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ISU Grand Prix Skate Canada International Day 2
Skate Canada International concluded Saturday in Saint John, NB, with the Pairs, Ladies, Men’s Free Skating and the Free Dance. Skate Canada is the second of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) clinch Pairs gold
Italy’s Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek clinched the Pairs gold medal, the first Grand Prix gold medal for an Italian Pair team. Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China claimed the silver medal while overnight leaders Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada settled for the bronze.
Performing to “Dracula” by Philipp Glass, Berton/Hotarek completed a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow. The European bronze medalists achieved a level four for two lifts and the pair combination spin and earned a personal best of 124.54 points which added up to 193.92 overall and they moved up from second place to take the title. “It is a big surprise for us. We just went out today and wanted to do our best like we do every day and today we had also a little bit of luck. In first place we are happy with how we skated, and of course we are happy with the placement”, Hotarek commented.
Sui/Han opened their “Kalinka” program with a quadruple twist followed by a triple toe-double toe-double toe (she underrotated the last jump) combination.
The three-time World Junior Champions also landed a throw triple flip and Salchow to score 125.75 points. They won the Free Skating portion and moved up to second at 193.77 points overall. “I think we are lucky to be in second place today. In this long program today we just failed a little bit, but I think this program is very good for this competition. We did our best for the audience”, Han said.
Duhamel/Radford’s program to “Alice in Wonderland” included a triple twist, throw triple loop and Lutz, but they aborted their Axel Lasso lift and received low levels for the spins and the death spiral. Duhamel/Radford earned 121.05 points and totaled 190.62 points. “Both Meagan and I felt very happy about the performance but disappointed with the result. It was an unexpected result. Of course, the (missed) lift, we know that is about eight points, but almost every other element we did didn’t get the level we were expecting and that left us in third place”, Radford noted.
Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers (CAN) pulled up from sixth to fourth (159.82 points). Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) finished fifth (158.83 points) and Lindsay Davis/Rockne Brubaker (USA) placed sixth (153.71 points).
Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) skates to Ladies gold
Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia skated to the gold medal in the Ladies event. Akiko Suzuki of Japan moved up from third place to take the silver and Gracie Gold (USA) earned the bronze medal.
Lipnitskaia nailed a triple Lutz-triple toe, a double Axel-triple toe-double toe combination as well as four more triple jumps and impressive spins in her routine to “Schindler’s List”. The 15-year-old from Moscow set a new personal best for herself in the Free Skating with 131.34 points and also overall with 198.23 points to earn her first Grand Prix gold medal.
“Today I am very happy, because I did everything as I wanted, and the final spin worked out. I never really think much about when I won something, but I need to continue to work and to win. You always have to move forward”, the 2012 World Junior Champion commented.
Skating to “Phantom of the Opera”, Suzuki produced four good triple jumps as well as three level-four spins, but she stumbled on a triple flip and two triples were underrotated. The 2012 World bronze medalist scored 127.99 points and accumulated 193.75 points. “When I chose “The Phantom of the Opera” for the Olympic season, I thought it would be difficult, because so many people have skated to it, but I got a good reaction from the crowd and I think this is a good program for me”, the 28-year-old explained.
Overnight leader Gracie Gold (USA) started strongly into her “Sleeping Beauty” program with a triple Lutz-triple toe and a triple loop, but later fell on a triple Lutz and stumbled on a triple Salchow attempt. With a Free Skating score of 117.20 points and a total of 186.65 points, the U.S. teenager dropped to third. “It was not a perfect performance, and I’m looking forward to going home and my training and a better performance at NHK Trophy and U.S. Nationals. But a bronze medal at a Grand Prix event is something I will always take”, Gold noted.
Christina Gao (USA) finished fifth (173.69 points) followed by Amelie Lacoste (CAN, 163.11 points) and Courtney Hicks (USA, 162.00 points). Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) withdrew due to a hamstring strain to her right leg before the Free Skating. She stood in fifth place following the Short Program.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) claim Ice Dance gold
Canada’s Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir claimed the Ice Dance gold while their teammates Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje took the silver medal. The bronze went to Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA).
Virtue/Moir put out a strong Free Dance set to “Petit Adagio” and “Waltz in Concerto No. 2” by Alexander Glazunov as well as “Allegro Moderato” by Alexander Skriabin.
The Olympic Champions picked up a level four for the lifts, the spin and the twizzles while the step sequences were rated a level three and two. Virtue/Moir earned 107.88 points and overall had 181.03 points to claim their fifth Skate Canada title. “Tessa and I were pleased with tonight’s performance. We felt like we had good attack again on the ice. For Tessa and I it is really about creating a moment in the program and we felt we were able to do that for ourselves hopefully fans felt it as well”, Moir commented. “For Tessa and I winning the Olympics is our main goal. We don’t want to be compared to anyone else. We wanted to create something that is special and having music that nobody ever skated to is motivating for us”, he added.
Weaver/Poje had opted for a lyrical Tango selection from “Maria de Buenos Aires”. The 2010 Four Continents Champions earned a level four for all elements except the footwork sequences that garnered a level three. With 104.88 points, the Canadians improved their personal best by 4.70 points and posted a new personal best total score as well with 175.23 points. “Our free dance felt pretty strong tonight. We felt like we stayed true to characters, which was one of our biggest goals, and we also achieved very high levels with was another goal. I think that we definitely got this program out on the right foot and we are looking forward to improving upon it for our second Grand Prix in Moscow”, Weaver said.
Hubbell/Donohue’s dance to “Nocturne into Bohemian Rhapsody” was highlighted by difficult lifts and smooth footwork. The couple from Detroit scored 92.28 points which added up to 153.20 points overall, slightly above their previous personal best from Skate America last week. “We are very excited, it is both our first podium at a Grand Prix event. We’re very proud of ourselves. We’ve put a lot of work in. We feel that we improved upon our skating at every event”, Hubbell shared.
Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko (RUS) remained in fourth place at 145.56 points. Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam (CAN) moved up from seventh to fifth (143.77 points) and Nelli Zhiganshina/ Alexander Gazsi (GER) finished sixth (138.16 points).