Grand Prix Final Champion Nathan Chen (USA) jumped to gold going with six quadruple jumps at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018 in Milan (ITA) on Saturday, becoming the first American man to win the title and any World medal since Evan Lysacek took gold in 2009. The 2018 Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan pulled up from fifth place to repeat as World silver medalist and Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada claimed the bronze.
Skating to "Mao’s Last Dancer” and "Sacre du Printemps”, Chen reeled off a quad Lutz, quad flip-double toe loop, quad flip, quad toe loop and quad toe loop-triple toe as well as a triple Axel and a triple flip-single loop-triple Salchow combination. The only glitch came when he stepped out of the sixth quadruple jump, a Salchow. The U.S. Champion collected a level four for his spins and footwork and set a new personal best of 219.46 points in the Free Skating to total 321.40 points.
"It’s just a dream come true, it’s something I have wanted to achieve my whole career and I’m just so glad I was able to do it,” Chen said about winning. "I was kind of checking what everyone was doing on Jackie Wong’s Twitter so I was sort of updated on what was going on. It gave me the opportunity, the chance. Of course I don’t want to see my competitors fail or do badly, I want them to be pushing me and pushing each other, but I’m glad I was able to do what I needed to do and I felt the audience really wanted a good performance and they motivated me to do it,” the 18-year-old explained.
Chen, who landed a six quads, earned a personal best of 219.46 points in his free skate clinch his first World medal, securing his title by nearly 48 points. He is the first U.S. man to be World champion since Evan Lysacek accomplished the feat in 2009.
"I’m so happy about this, especially having not the greatest skates at the Olympics and then being able to come not long after and do what I did here,” Chen said.
The United States also earned three sports for next year’s World Championships with an 11thplace finish by Max Aaron.
Chen went undefeated during the Grand Prix season, won his second consecutive U.S. title in January and won the bronze medal in the Team Event at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Uno landed a quadruple-double toe loop combination, a triple Axel, triple Axel-single loop-triple flip as well as three more triples. However, the Olympic silver medalist, who is handicapped by an ankle injury, struggled with his other quads, falling three times. The Japanese Champion scored 179.51 points which added up to 273.77 points overall.
"My foot felt better than yesterday. It was hard to bring it in a good condition. I did mistakes in the beginning, but I am satisfied that I finished the free skate like this. In my recent practices, my quad loops and flips were rather rough but still I decided to go for them and I didn’t do so well but I came back in the end of the program really nicely, so I am satisfied with my result today,” Uno told the press.
Kolyada’s program to Elvis Presley songs featured a quadruple toeloop, two triple Axels as well as two more triples and level-three spins, but he fell on the quad Lutz and the second quad toe loop. The two-time European bronze medalist earned 172.24 points and was ranked fourth in the Free Skating. Overall he slipped from second to third at 272.32 points.
"I am happy with the short program, but in the free obviously I made mistakes. But I enjoyed performing my program, the presentation,” Kolyada commented. "The last time a Russian man medaled at Worlds was Artur Gachinski in 2011. We need to raise the level of men’s skating in Russia. I think this (medal) will be a positive experience for me and the other guys,” he added.
Alexei Bychenko (ISR) pulled up from seventh to fourth for a career-best result at the World Championships on 258.28 points. "This season was hard, there was a lot of stress, a lot of preparation, and what I did today is not exactly what I expected but anyway I fought for every element. Anyway, I am very glad with my result. Each season I try to beat my previous result and I am really proud of myself and my team,” Bychenko shared.
Kazuki Tomono (JPN) was ranked third in the Free Skating with a clean performance to ‘West Side Story’ that included two quadruple Salchow. Overall he moved up from 11th to fifth place in his debut at the ISU World Championships. "It is the first time to be at such a big competition for me and I learned a lot from it, I become more confident. I had already had the experience to skate as a substitute so I was prepared to such a situation after Yuzuru (Hanyu) and Takahito (Mura) withdrew. I was very lucky to be here and here I came as the substitute but I want to be a real and dignified representative of Japan,” Tomono noted. Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT) pulled up from ninth to sixth on 254.86 points.
The 2017 World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou (USA), who stood in third following the Short Program, faded to 14th after numerous errors (235.24 points) and two-time World bronze medalist Boyang Jin (CHN) plummeted from 4th to 19th (223.41 points).
"I’m so happy about this, especially having not the greatest skates at the Olympics and then being able to come not long after and do what I did here,” Chen said.
PyeongChang 2018 Olympic silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France reigned supreme in the Ice Dance event at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018, taking their third World title setting new highest scores. Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA) danced to the silver medal, their first World medal while Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje returned to the World podium for the first time after 2015 and earned their third medal.
Papadakis & Cizeron delivered a beautiful dance to Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’, effortlessly completing intricate footwork and innovative lifts. The four-time European Champions, collected a level four for all elements and 30 perfect 10.00, including 10.00 from all nine judges for performance. The French Champions set a new highest score in the Free Dance with 123.47 points and overall with 207.20 points.
"We’re really happy about what we did today, of course because of the scores but before that because of the feeling we had on the ice. We had so much fun and felt like we had so much control of what we were doing. It was one of the first times we achieved such a level of quality in our program and the connection was incredible between the two of us and with the public. The atmosphere around us felt like a special moment,” Cizeron shared. "It is a beautiful victory, it’s cool. We are very proud of this third gold medal. I think this will be one of the moments for us to remember, we beat three world records – in the short, the free and overall,” he added.
Hubbell & Donohue’s sultry Blues to ‘Make It Rain’ featured seven level-four elements as well and the U.S. Champions achieved a new personal best with 116.22 points. They totaled 196.64 points to win their first World medal. Hubbell & Donohue won their first U.S. title in January.
"Zach and I are obviously very pleased. We’ve never been on a World Championship podium before and to be here after this tough season is just a great way to finish. We feel we have done a lot of work tackling our demons and fear and all the what ifs that go through our minds. We’ve had a history of making errors and giving up place so today’s performance met our goal of keeping in the moment, keeping the connection, and believing what we did was enough. It turned out it was so we are pleased and looking forward to the future,” Hubbell told the post-event press conference.
This is the fourth consecutive season that the United States has won a world medal in the ice dance event.
It’s going to take a little bit of time to sink in,” Hubbell said. "We’re just really proud with how far we have come and the performance we were able to give under that pressure of skating last. It was a great audience and we’re really excited that this is our start to the next four years.”
Dancing to ‘Je suis malade’, Weaver & Poje put out an emotional performance, earning a level four for the lifts, twizzles, spin and diagonal footwork. With a personal best of 114.04 points, the Canadians were ranked third in the Free Dance, but held on to third place on 192.35 points overall.
"I don't have words for this moment. The program went by so fast and before we knew it we were climbing the podium,” Weaver said. "We’ve had a very difficult season riddled with injuries and with some of the lowest lows of our career, so it’s remarkable that we can end on this high note with our favorite program and probably the best performance we’ve had. So we have nothing but joy to share today,” she continued.
2014 World Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) skated to ‘Life Is Beautiful’ and missed the podium by just 0.27 points to come fourth on 192.08 points with the third-best Free Dance.
"Whatever the result, today was probably the biggest emotion we have ever had skating. Today we gave all we had to each other. We never imagined when we were children that we would arrive so high, to get so far,” Lanotte commented. Two-time World medalists Madison Chock & Evan Bates(USA) placed fifth with ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon and Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN), who interpreted a James Bond theme, were sixth (186.10 points).
Madison Chock & Evan Bates finished fifth, while Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean Luc Baker finished tenth.
"I’m so happy about this, especially having not the greatest skates at the Olympics and then being able to come not long after and do what I did here,” Chen said.The United States earned three sports for next year’s World Championships w.
Papadakis & Cizeron Sparkle in Short Dance, Set Record Score
Not only the sequins sparkled when 2018 Olympic silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France took the ice for the Latin Short Dance. The two-time World Champions won the first segment of the Ice Dance competition at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships with a new record score. Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA) came second followed by Canada’s two-time World medalists Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje.
Dancing to ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran, Papadakis & Cizeron produced difficult footwork and a straight line lift and picked up a level four for the side by side step sequence, the twizzles, pattern dance step sequence and the lift. The Rhumba Pattern merited a level three. With 83.73 points, the four-time European Champions broke the Short Dance record set by Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN) at the Olympic Winter Games.
"We had a really good feeling on the ice today, it felt really special to be back in Milan after five years when we were here for Junior Worlds, and the crowd was amazing,” Cizeron shared. "We really needed to be supported today when the season has been so demanding so it felt really good to have that support. We had a great time today and it feels really good to end the season on a note like this,” he added.
Hubbell & Donohue’s performance to Samba and Rhumba was highlighted by well synchronized twizzles, intricate steps and a curve lift. The U.S. Champions earned a level four for all elements to achieve a new personal best of 80.42 points, breaking 80 points for the first time.
"Many teams throughout this event achieved a season’s best which was wonderful to see, especially after a demanding season and many of us coming off the Olympics not long ago, but Zachary and I definitely wanted to not just wait till Worlds but go home after the Olympics and keep improving,” Hubbell noted. "We put out an incredible performance and we are very proud to achieve a clean protocol with all level 4s. We really feel we gave our best performance today,” she continued.
"We’re overjoyed honestly,” Donohue said. "This performance is everything we’ve been wanting to put out all season. It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work and creative intelligence from [Marie France Dubreuil] and [Patrice Lauzon]. Our dedication showed through on the ice today and we’re really proud of it.”
Weaver & Poje delivered a strong performance to Bolero and Mambo, collecting a level four for four elements and scoring a personal best with 78.31 points.
"We're so happy with our performance today. We seem to have bookended our season with this short program. It started out great, then a bit of a dip and now, what a way to finish the season with a Personal Best. We know we have great chemistry and we want to highlight that because it's what makes us special,” Weaver told the press.
The 2014 World Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) are less than point behind in fourth place on 77.46 points, which was a personal best score. "It was a great performance, we tried to give everything to the crowd, that's why we are here because we want to skate for people, for Italy, for our fans and we really love it and love to bring our performance to the new level,” Lanotte said. Two-time World medalists Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) came fifth (75.66 points) followed by Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN) on 74.51 points.
Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) earned a season best 75.66 points and are in fifth place.
"It felt great,” Chock said. "We had a lot of fun out there. This was definitely our best performance all year so it’s really nice to cap off the end of the season this way.”
Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker (USA) placed 15th in the Short Dance. Hawayek had a fluke fall midway through the program.
"We weren’t nervous at all,” Hawayek said. "Both of us felt really great heading into the competition. Warm-ups, practices and everything have been great. Unfortunately, my blade hit something on the ice and it just stopped so I got up and kept going. I was really proud of the way that we performed after that.”
Canada Takes Ladies Gold for First Time in 45 Years
2018 Olympic bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond came from fourth place to take the first World title for a Canadian Lady in 45 years at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships. Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi and Satoko Miyahara claimed the silver and bronze medals in an eventful competition that saw Russia’s Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova dropping off the podium. For the first time since 2013 no Russian Lady was on the podium.
Osmond, who skated first in the last flight, opened her powerful program to ‘Black Swan’ with a triple flip-triple toe loop combination and went on to complete a triple Lutz, loop, flip and triple Salchow-double toe-double loop combination. The only glitch came when the 2017 World silver medalist stepped out of the double Axel-triple toe loop combination. The Canadian Champion collected a level four for her spins and footwork and scored 150.50 points. Overall she racked up 223.23 points. Osmond is the first Canadian Lady to become World Champion since Karen Magnusson in 1973.
"It (winning) never crossed my mind until it actually happened. My goal here was to skate clean and I was able to do that. To make the podium was my ultimate goal but I never thought that being champion was possible,” the 22-year-old said. "That was probably the hardest long program I’ve done all year. It was a great mental focus for me to be able to do that and I’m just really happy that I was able to end my year with two clean long programs,” she shared.
Higuchi produced seven clean triples including two triple Lutz-triple toe loop combinations as well as two double Axels and level-four spins in her James Bond routine to pull up from eighth place after the Short Program. The 17-year-old earned 145.01 points which added up to 210.90 points.
"After the mistakes in the short program I was determined to give everything that I did in practice in the free, and I think I did that today so I was very pleased. It gave me a lot of confidence that I was able to show everything I had at the end of the season,” the two-time World Junior bronze medalist told the press. "I wish I had been able to show a better short program but it was a very good experience for me.”
Performing to ‘Madame Butterfly’, Miyahara hit five clean triple jumps as well as difficult spins and footwork. However, the 2015 World silver medalist fell on a double Salchow. The Japanese Champion scored 135.72 points and remained in third place on 210.08 points.
"After finishing my free program I didn’t expect to get this bronze medal so it is very unexpected, but I also think I was stiff and the jumps were small so again I think I have to do more, I have many things to do,” Miyahara noted. "I want to be a skater that moves people’s hearts. Of course it is necessary to skate perfect programs so I need to work hard. Other things I think I have to work on is more like dances, ballet, everything,” she added.
Short program leader Carolina Kostner (ITA) slipped to fourth place after she fell on a triple Salchow and stumbled on a single Axel (208.88 points). "I was concentrating 100% on my skating and the elements but the rhythm felt a bit off and I didn't feel as comfortable and confident as in practice and so I made mistakes. I tried my best. I couldn't do more. To me it is a great achievement and I'm grateful to the Italian crowd for how much they have learned about the spirit,” Kostner commented.
Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova (RUS) missed three jumps and dropped to fifth place (207.72 points).
U.S. Champion Bradie Tennell (USA), earning 131.13 points in the free skate, moved up one spot to sixth place on 199.98 points in her Worlds debut.
"I feel really good about that performance,” Tennell said. "I went out there and I just wanted to enjoy myself and skate a clean program and I feel like I did that.”
2017 World bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman (CAN) finished seventh (196.72 points).
Mirai Nagasu earned 122.31 points on Friday night for 187.52 overall points. It caps off a season that started with the U.S. International Classic in September and included an Olympic bronze medal.
"I feel really good. It was a long season for me but I wanted to finish it off strongly and I did my best to do that today,” Nagasu said. "I think we could all say that [the season] was a very difficult but rewarding journey and I’m glad to have finished it the way that I did. I think I finished strong and although I may have dropped a couple of places, I’m happy with how I skated.”
Mariah Bell earned 115.25 points in the free skate for 174.40 overall. She finished 12th overall.
"Overall, I’m bummed with the performance because the beginning wasn’t as it was planned but fighting through to the end is a great takeaway for me. I wanted to use this as a opportunity just to keep training to the end of my season and ultimately finishing that program was [something I take pride in].”
Dabin Choi (KOR) withdrew from the competition due to equipment failure as her right skating broke was broken. Choi stood in 21st place following the Short Program.
Nathan Chen Takes Lead in Men’s Short Program
Grand Prix Final Champion Nathan Chen (USA) grabbed the lead in the Men’s Short Program over Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships Thursday. 2017 World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou (USA) is currently ranked third.
Performing to ‘Nemesis’ by Benjamin Clementine, Chen nailed a quad Lutz-triple toe, a quad flip and triple Axel and collected a level four for two spins and the step sequence. The U.S. Champion earned 101.94 points.
"I’m very happy with the way these World Championships started, especially after having two such rough short programs at Olympics. It’s been great to have the opportunity to try the short program again and I hope to redeem myself. Ultimately, I’m proud of what I did here,” Chen said. "I am just going into the free wanting to be as clean as possible. In terms of what I’m going to do, that is a conversation with my coach. Things can change, we still have a day in between, which gives me time to really think about it,” he continued.
"Compared to the Olympics, this program was a lot better and I’m much happier,” Chen said. "It is definitely a little bit of redemption. It was a huge improvement off of what I did [in PyeongChang]. It wasn’t clean or perfect and that’s what I really want, but as of right now I’ll call it a success.”
Kolyada’s program to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featured an excellent quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop, triple Lutz, triple Axel as well as level-four spins and footwork. The ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist scored 100.08 points.
"I did everything I planned to, we made the program a bit easier and I did it well, so I was pleased. I was in a fighting mood, it all felt good, I did everything I know how to and I did it well,” the two-time European Champion noted.
"I will do the same content (in the Free Skating) as I did at the Olympics. In order to get to the podium, you should not think about making the podium, you just do your job,” he added.
Zhou landed a quad Lutz-triple toe loop, a quad flip and triple Axel in his routine to ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol to post a personal best of 96.78 points. The score beat his previous personal best by more than ten points.
"I came here to skate a clean program. I did just that, and being in the top three is the icing on the cake,” 17-year-old Zhou, the youngest man in the competition, shared. "It’s very important not to focus on placement, just on how I skate myself because that’s what I can control. In terms of quads I will keep it consistent with the Olympics. I’ve been training some good programs so I look forward to showing you that in the free.”
"Coming into this event, I’ve been training extremely well and I came here to do a job and I’ve been doing it so far,” Zhou said. "I look forward to continuing this in the free skate. It felt amazing out there. I’m really happy to have finally put out a clean short program on international ice. ”
2017 World bronze medalist Boyang Jin (CHN) ranked fourth after under-rotating his quad toe loop, but he completed a quad Lutz-triple toe combination (95.85 points).
2018 Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno (JPN), who battles an ankle injury, came fifth. He produced a quad toe loop and triple Axel, but reduced his combination to a shaky triple Salchow-double toe loop to score 94.26 points.
"Sadly, I am injured, but then I don’t feel any pain today so I didn’t know what was going to happen during the short program so I made the jumps a little bit easier. But with everyone’s support I think I did really well and, hopefully, we can keep this momentum going for the free program,” Uno said. Keegan Messing (CAN) placed sixth with a strong skate and 93.00 points.
Max Aaron earned 79.78 points and is in 15th place.
"It was a tough program, but given the time that I had to train, I did my best,” Aaron said. "I have no regrets. I’m really here to help support [Nathan and Vincent]. If something were to go wrong, hopefully I could sneak in and help get the United States three spots, but I’m pretty confident that those boys are going to lay it down and hopefully bring home two World medals. I’m like the support dog. I just want to help them out as much as I can and have the best skate I can.”
Mesmerizing Savchenko & Massot (GER) Strike Gold Setting Record Scores
Olympic Champions Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot of Germany added the World gold medal to their impressive resume, setting new record scores en route and winning with 20 points to spare. Russia’s two-time European Champions Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov claimed the silver medal. Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres of France earned the bronze, their first World medal.
Savchenko & Massot turned in a mesmerizing performance to ‘La Terre Vue du Ciel,’ reeling off a huge triple twist, a throw triple flip, triple Salchow-double toe loop-double toe loop combination, side by side triple toe as well as spectacular lifts and spins. As the music built, the audience grew louder and louder until they crowd erupted in cheers and a standing ovation at the end.
Savchenko & Massot set a new record score in the Free Skating with 162.86 points and also broke the record for the total score with 245.84 points. The German Champions collected 21 perfect 10s in the components for performance, composition and music interpretation. Savchenko now is a six-time World Champion, three-time Olympic medalist and one of the most decorated figure skaters in the history of the sport.
"It was tough, but we were focused and did everything. We tried to enjoy it even more than at the Olympic Games, but it was different. I was really focused on the elements. At the end, I kissed the ice and thanked the ice,” Savchenko said.
"Physically it was hard. We were tired, we didn’t have much of preparation, and so we really did it thanks to mental strength, with our hearts as we really wanted to give a good performance for our families that are sitting up there in the stands. It was hard, but it was magical,” Massot added.
Tarasova & Morozov, who had drawn to skate last, turned in a strong performance of their Boogie Woogie program that included a quadruple twist, throw triple Salchow and loop as well as difficult lifts. However, Morozov doubled the side by side Salchow and struggled with the toe loop combination. The two-time European Champions scored 144.24 points and totaled 225.53 points to win their first World silver medal, upgrading from the bronze they had a year ago.
"We are glad that we were able to deal with the stress and the tiredness. Not everything worked out in the program, but we tried hard and we gave a 100 percent. We were able to redeem ourselves after the unsuccessful performance in Korea,” Tarasova shared.
James & Cipres opened their emotional program to ‘Sound of Silence’ with a triple twist and a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, but then James crashed badly on the throw triple Salchow. She recovered instantly and the French team made no further mistake, hitting a triple Salchow, throw triple flip and level-four lifts. The 2017 European bronze medalists set a season’s best of 143.04 points and accumulated 218.36 points overall.
"Finally a dream came true. We are just happy. We weren’t expecting to medal at Worlds yet this season, at Europeans yes and at a Grand Prix Event and we also wanted to go to the Final. Today is just like a gift. There hasn’t been a medal for France in the Pairs event (at World Championships) in 18 years,” Cipres told the press.
Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert (RUS) came fourth with a solid performance, scoring 207.88 points. Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise (ITA) finished fifth on 206.06 points and Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro (CAN) pulled up from 10th to sixth at 204.33 points.
Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim (USA) earned 112.49 points for their free skate, totaling 182.04 overall to finish the competition in 15th place.
"Unfortunately, sometimes that happens,” Chris Knierim said. "Ice is slippery and sometimes you don’t get it all right when you’re out there for four minutes. It’s hard [to have a result like this], especially leaving a program like that, it’s not what we wanted to do. Alexa is a fighter and she fought through it all.”
Scimeca-Knierim & Knierim needed to place no lower than 10th, after Deanna Stellato & Nathan Bartholomay (USA) did not qualify from the Short program, to preserve two spots at Worlds for next season. Thus, the U.S. will be sending only one pair to Saitama next season.
The black cloud that envelops U.S. pair skating grows and grows, and there is no silver lining. None.
Kostner Leads Ladies Event
Italy’s 2012 World Champion Carolina Kostner wowed the home crowd with a personal best performance as the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018 opened Wednesday with the Ladies Short Program in Milan, Italy. Kostner upstaged reigning Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova of Russia, who came a close second. The 2015 World silver medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan ranked third in the first segment of the competition.
Thirty-seven Ladies competed in the Short Program and the top 24 advanced to the Free Skating on Friday.
Kostner gave a mesmerizing performance to ‘Ne me quitte pas,’ hitting a triple flip-triple toe loop, triple loop, double Axel as well as level-four spins and footwork. The 2014 Olympic bronze medalist posted a personal best of 80.27 points.
"I am amazed and happy any joyful to be here. For me it’s a big honor, like a big cherry on the cake,” the five-time European Champion shared. "I already felt amazing even before my performance because skating in my home country is so, so special and so emotional. You could feel the silence, you could feel the tears. I could feel the support and the passion. I remember, 15 years ago when I started to compete internationally, nobody came to watch Figure Skating in Italy and now we fill up this big venue,” she continued. "I hope I’ll be able to show all the elements and want to show how much I love skating (in the Free Skating),” the multiple-times Italian Champion concluded.
Zagitova’s program to ‘Black Swan’ featured a triple Lutz-triple loop combination, a triple flip and a double Axel. The European Champion collected a level four for her spins and footwork as well to score 79.51 points. "I am not that happy with my performance today. The combination (triple Lutz-triple loop) could have been better and I felt I was tight overall in the program,” the 15-year-old admitted. "It was hard to get back into the training process. After the Olympics, we had a lot of events going on. Carolina Kostner is my idol, I am looking up to her and I am very happy for her that she was able to do her best performance today.”
Skating to ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, Miyahara completed a triple loop, double Axel and exquisite spins. However, the Japanese Champion under-rotated the back end of her triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. She earned 74.36 points. "The first Lutz-toe I got stuck, so it was not my best jump. I thought I could not get high points like today, but I’m really happy today with the performance,” Miyahara told the post-event press conference. "(After the Olympic Games) I took a couple of days to rest my body and then I started to practice as usual. Physically my body is ready and mentally I’m very excited to come here,” she added.
The 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) stayed in medal contention in fourth place on 72.73 points. She had stumbled on her double Axel in her Edith Piaf routine. "Overall it wasn’t my best and it wasn’t the way I wanted to finish my short program this year but I’m happy. I’m still in a good spot and I’m still happy that I can fight in my long program and to see what happens,” Osmond said.
ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalist Maria Sotskova (RUS) sits in fifth with 71.80 points followed by 2017 World bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman (CAN) with 71.61 points.
Bradie Tennell led the way for the United States with a 68.76-point, seventh-place short program. Her "Taeguki” short program was clean in her World Championships debut.
"This is my first World Championships so to go out there and put out a program like that, I’m very proud of myself,” Tennell said.
Mirai Nagasu earned 65.21 points in her opening skate at the competition, placing her in ninth heading into Friday’s free skate.
"It’s just been a very long season,” Nagasu said. "I’m just happy to be here at the World Championships. I know I’ve had a very long career, but I haven’t been to many World Championships because it’s hard as a U.S. athlete to stay on top for so long. I wanted to skate to the best of my ability and I was really able to focus on the performance aspect and my components were really awarded today. I had a great time out there.”
Mariah Bell, who was added to the Worlds roster just last week, after Karen Chen withdrew and Ashley Wagner declined an invitation to replace Chen, is in 17th place with 59.15 points.
"That wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” Bell said. "This is another learning experience for me. I’m going to learn what I can and move on.”
With a total placement total of 16 for Tennell and Nagasu, the U.S. ladiem ust move up a total fo three places to preserve three spots on the U.S. World Team for next season.
Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot (GER) Shine in Pairs Short Program
Olympic Champions Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot of Germany shone in a high level Pairs Short Program at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships on Wednesday. Twent-eight Pairs competed in the Short Program and sixteen qualified for the Free Skating.
The Germans edged Russia’s two-time European Champions Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov by 1.69 points to take the lead. The 2017 European bronze medalists Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres of France came third.
Savchenko & Massot put out an entertaining program to ‘That Man’ by Caro Emerald that got the crowd going right away. The 2017 World silver medalists opened with a big triple twist and followed up with a triple Salchow, throw triple flip and a spectacular lift. They picked up a level four for five elements to set a personal best of 82.98 points.
"The goal was to do a clean short program, because that was missing this season,” Savchenko commented. "It is important for us to do our job. This is a new competition, it’s the World Championship. We are Olympic Champions, but the Olympics were yesterday. We put our Olympic gold medals aside and focus on this competition,” she added.
"We skated exactly like we wanted and we can be happy to share this with the fans who came here to see us and didn’t have the chance to come to Korea,” Massot noted.
Skating to ‘Piano Concerto No. 2’ by Sergei Rachmaninov, Tarasova & Morozov produced a high triple twist, side by side triple toe loop and a huge throw triple loop. The Russian Champions as well earned a level four for the twist, death spiral, pair combination spin, lift and footwork and posted a personal best score of 81.29 points.
"We are happy with our skate, in the last competition of the season and after the Olympic Games it is very hard but we are happy we can do our short program like that after this whole season” Morozov said. "We are here to get revenge after the Olympics, definitely. But let’s see what happens tomorrow, we don’t think about it, we just do it.”
James & Cipres’ program to ‘Let It Rain’ included a triple twist, difficult lift and throw triple flip, but James stumbled on the triple Salchow. The French earned 75.32 points.
"I was very positively surprised (to be in third), it wasn’t a clean program but we gave it all, we really fought for the program and we skated it with our heart from the beginning until the end. This score is our seasons’ best with mistakes, so this shows we’re able to skate with the "big kids” I guess,” James told the press.
"Honestly speaking, we had a bad preparation. I injured my neck doing a lift in practice a week after the Olympics. I couldn’t skate for a week and a half, so Vanessa worked a lot by herself,” Cipres revealed. Cipres strained his neck twice during this period, prevntinh him form being able to move his head freely without pain.
Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert (RUS) came fourth with a solid performance to ‘Summer of 42’ and remain within striking distance to the podium on 74.38 points. To the delight of the home crowd, Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise (ITA) placed fifth (72.53 points). Cheng Peng & Yang Jin (CHN) round up the top six with 71.98 points.
Alexa Scimeca-Knierim & Chris Knierim are the top American team after the pairs short program. Skating to "Come What May,” the duo earned 69.55 points and are 11th heading into Thursday’s free skate.
"We’re very proud of it,” Scimeca-Knierim said. "We’re happy that we did our hard elements. There’s G.O.E. (Grades of Execution) that we can improve on. We’re happy to be here, but we wish we could have broken 70 [points]. We were so close. That was a goal of ours.”
Deanna Stellato & Nathan Bartholomay earned a season’s best 61.48 points, but finished 17th and did not qualify for the free skate.
"We feel great. That’s the bottom line,” Bartholomay said. "We got a season’s best. We missed a couple levels but yesterday we just had the worst luck. [Being in the first group], there are so many good teams skating after it and we were pretty dejected from that yesterday. So to bounce back and have a clean warm up and a clean practice and a season’s best, we’re over the moon.”
Scimenca-Knierim & Knierim must finish one place higher for the U.S. to retain two World Team spots for next season.