This weekend, four members of Team USA returned to Russia for the first time since competing at the Sochi Olympics. They competed in the fourth senior Grand Prix event of the season, Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia. Here is a recap of Team USA’s performances.
Jason Brown returned to Russia for the first time since he brought home a bronze medal from the team event at the Sochi Olympics. Brown was looking to grab his second Grand Prix medal of the season, but after the short program, he found himself in seventh place. In the free skate, Brown set a new ISU personal best free skate score of 159.24 and would finish in 5th place. Brown dedicated his free skate to his manager, Shep Goldberg, who passed away earlier this week after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Brown has 20 points in the Grand Prix standings and will now see if that will be enough to qualify for the Grand Prix Finals. 2013 U.S. Champion Max Aaron finished in 7th place and 2008 U.S. bronze medalist Stephen Carriere finished in 9th place. This is the first Grand Prix event this season where the men of Team USA did not bring home a medal.
After a sixth place finish at Skate America, Mirai Nagasu was hoping to make the podium at Rostelecom Cup. Last season, Nagasu took home the bronze medal at this event. After the short program, Nagasu found herself in medal contention. She was in fourth place. In the free skate, she would earn a 106.98 and an overall score of 165.88. It was not enough to make the podium and Nagasu would finish in fourth place. Nagasu will now prepare for the U.S. Championships in January in Greensboro, North Carolina. Fellow American Ashley Cain finished in 8th place. Cain was in fifth place after the short program. Cain competed last week at Cup of China, where she finished in 10th place. Angela Wang, who was made her senior Grand Prix debut at Rostelecom Cup, finished just behind Cain in eighth place.
Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, who won the silver medal at Skate America, were looking for their second Grand Prix medal at Rostelecom Cup. They also were hoping to qualify for their first trip to the Grand Prix Finals. After the short program, Denney and Frazier were sitting in 4th place. In the free skate, Denney and Frazier earned a 110.79 and an overall score of 164.85. They would have the second highest free skate of the pairs event, but would miss taking home the bronze medal by .01. Denney and Frazier are favored to be one of the top pairs at the U.S. Championships in January. Fellow Americans Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu finished their senior Grand Prix season debut by finishing third in the free skate with a score of 106. 58 and an overall score of 157.45. They finished in 5th place. Like Brown, Simon Shnapir returned to Russia for the first time since he brought home a team event bronze medal from the Sochi Olympics. This time though, Shnapir returned to Russia with his new partner, DeeDee Leng. This was the international debut for Shnapir and Leng. They finished in 8th place.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates also returned to Russia for the first time since they competed at the Sochi Olympics, where they finished in eighth place. This season, with Olympic Champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White sitting out, Chock and Bates are aiming to be the top American ice dance team and win their first national championship. In Chicago, the two edged out siblings, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, to win gold at Skate America. This weekend, Chock and Bates reached the top of the podium again to win gold at Rostelecom Cup. With 30 points in the Grand Prix standings, Chock and Bates have qualified for the Grand Prix Finals in Barcelona in December. This will be the first time the two will compete in the Grand Prix Finals. 2014 World and U.S. Junior Champions Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker finished in sixth place in their senior Grand Prix debut and fellow Americans Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton finished behind them in seventh place.