- Fukuoka, Japan
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continued Friday in Fukuoka (JPN) with the Junior Ladies, Junior Men, Junior Pairs & Men Free Skating, Pairs Short Program and Short Dance. The events feature the top six skaters/couples in each category from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Maria Sotskova (RUS) leads Russian sweep in Junior Ladies
Maria Sotskova led a Russian sweep of the Junior Ladies podium as she was joined by teammates Serafima Sakhanovich and Evgenia Medvedeva. All three Ladies had competed the first year on the ISU junior circuit.
Skating to “Pina”, Sotskova landed six triples including a triple Lutz-triple toe combination. Her spins and footwork all merited a level four and the 13-year-old scored a seasons best of 115.46 points and totaled 176.75 points. “I’m in shock. I was so nervous before the competition today. I didn’t know what do to with myself. When I hit the first combination Lutz-toeloop I was very focused on the flip, because it doesn’t always work in practice. After I hit the last double Axel I started really to have fun with the performance and at the end I was overwhelmed by emotion”, Sotskova shared.
Sakhanovich’s program to “Closed School” featured a triple flip-triple toe, a triple flip-single loop-triple Salchow sequence as well as three more triples and difficult spins. The 13-year-old collected 112.30 points, which added up to 172.86 points overall. “I felt satisfied with my performance. I had a bit of a hard time at the beginning but it went fine after all. I wasn’t nervous at all. I had a call from my mother and she encouraged me and told me not to get nervous”, the skater from St. Petersburg noted.
Medvedeva produced six triples in her routine set to “La Califfa” and “Never Gonna Miss You”
The Muscovite earned points which added up to 163.68 points. “I made a small mistake on my combination jump (double Axel-triple toe), so not everything was perfect. This is my first time being in such a big competition so it was a very good experience for me”, the 14-year-old commented.
Polina Edmunds (USA) pulled up from fifth to fourth and was ranked second in the Free Skating (161.71 points). Alexandra Proklova (RUS) finished fifth at 157.77 points and Angela Wang (USA) remained in sixth place at 131.58 points.
Boyang Jin (CHN) skates to Junior Men’s gold
China’s Boyang Jin (CHN) surged from fifth place to first in the Junior Men’s event.
Adian Pitkeev of Russia claimed the silver and Nathan Chen (USA) took the bronze.
Performing to “Charlie Chaplin”, Jin completed three quadruple jumps – a Salchow and two toes – as well as six clean triples to score a personal best of 150.31 points. Overall he racked up 218.73 points. “I am very happy to skate well, including the three difficult jumps (three quads), and my score was very good too. Compared to last year, this year I wasn’t so nervous like last year that is why I probably did better. I am also skating at a higher level now”, Jin commented.
Pitkeev’s routine to “Art on Ice” was highlighted by a triple Axel-triple toe, six more triples and two level-four spins. The 15–year-old picked up 144.00 points, new personal best, which added up to 216.24 points. “For myself I am very satisfied with my skating. I think I did well and the two medalists next to me, I was impressed with their skating as well. I worked hard in practice”, the Muscovite said.
Chen landed a triple Axel and seven more triples – all in the second half - in his program to “Summertime” and “Chatanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller. The 14-year-old earned 143.09 points and totaled 214.61 points. “I thought I did as well as I could have. Of course there is always room for improvement, but I think I did overall really well. I got my triple Axel which is definitely a big bonus for me, I got through the program with everything basically the way that I planned to go. It’s like a dream come true”, Chen commented.
Overnight leader Keiji Tanaka (JPN) slipped to fourth place (205.71 points). Alexander Petrov (RUS) came fifth at 198.63 points and Ryuju Hino (JPN) finished sixth (182.39 points).
Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) lead Pairs after Short Program
Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia took the lead in the Pairs Short Program followed by Germany’s Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy and Qing Pang/Jian Tong of China.
Performing to “Waltz Masquerade” by Aram Khatchaturian, Volosozhar/Trankov produced a triple twist, triple toe, throw triple loop and earned a level four for all elements. The reigning World Champions scored 82.65 points. “We were able to do a clean program like in the past three competitions and we are very happy about it. At first, we were very nervous because it is the last competition before the Olympics where all of the top skaters from the world come together. However, we were able to skate very well”, Trankov said.
Savchenko/Szolkowy’s routine to “When Winter Comes” was highlighted by a throw triple flip, triple twist, triple toes and level-four elements. The four-time World Champions set a new personal best for themselves with 79.46 points. They got one point deduction for a time violation. “We improved from our last competition and this was our goal. We took a big step forward”, Szolkowy noted. “We reconstructed our program and made a little change to the music. If in the end we’d lose a placement because of this one point it would be upsetting”, he added.
Pang/Tong landed a triple toe, triple twist and throw triple loop in their program to “Lady Caliph” to set a new personal best with 75.40 points. In the closing pose, he kissed his partner and fiancée. “I didn’t expect that I could perform that well so without thinking I kissed her. We did so well today. The performance is becoming more consistent compared to the beginning of the season”, Tong explained.
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) placed fourth at 73.07 points ahead of Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN, 68.87 points) and Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN, 68.77 points).
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) clinch narrow lead in Short Dance
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) edged out arch rivals Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir of Canada by 0.07 points for the lead in the Short Dance. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev are currently ranked third.
Davis/White turned in a strong performance to Quickstep and Foxtrot from “My Fair Lady” and picked up a level four for the side by side footwork, the twizzles, both Finnstep sequences and the rotational lift. The reigning World Champions scored 77.66 points, slightly improving their own record score. “We still have a lot more room to grow in this program and we are excited about that. But it definitely felt it was the best performance of the season and it’s nice to see it on the scoreboard”, Davis told the press.
Dancing to “Dream a Little Dream”, “Muskrat Ramble” and “Heaven”, Virtue/Moir skated excellently as well and also earned a level four for all elements. The Olympic Champions got a new personal best score of 77.59 points. “Tessa and I are extremely happy with our skate tonight. We’ve been training really well at home and we wanted to skate just as well. I found myself coming to this week really excited to compete with Meryl and Charlie. We both skated well and this narrow margin will be exciting for the fans and hopefully have more people interested in ice dancing”, Moir said.
Bobrova/Soloviev’s dance to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friends” and “I Will Wait For You” featured two level-four elements and a level-three Finnstep pattern. The World bronze medalists scored 68.90 points. “I think we skated better today than we did at Cup of Russia. I was able to skate smoothly and calmly so it felt very nice. We will skate our free dance with a very different emotion so we hope to focus and do our best tomorrow”, Bobrova shared.
Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) are within striking distance of the podium at 67.68 points in fourth place. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) are currently sitting in fifth with 66.63 points and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) came sixth (61.57 points).
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) skates off with Men’s gold medal
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan skated off with the Men’s gold medal. Canada’s Patrick Chan settled for the silver medal and Nobunari Oda of Japan picked up the bronze.
Hanyu missed the opening quad Salchow in his routine to “Romeo and Juliet” by Nino Rota but then rallied back to reel off a quadruple toeloop and eight triple jumps as well as two level-four spins. The reigning Four Continents silver medalist scored a new personal best with 193.41 points and totaled 293.25 points to win the Grand Prix Final one day before his 19th birthday. “I was not satisfied with my performance. I knew that Patrick Chan did a clean program because of the standing ovation and the high points. I was aiming for a perfect program, since it would have been nice to do one before Sochi. I think that I was able to push through the rest of the program (after the missed quad) because of the supporters in Japan”, the 2012 World bronze medalist said.
Performing to “Four Seasons” and “Concerto Grosso”, Chan nailed a quad-double toe combo and a quad toe as well as six triples. Two spins and the footwork garnered a level four. The three-time and reigning World Champion earned 192.61 points and had 280.08 points overall. “Today was a great day for me very happy with the way I skated. I felt very nervous and scared going to the long program. It was a real mental battle before when I stepped on the ice. This is a gold medal for me because I learned the fact that I get more satisfaction out of skating a good long program than winning the gold medal”, Chan commented.
Oda’s program to “Wilhelm Tell” featured a quad-triple toe combination, two triple Axels and four more triples, but he crashed on the first quad toe. The 26–year-old scored 175.02 points, just below his personal best, which added up to 255.96 points overall. “After I missed the quad, just like yesterday, I came back to myself. The performance was better than yesterday. My mother advised me to enjoy the opportunity. I appreciate that I am able to have this chance to skate at such a big competition and in front of a nice audience”, Oda noted.
Tatsuki Machida (JPN) pulled up from sixth to fourth at 236.03 points followed by Maxim Kovtun (RUS, 233.24 points) and Han Yan (CHN, 232.55 points).
Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) claim Junior Pairs title
Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin of China claimed the Junior Pairs title. Russia’s Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev overtook teammates Lina Federova/Maxim Miroshkin to take the silver medal.
Yu/Jin’s program to “Phantom of the Opera” included a side by side triple toe, throw triple Salchow and two level-four lifts. However, she wobbled on the double Axel-double Axel sequence and they stumbled on the triple twist. The 2012 World Junior silver medalists were awarded 102.42 points and collected 163.52 points overall. “We are in first place and that is very good, but we are not satisfied with our performance, there were some errors. My partner has been sick and we didn’t have enough energy in the free skating”, Jin told the post-event press conference.
Skating to “Giselle”, Vigalova/Zakroev turned in a clean performance that was highlighted by a triple twist, double Axel-double toe combination, throw triple loop and flip. The defending ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists won the Free Skating portion with 106.50 points and totaled 161.57 points. „We are of course happy with the performance and the placement. We skated really well, not great, there were some small glitches”, Zakroev said. “We have been training the (tirple) Salchow, but we are not taking the risk yet. We are only including elements that are a 90 percent consistent into the program, therefore the triple Salchow is not yet ready for the competition”, he explained.
Federova/Miroshkin completed a double Axel-double toe, triple twist and two level-four lifts in their routine set to “Cabaret”, but she underrotated the triple toe and wobbled on the throw jumps. The defending Junior Grand Prix Final Champions picked up 97.97 points and accumulated 156.55 points, a new personal best, overall. „We did everything we wanted for this competition, we did a triple jump in the program, actually we did the first three difficult elements and we are very happy about that”, Miroshkin commented.
The three other Russian teams finished fourth to sixth. Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (152.01 points), Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (151.02 points) and Kamilla Gainetdinova/Ivan Bich (140.65 points).
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continue Saturday with the Junior Short Dance, Pairs and Ladies Free Skating, Pairs and Free Dance.