Team USA Earns Four Medals in Quebec

11 Dec

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Team USA earned four medals in Quebec at the Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final including two gold medals. Meryl Davis & Charlie White became the first U.S. team ever to win three straight gold medals at a Grand Prix Final with their top performance in ice dancing while Jason Brown earned gold in the men’s event of the Junior Grand Prix Final. Also earning podium finishes were Joshua Farris with a bronze in the junior men’s event and Britney Simpson & Matthew Blackmer, with a junior pairs bronze medal.

Davis & White continued their winning streak with their ninth consecutive gold medal as the Americans posted a best-ever short dance score of 76.17 to give them a five-point margin heading into the free dance competition. In the free dance, Davis & White edged Canadians Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir by .05 points, posting another personal best, to win the competition by 5.21 points.

Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat of France earned the bronze, while Americans Maia & Alex Shibutani, competing in their first Grand Prix Final, posted season-best scores in both the short and free dance competitions and finished in fifth place overall.

Brown, in his second season on the JGP circuit, placed second in both segments of competition and won the gold medal over silver medalist Han Yan of China and teammate Farris, who won bronze in his second trip to this event. Brown set international best scores throughout the competition.

The ladies crown belongs to Italy’s Carolina Kostner. She has medaled at each of her four trips to the Final, but this year’s is her first gold. She was joined on the podium by Japan’s Akiko Suzuki and Russia’s Alena Leonova. Alissa Czisny, competing on a sore left leg, finished fifth in the ladies field.

Canada’s Patrick Chan skated to an easy 11-point victory over Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi, who battled from a fifth-place showing in the short program to win silver. Javier Fernandez of Spain won bronze in his first trip to the Grand Prix Final. American Jeremy Abbott skated his best free skate of the season, landing a quad in competition for the first time since the 2010 U.S. Championships, but finished fifth overall.

Like the junior ladies podium, the junior ice dancing podium also belonged to Russia. Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhigansin led the way followed by Anna Yanovskaia & Sergei Mozgov and Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin. In their JGP Final debut Team USA’s Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton finished fourth

By a slim margin, senior pairs gold went to Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy of Germany. They edged Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov by 0.18 points. Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov, also of Russia, took bronze.

Simpson & Blackmer, who formed their partnership over the summer, earned the junior pairs bronze medal. They enjoyed two clean skates and totaled 146.35 points. They were joined on the podium by China’s Wenjing Sui & Cong Han in first and Katherine Bobak & Ian Beharry of Canada in second.

Russia enjoyed a sweep of the junior ladies podium with Julia Lipnitskaia leading the way. Teammates Polina Shelepen and Polina Korobeynikova finished second and third, respectively. American Vanessa Lam, competing in her first JGP Final, finished fifth overall.

Ice Dancing Quotes

Meryl Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich./Arctic FSC) & Charlie White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Detroit SC)

(training town: Canton, Mich.)

1st place (1 SD, 1 FD)

Total: 188.55; FD: 112.38; SD: 76.17 points (all are international PB scores)

(on winning nine consecutive competitions) White – “It’s fantastic. The consistency of our training, coming every day to the rink with a good attitude and bringing it over to competition with the same sort of idea is what we do. We control ourselves and so far we’re doing a good job of that.”

(on winning FD by 0.05 points over CAN’s Virtue and Moir) Davis – “The closeness of the points will drive us even more. We work very hard every day but having Scott and Tessa there right next to us pushes us that much more. We’re really excited to get back home and keep working and improving.”

(on winning three straight Grand Prix Finals) White – “It’s a testament to our hard work, our coaches and our parents,  who are always helping us. I wish we could take all the credit, but it’s everyone that helps us. Of course our partnership is a key, having been together for so long and being able to rely on each other. At this point, in senior, it’s something you get used to, but at the same time you can’t take it for granted.”

(on performing best free dance of season) Davis – “We feel really good about where our skating is. It’s nice to be rewarded for it with the points. I think we can feel the growth of both programs from competition to competition. We’ll stick on that upward trend throughout the season.”

Maia Shibutani (Ann Arbor, Mich./SC of New York) & Alex Shibutani (Ann Arbor, Mich./Arctic FSC)

(training town: Canton, Mich.)

5th place (5 SD, 5FD)

Total: 160.55; FD: 95.03; SD: 65.53 points (all are season-high scores)

(on Final experience) Maia – “We feel really good. This was a good competition for us. We made a lot of improvements in our programs since the Grand Prix events. I think we have been really excited to be here. It’s our first Grand Prix, hopefully the first of many.”

(on preparing for U.S. Championships) Alex – “Like Maia said, it was our first Grand Prix Final and so we have tried to soak it all in as much as possible. We’re going to go home and work really hard. We are always going to make corrections and keep pushing the bar for ourselves so by the year we’re as good as we can be.”

(on free dance) Maia – “We’ve done a lot of hard work in order to improve everything about our programs. We’re really happy because within this competition, we see a big increase in our levels. That shows that we are going in the right direction.”

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