This weekend saw the much-anticipated return to competition of two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu at the Autumn Classic International in Oakville, Canada. Meanwhile in Bratislava, Slovakia, a rising Japanese star performed amazing technical feats at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy.
Hanyu Wins Third Autumn Classic Title
Hanyu took to competitive ice for the first time in seven months after his victory in PyeongChang and he performed his short programme to “Otonal” by Raul di Blasio, a tribute to one of his skating heroes American Johnny Weir. He nailed a quadruple Salchow to begin and then landed a triple Axel. He managed to eke out a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop, but a change foot sit spin did not meet the element requirements and he received no points for it. Despite this error, he finished on top of the standings with a score of 97.74.
The two-time World champion unveiled a new free routine titled “Origin” that uses “Art on Ice” and “Magic Stradivarius” by Edvin Marton. He opened with a quadruple loop and a quadruple toe loop. However, midway through the programme, he crashed to the ice on a quadruple Salchow and then doubled a toe loop. A score of 165.91 was only good enough for second in the free, but he hung on to win with a total of 263.65.
Junhwan Cha from South Korea, who trains alongside Hanyu with Brian Orser, actually won the free and claimed the silver medal. Canada’s Roman Sadovsky took bronze by less than a point over Jason Brown from the United States.
Bradie Tennell from the United States put down three new personal bests on her way to gold in the ladies event. Two-time World champion Evgenia Medvedeva had to settle for second place after an uncharacteristic fall on a triple loop in the free cost her the title. Maé-Bérénice Méité from France took a surprise bronze.
Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès were head and shoulders above the rest of the field in the pairs competition and won their second consecutive Autumn Classic title. Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marino from Canada came a distant second and Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier from the United States were third.
In their only competitive appearance this autumn, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were runaway winners in the ice dance event. Spain’s Olivia Smart and Adria Diaz picked up silver with Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus grabbing bronze.
You can find detailed results for the 2018 Autumn Classic International here.
Kihira Takes First Senior Title At Ondrej Nepela Trophy
Japan’s Rika Kihira made a sensational senior international debut in Bratislava, Slovakia by winning the Ondrej Nepela Trophy title with a technically superb free that included two triple Axels, one on its own and one in combination with a triple toe loop. Elizabet Tursynbaeva from Kazakhstan took silver with Russia’s Stanislava Konstantinova finishing third.
Mikhail Kolyada was a runaway winner in the men’s event. Veteran Sergei Voronov came second to make it a Russian one-two. Keiji Tanaka from Japan won the bronze medal.
Competing for the second week in a row, Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc from the United States won the pairs event. Compatriots Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay earned silver and Russia’s Lina Kudriavtseva and Ilia Spiridonov were third.
Russian ice dancers Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov captured their first title as a team. They were trailed by Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter from the United States and Betina Popova and Sergei Mozgov from Russia in that order.
You can find full detailed results for the 2018 Ondrej Nepela Trophy here.