Silver and bronze beginnings for Canadian figure skaters at ISU Grand Prix Series
Canadian figure skaters came away from their first ISU Grand Prix stop of the season with a silver and a pair of bronze medals.
At Skate America in Norwood, USA, Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps captured a silver medal in the pairs competition. They were accompanied on the podium by teammates Kelly Ann Laurin and Loucas Éthier who skated off with bronze. Then Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain le Gac added a bronze for Canada in the ice dance competition.
After the pairs short program, Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps sat in second position with 73.05 points. They posted 124.85 points in their free program to set a personal international best of 197.89 and win silver in their first ISU Grand Prix event as a team. They finished less than four points behind the winners Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier (201.39) of the U.S.
“We are very happy with our first Grand Prix. Our goal is to go to every event and score a little bit higher than we did in our previous one and improve the levels,” Stellato-Dudek commented.
This result was also five points better than their score last month when they claimed gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy ISU Challenger Series event. It was a first senior Grand Prix medal for Stellato-Dudek after her Grand Prix debut as a singles skater. Stellato-Dudek, who retired from singles skating at age 17 due to hip injuries, came back in pairs in 2016.
‘’We wanted to improve our score and also improve some of the levels from the previous event,’’ said Stellato-Dudek. ‘’Right after Four Continents was over, we made a plan for the full six months until we competed again, and I think that’s the difference everyone is seeing.’’
ISU Grand Prix first-timers Laurin and Éthier sat in fourth after the short program with 52.59 points. An impressive free skate allowed them to land a personal best score of 104.34 and move up one spot. They claimed the bronze medal and an overall score of 156.94 points. In their free dance routine to “Carnival Row” and “In the End”, the Canadians landed a triple twist, a side-by-side triple loop and throw triple loop.
‘’We are super happy as we had no expectations here,’’ said Éthier. ‘’We were motivated by our performance in the short program. We had an opportunity and we capitalized on it and showed our potential.’’
In the ice dance competition, Lauriault and le Gac also won a bronze medal. The Canadians sat in third position with 72.12 points after Saturday’s rhythm dance. They went on to post 106.18 points in the free dance Sunday to confirm their bronze medal position with a total score of 178.30.
This marked the first international medal for the married couple since they decided to skate for Canada internationally in June 2021.
American skaters took gold and silver. Madison Chock and Evan Bates posted 202.80 points for gold and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker took silver with 202.07.
Skate America in Norwood, USA is the first of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.