Skaters from across the world travelled to competitions in Canada, Slovakia and Belarus for the busiest weekend of skating so far this season.
Highs And Lows Stand Out At Autumn Classic International
Javier Fernandez got his season off to positive start by clinching gold in Montreal. The two-time World champion had a solid short programme that put him in second place going into the free skating. Despite a fall on a triple Salchow in his “Man from La Mancha” routine, the Spaniard emerged the winner with a total of 279.07 points.
The competition got off to a sensational start when Yuzuru Hanyu posted a new world record of 112.72 to lead after the short. However, the following day’s free was another story. The Olympic champion looked like a totally different skater and popped his opening quad Lutz attempt into a single. The rest of his programme was littered with errors, including a fall on a triple Axel. Hanyu recorded his worst free score since his infamous skate at 2014 Cup of China and his score of 155.52 was only good enough for fifth in the free. Overall, he managed to stay on the podium by virtue of his excellent short and took silver with a total of 268.24.
Canada’s Keegan Messing went home with bronze after completing a whole new set of personal bests.
Kaetlyn Osmond began the new season with a confident and comfortable victory. After a practically flawless short, the World silver medallist came to a halt in her “Black Swan” free with a random fall out of nowhere. It did not disrupt her concentration too much as the only other noticeable error came when she singled a double Axel.
Mai Mihara was a distant second with Elizabet Tursynbaeva moving up from fifth after the short to win bronze.
There was a golden start to the season for Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres who took their first Challenger Series title. Their “Say Something” free saw one of their best attempts at the quad Salchow throw and, notwithstanding a fall on a triple Lutz throw, suggests there is more to come.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the overnight leaders after the short, had an unmitigated disaster in the free with three falls pushing them down to second overall. Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau picked up bronze.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir spearheaded a Canadian sweep of the ice dance podium with an impressive season debut. Teammates Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier battled out for silver with just over a point separating the duos respectively.
Russia Cleans Up At Ondrej Nepela Trophy
An epic comeback brought Mikhail Kolyada to the top of the rostrum in Bratislava at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy. The European bronze medallist found himself in tenth place after the short, but rebounded in the free with a programme that included a quad Lutz to win his first Challenger Series title. Sergei Voronov had to be content with silver after finishing first in the short. Australia’s Brendan Kerry followed up his bronze at last weekend’s Lombardia Trophy with another one in Slovakia.
Evgenia Medvedeva started where she left off last season and cruised to an easy victory by over 36 points. The two-time World champion does not look like relinquishing her position as the front runner for an Olympic title any time soon. Japan’s Rika Hongo captured silver, while Elena Radionova clung on to bronze in spite of a shaky free.
Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert backed up their win at Lombardia Trophy with another at Ondrej Nepela Trophy. It was closely fought with less than a point separating them from teammates Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov in the end. Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin rounded out the all-Russian podium.
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev retained their Ondrej Nepela Trophy title with two dominant performances in the short and free dances. Junior World champions Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons picked up the silver with Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov taking bronze.
First Junior Grand Prix Final Qualifiers Decided In Minsk
Alexey Erokhov won his first Junior Grand Prix title at the Minsk Arena Cup with a whole new set of personal bests. The Russian is another talent from the Eteri Tutberidze’s stable in Moscow. Andrew Torgashev from the United States also picked up personal bests in the short and overall in winning silver. Russia’s Igor Efimchuk took home bronze in his Junior Grand Prix debut.
Alexandra Trusova sealed her place in the Junior Grand Prix Final in December with a second victory of the season in Minsk. Nana Araki from Japan was clearly delighted to earn a silver medal in her very first international competition. Russia’s Stanislava Konstantinova came third.
Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin were on top of the pile of a Russian clean sweep in the pairs event in Minsk. Anastasia Poluianova and Dmitry Sopot won silver in their first event as a pair. A bronze was good enough for Apollinariia Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov to book their spot at the Junior Grand Prix Final.
Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko became the first ice dancers to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final with their second title of the season. The Americans were trailed behind by the Russian teams of Anastasia Skoptcova and Kirill Aleshin and Arina Ushakova and Maxim Nekrasov respectively.