Gracie Gold

Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner
Getty Images

Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America; No Grand Prix for Adelina Sotnikova

1 Comment

World silver medalist Ashley Wagner and two-time U.S. champion Gracie Gold headline Skate America, while Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova will reportedly sit out the 2016-17 Grand Prix figure skating season.

Wagner and Gold will be joined at Skate America by the last two U.S. men’s champions — Adam Rippon and Jason Brown — and the reigning U.S. ice dance and pairs champions in Hoffman Estates, Ill., from Oct. 21-23.

Wagner and Gold will also skate separately in Grand Prix events in China and France in November, looking to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in December.

Entry lists for all six Grand Prix events were published by the International Skating Union on Thursday.

GRAND PRIX ENTRIES: MEN | WOMEN | ICE DANCE | PAIRS

The biggest non-American news is that Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia will not skate in the Grand Prix season for the second time in three years since her gold medal in Sochi.

Sotnikova will sit out but still has training plans, according to R-Sport.

Other Sochi Olympic champions Yevgeny Plushenko and Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov of Russia and U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White are also not competing in the Grand Prix series. Davis and White haven’t competed since becoming the first U.S. Olympic ice dance champs in Sochi but have not retired.

World champion Yevgenia Medvedeva of Russia is entered in Canada, where she will face countrywoman and 2015 World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, and in France, where she will face Gold and three-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan.

The full U.S. entries from U.S. Figure Skating:

Skate America — Hoffman Estates, Illinois — Oct. 21-23
Ladies: Gracie Gold; Ashley Wagner; TBA
Men: Jason Brown; Adam Rippon; TBA
Pairs: Tarah Kayne & Daniel O’Shea; Madeline Aaron & Max Settlage; TBA
Ice dance: Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue; Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani; TBA

Skate Canada — Mississauga, Ontario — Oct. 28-30
Ladies: Mirai Nagasu
Men: Grant Hochstein; Ross Miner
Pairs: Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier
Ice dance: Madison Chock & Evan Bates; Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker

Rostelecom Cup — Moscow — Nov. 4-6
Ladies: Polina Edmunds; Courtney Hicks
Men: Max Aaron
Pairs: Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim
Ice dance: Madison Chock & Evan Bates; Elliana Pogrebinsky & Alex Benoit

Trophée de France — Paris — Nov. 11-13
Ladies: Gracie Gold; Tyler Pierce
Men: Nathan Chen; Adam Rippon
Pairs: Marissa Castelli & Mervin Tran
Ice dance: Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

Cup of China — Beijing — Nov. 18-20
Ladies: Karen Chen; Courtney Hicks; Ashley Wagner
Men: Max Aaron; Ross Miner
Pairs: Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim
Ice dance: Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus; Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani

NHK Trophy — Sapporo, Japan — Nov. 25-27
Ladies: Karen Chen; Polina Edmunds; Mirai Nagasu
Men: Jason Brown; Nathan Chen; Grant Hochstein
Pairs: Tarah Kayne & Daniel O’Shea
Ice dance: Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker

MORE: Wagner looks to 2018 after worlds breakthrough

Five takeaways from World Figure Skating Championships

Ashley Wagner, Evgenia Medvedeva, Anna Pogorilaya
AP
Leave a comment

1. U.S.’ most medals in 10 years

The U.S. earned three medals in Boston, including the most vital one in the women’s competition. It’s the nation’s best output since 2006, though it lacked the gold-medal performance of the last Worlds in the U.S. in 2009 (Evan Lysacek).

The U.S. women will go into the 2017-18 season with their best international standing in a decade.

Ashley Wagner is now a World silver medalist in addition to a three-time Grand Prix Final medalist.

Yes, Gracie Gold dropped from her short-program lead to finish fourth, but she leaves Boston the most consistent elite woman in the world the last three years.

That’s not to mention Polina Edmunds, who is younger than Wagner and Gold yet finished between them at the U.S. Championships before pulling out of Worlds with an injury.

The U.S. men all scored personal-best free skates in Boston, but Adam RipponMax Aaron and Grant Hochstein couldn’t quite meet the goal of keeping three spots for the 2017 Worlds.

Remember, the U.S. was the only nation that had three men’s skaters at Worlds, and they all placed in the top 10. Not bad at all.

The competition for two Worlds spots at the 2017 U.S. Championships should be compelling with the returns from injury of 2015 U.S. champion Jason Brown and 2016 U.S. bronze medalist Nathan Chen and perhaps two-time Olympian Jeremy Abbott.

The U.S. is the world’s best in ice dance. It earned two medals and put three couples in the top six for the first time since 1955. If Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White return for another Olympic run, they will be in for the toughest domestic competition of their career.

Pairs remains the weakest discipline. Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim‘s wheels fell off after they became the first U.S. pair to make a Grand Prix Final since 2007. They were last at the Grand Prix Final in December, then upset for the U.S. title in January and ninth in Boston, with a disastrous 12th-place free skate.

MORE: Gracie Gold gives emotional interview after Worlds

2. Staggering scores

In all four disciplines, World Championships points records were broken in either the short or long programs, or both.

The current scoring system was implemented a little over a decade ago, and scores have been generally rising in recent years, but the performance level in Boston was still staggering.

World records also fell in the women’s free skate (Yevgenia Medvedeva breaking Yuna Kim‘s 2010 Olympic mark) and free dance (Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron breaking Meryl Davis and Charlie White‘s 2014 Olympic mark).

Perhaps the craziest set of numbers came in the women’s free skate. The top seven scored at least 130 points and finished with more than 200. Before this year, the most to break either of those barriers at a single Worlds was three.

MORE: Charlie White blown away by French ice dance champs

3. Yuzuru Hanyu in perspective

When Hanyu is at his best, he is the greatest skater of all time. He showed that at NHK Trophy in November, the Grand Prix Final in December and in the short program on Wednesday.

But he is also susceptible to errors, especially with such difficult programs, evident in the free skate Friday.

Before Hanyu began his record-breaking binge in November, he had actually lost four of his last five top-level international competitions. That was overlooked in anointing him the biggest favorite of all disciplines heading into Boston, because Hanyu was so great at his two most recent international events.

Now Hanyu goes into the season before the Olympics facing more great men’s skaters than he’s ever seen. Not only the man who beat him again, Javier Fernandez, but also three-time World champ Patrick Chan and rising teens Jin Boyang and Shoma Uno.

More records from Hanyu won’t be a surprise, but defeats shouldn’t be shocking, either.

MORE: Hanyu: I want to redo free skate

4. The Russian factory

Here’s another stat: Of the 12 women’s medals awarded at the 2014 Olympics and 2014, 2015 and 2016 Worlds, half have been earned by six different Russians.

Yevgenia Medvedeva and Anna Pogorilaya were the latest to ascend Saturday night, following Adelina Sotnikova at the Olympics, Yulia Lipnitskaya at the 2014 Worlds and Elizaveta Tukstamysheva and Yelena Radionova at the 2015 Worlds.

That speaks to Russia’s utter dominance but also its incredible turnover at the top.

Sotnikova, Lipnitskaya and Tuktamysheva were sixth, seventh and eighth at the Russian Championships in December. They were followed in ninth by Alena Leonova, who sparked the Russian renaissance with silver at the 2012 Worlds, the nation’s first women’s medal since the 2006 Olympics.

Medvedeva must fight on two fronts to stay at the top, internationally against the Americans and Japanese but also domestically against those champions.

And more Russian talent is on the way. Polina Tsurskaya and Maria Sotskova, 14 and 15, went one-two at the Junior Grand Prix Final in December, then finished four-five in the senior division at the Russian Championships two weeks later.

MORE: Medvedeva describes World title with one English word

5. Comebacks fell short

Past World champions Patrick ChanMao Asada and the Russian pairs team of Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov all struggled in their first global championship in two years.

Chan, a three-time World champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013, was a respectable third in the short program but stumbled into the TD Garden boards in his eighth-place free skate. He finished fifth, his worst at Worlds since his debut as a 17-year-old in 2008.

Asada, also a three-time World champion, couldn’t keep up with women several years her junior in the short program or free skate. The 25-year-old was ninth and seventh, finishing seventh. That marked her worst result in 11 Olympic or Worlds appearances.

Even more surprising was the Russian pairs team of Volosozhar and Trankov, who unlike Chan and Asada were unbeatable this season coming into Worlds. However, they erred on their twist, side-by-side jumps and a throw across their two programs.

Volosozhar and Trankov had never finished worse than second in 18 top-level international competitions going into Worlds. They placed sixth in Boston.

MORE: Mao Asada looks ahead after rough Worlds

Gracie Gold says she’s ’embarrassed,’ ‘ashamed’ in emotional interview

4 Comments

U.S. champion Gracie Gold was understandably shaken by her fourth-place finish at the World Championships on Saturday night.

Gold led after the short program Thursday but fell on the opening jump combination in her free skate and later doubled a planned triple Lutz. She ended up 2.4 points shy of bronze.

“It was one of those really, really tragic skates where you just feel like you couldn’t do anything right,” Gold said, according to the Boston Globe. “I’m really disappointed. And I feel really sorry for Boston and the United States because I feel like I let them down when they needed me most. I’m sorry to [my team] and everybody that supported me that I couldn’t deliver.”

Gold previously finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics and the 2015 World Championships. Her total score this year, despite the flaws, would have won the 2015 World title.

After she skated Saturday, countrywoman Ashley Wagner followed with a personal-best free skate, jumping from fourth after the short program to a silver medal to end a nine-year U.S. women’s medal drought.

“I’m really sad, and I’m really embarrassed,” Gold said in the video interview below. “I feel really ashamed of how I skated and how I tried to represent my country. It just is a really, really terrible moment for me and my skating.”

Gold entered the night as the top hope to end the longest U.S. Olympic/Worlds women’s medal drought since the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

“It just shows that I’m not up there with the rest of the world, but maybe in the future I can be a better skater,” Gold said, according to an International Skating Union press release. “I still have hopes for the 2018 Olympics, but we’ll have to step back and re-evaluate what’s realistic for my future skating.”

An interviewer suggested to Gold that she was being a bit harsh on herself.

“If you look at the skating and the qualify of skating and the scores, I just feel that it’s accurate, and it’s what everybody else is going to say anyway,” Gold responded.

MORE: Wagner ends U.S. medal drought; Russian takes title