Three-time world championship medallists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) claimed the fifth ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating gold medal of their career as the Ice Dance event at Rostelecom Cup concluded with the Free Dance on Saturday. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev and Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin took silver and bronze respectively.
Shibutani/Shibutani delivered a smooth performance to “Paradise” by Coldplay, executing intricate yet seemingly effortless footwork and excellent twizzles. The 2017 world bronze medallists collected a level four for the spin, twizzles and their lifts to earn 111.94 points. Overall the brother-and-sister team accumulated 189.24 points.
“It’s been really exciting for us to debut our two new programs at this competition,” Maia Shibutani said. “Since the end of last season we’ve been working extremely hard. Today the free went really well and we’re proud of the work that we’ve put in and the potential that both of our programs have.”
Bobrova/Soloviev’s lyrical dance to “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla and “Beethoven’s Five Secrets” was highlighted by difficult lifts and a level-four circular step sequence. However, the Russian champions made a costly error on their spin when Soloviev put his foot down. The spin was rated only a level two. The 2013 European champions scored 108.41 points for their dance, which added up to 184.74 points.
“The spin didn’t work, too bad. It is rather upsetting, because we skated clean in practice and it is a regretful mistake that affected our program. It came out of nowhere,” Soloviev said.
Dancing to “Liebestraum”, Stepanova/Bukin completed five level-four elements and achieved a new personal best with 108.03 points. Their total score of 179.35 points was also a personal best.
“We are very pleased that we were able to fix the mistakes from the Finlandia Trophy in such a short period of time. We changed some things and made the program more comfortable for us,” Stepanova said.
Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) remained in fourth place with 172.29 points and Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) came fifth on 171.37 points. The 2017 world junior champions Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) finished seventh in their debut on the senior Grand Prix circuit with 148.75 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, Japan, in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the final. The 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.