Reigning European bronze medalists Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkelof Germany celebrated their first ISU Grand Prix victory edging Canada’s Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud as the Pairs event concluded with the Free Skating at the ISU Grand Prix Skate America in Allen, TX (USA) Saturday. The bronze went to the new team Chelsea Liu/Balasz Nagy (USA). The German and Canadian teams now hope to qualify for the ISU Grand Prix Final.
Overnight leaders Hocke/Kunkel opened their performance to “Without You” with a triple twist, but then Hocke missed the triple Salchow. The Germans rallied to produce a throw triple flip and loop as well as difficult level-four lifts. The 2023 ISU European bronze medalistsearned 120.64 points and totaled 184.23 points to stay on top.
“For me, it’s always a little difficult to realize what we did and the placement when I didn’t have a clean skate,” Hocke said. “There was again, unfortunately, a fall on theSalchow, but we tried to hold it together. We’re proud of our throws, and we really, really tried to deliver up until the end,” Hocke concluded.
“But of course, it’s a huge thing if you take a step back and look at it that we have won a Grand Prix. It’s like everything we ever dreamed of. So in the end, it’s a huge accomplishment for us.”
Skating to “The Gladiator” Pereira/Michaudlanded a triple Salchow, triple twist and throw triple Salchow, but Pereira fell on the double Axel in a sequence with a triple toe. The team scored 119.37 points and accumulated 182.59 points to win their first ISU Grand Prix medal in their debut as a team.
“It’s our first Grand Prix together. We had a great week in total, great practices. Overall, it was a wonderful experience,” Pereira noted.
“Today is very special to us because it’s the first Grand Prix medal, which is super exciting.Obviously it was a perfect skate, but we moved on and did the best with what we could and we’rereally happy with how our whole program went.”
Liu/Nagy not only competed in their first ISU Grand Prix, but are also skating in their first season together and to their own surprise made the podium. Their “Romeo and Juliet” Free Skating included a triple twist, double toe-double Axel sequence and throw double loop, but Liu crashed on the throw triple Salchow. Liu/Nagy posted a personal best of 116.43 points which added up to 177.66 points total.
“I’m a little surprised,” Nagy admitted. “I don’t ever think of placement when I compete. And after the short, I was like, oh, well, we are in third now, so it would be good to hold on to it. But it was also an extra pressure.
“This definitely means a lot to me being my first Grand Prix ever, my first Grand Prix with Chelsea and my first Grand Prix medal since the Junior Grand Prix.”
The General Announcement of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series is available here on the ISU website. The individual announcements are published on the ISU Event section under each dedicated Grand Prix event (filter with the relevant Event Series).
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Where to Watch
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events will be live streamed on the official ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating YouTube Channel in most countries. Find out Where to watch the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating competitions.
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ISU Grand Prix Schedule
The schedules of each ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events are available below:
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series started in 1995 (previously known a s the ISU Champions Series) and consists of six invitational international senior events and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The top six of the past World Championships are seeded. Competitors collect points in their events towards the qualification for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Only the top six Skaters / Couples in each discipline qualify for the Final.