The competition at the second ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating concluded Saturday in Tokyo, Japan with the Pairs and Ladies Free Skating.
Team Japan captures gold at ISU World Team Trophy
Team Japan struck gold at the ISU World Team Trophy. Team USA took silver and team Canada pulled up from fifth to clinch the bronze medal. Japan collected 55 points, Team USA accumulated 53 points and Team Canada earned 42 points, beating Team France on a tie-breaker.
It was very difficult to tell how the outcome would be, but it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed competing like this, Japan's team capitain Daisuke Takahashi said. The individual ability gives the whole team power. Throughout the competition I felt I was not alone and the team was there for us. That's very encouraging and it helped to take the pressure off, he added.
Team USA, second place. Obviously, we were going for first and trying to repeat. But I'm proud of how we all skated. We showed a lot of fight and character. It is a difficult competition and we showed grit and supported each other. Moving forward, we're going to be going for first next year, U.S. Team capitain Charlie White of the 2009 winning team commented.
For team Canada, it was a little bit of an up and down week. We kind of came in and had some ok skates from some of our top athletes and then it was also nice to see some people with less experience to have great performances. This gave our team a boost and gave us a shot to come after this third place, Scott Moir told the post-event press conference. This is turning into an exciting event. I was here in 2009 and it is a lot different feeling to know it's going to be at the Olympic Games. Hopefully we can catch up and try to challenge the Americans and the Japanese in the Olympics. But we have some work to do in order to be in that league, he continued.
Akiko Suzuki led the charge for Team Japan with her victory in the Ladies event. Skating to Die Fledermaus, the World bronze medalist landed a double Axel-triple toe and four more triple jumps, but doubled a Lutz and singled a loop at the end. She scored 120.28 points and was ranked second in the Free Skating, but moved up to first place at 187.79 points. I am very happy for team Japan. I moved up to first place, but my performance wasn't so good, so I 'm a little bit surprised. The audience was so amazing, they really pushed me forward, the 27-year-old noted. The Japanese team was aiming at winning this competition. We could achieve this goal. I have no other words other than I am so happy, she added. Kanako Murakami dropped from third to sixth. In the Pairs event, Narumi Takahashi/Mervin Tran slipped from first to third after some errors, but they landed a triple twist, a throw triple toeloop and picked up a level four for five elements. They scored 177.56 points.
Ashley Wagner's strong performance and third-place finish helped Team USA to close the gap to Team Japan. The reigning Four Continents Champion put out a strong performance to Black Swan, completing a triple flip-double toe-double loop combination and five triples as well as difficult spins and footwork. Only a triple loop was underrotated. Wagner won the Free Skating portion with 122.29 points and moved up to third overall at 179.81 points. That performance was just the way I wanted to end my ˜Black Swan' program. It's one of my favorite programs by far and to skate it clean is quite extraordinary. To top it off, I had a great double Axel-triple toe. Overall, it was a solid program. For the end of the season and the last program, it's a great way to wrap everything up, the U.S. Champion commented. Gracie Gold came fifth with a solid skate. Pair skaters Caydee Denney/John Coughlin gave a clean performance to Nessum Dorma that was highlighted by a triple toe, triple throws and impressive lifts. They picked up 117.05 points and moved up one spot to fourth at 175.98 points overall.
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford's second place finish in the Pairs event propelled Team Canada to the bronze medals. The Canadian Champions produced a triple twist, triple Salchow, throw triple loop and Lutz in their routine to "Viva la Vida" and Yellow by Coldplay and picked up a level four for six elements to earn 118.35 points for the Free Skating. Duhamel only stumbled on the triple toe. The Canadians totaled 177.62 points and pulled up from fourth to second. It was the best we could have done in this moment. Obviously I had one little bobble, but to start out with a bobble like that and to do the rest of it the best we could is a really good feeling. We were discouraged after yesterday. This skate is for us. It was a great way to end the season. Next year we're going to take off right where we left off and build even higher, Duhamel said. Amelie Lacoste and Cynthia Phaneuf finished 10th and 12th in the Ladies competition.
Team France slipped from third to fourth, loosing on a tie- breaker to Canada as the Canadians had the higher individual placements.
Team Russia managed to move up one spot to finish fifth at 39 points, overtaking Team Italy on the tie-breaker. Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov won the Pairs event at 180.70 points with a solid performance to Doctor Zhivago.
Team Italy placed sixth in the end. World Champion Carolina Kostner slipped from first to second in the Ladies competition.
The ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. The next ISU World Team Trophy will be held in 2013.