Pang and Tong win Cup of China; qualify for Grand Prix Final

Qing Pang and Jian Tong at 2012 Cup of China

China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong won their 22nd consecutive grand prix gold at 2012 Cup of China.

China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong won the Pairs figure skating event as the competition at the 2012 Cup of China wrapped up Saturday in Shanghai. The Chinese team also secured their spot in the Grand Prix Final. Silver and bronze went to Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov and teammates Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov.

Pang and Tong turned in an elegant performance to Variations on an Original Theme Enigma by Edgar Elgar. This program featured exquisite choreography and strong elements such as a triple twist, a throw triple Salchow, and difficult lifts, however, there were also some mistakes.

Tong singled both Axels and they went for a double toeloop instead of a triple as Tong is bothered by a knee injury. Pang two-footed the throw triple loop and they got no credit for the pair spin.

“We planned to do a double toe,” Tong offered. “We didn’t have enough time between Skate America and the Cup of China to work on these elements. Hopefully, we can show them in our next competition.”

The Olympic silver medalists scored 120.25 (53.74/66.51) points and totaled 188.82 points to win the 22nd consecutive Grand Prix medal of their long and distinguished career. They have been on the podium ever since they won their first Grand Prix medal ten years ago at Skate America in 2002.

“It wasn’t our best performance, but we are happy to have won and to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final,” said Pang. “This gives us confidence.”

Kavaguti and Smirnov’s romantic program to February by Leonid Levashkevich included a triple throw loop and Salchow, as well as a level-four side by side spin, however, they also struggled with some elements. Smirnov doubled the first jump in the triple toe-triple toe sequence and stepped out of the second one. Their triple twist could have been better, as well. T

he 2010 European champions posted 119.83 (57.09/62.74) points and accumulated 183.53 points overall.

“This was our first competition and we are satisfied with our performance,” Kavaguti said. “We made many small mistakes and we will go home and clean them up”

“For our next event, we need to focus more on the free program,” added Smirnov. “We’ve worked a lot on the short program and you could see the result, but we neglected the free a little.”

Stolbova and Klimov came from fifth place to win their first Grand Prix medal. Their original routine to music from The Addams Family soundtrack was highlighted by a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a throw triple Salchow, and a double Axel.

There is still room for improvement with the late catch on the triple twist and her fall on the throw triple Lutz. The European bronze medalists picked up 115.89 (58.14/58.75) points, and collected 172.55 points overall.

“We are glad to win our first medal in the Grand Prix,” Klimov offered. “We skated well except for the one throw jump, but I think we can skate better and show more. We don’t have much time before our next event. We want to work on our elements.”

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch of Canada slipped to fourth at 172.36 points, missing the podium by just 0.19 points. Skating to a Queen medley, Moscovitch stumbled on the triple toe and Moore-Towers put her hand down on the throw triple loop. Nevertheless, the team  completed a side by side triple Salchow, throw triple Salchow, and triple twist.

China’s Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang impressed with a big quadruple twist that scored 9.81 points alone. They went on to complete a throw triple Salchow and earned a level four for the lifts, death spiral, and pair combination spin, but Peng fell on the triple toe and throw triple loop, and singled the Axel as well. They came in fifth in their Grand Prix debut with 163.87 points.

Wenting Wang and Yan Zhang of China also went for a quadruple twist, but they bumped into each other in the catch. The team from Harbin remained in sixth place with 143.52 points.

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