After the first day of competition, four of Team USA’s athletes are poised for the podium heading into Saturday’s events.
Fresh off her first Grand Prix title at 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America earlier this fall, Ashley Wagner sits in second place after her “Red Violin” short program, trailing Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia by less than a point. Wagner earned positive grades of execution on each of her seven elements, including a triple flip-double toe combination, which earned 7.70 points. Wagner finished the segment with a season-best short program score of 63.09 points, while Lipnitskaia will head into the free skate with 63.55 points. Lipnitskaia’s teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva finished third with 58.26 points. Christina Gao will take the ice for her free skate in seventh place, less than six points from medal position.
Jeremy Abbott looks to return to the Grand Prix podium after earning 81.18 points for his short program. His program components score of 40.83 points bested his competitors by more than four points, giving him a 4.53 point lead heading into tomorrow’s free skate. Abbott’s performance, set to Nathan Lanier’s “Spy,” included a flawless triple Axel and a triple flip-triple toe combination, which netted 10.30 points. Behind Abbott in second place is Takahito Mura of Japan with 76.65 points, followed by Brian Joubert of France, who finished third with 75.46 points.
In their second season together, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue are in fourth place after the short dance, less than two points from the podium. Their Titanic short dance, which earned 56.54 points, featured positive grades of execution on more than half of their elements, including a Level 4 twizzle sequence worth 6.79 points. Currently in first place are Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France with 68.48 points, followed by Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy with 66.18 points, with and Ekaterina Riazova and Ilia Tkachenko of Russia rounding out the top three with 58.23 points.
While Team USA is not represented in the pairs event this week, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia lead with 66.78 points, followed by Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada with 62.28 points and Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang of China, who finished third with 59.92 points.
Saturday Competition Schedule (all times Eastern)
Men’s free skate – 9:25 a.m.
Jeremy Abbott – 10:46 a.m.
Ladies free skate – 12:30 p.m.
Christina Gao – 1:01 p.m.
Ashley Wagner – 1:47 p.m.
Free Dance – 2:30 p.m.
Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue – 3:14 p.m.