Friday, March 15, 2013
The first World champions were crowned Friday in the pairs and men’s events at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.
Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won their first pairs title by a landslide, beating 2012 champs and eventual silver medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy by 20 points. The Russians earned 225.71 points and they set world records for both free skate (149.87) and total scores. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze.
Both American pairs teams put out solid free skates to have an enjoyable conclusion to their first Worlds experience.
Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim easily set new season’s best scores and achieved all of their levels as they recorded 117.78 points for the “Life is Beautiful” skate.
“We got everything (levels) we were going for so we are very happy,” Knierim said. “We didn’t know until we got off the ice. In the program, everything felt really good. Relaxed. It was like another day at the office. We’ve been focusing on making sure we get the levels and doing everything that’s needed so there’s no gray area.”
The total score of 173.51 points put them in ninth.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were also “thrilled” with their outing. Despite not matching their best score of the season, the duo were satisfied with the energetic and clean skate.
“We’re thrilled. That was a great performance,” Shnapir said. “That was a great turnaround for both of us from the short. We really wanted to put out a strong program and we’re thrilled with what we were able to present today with our long. We’re happy with the outcome.”
Their free skate earned 108.32 points en route to 164.00 total. They finished 13th.
Once again, Canada’s Patrick Chan reigned supreme, winning his third straight World title with 267.68 total points. His flawless short program propelled him to a slim victory over unlikely hero and silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan. Ten bested his previous free skating personal best by 20 points to win the free skate with 174.92 points. His grand total equaled 266.48 points. Bronze went home with Spain’s Javier Fernandez. He had not finished above ninth in six previous Worlds.
Max Aaron once again brought the crowd to its feet after his West Side Story free skate. Aaron started strong with a quad Salchow-double Salchow combination. He made a few little mistakes, but was happy overall with his top 10 showing in his first Worlds. Joking with the media after the performance, Aaron explained he has a habit of running into the walls when he skates, as he did following his triple Axel tonight.
“I always want a bigger and bigger rink,” he said to lots of laughter. “I want a giant pond and I’ll bring everyone to the pond. I like to use the entire ice sheet. I have it, why not use it all? I paid for it, too. I don’t want to use half the sheet.”
He continued that even on his home ice rink, which is Olympic size, he runs (literally) into the same issue.
“I still run into the wall on the Olympic ice. I don’t really know how I do it, it just happens. I keep pushing things out more and more. Like I said, I have the ice, I want to use the whole thing. That’s my take on that. Sorry, it’s kind of silly.”
Aaron netted 238.36 points overall, including 160.16 for the free skate, to place seventh overall.
Ross Miner finished 14th with 211.90 points. His free skate totaled 141.66. Miner conceded after the free skate that he lost sight of some of what carried him through a very successful fall and U.S. Championships season.
“I’m a little disappointed,” he said simply. “Based on NHK and nationals, I think I had the capability to be competitive with the upper end of the top 10. I think top 6 would have been a reasonable goal for me. I got a little wrapped up in that and tried a little too hard instead of focusing on doing my job. I’m going to go home and try to find my mojo again, which is what got me here in the first place. That was focusing on what I can control.”
The stage is set for fantastic ice dance and ladies finals on Saturday. Meryl Davis and Charlie White began their quest for their second World title on Thursday, and they did so by producing the best short dance of the night to the tune of 77.12 points, which is the best short dance score ever.
The race is certainly a tight one from 1-9 going into the free dance. Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the reigning World champs, are in second place with 73.87 points followed by Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev with 70.05.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates are competing at their first Worlds together (they each previously came to this event with former partners) and were extremely satisfied with the short dance result. They earned a personal-best 66.74 points for a seventh-place showing. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani also enjoyed their best performance of the season and narrowly trail their teammates with 66.14 points (8th).
The race for the podium is also a tight one in the ladies event. Ashley Wagner totaled 63.98 points for her “Red Violin” short program. She is in fifth.
Wagner is here with a clear goal: to help the U.S. earn three entries for the 2014 Olympics next February. To earn a third spot, Team USA needs to record a combined total finish of 13 or lower between Wagner and Gracie Gold (they have a combined placement of 14 after the short).
Gold made her World Championships debut to the tune of 58.85 points. Reigning Olympic champions Yu-na Kim leads with 69.97 points followed by current World champ Carolina Kostner of Italy with 66.86 and Japan’s Kanako Murakami with 66.64. Just 11 points separate Kim and Gold.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Free Dance – 2:30 p.m.
Shibutani and Shibutani: 4:38 p.m.
Chock and Bates: 4:46 p.m.
Davis and White: 5:24 p.m.
Ladies Free – 7 p.m.
Gold: 9:11 p.m.
Wagner: 10:06 p.m.