The pairs’ discipline at the 2021 World Team Trophy ended on Saturday and Russia continued their dominance on the quest to win the country’s first ever title in this competition.
Newly crowned World champions three weeks ago, Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov opened their free skate program with a side-by-side triple Salchow-Euler-triple Salchow combination and then a triple twist lift. Mishina easily landed the triple Lutz throw as well. Skating to Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions by Queen, the Russians landed the side-by-side triple toe loops and Mishina again nailed a triple throw – this time the loop. Mishina and Galliamov earned a free skate total score of 151.59 points and earned Russia the fifth of seven available twelve point finishes for the overall team standings.
U.S. national champions in their first season together, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were fourth in the short program but needed a higher result in the free skate to have a more likely chance to challenge Russia for first place in the standings. Skating to Fall on Me by Andrea Bocelli and Matteo Bocelli, the Americans began their free skate performance with a triple twist lift and a successful side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop-double toe loop combination. Knierim landed the triple loop throw but she had difficulties on the side-by-side triple Salchow attempt. Knierim held on to the triple flip throw as well. They received a personal best free skate score of 133.63 points and earned the United States eleven points.
The United States now trails Russia by nine points and anything is possible but the final ladies’ event would have to be unexpectedly bad for Russia and shockingly good for the U.S. to have a chance for a lead change. Crucially for the Americans, they finished this event ahead of Japan and now lead the host country by six points in the overall standings.
Last season’s Japanese national champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara opened their free skate routine with a triple twist lift. Skating to Woman, they both landed the side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop-double toe loop combination and Miura successfully landed the triple Lutz throw. Their side-by-side triple Salchow was successful and Miura barely held on to but completed the triple loop throw. They earned a total score of 130.83 points.
Second in the short program yesterday, six-time Italian national champions Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise presented a captivating free skate to a mixture of Pilgrims on a Long Journey from the film Child of Light and Saturn by Sleeping at Last. They began their routine with a side-by-side triple Salchow but Guarise stepped out on the landing. Della Monica landed the triple loop throw and they both completed a slightly out of sync triple toe loop-double toe loop combination. Della Monica landed the triple Salchow throw. The Italians received a score of 128.24 points.
Two-time French national champions Cleo Hamon and Denys Strekalin skated their long program to music from the film The Fifth Element. They began their routine with a side-by-side triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple twist lift. They both managed side-by-side double axels but then Hamon fell on the triple loop throw and hung on to the triple Salchow throw. The French pair received 104.81 points from the judges.
In their first and only competition this season, Canadian pair Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland started their free skate program with a triple twist lift. Skating to Waves by Dean Lewis, they only managed a triple toe loop in what was intended to be a combination and later a triple Salchow. Matte successfully landed the triple loop throw but double-footed
the triple Lutz throw. They earned a segment score of 101.83 points.
Pairs’ free skate results:
- Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov (Russia) – 151.59 (12 points)
- Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier (United States) – 133.63 (11 points)
- Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara (Japan) – 130.83 (10 points)
- Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise (Italy) – 128.24 (9 points)
- Cleo Hamon & Denys Strekalin (France) – 104.81 (8 points)
- Lori-Ann Matte & Thierry Ferland (Canada) – 101.83 (7 points)
Pairs’ overall results:
- Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov (Russia) – 225.36 (24 points)
- Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier (United States) – 199.31 (20 points)
- Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara (Japan) – 196.65 (20 points)
- Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise (Italy) – 194.33 (20 points)
- Cleo Hamon & Denys Strekalin (France) – 166.18 (16 points)
- Lori-Ann Matte & Thierry Ferland (Canada) – 156.74 (14 points)
Team standings after 7 of 8 events:
- Russia – 103
- United States – 94
- Japan – 88
- France – 64
- Italy – 62
- Canada – 49