Gold medalists Team USA stand on the podium for their national anthem at the victory ceremony 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Team USA claimed its fourth World Team Trophy title 13 points clear of the rest of the field as competition wrapped up at the ISU World Team Trophy in Fukuoka, Japan, on Saturday, with Team Japan edging out Russia for the silver medal. The USA, victors in 2009, 2013 and 2015, collected 117 points while Japan had 104 points and Russia 102.
Bradie Tennell secured second place in the Ladies’ Free Skating and 11 points for Team USA with an excellent performance to “Romeo and Juliet”, landing seven triple jumps and setting a season’s best of 150.83 points. Mariah Bell finished sixth (7 team points) and Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc ranked fifth in the Pairs Free Skating (8 team points).
Bradie Tennell's second place in Ladies' Free Skating gave Team USA a 13-point lead over Japan 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
USA team captain Madison Hubbell said: “This was an extremely successful event for Team USA. Everyone had beautiful performances including today, the highlight of course being Bradie Tennell’s season’s best, an absolutely great way to finish the event for us.”
Japanese Champion Kaori Sakamoto turned in a solid performance of her program to “The Piano” that featured seven triple jumps. She scored 146.70 points, another season’s best, and 10 team points. 2019 Four Continents Champion Rika Kihira fell on her triple Axel and on a triple toe, both were underrotated, to finish fifth in the Ladies’ Free Skating (138.37 points/8 team points). Riku Miura/Shoya Ichihashi were sixth in the Pairs Free Skating, picking up 7 team points.
Japan's Kaori Sakamoto finished third in Ladies' Free Skating 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
“There is no way to describe fully what we felt as it is the end of the season,” team captain Misato Komatsubara said. “We wanted to make sure we are able to finish with a big smile and I think we were able to do that. So I’m very proud of all our skaters and I hope to come back to this competition.”
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva made Team Russia proud by winning the Ladies’ Free Skating with a clean performance that earned 12 points. Skating to “You Don’t Love Me” and “Petite Fleur”, the 2015 World Champion nailed a triple Axel and seven more triples to set a season’s best of 153.89 points. 2019 European Champion Sofia Samodurova turned in a flawless season’s best performance as well, coming fourth (138.84 points/9 team points).
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva’s victory in Ladies’ Free Skating secured the bronze medal for Team Russia 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Earlier, Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert finished second behind France’s Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres with a strong performance in the Pairs Free Skating. The only flaw in the Russians’ captivating program to “Toi et Moi” was a double Salchow. The 2019 World bronze medalists scored 141.32 points and 11 points for their team.
“It was a great day for us,” Russia team captain Nikita Katsalapov said. “Our girls proved that they are real fighters and turned in two excellent performances. Our pair gave a great performance, too. Unfortunately, they were second to the French team, but Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres, were simply the best today. It is a little regrettable that we were not able to move up, the gap was only two points.”
Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres’s victory in the Pairs Free Skating was not enough to earn Team France a medal 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Team France pulled up to fourth place, totaling 75 points, after 2019 European Champions James/Cipres won the Pairs Free Skating with an outstanding performance of their program to “Wicked Game” that set a season’s best of 152.52 points (12 team points).
Team Canada slipped to fifth with 73 points. Their highest scoring team members were 2019 Four Continents silver medalists Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro,who ranked third in the Pairs Free Skating (10 team points).
Team Italy remained in sixth place on 69 points after Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise finished fourth in the Pairs Free Skating (9 team points).
The ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. For more information and full results please see the ISU event website and TV Asahi’s official website. Follow the discussion on social media by using the hashtags #figureskating and #WTTFigure.