World Team Trophy: Day 2

12 Apr

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2013 ISU World Team Trophy | Tokyo

Cheers, chants and lots of laughs ensued as World Team Trophy continued from Yoyogi Stadium Friday. Team USA is poised to win its second World Team Trophy gold medal (2009) as, through the free dance, men’s free and ladies and pairs short program, the athletes have put their team in first place. Team Canada and Team Japan, which is competing here without a pairs entry, are in second and third, respectively. The pairs and ladies events conclude tomorrow when a winning team will be crowned.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were the last members of Team USA to take the ice, presenting their short program today for the last time this season. They suffered a fall on their side-by-side triple Salchows but otherwise had a strong outing to earn 57.18 points.

“It was a great time,” Shnapir said. “We wanted to have fun our last time out with this program. I made a mistake on the Salchow, and that caused us some points. All-in-all, I felt good about the program.”

Castelli and Shnapir spent several quality hours cheering on their teammates during the first day of competition since they didn’t skate until today. Like many of the other skaters here, they are enjoying the team atmosphere and the support that comes with it.

“It’s great. We have never had our own little kiss and cry,” Castelli said. “It’s fun to show our spirit and motivate our skaters and push them along with us. It’s a long season and it’s great to work as a team.”

Madison Chock and Evan Bates maintained their first-place standing after the short dance to win the event and earn 12 points toward Team USA’s final score. They earned a season’s best score of 98.37 points in the last showing of their “Dr. Zhivago” free dance. Their total score equaled 164.91 points.

Chock said, “We’re very happy with that. We’ve been working on this program since July and we’ve seen it progress through the year.”

The team will now turn its attention to their ultimate goal of making the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team and announced they will skate their 2013-14 free dance to music from “Les Miserables.”

“Our goal is to make the Olympic Team and everything else falls in behind that goal,” Bates said simply.

Max Aaron executed a solid free skate that featured two quads, one in combination to lead Team USA in the men’s event with a total score of 236.62 points. He finished fourth in the event.

Of his U.S. championship season, Aaron said, “It was learning experience, but yet again, it was tough because I was up there with the top guys. There was no learning curve. I had to jump in and represent my country. I took the challenge well.”

Jeremy Abbott finished sixth after setting season’s best scores in the free skate and overall. Following the free, for which he earned 151.60 points, Team USA did their best dramatics in the Kiss and Cry, first singing and then humming some of the lyrics to his music from “Les Miserables.”

Like everyone here, Abbott now looks to building into the 2014 Olympic season, when he hopes to become a two-time Olympian.

“I’m happy to get a season’s best. Sad it wasn’t better,” he said. “It’s been a tough go for me this season. I’m finally starting to get things back together. I was pleased with the performance, not super excited, but pleased. It’s a start for next season. I feel I’m in good shape and I want to continue to now and not go down.”

Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi won the men’s event. Team Russia suffered an unfortunate withdrawal when Konstantin Menshov had to take himself out of the competition. He suffered an apparent shoulder injury during his free skate.

A pair of World Team Trophy veterans are representing Team USA in the ladies event. Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner are in third and fourth places, respectively, after the short program. Team captain Wagner and Gold had the day off from skating, but fully supported Team USA from the American cheering section.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pairs free – 2:15 a.m.

Castelli and Shnapir: 2:22 a.m.

Ladies free – 3:50 a.m.

Wagner: 5:07 a.m.

Gold: 5:15 a.m.

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