- Marseille, France
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final started after the Junior events with Pairs and Men’s Short Programs. The events feature the top six skaters/couples in each category from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) lead after Pairs Short Program
Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov of Russia took the lead in the Pairs Short Program. China’s Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang sit in second place while Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada finished third.
Skating to “Glam” (Electro Swing), Tarasova/Morozov produced a big triple twist, side by side triple toe, a throw triple loop and level-four lift, footwork and side by side spin to post a personal best score of 78.60 points. “We have a big challenge in front of us here, just as we did in America and France (their Grand Prix assignments), but just like then we have managed to skate at the same level we trained for. It is always a big task to compete for a gold medal. Our short program was good in America, then better in France, then here, so hopefully we can keep that trend going on into the free program“, Morozov noted.
Yu/Zhang’s performance to “Eternal Flame” and “Fearless” included a triple toe, an excellent triple twist and throw triple loop. The Cup of China Champions collected a level four for the twits, spin, lift, footwork and death spiral to achieve a personal best of 75.34 points. “We performed quite well, but there was a mistake in the spin. The music was so loud, she couldn’t hear me count. After Cup of China we worked on details and changed a few minor things. We haven’t been skating together for a long time, so we still need to gel as a team”, Zhang said.
Duhamel/Radford completed a triple twist and four level-four elements, but she fell on an underrotated throw triple Axel and put her hand down on the solo triple Lutz. The two-time World Champions scored 71.44 points. “We’re trying some really difficult elements, the triple Lutz and the throw triple Axel. It’s frustrating because they were really good in practice but they’re not transferring into the performance and today they weren’t even close. We’re going to have to take a look after this competition. It’s a high risk program and there’s not a high reward. The throw Axel is too risky unless you get good GOEs”, Radford told the press.
Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) placed fourth at 70.84 points followed by Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) with 65.79 points and Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN) with 60.86 points.
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) wins Men’s Short Program
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu won the Men’s Short Program. Patrick Chan of Canada follows in second place and Spain’s Javier Fernandez is currently ranked third.
Hanyu opened his “Prince” program with somewhat shaky quad loop and then nailed a quadruple Salchow-triple toeloop and triple Axel. The Olympic Champion collected a level four for the spins and step sequence to set a seasons best with 106.53 points. “I wanted to get my Personal Best here so I’m a little disappointed. I felt a little confused when I took off for the quad loop but I fought really hard and I think I stayed really focused so I was able to land it”, Hanyu said. “Usually I never see the audience when I’m doing a competition but tonight I felt like it was a concert, like it was live, when I was in the program so, you know, I was really happy connecting with the audience”, he added.
Chan’s Beatles program featured a quadruple-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel, triple Lutz as well as two level-four spins and level-four footwork. The three-time World Champion scored 99.76 points. “I’ve done that performance like that before so I’m not surprised. I just did my job, stay calm and stay relaxed. With how many competitive men there are here it’s hard to stay relaxed. The quad toe didn’t feel perfect on the take-off and I had to fight for the landing of the triple toe but I didn’t panic and was able to keep my rhythm”, the Olympic silver medalist commented.
Fernandez hit a quadruple-triple toeloop combination but then struggled with his quad Salchow and fell on the triple Axel. He scored 91.76 points. “You can’t always do a perfect job and today was not a good day. I know I can do much better in practices, I had great run-throughs. Then in the program I started really good with the quad. But then I started losing it in the jumps, I felt like the jumps today were really big and I couldn’t control them. I have to find the mistakes and do a great program the day after tomorrow”, the two-time World Champion pointed out.
Shoma Uno (JPN) came fourth (86.82 points). Nathan Chen (USA) ranked fifth with (85.30 points) and Adam Rippon (USA) is sixth (83.93 points).
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continues Friday with the Junior Free Dance, Junior Ladies Free Skating, Short Dance, Pairs Free Skating and Ladies Short Program.