Brian Orser looked to his new pupil, Yevgenia Medvedeva, and said what so many skating fans had to be thinking.
“Been a long 24 hours, huh?”
“Oh yeah,” Medvedeva responded, a wreath of flowers sitting atop her head.
The Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion recovered from the worst program of her senior career Friday with a strong but flawed free skate Saturday. It wasn’t enough to overtake countrywoman Elizaveta Tuktamysheva at Skate Canada.
Tuktamysheva fell on her triple Axel after hitting it in the short program but still totaled 203.32 points, topping Japan’s Mako Yamashita by .26.
Medvedeva jumped from seventh after the short to third with the top free skate, 5.41 behind Tuktamysheva overall.
“Today I felt like a wild animal,” Medvedeva said, according to Golden Skate. “When you feel sorry for yourself, it’s awful. For my mind and for my body also. I’m thankful to Brian for helping me with my mental health so, so much.”
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It’s the first Grand Prix title for Tuktamysheva since 2015, when she was coming off sweeping every major event in the post-Olympic season. Medvedeva turned senior in 2015-16, when Tuktamysheva plummeted out of the top five of the deep Russian field, eventually missing the PyeongChang Olympics.
While Tuktamysheva may be rediscovering her form, Medvedeva faces her own smaller climb.
She’s been beaten in four straight events since returning in January from a broken bone in her foot. Then-training partner Alina Zagitova had her number in PyeongChang, after which Medvedeva split from their coach, Eteri Tutberidze, and moved from Moscow to Orser’s group in Toronto.
Earlier Saturday, Shoma Uno rallied to win the men’s title, overcoming a 6.18-point deficit to Canadian Keegan Messing from the short program. Uno fell on his final two free skate jumping passes but still landed four quads to Messing’s one to win with 277.25 points.
Messing got second, 12.8 behind, while 2014 U.S. Olympian Jason Brown moved from 11th after the short to sixth.
Uno’s rivals are Olympic and world champions Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen, whom he will not face before December’s Grand Prix Final.
U.S. champions and world silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue were upset in the free dance but held on to win their second straight Grand Prix. They’re the first skaters in any discipline to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
In pairs, world bronze medalists Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres won their first Grand Prix title. The French tallied the highest score in the world this season — 221.81 — and prevailed by a comfortable 20.73. James and Ciprès and Russians Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who won Skate America last week, are the top pairs at the moment with none of the Olympic medalists competing this fall.
Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, the 2017 U.S. champions, improved from eighth out of eight in the short program to sixth overall.
The Grand Prix series moves to Finland next week, headlined by Hanyu and Zagitova.
As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. GO HERE to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season…NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
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