ISU World Team Trophy 2012 – Day 1

19 Apr

Thursday, April 19th – Yoyogi National Stadium – Tokyo, Japan

Useful Links

Twitter  #WTT12  | Event Page

Team USA Press Release   | Event Photos

Schedule (PDF)   |   Live Results/Starting Orders

In-event Team Standings | ISU World Team Trophy 2012 competition notes (PDF)

Welcome to World Team Trophy 2012! Everyone from skaters to coaches and officials to fans have caught the spirit of the event. Team pride abounds! Team USA is currently tied for first place with Team Japan (both teams have 45 points). Team France is in third with 35 points.

The event kicked off with the short dance and Team USA was led by four-time reigning U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Skating their short dance for the last time, Davis and White earned 72.18 points and won the segment. Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished second with 69.93 points and Natahlie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France finished third with 66.57.

After their performance, Davis and White expressed their desire to defend the title Team USA won at this event in 2009.

“We owe it to the team that came before us to do just as well and give it our best shot,” team captain White said. “We want to continue the excellence that America set in the first one.”

Davis added, “Something that is special about this competition is the team spirit. The atmosphere we are going to create. It’s going to be fun and different. Team USA also won the ‘spirit award’ last time so we are going to try for that.”

The crowd clapped along through every moment of Jeremy Abbott‘s swing-themed short program, and Abbott gave them a performance worth cheering for. He earned a season’s best 86.98 points and placed third in the segment. Afterward, he acknowledged the support of the crowd, saying, “For the Japanese fans, before I got on the ice, I could hear how excited they were and I thought they came here to watch good figure skating and I want to give them their money’s worth.”

Adam Rippon skated to his best international score of the season, earning 74.93 points for his “Korobushko” short program. Rippon is looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow – “Today was a little bit shaky. The more I’m here, the more comfortable I feel so I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Leading the men’s event is hometown hero Daisuke Takahashi, who earned 94.00 points for his “In the Garden of Souls” skate. He was the only skater to break the 90-point mark as two-time reigning World champion Patrick Chan of Canada placed second with 89.81 points.

Gracie Gold made her senior debut, at an international competition featuring the world’s best no less, and earned 59.07 points to lead off the ladies short program. Her teammates offered hardy congrats as she came off the ice, with White telling her she made it easy to cheer. She is in fourth place.

For her part, Gold was particularly happy with a solid triple flip-triple toe combination that opened the “Nutcracker” program – “When I land a really good flip, like I did today, it makes the triple toe easy for me. I love it when it’s like that.”

Ashley Wagner started her “Pollock” short program with a solid triple-triple combination. Despite a self-proclaimed “silly mistake” on her double Axel, Wagner earned 57.52 points and sits in place fifth place.

Wagner expects her a strong come-from-behind mentality to propel her into the free skate, a program that has become a signature piece of her career.

“I have put myself in a good spot. I attack more when I’m coming from behind,” she said. “As of now, I’m not sure if it’s going to be too large of a gap. We’ll have to see what I’m up against. Other than that, it’s one last chance to perform my program which is my favorite program of all time. It’s an honor to be here in Japan and to finish it here because I have so many fans who love it.”

The ladies field is led by Italy’s Carolina Kostner with 69.48 points and Japan’s Akiko Suzuki with 67.51.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin kick off competition tomorrow for the U.S. with the pairs short program at 2 a.m ET, followed by the free dance at 3:25 a.m. ET and the men’s free skate at 5 a.m. ET. The ladies get a day off with the free skate coming as the event’s finale on Saturday.

Team USA’s Friday Start Times (all are ET)

Denney and Coughlin – 2:14 a.m.

Davis and White – 4:17 a.m.

Rippon – 5:49 a.m.

Abbott – 6:30 a.m.

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