Russia's Bobrova, Soloviev breeze to gold

Shibutani siblings skate to silver medals

Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev won their first Grand Prix title at Cup of China.
Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev won their first Grand Prix title at Cup of China. (AFP)


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(11/05/2011) - Russian pair Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev maintained their lead over American sibling duo Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani to take the ice-dancing gold at 2011 Cup of China.

Bobrova and Soloviev won with a flawless free dance performance -- it earned them 97.79 points -- to "Walpurgis Night" from from the opera "Faust" by Charles Gounod.

The pair beamed after winning their first Grand Prix title with 163.52 total points, and they said they felt better on the ice in the free skate than they did during their short program on Friday.

"Today, we definitely skated better than yesterday," said Soloviev. "We feel this was our best performance of the season so far, and we still improve on that emotionally, technically, with our edges, the lifts and the speed of our spins."

The Shibutani siblings won silver skating to music by Glenn Miller in the free skate, falling well behind the Russians with with 90.61 points. It was the highest career placement on the Grand Prix for the world bronze medalists -- adding to their silver medal at the Finlandia Trophy in October.

"We feel like this is a great stepping stone for us," said Maia Shibutani. "We're competing next week, so we're looking forward to the process."

France's Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones ousted Britain's Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland from their third-place finish on Friday to take the bronze medal by half a point after Saturday's free-skate performance gave them 130.97 points. Carron and Jones garnered 78.56 points in their jazzy free-skate program, taking home their first Grand Prix medal.

American teams Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely, and Emily Samuelson and Toddy Gilles came in seventh and eighth place, respectively.