Moscow / Russia

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Competition at the Rostelecom Cup wrapped up in Moscow on Saturday with the Free Skating and the Free Dance. More than 10,000 spectators followed the second day of competition at the Megasport Arena.

Chen (USA) beats Hanyu (JPN) for gold at Rostelecom Cup 

USA’s Nathan Chen held on to his lead following the Short Program to beat Olympic champion Yuzuzu Hanyu of Japan for the gold medal. The bronze went to Russian champion Mikhail Kolyada. 

Performing to “Mao’s Last Dancer”, Chen hit a quad Lutz-triple toe, quad flip, quad Salchow and quad toe-triple toe-double toe, but he stepped out of a triple Axel and popped a toeloop. The Four 

Continents champion scored a season’s-best 193.25 points to finish second in the Free Skating, but his total score of 293.75 points was enough to hold off Hanyu. 

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“The beginning half of my program I was very happy with,” the 18-year-old U.S. champion said. “I hit all the quads and I think I did them relatively well. I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit, on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake. I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win and I’m very happy with that.” 

Hanyu opened his program to “Seimei” with his first quadruple Lutz in competition and reeled off a quad Salchow, quad toe-triple toe as well as two triple Axels. However, he tripled his planned quad loop and popped a planned quad toeloop into a double. The two-time and reigning world champion earned a season’s best of 195.92 points for an overall total of 290.77. 

“The most important thing is for me to rotate each jump, each combination,” the Olympic champion said. “That made the three points difference. I realised once again how important it is to practise each element and to perform each element with care.”  

Kolyada produced a quad-triple toe combination and four clean triples in his Elvis Presley routine but missed two quads and a triple Lutz. Nevertheless, the European bronze medallist achieved a season’s best with 185.27 points and pulled up from fourth to take his first Grand Prix medal with a total of 271.06 points.  

“I fulfilled the minimum today – I did not pop anything,” the 22-year-old from St. Petersburg said. “There were mistakes and I relaxed too much on the last jump but overall I enjoyed performing and I hope I was able to transmit the energy to the crowd.” 

Misha Ge (UZB) produced a clean performance with two triple Axels and six triples to come fourth on 255.33 points. Moris Kvitelashvili (GEO) moved up from eighth to fifth on 250.26 while Dmitri Aliev (RUS) slipped from third to sixth following some errors to finish with 239.61. 


Shibutani/Shibutani (USA) claim fifth ISU Grand Prix gold medal 

Three-time Ice Dance world medallists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) claimed the fifth ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating gold medal of their career. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev and Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin took silver and bronze respectively.  

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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 and 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,” Soloviev explained. “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.”   

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 a personal best as well.  

“We are very pleased that we were able to fix the mistakes from 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. 


Tarasova/Morozov lead Russian sweep in Pairs 

Russian combinations swept the podium in Moscow, with European champions Evgenia 

Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov coming out on top in the Pairs. The 2014 Olympic silver medallists Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov had to settle for second place while Kristina Astakhova/Alexei Rogonov moved up from fourth to claim the bronze. 

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Tarasova/Morozov produced a quadruple twist, side-by-side triple toe-double toe combination, an excellent throw triple Salchow and level-four lifts in their program to “Candyman” to score a personal best of 147.37 points, which added up to 224.25 points overall.  

“It went quite well and better than at our last competition,” Morozov said. “Our program is a Boogie 

Woogie and we wanted to express that style. We watched dance performances and we enjoyed them.”  

Stolbova/Klimov had a shaky start to their “Carmen” routine when Stolbova stepped out of the throw triple flip and fell on the triple toe, but she recovered to land a side-by-side triple Salchow and strong lifts.  

However, Stolbova went down again on the throw triple Salchow, the last element. The Russian champions picked up a season’s-best 133.04 points and remained in second place with a total of 204.43 points.  

“There were some parts in our program that worked well, others didn’t,” Klimov said. “Again, there were mistakes on the throw and the solo jump, but like yesterday I think they happened by chance and we will continue to work.” 

Performing to “La Land”, Astakhova/Rogonov laid down a solid program that featured a triple toedouble toe combination, a triple twist and triple Salchow. The couple from Moscow posted a new personal best of 131.97 points for a 199.11 points total to claim the third Grand Prix series bronze medal of their career.  

“We did almost everything as planned and got almost all the levels we had aimed for,” Rogonov explained. “Most of the elements were executed well, but obviously there is room for improvement. We can improve our speed and skate cleaner than we did.” 

Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) dropped from third to fourth on 193.63 points while Julianne Seguin/Charlie Bilodeau (CAN) remained in fifth place on 186.16. 


World champion Medvedeva (RUS) dominates Ladies Free Skating 

Two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia ruled on home ice, taking victory by 15.23 points in the Ladies Free Skating. Italy’s Carolina Kostner claimed the silver medal and Wakaba Higuchi of Japan the bronze. 

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Medvedeva delivered an expressive program to “Anna Karenina”, reeling off a triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple Salchow-triple toe and three more triple jumps and level-four spins and footwork. 

The two-time European champion took in her stride a rare fall on a double Axel, continuing as if nothing had happened. The 17-year-old set a new season’s best with 150.46 points and racked up 231.21 points.  

“I think I did a good job,” the ISU Grand Prix Final champion said. “There were some mistakes, most notably on the last jump. It was a kind of moral weakness – I let out my joy too early. But it was a useful mistake and I will learn from it.” 

Kostner’s volatile performance to “The Afternoon of a Faun” by Claude Debussy featured six triple jumps and exquisite footwork and transitions. The five-time European champion earned a season’s best score of 141.36 points for a total of 215.98. 

“I had some trouble in the warm-up,” Kostner said. “I didn’t find my rhythm but the break between the warm-up and the performance helped me to calm down and get the energy level up again. I can improve a lot of things, but it is very special to begin my Grand Prix season with this performance.”     

Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi landed six triples in her dynamic James Bond routine but she doubled a Salchow. The two-time world junior bronze medallist scored 137.57 points and with a total of 207.17 remained in third place.  

“I am glad I did not repeat the mistakes I made in the short program and I was able to focus from the beginning to the end,” the 16-year-old said. “After Lombardia Trophy I have been training very well and I had good flow, which I couldn’t quite show yet here, but hopefully I can show it in my next competition.”  

The 2015 World Championship bronze medallist Elena Radionova (RUS) pulled up one spot to finish fourth with 195.25 points and the 2017 world junior bronze medallist Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) was fifth in her senior Grand Prix debut (194.00). Mariah Bell (USA) finished sixth (188.56 points).  

The Rostelecom Cup concludes on Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. The Moscow event is the first of six in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series that continues next week with Skate Canada International in Regina. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya, Japan, in December. 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. 

Competition at the Rostelecom Cup wrapped up in Moscow on Saturday with the Free Skating and the Free Dance. More than 10,000 spectators followed the second day of competition at the Megasport Arena.