Saturday, February 24, 2024

Team USA Wins Two Medals on Final Day of World Championships – U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone

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Team USA concluded the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023 in Saitama, Japan with a pair of podium finishes as Madison Chock and Evan Bates won their first World Championships title and Ilia Malinin secured bronze in the men’s event.

Becoming the second-ever U.S. ice dance team to be crowned World champion – joining Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who brought home gold in 2013 and 2011 – Chock and Bates clinched their fourth World medal, which ties the U.S. record for most medals at Worlds in ice dance. They previously earned silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016 and 2022.

The win continues Team USA’s recent dominance in ice dance on the World stage. Since 2005, the United States has won 19 medals at the World Championships – more than any other nation.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. We’ve been pursuing this goal for so many years,” Bates said of winning gold. “It was exciting and stressful all at the same time. I know that the ice dance field is very competitive. We’ve competed against all these teams for so many years. We really just wanted to focus on ourselves and skate our best and just highlight all the work that we’ve put this year into these programs. Hopefully, we gave an entertaining performance to everybody.” 

For Malinin, the bronze medal was the final piece of an extremely successful first senior season in which he medaled at every competition he competed at, claiming four golds. At just 18 years old, he became the youngest U.S. male singles skater to win a World medal since Scott Allen in 1965.

Team USA has now earned a medal at the World Championships every year the event has been held since 2018.

“I’m just very shocked about how I progressed through this whole season,” Malinin said. “I’m just very impressed with myself and of all the work I have put into this.”

Last to skate in the ice dance event on Saturday, Chock and Bates set new international personal bests in the free dance and overall score after breaking their international personal best in the rhythm dance on Friday. The four-time U.S. champions and engaged couple tallied 134.07 points in the segment for a two-day total of 226.01.

Skating to “Souffrance” by Orange Blossom and “Les Tectoniques” by Jorane, Chock and Bates earned Level 4 marks on six elements, including their diagonal step sequence and combination lift. Despite an uncharacteristic fall late in the routine, it wouldn’t make a difference in the standings as they solidified their names in history and earned their second straight podium finish at Worlds.

Chock and Bates won the competition by more than six points, defeating Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabri of Italy, who earned the silver with a score of 219.85. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirer of Canada rounded out the podium, claiming bronze with 217.88 points.

Team USA has now placed on the podium every year the event has been held since 2015.

“I was so into our performance and connected with Evan from the start through little boop (her fall) and to the end,” Chock said. “I’m so happy!”

It was a night of personal bests for Team USA’s other two ice dance teams as well. Caroline Green and Michael Parsons and Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko finished sixth and 10th, respectively, in their World Championships debut.

Green and Parsons set new international personal bests in the free dance and total score with scores of 122.70 and 201.44.

The 2022 Four Continents champions were awarded Level 4s on five of their elements during their performance to “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, including their synchronized twizzles and dance spin.

“It felt amazing,” Parsons said. “All the credit goes to our coaching team for having us super prepared. Both days here we just got on the ice and did our jobs to the best of our ability, and it feels really good and feel like it went as well as it could.” 

Carreira and Ponomarenko’s free dance score of 114.86 also marked a new international personal best. Performing to “Summertime” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, the two-time World Junior Championships medalists’ skate was highlighted by their stationary and rotational lift combination, which received more than 13 points from the judges. They ended the competition with a total of 190.10.

“We’re really happy with our skate today,” Carreira said. “I think it was our best one all season – maybe one of the best times we’ve ever skated – so we’re really proud of what we put out this week.” 

One year after becoming the World Junior champion, Malinin secured a place on the podium at the senior World Championships. The 2023 U.S. champion set a new international personal best overall score with 288.44 points. Thanks to the highest total element score in the competition, Malinin totaled 188.06 in the free skate.

He opened his performance to “Euphoria” by Labrinth with the quad Axel, becoming the first man to successfully land a quad Axel at Worlds. Although he struggled on his next two jumps, he came back in the second half of the routine with three massive jumping combinations. After a quad Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow, Malinin cleanly executed a quad toe loop-triple toe loop and a triple Lutz-triple Axel sequence.

“I was just very impressed that I was able to pull all that off,” Malinin said. “I was just not expecting that, but I think that I just could be very proud of myself for working a lot through these last couple of weeks and I’m just very grateful that I delivered.”

Jason Brown may have been competing at his first full international event since the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but he showed no signs of rust. Placing fifth, he clinched his best result at the World Championships since he took fourth in 2015.

The two-time Olympian competing at his fifth senior World Championships tallied a new international personal best in the free skate with 185.87 points, better than his previous-best from the Beijing Games.

Skating to “The Impossible Dream” by Josh Groban, Brown earned the highest total component score in the competition at 95.84, more than two points better than the World champion, Shoma Uno of Japan. He was awarded positive grades of execution on every element, coming out strong with a triple Axel-double Axel sequence that was his highest scoring element. Brown also received Level 4s on each of his spins, claiming a total competition score of 280.04.

“I’m so happy about today’s performance,” Brown said. “I did the best I could to just stay in the moment, stay grounded, go out there and skate my skate. And that’s what I did. I just soaked in the energy of this arena and the people here. It’s been so special.”

In his Worlds debut, 2023 U.S. bronze medalist Andrew Torgashev claimed 139.18 points in his free skate and 210.59 points overall. His program was highlighted by a triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow and a triple flip-double Axel sequence in the second half of the performance. He finished in 21st place.

“I would have liked better, but I’m so grateful to be here and for the opportunity,” Torgashev said. “I really enjoyed this experience, so for me today it was a good performance, and what I was able to manage, it can’t always be perfect.”

Uno was crowned World champion for the second straight year with a total score of 301.14 while Junhwan Cha of Korea secured silver with 296.03 points.

 

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