USA’s Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue danced to their second consecutive Grand Prix gold medal and are the first skaters to qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov of Russia secured the silver medal, while Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier of Canada surged from sixth to grab the bronze medal.
Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Hubbell/Donohue’s romantic dance to “Romeo and Juliet” featured difficult lifts and twizzles as well as interesting choreographic elements. The World silver medalists picked up a level four for the lifts, the twizzles and the spins, while the diagonal step sequence was rated a level three. The U.S. Champions scored 120.27 points and were ranked second in the Free Dance. They totaled 200.76 to take their second consecutive Grand Prix title.
“I guess we came in, we achieved our goal, which was another gold medal and assure the ticket to the (Grand Prix) Final,” Hubbell said. “We were feeling the two weeks fatigue today. It was a pretty tough free dance, not without mistakes, but overall we were very pleased with how we were able to face these challenges.”
Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Sinitsina/Katsalapov put out a soft and flowing program to “Air” by Johann Sebastian Bach, executing level-four lifts and twizzles, but their serpentine step sequence merited a level two. The Muscovites edged Hubbell/Donohue for first place in the Free Dance with 120.51 points but remained in second place at 195.17 points.
“We are very pleased with how this competition went for us. It wasn’t without little mistakes, but overall we are improving and moving forward,” Katsalapov said. “Our next event is the Grand Prix in France. We have a month and we’ll work a lot on the Tango and the free dance. We’ll work day and night to get these key points (in the Tango Romantica) and also will work on all the other elements.”
Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Gilles/Poirier rallied from a faulty Rhythm Dance that had left them in sixth place. Their program, called “Vincent” and set to “Starry Night”, included excellent lifts and smooth footwork. The Canadians set a season’s best with 120.02 points and had 186.97 points overall.
“We were able to put the rough short dance behind us. We felt really present in our performance and it was really enjoyable to finally perform this free dance in front of a big audience at home in Canada,” Poirier told the post-event press conference.
Marie-Jade Lauriault/Romain Le Gac (FRA) finished fourth with an upbeat dance to Bruno Mars songs (180.32 points). Olivia Smart/ Adrian Diaz (ESP) delivered a solid performance to Beatles songs but had a few low levels and slipped from third to fifth (176.57 points). Shiyue Wang/Xinyu Liu (CHN) placed sixth (165.88 points).