Canadians capture pairs gold with 'artistic' free

Davankova, Deputat fall to second; Aaron, Settlage grab bronze after delay

Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro of Canada posted 144.72 total points to win the pairs.
Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro of Canada posted 144.72 total points to win the pairs. (Daphne Backman)


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By Josh Ellis, special to
(09/01/2012) - Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro of Canada entered the Junior Grand Prix Lake Placid looking to better prepare themselves to compete on the senior circuit next season, and they left with a pairs gold medal.

Purdy and Marinaro were sixth-place finishers at the senior level at the 2012 Canadian Championships, but had only a career-best finish of third on the JGP series, last year in Latvia.

The duo was thrilled after their performance of music from The Artist, considering their progress.

"You are always looking to improve; that's what we wanted," Purdy said. "We have been working on getting our second mark up and we did that today."

In second after the short program, Purdy and Marinaro earned a personal-best 96.88 points for their free skate, more than 10 points better than that of the second-place team. They earned a total of 144.72 points for the competition. The Canadians received high marks throughout, especially on two Level 4 spins and a side-by-side triple toe-double toe combination.

"We were very happy with our program, especially this early in the season," Marinaro said. "It's only the first week of September, so we have a long way to go, so this was a great starting point for us."

In first after the short program, reigning Russian junior champions Vasilisa Davankova and Andrei Deputat faltered in the free skate with 84.14 points, the third-best score in the segment. They finished with 133.11 points overall and earned the silver medal.

The duo opened their program with a combination jump, which received a grade of execution (GOE) of -2.10, and their elements score was further hurt as one of their spins was ruled an invalid element after a lengthy deliberation. The wait left Americans Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage out on the ice for an extended period of time as the next pair to skate, in addition to skating last in the group.

But based on their performance, it was not a factor.

"I think [the wait] calmed us down," Aaron said.

"We usually have a habit of drawing first, so it was actually a nice change of pace for us," Settlage added.

In fourth place after the short program, Aaron and Settlage earned 86.62 points for their free skate, a new personal best and the second-best score of the day. They finished with 130.44 points overall and earned the bronze medal.

Aaron and Settlage earned Level 4s on two of their elements, including a lift which added 7.95 points to their overall score. Their throw triple Salchow was judged to be their most well-performed element, with a GOE of 0.90. The duo, who train in Colorado Springs, Colo., were thrilled with their performance and their result.

"We are really pleased," Settlage said. "For our first international of the season, it was a really strong performance."

"We proved to ourselves that we can perform under pressure and with nerves. I think this was really reassuring for the next time," Aaron added.

The 2011 U.S. novice champions finished fifth in their only other JGP event in Poland last season.

Entering the free skate in third place, Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier finished with 127.33 points, good for fourth place, while fellow Americans Jessica Pfund and AJ Reiss, and Olivia Oltmanns and Joshua Santillan finished in fifth and 12th, respectively.