Reigning World bronze medalists Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès of France claimed the first Grand Prix title of their career at Skate Canada. In an interesting twist, it completed a circle for the Canadian-born James.
Skating to “Uninvited” by Alanis Morisette in the short, James and Ciprès produced a triple twist, side by side triple toe loops and a throw triple Lutz. They earned Level 4 for the footwork sequence and the spin and scored 74.51 points. “It was not the best, but we’re happy about the fight we made today,” Ciprès admitted.
“We are very proud of our World medal, but this year is a whole different year,” James added. “Everyone has been working hard. There are new rules and regulations, and everyone is trying to be a little bit more innovative. I don’t count anyone out of the game at any competition.”
China′s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin’s upbeat routine to “Ophelia” featured a triple toe loop, a triple twist and a throw triple loop, which earned them a season’s best score of 72.00 points. “It is our second time at Skate Canada and we feel better this time. When we came here yesterday (to practice) we missed our jumps, but it was better today,” Jin said.
Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro executed a triple twist, side-by-side triple toe loops and a throw triple loop in their program to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Leona Lewis. They sat in third with 71.26 points, another season’s best. “Our main goal for this competition was to not take ourselves out of the game in the first part of the competition,” Moore-Towers said. “We are generally a stronger long program team and we wanted to be able to start strong as well. It’s our first time at Skate Canada since 2015 and the energy is amazing.”
Russia’s Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, the 2017 World Junior silver medalists, finished fourth with 64.57 points ahead of the 2017 World junior champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor of Australia (60.77).
In the end, it was a runaway victory for James and Ciprès who claimed their first Grand Prix title with 20 points to spare.
The French duo turned in a stunning performance to “Wicked Game” and “The Last Feeling,” executing a triple twist, side-by-side triple toe-double toes, a triple Salchow, a throw triple Lutz and Salchow plus impressive lifts on their way to victory. The 2018 World bronze medalists earned a season high score of 147.30 points in the free and racked up 221.81 points overall.
“We are really happy with the performance we did today. It was better than yesterday,” Ciprès said. “I’m really proud to win this competition because again today it was a big fight on the ice and everyone skated really well.”
James added: “We are very proud of this gold medal here but even more so about of the performance we did in that group of great skaters and great performances. It gives us confidence.”
Skating to “La Vie en Rose” in the free Peng and Jin landed a triple twist, a throw triple loop and a Salchow, but doubled the side-by-side jump (Salchow) and Peng was shaky on the triple toe combination. The team from Beijing ranked fourth in the long program with 129.08 points, but held on to second place with 201.08 points.
“We missed the jumps, but the other elements were OK and the GOE was good,” Jin said. “We just need to improve the jumps. We love our programs this year and a big thank you goes to Lori Nichol. She gave us so much help to show more emotions and our connection.”
Moore-Towers and Marinaro’s program to a Pink Floyd medley featured a triple twist, solid throws and side-by-side triple toes. Their triple Salchow combination with a double Axel was downgraded. The Canadians picked up 129.67 points and captured bronze with 200.93 points overall.
“It was a personal victory to go out in a group such as this one, of very capable and impressive pair teams,” Moore-Towers said. “Our goals are mainly to improve on our performances each time. We started with a rough competition at Autumn Classic. We were a little bit better at Finlandia Trophy and a little bit better again here.”
Boikova and Kozlovskii ranked second in the free with a strong performance to “The Nutcracker,” but remained in fourth place with 196.54 points. Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud of Canada pulled up from sixth to fifth with 172.53 points.