Grenoble / France

Two-time World Champion Javier Fernandez, of Spain, claimed the seventh Grand Prix gold medal of his long and distinguished career Saturday at the  Internationaux de France de Patinage in Grenoble. 

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Japan’s World silver medalist Shoma Uno  earned the silver medal and Uzbekistan’s Misha Ge took the bronze, his first Grand Prix medal.

Performing to ‘Man of La Mancha’, Fernandez landed a quad toe, quad Salchow-double toe and a triple Lutz as well as level-four spins and footwork. However, the five-time European Champion fell on a quad Salchow and a triple Axel. Fernandez scored 175.85 points and was ranked second in the Free Skating, but remained on top overall with 283.71 points.

“It was not quite the best Free Program, more than one big mistake,” Fernandez said. “But I think it was still a better Grand Prix than my last one, which is an improvement. Still, there is a bigger improvement to do. We go back to training, work harder and try to do a better Free Program in the upcoming competitions.

“It was a long day for me. We trained early, then we had to wait many hours until the night. I started well into the program but I hurt my hip a little on the first Axel. When the program goes down, you start to get tired and when you get tired, you make more mistakes.”

Uno’s program to ‘Turandot’ included a quad loop and two triple Axels as well as difficult spins and footwork, but he missed an under-rotated quad flip and a triple flip. The 19-year-old won the Free Skating with 179.40 points but was not able to catch Fernandez, who had a strong lead after the Short Program. Uno totaled 273.32 points.

“It was really tough for me, but compared to the Short Program I felt better,” said Uno, who won the bronze medal at last season’s ISU Grand Prix. “I guess I can motivate myself and practice more and more for the upcoming competitions. Since it (the Final) is in my home town, a lot of people are expecting a lot from me, but my main goal is to do my own skating.”

Ge turned in an inspiring and flawless performance to ‘Meditation’ by Jules Massenet, completing eight clean triple jumps as well as intricate footwork. The 26-year-old posted a personal-best score of 172.93 points and accumulated 258.34 points overall to win the first Grand Prix medal for a male skater from Uzbekistan. Tatiana Malinina had won the last Grand Prix medal for Uzbekistan in 2001.

“The few weeks after the Cup of Russia (Rostelecom Cup) were tough through training and documents. I guess most people know that I got my visa (for France) just a few hours before my flight,” Ge said. “I am glad that through all those difficulties we were able to pull out two good skates and were able to get a personal best and improve in many small aspects.

“Really, at my last Grand Prix to get a medal is unbelievable.” Ge has announced that he will retire after this season.

Alexander Samarin (RUS) slipped from third to fourth (253.13 points).  Alexei Bychenko (ISR) placed fifth on 247.44 points and Moris Kvitelashvili (GEO) completed the top six (240.50 points).

With a first and a sixth place from his two events, Fernandez’s chances to make the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final are rather slim. Uno qualifies easily with his gold from Skate Canada and his silver from Internationaux de France de Patinage. 

The Internationaux de France de Patinage are the fifth of six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series that consists of six events and culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.  Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating