Finland puts up unified front, finishes 1-2 in shortHaydenettes wind up fifth, Crystallettes 11th for Team USA
Twenty-three teams from 18 countries gathered in Courmayeur, Italy, for the 2014 World Synchronized Skating Championships.
Finland 1, Marigold IceUnity, is the leader after the short program. Finishing with 76.14 points for its African-inspired routine, the team earned the highest technical and program components scores of the competition. Dressed in hot pink and black, the program included a strong block, angled intersection and no hold element.
Finland 2 (Rockettes) and Canada 1 (Nexxice) finished in second and third, with 74.98 and 74.85 points, respectively. The top three teams all earned Level 4's on the five short program elements. Finland 2 skated to a fast-paced "Tahitian Dance," while Canada 1 skated to the "Midnight Waltz" by Sergei Prokofiev.
The 2013 world bronze medalists and current U.S. champions, the Haydenettes, sit in fifth place after the short program with 68.66 points. Skating to music called, "The Darkside of the Crown," the team presented a technically strong program, only missing the highest level on one element, the wheel, for which they received a Level 2.
Head Coach Saga Krantz was proud of her team.
"I thought the team skated extremely well," Krantz said. "It's a little disappointing that we lost one of our elements, knowing that the competition was very, very tight. You absolutely need all of the calls in order to medal after the short program (for the small medals).
"We are keeping our eyes on the podium; that is our goal, and we will definitely go for that," she added.
The Haydenettes' belly dance evolution program is about "being one with yourself, being one with the team and being one with the ice," said Noelle Pearson, a fourth-year Haydenette. "We are showing how beautiful women can be while they skate."
The other USA entry, the Crystallettes, ended up in 11th place following the short program with 56.51 points. Skating to "I'm a Woman," their short program included strong moves in the field and intersection elements.
"I feel like we had a great skate tonight," said Madison Elkow, a third-year member of the team. "We had a bobble in the pivot (block), but we didn't let it hold us back. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves and really performed.
"Our goal coming in was to do our best of the season and to show the work that we put in this year," she added.
"We are looking forward to having another great skate for the long," said Madeline Weiner, a second-year Crystallette. "We think [the] long is our most exciting and strongest program, so we are excited to surprise everyone and show them what we have, what we've worked for."