Victory Ceremony: (L-R) Team Surprise (SWE), Marigold IceUnity (FIN), Team Paradise (RUS)
Team Marigold Ice Unity of Finland returned to the top of the podium, taking their fifth World title as the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships 2018 concluded in Stockholm (SWE) Saturday with the Free Skating.To the delight of the home crowd, six-time World Champions Team Surprise of Sweden claimed the silver medal, their first podium finish since they were World Champions in 2012. Overnight leaders and defending champions Team Paradise from Russia settled for the bronze medal this time.
Marigold IceUnity (FIN)
Marigold Ice Unity stood in third place following the Short Program but came out with a technically demanding and entertaining Free Skating named ‘Splash!’ that featured music from Sea World water themed shows. The Finns enjoyed enthusiastic crowd support “We want to thank all the Swedish people that made this competition amazing. We have never skated in front of such an amazing crowd. We skated so calmly it was so wonderful” said the team captain Camilla Sundgren. The team produced level-four Group Lift, Rotating Circle, Pair Element and No Hold Element including a level-four step sequence. The now five-time World Champions scored 136.41 points for the Free Skating and totaled 209.02 points to come first. They picked up a total of 13 perfect 10.00 for performance, composition and interpretation. Marigold Ice Unity previously had won World titles in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2014.
Team Surprise (SWE)
Team Surprise’s original routine titled ‘Mother Nature’ was highlighted by a level-four rotating wheel, group lift and smooth intersections. The crowd was with the team from the first second and cheered loudly for each move. The Swedes earned 135.16 points and remained in second place on 207.99 points. With six World titles and a total of now 12 medals, the Swedes are the most decorated synchronized skating team. “We enjoyed the skate we had today and we worked hard for this. And today we skated with our hearts” commented the team captain Nathalie Lindqvist “We have a strong culture in Sweden in Synchro, but we hope we can be like role models and inspire young people. We use our social media to share everything that we do, how it is to be in a team, how we do everything together, all the work that we put in and that you always have someone at your side. For the first time Synchro is on television in Sweden and not just live streamed and that is very important that we are showing our sport in the media to become perhaps in the future an Olympic Sport.”
Team Paradise (RUS)
Team Paradise started well with a strong Pair Spin into their program to ‘Age of Heroes’ by Balas Havasi, but their dream of a third consecutive World title shattered when they struggled with the second group lift, with one group of skaters aborting the lift. “Today we did some mistakes but all bad experiences will be good in the future for us. We will go back and work harder.” Elya Matveeva captain of Team Paradise went on explaining the challenges they face in Russia “Unfortunately Synchronized Skating in our country is not popular. Our team is trying to development the sport in our country and we hope in the future all Russian people will have fun (with Synchronized Skating) like in Finland and Sweden.” The team from St. Petersburg was ranked fourth in the Free Skating with 124.92 points and overall slipped to third on 200.97 points.
The 2013 World Champions Team Unique (FIN) moved up from fifth to fourth and placed third in the Free Skating to music from Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (196.37 points). Les Supremes Seniors (CAN) finished fifth on 192.88 points followed by Team Tartastan (RUS) that pulled up from eighth to sixth (192.46 points). Multiple World bronze medalists Team Haydenettes (USA) dropped from fourth to seventh and the 2017 World bronze medalists Nexxice (CAN) came eighth (190.45 points).
The Free Skating program is 4 min 30 seconds in length and contains six required elements: two different Group Lift Elements, two different Intersection Elements, No Hold Element, Pair Element (one of pair pivot, pair spin, pair step sequence) plus two elements that have to be chosen from three different groups of elements, for example a synchronized spin element, a creative element or a linear element (line).