The 2014 Grand Prix Series got underway this weekend with the first event, Skate America. This year, Skate America was held in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Skate America proved to be an successful event for Team USA as they brought home medals in all four disciplines. Here is a quick recap of how they did.
After taking home the gold at Nebelhorn Trophy last month, Jason Brown returned to his hometown for his first Grand Prix event. Last year, Skate America was Brown’s senior Grand Prix Series debut. He finished in fifth place after being named the replacement for 2010 Olympic champion Evan Lysacek, who withdrew due to injury. This time, with the support of the hometown crowd, Jason took home the silver medal despite struggling to land his triple Axel in both the short program and free skate. Fellow Olympic team bronze medalist and four-time national champion, Jeremy Abbott, was in second after the short program, but struggled in the free skate. He finished in 5th place. Fellow Team USA teammate, Douglas Razzano, finished 5th in the free skate and moved up from 10th place to finish in 8th place.
Like Brown, 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist and U.S. champion Gracie Gold began her season at Nebelhorn Trophy where she won the bronze medal. She returned to her hometown for her first Grand Prix event. Gold was in third after the short program and managed to hold on to that spot to win the bronze medal. Right off the podium in fourth place was fellow American Samantha Cesario, who had brought home the silver at Finlandia Trophy. After a disappointing short program where she was in 10th place, 2014 U.S. bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu had a nice comeback in the free skate to finish in sixth place.
At the end of the short program, there were three U.S. pairs vying for a spot on the podium. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, who had took home gold at Lombardia Trophy and silver at Skate Canada Autumn Classic International, were in third place after the short program, with fellow U.S. pairs, Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim and Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage in fourth and fifth place. But after the free skate, it was Denney and Frazier who landed on the podium, finishing in second place. This was their first senior Grand Prix medal and the first time that the U.S. has won a medal in pairs’ since 2012 when Haven’s sister, Caydee Denney and her partner, John Coughlin won the bronze. It was also the highest finish for the U.S. pairs at Skate America since 2008 when Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker won silver. Scimeca and Knierim and Aaron and Settlage finished in fourth and fifth.
Last season, Meryl Davis and Charlie White brought home the gold at Skate America in their hometown of Detroit. This season, with Davis and White not competing, there was a new champion crowned. Davis and White’s 2014 Olympic teammates, Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani competed at the event and ended up making history. Chock and Bates and the Shibutanis became the first American ice dance teams to go 1-2 in the history of the ISU Grand Prix, with Chock and Bates taking home the gold and the Shibutanis taking home the silver. Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus, who had already won medals at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and Finlandia Trophy, finished in fifth. For more on the ice dance competition, follow Ice-Dance.com.