France’s two-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron danced to victory at the Audi Cup of China in Beijing Saturday and established new highest scores in the Free Dance and overall, becoming the first Ice Dance team to break the 200 points. Two-time World medalists Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) took the silver medal and the bronze went to Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev, of Russia.
Papadakis/Cizeron effortlessly floated over the ice to Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’, with the high-level elements seamlessly woven into the choreography. The three-time European Champions picked up a level four for their lifts, spin, twizzles and the circular step sequence to score a personal best of 119.33 points which added up to 200.43 points overall. “It was a great performance for us and we are happy with how we performed and with our score,” Papadakis told the press. “This is our third time in China and we always have skated well here. It feels like a lucky place for us. Here we won our first Grand Prix a few years ago.” Cizeron added: “Our next Grand Prix is in France and we have one week to train in Montreal. We want to take the feedback from the judges and keep improving. We want to stay grounded and continue the consistent work we’ve done since summer.”
Chock/Bates delivered a strong performance to ‘Imagine’ that was highlighted by beautiful lifts and smooth footwork. The 2015 World silver medalists earned a level four for five elements and a level three for the step sequences. They scored 111.84 points for their Free Dance and totaled 184.50 points. “So far, this week has been amazing,” Chock said. “We had a lot of fun and we are so happy that this was our first competition. We put out two great performances and this is a great stepping stone for the rest of the season.”
Dancing to ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Beethoven’s Five Secrets’, Bobrova/Soloviev gave an inspired performance, completing level-four lifts and twizzles as well as a level-four spin. The Russian Champions scored 110.50 points, just below their season’s best, and accumulated 182.84 points. “We are pleased with our performances here overall,” Soloviev said. “We feel that we did everything in the Short Dance and that the Free Dance was a very good effort as well. Maybe we were holding back a little, because we skated last and that makes you always a bit nervous.” With their silver from Moscow, and bronze here in Beijing, the multiple European medalists will have to wait and see whether they qualify for December’s ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Japan.
Tiffani Zagorski/Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS) came fourth with their dance to ‘Exogenesis Symphony’ by Muse (164.41 points). 2016 World Junior Champions Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) placed fifth in their debut at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit (157.61 points). Shiyue Wang/Xinyu Liu (CHN) moved up from eighth to sixth on 151.17 points.
Audi Cup of China is the third of six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series that culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) 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.