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Tuktamisheva storms to gold at 2014 Cup of China

Hanyu overcomes tough warmup collision to claim men's silver medal
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Elizaveta Tuktamisheva won gold at 2014 Cup of China, while Yuzuru Hanyu overcame an ugly collision during a warmup skate to take silver in the men's competition. -Getty Images

The 2014 Cup of China concluded Saturday in Shanghai with the the ladies, men's and pairs free skates, as well as the free dance. 

Ladies

Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamisheva stormed to thel Ladies gold medal, relegating her teammate Julia Lipnitskaia, who led after the short program, to the silver medal. Kanako Murakami of Japan took the bronze medal.

Tuktamisheva delivered an excellent performance to oriental music "Batwannis Beek " and "Sandstorm" and hit six triple jumps, including a triple toe-triple toe combination. She picked up a Level 3 for her spins and footwork to score a season-high free skate with 128.61 points, finishing with 196.60 total points to finish first.

"I had a good skate today, but there still were some errors. Overall I am glad with how I dealt with myself. I am pleased with how the beginning of the season went for me. Now I'll have a break of about two weeks before the Grand Prix Final and I can prepare," the 17-year-old said.

Lipnitskaia opened her Romeo and Juliet program to music by Nino Rota and Abel Korzeniowski with a double Axel-triple toe-double toe combination but she fell on a triple Salchow and also made errors on other jumps. The reigning world silver medalist salvaged points with her excellent spins. With 104.01 points, the 16-year-old finished fourth in the free skate, but placed second overall with 173.57 points.

"I do not know what happened. Nothing really worked. This was probably the worst skate of my life," she said.

Murakami's free to The Phantom of the Opera included three clean triple jumps and Level 4 spins, but she under-rotated two triple loops and singled an Axel. The Four Continents champion earned 108.99 points and placed third place with 169.39 points.

"I made the same mistakes I did in training this morning. I am satisfied with third place, but not with my performance," the 20-year-old said.

Polina Edmunds of the United States turned in the second-best free of the day and moved up from seventh to fourth at 161.27 points. Gabrielle Daeleman of Canada slipped from fourth to fifth with 161.26 points. Christina Gao and Ashley Cain finished ninth and 10th respectively.

Men's

Maxim Kovtun of Russia struck gold in the men's event. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu overcame a bad collision in the warmup to claim the silver medal and Team USA's Richard Dornbush moved up from fourth to earn the bronze medal.

Skating to "Exogenesis Symphony" by Muse, Kovtun landed a quad toe, a triple Axel-single toe combination as well as three more triples, but he fell on a quad Salchow. The Russian champion scored 157.38 points to win his first Grand Prix title with 243.34 points.

"This was the first competition of the season and it came with these unpredictable events. I was absolutely not ready for this turn of events. When they led us off the ice, I was very upset. I did not know what was going on. My coach tried to calm me down. It was hard for me to pull myself together. It is a very sad day," Kovtun said.

Hanyu had collided with China's China's Han Yan (CHN) at the beginning of the six-minute warmup. Both skaters suffered cuts to the head. The warmup was suspended and restarted after both skaters received medical attention.

Hanyu skated with a bandage around his head. The Olympic champion completed four clean triples in his routine set to The Phantom of the Opera, but he missed his two quads and three other jumps. The 19-year-old scored 154.60 points and finished in second place with 237.55 points.

"He is getting stitches on his chin and he has a big gash on his head," Hanyu's coach, Brian Orser, said. "For me, the most important thing was his health. He immediately wanted to compete and I wanted to make sure that he was healthy enough to compete, that he didn't show any major signs of a bad concussion."

Dornbush's performance to "Yellow" and "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay featured a quad toe, two triple Axels (one in combination with a triple toe) and two Level 4 spins. He fell on a triple Lutz and doubled two jumps. The American earned 149.50 points and collected 226.73 points overall.

"I've never experienced anything like this in a competition before. I was very happy with how I was able to keep my cool and my concentration," he said.

Pairs

Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang led the Chinese to a podium sweep in pairs. Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin claimed silver and bronze went to Xuehan Wang and Lei Wang. Peng and Zhang won their first Grand Prix title as a team while Yu and Jin and Wang and Wang made the podium at a senior Grand Prix event for the first time.

Skating to "Allegretto," Peng and Zhang produced a quadruple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow as well as three Level 4 lifts. The Skate America bronze medalists scored a season-high 124.94 points and claimed the title with a total of 194.05.

"Today is a festive day for us. It has been a long time since the Chinese pairs swept the podium. We did it at the Four Continents Championships 2003. To do it again after all those years makes me very proud for all of us," Zhang said.

Yu and Jin's performance to "Humility and Love" was highlighted by side-by-side triple toes, a triple twist and throw triple loop. However, Jin dropped his partner from the reverse lasso lift. The world junior champions were awarded 116.30 points and had 173.33 points overall to move up one spot.

"Last season, we won the Junior Grand Prix Final and now we won our first medal on the senior Grand Prix, but I am not totally happy with our performance. There are many things we can improve, and hopefully we can do that in our next event, the Grand Prix in Japan," Yu said.

Wang and Wang completed a triple twist, throw triple Lutz and loop and difficult lifts but they made errors on the side-by-side jumps. The team picked up 114.88 points and accumulated 172.15 points.

"This is our first medal [at an international event] and we are very excited about that. It is a big achievement for us. However, I am not so satisfied with myself and want to do better next time", Xuehan Wang explained.

Americans Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu finished seventh with 147.81 points.

Dance

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France upset the favorites and danced to the gold medal, their first medal at in the Grand Prix Series. Overnight leaders Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States collected the silver medal and Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy settled for the bronze.

Performing to the "Adagio" from Mozart's Concerto No. 23, Papadakis and Cizeron earned a Level 4 for two lifts, the twizzles and the spin, a Level 3 for the diagonal footwork and a Level 2 for the circular steps and the curve lift. The 2013 world junior silver medalists posted a new personal-best with 98.00 points and finished with a final score of 160.12 to move up from third to first place.

"Coming in, our goal was third place, so winning this Grand Prix is a nice surprise for us. We performed well yesterday and today, but it is totally unexpected," Cizeron said.

The Shibutanis delivered a smooth performance to "Roses from the South" and "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss. The brother-and-sister team collected a Level 4 for three elements, while three other elements merited a Level 2. With 92.16 points for the free dance, the 2011 world bronze medalists slipped to second with 157.36 points.

"We were very happy with our performance today. The crowd energy was great. As far as how the program compares to Skate America, I think we noticed of couple of things that could have done a little bit better. But I think we attacked the program in some different ways. There is always growth. We'll have a look at the protocols, because I think we missed some levels," Alex Shibutani said.

Cappellini and Lanotte had a rough start to their "Danse Macabre" routine when he fell in the first seconds during a transition. The world champions recovered to produce four Level 4 elements, but the spin garnered only a Level 1. The European champions earned 86.88 points, which added up to 149.58 points overall.

"[The fall] was very tough, because it was very unexpected. A mistake like this hadn't happened to us in a long time in competition. It was definitely unsettling for the rest of the program. There is a lot to work on, but these things can happen. We are not depressed about it, it is a sport, you win some, you lose some," Cappellini noted.