The final and deciding event of the Grand Prix Series played out in Paris, France, in late November.
Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka captured his second gold medal and punched his ticket to the final with the highest overall score of the series in the men’s field (248.07).
The 21-year-old dynamo landed eight triple jumps in his long program and earned solid element levels. His combined score of 170.43 was a 15.32-point improvement on his previous season-high score.
“I skated very well and received high marks, so I feel good about that,” Kozuka said. “It wasn’t my best yet. I know I can achieve a better grade of execution on my elements and earn a higher score.”
Rising French star Florent Amodio captured the silver medal. His captivating free skating performance brought the crowd to its feet. “I am second, and that is extraordinary. I also got the super present of going to the Grand Prix Final,” said the 20-year-old, who earned an overall score of 229.38.
Bronze went to Brandon Mroz from the U.S. (214.31). It was his second medal of the series.
Finland’s Kiira Korpi struck gold in Paris, a historical moment for her nation. The 2007 European bronze medalist ranked second in the free but held on to win with 169.74 points.
“I was like a tiger on the ice in the free skate, and I am very happy about the result,” she said. “I tried to stay focused [throughout the competition], and I think I succeeded.”
America’s Mirai Nagasu skated into second ahead of teammate Alissa Czisny. Nagasu, 17, won the free skate and collected 167.79 points. “It was a lot better than China. I’m glad I was able to get my confidence back because after China I was really down,” she admitted.
Czisny claimed the bronze with 159.80 points and secured her first trip to the final in five years.
Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy twirled to gold in the pairs event with a score of 197.88 points and secured a berth at the final. “The audience liked the program and the new direction we’ve taken,” Szolkowy said in reference to their choice of music from “The Pink Panther” for the free skate.
Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, who hail from Perm, Russia, were excited to capture silver (183.00), their second medal of the series. Their placement in Paris assured them a trip to the final in Beijing.
Winning the bronze with 157.42 points was a surprise for Germany’s Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende. It was the first Grand Prix medal of their career.
French fans had reason to cheer when Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat danced off with the gold medal, their second victory on the circuit this season. The duo earned a new season best for their free dance and racked up a combined score of 161.82 points.
“There was more pressure on us here than at our first event in China, so this gold medal has more value to us,” Péchalat said.
Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko, a relatively new team from Russia, placed second with 146.79 points and claimed their first Grand Prix medal. “It was a difficult competition for us as Katia wasn’t feeling very well, so we are very happy with the silver medal,” Tkachenko said.
America’s Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein captured their second bronze of the series. The 2009 World Junior champions scored 138.48 points.
Originally published in February 2011