By Gina Capellazzi, Team FSO website administrator
Photos by Robin Ritoss
One week after winning gold at Grand Prix de France, France’s Adam Siao Him Fa beats two-time World champion Shoma Uno, of Japan, to win gold at Cup of China, the fourth of six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Siao Him Fa was second place after the short program due to falling on his quadruple toe. He was more than 14 points behind Uno. But in the free skate, Siao Him Fa delivered a strong free skate with a quadruple lutz and a quadruple toe-triple toe competition. His free skate score of 207.17 was a new personal best score and was higher than his free skate score in France. Overall, he finished with a score of 298.38, which was lower than his overall score of 306.78 from last week. With two gold medals, Siao Him Fa qualifies for the Grand Prix Final, which will be his first Grand Prix Final.
“I am really happy about my performance today. This week was really hard, not because of the training, but all around, I had skate issues, food poisoning, it was quite catastrophic, but I managed pretty well stayed strong mentally,” Siao Him Fa revealed.
For Uno, the free skate started off a bit rocky as Uno fell on his quadruple loop attempt and doubled his planned quadruple flip. He did regain his composure to land two triple Axels and two quadruple toes. With 174.73 points, Uno ranked second in the free skate. Though he had a 14 point lead and had the highest program component score of the men’s event, Uno slipped to second overall with 279.98 points.
“I did not do my job after the short program,” Uno admitted to the media. “Adam showed more besides jumps in the competition. I have to concentrate on my jumps, but I want to show more in my presentation.”
Uno will compete his second Grand Prix event at NHK Trophy.
Mikhail Shaidorov of Kazakhstan, who was in third after the short program, keep the third-place spot and claimed the bronze in his first season on Grand Prix Series. In his free skate, Shaidorov landed a quadruple toe-triple toe combination and a triple Axel. However, his quadruple Lutz was called on the quarter, and his solo quadruple toe and second triple Axel were underrotated.
Shaidorov earned a personal best free skate score of 174.52 and a total score of 264.46.
This was the first Grand Prix medal for Kazakhstan in the men’s event since 2016 when Denis Ten won silver at Grand Prix France, his second of two Grand Prix medals that season. Shaidorov has 18 points from his two Grand Prix events.
Japan’s Kazuki Tomono moved up from sixth to finish fourth overall with 251.95 points. He also has 18 points from his two Grand Prix events. Gabriele Frangipani of Italy finished fifth with 251.59 points, less than 0.36 points out of 4th place. He only had one Grand Prix event. Skate Canada Champion Sota Yamamoto, of Japan, who struggled in the short program, pulled up from eighth place to finish sixth with 245.58 points. Yamamoto has 20 points from his two Grand Prix events.
Japan’s Hana Yoshida moved up from third after the the short program to claim her first ISU Grand Prix gold. Cup of China was only Yoshida’s second Grand Prix event of her career as this is her senior Grand Prix debut.
Yoshida kicked off the free skate with a bang with attempting the triple Axel. Unfortunately, Yoshida stepped out of the jump and it was called slightly underrotated. However, she went on to land seven triple jumps. She earned a season’s best free skate score of 139.32 and a total score of 203.97 to move up two spots to claim the gold medal in China.
“I’m really surprised that I won today,” Yoshida told the press after the free skate. “I have lots of things to work on. I want to be able to aim for higher points.
Yoshida finished 4th at Skate America and with 24 points will need to see if that’s enough for the Final.
Teammate Rinka Watanabe held onto her second place after the short program to win her second GP medal of her career. Her free skate included seven triple jumps. Her skates were much improved from her sixth-place finish at Skate Canada. She earned a season’s best free skate score of 138.13 and a total of 203.22 to win the silver. She was just 0.75 points out of first-place.
“Since Skate Canada two weeks have passed. I feel very regretful for my performance at Skate Canada and I trained very hard to improve,” she said after the free skate.
Watanabe has 18 points from her two Grand Prix events.
World bronze medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium, the leader after the short program, took home the bronze medal after some under-rotations in the free skate. She earned a 130.84, which was third in the free skate. She earned an overall score of 201.49.
“I feel disappointed about my skate today,” Hendrickx shared with the media. “I didn’t feel well for the past five days. I don’t want to use it as an excuse. I didn’t eat well here, I wasn’t hungry. I tried to eat but it was pretty hard.
With her gold at Skate America and bronze in China, Hendrickx has 26 points, which should be enough for her to qualify for the Final.
Skate America bronze medalist Niina Petrokina of Estonia finished fourth with 188.04 points. She has 20 points from her two Grand Prix events. Madeline Schizas of Canada moved up from seventh to fifth with 179.58 points. She has 16 points from her two Grand Prix events. 2023 Four Continents silver medalist Yelim Kim of Korea finished sixth with a score of 176.68 Kim is listed to compete her second event at NHK Trophy.
It was all about the vampires in the free skate as the first and second-place teams performed vampire programs to close out the pairs’ free skate. Canada’s Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps claimed their second Grand Prix gold medal this season and punched their ticket to the Grand Prix Final.
Their “Interview with the Vampire” free skate included a triple twist and side by side triple toe-single Axel-double Axel sequence and two level-four lifts. However, Deschamps stumbled on the side-by-side triple salchow. Nevertheless, they won the free skate with a score of 131.09. Their overall score was 201.48.
Italy’s Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini kicked off their Grand Prix season in China by taking home the silver medal. Their “Dracula” free skate included a triple twist, throw triple lutz and salchow. Ghilardi did fall on the side by side salchow, They earned a free skate score of 124.67 and a total score of 191.00.
“It was hard today, and we are proud of our performance, and how we pushed until the end of the program,” Ghilardi said after the free skate. “It is interesting music. We do it one way, the other teams do it in a different style,” she added.
The team will now compete at NHK Trophy.
The new Chinese team of Cheng Peng and Lei Wang, who teamed up in the spring, competed in their first Grand Prix event as a team and took home the bronze medal in front of their home crowd. In the free skate, Wang fell on the side-by-side triple toe at the beginning of the program, but recovered to produce a triple twist, throw triple loop and salchow. In only their second-ever competition, Peng and Wang earned 115.15 points for a total of 178.06.
They will compete again this week at Grand Prix Espoo.
Skate America Champions Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel of Germany finished in fourth place with 170.65 points. They earned 24 points from their two Grand Prix events and will have to wait and see if that’s enough for the Grand Prix Final. China’s Siyang Zhang/Yongchao Yang were fifth with 161.65 points.
After crazy rhythm dance results where Canada’s Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha finished ahead of World medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, also of Canada. However, Gilles and Poirier landed 2.79 points ahead of Lajoie and Lagha in the free dance dance. They took home their second Grand Prix gold medal of the season and will compete at the Grand Prix Final, where they are looking to repeat as Grand Prix Final Champions.
Lajoie and Lagha finished just 1.83 points behind Gilles and Poirier overall and won their second Grand Prix silver medal of the season. They have 26 points from their two events and have qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.
Team USA’s Caroline Green and Michael Parsons won the bronze medal. They have 20 points from their two events and are likely to be alternates for the Final.
To read more about the ice dance event at Cup of China, visit Ice-Dance.com.