On the second day of the third stage of this season’s International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix series – the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy, the pairs’ and ice dance events saw the favorites dominantly secure their positions at the top, while in the women’s and the men’s events – favorites Anna Shcherbakova and Yuma Kagiyama had to make comebacks to claim the top spot.
Third after the short program, 2021 World champion Anna Shcherbakova had much pressure heading into her free skate performance – exacerbated by the impressive performances before her and, thus, requiring the three-time Russian national champion to be perfect.
The 17-year-old opened her routine with a quad flip, receiving just a hundredth of a point under a three-point grade of execution, and then completed a triple flip-triple toe loop combination and two double axels. Skating to a mixture of Ruska, Satan’s Ball, and Requiem, Shcherbakova landed the difficult triple Lutz-triple loop combination, a triple flip-Euler-triple Salchow combination, and a triple Lutz in the second half of the performance. Earning a new personal best free skate score of 165.05 points, Shcherbakova received a total competition score of 236.78 points and celebrated her first victory of the 2021-2022 season and third career ISU Grand Prix gold medal.
15-year-old team-mate of the winner Maiia Khromykh was second after the short program and completed two quad jumps in the first jumping sequences – a quad toe loop in a combination with a double toe loop and another solo quad toe loop – to win the silver medal in her debut senior ISU Grand Prix series competition. Khromykh’s triple loop was deemed under-rotated by the judges, but the Russian representative successfully completed the remaining double axel, tripe Lutz-triple toe loop combination, triple flip-Euler-triple Salchow combination, and triple Lutz. Winner of the Budapest Trophy last month over Shcherbakova, Khromykh received a new personal best free skate score of 154.31 points and a new personal best total competition score of 226.35 points.
Leader after the short program, Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx delivered a fantastic clean free skate program and won her first ISU Grand Prix medal in only her second ever appearance. Having turned 22 years old just the day prior, Hendrickx began her performance with a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a double axel, a triple flip, and another double axel. Fifth at the 2021 World Championships and fourth, only behind three Russian women, at this season’s Finlandia Trophy, the Belgian representative later successfully completed a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination, a triple flip-double toe loop-double loop combination, and a triple Salchow. Hendrickx received a new career best free skate result of 145.53 points and, like wise, a new career best overall score of 219.05 points.
- Anna SHCHERBAKOVA (RUS) – 236.78
- Maiia KHROMYKH (RUS) – 226.35
- Loena HENDRICKX (BEL) – 219.05
- Mai MIHARA (JPN) – 214.95
- Satoko MIYAHARA (JPN) – 209.57
- Yelim KIM (KOR) – 193.50
- Sofia SAMODUROVA (RUS) – 180.59
- Eunsoo LIM (KOR) – 179.58
- Yi ZHU (CHN) – 171.25
- Nicole SCHOTT (GER) – 167.20
- Lara Naki GUTMANN (ITA) – 158.57
- Lucrezia BECCARI (ITA) – 148.29
Following unexpected results at the short program, the men’s free skate provided for much entertainment and big movement in the overall standings – only seventh after the short program, 2021 World silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama rose all the way to first place after a huge free skate score.
The 18-year-old Japanese figure skater received positive grades of execution on all of his technical elements – opening his free skate routine with a quad Salchow, Kagiyama landed a triple Lutz, a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination, and a triple axel-Euler-triple Salchow combination. Skating to music from the Gladiator, he completed a quad toe loop in the second half of the performance, later also completing a triple flip-triple loop combination and a triple axel. Kagiyama received a career best free skate score of 197.49 points and earned a total score of 278.02 points.
Fourth after the short program, 2018 Olympic silver medalist in the team event and 2018 World bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada had a realistic chance to overtake the leader but did not present a clean free skate performance to do so. The 26-year-old three-time Russian national champion began his routine with a quad Salchow, which he landed but not ideally. He then completed a near-perfect quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple axel-double toe loop combination, but again struggled on the exit of a triple loop. In the back end of the program, Kolyada had problems with the landing but fully rotated a quad toe loop, then presented a clean triple axel, and commenced his jumping sequences with a triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow combination. He received a new career best free skate score of 181.25 points and earned a total competition result of 273.55 points.
Home favorite Daniel Grassl participated in his second career ISU Grand Prix series event, having debuted with a seventh place finish at Skate America two weeks ago, and improved immensely. The 19-year-old three-time Italian national champion began his free skate routine with two clean quads – a Lutz and a flip. He received negative grades of execution on the subsequent quad loop-Euler-triple Salchow combination and triple axel attempts. Following a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, Grassl again received a negative grade of execution on the triple flip-triple loop combination. The Italian ended his jumps with a good triple Lutz. Following a long pause by the judges while calculating the score – and with expectations of the performance possibly giving Grassl the lead – he received a free skate result of 173.33 points for third place, and a total competition score of 269.00 points for the bronze medal.
- Yuma KAGIYAMA (JPN) – 278.02
- Mikhail KOLYADA (RUS) – 273.55
- Daniel GRASSL (ITA) – 269.00
- Deniss VASILJEVS (LAT) – 248.44
- Junhwan CHA (KOR) – 247.74
- Kazuki TOMONO (JPN) – 245.11
- Boyang JIN (CHN) – 242.27
- Petr GUMENNIK (RUS) – 226.76
- Dmitri ALIEV (RUS) – 217.67
- Yudong CHEN (CHN) – 200.96
- Gabriele FRANGIPANI (ITA) – 167.60
WD – Paul FENTZ (GER) – 11th after short program (57.17)
In the pairs’ event, two Chinese couples and a young Russian duo made it onto the podium – led by an astonishing free skate performance by the 2018 Olympic silver medalists and two-time World champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han.
Winners of last weekend’s Skate Canada, Sui and Han were exquisite in their presentation on Saturday. The Chinese representatives opened their routine with a triple twist lift and then a side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop-double toe loop combination. Skating to Bridge Over Troubled Water, performed by Linda Eder and John Legend, they successfully completed side-by-side triple Salchows and Sui landed both triple throws – a flip and a Salchow. Sui and Han did not come close to their own world record score but ran away with the gold medals at the Grand Prix of Italy with a free skate score of 144.48 points and a total competition score of 224.55 points.
Two-time silver medalists at the ISU Grand Prix Final, Cheng Peng and Yang Jin had a great competition in Italy and have been in the top two at all but two ISU Grand Prix events that they have participated in since the 2016-2017 season. Fifth at the 2021 World Championships, Peng and Jin received an under-rotation on their side-by-side triple Salchow but successfully completed a side-by-side triple toe loop-double toe loop combination. Peng landed both of the triple throws but received a negative grade of execution on the first loop, however, successfully completed the Salchow. They received a free skate score of 135.15 points and earned a total competition score of 211.86 points.
Fourth after the short program, 2020 World Junior bronze medalists Iuliia Artemeva and Mikhail Nazarychev participated in their first official senior ISU Grand Prix series competition – as the 2020 Rostelecom Cup was treated as a domestic competition – and celebrated a podium finish. The Russian representatives began their free skate routine with a side-by-side double axel-Euler-triple Salchow combination and then completed a triple twist lift. Skating to Fire on Fire by Sam Smith and Chronos by Kirill Richter, the couple received an under-rotation on their side-by-side triple Salchow and a negative grade of execution on the triple flip throw but were successful with the triple loop throw. Artemeva and Nazarychev received a new personal best free skate score of 125.11 points and also a new career best total competition score of 187.01 points.
- Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN (CHN) – 224.55
- Cheng PENG / Yang JIN (CHN) – 211.86
- Iuliia ARTEMEVA / Mikhail NAZARYCHEV (RUS) – 187.01
- Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA) – 179.26
- Rebecca GHILARDI / Filippo AMBROSINI (ITA) – 165.45
- Alina PEPELEVA / Roman PLESHKOV (RUS) – 162.71
- Sara CONTI / Niccolo MACII (ITA) – 152.72
WD – Annika HOCKE / Robert KUNKEL (GER) – 8th after short program (49.16)
2018 Olympic silver medalists and four-time World champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron left no doubt and earned a dominant set of gold medals at the latest ISU Grand Prix event – beating the nearest rivals by almost thirteen points.
Skating to Elegie by Gabriel Faure, Papadakis and Cizeron received impressive grades of execution for each technical element – earning more than seven points for the technical element score than anyone else – and received a total free dance result of 132.61 points. They earned a total competition score of 220.06 points.
Fourth at the 2018 Winter Olympics and three-time World medalists, from the United States, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were winners at Skate America two weeks ago but faced stiffer competition in Italy. Nevertheless, the American duo performed well, making a mistake on the final lift, but managing to place second in the free dance event. Skating to Drowning by Anne Sila, Hubbell and Donohue received a score of 123.11 points for their presentation and earned a total competition score of 207.90 points.
Reigning Russian national champions Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin made their 2021-2022 season debut in Turin. The longtime partners were not far off from second place; performing to We Have a Map of the Piano by Mum and A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliet, Stepanova and Bukin received a score of 120.71 points for the free dance and earned a total competition result of 202.18 points.
- Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON (FRA) – 220.06
- Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA) – 207.90
- Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN (RUS) – 202.18
- Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU (CHN) – 184.59
- Caroline GREEN / Michael PARSONS (USA) – 178.26
- Evgeniia LOPAREVA / Geoffrey BRISSAUD (FRA) – 174.63
- Carolane SOUCISSE / Shane FIRUS (CAN) – 163.86
- Katharina MUELLER / Tim DIECK (GER) – 158.97
- Hong CHEN / Zhuoming SUN (CHN) – 158.12
- Carolina MOSCHENI / Francesco FIORETTI (ITA) – 140.83