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Shibutanis win dance title, clinch trip to Barcelona

Bobrova, Soloviev take silver; Hubbell, Donohue head to Grand Prix Final
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Claiming their second career NHK Trophy title, Team USA's Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani finished with a total score of 174.43 points to clinch their third trip to the Grand Prix Final. -Getty Images

Team USA's Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani danced to the gold medal as the 2015 NHK Trophy wrapped up in Nagano, Japan. Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev claimed the silver medal, and the bronze went to Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. All three couples notched personal-best scores in the free dance.

Dancing to "Fix You" by Coldplay, the Shibutani siblings performed intricate footwork and innovative lifts. The U.S. silver medalists medalists picked up Level 4's for their lifts, spins and twizzles and Level 3's for their step sequences to score 106.35 points. They finished with an overall score of 174.43 points.

"It was such an honor for us to skate at our fifth NHK Trophy," Maia said. "Last time we won a Grand Prix was back in 2011, and that was also NHK Trophy, so today was just really special. It is a great way for us to continue our season, and we're excited to be going back to Barcelona for the Final."

Bobrova and Soloviev put out a strong dance to the Anna Karenina soundtrack that was highlighted by their lifts and steps. The 2013 European champions earned 103.14 points and totaled 169.33 to move up one spot from the short dance.

"We finally remembered the feelings we had 1 1/2 years ago at the Olympic Games and felt that we really came back and have the power to continue performing," Soloviev said. "We achieved basically everything we had planned for this Grand Prix."

Hubbell and Donohue danced to "Adagio for Tron" by Daft Punk and picked up the same levels as the other two top teams. They 2014 Four Continents champions received 100.92 points and slipped from second to third with an overall score of 167.49 points.

"It was a little nerve-wrecking. We hadn't competed our free dance since early September," said Hubbell, who, along with Donohue, only performed the short dance at 2015 Trophée Eric Bompard. "We put a lot of work in and we just felt very excited to finally show it, but it also put a bit of nerves and pressure to it. We were happy to skate very well, very clean. We're just so excited to finally make our goal to go to the Grand Prix Final."

Russia's Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin finished fourth with 160.64 points, and Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain finished fifth (155.58 points).