Ice Network

Chen takes down Hanyu to hoist gold in Moscow

Medvedeva shines on home turf; Shibutanis claim fifth Grand Prix title
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
For the second time in three events -- and third time in four events, if you count the World Team Trophy -- Nathan Chen defeated Yuzuru Hanyu. The U.S. champion landed four quads (two in combination) in his program to music from the 'Mao's Last Dancer' soundtrack, and despite finishing second in the free skate, he skated off with the gold, the first of his career in the Grand Prix Series. -Getty Images

Nathan Chen held off Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu to win men's gold Saturday at the 2017 Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia, while hometown favorite Evgenia Medvedeva picked up a gold medal of her own. In the pairs competition, Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov captured the top prize, with Team USA's Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani solidifying their place atop the ice dance podium.

Medvedeva reigns supreme on home ice

Medvedeva, who won silver at this event in 2015, delivered an expressive program to music from the film Anna Karenina, reeling off a triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple salchow-triple toe to go along with three additional triple jumps and Level 4 spins and footwork.

The two-time European champion suffer a rare fall on a double axel, but was never in danger of losing her grip on the lead, finishing the competition in the top spot with 231.21 points, including 150.46 for her free skate.

"I think I did a good job," the reigning Grand Prix Final champion said. "There were some mistakes, most notably on the last jump. It was a kind of moral weakness as I let my joy out too early. But it was a useful mistake and I will learn from it."

Carolina Kostner's volatile performance to Claude Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" featured six triple jumps and exquisite footwork and transitions, elements that allowed the five-time European champion to pick up a season's-best score of 141.36 points. Her event total of 215.98 was also good enough to help the Italian earn the silver medal.

"I had some trouble in the warm up, I didn't find my rhythm, but the break between the warm up and the performance helped me to calm down and get the energy level up again," Kostner said. "I can improve a lot of things but it is very special to begin my Grand Prix season with this performance."

Though she doubled her salchow, Japan's Wakaba Higuchi landed six triples in her dynamic James Bond routine. The two-time world junior bronze medalist scored 137.57 points in the segment, and 207.17 overall to place third in the final standings.

"I am glad I did not repeat the mistakes I did in the short program and I was able to focus from the beginning to the end," the 16-year-old said. "Since the Lombardia Trophy, I have been training very well and I had good flow, which I couldn't quite show yet. Hopefully I can show it in my next competition."

Russia's Elena Radionova pulled up one spot to finish fourth with 195.25 points, while Japan's Kaori Sakamoto placed fifth in her senior Grand Prix debut with 194.00. Americans Mariah Bell (188.56 points) and Mirai Nagasu (178.25) finished sixth and ninth, respectively.

Chen comes out on top in showdown with Hanyu

Performing to music from the Mao's Last Dancer soundtrack, Chen hit a quad lutz-triple toe, quad flip, quad salchow and quad toe-triple toe-double toe, elements that enabled him to remain atop the field.

The U.S. champion scored a season's-best 193.25 points, which placed him second in the free skate, but his event total of 293.75 points was enough to hold off Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu for gold.

"I was very pleased with the beginning of my program," the 18-year-old said. "I hit all the quads and I think I did them relatively well. I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe, which was a big mistake. I can't let things like that happen in the future. But, this is my first Grand Prix win, and I'm very happy with that."

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic champion, opened his "Seimei" program with his first quadruple lutz in competition, while also reeling off a quad salchow, quad toe-triple toe and two triple axels. Though he tripled his planned quad loop and popped a planned quad toe loop, the Japanese megastar earned a season's-best 195.92 points in the segment and an overall total of 290.77 to take silver.

"The most important thing for me is to rotate each jump, each combination," Hanyu said. "That made the three point difference. I realized once again how important it is to practice each element and to perform each element with care."

Mikhail Kolyada produced a quad toe-triple toe combination and four clean triples in his Elvis Presley routine, and despite missing two quads and a triple lutz, the Russian was able to comfortably claim the bronze medal with 271.06 points.

"I fulfilled the minimum today as I did not pop anything," he said after leaving the ice. "There were mistakes and I relaxed too much on the last jump, but overall, I enjoyed performing and I hope I was able to transmit the energy to the crowd."

Misha Ge of Uzbekistan finished fourth with 255.33 points, while Georgia's Moris Kvitelashvili moved up from eighth place after the short program to land fifth in the final standings with an event total of 250.26 points.

American Grant Hochstein's two-day total of 206.09 was good for 11th.

Tarasova, Morozov reign supreme on home ice

Skating in front of a passionate home crowd, Tarasova and Morozov -- who won silver at this event in 2014 -- produced a quadruple twist, a side by side triple toe-double toe combination, an excellent throw triple salchow and Level 4 lifts during their "Candyman" free skate. Their stellar performance enabled the Russian pair to solidify their place atop the standings with an event toal of 224.25 points, which included a personal-best mark of 147.37 for their free skate.

"(Our performance) went quite well and it was better than our first competition," Morozov said. "Our program is a boogie woogie and we wanted to express that style on the ice. We've watched dance performances in the past and we enjoyed them."

Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov finished second to their Russian teammates. Despite enduring a shaky start to their "Carmen" routine when Stolbova stepped out of the throw triple flip and fell on the triple toe, the pair recovered to land a side-by-side triple salchow and strong lifts. Even though Stolbova would go down to the ice on their final element, a throw triple salchow, the Russian champions were still able to achieve a season's-best score of 133.04 points to finish second overall with a mark of 204.43.

"There were some parts in our program that worked well, while others didn't," Klimov said. "Again, there were mistakes on the throw and the solo jump, but like yesterday, I think they happened by chance. We will continue to work."

Performing to music from the motion picture La La Land, Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov laid down a solid program that featured a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a triple twist and triple salchow. The couple from Moscow posted a new personal-best score of 131.97, upping their event total to 199.11 points, which helped them claim the third Grand Prix medal of their career.

"We did almost everything as planned and got almost all the levels we had aimed for," Rogonov explained. "Most of the elements were executed well but obviously, there is room for improvement. We can improve our speed and skate cleaner than we did."

Italy's Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek dropped from third after the short program to fourth overall with 193.63 points, while Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau of Canada remained fifth, finishing with 186.16 points.

Americans Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran finished seventh in the final standings with 170.53 points.

Shibutanis continue winning trend in Moscow

Looking to claim their fifth gold medal on the Grand Prix circuit, the Shibutani siblings delivered a smooth performance of their "Paradise" free dance, executing intricate, yet seemingly effortless, footwork and twizzles. The 2017 world bronze medalists collected a Level 4 grade for their spin, twizzles and lifts to earn 111.94 points, with their overall total of 189.24 points proving to be the winning mark.

"It's been really exciting for us to debut our two new programs at this competition," Maia said. "Since the end of last season we've been working extremely hard, and today, the free went really well. We're proud of the work that we've put in and the potential that both of our programs have."

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev hoped to keep pace with the Americans, and while their lyrical dance to Astor Piazzolla's "Oblivion" and Beethoven's "Five Secrets" included difficult lifts and a Level 4 circular step sequence, they were not able to challenge for the top place on the podium. Though unable to win gold, the Russian duo's overall total of 184.74 points was strong enough to help them pick up the silver medal.

"The spin didn't work, which was unfortunate," Soloviev commented. "It is rather upsetting, because we skated clean in practice. It was a regretful mistake that affected our program and came out of nowhere."

Russia's Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin completed five Level 4 elements and achieved a new personal-best score of 108.03 points for their enchanting love-themed free dance. Their event total of 179.35 points, which was also a personal best, proved to be more than enough to lock up the bronze medal.

"We are very pleased that we were able to fix the mistakes from the Finlandia Trophy in such a short period of time," Stepanova said. "We changed some things and made the program more comfortable for us."

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier held onto their fourth-place standing following the short program, ending the competition with 172.29 points, while Italy's Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri placed fifth with 171.37 points.

2017 world junior champions Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons ended their debut event on the Grand Prix circuit in seventh place with 148.75 points.