FIGURE SKATING: Hubbell & Donohue 2-for-2 at Skate Canada

American Ice Dance stars Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue

Back-to-back ISU Grand Prix appearances are always difficult, but American ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue made the most of their opportunities and won again at the Skate Canada International in Laval.

They forged a solid lead in the Short Dance and then ranked second in the Free Dance to Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, but still won by more than 5 1/2 points for their 10th career Grand Prix medal and second win.

“I guess we came in, we achieved our goal, which was another gold medal and assure the ticket to the (Grand Prix) Final,” Hubbell said. “We were feeling the two weeks fatigue today. It was a pretty tough free dance, not without mistakes, but overall we were very pleased with how we were able to face these challenges.”

The women’s competition was expected to be a showcase for two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS), but she missed a triple jump and had no combinations in her Short Program and stood in seventh place. No matter; she won the Free Skate and rocketed up to third in the final standings.

“It wasn’t my best at all, there were a lot of mistakes,” she said afterwards. “My next Grand Prix is in France and I have three weeks. In three weeks, I can do a huge [amount of] work. I want to improve my skating skills and focus on my technique, on the spins, my jumps. In France I have to win in order to be sure to go to the Final.”

In her place, it was Russia’s 21-year-old Elizayeta Tuktamysheva who won her first Grand Prix competition in four years. She was World Champion in 2015 and had a great Short Program, but held on for gold even though she finished third in the Free Skate. Japan’s Mako Yamashita, 15, won silver after finishing second in the Free Skate, in her first-ever Grand Prix appearance.

Japan’s Shoma Uno, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, was the favorite in the men’s competition and came back to win the Free Skate and overtake Canada’s Keegan Messing, 277.25-265.17. Messing, who was a U.S. skater through 2013, won his first Grand Prix medal.

France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres were the class of the Pairs event, winning their first Grand Prix gold in style, winning both the Short Program and Free Skate and taking the victory by more than 20 points!

The Grand Prix circuit takes no break and reaches the halfway points (already!) in Helsinki (FIN) next week. Summaries from Laval:

ISU Grand Prix/Skate Canada International
Laval (CAN) ~ 26-28 October 2018
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Shoma Uno (JPN), 277.25 (2nd in Short Program + 1st in Free Skate); 2. Keegan Messing (CAN), 265.17 (1+2); 3. Jun-Hwan Cha (KOR), 254.77 (3+3); 4. Alexander Samarin (RUS), 248.78 (4+4); 5. Nam Nguyen (CAN), 240.94 (7+5). Also: 6. Jason Brown (USA), 234.97 (11+6).

Women: 1. Elizayeta Tuktamysheva (RUS), 203.32 (1+3); 2. Mako Yamahsita (JPN), 203.06 (3+2); 3. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS), 197.91 (7+1); 4. Mariah Bell (USA), 190.25 (5+4); 5. Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ), 185.71 (6+5). Also: 7. Starr Andrews (USA), 174.72 (4+9).

Pairs: 1. Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA), 221.81 (1+1); 2. Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN), 201.08 (2+4); 3. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN), 200.93 (3+3); 4. Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS), 196.54 (4+2); 5. Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud (CAN), 172.53 (6+6). Also: 6. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA), 170.22 (8+5).

Ice Dance: 1. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA), 200.76 (1+2); 2. Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS), 195.17 (2+1); 3. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirer (CAN), 186.97 (6+3); 4. Marie-Jade Lauriault/Romain Le Gac (FRA), 180.32 (4+4); 5. Olivia Smart/Adrian Diaz (ESP), 176.57 (3+5).