The Americans took Skate America by storm this weekend, collecting medals in each discipline. Skate America, which kicked off the Grand Prix series, wrapped up yesterday, Oct. 24 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was an exciting event as a six-year gold medal drought came to an end for the American men.
Max Aaron was in first place after the short program and was able to maintain his lead with a spectacular performance in the free skate that included two quads and six triple jumps. After his breakout season where he won Nationals in 2013, Aaron has clearly struggled, trying to find his style as well as working to regain his spark and consistency. This event was a huge step in the right direction for Max that gives him the momentum and confidence he needs going into this season.
“We took a different direction, and we’re sticking with it,” Aaron said according to USA Today. “Some days it’s tough, and I don’t want to train my mental game, or I don’t want to train my components as hard as I used to. At the end of the day, I could go back to getting sixth or seventh place and being a mediocre skater, or I could be a champion. I want to be a champion.” Max took home the gold, which has not been won by a US man since Evan Lysacek won Skate America in 2009.
Jason Brown was in eighth after a flawed performance in the short, but came back strong in the free skate and captured the bronze. Brown did attempt the quad, but was unable to hold onto the landing. Japan’s Shoma Uno took home the silver medal after two strong performances, revealing that he is certainly one to keep an eye on this season.
Russian Evgenia Medvedeva made her Grand Prix debut and won the ladies event after nailing seven triples. Gracie Gold came in four points behind her and captured the silver medal. Gold completed six triple jumps but then turned an intended triple salchow into a double, which was her only real mistake in the free skate. Word silver medalist, Satoko Miyahara secured the bronze.
China’s Wnjing Sui and Cong Han won the gold in pairs event after a beautiful performance which included a quad twist as well as some incredibly high throw jumps. Americans Alexa Scimeca Chris Knierim were in first place after the short program, but they struggled with their side-by-side jumps. Scimeca and Knierim thankfully had a quad twist in their arsenal which enabled them to hold on to win their first-ever Skate America medal, which was the silver. Canadians, Julianne Sequin and Charlie Bilodeau took home the bronze.
Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates locked in their second win at Skate America with a stunning performance to Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2.” Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov secured the silver and Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirer finished with the bronze.
The next stop in the Grand Prix series is Skate Canada which will take place on Oct. 29-Nov. 1. Headliners include Ashley Wagner, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu and many others. Expectations are now on the rise as the season takes flight.