Before Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the short dance by the narrowest of margins, Nathan Chen hauled in the junior men’s bronze medal and the junior ladies event concluded as the Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final continued Friday from Marina Messe Arena in Fukuoka, Japan.
Davis and White set a world record short dance score of 77.66 and take a 0.07 point lead over Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir into Saturday’s free dance. Davis and White, performing to My Fair Lady, achieved Level 4s on all five of their elements.
“It definitely felt like a season’s best in terms of performance and technically,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of room for growth in this program still which we are really excited about. It definitely feels like the best we have put out this season and it’s nice to see that on the scoreboard as well.”
The PCS mark proved to be the difference between first and second. Virtue and Moir held a 0.15 edge in the technical mark, but Davis and White’s second mark of 38.73 bested that of the Canadians by 0.22.
Following the performance, White acknowledged their competitors’ high score.
“There were a little bit of extra nerves on the bigger stage against the good ole Canadian rivals over here who we knew would put down a good score,” White explained. “It’s hard to block out a score like that before you skate. But we settled in quickly. Technically all level fours, we are really happy with that. It’s just a lot of hard work. We feel like there is room to grow still so that’s exciting. Overall, we are pleased with our performance.”
Tomorrow’s action will feature both the free dance and ladies free skate with Team USA is poised to medal in both events. First, we will watch as Davis and White skate to extend their historical Grand Prix Final win streak to five. Meanwhile, with a medal here, Wagner would be the first American woman to win medals at back-to-back finals since Sasha Cohen (gold 2002, silver 2003). She is in third place. The junior ice dancers will finally begin competition tomorrow. Team USA makes up half of the field in dance.
In the junior men’s competition, Chen maintained his third-place standing after performing a clean free skate, triple Axel and all.
“There is room for improvement always but overall I think I did very well. I got my triple Axel which is a big bonus for me.”
Chen earned 214.61 points overall and just four points separated the Southern California-based skater from the gold medalist Boyang Jin of China. Jin, in his second JGP Final, pulled off the upset moving up from fifth after the short program to take the title. Russia’s Adian Pitkeev won silver.
Polina Edmunds skated her best free skate of the season, earning 113.51 points, a score that was second-highest among the ladies. She finished fourth overall with 161.71 points and was just two points out of medal contention. Her program, skated to music from Peer Gynt, featured a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and an additional triple flip-loop-triple Salchow sequence. All three spins were Level 4.
“I was happy that I fought through it,” Edmunds said of her free skate. “It was a good program and I’m glad I did it well. Today I really fought for anything and I didn’t want to let anything go after yesterday when I let a few moments slip. I’m happy I did that.”
The gold medal belonged to Maria Sotskova, who shared the podium with two teammates from Russia. Sotskova earned a total score of 176.75.
Angela Wang, competing in her second straight Junior Grand Prix Final, endured a few hiccups this week and finished sixth. Both American ladies will now train their senior programs in preparation for the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships next month.
The leaders/winners are as follows in the events where Team USA is not represented:
Junior pairs (final): Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jing (China) 163.52 points
Senior men (final): Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) 293.25 points
Senior pairs: Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov (Russia) 82.65
Saturday, Dec. 7
1 a.m. – Junior short dance (LIVE)
Parsons and Parsons – 1:06 a.m.
McNarara and Carpenter – 5:33 a.m.
Hawayek and Baker – 5:39 a.m.
2:15 a.m. – Senior pairs free (LIVE)
3:50 a.m. – Senior free dance (LIVE)
Davis and White – 4:42 a.m.
5:20 a.m. – Senior ladies free (LIVE)
Wagner – 5:51 a.m.
10:15 p.m. – Junior free dance (LIVE)
UNIVERSAL SPORTS NETWORK 2013 GRAND PRIX FINAL BROADCAST SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern; subject to change)
Friday, Dec. 6
11 a.m. – Pairs short
6 p.m. – Short dance
Saturday, Dec. 7
11 a.m. – Pairs free
Noon – Free dance