Editor’s Note: On Dec 28, 2011, the International Skating Union (ISU) stated that a calculation error in the ISU Judging System calculation program was detected. While the final results were not affected, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN) were the winners of the Free Dance.
The 2011-12 ISU Grand Prix Final and Junior Grand Prix Final of Figure Skating concluded with the Senior Free Dance.
USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White danced to their third consecutive Grand Prix Final title as the event came to a close Sunday in Quebec, Canada. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada took the silver, and have yet to win the Grand Prix Final. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France secured the bronze.
Davis and White looked very confident in their waltzy program to the Die Fledermaus overture by Johann Strauss and executed all their elements very well, collecting a level four for everything except the midline step sequence (level three). That was a new season’s best (112.38) for the reigning World Champions, as well as their ninth consecutive Grand Prix victory (188.55) since 2009 Cup of Russia.
“It’s fantastic,” said White. “The consistency of our training, coming every day to the rink with a good attitude, and bringing it over to competition with the same sort of idea is what we do. We control ourselves and so far we’re doing a good job of that.”
“The closeness of the points will drive us even more,” added Davis, “We work very hard every day, but having Scott and Tessa there right next to us pushes us that much more. We’re really excited to get back home and keep working and improving.”
Virtue and Moir immersed themselves into the role of Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in their lovely Funny Face free dance. The Olympic Champions were the only team to earn a level four for all elements, including both step sequences, however, the judges were a little less generous with the Grades of Execution (GOE) than they were with Davis and White.
The Canadians had a just slightly higher technical score than their arch rivals, and their component score was lower by 1.27 points. With 112.33 points, Virtue and Moir improved their season’s best by six points and remained second place at 183.34 points.
“It felt great,” said Moir. “Tessa and I were exited to bounce back with a great skate today. It was definitely our season’s best and every element felt strong. It’s not where we wanted to finish, but we were honest with our goals this week and came out a little short.”
“I think the nuances and details of the program are starting to come through,” added Virtue. “This comes with comfort and through the characters of the program. We have been training harder and can only go up from here.”
Pechalat and Bourzat set an interesting contrast with their Egyptian dance entitled The Pharaoh and his Mummy. The European Champions received a level four for their lifts, twizzles, and the spin, while the step sequences were a level three. The French team posted a season’s best as well with 101.01 points, and a total of 169.69 points.
“We improve our season’s best with each competition and our program is getting better and better,” said Bourzat. “It was a good performance today.”
“It was hard to skate today, because the Final is more important than our previous Grand Prix competitions,” added Pechalat. “We did all the elements and are quite happy we went through this challenge.”
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje delivered an emotionally and technically strong performance to Je suis malade, which was naturally well-received in the French-speaking Quebec. Their lifts were impressive, and everything appeared smooth and refined. They finished fourth at 166.07 points.
“It definitely was special,” said Poje. “This is the first time we’ve competed this program in a French speaking city, and for them to understand it gives us that much more energy and feeling behind the program. We just wanted to go out and put out the strongest performance we had. We feel like we did that. We did a program that we are proud of and we felt like we connected with the crowd.”
USA’s Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani came in fifth in their debut in the Grand Prix Final at 160.55 points. The elements in their Glenn Miller medley were smooth, and the siblings maintained good speed throughout.
“We feel really good,” said Maia Shibutani. “This was a good competition for us. We’ve made a lot of improvements in our programs since the Grand Prix events. I think we have been really excited to be here. It’s our first Grand Prix, hopefully the first of many.”
“We’ve done a lot of hard work in order to improve everything about our programs,” Maia Shibutani continued. “We’re really happy because within this competition, we see a big increase in our levels. That shows that we are going in the right direction.”
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia looked a little slow in their dance to Walpurgisnight, and lost on the GOE and components although they had mostly level fours. They remained in sixth with 157.30 points.
“This wasn’t an error-free program,” said Soloviev. “[It was] definitely the worst we performed it this season. Something did not feel right from the very beginning as we stepped on the ice, but things happen. We were pleased with how our twizzles and circular step sequence went today, and we will continue working on technique going into Russian Nationals and onwards.”
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