Medvedeva, Fernandez clinch GP final berths
PA R I S :
World champions Evgenia Medvedeva and Javier Fernandez overcame tumbles to claim their second golds of the season in Paris on Saturday to advance to next month’s elite ISU Grand Prix figure skating final.
Spaniard Fernandez followed his Cup of Russia success last weekend in the Grand Prix de France, the fourth in the six-leg Grand Prix series, in Paris-Bercy.
The double world men’s champion will now bid for a first GP final title in the French city of Marseille after taking silver in Barcelona in 2014 and 2015.
The 25-year-old survived a fall on a triple axel as he got carried away in his crowd-pleasing Elvis Presley medley which included three quadruple jumps.
“Sometimes I’m having so much fun I’m not really careful about what I’m doing,” said the Toronto-based skater. He scored 188.81 points for his free skate-over 12 points lower than in Moscow-and 285.38 overall.
But it was enough to take gold by a 16.12 margin on Kazakh Denis Ten, with American Adam Rippon moving up from fourth to take bronze. “It was tough, it’s the first time I’ve done back-to-back competitions,” said Fernandez.
“It’s hard to be 100 percent, but I’m glad to reach the Grand Prix final. It’s the only gold medal I’m missing, along with the Olympics of course.” Ten, the Olympic bronze medallist, took his second Grand Prix medal in Paris as he returns from an injury-plagued 2015.
“I feel like I’m on track. I was injured and distracted last year. I can feel the competitive spirit again,” said the former two-time world medallist.
A huge weight was lifted off Rippon’s shoulders as he finally landed a quad in competition the day after turning 27.
“Nobody can say I can’t land a quad now,” said Rippon, who is also in with a chance of reaching the Grand Prix final after taking third in Skate America.
World and European champion Medvedeva continued her streak of winning performances by earning the women’s title despite a tumble and will defend her Grand Prix final title from December 8-10.
After a personal-best short programme score, the 16-year-old Russian finished first in the free skate with 143.02 for a total 221.54 — better than her overall score in taking gold in Skate Canada.
“That wasn’t what I was supposed to show today,” said Medvedeva.
She nevertheless finished over 21 points ahead of her closed rival Maria Sotskova, also 16, of Russia, who took her first Grand Prix medal as did 15-year-old Japanese skater Wakaba Higuchi who won bronze.
Japan’s three-time world champion Mao Asada slumped to ninth as former world silver medallist Alena Leonova fell five times to finish last as she became distracted by a low-flying pigeon in the rink.
Earlier French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron got their season off to a golden start with a second Paris title.
The two-time world and European champions reclaimed the title they won in 2014 but could not defend last year after Papadakis suffered concussion in a training accident. The Montreal-based skaters lead all the way winning by a comfortable 18.92 margin on Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.
The performance earned Papadakis and Cizeron-who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Saturday — 115.24 and the top this season with 193.50.
The contemporary music was a move away from the more classical style of ice dancing with a tempo varying from slow to chaotic.
“We wanted to show the chaos of life, to tell the story of a couple battling with doubts, getting submerged by things that are not really important,” explained Papadakis, who next compete in the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan.
Hubbell and Donohue are already set for GP final after a second silver after Skate America, along with pairs skaters Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany, who took a second gold after Moscow.
The fifth leg in the Grand Prix series will be the Cup of China in Beijing from November 18-20. — AFP
PARIS: Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva (C) poses on the podium with second place Russia’s Maria Sotskova (L) and third place Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi after she won the Ladies event at the Trophee Eric Bompard ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Paris on Saturday. — AFP