USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White edged out Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir by just over a point to take their first Grand Prix Final gold, while Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France claimed the bronze.
Virtue and Moir put out a captivating routine to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, earning 104.21 points for first place in the free dance. The current World bronze medalists received a level 4 on all elements except their circular step sequence (level 3), as well as a hoard of positive Grades of Execution (GoEs). However, with a total score of 168.22, they slipped to second behind the Americans.
“We’re happy to be first in the FD and for Meryl and Charlie, because they won,” said Virtue. “There is room for improvement and I can’t wait to get back home and start training for Nationals.”
“We’re happy to be back on the GP circuit, because we missed it last year,” added Moir. “It’s a great weapon for us heading into spring’s Olympic and Worlds.”
Davis and White delivered a commanding performance to Phantom of the Opera which featured difficult lifts and excellent footwork. The U.S. Champions also earned many positive GoEs, 24 of which were 3s, and earned a new personal best of 103.64 points. With a total score of 169.44 points, they overcame the Canadians by just over a point.
“It was excellent and we feel good,” said White.
Davis felt that this title was probably the most significant win of their career so far. “It’s been a really great season so far and we’ve been feeling great in all competitions,” she said. “The performance went pretty good today. I think that we can definitely skate a lot better and going home we’re going to look through that.”
Pechalat and Bourzat won their first Grand Prix Final medal after placing third in the free dance (90.69 point) and overall (147.62 points). The French Champions, who performed to Kika by Ezekiel and music from the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, displayed difficult lifts – all of which were graded a level 4.
“It was bad performance,” said Bourzat. “With my ankle injury, I could only skate one hour a day or even less to prepare for this competition. Sometimes I still feel pain, but I just do my job. The injury from Skate Canada didn’t affect me for this performance, but the lack of practice made me feel tired in the last part of program. I didn’t have enough energy to put my 100%.”
“I’m a bit disappointed about how we did,” said Pechalat, “but thinking about Fabian’s condition and our preparation for this competition, we did our best. We have the European and Olympics coming up. The results are very important. We hope that we can give good performances in these competitions.”
Skating to Linkin’ Park’s Krwlng, Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Great Britain gave a solid performance which was highlighted with their opening dance spin and difficult lifts. They finished fourth in the free dance (88.86) and overall (145.33 points).
“I actually was quite pleased with the levels – that we got three on both steps,” said Sinead. “I think we knew immediately why the twizzles got three and the curve lift got two. Actually in one of the earlier competitions, we got a deduction holding it (lift) too long.”
“It was not too bad,” agreed John. “It probably could have been a little better, and it wasn’t that smooth. It is always difficult coming in if you have only three days to get in, and it never feels about the same when you’re skating so far from home. It was clean enough, but I think there is a bit to improve on. We’ll probably go to Scotland next year for about a week before Europeans just to get a little bit more acclimatized to the European time difference.”
Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy placed fifth (139.21 points), followed by Canada’s Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier (135.99 points).
“We’re really happy to be here,” said Cappellini. “This season is a learning process for us. We changed coaches and we’re trying to adjust to the new techniques and training methods. We’ didn’t get the levels we would like to get for in the straight line and rotational lifts. I think we’re capable of getting level 4. Now we’re training hard and hope to keep on improving our technique and style.”