The senior season finally kicked into full swing this weekend with two ISU Challenger events taking place this weekend in Italy and the United States.
Uno Wows At Lombardia Trophy
Shoma Uno started where he left off last season and showed that he means business. The World silver medallist dominated the competition with personal best scores in both the short programme and free skating to retain his Lombardia Trophy title. His total score of 319.84 is the second highest for any skater after Yuzuru Hanyu on the all-time list. Jason Brown also repeated his silver medal at this competition from last season, while Australia’s Brendan Kerry medalled at an ISU Challenger event for the first time with his bronze.
The younger generation battled it out in the ladies competition. After falling on a double Axel in the short, the World Junior champion came from behind in the free to scoop her senior international debut. Her total score of 218.46 moved her to fourth overall in career personal bests. Wakaba Higuchi was flawless in both segments of the event and finished less than a point behind the Russian. Local favourite Carolina Kostner had been second going into the free, but an error-strewn performance saw her drop down to third.
Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert from Russia captured the first international title of their partnership in the pairs competition. Italy picked up the remaining podium places courtesy of Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise and Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek.
There was more medal joy for the Italian team when Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri picked up their second successive Lombardia Trophy title in the ice dance event. Russia’s Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd were a distant second with Alexandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin picking up bronze.
Chen Leaps Into History At U.S. International Figure Skating Classic
Nathan Chen made a little piece of history in Salt Lake City by becoming the first skating to perform five different quadruple jumps successfully when he landed a quadruple loop in his free. Not everything went according to plan across the course of both programmes, but the U.S. champion emerged a comfortable winner of the event with a total of 275.04. Compatriot Max Aaron bagged a new personal best free score of 175.50 to secure silver with Canada’s Liam Firus posting career highs of 83.46 and 164.83 (248.29 total) to win bronze.
Despite doubling a triple Salchow in her free, Japan’s Marin Honda collected her first international senior title on her debut. Mirai Nagasu landed a triple Axel in her free, but six under-rotation calls dampened her score and she finished second. Teammate Karen Chen slid down from second after the short to wind up third overall.
Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro took their first international title together with victory in the pairs event. Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim and Chelsea Liu and Brian Johnson rounded out the podium in that order.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were the class of the ice dance field and cruised to an easy win with over 25 points to spare over second place finishers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed were on the podium at this competition for the second year in a row with their bronze.