Ice Dancing, Free Dance
The Ice Dancing event concluded with an interesting Free Dance competition at a high level. Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder of France claimed the gold medal and the title. Canadians Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir took the silver and Russia’s Jana Khokhlova/Sergei Novitski captured the bronze. All three medalists stood on the World podium for the first time in their career.
Isabelle Delobel/ Schoenfelder delivered a beautiful performance of their “The Piano” Free Dance. The French completed a rotational lift in a low position, a intricate yet flowing footwork, a serpentine lift with changes of position and a curve-rotational lift. They received a level four for the steps and lifts and a level three for their spin to collect 104.96 points (53.57 element score/51.39 program component score), surpassing their previous personal best of 101.96 points from three years ago. They were ranked second in the Free Dance but remained in first place overall with 212.94 points.
“It is more than just being happy. It was a long way for us. It is our first medal at Worlds and it’s the gold medal, so this is just amazing”, Delobel said. “We did a great job. We focused on our technical elements but also skated with passion and emotion which gave us points for the presentation”. Her partner added: “For us, a dream has come true. We had a strong competition and tried to stay focused to the end. It is a long time I’ve skated with Isabelle and it is a long and a good story. It makes us experienced and we have confidence in each other, we know each other’s reaction. It’s not easy every day, but in the end it’s positive”, he explained, referring to the fact that the couple has been skating together for 18 years.
Virtue/Moir gave an inspiring performance of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”. They opened their romantic program with excellent twizzles followed by a curve-rotational lift and a combination spin. Their steps were difficult but looked effortless. The 2008 Four Continents Champions scored a new personal best of 105.26 points (54.69/50.59) and won the Free Dance by just 0.32 points. Overall they moved up from third to second at 208.80 points.
Khokhlova/Novitski’s dynamic performance to “Night on Bald Mountain” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King” was highlighted by their spectacular lifts and a dance spin with many changes of positions. Their side by side midline footwork was smooth and right on the music, but Novitski briefly slipped during the circular step sequence. The couple was awarded a level four for all elements except for the two step sequences that were graded a level three. The European bronze medalists earned 99.29 points (50.66/48.63) which added up to a total of 203.26 points.