By Johanna Bear
Photo by Gina Capellazzi
In an event that featured returning Olympic Champions, World Champions and countless National Champions, it was ultimately the defending champions, Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford who walked away with the gold medal. The caliber of skating throughout the pairs free skate was undeniably high and showed multiple generations of competitors, from 2014 Olympic Gold Medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov to young teams who have already made names for themselves like Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China.
As was true with both the ice dance and men’s events, the pairs event also featured repeat champions as Duhamel and Radford were able to go from second after the short program to first after the free skate, claiming the gold medal for the second year in a row. Duhamel was able to hold on to the landing of their throw quadruple Salchow and they received positive grades of execution on all their elements in their free skate to Adele’s “Hometown Glory” on their way to a new personal best score of 231.99 for the competition.
“It was an out of body experience experience,” said Duhamel after the free skate.
“It’s indescribable. Strong competition has always brought out our strongest performances,” added Radford.
Sui and Han were in first place after the short program, but after a fall on their throw quadruple Salchow and several other costly mistakes they were unable to put up a high enough score to compete with Duhamel and Radford, settling instead for a repeat silver medal with a score of 224.47. Still relatively new to the upper echelon of the world stage, they showed impressive nerves and performance quality in their “Samson and Delilah” free skate.
After being forced to wait almost two years for her partner’s German citizenship to go through, two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist Aliona Savchenko was finally able to debut her new partnership with Bruno Massot this season and compete at the World Championships. The two showed almost no signs of their short time working together, looking comfortable with almost all of their elements, including their signature huge triple twist, which drew gasps from the Boston crowd. Savchenko and Massot finished in third place in their maiden World Championships as a team, amassing a total score of 216.17.
“I said we want to skate better than at Europeans, that was our main goal and we did that,” Massot said. “I didn’t expect a medal at all and the medal wasn’t our goal.
Coming in fourth place were Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, who were just two points behind Savchenko and Massot with a score of 214.48, followed by their country mates Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov who rounded out the top five with a score of 206.27.
Reigning Olympic Champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, who were in third place following the short program, had some costly mistakes, including receiving no credit for their Group 5 Reverse Lasso Lift. They finished in sixth place.
While the Americans didn’t fare as well as they had hoped on their home soil, they still put together performances to be proud of and to be build on in the future. Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim were the highest-finishing Americans in ninth place with a total competition score of 190.06, while National Champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea bounced back from a disappointing short program with a solid free skate, scoring 178.23 for the event.
“They(home crowd) were awesome, loud and supportive and that really helps, especially after you have a tough skate,” said Knierim following the free skate.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to just make it to Worlds so coming in as national champions definitely pushes us for next season,” said Kayne.
The World Championships will conclude tonight at 7pm EST with the Ladies free skate.