Virtue/Moir lead Short Dance, Tarasova/Morozov take the Pairs event and Medvedeva sets new high mark

- Marseille, France

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continued Friday in Marseille (FRA) with the Short Dance, the Pairs Free Skating and Ladies Short Program. The events feature the top six skaters/couples in each category from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

GP-Day2-Dance-VirtueMoir2-Gettyimages-628758472Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) dance to lead in Short Dance
Canada’s Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir danced to the lead in the Short Dance. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) and Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron of France follow in second and third place.

Performing to “Kiss”, “Five Women” and “Purple Rain” by Prince was highlighted by precise footwork, fast twizzles and a curve lift. The 2014 Olympic silver medalists collected a level four for the side by side step sequence, the Blues sequence, the twizzles and the lift while the Partial Step Sequence was rated a level three. The two-time World Champions set a new record score with 80.50 points, surpassing their own record score set two weeks ago at NHK Trophy. “It’s not hard to find the energy when you’re skating to Prince. Right off the bat with that ‘Kiss’ music it’s infectious. We love the movement, we love the feeling of the program, in fact we have to bring the energy down a bit to control our emotions. With the crowd here in France it is amazing and as Scott said we were present in every single step. We really wanted to showcase the improvements we’ve made since NHK (Trophy). Each competition is a stepping stone”, Virtue told the post-event press conference.

Shibutani/Shibutani delivered an energetic performance to Blues and Hip Hop set to “That’s Life” as well, earning a level four for three elements and a level three for two elements. The reigning World silver medalists achieved a new personal best with 77.97 points. “We were so excited that the ISU made hip-hop an option this year. It makes the sport open to a whole new audience”, Maia Shibutani said. “We wanted to do a good job of mixing the two styles (Blues and Hip Hop). The JayZee Frank Sinatra concept came about at our board-room style meeting at the beginning of the season. That’s Life is a song we’ve related to for years and there are a lot of ties between the two artists”, her brother added.

Papadakis/Cizeron’s smooth dance to “Bitterweet” and “Diga Diga Doo” featured four level-four elements, but the partial step sequence merited only a level two. The two-time and reigning World Champions earned 77.86 points. “There were some good and some bad things today. We had a mistake in a technical element which cost us quite a few points. But we know what we have to work on and that’s what we will do. It’s still a better result than two weeks ago (at NHK Trophy)”, Papadakis noted.

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) are currently ranked fourth with 74.04 points. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) came fifth (72.47 points) followed by Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) with 70.87 points.

GP-Day2-Pairs-TarasovaMorozov-Gettyimages-628787126Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) strike Pairs gold
Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov of Russia struck gold in the Pairs event. China’s Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang earned the silver medal and the bronze went to Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada.

Tarasova/Morozov produced a quadruple twist, throw triple Salchow and loop as well as a level-four reverse lasso lift in their program to “Music” by John Miles. However, he landed forward on the side by side triple Salchow. The two-time World bronze medalists posted a new personal best with 135.25 points in the Free Skating and accumulated 213.85 points to take the gold in their debut at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (senior level). “Obviously, you always have the goal to win, but we focused on skating clean. We’ve had two weeks of good preparation and worked very hard and this is the result. This victory is a big step forward for us. The judges now look at us as potential winners and that is important”, Tarasova explained.

Yu/Zhang’s performance to Cavatina, Larghetto amoroso by Emil von Sauer was highlighted by a level-four triple twist, double Axel, throw triple loop and Salchow as well as difficult lifts. The Cup of China Champions scored 131.37 points and totaled 206.71 points to win the silver in their first Grand Prix Final as a team. “We are very excited to be on the podium. Today I felt very tired in the lifts and in the jumps, but I fought through it and we did pretty well. We are very happy to have been skating this great”, Yu commented.

Duhamel/Radford’s program to “Non, je ne regretted rien” featured a triple twist, throw triple Lutz and throw quad Salchow (with hand down), but she struggled with the side by side jumps. The two-time and reigning World Champions earned 134.555 points and remained in third place at 205.99 points. “There were some really good things in our performance today and some unfortunate mistakes on important elements like the jumps. They’re usually our strength and when we mess them up it’s not good. But altogether I think the program was smooth and we tried the throw quad Salchow which went quite well”, Radford shared.

Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) pulled up to fourth place (188.32 points).
Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN) finished fifth (186.85 points) and Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) slipped from fourth to sixth after some errors (183.19 points).

GP-Day2-Ladies-Medvedeva1-Gettyimages-628796962Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) wins Ladies Short Program
Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia won the Ladies Short Program. Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond came second while Satoko Miyahara of Japan is currently ranked third.

Medvedeva, who skated last, nailed a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop, double Axel and earned a level four for her spins and footwork in her program to “River Flows in You” and “The Winter”. The World Champion achieved a new record score with 79.21 points, surpassing Mao Asada’s (JPN) 78.66 points from the 2014 World Championships. “Setting records is not important to me, I’m not chasing after them. I just want to show what my coaches have taught me and the work we do every day in practice. Today I’m happy with my performance, but there is still room to grow”, the European Champion said.

Osmond’s performance to “Sous le ciel de Paris” and “Milord” included a triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple Lutz, double Axel and level-four spins and steps. The Skate Canada silver medalist set a new personal best with 75.54 points. “To be able to do this program clean three times this year is really rewarding, and to get a personal best and season’s best makes me really happy, and the crowd was so into it that it made it more enjoyable for me”, Osmond commented.

Skating to “Musetta’s Waltz Song”, Miyahara completed a double Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe and triple loop to post a new personal best with 74.64 points. “I am not fully satisfied so I want to do my best tomorrow. My short program’s aim is to skate with more speed and not do confusing steps but simple steps with more speed. Tomorrow I need to be more confident than today. I think I can skate better than today and I think I need more speed and to skate clean”, the 2016 Four Continents Champion pointed out.

Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) ranked fourth at 73.29 points while Elena Radionova (RUS) came fifth (68.98 points) and Maria Sotskova (RUS) was sixth (65.74 points).

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continues Saturday with the Junior Men’s and Junior Pairs Free Skating, Free Dance, Ladies and Men’s Free Skating. For full results please refer to .

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Selina Vanier, Media Coordinator