Shanghai / China

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2015 opened in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday with the Short Dance. 164 skaters/couples from 37 ISU Members have been entered for the Championship. China hosts an ISU World Figure Skating Championship for the first time.

Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) take Short Dance

Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) took the lead in the Short Dance followed by Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver/ Andrew Poje and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy.

Chock/Bates turned in a characteristic Paso Doble to “Don Quixote” by Leon Minkus and earned a level four on all elements – the two Paso Doble parts, their straight line lift, twizzles and the side by side footwork. The Four Continents silver medalists posted a personal best of 74.47 points. “We are very happy with the performance today. We have a great group of coaches to support us and we’ve never been more prepared for an event or trained harder for an event so that gives us the utmost confidence. Today we achieved all level fours and I think that made a difference in our score and we want to do the same in the free dance”, Bates commented.

Weaver/Poje’s passionate performance to “La Virgen de Macarena” was highlighted by fast twizzles, precise footwork and a rotational lift. The reigning World silver medalists picked up a level four for four elements but the first Paso Doble sequence was graded a level two. The 2015 Four Continents Championships set a new personal best with 72.68 points. “We put pressure on ourselves in practice since Four Continents to improve our technical mark since this was our weakness in the last competition. Today we did much better, we were able to focus and we were in the zone. We feel like we are in a good place and we’re look forward to the free dance on Friday”, Weaver told the post-event press conference.

Skating to “Capriccio Espagnol”, Cappellini/Lanotte, produced level-four twizzles, a level-four Paso Doble and a level-four lift. The reigning World Champions achieved a personal best of 72.39 points. “We couldn’t be happier with the performance we put out there to be here with you and with the small medals. It means a lot to us. The last twelve months have been difficult for us, but we did realize we love the sport and we wanted to keep going”, Cappellini shared.

European Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) are sitting in fourth place and still have a shot at the podium with 71.94 points. Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) finished fifth (69.46 points) and Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) are sixth with 69.32 points.

Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi (GER) withdrew during the Short Dance as Gazsi has been taken ill.

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2015 continue with the Pairs Short Program.