Four triple axels in women’s event as Kamila Valieva leads, Nathan Chen dominant and gets back on track

Kamila Valieva at the 2021 Finlandia Trophy in Espoo, Finland, on October 9, 2021. (Photo by Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)

On Friday in Vancouver, all four disciplines of the the 2021 Skate Canada – the second stage of the 2021-2022 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix series – took place and every one of the favorites took control of their respective events.

In the women’s short program event, four of the competitors landed triple axels and an amazing battle ensued among the figure skaters who placed in the top four positions – with the Russian women once again managing to secure the top three places.

2020 World Junior champion Kamila Valieva landed a triple axel to start her routine, and later completed a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. Skating to In Memoriam by Kirill Richter, the 15-year-old Russian figure skater delivered an all-around fantastic performance and earned a new personal best short program score of 84.19 points – just shy of Alena Kostornaia’s world record score of 85.45 points from the 2019-2020 ISU Grand Prix Final.

2015 World champion and 2021 World silver medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva also landed a triple axel at the beginning of her program. The 24-year-old Russian athlete additionally completed a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and a triple flip. Tuktamysheva received a score of 81.24 points and is currently in second position. She continued her streak of consistent performances and is in prime position to challenge Valieva for gold tomorrow.

Kostornaia too began her short program performance with a triple axel – the first time she successfully landed the jump since the 2020 European Championships where she was victorious. The 18-year-old Russian also landed a triple Lutz and a triple flip-triple toe loop combination. Kostornaia earned a score of 75.58 points and is currently in third place.

Performing immediately after Valieva, two-time United States national champion Alysa Liu opened her short program performance with a triple axel as well. Her jump was, unfortunately, deemed under-rotated. Skating to the Gypsy Dance, the 16-year-old American went on to complete a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. Liu earned a score of 73.63 points and is in fourth place heading into the free skate event.

Results after short program:

  1. Kamila VALIEVA (RUS) – 84.19
  2. Elizaveta TUKTAMYSHEVA (RUS) – 81.24
  3. Alena KOSTORNAIA (RUS) – 75.58
  4. Alysa LIU (USA) – 73.63
  5. Wakaba HIGUCHI (JPN) – 69.41
  6. Karen CHEN (USA) – 68.74
  7. Mai MIHARA (JPN) – 67.89
  8. Haein LEE (KOR) – 62.63
  9. Madeline SCHIZAS (CAN) – 62.61
  10. Emily BAUSBACK (CAN) – 59.53
  11. Alison SCHUMACHER (CAN) – 55.47
  12. Mana KAWABE (JPN) – 53.30

Judges’ Scores

Nathan Chen at the 2021 Skate Canada. (Photo by Geoff Robins/AFP via Getty Images)

Three-time World champion Nathan Chen got back on track after a difficult last week at Skate America by presenting a clean short program in Vancouver and taking a twelve-point lead heading into tomorrow’s free skate event.

The 22-year-old five-time United States national champion began his performance with a quad Lutz and then landed a triple axel. Skating to Eternity and Nemesis by Benjamin Clementine, Chen also completed a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination. He received a score of 106.72 points for the presentation – a great improvement from 82.89 points in Las Vegas.

Former national champion and multiple-time medalist on the ISU Grand Prix circuit, Jason Brown did not attempt any quads in his short program routine but earned the highest program component score among all competitors. Skating to Sinnerman by Nina Simone, the 26-year-old American landed a triple flip, a triple axel, and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. Brown received a score of 94.00 points.

Canadian representative Keegan Messing finds himself in contention for medals after a strong outing on the first day of the competition. The 29-year-old figure skater began his performance with a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and then landed a triple axel and a triple Lutz. Messing received a score of 93.28 points and is ahead of fourth-placed Makar Ignatov by over three points.

Results after short program:

  1. Nathan CHEN (USA) – 106.72
  2. Jason BROWN (USA) – 94.00
  3. Keegan MESSING (CAN) – 93.28
  4. Makar IGNATOV (RUS) – 89.79
  5. Evgeni SEMENENKO (RUS) – 87.71
  6. Keiji TANAKA (JPN) – 78.83
  7. Sota YAMAMOTO (JPN) – 78.78
  8. Alexander SAMARIN (RUS) – 78.55
  9. Conrad ORZEL (CAN) – 73.19
  10. Roman SADOVSKY (CAN) – 72.94
  11. Tomoki HIWATASHI (USA) – 72.92
  12. Morisi KVITELASHVILI (GEO) – 71.60

Judges’ Scores

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China at the 2021 Skate Canada. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

In the pairs’ event, 2018 Olympic silver medalists and two-time World champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han took a dominant lead after their short program performance – nine points ahead of Russia’s Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin, as well as a further two points ahead of Germany’s Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert.

Chinese representatives Sui and Han began their routine with successful side-by-side triple toe loops and then Sui landed a triple flip throw, as well as completed a triple twist lift. The pair received the highest marks in both the technical element scores and program component scores. Sui and Han received a score of 78.94 points for their presentation – not far from their personal best score of 81.27 points which they achieved at the 2019 NHK Trophy.

2018 World Junior champions Pavliuchenko and Khodykin delivered an entertaining performance with creative and difficult transitions. They began their performance with a triple twist lift and then Pavliuchenko landed a triple loop throw; afterwards, the Russian pair completed side-by-side triple toe loops. Unfortunately, Pavliuchenko and Khodykin received two deductions – one for Pavliuchenko’s fall during a difficult transition and one for a time violation – and received a score of 69.46 points.

Results after short program:

  1. Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN (CHN) – 78.94
  2. Daria PAVLIUCHENKO / Denis KHODYKIN (RUS) – 69.46
  3. Minerva Fabienne HASE / Nolan SEEGERT (GER) – 67.93
  4. Kirsten MOORE-TOWERS / Michael MARINARO (CAN) – 66.43
  5. Vanessa JAMES / Eric RADFORD (CAN) – 65.02
  6. Ashley CAIN-GRIBBLE / Timothy LEDUC (USA) – 61.68
  7. Lori-Ann MATTE / Thierry FERLAND (CAN) – 57.25
  8. Zoe JONES / Christopher BOYADJI (GBR) – 48.80

Judges’ Scores

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier at the 2021 Skate Canada. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

2021 World bronze medalists in the ice dance event Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier took a commanding lead after their rhythm dance program as they earned a new personal best score – seven points ahead of their nearest rivals.

Skating to music by Elton John, the Canadians scored high marks across the board and earned a total performance score of 85.65 points – beating their previous best rhythm dance score of 83.92 points from the 2020 Four Continents Championships. With such a score, Gilles and Poirier possibly already have one hand on the gold medals.

2019 European bronze medalists and three-time Italian national champions Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri delivered a strong routine and lead the battle for the remaining podium positions with a score of 78.82 points. The veterans look to hold of the challenge from Spain’s Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz who had a fourth place finish at Skate America last weekend. Smart and Diaz trail the Italians by less than two points, with a score of 76.97 points.

Results after rhythm dance:

  1. Piper GILLES / Paul POIRIER (CAN) – 85.65
  2. Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI (ITA) – 78.82
  3. Olivia SMART / Adrian DIAZ (ESP) – 76.97
  4. Caroline GREEN / Michael PARSONS (USA) – 72.40
  5. Lilah FEAR / Lewis GIBSON (GBR) – 71.89
  6. Marjorie LAJOIE / Zachary LAGHA (CAN) – 71.87
  7. Diana DAVIS / Gleb SMOLKIN (RUS) – 70.66
  8. Christina CARREIRA / Anthony PONOMARENKO (USA) – 68.96
  9. Elizaveta SHANAEVA / Devid NARYZHNYY (RUS) – 68.53
  10. Haley SALES / Nikolas WAMSTEEKER (CAN) – 60.75

Judges’ Scores

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