Russian teenager Alexandra Trusova announced herself onto the senior Grand Prix circuit in style, landing three quadruple jumps to win the ladies competition at Skate Canada.
Sitting third after the short program behind Rika Kihira and Young You, the 15-year-old had ground to make up but her quad-heavy free skate always made her a favourite for the podium top-spot.
LIVE 🔴 | Ladies Free Skating | Skate Canada 2019
There was early drama, however, as she fell on her opening jump, a quad Salchow.
But Trusova came back in emphatic style, going on to land a quad Lutz, quad toeloop, triple toe loop combination and quad toe loop, Euler, triple Salchow combination.
The performance earned her world-leading free and total scores of 166.62 and 241.02.
Kihira took second place after a strong skate, despite stepping out of her opening triple Axel, while another senior Grand Prix debutant, Young You, was third.
Olympic silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva came back fighting after a disappointing short program, skating clean in a free skate to the 'Memoirs of a Geisha' soundtrack with a performance that had the crowd on their feet at the finish.
Coach Brian Orser let out an audible "yes!" from the boards as Medvedeva landed her last jump.
The redemptive skate put Medvedeva in fifth behind Bradie Tennell of the USA.
- Two-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu, the only men's skater to surpass the 200-point barrier in the free skate Saturday, claimed his first Skate Canada title after runner-up finishes in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Grabbing a 20-point lead after the short program on Friday, Hanyu scored 212.99 in the free skate to amass a personal best total of 322.59 for his 11th career Grand Prix title.
The 24-year-old Japanese landed four quads, including a quad loop, quad Salchow and quad toe loop, in a crowd-pleasing routine packed with footwork sequence and spins, to which the arena responded with flying Winnie the Pooh bears.
"I had a strong desire to win Skate Canada," Hanyu said. "It was a winning performance (I felt) in my heart for the first time in a while. I'm happy that I (didn't make many mistakes) throughout the short program and free skate."
Kelowna’s own Prospera Place played host some of the world’s top figure skaters this weekend as the 2019 Skate Canada International competition rolled through. Of the 60 skaters, 18 hailed from our great nation.
The event marked the second of six competitions for the annual International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Skaters brought their best against one another for an opportunity to qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final which will take place in Torino, Italy this December.
The competition portion of the event wrapped up on Saturday night with Canadian athletes earning a decent showing throughout the entire series.
Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier earned the most heartwarming moment of the weekend after claiming their first career gold in nine seasons together.
“This is such a special moment,” said Poirier. “Our mentality every single day is to push ourselves in order to win. We felt really united this week and that gives us the confidence we need to skate our best.”
The Russian duo of Aleksandra Boikova and Dimitrii Kozlovskii took home the gold with a score of 216.71 in the pairs program with Ontario’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro earning a shining silver and 208.29 points.
“We’ve been training a lot better than that,” said Moore-Towers. “We worked really hard on our jumps so there was some unforeseen mistakes and we’re glad we didn’t let them snowball. But it was probably our worst run of this program in six weeks.”
Following a sparkling decade on the ice for Canadian figure skating that started with hosting the Vancouver Winter Games and reached a crescendo with team gold in PyeongChang last year, the Great White North suddenly finds itself asking, “So, what next?”
“We had this team of skaters that had pushed through three Olympic Games, ending in PyeongChang,” Mike Slipchuk, high performance director for Skate Canada, told NBCSports.com this past weekend during Skate Canada International, the ISU Grand Prix event. “If you would have told me that in 2010, after Vancouver, I wouldn’t have thought so. They were still at the top of their game.”
Thumb through the list of Canadian skaters at Skate Canada over the weekend in this lakeside British Columbia city of just over 100,000, and you would be forgiven for asking, “Where’s Patrick?” “What happened to Tessa and Scott?” “Kaetlyn?” “How are Meagan and Eric?”
Since those uber-successful PyeongChang Games just last February, many of the household skating names in this country have retired or stepped away temporarily from the sport, including the aforementioned Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Kaetlyn Osmond and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, all part of that gold-medal winning squad that captured the team event in South Korea.
But there is no panic with Slipchuk. Or, rather, he prefers to look at things differently: This is a country that has a long history of successes in this sport, and they’re already building towards and eyeing 2022 and 2026 for what’s to come next.