Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada skated off with the gold medal, his first at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. World bronze medalist Boyang Jin, of China, claimed the silver medal and USA’s Max Aaron (USA) pulled up from fifth place to claim the bronze.
Skating to Elvis Presley songs, Kolyada fell on his opening quad Lutz but recovered to land a triple Axel-triple toe, quad toe and four triple jumps. The Russian Champion collected a level four for his spins and footwork, but singled an Axel and popped the Salchow into a double. With 176.25 points, the Rostelecom Cup bronze medalist was ranked third in the Free Skating, but overall remained in first place at 279.38 points. “I can’t yet really believe it, but I am happy. Not everything worked out today, I made some major mistakes and this is something I will work on,” the 22-year-old commented. With a gold from China and his bronze from Russia, Kolyada has a good chance to make the Grand Prix Final.
Jin’s program to Star Wars featured a shaky quad Lutz and five solid triples, as well as level-four spins, but the Chinese skater fell on a quad toe and stumbled on two other quads. He was fifth in the Free Skating with a season’s best of 170.59 points, and totaled 264.48 points. “Like yesterday, I did not skate as I had imagined it,” the 20-year-old said. “I did not make many big mistakes, like falls, but a lot of jumps were not clean enough. I still don’t feel so comfortable with my program after some changes to the choreography and I need to do more run-throughs to get used to it.” Jin competes again at Bridgestone Skate America in three weeks.
Aaron’s program to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ included a quad toe-double toe, quad toe, quad Salchow as well as four triple jumps. The 2013 U.S. Champion scored a personal best of 176.58 points and won the Free Skating segment. Overall he accumulated 259.69 points. “This is my third time in China and both times I was fourth – at the Junior Grand Prix Final and last year I was fourth again (at the Grand Prix). Now this time in China I got a medal and it feels great,” Aaron told the post-event press conference. “The skates I had were a little bit tough, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”
2017 World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou (USA) moved up from eighth to fourth with the second-best Free Skating score (256.66 points overall). Han Yan (CHN) came fifth at 254.61 points. Spain’s two-time World Champion Javier Fernandez, who suffered from a stomach upset, slipped from third to sixth after a sub-par performance (253.06 points).
Audi Cup of China is the third of six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series that 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. 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.