Moscow / Russia

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Three-time World Championship medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) edged home-crowd favourites Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) by 0.97 points as the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Rostelecom Cup continued with the Short Dance on Friday. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin, of Russia, came third.

Shibutani/Shibutani brought a real Latin feel to the Megasport Arena with their dynamic performance to ‘Mambo No. 5’, ‘Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White’ and ‘Mambo Jumbo’. The brother-and-sister team picked up a level four for four out of five elements, their excellent synchronized twizzles in particular drawing extra applause from the crowd. The 2017 world championship bronze medalists scored 77.30 points, just below their personal best of 77.97 points.

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“We’re so excited to be here and to begin our Grand Prix season, our Olympic season, here in Moscow. Our practices have been going great and we really enjoyed our performance today,” Alex Shibutani said. “We really love this program, the music is so dynamic and fun. The Latin rhythms I think will be really entertaining for the audience, and we really changed ourselves with our choreography this year,” his sister added.  

Dancing to the rhumba ‘Latin Lover’ and the samba pieces ‘Dance’ and ‘Quand je vois tes yeux’, Bobrova/Soloviev got the crowd going as well. The six-time Russian Champions earned a level four for the twizzles, side by side footwork, the rhumba pattern and their rotational lift to record a personal best  76.33 points. “I think we were able to do a good job since our last event in preparation for the Grand Prix, although it was only two weeks. But we fixed some technical things and in the choreography and the score reflected that,” Soloviev commented.

Stepanova/Bukin’s upbeat dance to rhumba and samba rhythms was highlighted by their curve lift and well-executed twizzles. The 2013 World Junior Champions posted a season’s best with 71.32 points. “We are really pleased to skate here at home and we feel like we have improved since Finlandia Trophy last week,” Stepanova said.

Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) remain close to the podium in fourth place at 69.67 points. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) follow in fifth place with 68.99 points. World Junior Champions Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) debuted on the senior Grand Prix and are currently ranked seventh with 59.41 points.

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series consists of six events and culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final, and global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.  Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating.