American pairs finish in top 10 at 2021 World Championships – Figure Skaters Online

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Through Gina Capellazzi, administrator of the FSO team
Photos of Robin Ritoss

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – After short program placements at the 2021 World Championships, Team USA pairs found themselves within reach of trying to secure three spots for USA pairs for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. 2019 U.S. Champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc and reigning U.S. Champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were sixth and seventh, respectively. to win a third place. The feat would put Team USA’s pairs two more places than at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, where Knierim and her husband, Chris, were the only representatives of the United States in the pairs discipline.

However, that dream goal of getting three spots came after the pairs free skate, where both pairs’ teams made mistakes in their schedules. Knierim and Frazier struggle with their triple toe and triple jump side-to-side passes in their Andrea and Matteo Boccelli “Fall on Me” free skate. Knierim also played his triple loop throwing on both feet.

“I felt like I let the team down,” she told media, fighting back tears. “I made too many mistakes. I have never been so prepared for an event in my entire skating career.

“There were a few things that were a bit more volatile than usual, but overall I’m happy with the way we fared,” added Frazier. “It’s been a long season – a lot of work for us to build and get out of quickly – but I’m more than proud of our first season together. We showed a lot of fighting and determination and we did a lot of good things there. “

Knierim and Frazier finished in 7th place in their world first as a team. The placement ties Alexa’s best world ranking with Chris from the 2015 World Championships. For Frazier, this is his best performance at the World Championships, having placed 12th and 20th in previous World Championships. with his former partner, Haven Denney.

Knierim and Frazier said they will return home and start working and preparing for the Olympic season, which will be their second season together.

“Everything has to continue to grow naturally – the skating, the elements, the technique, the performance side,” noted Frazier. “We’ll come back and start making a list of what to do and what we want to continue to aim for. “

Cain-Gribble and LeDuc also had issues with their side-to-side jumps in their free skate Sergei Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2, LeDuc doubling the triple loop and Cain-Gribble doubling the triple salchow.

“We’re a little disappointed with some of the things that happened today,” said LeDuc. “But we’re also encouraged by some of the things we’ve done today. We really love this program so we wanted to hit it a little harder to show what we’re doing well. We are not going to back down. We are always going to outdo ourselves as a team in order to find the right mix that will help us reach the top. “

Cain-Gribble and LeDuc finished in ninth place, the same ranking they had at the 2019 World Championships when they regained second place for Team USA’s pairs.

While there may be some disappointment in their free skating performances, Cain-Gribble and LeDuc and Knierim and Frazier finished in the top 10 at the World Championships, a feat that has not happened since the World Championships. World 2012 in Nice, France, where Caydee Denney and John Coughlin finished 8th and Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker finished 10th.

LeDuc said they haven’t been able to get all three spots, but having two teams in the top 10 is really exciting.

“The fact that three spots were part of the conversation is really a testament to the progress that we (American pair teams) have made,” added LeDuc. “We see an improvement in the US pairs every year, the investments are higher and higher. Both teams can be really proud of themselves for pushing each other and moving the pairs forward. It would have been great to have obviously the three places. We really wanted them, but like I said, the fact (three points) of being realistically apart of the conversation is really exciting. In four years, let’s see if we can do it!

Team USA will have two entries in the pairs competition for next year’s Olympics. The last time three American teams participated in the Olympics was in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway. Knierim and Frazier’s coaches, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, were among these American pairs teams.

Anastasia Michina / Alexandre Galliamov

After being crowned junior world champions in 2019, Russians Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov were crowned world champions on their debut at the senior world championships. Their “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen in free skate earned them an ISU Personal Free Skate Score of 151.80 and an ISU Personal Best Total Score of 227.59 to win the gold against to reigning world champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han from China.

“We were really surprised to be first, I don’t know what to say at the moment. We don’t understand it yet, ”exclaimed Mishina after the free skate.

Weijing Sui / Cong Han

Sui and Han put in a strong performance on “Rain, In Your Black Eyes,” but had a few mistakes on their side-by-side triple toe-double toe-double toe and triple salchow side-to-side combination. They scored 148.09 in the free skate and a total score of 225.71 to win the silver, their fifth world medal.

Aleksandra Boikova / Dmitrii Kozlovskii

Leaders after the short program by just over two and a half points, Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii started their “James Bond” free skate with side-to-side triple salchows, but Boikova fell on the triple toe loop and tripped. on the triple flip throw. The mistakes cost the 2020 European champions the title as they finished fourth in the free skate with 137.47 points, but won the bronze medal with an aggregate score of 217.63. This is only the second world championship and the team’s first world medal.

“Of course we wanted more, to aim for more,” Kozlovskii said. “We were ready, but the ice is slippery. I want to congratulate everyone who skated here today, it’s a challenge for every athlete.

Triple world medalists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who finished third in freestyle, remained in fourth place overall with a total score of 212.76. The team put in a strong performance, but Tarasova landed forward in the triple toe, which was the same mistake she made in the short program the day before.

“We were calm. Again we made a mistake in the same element as in the short program, the rest was just another skate, everything and everything was not bad, ”said Morozov.

Kirsten Moore-Towers / Michael Marinaro

China’s Cheng Peng / Yang Jin finished in fifth place with 201.18 points. After a disappointing short program that left them in 10th place, defending Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro climbed the standings to finish in sixth place with an aggregate score of 195.29. The result matched their previous record at the world championships, set in 2018.

“We definitely skated for ourselves today,” said Moore-Towers. “We were thrilled to show this program and I think it was something that was missing (Wednesday). I think it showed in our skating.

“We’re definitely proud of skating today given the circumstances,” added Marinaro. “A very short season, a lot to remember, a lot of lessons learned in the last two months that we can carry to next season.”

For couple photos of the event, click here.


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