Update: 24.03.2022 22:35
Released: 24.03.2022, 21:59
Montpellier (France) – Figure skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier won the world title in pair sports for the USA after 43 years. At the championships in Montpellier, they took advantage of the absence of the strong pair Russia and China, who occupy the first five places at the February Olympics. After a short event, the manager was confirmed with a free ride.
They came here after an awkward situation when second-time compatriots Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc did not finish their program. His partner fell during the opening solo and jump throw, and when the next carrom came after the triple salchow solo, he remained lying on the ice, pointing at his head. It is not clear if he was hit by a fall or if he had any previous problems. He looked shaken and couldn’t continue.
Thirty-year-old Knierimová, who Michal Březina has assisted with solo jumps this season, and one-year-old Frazier are the biggest favorites for gold after sixth place at the Olympics on a thin starting court. The couple, who, after a successful career with the previous partner, got together in the spring of 2020, have psychological stress. In free riding they arrange a combination of triple and double toeloop, solo triple salchow and both triple throws. With the exception of the opening round, they had all the elements at the highest level and improved their record for free riding from the Olympics by nearly six points.
Even when they finish their program, they know they are world champions. They did so as the third American couple in history. “I didn’t want a better way to end the season. To end the season with a program like that, I’ve dreamed of it many times. But it’s even better,” Frazier rejoiced.
In the end, they won by more than twenty-one points over Rika Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan. They didn’t do well, they made a mistake in a solo jump and their partner fell after Rittberger’s triple was thrown out. They managed Japan’s biggest success with silver and only the second Japanese medal in this category at the World Championships.
James, who was born in England but has long represented France with Morgan Cipres, has returned home. Together, they won a bronze medal at the World Championships four years ago. A year later, they won the European Championship and ended their career. Last year, during a television show in Canada, James met another retired skater, Radford, who won the 2015 and 2016 World Cups. They tried to skate together and decided to come back. They didn’t make it to the Olympics and finished twelfth, but they did in the World Cup.
They showed a free ride in the opening combination after a stylistic error and graced the new collaboration with a bronze medal. “I felt everything was done when it was needed. We fought until the end, but we didn’t think about the elements, we just rode and we felt very comfortable on the ice, like at home,” James rejoiced. Only unpleasant circumstances spoiled his luck a little. “We love being on stage but we want to be there in better shape. Our thoughts are with Ashley, she is hurt,” he added.
Czech representatives Jelizaveta uková and Martin Bidař did not travel to the World Cup due to injury.
The men’s short program at the World Championships is dominated by Japanese skaters. They took the first three positions with Shoma Uno, Yuma Kagiyama and Kazuki Tomono. The fourth American, Ilya Malinin, got more than a hundred points. The Czechs were not represented in this category at the championships in Montpellier, France, as Michal Březina ended his career after the Olympics and no replacement came for him.
In terms of performance, even without the Olympic champion and winner of the last three World Championships, Nathan Chen, the world championships are probably even more balanced in maximum quality than Olympic competitions. While only the best three beat 100 at the Olympics, this time it was four competitors. They all managed to complete two four jumps.
Olympic bronze medalist Uno had the highest ranking in both sets of stamps, earning 109.63 points. This puts him in third place in the chart after Chen and two-time Olympic champion Juzuru Hanju, who missed the World Cup due to an ankle injury. Nearly four points behind is world silver defender and second man from Olympic competition Kagiyama, who pays for the roll after the triple axel.
Twenty-three year old Tomono took full advantage of the unexpected opportunity. He finished fifth in the Japanese championship and did not fit into the Olympic team. Instead, he graduated from the Four Continents Championship, where he won silver. He only arrived at the World Cup as a second substitute after a planned intervention injury for Hanju Kao Miur. He did very well, for the first time in his career he got more than a hundred points and with 101.12 he was in third place.
Seventeen year old Malinin will try to disrupt Japanese domination. He finished second after Chen at the US Championships, but in the Olympic nominations, the US federation favored the experienced Jason Brown over him. For the World Championships, he has to meet qualifying points for short courses in recognized international races, which is why he goes to the smaller races in the Netherlands at the end of February. He succeeded and was able to race at the top of the senior arena for the first time. He managed four lutz points and a combination of four points and a triple toeloop and has the second highest technical score in today’s section of the competition. In other respects, the more experienced competitor still lost, but he still got 100.16 points and was one point away from the medal.
There are no Russian figure skaters at the World Championships, but it will be difficult for them to advance to medals in this competition. Instead, Ivan muratko, a representative from occupied Ukraine, was present. Instead of the traditional costume, the 20-year-old figure skater went on a short program in a Ukrainian training jersey to bring the national colors to life. After falling in the combination, he took 22nd place and qualified for Saturday’s free race.
Figure Skating World Championships in Montpellier:
Men – after a short program: 1. Uno 109.63 points, 2. Kagijama 105.69, 3. Tomono (všichni Jap.) 101.12, 4. Malinin (USA) 100.16, 5. Grassl (It.) 97.62, 6 Zhou (USA) 95.84.
Sports Pair – Final standings: 1. Knierim, Frazier (US) 221.09, 2. Miura, Kihara (JPN) 199.55, 3. James, Radford (CAN) 197.32, 4. Safinová, Berulava (GEO) 191.74, 5. Hase, Seegert (DEU) 189.61, 6. Walsh, Michael (CAN) 176.02.
“Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student.”