United States sur­vive Rus­sia blitz to claim gold at World Team Tro­phy

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

World cham­pion El­iza­veta Tuk­tamy­sheva pro­duced a ma­jes­tic dis­play to win the women’s free skate at the World Team Tro­phy on Satur­day but the United States pipped Rus­sia to the ti­tle.

Tuk­tamy­sheva’s poise and el­e­gance swept her to a top score of 134.21 points af­ter Ja­pan’s world sil­ver medal­list Sa­toko Miya­hara had brought the Tokyo crowd to its feet with a sparkling “Miss Saigon” rou­tine.

How­ever, Gra­cie Gold’s fi­nal skate was just good enough to give the Amer­i­cans a win­ning to­tal of 110 points to Rus­sia’s 109, with hosts Ja­pan fin­ish­ing third of the six teams at the sea­son-end­ing event on 103.

Canada took fourth on 82 points with China on 77 and France 59.

Af­ter a fi­nal day of fluc­tu­at­ing for­tunes, Miya­hara and Kanako Mu­rakami briefly put Ja­pan in the driv­ing seat un­til Elena Ra­dionova and Tuk­tamy­sheva took to the ice.

Ra­dionova over­hauled Miya­hara’s sea­son-best 129.12 with a score of 129.73 to take sec­ond be­hind Tuk­tamy­sheva, who skated to gold at the world cham­pi­onships in Shang­hai two weeks ago.

“It was so much more stress­ful watch­ing than ac­tu­ally skat­ing,” said Amer­i­can team cap­tain Evan Bates. “Es­pe­cially when the ladies were skat­ing — they were some of the most nerve-wrack­ing mo­ments I can re­mem­ber.

“To have our fate tied to­gether like that is the essence of this event and it’s won­der­ful,” he added.

Ear­lier, world cham­pi­ons Meagan Duhamel and Eric Rad­ford of Canada some­what con­tro­ver­sially won the pairs free skate, edg­ing out China’s Sui Wen­jing and Han Cong in a re­peat of their victory in Shang­hai.

The pint-sized Miya­hara, who charmed fans skat­ing in a red dress dec­o­rated with se­quins, rated her per­for­mance as bet­ter than in China.

“Of course there’s ex­tra pres­sure be­cause it’s a team event,” said the 17-year-old. “But I didn’t make any mis­takes with my jumps as I did at the world cham­pi­onships, so it was a nice way to fin­ish the sea­son.”

Miya­hara was cheered on in Ja­pan’s box by Olympic cham­pion Yuzuru Hanyu, who had dom­i­nated the men’s free and short pro­grams to end a bruis­ing sea­son on a pos­i­tive note, hav­ing re­cently lost his world ti­tle to Spain’s Javier Fer- nan­dez in China.

In the pairs, Duhamel and Rad­ford earned 140.70 points to 139.73 for Sui and Han, de­spite Duhamel fall­ing on a quad throw and crash-land­ing a triple toeloop.

The Chi­nese, who had won the short pro­gram, looked stunned in the kiss and cry area as the judges an­nounced their score to au­di­ble gasps from a sym­pa­thetic Ja­panese crowd.

Amer­i­can sweet­hearts Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim took third with a ca­reer-best 127.87.

AFP

Canada’s Meagan Duhamel (top) and Eric Rad­ford per­form dur­ing the free skat­ing in the pairs event at the ISU World Team Tro­phy fig­ure skat­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Tokyo on Satur­day, April 18.

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