USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White took the lead with their enticing Indian Folk dance with a new personal best of 65.80 points. The 2009 Four Continents Champions received all positive Grades of Execution (GoEs) and earned a level 4 on all elements except for the opening midline step sequence (level 3).
“We skated pretty good,” said White. “Not our best, but we’re pretty happy with it. To be awarded with a score like that is always a good thing. At this point in the season, we’re trying to build and build and it’s good to see our score building with us. Overall everything was very good, but we want to make it perfect. We are still striving for that. It’s the key to success – never be content, keep striving.”
“You can’t worry about the competition and what you are ranked,” he answered when asked about coming in as the top ranked team. “You just have to get out there and perform the way you think you can and let your skating speak for itself.”
“We always can improve out performance,” added Davis. “We felt like we performed pretty well today, but obviously we always have somewhere to go. We’re working the model a little here and there. It feels great to get a season’s best. Our problem has been always nerves, but I think that Charlie and I always have focused on ourselves, and we’re not changing that.”
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir earned a new seasonal best of 64.01 points for their Flamenco, and they too earned all positive GoEs. However, they had mostly lower levels than that of their main rivals.
“We are actually pretty happy with today’s performance,” said Moir. “This is a program that we’re really happy to bring this week. Not that we were unhappy with it in the (other GP events). It’s just that we felt we could do a lot better, so we feel like this is a good step in the right direction.”
At Skate Canada, the team had a stumble in the same routine. “It was just flinky,” recalled Virtue. “Just one of those things that are going to happen. You know, whether it was about focus or just one of those weird days, when I couldn’t get my legs underneath me. I think we learned a lot from that and it’s the same with this event. It’s all a process and we’re feeling like we can handle anything now.”
The team was late on their arrival to Tokyo, and went straight to the rink for fifteen minutes of practice. “Thank God it was in Japan as they are so organized,” said Moir. “They (the Japanese Skating Federation) did so much for us.”
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France came in third with a buoyant American Country Dance with a seasonal best of 56.93 points. Their routine featured a good straight line lift and circular step sequence.
“It was not a good performance and we should have done better,” Bourzat admitted. “It was just the same as in the practice. I think we did a better performance in Skate Canada even though we got the season’s best today.”
Great Britain’s Sinead Kerr and John Kerr are currently in fourth with 56.47 points. The European bronze medalists also put out a delightful American Country Dance which featured a good midline step sequence and straight line lift.
“It was not too bad,” said John. “I mean, actually we’re coming all this way to Japan and we had our Nationals just last week. I think we’re pretty happy with it. There are always things you can improve on, but all in all it has been a great experience to be here. It’s our first Final.”
“It’s quite of tiring coming to Japan straight after the Nationals,” added Sinead, “but actually it feels a little bit more relaxed. There only six competitors and there is also no compulsory dance.”
The team is currently focusing on their step sequences during practice. “We haven’t had great calls,” admitted John. “Not necessarily because there was something wrong. We have to try to make it look a lot clearer as to what we’re trying to do with the step sequences.”
Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte are currently fifth (54.91 points).
“It’s strange to start the competition with the OD,” said Lanotte. “We want to skate two great performances here, and we did one today.”
“We chose this music because we thought it’s a waste not to use our country’s music,” noted Cappellini of their Italian Folk dance. “In this program we want to portray the spirit of the carnival in Napoli. In the beginning, I’m doing the laundry, in Napoli. Everyone has their laundry outside on ropes that run from house to house.”
Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier of Canada earned 51.69 points for sixth place.
“I felt comfortable skating and I had so much fun today,” said Crone. “I was so excited that we got the call (for attending the Final). We just came back from NHK Trophy and I was excited to be coming back to Japan and skate again. We’ll just do our best in the free dance.”
“I enjoyed the performance very much today,” added Poirier. “We got a season’s best in each competition, so I feel that we are improving with each competition. I hope we can keep improving our record. Attending the Final is a big step for us.”