The 2015 world silver medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan won the Ladies gold in an event full of surprises as competition wrapped up at Bridgestone Skate America on Sunday. Kaori Sakamoto, also of Japan, took the silver medal and Bradie Tennell (USA), competing in her first senior Grand Prix event, earned the bronze.
None of the medalists qualified for the Grand Prix Final, but Miyahara is the first substitute.
Performing to ‘Madame Butterfly’, Miyahara turned in a strong performance, reeling off seven clean triples, including a triple Lutz-triple toe combination as well as level-four spins and footwork. The Japanese champion posted a new season’s best of 143.31 points for a total of 214.03.
“I am very happy and satisfied with today’s performance and to get my best scores,” the 19-year-old said. “After the injury, this is the first big step. The most important event, the Japanese nationals, are coming next month. I’ll keep working hard to be able to do my best.”
Sakamoto’s program to ‘Amelie’ featured a triple flip-triple toe combination, five more triples and difficult spins and footwork. The 2017 world junior bronze medalist set a new personal best with 141.19 points and accumulated 201.59 overall to win her first Grand Prix medal.
“After I was not satisfied with the Russian Grand Prix, I practised so hard for a few weeks and this second try (here) gives me confidence for the future,” Sakamoto said. “In the Short Program, I did a mistake on the spin and I have so much room to improve my performance – the jumps, the spins and the grade of execution.”
Tennell landed seven clean triples in her ‘Cinderella’ program to achieve a new personal best of 137.09 points. Overall, she had 204.10 points to move up from fourth to third place.
“The past few seasons have been kind of frustrating because I haven’t been able to train consistently,” the 19-year-old said.
“I feel like this year I’ve been able to get back into the flow of things and I feel like that is shown in how I’m skating “I would like to work on my overall skating and my step sequence (heading into nationals).”
Polina Tsurskaya (RUS) pulled up from eighth to fourth place on 195.56 points. Her teammate Serafima Sakhanovich remained in fifth place on 189.75 points. The 2017 world bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman (CAN) dropped from third to sixth after some errors (189.14 points).
The 2016 world silver medalist Ashley Wagner (USA) withdrew during the Free Skating due to the effects of an infection in her right ankle.
“I was diagnosed with an [right] ankle infection a little over a week ago and I’d been fighting through it for about a week before that,” Wagner explained. “I had just gone on antibiotics and I did everything that I could to do like a quick fix, but it’s not a quick fix kind of a situation.”
Bridgestone Skate America is the sixth and last event in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and provides the last opportunity for skaters to qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya, Japan, in December.
The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$ 272,000.
Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here. Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating.