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Surprise! Swedish world champs rule Spring Cup

Team Berlin 1 gets silver, Hot Shivers bronze; U.S. team Skyliners finish fourth

Team USA's Lexettes managed a sixth-place finish in the junior division.
Team USA's Lexettes managed a sixth-place finish in the junior division. (courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating)

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By Josh Ellis, special to icenetwork.com
(02/11/2013) - It came as no surprise that Sweden's Team Surprise claimed the gold medal at the Spring Cup this past weekend in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy. The reigning world synchronized skating champions blew away the international field and claimed the top spot by more than 30 points in the senior event.

Finishing in second in their first event of the year, the Leon Lurje Trophy, last month, Team Surprise found themselves leading by fewer than four points after a short program which included two falls.

Their free skate, however, was a much different story.

Skating with the skill and poise of reigning world champions, Team Surprise earned 119.43 points for their free skate, which included a score of nearly 14 points more than second place for their components and a near 13-point advantage for their elements. During their skate, they earned the competition's only three six-point-or-higher elements, including two which received seven points or more. They finished with 172.45 points overall.

Coming in second place in both the short program and free skate was Team Berlin 1 of Germany with 142.36 points, and picking up the bronze with 136.38 points was Hot Shivers of the host country Italy.

The United States' lone entry in the senior event at Spring Cup, the Skyliners finished in a close fourth place with 132.51 points. The Skyliners, who finished in fifth place at last year's U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, skated strong in their free skate to music from Les Misérables as they performed each element with a positive grade of execution.

In the junior event, Ice Steps of Finland claimed the top spot, while Les Pirouettes de Laval of Canada earned the silver. In a race separated by less than half a point, Valley Bay Synchro of Finland earned the bronze medal.

Ice Steps earned the wire-to-wire victory, as they finished first in both the short program and the free skate. During their free skate, the Ice Steps posted the event's highest scoring element as well as the best components score by more than a point. They finished with 130.27 overall.

Les Pirouettes de Laval of Canada tallied 126.57 points, and Valley Bay Synchro amassed 118.86 points.

The highest-placing of the two United States entries, the Lexettes, landed in sixth place with 112.66 points. During their short program, to music from The Artist, the reigning U.S. junior bronze medalists earned the third-best score of the competition. Their eighth-place free skate dropped their finishing position three spots lower.

Also representing the United States was Chicago Jazz, which earned 110.26 points for the competition and finished in eighth place. In 10th after the short program, Chicago Jazz moved up two spots with the sixth-best free skate.