Golden finish for Team USA at World Team Trophy
Americans buoyed by season's bests from Wagner, Gold; Canada takes silver, Japan bronze
|Team USA did plenty of celebrating after Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner received season's-best scores in their free skates. (Renee Felton)|
"I couldn't be more proud of the U.S. team," U.S. team captain Ashley Wagner said. I think that every single person on the team had a huge role in this win. I'm so proud of everything that we accomplished and I think that we finished very strong today, but every single performance in this competition is about letting us win."
Team USA built on their overnight lead with strong performances by Wagner and Gracie Gold who came in second and third in the ladies event. Wagner's program to "Samson and Delilah" was highlighted by six triple jumps and two Level 4 spins. She totaled 188.60 points.
"I'm ecstatic. I'm tired. It's been a long season. But season's best at the last competition of the year, I can't be happier," Wagner noted.
Skating to Life is Beautiful, Gold nailed a triple Lutz-triple toe, a double Axel-triple toe combination and three more triples to rack up 188.03 points overall.
"It's a great way to end the season. I'm really happy with it," Gold said of recording a personal best score to help Team USA earn gold.
Pairs skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir ranked fifth in the pairs event with 172.30 points. They went for a throw quadruple Salchow but she fell.
"It was a great program," Castelli said. "It's our first time putting out the quad Salchow. I went for it, it's been good in practice. We are happy with how we skated overall."
On the experience at World Team Trophy, she said, "The week has been great. I never expected it to be this fun. It's such an awesome team experience."
Added Shnapir: "This is a unique experience competing as a team. It's good for all of us and a great opportunity to do our programs one more time and have fun."
"I see the silver medal today as a silver lining. We've improved since last year," Canadian captain Patrick Chan commented. "Last year, we were in third place and now in second. I think we're just preparing ourselves.
"This is a rookie team. We had Kaetlyn Osmond and technically it's her first year on the senior level. The silver medal is really great for the team and I look forward to the Sochi Olympics. I think our team is going to be more experienced and prepared."
Canada could rely on world pairs bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who finished second with 191.15 points. Their routine to the Angel soundtrack included triple throws and six Level 4 elements, but Duhamel struggled with the solo jumps.
"There was some mistakes, but the way that we skated, the way we felt in the middle of the program, we were both very aware and relaxed at the same time," Radford said. "I think we both had a lot of energy at the end and combine that feeling with a clean skate and I think that would be what we're aiming for next year."
Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman ranked seventh and 11th in the ladies event.
"For the Japanese team, we did not have a pair. Given that fact, placing third is something we're very happy with," Japan's captain Daisuke Takahashi told the press. "After the world championships, it's been very difficult physically and mentally to come to this World Team Trophy, but I think all our skaters did their best and put more than 100 percent out on the ice. We all together won this third place."
Akiko Suzuki came from second place to win the ladies competition and landed seven triple jumps. Some landings were tight, but she held on and also picked up a Level 4 for all three spins and the footwork to score 199.58 points overall.
"I was happy I was able to skate like this at the end of the season," Suzuki said. "This performance really came from my heart only. Because I was skating this program for the last time, I didn't care if I would faint in the choreostep or not, but I just put all my energy into the program."
Mao Asada finished fifth after popping her triple Axel into a double and under-rotating three triple jumps. Japan had no pairs team entered.
Russia remained in fourth place with 39 points.
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won the pairs event with 210.47 points. The world champions produced excellent triple throws and a triple toe-double toe combination, but Volosozhar fell on the side-by-side triple Salchow.
"It was hard for us, especially after our teammate Konstantin Menshov got injured yesterday, and we knew that we had lost our chance to be on the podium," Trankov admitted.
Team China moved up from sixth to fifth with 35 points after pairs skaters Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang pulled up to third with 174.40 points. The highlight of their performance was a quadruple twist.
Team France dropped to sixth with 31 points.