USA WINS THIRD WORLD TEAM TROPHY

The final day of competition was a nail-biter with Team USA holding on to gold by a single point, and Russia overtaking Japan for silver and its first World Team Trophy medal. The events included Pairs and Ladies Free Programs.

PAIRS’ FREE PROGRAMS:

  1. Meagan Duhamel+Eric Radford (CAN)
  2. Wenjing Sui+Cong Han (CHN)
  3. Alexa Scimeca+Chris Knierim (USA)

LADIES’ FREE PROGRAMS:

  1. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
  2. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) SB
  3. Elena Radionova (RUS)

 FINAL PLACEMENTS

1) TEAM USA, 2) TEAM RUSSIA, 3) TEAM JAPAN

4) TEAM CANADA 5) TEAM CHINA, 6) TEAM FRANCE

 THE PERFORMANCES – ON ICE

TEAM USA needed a strong performance from Alexa Scimeca+Chris Knierim to maintain their lead, and they proved worthy of the challenge. Opening with a spectacular quad twist, the 2015 US National Champions moved up to 3rd place and grabbed 10 points. Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold placed 4th and 5th respectively and added another 17. The final total = 110 points.

 TEAM RUSSIA used the 23 points earned by the dynamic duo – Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Elena Radionova to vault over Japan and into second place. The 2015 World Champion, Tuktamysheva landed a 3A and five more clean triples to win the Ladies competition while Radionova  completed seven clean triples enroute to second place. European Pairs Champions, Yuko Kavaguti+Alexander Smirnov slipped down a notch to 4th for 9 points.                            The final total = 109 points.

 TEAM JAPAN was third after an elegant performance by the diminutive Satoko Miyahara to Miss Saigon that included six clean triples and earned 10 points. Kanako Murakami and pair skaters Ami Koga+Francis Boudreau Audet added another 14 points for their sixth place finishes. The final total = 103 points

 TEAM CANADA won the Pairs FP over China by .97 and earned 12 points. While 2015 World Champions Meagan Duhamel+Eric Radford had a higher element base value, the fall on the 4STh and the negative GOE’s on the 3Lz narrowed the gap. The Ladies added 7 points.                    The final total = 82 points.

TEAM CHINA earned 11 points with Wenjing Sui+Cong Han’s second place finish in the Pairs FP. The 2015 World silver medalists’ fast-moving classical program included a quad twist and was marred only my Sui’s doubling the 3S. Zijun Li added another 7 points with her 6th place finish. The final total = 77 points.

TEAM FRANCE earned 14 additional points on the final day. Vanessa James+Morgan Cipres contributed 7 with their 5th place finish in the Pairs’ FP and the Ladies added another 7 points.      The final total = 59 points

 THE PERFORMANCES – IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Evan Bates…USA Team Captain: “This was an amazing competition. Watching, I think, is so much more stressful than being on the ice, especially towards the end. When the ladies were skating, and it started to get really close, and we were not sure what was going to happen, some of the most nerve-racking moments [that] I remember in the sport. It is just thrilling to experience that as a team and to have our fates tied together and to rely on one another is really the essence of this event. It’s wonderful!”

Alexander Smirnov…Russia Team Captain: “Our girls did their job 100%. We could have had more points in pairs and men’s. I think the dancers did their job 100% as well because they are a very young team. However, we are still satisfied with today’s results. We are very happy to be on the podium for the first time at this championship.”

Takahito Mura…Japan Team Captain: “I know all skaters were very tired, but even though they are tired, they put all their energy into their performances and did everything they can in the competition.”

Meagan Duhamel…Canada Team Captain: “Our team came in with the feeling that we didn’t have the expectations to win the gold medal, but everyone was satisfied with their efforts, and we’re building this Canadian team towards the next World Trophy in 2017 and, of course, the Olympics in 2018 where we’ll be aiming for a better result.”

 ICE CHIPS

  •  Yuzuru Hanyu landed a 4Lo+3A in the Exhibition.
  •  TEAM CHINA won the “Spirit” award.
  •  Max Aaron (USA) scored his first career component mark of 75+ points.
  •  Cathy and Chris Reed (JPN) dissolved their partnership. Cathy will retire, and Chris will begin a new partnership search.
  •  2015 World Champion, Javier Fernandez was at WTT to support his training mates – Yuzuru Hanyu and Nam Nguyen
  •  Max Aaron (USA) debuted his 2015-16 season programs at the WTT – “Nessun dorma” (SP) and The Black Swan (FP).

 PERSONAL BEST SCORES AT WORLD TEAM TROPHY

  •  Gracie Gold (USA) SP – 71.26
  • Laurine Lecavelier (FRA) SP – 52.84
  • Satoko Miyahara (JPN) FP – 129.12
  •  Jason Brown (USA) SP – 86.48, FP – 176.69 – Total – 263.17
  • Romain Ponsart (FRA) SP – 63.51, FP – 120.61, Total – 184.12
  •  Wang+Liu (CHN) SD – 55.32, FD – 86.93, Total 142.31
  • Weaver+Poje (CAN) SD – 73.14, Total – 182.93
  •  Koga+Boudreau Audet (CAN) Total – 135.29
  • Scimeca+Knierim (USA) FP – 127.87, Total – 192.09

 HOW THE CAPTAINS WERE SELECTED

  •  Evan Bates (USA) “The athletes voted. It is an honor.”
  •  Takahito Mura (JPN) “ Ito (JSF) selected me to be captain. To be honest, Hanyu should be the captain, but I appreciate Mr. Ito’s choice.”
  •  Alexander Smirnov (RUS) “They chose the one who has the longest beard. I’m joking! I’m one of the oldest and most experienced. It is a big honor and responsibility. I have to look after the younger team mates so nobody oversleeps and misses the bus, and they eat on time and compete”

 

USA MAINTAINS LEAD AFTER SECOND DAY

The second day of the World Team Trophy competition began with the Pairs SP and concluded with the Free Dance and the Men’s Free Program.

PAIRS SP:

  1. Wenjing Sui+Cong Han (CHN)
  2. Meagan Duhamel+Eric Bradford (CAN)
  3. Yuko Kavaguti+Alexander Smirnov (RUS)

FREE DANCE:

  1. Gabriella Papadakis+Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
  2. Kaitlyn Weaver+Andrew Poje (CAN)
  3. Madison Chock+Evan Bates (USA)

MEN’S FP:

  1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
  2. Jason Brown (USA)
  3. Takahito Mura (JPN)

 DAY TWO TEAM PLACEMENTS

 The overnight placements did not change at the end of Day 2.

 1) TEAM USA, 2) TEAM JAPAN, 3) TEAM RUSSIA

4) TEAM CANADA 5) TEAM CHINA, 6) TEAM FRANCE

 THE PERFORMANCES…ON ICE

TEAM USA added 35 points to their opening day score and remained on top of the leaderboard. Alexa Scimeca+Chris Knierim earned 9 points for their 4th place SP skate. Jason Brown, 2015 US National champion, landed eight clean triples for 2nd place in the FP and 11 more points. Max Aaron added another five. Madison Chock+Evan Bates slipped to 3rd in the Free Dance after a fall. The 2015 US Dance Champions earned 10 points. Total after Day 2 = 83 pts.

TEAM JAPAN scored 22 points in the Men’s FP when Yuzuru Hanyu’s and Takahito Mura’s placed 1st and 3rd respectively. Hanyu opened with a spectacular 4T and followed up with eight clean triples. Mura under rotated his first quad toe, but followed with a 4T+2T combination. His six triple jumps included a 3A and a 16-point 3A+3T combination. Ami Koga+Francis Boudreau Audet (SP-Pairs) and Cathy Reed+Chris Reed (FD) each earned 7 points with their 6th place finishes. Total after Day 2 = 79 pts.

TEAM RUSSIA’s Yoko Kavaguti+Alexander Smirnov were 3rd in the Pair’s SP after she stumbled on the 3T s-b-s jump. They earned 10 pts. Ice Dancers Elena Ilinykh+Ruslan Zhiganshin placed 4th to get 9 points, while Sergei Voronov and Maxim Kovtun finished 5th and 6th in the Men’s FP and together earned 15 points. Total after Day 2 = 77 pts.

TEAM CANADA earned 11 points for Meagan Duhamel+Eric Radford’s 2nd place in the Pairs SP where she doubled the planned s-b-s 3 Lz. Kaitlyn Weaver+Andrew Poje earned another 11 points for their 2nd place in the Ice Dance FP. The team earned 10 more points from Nam Nguyen’s and Jeremy Ten’s placements. Total after Day 2 = 63 pts.

TEAM CHINA was 5th. Their top scorers were 2015 World silver medalists, Wenjing Sui+Cong Han – 1st in the Pairs SP for 12 points and Han Yan – 4th in the Men’s FP for 9 points.  Total after Day 2 = 59 pts.

TEAM FRANCE won the Free Dance and 12 points with a seamless performance by the 2015 World Ice Dance champions, Gabriella Papadakis+Guillaume Cizeron.  Vanessa James+Morgan Cipres added 8 more points with a 5th place finish in the Pairs SP. Total after Day 2 = 44 pts.

 THE PERFORMANCES…IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Evan Bates…Team Captain USA, 1st place team following Day 2

“Today was a very exciting day. Apart from the ladies, everyone competed today. It was just thrilling. Some of the programs were exceptional, and I think the audience enjoyed it as well.”

Takahito Mura…Team Captain JPN, 2nd place team following Day 2

“I watched the pairs, ice dance and the men; all the skaters skated very well, especially Yuzuru Hanyu, who skated at the end of the day. I think it is very difficult for him. I think the ladies will do vey well, and we’d like to continue to fight until the end of the competition.”

Alexander Smirnov…Team Captain RUS, 3rd place team following Day 2

“Today was another great day, a festival of figure skating. Our whole team skated very well, some surpassed their abilities, others couldn’t quite do that, but the result is good. I would like to congratulate the winners. The placements didn’t change and everything will be decided tomorrow.”

 

TEAM USA TAKES  WTT FIRST DAY LEAD 

The fourth ISU World Team Trophy in Figure skating opened April 16 in Tokyo, Japan with the SD and the Ladies/Men’s Short Programs.

1) TEAM USA (48 pts), 2) TEAM JAPAN (43 pts), 3) TEAM RUSSIA (43 pts)
4) TEAM CANADA (31 pts), 5) TEAM CHINA (27 pts) 6) TEAM FRANCE (21 pts)
Japan was ahead of Russia because of the best result tie breaker.

THE COMPETITION….IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Evan Bates, USA Team Captain…
“This event is very special. You see the way the teams are acting, sitting in the team boxes, cheering for each other. No other competition is like this. You’ve seen the creativity from all the teams [flags, wigs, glasses, and hats]. This is one of the most fun parts of this, just allowing the skaters to show some of their personality. The Japanese fans are the best.”

Takahito Mura, Japan Team Captain…
“We brought some unique Japanese goods such as the Japanese fan, but we had some other fun ideas, like sporting the hairstyle of Japanese Samarai, but we were not courageous enough to do that. The Japanese fans are very enthusiastic. They are doing that for all the skaters, and that is wonderful.”

Alexander Smirnov, Russia Team Captain…
“We want to enjoy this competition as a festival of figure skating. The Japanese fans welcome all the skaters; they have many different flags. We are grateful and enjoy performing in this audience.”

Short Dance:
1. Kaitlyn Weaver+Andrew Poje (CAN) 73.14 (SB)
2. Madison Chock+Evan Bates (USA) 72.17
3. Gabriella Papadakis+Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) 70.86

Ladies’ Short Programs:
1. Gracie Gold (USA) 71.26 (SB)
2. Elizaveta Tutamysheva (RUS) 70.93
3. Elena Radionova (RUS) 68.77

Men’s Short Programs:
1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) 96.27
2. Han Yan (CHN) 87.13
3. Jason Brown (USA) 86.48

THE PERFORMANCES…IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Evan Bates, USA Team Captain…
“Today was a really great day for Team USA. It was a group effort. The competition is far from over; we’re going to need a lot more good skating tomorrow and the next day.

Takahito Mura, Japan Team Captain…
“We only had two weeks since World Champions. I can say for myself that I suffered an injury and other teammates are not in top condition, but we prepared in full spirit for this event.”

Alexander Smirnov, Russia Team Captain…
“I am very happy for my guys; they skated well, but I am also happy for the teams from the US and Japan. We are ready to fight for two more days in good spirit and with fun.”

CANADA WINS WORLD SYNCHRO TITLE ON HOME ICE

The 2015 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships were held in Hamilton, ON, Canada April 10-11. Twenty-five teams, each with sixteen skaters plus up to four alternates, competed.

Nexxice (Canada 1), from Burlington, ON, Canada, won the SP. Their FP routine to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” earned Level4 for six elements and placed 2nd with 143.67 points.

After the Canadians skated, they anxiously waited for both the Finnish teams and Sweden1 to perform. In the end, Nexxice won the nail-biter by a slim .67 points and a total 214.73 score.

The three-time World silver medalists and nine-time consecutive Canadian champions are the only North American team to win the world Synchro championships, and they did it twice – first in 2009 and again in 2015 in Hamilton before 8,000 cheering appreciative Canadian fans.

‘’It was incredible; the crowd showed us so much love,’’ said Laura Désilets. ‘’We didn’t feel any added pressure being in Canada.  We were pleased with both our programs, and we achieved our goals for this season.’’

Marigold Ice (Finland 1) skated a strong FP performance to “Images of War” that included five Level4 elements. The four-time and reigning World champions from Helsinki also scored 143.67 points. They won the FP over Nexxice because of a higher component mark and earned the silver medal with 214.06 total points.

Paradise, (Russia 1) vaulted from 5th place in the SP to a podium bronze medal with a five element Level4 skate to “Polovetsian Dances”. The St. Petersburg team scored 137.23 points for their FP. The 203.48 total points earned Russia its first World Synchro senior medal.

ICE CHIPS

  • Synchronized skating started in the United States, but is now dominated by two Scandinavian countries – Finland and Sweden.
  • The inaugural ISU Synchronized World Championships’ event was held in 2000.
  • The countries that have earned the gold medals are: Finland (8), Sweden (6), and Canada (2).
  • Synchronized skating uses the International Judging System (IJS).
  • Only the top five finishers are allotted a second team at the following Worlds. In 2016, that includes: Canada, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
  • The US teams finished 7th and 8th and will send only one team in 2016.
  • The IOC’s decision to include Synchronized Skating as an Olympic sport is pending a June vote.

 http://www.isuresults.com/results/wcsys2015/

2015 ISU WORLD TEAM TROPHY

April 16 – 19    TOKYO, JAPAN

 TEAM RUSSIA

Team Captain – Alexander SMIRNOV

Maxim KOVTUN

Sergei VORONOV

Elena RADIONOVA

Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA

Yuko KAVAGUTI+Alexander SMIRNOV

Elena ILINYKH+Ruslan ZHIGANSHIN

 TEAM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Team Captain – Evan BATES

Max AARON

Jason BROWN

Gracie GOLD

Ashley WAGNER

Alexa SCIMECA+Chris KNIERIM

Madison CHOCK+Evan BATES

TEAM JAPAN

Team Captain – Takahito MURA

Yuzuru HANYU

Takahito MURA

Satoko MIYAHARA

Kanako MURAKAMI

Ami KOGA+Francis BOUDREAU AUDET

Cathy REED+Chris REED

 TEAM CANADA

Team Captain – Meagan DUHAMEL

Nam NGUYEN

Jeremy TEN

Alaine CHARTRAND

Gabrielle DALEMAN

Meagan DUHAMEL+Eric RADFORD

Kaitlyn WEAVER+Andrew POJE

TEAM FRANCE

Team Captain – Gabriella PAPADAKIS

Florent AMODIO

Romain PONSART

Laurine LECAVELIER

Mae Bernice MEITE

Vanessa JAMES+Morgan CIPRES

Gabriella PAPADAKIS+Guillaume CIZERON

 TEAM CHINA

Team Captain – Cong HAN

Nan SONG

Han YAN

Zijun LI

Ziquan ZHAO

Wenjing SUI+Cong HAN

Shiyue WANG+Xinyu LIU

 INFORMATION / RESULTS

http://www.isu.org/en/single-and-pair-skating-and-ice-dance/calendar-of-events/2015/04/isu-world-team-trophy-2015

 ICE NETWORK COVERAGE

 http://web.icenetwork.com/schedule/2…ld_team_trophy

SCHEDULED (ALL TIMES EASTERN Daylight Time)

4/16/2015 2:15 am Short Dance

4/16/2015 3:35 am Ladies Short Program

4/16/2015 5:40 am Men’s Short Program

4/17/2015 3:00 am Pairs Short Program

4/17/2015 4:25 am Free Dance

4/17/2015 6:00 am Men’s Free Skate

4/18/2015 2:15 am Pairs Free Skate

4/18/2015 3:50 am Ladies Free Skate

 

 

A LOOK BACK AT 2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS…

  • Yuko Kavaguti (RUS) “I didn’t expect to compete at Worlds this year, so I’m quite happy we came here and skated in the last group.”
  • Qing Pang (CHN) “I was a bit nervous.”
  • Valentina Marchei (ITA) “It’s beautiful that after seven World Championships [as a single skater] to be here with a partner. It’s totally different.”
  • Eric Radford (CAN) “We always dreamed big and some dreams are so big that you probably never imagine them actually happening. And now it’s actually happening to us and it is hard to tell if this is a dream or reality.”
  • Jian Tong (CHN) “We always will be connected to figure skating.”
  • Kaitlyn Weaver (CAN) “This sport is a marathon, not a sprint.”
  • Elena Ilinykh (RUS) My mistake came on an element [twizzles] where I didn’t think it could happen.
  • Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) “ I believe China is a lucky place for us, indeed!”
  • Anna Cappellini (ITA) “My partner is going to have surgery, and [all season] our training was rough for us.”
  • Paul Poirier (CAN) “We just allowed ourselves to relax and let the training do the work for us.”
  • Zachary Donohue (USA) “We’re going to go back and work on the component scores because that’s what is killing us!”
  • Dennis Ten (KAZ) “Last year at Four Continents I was pretty sure that I would be done with competing, then I trained hard later around June. So to be here in the World’s Championships is pretty amazing.”
  • Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) “I really appreciate the gifts from the fans, but realistically I can’t take them home with me. I want to give them to charity.”
  • Sergei Voronov (RUS) “I don’t have anything to say. It was a complete failure. (17th in Free Skate – 13th overall)
  • Javier Fernandez (ESP) “I think I am lucky to come from Spain; we don’t have this history before. It’s unbelievable!
  • Jason Brown (USA) “I couldn’t be more excited. I am fourth in the World.”
  • Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) To Fernandez – “I am so proud of you.”
  • Maxim Kovtun (RUS) “After Europeans I started to do three quads, then I hurt my back. Then I hurt my shoulder, then my groin – everything got worse. I need to overcome these difficulties, then everything will be fine.”
  • Nam Nguyen (CAN) “It’s really enjoyable to perform in front of a big crowd. It’s really cool for me to communicate my program to them.”
  • Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) “I will celebrate my victory by making myself happy by shopping. I’ve dreamed a lot about that,  and now I can just go buy whatever.”
  • Ashley Wagner (USA)) “I admire her [Tuktamysheva] for bringing a whole new level of difficulty to the sport. Triple Axels will be mandatory [for Ladies] before we know it.”
  • Gracie Gold, USA “It’s always hard to skate after a great performance.” [Tuktamysheva’s SP]
  • Mae-Berenice Meite (FRA)I’ve been trying to get a score over 60 points [in SP], but my goal isn’t reached yet [57.08]. It’s a good step.
  • Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) “The men are doing three quads in their programs. The ladies have to evolve.”
  • Ashley Wagner (USA) After placing 11th in the SP – “Today was not so great. It’s tough to skate last, but tomorrow is a new day.”
  • Polina Edmunds (USA) “I’m kind of disappointed in my score. I feel it was low for what I executed, but I’ll keep working and be better and better every year.”
  • Satoko Miyahara (JPN) “I am sorry that I fell on my Lutz, but I am happy to get my [personal] best [FP] score.”
  • Elena Radionova (RUS) “I made some minor mistakes in my jumps, but this competition gave me a good experience.”
  • Gracie Gold (USA) “After a rough SP, it’s tough to come out with your guns blazing.”

 ICE CHIPS

  • French Ice dance gold medalists, Papadakis+Cizeron, have been partners for eleven years.
  • Brian Orser, 1988 Olympic silver medalist, coaches three men in the top five. (1) Javier Fernandez, (2) Yuzuru Hanyu (5) Nam Nguyen
  • Misha Ye (UZB) speaks fluent Chinese (Mandarin) Russian, and English. 
  • Qing Pang+Jian Tong (CHN) placed 14th at their first Worlds in 1999, placed 1st in the 2006 and 2010. They missed one World Championship in seventeen years. [2014]
  • Ivan Bukin (RUS) is the son of five-time ice dance World Champion, Andre Bukin.
  • Ice Dance siblings Nelli Zhiganshina (GER) and Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) skate for different countries.
  • Elizaveta Tuktamysheva joined Midori Ito, Tonya Harding, and Mao Asada as the only ladies to land a triple Axel in ISU International competition.
  • It was a clean slate of new gold medalists – no repeats from 2014.
  • Papadakis+Cizeron (FRA) placed 13th in 2014 and 1st in 2015.

WORLD MEDALISTS COACHING IN SHANGHAI  

         Galit Chait (ISR), Artur Dimitriev (RUS), Marie-France Dubreuil (CAN)

             Barbara Fusar-Poli (ITA), Zhao Hongbo (CHN), Angelika Krilova (RUS),

                           Jon Lane (GBR), Patrice Lauzon (Can), Maurizio Margaglio (ITA),

Brian Orser (CAN), Evgeni Platov (RUS), Massimo Scali (ITA)

 Ingo Steuer (GER), Robin Szolkowy (GER), and Alexander Zhulin (RUS)

DUHAMEL AND RADFORD ARE THE GOLDEN PAIR

SHORT PROGRAMS:

  1. (76.98) Meagan Duhamel+Eric Radford
  2. (72.59) Quing Pang+Jian Tong
  3. (71.63) Wenjing Sui+Cong Han

FREE PROGRAMS:

  1. (144.55) Meagan Duhamel+Eric Radford
  2. (142.49) Wenjing Sui+Cong Han
  3. (140.18) Quing Pang+Jian Tong

FINAL SCORES:

  1. (221.53) Meagan Duhamel+Eric Radford (CAN)
  2. (214.12) Wenjing Sui+Cong Han (CHN)
  3. (212.77) Quing Pang+Jian Tong (CHN)
  4. (206.63) Chen Peng+Hao Zhang (CHN)
  5. (198.91) Yuko Kavaguti+Alexander Smirnov (RUS)
  6. (198.46) Evgenia Tarasova+Vladimir Morozov (RUS)

     Personal Best Score

Duhamel+ Radford (CAN) skated to center ice and waited for their Muse program music to begin. The couple easily cruised through their elements, including the most difficult jump in the competition the s-b-s 3Lz and a spectacular triple throw Lutz. Duhamel’s hand did touch the ice on the 4STh, and Radford teetered on a camel spin. Otherwise, the GOE marks were mostly +2 and +3. The score was 1.67 less than their GPF personal best, and the performance drew a comment from Duhamel.

“We did not have a perfect skate today, but we fought until the very end.  When the music stopped, we were proud of ourselves, and that was our goal.”

Sui+ Han (CHN) earned the highest technical score of the pair’s event – 73.92 points with a powerful interpretation of a Tchaikovsky symphonic poem choreographed by David Wilson.

The silver medalists were worried about their position in the draw and skating in front of the enthusiastic Chinese home audience.

Sui noted, “We felt a lot of pressure in this competition, and we skated last. In the end we overcame the pressure, and it was a fantastic experience.”

The three-time World Junior champions did not hide their emotions.

Sui Wenjing was excited and crying, and it is natural for me to comfort her. She was still crying in the interview with CCTV, and I also cried, because we achieved a lot, and we went through a lot,” Han told the press.

Pang+Tong (CHN) were sentimental favorites. The veteran team had competed in sixteen World Championships, but this was their first in China. They had come out of retirement for ‘one shining moment’.

“We didn’t come back for the gold,” Tong had admitted in an earlier interview. “We came back for our fans and for figure skating in China.”

Pang had previously revealed how difficult it was to train.

“We didn’t expect it would be that hard,” she admitted, “and we didn’t expect Jian’s knee injury to get worse. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, our decision [to return] and our condition being questioned.”

Their bronze medal free program, choreographed by Nikolai Morozov, was highlighted by a huge 3STh that received all +3 GOE marks. The only mishap was when Tong singled the second Axel in the 2A+2A combination. The home audience roared their approval from opening to closing pose. The final curtain call between fans and skaters arrived too quickly.

“We are so glad to have made the decision to come back to skate on our home ice and feel the passion from the audience,” said Tong. “This is the last time that we competed. I didn’t want it to happen so soon, but it is time to say goodbye.”

The US Champions, Alexa Scimeca+Chris Knierim were 7th across the board, which is up two notches from their 2013 9th place final standing. Their Level3 quad twist earned five +2 and +3 GOE scores, but also a -1 GOE from one judge.

 

FRENCH ICE DANCERS VAULT TO GOLD

 SHORT DANCE:

  1. (74.47) Madison Chock+Evan Bates
  2. (72.68) Kaitlyn Weaver+Andrew Poje
  3. (72.39) Anna Cappellini+Luca Lanotte
  4. (71.94) Gabriella Papadakis+Guillaume Cizeron

FREE DANCE:                                                                              

  1. (112.34) Gabriella Papadakis+Guillaume Cizeron
  2. (106.87) Madison Chock+Evan Bates)
  3. (106.34) Kaitlyn Weaver+Andrew Poje
  4. (105.11) Anna Cappellini+Luca Lanotte                       

FINAL SCORES:

  1. (184.28) Gabriella Papadakis+Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
  2. (181.34) Madison Chock+Evan Bates (USA)
  3. (179.42) Kaitlyn Weaver+Andrew Poje (CAN)
  4. (177.50) Anna Cappellini+Luca Lanotte (ITA)
  5. (172.03) Maia Shibutani+Alex Shibutani (USA)
  6. (165.22) Piper Gilles+Paul Poirier (CAN

          Personal Best Score

 LEAP OF FAITH

Papadakis+Cizeron and their coach, Romaine Haguenauer, made a bold move last summer and relocated to Montreal, Canada. Together they found gold and the top spot on the 2015 Worlds’ podium.

In an interview for Absolute Skating, Cizeron commented on their new environment in Montreal. “Basically everything changed. We skate more, and we take dance classes; the approach is a lot more professional. We put our careers first and stopped going to school. So there is a big difference.”

The European champions were in 4th place entering the Free Dance.

“After the Short Dance, we were a little disappointed, so it gave us a little strength,” said Papadakis. “We had nothing to lose; we just were very determined,” Cizeron added.

The team floated across the ice seamlessly performing Level4 spins, lifts, twizzles and a circular step sequence while earning all but three +2 and +3 GOE marks. The softly passionate program was inspired by the ballet Le Parc, set to a Mozart’s Adagio and choreographed by Marie-France Dubreuill. The judges rewarded their performance, interpretation and choreography with four perfect-10 component marks. Their total score was 5.47 points above the silver medalists.

Papadakis+Cizeron placed 13th at last year’s Worlds in Japan. However, 2014-15 has been a storybook season with gold medal victories at two Grand Prix events and bronze at the Final before winning Europeans.

“Our goal at the beginning of the season was the top 10 at Worlds, so we were very surprised at each competition about the growing number of points we got,” commented Cizeron.

They were visibly shocked when the scores were announced.

“It’s like a dream. We cried when the scores came up, and we saw our placement. I have no words right now,” Cizeron said in the Kiss and Cry.

Chock+Bates slipped to 2nd after finishing 1st in the Short Dance. Their interpretation of An American in Paris showed great speed and excellent command of the ice. The lifts and spins earned Level4; the rotational lift received all +3 GOE marks from the judges. Unfortunately, the US champions lost points with the Level3 footwork and twizzles.

“It was a great performance,” Chock said. “I did have a slight bobble on the twizzle, but as soon as I finished that first twizzle I was snapping out of it. I told myself, that this is not how this program is going to go, and you’re going to fight for it.“

Bates added, “This season as a whole has been a massive success for us. This week especially was the icing on the cake. We are very proud of ourselves.”

Weaver+Poje also moved down a notch from 2nd in the Short Dance to the bronze medal. The GPF and Four Continents champions seemed a bit tentative and were zapped for an extended lift. The judges nibbled off points here and there resulting in a lower score than previously received.

They entered the competition undefeated this season and the favorites. In the Kiss and Cry Weaver had her fingers crossed and then shook her head in disapproval when the marks were announced.

“We went out there and gave it all that we had,” said Poje in a media release. “We are a little disappointed with our score because we were aiming for another gold, but we are pleased with ourselves and with the way we skated.”

“It just makes us hungrier to work even harder and peak at the right time and make sure the next four years are ours.” Weaver added