(4/1/17) – Reigning U.S. champions Maia and Alex Shibutani won the bronze medal in ice dance on Saturday at the 2017 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
The duo picks up their third World medal after winning the silver medal in 2016 and another bronze medal in 2011. They earned 185.18 overall points, including 110.30 points from the free dance.
“We’re so proud with how we skated at this World Championships,” Maia Shibutani said. “Our programs have grown so much over the course of the season. The audience for both of the performances was fantastic and as athlete and people who are trying to put our creative souls into these programs, that means so much.”
They sat fifth after Friday’s short dance, but were able to make their way onto the podium in a strong ice dance field.
Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates finished seventh, scoring 105.79 points in Saturday’s free skate for 182.04 overall.
The pair had to overcome a fall by Bates on Saturday during a twizzle. Despite that, Chock and Bates were proud of their accomplishments this season, which included five international medals.
“Every year that we compete together, we get stronger,” Chock said. “We’re now at the five-year mark and we still have a long way to go. We haven’t reached our potential yet. Things are going to be good for us this summer. We’re going to train really hard.”
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue scored 101.17 points Saturday for 177.70 overall and a ninth-place finish.
Like Bates, Donohue also fell early in the program during a twizzle, but the pair completed an otherwise solid program.
“I think we just focused on staying in the moment and that’s what the training is for—the good moments and the bad moments,” Hubbell said. “I’m really proud of Zach on how well he was able to get up and keep going because I know it’s startling physically and mentally to fall like that.”
With its ice dance finishes, the United States retains three spots for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
In the men’s competition, the United States notched two top-10 finishes. Nathan Chen scored 290.72 points to finish sixth while Jason Brown earned 269.57 points to finish seventh.
Chen, who tried an unprecedented six quads on Saturday, fell twice in his free skate..
“It’s a good step for me,” Chen said. “It’s a good experience for me. I feel sorry for some [of the mistakes that I had], but it’s a good step. Whatever happened, happened, and I just have to put it behind me.”
With the sixth and seventh place finishes, Chen and Brown gained a third spot for the United States at next year’s Olympic Winter Games.
“I really wanted to do the best that I could for the U.S. team,” Brown said. “I’m glad that Nathan and I were able to get three spots for the U.S. men heading into the Olympics. That was really, really a goal of mine. I wanted to do everything I could so that when I left the ice, I felt like I gave it my all to reach that goal.”