were really focused on the program. We still have to improve technical things like the twizzles and the curve lift but so far it's one of our best programs", Cizeron shared.
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) slipped from third to fourth (158.94) points followed by Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN/158.16 points) and Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS/156.46 points).
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images