After two ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events, Team USA had won a total of eight medals. The members of Team USA added to that number this weekend by bring home two more medals at Cup of China in Shanghai this weekend. They now lead in the Grand Prix medal standings with 10 medals. Here is our quick recap of how the Team USA skaters did.
Just last season, Polina Edmunds was competing at the Junior Grand Prix, where she finished in first in Belarus and Mexico. She finished just shy of the podium at the Junior Grand Prix Final. A few months later, Edmunds would go on to win the silver at her first senior U.S. Championships and then go on to represent the U.S. at the Sochi Olympics and the World Championships, finishing ninth and eight respectively. Though she competed international at the senior level at the Olympics and World Championships, Cup of China is Edmunds’s senior Grand Prix debut. After what she called a “disappointing short program”, Edmunds wrote in her blog for IceNetwork that she was ready to move on and attack her free skate. Sitting in seventh place after the short, Edmunds landed seven triples to finish in second place in the free skate with a score of 110.95. She would finish fourth overall in her senior Grand Prix debut. Ashley Cain, who finished in 12th place at the 2014 U.S. Championships and who also was making her senior Grand Prix debut, finished in 10 place. Fellow American Christina Gao, who was finished in 8th place at the 2014 U.S. Championships, finished in 9th.
What many people are still talking about is what happened during the men’s free skate on Saturday. During the warmup of the final group, China’s Han Yan collided with 2014 Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu. While both hit their heads, suffered cuts and seemed to not to be in any condition to skate a four and half minute free skate, both decided to continue with the competition. Yan finished in sixth place. With a bandage on his head and chin, Hanyu struggled as well, but managed to hold onto his second place position to win the silver medal. Despite everything that was happening, Team USA’s Richard Dornbush remained focused on what he needed to do. Sitting in fourth place after the short, Dornbush knew it was possible that he could make the podium. Dornbush scored a 149.50 in the free skate and earned a 226.73, which was enough to win the bronze medal. This is Dornbush’s first senior Grand Prix medal. Now with Dornbush’s bronze, the men of Team USA have brought home a medal at every Grand Prix event so far this season. (Jason Brown won silver at Skate America and Max Aaron won bronze at Skate Canada.)
Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu made their senior Grand Prix debut at Cup of China. The pair finished in second place at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in September and third in the Skate Canada Autumn Classic in October. After being in sixth place after the short program, Calalang and Sidhu would finish in seventh place with 147.81.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani 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. Now, just two weeks later, the Shibutanis were competing in their second Grand Prix of the season, hoping to take home their second Grand Prix medal of the season and advance to the Grand Prix Finals. The Shibutanis found themselves on top of the leader board on Friday after the short program. Hoping to bring home their first gold medal at a senior Grand Prix since the 2011-2012 season, the siblings would have to settle for second and their second silver medal of the senior Grand Prix season. With three events left in the series, Shibutanis are currently leading the qualification standings for the Grand Prix Final and will most likely qualify for the event in Barcelona. For more on the ice dance competition, visit Ice-Dance.com.
NBC will provide a recap of the event from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday November 9 with commentators Terry Gannon and Tracy Wilson.
Polina Edmunds was blogging from Shanghai for IceNetwork. To check it out, click here.