And with that … Meryl Davis and Charlie White have a handful of Grand Prix Final titles. Not to mention three newly set world records to show for their week in Fukuoka, Japan. The Michigan-based duo had their work cut out for them in both segments of competition as their longtime rivals and training mates Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada set new world bests immediately before each of their skates. Davis and White’s total score added up to 191.35 when their short dance score was combined with their free dance mark of 113.69.
“Charlie and I feel really good after the Grand Prix Final,” Davis said. “We are feeling like we are continuing the growth that we really initiated at Skate America this year. We are feeling really positive and gearing up to work harder than ever going into Sochi.”
Of the rivalry, she added, “We have a really great rivalry with Scott and Tessa . They’re an incredibly talented team and we’ve been competing directly against them since before we were teenagers. The rivalry has pushed the two of us to heights that I don’t know we would have reached without that rivalry.”
Last year, Davis and White set a record for consecutive Grand Prix Final wins.
Ashley Wagner became the first American lady since Sasha Cohen in 2002 and ’03 to win medals at back-to-back Grand Prix Finals. Though she made some mistakes, Wagner came through with the bronze medal with a total score of 187.61. The Romeo and Juliet free skate started strong with the triple-triple jump combination which has been her focus this year. But Wagner said a fall on her triple Lutz in the second half of the program gave way to other small mistakes along the way.
“Today was a lesson learned for me. I was focused more on how Julia (Lipnitskaia) had performed before me. I think I let that get into my head instead of focusing on my main goals,” she explained. “I got the triple-triple out which has been what I’ve wanted to do all season. I have to go home and learn how to make a mistake and recover from it.”
Despite her disappointment today, Wagner has medaled at her last six Grand Prix Series events and will next compete for her third-straight U.S. title at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships next month in Boston.
The junior ice dancers finally got their moment as they kicked off the action Saturday. Team USA makes up half the field, and each team is competing in its first Junior Grand Prix Final. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, winners of two gold medals so far this season, are in second place after giving what they deemed their best performance of the year.
“We were thrilled with our performance today. We thought it was our best performance this season,” Hawayek said. “It was strong and energetic and we harnessed the crowd. We put out a very solid performance and had a great time while we were skating.”
At 58.05 points, they are about five points behind Russia’s Anna Yanovskaya and Sergey Mozgov.
Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter are in third place at 55.14 points. They agreed with their teammates that today’s performances got a leg up from the enthusiastic Japanese crowd.
Said McNamara, “It was a lot of fun skating and performing for this great audience. They are really enthusiastic about skating.”
Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons sit in sixth place with 46.11 points. They suffered a fall on their twizzles that set them back a little bit.
“The first half was pretty strong then I think we got a little sloppy at the end,” Rachel said.
The junior dancers close the show on Sunday afternoon.
The leaders/winners are as follows:
Junior ladies (final): Maria Sotskova (Russia) 176.75
Junior men (final): Boyang Jin (China) 218.73 points
Junior pairs (final): Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jing (China) 163.52 points
Senior men (final): Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) 293.25 points
Senior pairs (final): Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov (Russia) 82.65
Saturday, Dec. 7
10:15 p.m. – Junior free dance (LIVE)
Parsons and Parsons – 10:21 p.m.
McNamara and Carpenter – 10:50 p.m.
Hawayek and Baker – 10:57 p.m.
2013 GRAND PRIX FINAL TV BROADCAST SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern; subject to change)
Saturday, Dec. 7
11 a.m. – Pairs free
Noon – Free dance
Sunday, Dec. 8
Noon-2 p.m. – NBC’s coverage of the 2013 Grand Prix Final