TEAM USA EARNS FOUR MEDALS, DAVIS AND WHITE CAPTURE GOLD ON DAY TWO AT 2013 HILTON HHONORS SKATE AMERICA
(10/19/13) - Team USA earned four of a possible six medals on day two of the 2013 Hilton HHonors Skate America as Meryl Davis and Charlie White captured their fourth straight Skate America title on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
For the first time skating on true home ice, in Detroit, Mich., in an international figure skating competition, the reigning World and U.S. champions stood atop the podium with a total of 188.23 points. With the win, the Detroit natives extended their winning streak to 13 consecutive ISU Grand Prix events dating back to 2009.
Skating to the music of Scheherazade, Davis and White dazzled to 112.53 points for their free dance, earning a GOE greater than one on each of their eight elements and racking up 10.21 points for their combination lift, the highest scoring element in the competition.
Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy earned their second-career Skate America silver medal with 168.49 points. The 2010 Olympians earned 98.61 points for their free dance. Americans Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani collected their sixth Grand Prix medal, bronze, with a total of 154.47 points, edging out their teammates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who finished with 152.98 points and finished in fourth.
Team USA took home two men's medals with Adam Rippon enjoying the best Grand Prix finish of his career and winning the silver medal. Rippon, whose last Grand Prix medal was a bronze at 2010 Skate Canada, rebounded from a fall into the boards on his program-opening quad Lutz to put together a mostly clean program from there (with the exception of a popped triple Axel). Rippon finished with 241.24 points overall.
Max Aaron won bronze in his first career Grand Prix appearance. Like his teammate, Aaron rebounded from a missed quad to open his Carmen free skate. Aaron's program was strong enough to help him move up from sixth after the short program into medal contention (he was second in the free skate). Rippon and Aaron will face off later this fall at 2013 NHK Trophy in Japan.
Japan's Tatsuki Machida, who won bronze at this event last season, took home gold with a total score of 265.38 points, while America Jason Brown, also in his first Grand Prix, finished fifth.
They set a world record score earlier this season, and to open their Grand Prix season, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia out-did themselves and broke their own record in the pairs short program. With a score of 83.05, the reigning World champions are on top and look primed to defend their event title. In second place with 71.51 points are last year's fourth-place finishers at the World Championships, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Canada with 71.51 points and in third are Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia with 64.80 points.
Not far behind a spot on the podium are the contingent of three American pairs teams as reigning U.S. champs Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are in fifth place with a personal best 62.56 points, 2012 U.S. champs Caydee Denney and John Coughlin are in sixth with 62.06 points and Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay are in seventh with 55.83 points.
In the ladies event, Mao Asada of Japan leads with a score of 73.18 points, followed by American Ashley Wagner and Elema Radionova of Russia. Asada opened her short program with a triple Axel and later added a clean triple loop-double loop in the second half. Wagner opened her program with a triple flip-triple toe and delivered it with a positive GOE en route to a personal best 69.26 points. Radionova, at just 14 years old, landed a triple Lutz-triple toe worth 10.90 points, the highest scoring element of the event, en route to 67.01 points and third place.
Sunday's competition begins at 2 p.m. with the pairs free skate, followed by the ladies free skate.
For complete event coverage, visit www.icenetwork.com. To catch the action as it happens, follow U.S. Figure Skating on Twitter and search #SA2013.
Monday, September 23 -- It's Media Day at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit,Michigan! Meryl Davis and Charlie White from the US, who are the reigning Olympic silver medalists in ice dance, as well as two-time World champions and five-time U.S. champions, are the co-favorites to win gold at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Meryl and Charlie train in Canton, Michigan, alongside their main rivals from Canada, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (who won the gold in Vancouver). Both teams share the brilliant Marina Zoueva as their coach.
Joe Louis Arena will also host Skate America, the first of six ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series events, which will be held October 18 - 20. Meryl and Charlie are competing at Skate America and expected to win gold. U.S. Figure Skating graciously passed along my questions to Meryl and Charlie so below is the podcast. Transcript also follows in case anyone wants to act out the interview! (Photo credits: 2013 U.S. Olympic Committee)
In what ways are you a different team from last year?
CHARLIE: I think just the experience of winning another World Championship has certainly helped us, our confidence, we feel more mature. We feel like we know how to prepare for the biggest events. And I think heading into this season we're just gonna try to keep the momentum that we had from last year.
What lessons did you learn at the 2010 Olympics that you can take into 2014?
MERYL: I definitely think just being able to kind of get into the zone is really important at the Olympic Games. It's definitely a little bit different in terms of the media attention and things like that. So I think kind of knowing what to expect, being able to get yourself into a comfortable place going into competition is really important.
What are the biggest Improvements you've made as a team going into the Olympic season?
CHARLIE: I like to think that we've just improved everything. Overall just keeping the feeling and the character of the program from the beginning to the end, you know, 100%. I think that's something we've really improved upon.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of training in your training environment alongside Tessa and Scott?
MERYL: I think we really only look at the advantages. I think that training with your toughest competition and training with other incrediblly talented teams pushes us harder every day. Charlie and I are just naturally really hard workers, but I think that seeing such talent and dedication from all the teams we train with really pushes us.
Do you have any rituals before an event?
CHARLIE: No, I believe very strongly in not being superstitious. I think the potential for disaster is too big. So if I ever find myself feeling like I have to keep putting the same skate on every time I'm putting my skates on, I'll purposely put the other one on just to break the habit. MERYL: I don't have any superstitions because Charlie's broken all of them. (Laughter)
After 16 years of partnership, are there any things you don't know about each other?
MERYL: Nope. (Laughter) I know things about Charlie he doesn't even know I know about him! CHARLIE: Meryl knows things about me I don't even know about myself! (Laughter)
Can you give a little explanation of the choreography, story and inspiration for your programs this year?
MERYL: I think that our short dance [to My Fair Lady] was definitely inspired by Marina. She was kind of the driving force behind the short dance and the idea of the short dance. And so with her kind of vision, we kind of took that and we're really excited about the -- kind of sweeping feeling of the program. We feel it just has a lot of elegance and a lot of the quickstep character. And so I think that's really what we focused on throughout the short dance. And the free dance... CHARLIE: Free dance is set to Scheherazade. We're staying true to the story of Scheherazade. Meryl is Scheherazade and I am the evil sultan who's... MERYL: Jaded. CHARLIE: Jaded, ok. He's in a bad place. Meryl, she's weaving stories and sort of trying to change me back into the person that I used to be. So I think that the elements of sort of Arabian dancing and storytelling are both in there, you know, obviously along with the relationship between the sultan and Scheherazade.
Finally, are the 2018 Winter Games a goal of yours?
MERYL: 2018!?! 2022! (Laughter) CHARLIE: We're gonna actually skip 2018 just to prepare ourselves better for 2022! (Laughter) MERYL: We're hoping Detroit gets the 2022 Games. If Detroit gets the 2022 Games we'll BE there! (Laughter) CHARLIE: They'll take skiing and snowboarding completely off the Olympics! (Laughter)
Video below, Meryl and Charlie's Short Dance to My Fair Lady at the 2013 US International Classic in Salt Lake City where they debuted both their programs.
Courtney Hicks from the USA was the surprise winner at the 2013 US International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rising superstar Gracie Gold won silver, and Samantha Cesario won bronze. Last year's ladies champion Agnes Zawadski placed fourth. (Five months prior to the Sochi Winter Olympics, Gold announced she will be working with Frank Carroll at the Toyota Sports Center. Whether this is temporary or permanent is to be determined. She previously was coached by Alex Ouriashev in Chicago who helped her win the silver medal at last year's US Nationals. Read full article here.)
In ice dancing, Meryl Davis and Charlie White from the US handily won the title over Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams from Canada won bronze. Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt from the US placed fourth.
FINAL LADIES RESULTS (Note: SP=Short Program and FS=Free Skate)
Melanie Yuung-Hui Chang
FINAL ICE DANCING RESULTS (Note: SD=Short Dance and FD=Free Dance)