Skate Canada 2015, the second event of the 2015-16 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, opened Oct. 30 in Lethbridge, Alberta with the short program round of the competition. Day one played host to a number of surprising happenings, including mediocre showings by a pair of world champions, and finished with several Americans at or near the top of the standings heading into the Oct. 31 free skate.
In ice dancing, Canadian national champions Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje waltzed their way into gold medal position with a short dance that earned an even 68.00. Team USA’s super siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani finished in second place with a 66.00, while former world bronze medalists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia sit in third (64.38). Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy (61.29) and Canada’s Alexandra Paul and Mitchel Islam (57.55) round out the top five.
On the ladies’ side, a new personal best mark of 70.73 put Team USA’s Ashley Wagner well-ahead of her competition entering the long program. The reigning US national champ is followed in the rankings by a pair of Japanese ladies, Yuka Nagai (63.35) and Kanako Murakami (59.79), while home nation favorite Kaetlyn Osmond is fourth (59.21) and American Polina Edmunds is fifth (56.85). The biggest surprise to arise from the women’s short was the poor performance of reigning world and Grand Prix Final champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who struggled throughout her routine (55.37) and enters day two in just seventh place.
A messy men’s short program round saw neither of the heavily-billed favorites –Canada’s Patrick Chan and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu– perform particularly well. When the dust settled, Japan’s Daisuke Murakami emerged the victor (80.88) over second-ranked Chan (80.81), whose extremely high PCS marks saved him from a markedly lower placement. Team USA’s Adam Rippon sits in bronze medal position (80.36). Hanyu placed just sixth (73.25).
Finally, in the pairs competition, reigning world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada surprised no one when they soared into the top spot with a dominant mark of 72.46. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morosov of Russia placed second with an even 64.00, and Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are third (63.17). Team USA’s sole couple in the mix, Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran, rank fourth (61.85) heading into the long program.
Skate Canada 2015 will conclude Oct. 31 with the crowning of four new title-holders. For information on the event and complete results, check out the ISU event results website.