Helsinki, Finland

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Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin of Russia danced to a narrow lead in the Rhythm Dance, edging Italy’s Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri by less than a point. Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) came third as the first day of competition at the Helsinki Grand Prix concluded Friday. 

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Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 

Stepanova/Bukin delivered a captivating performance to the Paso Doble “Malaguena” and the Tango “Carmen Story”, highlighted by their trademark twizzles, a difficult curve lift and precise footwork. The two-time European bronze medalists collected a level four for the twizzles and the lift and a level three for the Tango Romantica and the midline step sequence to score 78.18 points. 

“The Tango Romantica is a very difficult dance,” Bukin said. “But we really like this dance, it is full of elements and it blends in harmoniously with the program. So for us, the Tango Romantica is very interesting.”  

“This is the first competition in the season where we were able to show our complete short dance,” Stepanova said, referring to the fact that the pair had to interrupt their performance at Finlandia Trophy last month because of debris falling on the ice. “The coaches were pleased, the audience also approved and we’re also pretty pleased.” 

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Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 

Guignard/Fabbri had to overcome an early setback when the wrong music was switched on for them at first. The team from Milan did not lose focus and produced a strong dance that included a unique stationary lift, level-four twizzles and a level-four Tango Romantica sequence. The Skate America silver medalists earned 77.36 points. 

“We are very happy with our performance,” Fabbri said. “It was much better than at Skate America. At Skate America, we did some small mistakes. We just had a small problem with the music – we had a problem with the music at the beginning and then we felt that the music was slower and we got a time violation. We don’t know what happened tonight.” 

The Italians got a one-point deduction for the timing violation. Fabbri went on: “The Tango Romantica is one of the most beautiful dances that have been created for us. We were very excited to hear that we will skate to the Tango Romantica this season and we never had the opportunity to do Tango before.” 

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Lorraine Mcnamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Dancing to the Waltz “Desde el Alma” and the Tango “Quejumbroso”, McNamara/Carpenter picked up a level four for the twizzles as well as for the rotational lift and scored 71.40 points. 

“We’re really excited to be here,” Carpenter said. “It’s our second Grand Prix of the season. We both had a great time with the Rhythm Dance tonight. We’re definitely looking forward to tomorrow.” 

McNamara added: “We personally really love the Tango Romantica. We think it’s one of the most fun dances. It’s a difficult dance because of how intricate it is, but it makes a lot of fun to incorporate it into the program.” 

The 2018 World Junior silver medalists Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) are currently ranked fourth at 66.93 points followed by Spain’s Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin on 66.25 points and Juulia Turkkila/Matthias Versluis (FIN) on 63.06. 

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