– Marseille, France
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) dance off with gold
Canada’s Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir danced off with the gold medal. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron of France came from third place to earn the silver medal while Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) picked up the bronze.
Dancing to “Pilgrims On a Long Journey” and “Latch”, Virtue/Moir produced level-four lifts, twizzles and combination spin and level-three step sequence to achieve a new personal best of 116.72 points. Overall the 2010 Olympic Champions racked up 197.22 points to win the first Grand Prix Final title of their career. “For us to get this title is really huge. It wasn’t really an objective for this week so it kind of makes it the frosting on the cake. For us, just competing against these young and fantastic athletes again is huge and an honor. We can’t wait to keep growing”, Moir said.
Papadakis/Cizeron’s dance to “Stillness”, “Oddudua” and “Happiness Does Not Wait” featured difficult lifts and smooth footwork. The two-time World Champions collected a level four for four elements and a level three for three elements to score 114.95 points. With 192.81 points overall, the two-time European Champions moved up one spot. “We are really pleased with our performance today. It was a great feeling on the ice – we were present for every moment and are grateful to be here and share this moment with the audience and each other”, Cizeron commented.
Shibutani/Shibutani earned a level four for their spin, lifts and twizzles, but the diagonal step sequence was rated a level two. The World silver medalists received 111.63 points and totaled 189.60 points to slip from second to third. The brother-and-sister-team took their first medal in what was their fourth appearance in the Grand Prix Final. “Everything’s trending upwards for us. We’re working hard to up the level. We’ve got a nice momentum going. This was a great competition with these teams. We know people say ‘you’ve been at four Grand Prix and when are you going to win a medal?’ but the medal was not in our mind. We’re just looking to continue to make progress towards the Olympics”, Alex Shibutani noted out.
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) came fourth with 181.95 points. Madison Hubbell/ Zachary Donohue (USA) placed fifth (179.59 points) followed by Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) with 179.32 points.
Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) strikes gold
Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia struck gold in the Ladies event, defending her title. Japan’s Satoko Miyahara repeated as silver medalist and Anna Pogorilaya of Russia took the bronze, her first Grand Prix Final medal.
Medvedeva stumbled on her opening triple flip in her program to “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” but then reeled off six triples including a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Salchow-triple toeloop. The reigning World and European Champion picked up a level four for her spins and footwork to post a seasons best of 148.45 points. Overall she had 227.66 points, just 0.90 points short of Yuna Kim’s (KOR) record score from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and continued her golden streak this season. “I expected more from myself. I wanted to do more and I could have done more. It happened to me for the first time that I missed that first jump and the combination, but there is always a back-up plan. I had to move the combination to the second half and I did it well, so I’m happy about that”, the 17-year-old shared.
Performing to “The Planets”, Miyahara produced six clean triples and excellent spins and footwork. Only a triple flip was underrotated. The 2015 World silver medalist set a personal best with 143.69 points and totaled 218.33 points. “The flip was not my best, but that was the only not so good part of my program. I am happy but I still can do more and better. My feeling was getting higher and higher towards the end of my program”, the 2016 Four Continents Champion told the press.
Pogorilaya’s program to “The Modigliani Suite” and “Memorial” featured a triple Lutz-triple toeloop and a triple Lutz-half loop-triple Salchow combination as well as three more triple jumps. The 2016 World bronze medalist achieved a personal best with 143.18 points and accumulated 216.47 points overall. “I’m really pleased but the skate was still far from perfect. If I look at the performance as a whole then it was great and of course I am insanely happy, but there were still a few mistakes”, the 18-year-old commented.
Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) dropped from second to fourth after doubling two jumps (212.45 points).
Maria Sotskova (RUS) finished fifth (198.79 points) and Elena Radionova (RUS) placed sixth (188.81 points).
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) skates to victory
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan skated to victory in the Men’s event. Nathan Chen (USA) rose from fifth to secure the silver medal while Shoma Uno of Japan claimed his second bronze medal in the Final.
Hanyu opened his program to “Hope and Legacy” by Joe Hisaishi with a quadruple loop and followed up with a quadruple Salchow and quadruple toeloop. The defending Grand Prix Final Champion also executed two triple Axel, a triple flip and two level-four spins, but he fell on the second quad Salchow and singled a Lutz. With 187.37 points, the 2014 Olympic Champion was ranked third in the Free Skating but remained in first place at 193.90 points to win his fourth Grand Prix Final gold medal. “I feel very disappointed with my long program but the result is good. Figure skating is the total of the short program and the free program and I think I had a really good short here so I’m really happy about that and I think this was a good learning experience. I’ve learned something and gained something and I’ve got my homework to move on with”, the 22-year-old said.
Skating to “Polovtsian Dances”, Chen nailed four quads – Lutz (in combination with triple toe), flip and two toes (one in combination) as well as five triples to win the Free Skating portion with 197.55 points, a personal best. The 2015 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champion totaled 282.85 points and claimed the silver in his debut in the senior-level Final. “I’m really happy with the result of today. It came as a surprise to me. I wasn’t really expecting to be able to even come out with a medal here. I had a little bit of a disappointing short program but I think that helped me settle my nerves. It gave me a little bit of experience which helped today. It was my first clean long program since last season”, the 17-year-old noted.
Uno, who stood in fourth place following the Short Program, landed a quad flip, two quad toes and six triples to pick up a personal best of 195.69 points. The 2015 World Junior Champion accumulated 282.51 points. “I’m pretty happy with my free program. I think I skated quite well yet it was not perfect. I am still young and not very experienced, but with every competition and every experience I make there I can learn and get better preparing in between the events”, the 18-year-old said.
Javier Fernandez (ESP) placed fourth at 268.77 points. Patrick Chan (CAN) slipped from second to fifth (266.75 points) and Adam Rippon (USA) was ranked sixth (233.10 points).
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. For full results please refer to www.isu.org .