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After earning three medals Friday at 2012 Ice Challenge, Team USA is poised to win several more Saturday at Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge.
From Moscow, 2012 Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series, began Friday.
Team USA is in first and third positions in the ladies event with Gracie Gold leading and Agnes Zawadzki not far behind. Gold, who made her career Grand Prix debut two weeks ago at Skate Canada, earned a short program score of 62.16 points, the fourth-highest short program score of the season. Her program included a triple flip-triple toe combination and three level 4 spins. Zawadazki, who edged her teammate for the gold medal at the 2012 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September, earned 60.18 points for her “Sex and the City” short program. She also executed a triple-triple combination, with hers featuring a pair of toe loops. Finland’s Kiira Korpi, the 2012 Cup of China bronze medalist, sits between the Americans with 61.55 points. Caroline Zhang, in her third outing of the season, is in 10th place with 46.15 points.
Richard Dornbush, in his Grand Prix season debut, is in seventh place, but sits just nine points out of bronze-medal position with 67.44 points. Dornbush’s U2 short program began with a beautiful quad toe that received a GOE of 1.29 and overall score of 11.59 points. Despite struggling on his other two jumping elements, Dornbush saw positive GOEs on his spins and step sequence. With 85.44 points, Patrick Chan of Canada holds a nine-point lead over Russia’s Konstantin Menshov and Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka, who are in a tight race for second. In his first Grand Prix since the 2010 season, Johnny Weir is in 10th place.
Caydee Denney & John Coughlin are poised to win their second medal of the season. With 59.02 points, they are in third place behind home country representatives Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Denney and Coughlin are the 2012 Skate America bronze medalists, while Volosozhar and Trankov won gold at the same event last month. Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin sit in seventh place.
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani also kicked off their season in Moscow. They are in fourth and earned 58.26 points for their short dance. They are less than two points behind the third place team of Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganzhin of Russia. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir lead with 70.65 points. They were gold medalists at Skate Canada. Shibutani and Shibutani debuted a short dance to music by The Incantations in Moscow.
Meanwhile, in Graz, Austria, Douglas Razzano earned his second Ice Challenge silver medal (2010) with a total score of 204.62 points. He edged teammate Armin Mahbanoozadeh, who earned 200.01 points total. Gold went to Germany’s Peter Liebers.
Razzano’s short program to Rachmaninoff’s music featured seven elements that received positives GOEs, including a triple Axel and level 3 and 4 spins and a level 4 step sequence. With 72.21 points, he led after the segment. Mahbanoozadeh also turned out a solid short worth 72.14 points. The program included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination that was the segment’s highest-scoring element at 11.27 points.
Ice dancers Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt earned their second consecutive Ice Challenge gold medal. They started the competition as the only team to break the 50-point mark in the short dance with 50.46 points. They went on to win Friday’s free dance by over 20 points, totaling 89.24 points for their program set to Adele’s music. The free featured three of Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 step sequence. The duo was joined on the podium by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Mysliveckova & Neil Brown and Switzerland’s Ramona Elsener & Florian Roost. In their competitive debut, Anastasia Olson & Keiffer Hubbell finished 10th with 102.10 points.
Going into Saturday’s free skate, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir hold a significant lead in the pairs competition. Their short program score of 60.44 points is nearly 18 points higher than that of second place team Danielle Montalbano & Evgeni Krasnopolsky of Israel. Americans Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff are in third place and trail place Montalbano & Krasnopolsky by just over a point.
Complete coverage of Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge is available on www.icenetwork.com.
Saturday Competition Schedule (All times Eastern)
Ladies – 5 a.m.
Caroline Zhang – 5:07 a.m.
Agnes Zawadzki – 6:09 a.m.
Gracie Gold – 6:25 a.m.
Pairs – 6:50 a.m.
Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin – 6:57 a.m.
Caydee Denney and John Coughlin – 7:38 a.m.
Men’s – 8:30 a.m.
Johnny Weir – 8:37 a.m.
Richard Dornbush – 9:02 a.m.
Ice Dancing – 10:30 a.m.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani – 11:14 a.m.
Pairs – 9:30 a.m.