The 2018 ISU Grand Prix Final wrapped up on Saturday night with five sets of medals awarded, capping off an exciting three days of competition.
A trio of first-time champions emerged in today’s senior events, while Russia enjoyed podium sweeps in the final two junior competitions.
Japan’s Rika Kihira made the leap into the senior ranks this season, and the 16-year-old showed she clearly belongs. Kihira won both short and long programs and earned a total of 233.12 points. That was enough to fend off the challenge of defending champion Alina Zagitova of Russia (226.53). The bronze medal went to Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (215.32).
After a disappointing fourth-place finish in the short program, France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès(219.88) roared back in the long to take the pairs gold in their Grand Prix Final debut. They edged out China’s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin (216.90), while Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (214.20) took home the bronze.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States used a revamped free dance to win their first career Grand Prix Final medal — and it turned out to be gold. Their 205.35 total was 3.98 points better than Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia (201.37). Scoring a breakthrough bronze at the Final were Italians Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (198.65).
One year after Alexandra Trusova edged Alena Kostornaia in an extremely close final in Nagoya, the roles reversed for the Russian duo in Vancouver. This time, it was Kostornaia who came out on top, winning both the short and long programs en route to the gold medal with an overall total of 217.98. That was 2.78 points better than Trusova (215.20), while Russia’s Alena Kanysheva (198.14) earned the bronze medal in her international debut season.
Another Russian sweep of the podium transpired in the junior pairs competition. By the scant margin of 1.10 points, Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov (190.63) edged Polina Kostiukovich and Dmitrii Ialin (189.53) for the gold medal. The bronze went to Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov (186.59).