2023 Skate Canada: Pairs
Canada’s Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps dominated the Pairs event at 2023 Skate Canada, taking the title with lots of spare room. Maria Pavlova and Alexei Sviatchenko of Hungary rose from fourth to capture the silver medal, a first for a Hungarian pairs team. Italy’s Lucrezia Beccari and Matteo Guarise slipped down one spot on the podium to settle for the bronze.
Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps
Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps put out a dynamic short to “Oxygene,” opening with a very good level-four triple twist and side-by-side triple toes. The 2023 Four Continents bronze medalists also nailed a throw triple loop, and the spins, footwork and death spiral were all graded a level four. All elements received positive grades of execution (GOE), particularly the twist and the group 3 level-four lift. The team earned a season’s best of 72.25 for first place going into the free skate.
While Deschamps was all smiles, Stellato-Dudek was not.
“It was a step up from Autumn Classic, but not the way how I wanted it,” said the determined 40-year-old. “I am not that pleased with the throw. I know I can do a lot better. We worked hard on the choreography since Autumn Classic, it’s a fast song.”
Stellato-Dudek added that they chose this music as a “tribute to Montreal” as Deschamps was born there and Worlds will be held there.
“So, we wanted to skate to something from there,” she explained. “We also chose the French version of the song because it’s Maxime’s mother tongue and he only learned English in his 20s!”
“It’s new for us to be expected to win an event, but if you want to do good, you have to know how to deal with the pressure!” Deschamps pointed out.
The team was spot on in their dramatic free skate to Interview with a Vampire, opening with a level-four triple twist and side-by-side triple toe-Axel-double Axel sequence. She hung onto the triple Salchows, but the throw triple Salchow and throw triple loop were solid. They picked up many positive GOES, particularly on the level-four reverse and Axel lift, scoring a new personal best of 142.39. Their total score of 214.64 is also a new personal best.
The Canadian champs knew they had done well as Stellato-Dudek pumped her arms with a fierce look of personal celebratory achievement after the performance.
“I am very happy which is a rarity,” she said. “We have been waiting for a performance like this for years! So much hard work was put into this. It’s been more than one season to have all green boxes.”
“We are hoping to put out two more solid performances in China,” she added. “It will be a quick turnaround. Of course, it’s our goal to qualify for the Final again. Last year, this was the beginning of my three-month illness, so I am hoping to get some redemption!”
Deschamps was also elated.
“All the hard work paid off!” he said. “It was a feeling of ‘we made it’ at the end of the program. We hope to keep increasing our score over the season!”
Maria Pavlova and Alexei Sviatchenko
Pavlova and Sviatchenko showed confidence in their short program to “Another One Bites the Dust,” placing fourth with a season’s best of 62.22 points. They left a few points on the table after their death spiral received a level two and the final spin didn’t receive full value. The 2023 Budapest Trophy silver medalists otherwise produced a triple twist, side-by-side triple toes and throw triple flip.
“We know we can do better,” said Pavlova. “We had some mistakes in the step sequence and the side-by-side spin, but we will be working on that! Since last year, our confidence has definitely improved. We are also focusing on improving our presentation marks!”
Their free skate to “My Perception of Love” and “Iron 2021” was near-solid, and included a level-four triple twist, side-by-side triple toe-double Axel-double Axel sequence, a throw triple flip and throw triple loop. The only mistake came when she put a foot down on the latter, but two lifts were graded a level four. The national champions placed second in the free skate with a new season’s best of 125.56 and moved up two spots to second overall (187.78).
With this achievement, Pavlova and Sviatchenko become the first Hungarian pair to win a Grand Prix medal. They are also the first Hungarian skaters to win a Grand Prix medal since Julia Sebestyen won bronze at 2009 Skate America 14 years ago.
“We feel very good, we did what we could!” said Pavlova. “We are very pleased. Some small mistakes, but we know what to work on. We are happy for our country, our federation is happy, and we will keep getting them results!”
The team will compete next at the Grand Prix in Espoo, Finland.
Lucrezia Beccari and Matteo Guarise
Beccari and Guarise were near-flawless in their lyrical routine to “Run,” scoring 65.83 points for second place. In their Grand Prix debut, the team produced a level-three triple twist, side-by-side triple toes and a throw triple loop. The lift, death spiral and spin were graded a level four, while the footwork received a level three.
“We are pleased about our skate,” said Guarise of the short program. “It was the first Grand Prix for Lucrezia, but she was doing great. I was a bit all over the place. Skating first, the judges are still holding back a bit, but that’s normal. We are very happy!”
“I struggled a bit with the jetlag!” admitted Beccari. “He advised me to sleep well, but I really couldn’t sleep last night. I rested a bit ahead of the competition.”
The goal for the new team this season is to score 70 points in the short and 130 in the free skate.
Their playful routine to Cats was highlighted by three level-four lifts, a throw triple loop and throw triple Salchow. Guarise went down on the side-by-side triple toes, while Beccari doubled her jump in the triple Salchows. The Nebelhorn silver medalists finished fourth in this segment with 115.59 points, slipping to third place overall (181.42).
“I am really happy because this is my first important medal,” said Beccari. “About the skate, we are not that happy. I didn’t expect Matteo’s fall and that threw me a bit of guard.”
“Today jetlag hit me a bit!” said Guarise. “We take this as a learning experience. But we are happy!”
Guarise competed with Nicole Della Monica from 2011-2022 until she retired. They competed at three Olympic Games (2014, 2018 and 2022).
“After skating with Nicole, I had a pretty clear vision of myself in the sport,” said Guarise. “I found a great partner with Lucrezia to be exactly at that point!”
They are still not sure why they didn’t get picked up for a second Grand Prix event despite some withdrawals.
“There should be rules,” said 35-year-old Guarise. “I know it’s not the ISU who decides who gets invited. If you organize a show, you can invite whoever you want. But if you organize a competition, you should invite the next best team available. I have never experienced anything like this in 10 years! I hope the system will get a bit better.”
Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore
Australia’s Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore gave a rousing performance to “Architect of the Mind,” placing third in the short with 62.80 points. The two-time World Junior silver medalists produced a level-two triple twist, side-by-side triple toes, and a very good throw triple loop. The death spiral, spin and footwork were graded a level four, while the lift garnered a level three.
“When I stepped onto the ice, I thought ‘finally,'” said Golubeva. “It’s a great step up from a Junior Grand Prix to a Senior Grand Prix like this. It’s very exciting!”
“We are pretty pleased how it went,” said Moore of the short. “A few unfortunate errors, but overall, we are very pleased!”
The 2022-23 Junior Grand Prix Final Champions decided to keep the short from last season but changed up the free skate.
The team had a low catch on the opening triple twist (level two) in their free skate to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Giotopoulos Moore then stepped out of the triple toe-triple toes as well as the triple Salchows. Golubeva stepped out of the throw triple loop, but the throw triple Salchow was clean, as were the level-four lifts. They finished third (116.81) in the free skate, and with a total score of 179.61, slipped off the podium to fourth overall.
“We are not as happy as yesterday,” admitted Giotopoulos Moore. “Many mistakes on the jumps, which are very untypically for me. The competition was about gaining experience as it was our very first senior Grand Prix. We are taking a lot from here!”
“In Shanghai, we did worse than here with this program, so it was an improvement,” added Golubeva of the event where they also finished fourth. “We are looking forward to growing this program. The goal of course is portraying a love story in the program!”
Their next event will be in Japan at the NHK Trophy.
Rounding out the top eight
Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Ethier of Canada finished fourth overall with 168.12 points. Their next event will be NHK Trophy. There were followed closely by teammates Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar (166.00 for fifth) who will compete next at Grand Prix Espoo.
Netherland’s Daria Danilova and Michel Tsiba finished seventh overall (165.01) ahead of Germany’s Letizia Roscher and Luis Schuster (137.54). The Dutch skaters will share ice in Japan with Laurin and Ethier, while this was a solo event for the Germans.