Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron of France danced to the lead as the competition opened with the Short Dance. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) came second followed by teammates Madison Chock/Evan Bates.
Skating last out of 30 couples, Papadakis/Cizeron produced a fluid dance to a Waltz from “W.E.” and March by Hugo Chouinard, earning a level four for all five elements. The reigning World Champions scored a personal best of 76.29 points. “We are so proud to have achieved this high score here. We are competing with really strong skaters here, skaters that we didn’t compete with all season. We were really focused and maybe a bit more nervous than in the past years. It is the first time we will enter the free dance being in first place. In the free dance, we want to stay focused. You never know what will happen”, Cizeron commented. “We skated really well, speaking both technically and artistically. And to be honest, I didn’t expect our score to be that high, we just beat our best score by 5 points”, Papadakis added.
Shibutani/Shibutani put out a strong performance to Waltz and March from “Coppelia” and picked up a level four for all elements as well including the Ravenburg Waltz pattern and the step sequence. The 2016 Four Continents Champions posted a new personal best with 74.70 points. “It was our strongest performance of the season. We love our Short Dance this year, to end like this is special. The anticipation for this competition has been building throughout the entire season. We feel so confident about how we have been training. We were excited to skate her for the audience, but there was a lot of energy, so we are proud of how we were able to channel this into our performance and we look forward to tomorrow”, Maia Shibutani told the press.
Chock/Bates dance to “More” and “Unchained Melody” was highlighted by a level-four step sequence and level for lift, but the twizzles and the second part of the Ravensburg Waltz were graded a level three. The 2015 World silver medalists scored 72.46 points, a seasons best. “The performance itself felt good, we enjoyed ourselves and the home crowd. It was great to accomplish a season’s best. It’s been a long and bittersweet season for us. I made a mistake on my second twizzle in the sequence which cost us a level, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself for that, but it could have been worse”, Bates said.
2015 World bronze medallists Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) are currently ranked fourth at 71.83 points followed by Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) with 70.70 points and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) in sixth place (70.65 points).
The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016 continue today with the Men Short Program.