U.S. ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue claimed the gold medal and Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko secured silver on the final day of the 2018 U.S. International Classic in Salt Lake City.
Winning their fourth consecutive title at this competition, Hubbell and Donohue led the ice dance competition with 197.42 points overall. The reigning U.S. champions scored 118.31 points in their free dance to secure the gold medal by more than 20 points. Their dance to songs from the 1996 “Romeo and Juliet” soundtrack included three Level 4 lifts and three elements with more than 3.00 Grades of Execution (GOE). Their win marks the couple’s fifth Challenger Series gold medal.
“The reason that we like doing this competition is that it puts some pressure on the competitions early enough that we know what to expect and can apply what we learn to our training every day,” said Donohue.
“We are proud of ourselves that after a tough season and a long tour (Stars on Ice), we have pushed ourselves to be ready by this competition again,” said Hubbell. “We are really excited for this year.”
In their senior international debut, Carreira and Ponomarenko captured the silver medal with 174.04 total points, more than 30 points higher than the third-place finishers. The reigning U.S. junior champions maintained their second-place position from the rhythm dance, executing a Level 4 synchronized twizzle and a Level 4 curve lift. The duo scored 105.43 points in their free dance, winning their first medal on the Challenger Series circuit.
“I love skating here in the United States,” said Carreira. “There’s really nothing like it. We feel the support and the love. We actually had a fan drive all the way from Los Angeles to see us.”
“[Skating again] feels great,” said Ponomarenko. “This free dance has a lot areas that we can still explore.”
Joe Johnson and Karina Manta rebounded from a tough rhythm dance to place fifth with 134.09 overall points. The duo scored 85.08 points in the free dance, completing a Level 4 straight line lift-rotational lift combination as well as a Level 4 combination spin and a Level 4 synchronized twizzle.
The Japanese duo of Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto claimed the bronze medal with 142.93 combined points.
In the ladies competition, Courtney Hicks had the top U.S. finish, scoring 164.58 total points and taking seventh place. Hicks was in 10th place after the short program and moved up to seventh, scoring 113.69 points in her free skate. Her clean program opened with a triple flip-triple loop followed by three additional triple jumps. The Chino Hills, California, native also completed two Level 4 spins.
“I’m happy with my [free skate],” said Hicks. “At the end I did the two doubles because I was [tired], but I was really happy to open the season here.”
Akari Nakahara scored 143.07 total points to finish in eighth place. After falling early in her free skate, she went on to land five triple jumps and two Level 4 spins, scoring 89.78 points.
Brynne McIsaac finished in the ninth place with 141.61 points. In her 90.41-point free skate, McIsaac executed four Level 4 elements and four triple jumps.
World bronze medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan won her third consecutive U.S. International Classic title with 201.23 points. The Republic of Korea’s Eunsoo Lim and Yelim Kim won the silver medal (187.30) and bronze medal (176.65), respectively.
The entire competition is available on demand through the Figure Skating Pass on NBC Sports Gold. Additional competition information and results can be found on Competition Central on the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone.
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