Plus quotes below from the Ice Dance Athletes
The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2015 opened in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday with the Short Dance. 164 skaters/couples from 37 ISU Members have been entered for the Championship. China hosts an ISU World Figure Skating Championship for the first time.
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) take Short Dance
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) took the lead in the Short Dance followed by Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver/ Andrew Poje and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy.
Chock/Bates turned in a characteristic Paso Doble to “Don Quixote” by Leon Minkus and earned a level four on all elements – the two Paso Doble parts, their straight line lift, twizzles and the side by side footwork. The Four Continents silver medalists posted a personal best of 74.47 points. “We are very happy with the performance today. We have a great group of coaches to support us and we’ve never been more prepared for an event or trained harder for an event so that gives us the utmost confidence. Today we achieved all level fours and I think that made a difference in our score and we want to do the same in the free dance”, Bates commented.
Weaver/Poje’s passionate performance to “La Virgen de Macarena” was highlighted by fast twizzles, precise footwork and a rotational lift. The reigning World silver medalists picked up a level four for four elements but the first Paso Doble sequence was graded a level two. The 2015 Four Continents Championships set a new personal best with 72.68 points. “We put pressure on ourselves in practice since Four Continents to improve our technical mark since this was our weakness in the last competition. Today we did much better, we were able to focus and we were in the zone. We feel like we are in a good place and we’re look forward to the free dance on Friday”, Weaver told the post-event press conference.
Skating to “Capriccio Espagnol”, Cappellini/Lanotte, produced level-four twizzles, a level-four Paso Doble and a level-four lift. The reigning World Champions achieved a personal best of 72.39 points. “We couldn’t be happier with the performance we put out there to be here with you and with the small medals. It means a lot to us. The last twelve months have been difficult for us, but we did realize we love the sport and we wanted to keep going”, Cappellini shared.
European Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) are sitting in fourth place and still have a shot at the podium with 71.94 points. Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) finished fifth (69.46 points) and Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) are sixth with 69.32 points.
Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi (GER) withdrew during the Short Dance as Gazsi has been taken ill.
Quotes from Ice Dance athletes
Madison Chock and Evan Bates (1st place, SB 74.47 points)
(on short dance) Chock – We worked so hard for this moment. We’re really happy. We’re excited about our season’s best, which is always great to have at the world championships. We’re excited to go into the free dance and show a good performance.
Bates – We’re really happy with the performance. We’ve been so critical of our levels and finally we achieved all level fours and that made a huge difference today. We’re proud of our technical score. We’ve struggled to get level fours on the Paso Doble and we did that today. We also got a level four footwork which is the first we’ve done all year. It’s the right time for it.
Bates – We are very happy with our performance today. We have a great group of coaches at home supporting us. We’ve never been more prepared or trained harder for a competition so that gives us the utmost confidence. Today we achieved all level fours and hope to do it again in the free dance.
(on achieving all level fours in short dance) Bates – Igor Shpilband is an absolute technical genius. We’ve been drilling Paso. We know the footwork has been good but it depends on the performance and today it all came together for us. It wasn’t something crazy amazing, it was solid for us.
(on what it takes to be world champion) Chock – There isn’t one key. There are a lot of factors that go into being world champion. Many teams here are qualified for that position. We’ve been working hard and have a great team supporting us.
(on being in first place) Bates – We were in the same position at Four Continents and we came away with the silver medal. We felt like we could have skated better in Korea. But having that experience helps. We’re going to be ready for the moment. Regardless of placement, you can’t hold back. We have to attack and go for broke. Our experience at Four Continents was huge for us. We were in the same scenario. We weren’t particularly thrilled with our free dance there. Having said that, it’s going to be something we know we’ve been through. It can comfort us. We can’t rest and need to skate as though we are coming from behind. That will be our approach on Friday.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (11th place, 61.43 points)
(on return to Worlds) Hubbell – We’re very happy to be here in Shanghai. It’s a great audience and a great city. We’re so honored to represent Team USA.
(on goals) Hubbell – Our goal was to skate strong and to come back the best we could after my injury and my surgery. We’re focused on free dance. It wasn’t our best short dance, unfortunately. Now all our focus goes to competing well on Friday.
(on short dance) Hubbell – It wasn’t our strongest performance. We worked really, really hard. So of course the flukes that happen sometimes are very frustrating. All we can say is that we are looking forward to free dance. We’ve been skating strong the last two to three weeks. It’s not because we’re not ready.
(on free dance) Hubbell – It was a natural progression. We’ve been spending the last six weeks drilling the programs. Things were still pretty new at nationals and so we’ve been spending six doing run-throughs and double run-throughs and getting the cardio as high as possible to put out the strong ending that free dance needs. That’s going to be our goal, to keep our energy up all the way to the end.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (6th place, 69.32 points)
(on short dance) Maia – It’s our third time in Shanghai and our fifth world championships. We were looking to put a strong performance out of this short dance. It’s a program we really love. We’ve grown so much this season by doing this program. We were training really hard coming into this event. Our practices have been extremely strong and this has been a fantastic program for us. It might not have been our strongest performance today but we can take a lot of confidence with us toward the free dance.
Alex – WE could have skated better, it’s safe to say. We’re still skating well, it’s just one performance. We have to move onto the short dance Friday. We were trying to perform it to the peak of our ability. At the same time, I think things got a little bit away from us. We were trying to give it our all. Like Maia said, the program has evolved through the season. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to put out as strong a performance as we would have liked today but that doesn’t change the way we feel about where our skating is headed and our approach to the free dance on Friday.
Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier (8th place, SB 61.32 points)
(on season-high SP score) Frazier – We expected that. It was our goal. We wanted to peak both programs at worlds.
(on training since Four Continents) Denney – We trained super, super hard coming into this competition. We came here and can rely on our training and have confidence.
(on first Worlds) Frazier – We’re very excited to be able to perform at our first worlds. To put out a short like that, we have a lot of things to be proud of. It wasn’t perfect but a huge improvement from Four Continents. Overall, the feeling was just good. It was a big step in our career.
Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim (7th place, SB 65.56 points)
(on short program) Knierim – It was good. We had to fight through some of it and we had little errors here and there but overall it was great and our season’s best so we are happy.
Scimeca – It’s motivating for the future to fight through a program and execute the way we did today.
(on goals) Scimeca – We would like to be in the top six overall. We know we have to skate a near-perfect long to make that happen but we believe in ourselves.
(on quad twist) Scimeca – We are excited to perform our quad twist in China. There are two other Chinese teams who do it so it’s an honor to do it alongside them in their country.