Team USA earned three medals, including one silver and two bronze, at 2012 Rostelecom Cup and added five more, two gold, two silver and one bronze, at 2012 Ice Challenge to bring the weekend total to eight.
Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series, concluded Saturday in Moscow with four free skates.
Gracie Gold, earned her first career Grand Prix medal, the silver, while teammate Agnes Zawadzki took home bronze. Finland’s Kiira Korpi won her second career Grand Prix gold, with 177.19 points. Gold, who made her career Grand Prix debut two weeks ago at Skate Canada, earned led after the short program with 62.16 points, the fourth-highest short program score of the season. Gold on her way to 175.03 total points, earned 115.64 for her “Life is Beautiful” free skate that featured a triple Lutz-triple toe and three level 4 spins. Each of Gold’s scores represent international personal best marks. 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. Her “Rhapsody in Blue” free skate, that earned 106.43 points, included three level 4 spins and a double Axel-double toe-double loop sequence worth 7.18 points. Her total for the week was 166.61 points. Caroline Zhang, in her third outing of the season, finished 10th and earned 138.21 points.
Richard Dornbush, in his Grand Prix season debut, placed sixth. The 2012 Finlandia Trophy silver medalist earned 210.89 points for the competition, including 143.45 for his free skate. Despite falling on his program-opening quad toe, Dornbush received huge points for his triple Lutz-triple toe combination (12.51) and triple Axel-double toe-double loop sequence (13.62). Dornbush’s U2 short program, worth 67.44 points, 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. Standing atop the medals podium was Canada’s Patrick Chan, joined by silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka of Japan and bronze medalst Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic. Johnny Weir, who made his return to the Grand Prix circuit for the first time since 2010, withdrew due to injury prior to the free skate.
Caydee Denney & John Coughlin won their second bronze medal of the season, becoming the first U.S. pairs team to medal at two Grand Prix events since Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker did so in 2008. Their “Phantom of the Opera” free skate, which received a season-high 120.19 points, earned positive GOEs on 11 of 12 elements. The programs highlights included two level 4 lifts and a throw triple flip. They finished behind home country representatives Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov. Denney and Coughlin are also the 2012 Skate America bronze medalists, while Volosozhar and Trankov won gold at the same event last month. Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin finished sixth.
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani also kicked off their season in Moscow, finishing fourth with a total of score of 140.91 points. The duo had to restart their “Memoirs of a Geisha” free dance, and after getting into rhythm turned in a performance that featured two level 4 lifts and level 4 twizzles. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir earned their second gold of the season, followed by a pair of Russia teams, Elena Ilinyhk & Nikita Katsalapov and Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan
In Graz, Austria, Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir won their first international gold medal, totaling 175.86 points for the competition. Their win came by 40 points over teammates and silver medalists Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff. Castelli and Shnapir’s 18-point lead after the short program grew to the final margin after earning 114.42 points for their free skate. Their “Payadora” program featured side-by-side triple toes as well as a throw triple Salchow and a level 4 lift that earned 8.13 points. Donlan and Speroff, who nabbed their first international medal in Graz, earned 135.43 points for the competition and moved up from third place after the short program.
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 four 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.
Complete coverage of Rostelecom Cup and Ice Challenge is available on www.icenetwork.com.