The NHK Trophy day 3: Domination in the Free Dance and first GPF names
November 13, 2017
By Atsuko Kuryu
Photos © Keiko Kasai
The very last competition was the Free Dance. How sad it was to see a half-empty venue when such gorgeous, world top skaters were about to perform. But even though the audience failed, it was still a great event.
Leaders Tessa Virtue/ Scott Moir dominated the Free Dance just as they did the Short Dance. With their performace set to Tango de Roxanne and Come What May from the ‘Moulin Rouge soundtrack, they were just outstanding in speed, power, technique and everything else, which resulted in 117.71 points for their free dance, their season’s best, and they easily won the title.
Their overall score was 198.64 which was a little less than the points of Gabriella Papadakis/ Guillaume Cizeron got in China last week. Being asked how they felt about it in the post competition press conference, Scott answered he and Tessa knew just how wonderful the French are since they practice at the same rink. The goal is the Olympic games so that’s what they focus on, but added that they are looking forward to competing with Gabriella and Guillaume in the Grand Prix Final in December.
Silver medalists Madison Hubbell/ Zachary Donohue, showed their characteristic blues program energetically and nailed many level 4 elements with +GOE. Their score for the free dance was 112.04 and 188.35 overall. They looked very concentrated because they have to get through the tough qualifications for the Olympics. They said there are at least 4 or maybe 5 possible US teams, Of which several still have to skate in the upcoming Grand Prix events, so they hope their results have been enough to make it to the Final and they'd go home and practice as if it were, so they'll be prepared.
Anna Cappellini/ Luca Lanotte chose the soundtrack from the famous Italian movie La Vita e Bella for the Olympics and their last season. They displayed a movie world of tenderness and affection, but as Anna said at the press conference that they are not yet fully prepared and need some more time, so they were not able to pile up the necessary +GOEs. Still, their score of 110.69 was only 1.35 points behind the American team, and Anna and Luca won the bronze with an overall score of 186.56. They will compete in Lake Placid in less than two weeks, and Anna said they want to improve their points in this short time before Skate America.
The order on the podium was the same as after the short program. Each medaling team consisting of extraordinary talent and well worthy of their placement.
Victoria Sinitsina/ Nikita Katsalapov finished fourth. They were really eye catching because of their spectacular movements. The order among those teams who got 60 plus some scores in the short program changed a little.
Alexandra Nazarova/ Maxim Nikitin portrayed Pirates of the Caribbean in a very characteristic and dramatic way, while Laurence Fournier Beaudry/ Nikolaj Sorensen delivered a solid and mature Spanish Caravan and ranked up fifth and sixth respectively.
Japan’s Misato Komatsubara/ Timothy Koleto finished last, but are worth mentioning again anyway. They skated a nice and beautiful program to Where is it Written from the Sabrina soundtrack, sung by Barbra Streisand. They got 78.58 points, which might not seem very high, but it was their season’s best. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this team and watching them grow.
With the conclusion of the final competition and of course the following exhibition of the champions, the NHK Trophy was over. Instead of, or maybe because of Yuzuru’s withdrawal, this event became interesting in a different way. The spotlight fell on the other skaters and might have produced some new fans for them. Lots of competitors sent Yuzuru warm words of comfort and showed the hidden friendship among them. Jason Brown even held up a get well sign written in Japanese in the kiss and cry.
Now there are only two more events of the Grand Prix, then the finalists will gather in Japan again, this time for the Final. Stay tuned for the next report from Japan!
Grand Prix Final qualifications round up:
Evgenia Medvedeva secured her spot in the Grand Prix Final with two gold medals from Rostelecom Cup and NHK. Carolina Kostner has a big chance qualifying with two silver medals.
Wenjing Sui/ Cong Han are defintetly qualified, having won two gold medals and Stolbova/ Klimov most likely will qualify with two silver medals.
Tessa Virtue/ Scott Moir will also return to Japan, since they grabbed two gold medals. With a bronze and a silver medal, Madison Hubbell/ Zachary Donohue will have to wait the remaining Grand Prix in the upcoming weeks.