Ice Network

Medvedeva soars into lead at Trophée de France

Russian sets pace by nearly six points; Canadian Daleman sits second
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
Evgenia Medvedeva's short, set to Lorenzo de Luca's "River Flows in You" and "The Winter" by Balmorhea, helped vault the 2016 Skate Canada champion into first place with a total of 78.52 points. The new personal best was just 0.14 points shy of the all-time record for the short, set by Mao Asada at the 2014 World Championships. -Getty Images

Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva was the undisputed winner of the short program at 2016 Trophée de France after earning an impressive 78.52 points, while Canada's Gabrielle Daleman took second place with 72.70 points to become the only skater other than Medvedeva to hit the 70-point plateau.

Another Russian, Maria Sotskova, made her Grand Prix debut in impressive fashion, amassing 68.71 points to land in third. All three skaters surpassed their season's best, setting up what promises to be an entertaining free skate session.

While the aforementioned skaters earned their way toward medal positions, American skater Gracie Gold had an off-night and sits in 10th place.

Skating in a bright blue outfit to Lorenzo da Luca's "The River Flows in You," Medvedeva went through a perfect program once again. She landed her triple flip-triple toe loop combination, triple loop and double axel, all in the second part of her program and in one motion, just like her music suggested. Her three spins and step sequence were rated at Level 4, but Medvedeva did make it clear that she needs to keep working on her components score.

"I can improve my second mark; it's not enough for a senior skate," she offered placidly.

Still, the Russian added beautiful transitions throughout her program and did the same when entering her combination spin. She also added pantomime and facial expressions throughout, which provided an added touch.

"These themes are difficult," she explained. "My coaches, my choreographers and I want to find some different ways to open my inner world. It enhances my confidence each time. I'm sure we'll find new things next year as well."

Daleman's program was appealing to the eye as well. Her routine started with a huge triple toe-triple toe combination, which flew through the whole width of the rink. She amassed 10.70 points for that element alone, which was evaluated as perfect by earning a +2.1 Grade of Execution.

Set to Jules Massenet's powerful Hérodiade, the Canadian landed her triple lutz and double axel in the second part of her program with the same stamina, speed and grace with which she opened. Her three spins were rated Level 4, and she received the second best components score of the event as a result.

"I train all triples in combination with triple toe, and I feel comfortable with any of them, but triple toe-triple toe is my favorite. It's one of my favorite jumps," Daleman offered prior to the event.

"Short program is not my best, so my coaches and I decided to opt for it in Paris. I felt calm and relaxed entering the program," she said. "But, of course, you never know how it's going to be. I just skated the way I do every day."

Sotskova displayed the amplitude of her skating in her routine to Snittke's "Agitato & Waltz of Farewell." She opened with a triple lutz-triple toe combination and landed two additional jumps -- a triple flip and double axel -- in the second part of her routine. Her four elements were rated Level 4, leaving the young skater in a positive yet unfinished state.

"I'm pleased with my performance," she said. "But I know how much I have to work to improve."

Sporting a dark blue and gold outfit featuring a beautiful butterfly, Sotskova noted that she worked hard to display the true essence of the butterfly throughout her routine.

"At the beginning, the butterfly is not free, and I am trapped a small box from which I want to escape. In the second part, I am free," she explained. "In the free, I'm free, and I just fly."

Entering fourth in the free will be France's Laurine Lecavelier, who skated a delicate program, which she dedicated to her deaf sister by signing a few words as a show of support. She landed a triple toe-triple toe, a triple lutz and a double axel.

Japan's queen on ice, Mao Asada, for whom a massive television crew came to document from Japan, stands in eigth place with 61.29 points. The technical level of her program was significantly lower than her standard, but Asada nonetheless skated beautifully and received the third-best components score of the event (32.17 points).

Gold managed to hold on to her opening triple lutz-triple toe, which had somewhat eluded her in practice, but doubled her planned triple flip and singled her double axel. A triple jump and a double axel serving as compulsory in the short program, she scored zero points for each element.

Her total score stands at 54.87 points heading into the free.