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Fernández snatches gold as Hanyu crumbles in free

French pair upsets Duhamel, Radford; Canada sweeps dance medals
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Though he was far from his best Saturday night, Javier Fernández did enough to overtake training mate Yuzuru Hanyu in the free skate to win the title at the Autumn Classic International. -Getty Images

Javier Fernández took advantage of some costly mistakes Yuzuru Hanyu made in the free skate to overtake his training mate and win the men's title Saturday night at the 2017 Autumn Classic International in Pierrefonds, Quebec. In other action, Kaetlyn Osmond romped to victory in ladies, Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès upset Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in pairs, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir cruised to an easy win in dance.


Osmond soared to victory by more than 18 points. She started her Black Swan free skate with a triple flip-triple toe and followed it with a double axel-triple toe. Four more triples ensued, but her performance was not without its mistakes, as she fell on a transition move and popped her axel. Still, the world silver medalist garnered a personal-best 142.34 points for the segment and 217.55 overall, a total that enabled her to claim her third career gold medal in three Challenger Series events.

Mai Mihara performed a mostly excellent rendition of her "Gabriel's Oboe" free skate on her way to earning the silver. The 2017 Four Continents champion landed two triple lutz-triple toe combinations -- including one past the midway point of the program -- and earned Level 4's for all of her spins en route to a segment mark of 132.84, which gave her a two-day total of 199.02. For the Japanese skater, it marked her second career Challenger Series medal, after the gold she captured at the 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy.

Pulling up from fifth to earn the bronze was Elizabet Tursynbaeva, whose program to "The Prayer" was highlighted by a triple salchow-triple toe and a double axel-triple toe-double toe, both performed in the second half of the program. The Kazakhstani accrued 124.38 points on the day, and with a competition total of 181.00, she secured her second straight Autumn Classic bronze medal.

Courtney Hicks fell twice during her "Amazing Grace" free skate, miscues that caused the American to drop from third after the short to fourth in the final standings.


Fernández entered the day more than 11 points out of first, but after Hanyu faltered in his free skate, the Spaniard saw his opportunity. He landed his opening quad toe as well as a quad salchow-triple toe in his Man of La Mancha free skate, but he had to fight the landings on several other jumps throughout the program. The former two-time world champion earned 177.87 points in the segment and 279.07 in total, giving him the gold in his first-ever Challenger Series event.

After such a jaw-dropping short program, the bar was set extraordinarily high for Hanyu coming into the free skate, but from the get-go, it was clear the Japanese maestro just didn't have it. He started off his "Seimei" free skate -- the same one he used in the 2015-16 season -- by popping his planned quad lutz, and the rest of his performance included two more popped jumps and a fall on his triple axel. The reigning world and Olympic champion garnered just 155.52 points for his skate -- placing him fifth in the segment -- and with an event total of 268.24, he came away with the silver.

On the opposite end of the happiness scale was Keegan Messing, who was utterly thrilled to take home the bronze medal. Landing two clean quads (one in combination) and seven triples during his Charlie Chaplin routine, the native Alaskan earned 161.97 points for the free skate and 248.30 overall -- smashing his previous personal bests in those categories by 15 and 25 points, respectively.

After considering retirement this offseason, Misha Ge recently announced that he would stick around for one more year, and that decision appears to be a good one. The Uzbekistani performed the second-best free skate of the night, and that finish moved him up one spot to fourth overall.

Entering the day in eighth, Team USA's Ross Miner rode his Queen medley program to a sixth-place showing in the free skate, and he took sixth overall with 219.96 points.


James and Ciprès rallied past short program leaders Duhamel and Radford to win the title, their first at a Challenger Series event. Skating to the song "Say Something" by A Great Big World, the European bronze medalists performed clean side-by-side triple salchows and executed a soaring triple twist, but the high point of their program was undoubtedly their throw quad salchow, which she landed, albeit two-footed. The French pair registered a segment score of 137.00 and took the gold with 210.48 points.

Duhamel and Radford had a difficult time with their Muse free skate, which was rated just the third best of the evening. The team suffered three falls during the performance -- two on jumps and one on a throw quad salchow attempt -- and just generally lacked the spark they usually bring to the ice. The former two-time world champions mustered just 125.84 points on the day, and they wound up in second overall with a two-day total of 202.98.

Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau, the gold medalists at this event last season, had a few minor technical glitches during their free skate to the song "Where's My Love" by SYML, but they managed to land all of their elements during the performance. Buoyed by their side-by-side triple salchows, a throw triple lutz and a throw triple loop, the program generated 127.92 points for the Canadian duo -- second most in the segment -- and with an overall score of 189.64, Séguin and Bilodeau made off with the bronze.

Team USA's Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran suffered two falls during their free skate to the song "Woman" by Shawn Phillips -- one on a throw and one on a side-by-side jump -- but they did display the best lifts of any team in the event. The two-time Autumn Classic medalists missed the podium this time around, concluding the event in fourth place with 176.38 points.

The other American pairs entrant, Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu, totaled 146.86 points on the week, good for sixth place.

Ice dance

Virtue and Moir defended their title at this event, outpacing their closest competitors by more than 22 points. Skating to Moulin Rouge!, the reigning world champions earned Grades of Execution (GOEs) ranging from 1.20 to 2.64 for their nine elements, five of which were rated Level 4 (three lifts, twizzles, spin). The Canadians amassed 115.80 points for the free dance and ended the week with a total of 195.76.

The race for second was a close one, but in the end, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje prevailed over Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier. The former held a slight edge in the technical elements score (52.64 to 52.04), but the latter won out on the program components side (52.20 to 50.80).

In addition to performing four Level 4 elements throughout their Spartacus free dance, Weaver and Poje shined during their two step sequences, which earned GOEs of 2.20 and 1.76. The two-time world medalists secured 104.24 points for the performance and finished with a competition mark of 173.56.

Gilles and Poirier were the only ones in the field to match Virtue and Moir's five Level 4 elements. The Canadian bronze medalists collected 103.46 points for their free dance to the theme song from the TV show Perry Mason, and with a 172.26-point total, the team claimed the bronze.

Entering the day in fourth, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter placed just sixth in the free, and the former world junior champions took home a fifth-place finish overall.