Barcelona / Spain

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continued Friday in Barcelona (ESP) with the Ice Dance Short Dance and Men’s Short Program.

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) dance to lead in Short Dance

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje of Canada danced to the lead in the Short Dance. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) came in second followed by teammates Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani.

Weaver/Poje’s Paso Doble to “La Macarena” featured level-four twizzles and a level-four rotational lift while the side by side footwork and the two Paso Doble parts were graded a level three. The World silver medalists set a new personal best for themselves with 71.34 points.”It’s a huge honor to skate our short dance here in Barcelona. There’s an incredible atmosphere. We tried to soak it in and use it in our program. It gave us the energy, feel and emotion but I think we can still do better on the technical side“, Weaver commented.

Chock/Bates danced to Paso Doble and Flamenco from “Don Quixote” and picked up a level four for the lift and a level three for the twizzles and the side by side step sequence, but the Paso Doble section merited a level two. However, going into the closing pose, Bates fell. The Skate America Champions scored 65.06 points. “There are always ups and downs and we’ve had a lot of great performances but there are always going to be bumps in the road. This will be a big learning curve for us and we can take a lot from it. We hope to rebound tomorrow and skate a great free program”, Bates noted.

Maia and Alex Shibutani turned in a passionate Flamenco and Paso Doble. Their twizzles and their lift were graded a level four while the Paso Doble and the side by side step sequence were rated a level two. The brother-and-sister team earned 63.90 points. “We feel really good, this was our best skate of the season. After the Grand Prix and our Challenger events we made adjustments based on the feedback we got and we’re really happy with that performance”, Alex Shibutani shared.

Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) are currently ranked fourth with 62.49 points. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) are not far behind in fifth at 61.48 points and Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) finished sixth (60.25 points).

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) wins Men’s Short Program

Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu won the Men’s Short Program ahead of teammate Tatsuki Machida. Maxim Kovtun of Russia is currently ranked third.

Hanyu hit a quad toe and a triple Axel in his routine set to Ballade No. 1 in G minor by Frederic Chopin, but then fell on the back end of his triple Lutz-triple toe combination. The Olympic Champion collected a level four for his spins and the footwork to post a seasons best of 94.08 points. “I didn’t skate perfectly but I felt comfortable and I’m happy with it. I feel pretty normal today, definitely better than NHK or Cup of China, and I just need to do some more practice now on the short program and the combination”, the World Champion said.

Machida’s performance to “Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra” from the “Ladies in Lavender” soundtrack featured a triple Axel, triple Lutz and two level-four spins, but he stepped out of the quadruple toe-triple toe combination. The World silver medalist scored 87.82 points. “My second Grand Prix was also in Europe, in France, and I didn’t have much time in between before coming here so it was a bit hard mentally and physically for me but I did my best to prepare. I can’t say I’m in the best condition, especially today in practice I felt quite desperate, it was not a good practice. But I was able to pull out a performance I can be proud of”, the 24-year-old commented.

Skating to “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel, Kovtun nailed a quadtruple toeloop but he stepped out of the landing of his quadruple Salchow-triple toe and wobbled on the triple Axel. The Russian Champion received 87.02 points. “Actually I am very satisfied. For the first time I skated last in the Grand Prix Final and I was nervous. I was well prepared and ready to skate like I do in practice. There were a few small mistakes, because I was too emotional. I need to focus more. It is good that I don’t have to skate last tomorrow. I am in a good position to fight”, the 19-year-old explained.

Sergei Voronov (RUS) placed fourth with 84.48 points, ahead of Javier Fernandez (ESP/79.18 points) and Takahito Mura (JPN/78.35 points.

 The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continues Saturday with the Free Dance, Pairs, Ladies and Men’s Free Skating.