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GPF18 Pairs Podium 1070255472

Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN), Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) and Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 2018© International Skating Union (ISU)

Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres of France soared to victory in the Pairs event as competition wrapped up at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Vancouver (CAN) on Saturday.

China’s Cheng Peng/Yang Jin claimed the silver medal and Russians Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov settled for the bronze. It was the first Grand Prix Final medal for the French and the Chinese teams.

GPF CAN Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (FRA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 1070259712

Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) 2018© International Skating Union (ISU)

James/Cipres turned in a mesmerizing performance to “Wicked Game” and “The Last Feeling”, reeling off a triple twist, triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, triple Salchow, a throw triple flip and throw triple Salchow as well as spectacular lifts. The World bronze medalists improved their season’s best with a score of 148.37 points and racked up 219.88 points overall. “I could not be happier than I am today. I feel like we’ve only been doing comebacks lately. It feels good. The score could be amazing and the experience could be amazing, but we really need to work on the short program. I’m very proud that after such a disappointment yesterday, that we could bring it strong home,” James said.

GPF18 Peng Jin 1070259908

Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) 2018© International Skating Union (ISU)

Skating to “La Vie en Rose”, Peng/Jin produced a triple toe-double toe combination, excellent throws as well as level-four lifts and a level-four pair combination spin. However, they risked only a double Salchow instead of a triple. The Chinese team set a season’s best for themselves with 141.21 points and totaled 216.90 points. I am pretty satisfied with our performance today. One week before the competition I twisted my right food and we couldn’t do systematic practice. So I was worrying about my overall performance,” Peng shared.

GPF18 Tarasova Morozov 1070259812

Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) 2018© International Skating Union (ISU)

Tarasova/Morozov started well into their program to “The Winter” by Balmorhea, completing a level-four triple twist and side by side triple Salchow, but then Morozov wobbled on the toeloop-combination and Tarasova stumbled out of the throw triple flip. The World silver medalists recovered to land a throw triple loop. The European Champions scored 140.16 points in the Free Skating and remained in third place at 214.20 points overall. “Not everything worked as planned, there were mistakes, also yesterday. Overall this competition was not so bad for us, and we will work to fix the mistakes and focus on the next competition,” Tarasova noted.

Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) slipped from second to fourth after she almost fell on the triple Salchow and they missed a lift (125.89 points). Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) finished fifth (187.63 points) and Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS) came sixth on 186.81 points.