Gold Medalist Ashley Wagner
A bored silver medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva at ladies press conference
Ashley Wagner set personal best scores en route to the Ladies title, her first Grand Prix gold since 2013. The Californian by choice skated to a comfortable seven-points lead in the short program with a triple flip-triple toe, double Axel and triple loop.
The 24-year-old on purpose selected a more sexy style with “Hip Hip Chin Chin” for her short program. “Today was an awesome day for me, a personal best. That is something I can be very proud of”, she said. The U.S. Champion had picked the music for the short program herself after hearing it during a show rehearsal at Stars on Ice in Canada. “From then on I was dead set on that piece. I think for me because I’m one of the older girls I need to use my maturity as one of my strengths. I felt a sexier piece was going to get me there,” Ashley explained.
In the free skate, using to last year’s “Moulin Rouge” Ashley also looked strong and produced five triples. She only under-otated the toe and the Salchow in her triple flip-triple toe and triple loop-single loop-triple Salchow combos. For the first time in her career, Wagner cracked 200 points. “Today was a really solid performance for me. To go out and deliver that performance and receive that score with the mistakes that I had I think it’s a really good sign for things to come this season”, Wagner pointed out.
World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva had a slower start into the season than last year. She looked good in practice, but faltered in the short program.
Together with her coaches she opted against the triple Axel in the short, but then doubled the Lutz and wobbled on her triple toe-triple toe combo. “I don’t know what happened. Once I took the ice for the warm up I didn’t feel that this was my body”, the 18-year-old said afterwards.
But the European Champion once more showed her fighting spirit that brought her from a disappointing Olympic season to the top of the skating world last year.
Skating to “Peer Gynt”, Tuktamysheva went for the triple Axel, stepped out of it and went on to reel off six triples to win the free skating and to move up to second overall. “I am very pleased that I managed to skate a basically clean free program. I am happy that I did the triple Axel, although with a little error, but still I did it and that is a big step forward for me. Overall, this competition was really helpful for me and I would say it was a progress. I did the triple Axel in the early morning practice which I wasn’t able to do before. In the free program I went out calmly, I was focused and I felt as sense of peace,” Lisa said.
“Yes, I didn’t get many points in the short program, there was a silly mistake. But the day ended and I had to move on. You are gaining experience with each performance. And even though yesterday (in the short program) it was a bad skate, I learned a lot from it. I just have to be able to put it behind me and focus on the next performance,” she added.
Japan’s Yuka Nagai debuted on the senior Grand Prix circuit and surprised everyone including herself with the bronze medal. Her strong short program that included a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combo was the base for this success. In the long program the 16-year-old was able to land this combination again but made some errors on other jumps. She slipped from second to third but was still very happy. “My long program was not good enough today, but I enjoyed my skating. I still can’t believe that I’m in third,” she said, even in English.
Kanako Murakami, with a new short hair cut, looked as energetic as ever in her short program, but repeated old mistakes when she singled the Axel and under-rotated the triple toe-triple toe combo. Unfortunately she also made similar mistakes in the long program, under-rotating a triple loop and flip and singling an Axel. She came fourth.
The powerful Canadian Champion Gabrielle Daleman made two errors in the short, but came back stronger with six triples in the long program to pull up to fifth place.
2015 Four Continent Champion Polina Edmunds looked slow and struggled with under-rotations to finish sixth. Elizabet Tursynbaeva was the only skater to do both Skate America and Skate Canada. Maybe she was a bit tired as she made some uncharacteristic mistakes on her jumps to finish 7th.
Alena Leonova and Joshi Helgesson were not at the top of their games, while Kaetlyn Osmond, who sat out the past season recovering from injuries, was unable to continue her success from Nebelhorn Trophy in September where she won. The Canadian took a bad fall in practice, hurt ligaments and fell several times in her programs, finishing 11th.