Nagoya / Japan

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World silver medalists Aljona Savchenko/Bruno Massot of Germany soared to victory setting a new record score in the Free Skating as the Pairs event wrapped up at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) Saturday.  Reigning World Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China moved up one spot to take the silver medal and Canada’s two-time World Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford pulled up from fourth to claim the bronze.

Skating to ‘La terre vue du ciel’, Savchenko/Massot put out a spectacular performance, reeling off a huge triple twist, side by side triple Salchow-double toe-double toe, triple toe, a throw triple Lutz and amazing lifts. The only glitch was a shaky landing on the throw triple Salchow. The European silver medalists picked up a level four for six elements and scored 157.25 points for a total of 236.68 points. The Germans got five perfect 10.00s.

“I saw the score of the Chinese team (Sui/Han) and I knew the level was very high and the program will be difficult. But we wanted to give the best and everything went well except for that tiny little mistake. We felt it was a big practice for the Olympic Games. The top six pairs were here and the level was so high. Now we have to calm down and to realize that we got the gold. We have to keep practicing this way and be ready for the Olympic Games,” Massot commented.

Sui/Han were brilliant as well in their ‘Turandot’ routine. The 2017 Four Continents Champions opened with a quadruple twist and followed up with a triple toe-double toe-double toe, big throw triple flip and Salchow. They, too, earned a level four for their lifts, spins and death spiral. However, Han wobbled on the triple Salchow. The World Champions earned 155.07 points, just 0.03 points below their personal best, and accumulated 230.89 points overall. “Throughout Grand Prix and the Final, we learnt a lot and found the room for improvement. I felt we need to improve the execution of the jumps and performance once we go back home. After the short program, I was disappointed but I know where to make changes, so I prepared myself to get ready for free program today,” Han said.

Duhamel/Radford produced a triple twist, side by side triple Lutz, throw triple Lutz as well as two level-four lifts, but she fell on the throw quadruple Salchow and the last lift was rated a level two. The Canadian Champions picked up 138.65 points which added up to 210.83 points overall.

“Our free skate was ok today. Everything has been going well for us in practice and the short program really shook up our confidence. The throw quad is always a risk, but we fought through the long program so when we finished we feel proud of ourselves because we didn't give up,” Duhamel shared. “I think we took a nice step and we built at this competition from the last competition so I think our goal will be to go into our National Championships, take one more step up, try to get some more levels, don't make so many mistakes and we want to hit that big peak at the Olympic Games in February,” Radford added.

2014 Olympic silver medalists  Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) missed the podium narrowly and remained in fourth place on 209.26 points. European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) dropped from second to fifth after some errors on 208.73 points and Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang (CHN) placed sixth (207.14 points). 

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