by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(4 November 2019) After being first at the Finlandia Trophy in early October, their very first senior competition, Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov from St. Petersburg in Russia also gave a convincing debut in the Senior Grand Prix Series. They won the gold medal and 18,000 dollars prize money before tax in Grenoble, earning 207.58 points. The 18-year old Mishina and her 20 year-old partner skated to the soundtrack of “The Master and Margarita“, a Russian TV series according to a well-known Russian novel by Mikhail Bulgakov which teenage children read at school. Their first element was an excellent triple twist, followed by a very good triple throw Lutz which they had thought it was a triple throw flip. Instead of their planned sequence of triple Salchow, Euler and another triple Salchow (which he skated), she only did a shaky double Salchow on two feet and could not add any second or third jump. But this was their only mistake, all other elements were at least good, including a side by side triple toe loop, three excellent lifts and a triple throw loop. They were a bit slow, but had an elegant style and had components of around 8.5.
Mishina explained: “Today our program was not very clean. I made a big mistake on a jump. But maybe it is good that it happened now. We will work on this and in our next competition we won’t make this mistake. We didn’t think about medals, but we were nervous of course as this is our first Grand Prix and maybe that’s why we made some mistakes. Our next Grand Prix maybe will be a bit easier mentally.”
Their teammates Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin dropped from first to second place and won – like at Skate America – the silver medal, in France with 206.56 points. Performing to the soundtrack of “Tron Legacy“ by Daft Punk, Pavliuchenko fell on the opening triple flip which also got an edge call. Their sequence of one triple toe loop and two double toe loops was very good, the triple twist excellent and the triple throw flip as well. Later she fell on the triple throw loop, but the other elements were good again, including innovative lifts. Their components had an average of 8.3. “Our performance tonight was not the best one“, Pavliuchenko said, “Unfortunately. I made two major mistakes. But we are still pleased with the result and will continue to work.” Khodykin added: “When we went to our Grand Prix events it was our plan to qualify for the Final and it looks like we did it. We want to be in top shape for the Final.”
Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier of Wesley Chapel near Tampa in Florida were like at Skate America the best U.S. pair and won another bronze medal, this time with 199.40 points and the second best free program. Using the soundtrack of “Lion King“ again, like in their best season five years ago, they began with an excellent triple twist, a good triple throw loop and a clean side by side triple Salchow. Denney stumbled on an under-rotated double Axel which was planned in a sequence with an Euler and a double Salchow. The three lifts were outstanding and for the choreo step sequence they even received one GOE of +5. Their components were around 8.2 and they have to wait and see if two third places are enough for the Grand Prix Final, which is not very probable. Frazier commented: “Haven and I are happy with the fight we brought today. We left some points on the table with the jump and a couple of other things. But all in all we’re happy to come here with the quick turnaround from Skate America and to be able to keep progressing the way we are this season. We keep growing from here.”
Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy LeDuc of Euless, Texas, came fourth with 195.78 points. Their twist, their side by side triple loop and the triple throw Lutz were good, but Cain-Gribble fell on the side by side triple Salchow. Most other elements were good, but the Axel Lasso Lift a bit shaky. Their components had an average of 8.4. Miriam Ziegler & Severin Kiefer from Austria moved up from eighth to fifth place, winning 181.26 points after a good free program which contained good individual jumps and lifts and a triple throw Salchow. Only the twist was not landed correctly and the triple throw Lutz on two feet. They were coached by 2018 Olympic Champion Bruno Massot who sometimes works with them and who lives and works with his family in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Camille Ruest & Andrew Wolfe from Canada finished on sixth position with 166.15 points. They made three serious mistakes in the free program, the other eight elements were good. Minerva Fabienne Hase & Nolan Seegert from Germany are seventh with 163.09 points after making also three big mistakes. They had been sick one week before Grenoble. The Italian pair of Rebecca Ghilardi & Fillippo Ambrosini ended up eighth with 157.92 points.
(2 November 2019) The Short Program of the eight pairs had a mixed level.
Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin from Moscow, second at Skate America two weeks ago, took the lead with 76.59 points. They performed seven very good elements including a side by side triple toe loop, an outstanding triple twist and a huge triple throw loop (which had four GOEs of +5 and five GOEs of +4). Their step sequence had only a level 2. They skated to “The Storm“ by Havasi and their components were around 8.6. “We are happy to have skated a clean program, but this is already behind us and we focus on the next event tomorrow,” Khodykin noted. Pavliuchenko added: “Our program is called ‘Storm’ and it has something exciting, even alarming which we are trying to bring across. I am Denis’ muse and at first he does not see me, but in the end I inspire him.”
The reigning ISU Junior World Champions Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov, also from Russia, but from the St. Petersburg school of the Velikovs, are currently on second position with 73.77 points. They also had a flawless performance, skating to the song "Je suis malade“ by Lara Fabian. Their highlight was the triple throw flip (with five GOEs of +4). The side by side triple Salchow, the triple twist, the reverse lasso lift and the other elements were also very good. Mishina commented: “We had some mistakes today, but we are still happy because it is our first senior Grand Prix so far. We hope it will be better tomorrow.”
Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier of Wesley Chapel in Florida came third, winning 68.65 points, a personal best. Their triple twist, the triple throw loop and the Axel Lasso Lift were excellent, but Denney landed the side by side triple Salchow not clean and it was under-rotated. They skated to “Quidam“ from the Cirque du Soleil and had components of around 7.8. Frazier explained: “We’re happy with how our short went today. We still lost a few levels and points that we need to improve on, but all in all it was a good stride in the right direction for our short and we move on to the free.”
The U.S. champions Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy LeDuc of Euless, Texas, sit fourth with 66.12 points. Six elements in their program to “A Storm Is Coming“ by Tommee Profitt were good, but Cain-Gribble fell hard on the triple throw Lutz. Their components had an average of 8.5.
Rebecca Ghilardi & Filippo Ambrosini from Italy were invited as alternates for the French couple of Vanessa James & Morgan Ciprès who decided to skip the Grand Prix season because James participated in the TV shows in Canada with ice hockey players. Ghilardi & Ambrosini finished fifth with 59.62 points in a program to “Kiss In the Sky“ by Jason Derulo. Their triple twist and their triple Salchow were not clean, but the other elements had some plus points.
Minerva Fabienne Hase & Nolan Seegert from Berlin in Germany, 13th at Worlds 2019, took sixth place with 59.13 points in a program to “Open Hands“ by Ingrid Michaelson. After a good triple twist, Hase fell on the side by side triple toe loop and again during the step sequence. The other elements were good, including a triple throw Salchow, and their components had an average of 7.4. Camille Ruest & Andrew Wolfe from Canada came as alternates for World Bronze medalists Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert from Russia. Enbert has heart problems and is not allowed to train hard. The Canadians from the school of Richard Gauthier sit seventh with 57.09 points. Their triple twist was not clean, and Ruest fell on the side by side triple Salchow. Their triple throw Salchow was good and their components around 7.0.
Miriam Ziegler & Severin Kiefer from Austria ended up on eighth place with 57.30 points. Their triple twist was shaky, Kiefer fell on the side by side triple toe loop, the spin was a bit wobbly and Ziegler landed the triple throw Lutz on two feet. They skated to “In Your hands“ by Charlie Winston and their components had an average of 7.3.