Progressive Skate America, the first of six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series 2016/17, concluded Sunday with the Men’s Free Skating and Free Dance in Chicago/Hoffman Estates, IL. Skaters compete for points to qualify for the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and a prize money of US $ 180,000 per individual event of the Grand Prix.
Shoma Uno (JPN) claims Men’s gold
Shoma Uno of Japan claimed the Men’s gold medal. Jason Brown (USA) overtook teammate Adam Rippon to earn the silver medal. The bronze went to Rippon.
Skating to “Buenos Aires Hora Cero” and “Barada para un loco” by Astor Piazzolla, Uno reeled off a quad flip, quad toe, quad toe-double toe as well as a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination and two more triples and level-four spins. The 2015 World Junior Champion only crashed on his second triple Axel. Uno collected 190.19 points, just short of his personal best, and totaled 279.34 points overall. “My free program was great on the first half. Unfortunately I missed the combination toward the end,” the ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist said. ”The music was chosen by my longtime coach and choreographer, Mihoko Higuchi. I actually did not work with a tango specialist, so maybe some of my moves are not very tango, but still I tried to give my own interpretation to the music,“ he explained.
Brown opened his routine to “The Scent of Love” from “The Piano” soundtrack with a quad toe (underrotated) and went on to complete eight triples including two Axels. The 21-year-old achieved a new personal best with 182.63 points and moved up one spot to second at 268.38 points. “I’m super excited about today it’s been a long, long journey to put out a quad, so I’m pleased to stand up on it today. I had an amazing time performing and I’m really excited to take this experience and move forward this season,” the 2015 U.S. Champion told the press.
Rippon’s program to “The Arrival of the Birds” and “O” featured eight triples, but he fell on a quadruple toeloop. The U.S. Champion scored a seasons best of 174.11 points and won his first Grand Prix medal since 2013 with 261.43 points. “I have only had the program for a week-and-a-half. I was really pleased with what I did today. It wasn’t perfect but I think the work I had done in the offseason paid off in making the quick change. I’m so glad I changed the program. It feels right. It feels great performing it. There’s a lot of work to do and I’ll definitely be getting all that work done”, the 26-year-old commented.
Sergei Voronov (RUS) moved up from fifth to fourth at 245.28 points and World bronze medalist Boyang Jin (CHN) pulled up from eighth to fifth (245.08 points). Nam Nguyen (CAN) finished sixth (239.26 points).
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) dance off with gold
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) danced off with the gold medal as the competition at Progressive Skate America wrapped up. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) edged out Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova/ Dmitri Soloviev to take the silver medal.
Shibutani/Shibutani put out a strong performance of their program titled “Evolution” that was highlighted by excellent lifts and smooth footwork. The World silver medalists picked up a level four for the spin, lifts and twizzles while the two step sequences merited a level three. The brother-and-sister-team scored 112.71 points and accumulated 185.75 points. “As it was brought up yesterday, this is our first competition of the season so Alex and I are thrilled with how it went. Both of our programs are so different but the performance today felt really strong and we’re looking forward to building for Cup of China,” Maia Shibutani told the press.
Hubbell/Donohue’s routine to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “Can't Help Falling In Love” and “Earned It” included five level-four elements as well. The 2014 Four Continents Champions received 106.99 points for their Free Dance and moved up from second to third at 175.77 points. “We were happy to start our Grand Prix series here in America and I think it was a great event for us as well as all of Team USA. It was a really wonderful week,“ Hubbell said.
Dancing to „Prelude No. 20” by Frederic Chopin and “The Four Seasons” by Nigel Kennedy, Bobrova/Soloviev completed difficult lifts and twizzels as well, but their diagonal step sequence was rated a level two. The 2016 European bronze medalists picked up 105.85 points and dropped to third at 174.77 points. “Not everything went the way we wanted it to but now this gives us time to improve and to correct some things for our next event, our home Grand Prix (in Moscow)”, Soloviev commented.
Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) overtook Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) to finish fourth with 165.44 points. Ilinykh/Zhiganshin had 165.16 points.
A total of 57 skaters/couples from 13 ISU members competed at Progressive Skate America. For full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2016/17 please refer to /en/single-and-pair-skating-and-ice-dance/series/isu-grand-prix-of-figure-skating The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series continues next week with Skate Canada International in Mississauga (CAN)