Skate Canada in Kelowna, British Columbia over the weekend turned up the heat on the skating season up a couple of notches. Here is what stood out for us from the event.
Hanyu Takes First Skate Canada Title
Incredible as it may seem, Yuzuru Hanyu had finished second at his previous three appearances at Skate Canada. It turned out that fourth time’s the charm and he sealed victory in style in Kelowna with two new personal best free skating (212.99) and total (322.59) scores and, of course, a shower of Winnie the Poohs. He finished almost sixty points ahead of Canada’s Nam Nguyen, who picked up his second Grand Prix medal five years after his first. Japan’s Keiji Tanaka had been involved in a minor car accident at the beginning of the week, but recovered sufficiently to claim a bronze medal.
Quads And Triple Axels – Oh My!
If ever an illustration how the technical side of ladies skating has advanced inexorably over the past year was needed, this weekend’s Skate Canada was the perfect showcase. Alexandra Trusova had set world record free skating and total scores at last month’s Nepela Memorial and she exceeded these marks again this weekend in Kelowna. She was only ranked third following the short programme and, despite falling on an opening quadruple Salchow in her free, she unleashed three more quads in her routine to leap into first place.
Rika Kihira landed one clean triple Axel in both the short and free, but even with those astonishing technical accomplishments she finished almost eleven points behind Trusova. Young You from the Republic of Korea wrote herself into the history books by becoming the 11th woman to land a triple Axel in international competition.
There was also redemption for Marin Honda who had also been involved in the traffic accident with teammate Tanaka earlier in the week. With heavy strapping on her right calf, she bravely fought through the competition and even had a clean free skate. You can read Hiro Yoshida’s in-depth interview with Honda here.
Gilles And Poirier Win First Grand Prix
An exciting competition in ice dance saw big change after the free dance had ended. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier stormed to victory winning their first Grand Prix title at home with a whole new set of personal bests. The Canadians had one of the best kiss and cry reactions we have seen in a long time.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue had to be content with second place after leading following the rhythm dance. The Americans did become the first skaters to book their tickets for the Grand Prix Final in December. Great Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson thrilled the audience with their Madonna free and took the bronze medal, the first won by British skaters since 2014.
Russians On Top In Pairs
The expectation going into Skate Canada was that a Russian pair would win this year. However, no-one imagined that the pair would be Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozslovskii. The young team did so emphatically winning both the short and the free. Their teammates and multiple World and European medallists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov were a distant third with Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro in second.
And The Award Goes To….
At a press conference in Kelowna, it was announced that the gala exhibition at the 2020 World Championships in Montreal, Canada would be replaced by a new format called the ISU Skating Awards. According to an ISU press release, the show will include exhibition performances by World medallists, music acts and other production numbers that combine contemporary skating, dance and cirque nouveau. Skaters, Coaches and Choreographers will be awarded in seven different categories. You can find more information on the event here.