Mao Asada skates to Ladies title

- Fukuoka, Japan

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating continued Saturday in Fukuoka (JPN) with the Junior Short Dance, Pairs & Ladies Free Skating and the Free 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.

Anna Yanovskaya/Sergey Mozgov (RUS) lead after Junior Short Dance


Anna Yanovskaya/Sergey Mozgov of Russia took the lead in the Junior Short Dance with the two U.S. couples Kaitlyn Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker and Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter following in second and third.

Yanovskaya/Mozgov’s Quickstep to “Puttin’ On the Ritz” and Foxtrot to “Fever” featured level-four twizzles and a level-four lift. The 2012 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions earned a level four and three for the Quickstep pattern and posted a new personal best score with 63.71 points. “It went well and I’m very much satisfied with today’s performance. We had some mistakes, but basically it went well. The audience cheered us up a lot and that was so nice”, Yanovskaya commented.
Dancing to “Happy Feet”, “It Had To Be You” and “Sing Sing Sing”, Hawayek/Baker completed two level four elements but one Quickstep pattern was rated only a level one. The team scored 58.05 points. “We thought that it was the best performance yet this season. It was a strong energetic performance. It’s been a really long week, but we can say that the experience has been incredible. Being here with the top teams in the world is really inspiring”, Hawayek noted.
McNamara/Carpenter picked “Bublichki” for their Foxtrot and “Chiribim, Chiribom” for their Quickstep. They collected a level four for the twizzles and the lift while the Quickstep sequences garnered a level three and two. The Americans earned 55.14 points. “The short dance music is from the Barry Sisters. They are Yiddish songs. We wanted something traditional with an interesting twist, that is why we chose this music”, Carpenter explained.

Betina Popova/Yuri Vlasenko (RUS) finished fourth with 52.50 points. Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin (UKR) are currently ranked fifth at 51.32 points and Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) placed sixth at 46.11 points.

Aljona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (GER) skate off with Pairs gold


Germany’s Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy skated off with the Pairs gold medal. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia earned the silver medal and the bronze went to Qing Pang/Jian Tong of China.

Performing to Tchaikovski’s “Nutcracker”, Savchenko/Szolkowy produced a throw triple flip, triple toe-triple toe sequence, a throw triple Salchow and five level-four elements. The four-time World Champions set a new personal best for themselves with 147.57 points and racked up 227.03 points overall to win the fourth Grand Prix final title of their career. “I just enjoyed skating. It was not easy, but nothing is easy. We are back. We will work hard and keep doing our best”, Savchenko told the press.
Volosozhar/Trankov opened their program to “Jesus Christ Superstar” with a level-four triple twist and landed a throw triple loop and Salchow, but Volosozhar struggled with the solo jumps, falling on the triple Salchow and stumbling on the triple toe. The reigning World and European Champions earned 141.18 points and slipped to second at 223.83 points. “We made mistakes and it was not our very best. These are jumps we do not usually miss. We are happy about our skate anyways, because we felt fresh and we were able to keep a good mood after our mistakes. Sometimes we lose at competitions and we lost today”, Trankov commented.
Pang/Tong’s routine to “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables” featured a double Axel-double Axel sequence, triple toe, triple twist and three level-four lifts. The two-time World Champions picked up a seasons best of 138.58 points and totaled 213.98 points. “We were able to show everything that we were working on. We actually arrived to the rink late, so were panicking a bit before. We will build from this competition to prepare for the Olympics”, Tong shared.

Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) performed a quadruple twist and moved up from fifth to fourth (197.37 points). Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) droped to fifth at 193.38 points and Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) placed sixth (189.11 points).

Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) dance to gold


Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) danced to the gold medal, edging out Canada’s Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir by 1.35 points. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat of France moved up from fifth place to claim the bronze.

Davis/White danced to “Sheherazade” by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov and picked up a level four for the lifts, the combination spin, the twizzles and the diagonal step sequence. The two-time and reigning World Champions scored a new personal best and record score in the Free Dance with 113.69 points which added up to 191.35 points overall, which was another highest score. It was the fifth consecutive Grand Prix Final title for the couple from Detroit. “Charlie and I feel really good after the Grand Prix Final. We are feeling like we are continuing the growth that we really initiated at Skate America this year. We are feeling really positive and gearing up to work harder than ever going into Sochi”, Davis said.
Virtue/Moir’s dance to music by Alexander Glazunov and Alexander Skriabin included difficult lifts and footwork as well. The Olympic Champions earned a level four for seven elements and scored a personal best of 112.41 points. Overall they accumulated 190.00 points, which is a personal best as well. “We had an extremely amazing week. We skated as well as we have been training, for an athlete that’s what you want for your performance. We really felt like today we connected and we brought the audience into our performance. This is a stepping stone for us for the Olympic Games”, Moir commented.
Pechalat/Bourzat put out a strong performance of their program “Le Petit Prince et sa Rose”, collecting level fours for all elements except the two step sequences that were rated a level three. The two-time European Champions posted a seasons best with 102.48 points and totaled 169.11 points. “It was the best skate we had since the beginning of the season. The people out there supported us a lot, we love that and we skated for the audience today. We had nothing to lose, so we just tried to enjoy the program”, Pechalat shared.
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) dropped one spot to fourth at 166.72 points. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) slipped to fifth place (165.04 points). Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) came sixth (156.58 points).

Mao Asada skates to Ladies title


Mao Asada of Japan skated to the Ladies title. Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia claimed the silver medal and Ashley Wagner (USA) took the bronze.

Asada’s program to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was highlighted by five clean triples and level-four spins and footwork, but she missed the opening triple Axel and two-footed the second triple Axel. The reigning Olympic silver medalist earned 131.66 points which added up to 204.02 points overall. “I had a good feeling going in (the first triple Axel), but I fell. I need to keep practicing more. The first fall slows you down, but many fans applauded and cheered me, that has pushed me to skate”, the 23-year-old noted.
Skating to “Schindler’s List”, Lipnitskaia completed a triple Lutz-triple toe, four more triples and picked up a level four for her excellent spins. The 2012 World Junior Champion scored 125.45 points and totaled 192.07 points to move up from fourth to second in her debut at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. “I did everything that I needed to do today. It went better than in Moscow (Grand Prix), but there are still things I need to work on. I will try to make myself better and better until Sochi”, the Muscovite said.
Wagner landed four triples in her routine set to “Romeo and Juliet” by Sergei Prokofiev, but she fell on a triple Lutz and underrotated the back end of her triple flip-triple toe combo. The U.S. Champion was awarded 119.47 points and had 187.61 points overall. “I have a lot to go home and work on. Today was more about my mental strength after I make a mistake than anything else. I feel technically I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and that I need to go work on the mental part of it”, the 22-year-old commented.

Elena Radionova (RUS) pulled up one spot to fourth at 183.02 points. Teammate Adelina Sotnikova slipped from second to fifth with 173.30 points. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) placed sixth (171.88 points).

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