Team USA netted three medals, including two gold, at 2012 Cup of Nice. Keegan Messing and Max Aaron maintained the momentum they gained from strong short programs Friday to earn the top two podium spots, while pairs team Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim won gold in their competitive debut.
Messing, who earlier this fall captured the bronze medal at 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy, successfully defended his 2011 Cup of Nice title as he posted a total score of 224.44 points. His free skate netted 144.33 points. The program featured several strong jump elements including an opening triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toe combination. Teammate Aaron earned 219.62 points overall as he won his second medal of the season. Aaron was also the 2012 U.S. International Challenge Skate champion.
Scimeca and Knierim, who teamed up in the spring, led after the short program with a score of 59.01 points. Their strong performance in that segment proved the difference as they maintained gold-medal standing despite placing second in the free skate. Their total score of 156.00 points edged that of silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia by less than a point.
North of the border, Skate Canada concluded with all four free skates. In the ice dancing event, Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue recorded one of Team USA’s best finishes of the weekend, placing fifth with 135.16 points in their season opener. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada earned their first gold medal of the season while Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca LaNotte and Russia’s Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko also stood on the podium. Hubbell and Donohue are set to compete next at Trophee Bompard the weekend of Nov. 16.
Ross Miner also finished fifth after recording the fourth-best free skate of the competition. He was in eighth after the short program. Miner, who is also set to compete at NHK Trophy to close the Grand Prix season, totaled 213.60 points for the week, including 144.19 for the free skate. The title went to Spain’s Javier Fernandez, who earned his first Grand Prix gold medal. After opening up on his program-opening quad Salchow, Miner went on to execute an array high scoring elements including a triple Lutz-single loop-triple Salchow sequence that earned 12.77 points.
Gracie Gold, in her Grand Prix debut, and Caroline Zhang placed seventh and ninth, respectively. The ladies podium included Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond, winning gold in her Grand Prix debut, and Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami of Japan. Gold and Zhang will compete head-to-head once again at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow next month.
Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig also made their Grand Prix debut this weekend in Windsor and placed seventh. Teammates Tiffany Vise and Don Baldwin finished sixth. No strangers to the top of the podium, Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy won gold in the pairs event.
Complete event coverage of both Skate Canada and Cup of Nice is available on http://www.icenetwork.com.